We know what is going. We know about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. We know about the cancellation of events, in order to limit social gatherings. We know some people are not taking it seriously. We know others are hoarding toilet paper.
We do not know when this will end.
I am not going to sit here and write about the origins of Coronavirus, or get into numbers, or discuss scientific lingo, or anything I do not know. There are thousands of other people more qualified than I, to provide you with that information.
I am just here to share my thoughts and observations, ever since COVID-19 became a reality in our lives.
First off, I have no time or patience for people who do not want to take this pandemic seriously. If you do not think it is a big deal, fine. Keep it to yourself. Why? Because you have no clue, especially when we have professionals telling us otherwise.
Even if you are right, and this whole situation is somehow overblown, it is imperative to proceed with an abundance of caution at this point in time.
We do not need your “Tough Guy” act flooding social media, but if you cannot control yourself, by all means, look like a fool.
Conversely, people are freaking out and emptying the shelves at grocery stores, as if they expect to be in their home for the next six months. There are people buying toilet paper just because everyone else is buying toilet paper. They do not know why.
“For in the end…they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.” – Neil Postman
Are they all afraid of death by diarrhea, are they stocking up just in case they are quarantined, or are they afraid that the “crazy people” will take everything and there will be nothing left for when they go shopping on their regular day?
It is a domino effect that includes people of different thought processes, but at the root of their action is a sense of urgency and preparation for the unknown.
Maybe Y2K was a dress-rehearsal for this. Maybe now is the time.
When Coronavirus started to spread and public officials instructed us to wash our hands, sneeze into our sleeve, and take other precautionary measures, as to not spread any germs, it felt like this was a brand new concept to some people.
I really want to say I am surprised there are people who do not know how to properly wash their hands, but I am not.
People are disgusting. They just are.
Do I have some germaphobic habits? Absolutely. I can’t even tell you the last time I held a handrail, with my bare hand, while navigating a staircase in public.
Have I held the pole on the subway with my bare hand? Yes. In the summer, when I have no choice but to stand, and don’t have winter gloves. I hate every second of it because I just know what’s being transferred to my hand.
Sports leagues in North America have shut down, completely, to prevent the public from gathering. Honestly, I was wondering what took them so long.
As soon as an athlete was confirmed to have contracted Coronavirus, everyone moved quickly.
That athlete was Rudy Gobert, basketball player for the Utah Jazz. And you know what Rudy thought of the Coronavirus? He thought it was a joke, as evidenced by the video of him “jokingly” touching all the microphones and recording devices in front of him at a press conference two days before his positive test.
There are times when we can act like a jovial idiot and get away with it; this is not that time.
I was at a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game, fourteen days ago. Unless you’re in a private suite, there is no such thing as comfort at a sporting event. I do not care how soft the seat is, you will not be comfortable.
You are packed in there like school supplies in a pencil case. Everything must fit because everything has its own spot.
You are sharing an arm rest with at least one stranger, maybe two (like I was). What they breathe out, you breathe in, and vice versa. Unless you are shorter, or have an aisle seat, leg space is hard to come by.
On top of that, you have to stand up at least ten times over the course of two and a half hours, just so Johnny Nachos & Associates can peruse the concession stands. As they pass by, you try and be as small as possible, while they step on your feet.
It is like opening a pickle jar, grabbing a pickle at the very bottom, and pulling it to the top.
But wait, there’s more! The people in the row behind you also like to go to the concession stands, so they are kicking your jacket, and sometimes spilling things in your direction.
At its best, it is organized chaos. But what can you do, other than wonder why you would ever leave the comfort of your own couch, for this.
I have never been in a washroom at a sporting event and seen everyone follow proper hygienic etiquette. It is a thing that does not happen.
Whether you want to talk about the stalls – where it looks like the person before you had never used a toilet in their life – or the “You can’t tell me what to do” man, who does his business and exits without ever even looking at a sink, let alone using one.
That person is unsanitary.
In a perfect world, we might all carry a map that tracks the people who haven’t washed their hands, so we know to avoid them. Think, the Maurader’s Map in Harry Potter.
He may touch a railing. He may exchange cash with a cashier. He may share a bag of popcorn with someone and put his hands in the bag every eight seconds. He may hand his phone over to an usher to take a picture. He may open the door as he leaves. He may hold the pole on the subway. He may shake the hand of the friend he went to the game with.
Now, multiply that one person’s stupidity by a few hundred.
It should not matter if Coronavirus exists, or not, washing your hands before leaving the washroom should be a thing that everyone automatically does.
It is not.
For some reason, I keep expecting other people to be as smart, and cognizant, as I think they should be, and they never are. Because if they do not have a problem with it, they do not care.
Some people get to an age where they think they know everything. They do not want to change because why should they? Their way has gotten them this far.
Carelessness will kill us. It already has.
I do not know when all of this will end. In many ways, this feels like just the beginning.
During the SARS epidemic in 2003, I found myself in a hospital, waiting to see if two of my fingers were broken, or if they were just green and purple for some other reason. It was for some other reason – torn ligaments.
My Mom and I were given a mask, gloves, and gown, and sat there for about three hours before anyone called us in. It was scary, but on the wall in front of us was a picture, though it wasn’t a picture. It was a word.
It said, “Saskatoon”. Don’t ask me why the name of a city in Saskatchewan was in a picture frame in a hospital in Ontario, but it was.
Staring at “Saskatoon” got us through those three hours and we still talk about it to this day.
I am not sure if I am qualified to provide hope during a situation as serious as the one we find ourselves in, but I will try.
Find your Saskatoon – whatever that may be – and perhaps it will give you some peace as we all try and get through this together, while maintaining a safe distance apart.