UNSANITARY

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.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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30 Responses to UNSANITARY

  1. Very well put Paul! Thank you it’s nice to know that some people are taking it seriously while others are, lemmings and buying toilet paper in mass without knowing exactly why?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! I feel like we’re learning that some people use a lot of toilet paper every time they make a trip to the washroom. I’m surprised that’s the #1 must-have item.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. micqu says:

    Very well written. Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! How are things in Luxembourg right now?

      Like

      • micqu says:

        It’s a mess over here too. Yesterday, government decided to close schools and nurseries for at least two weeks, most events are cancelled. And people are emptying grocery stores. Never seen scenes for Luxembourg. We aren’t even out of stock or anything, but they aren’t fast enough to restock the shelves. So far we have 34 infected and one dead. Which doesn’t sound like much but since Luxembourg is so small and the numbers are rising fast, it is a lot. (10 new cases since yesterday) It feel surreal. I was allowed to fill out a form to he on paid leave until schools open again. I wrote a bit about it on my blog too, but not in detail.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Sounds like the exact same situation as here. Relatively small looking number of cases, but continues to grow every day. And the panic is over the top. Stay safe over there!

        Like

      • micqu says:

        Thank you, and the same to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. darthtimon says:

    Very wise words Paul! I am aghast at how slow we’re reacting here in Britain too – whilst various European nations were announcing quarantines and limiting public gatherings, our Prime Minister was talking about washing hands to the length of time it takes to sing happy birthday twice. We keep hearing ‘we’re not at Italy-levels of this thing yet, so we don’t need to go as far with our methods yet’ – but I’d rather do that NOW than have this thing spread and cause problems later.

    I’m pretty confident if I personally catch it, I will be alright, but there are vulnerable people in my family, so if I do catch it, I’ll have to isolate myself, but for the sake of everyone’s health, I’ll happily do that, just as I am happily washing my hands with vigour – it’s appalling to learn how many people have only just started to do that!

    The hoarding is pathetic. In my local supermarket, we had no loo roll, no pasta, no rice, no flour, hardly any tea bags and hardly any milk. As a result, people who need these items are going to struggle, because of the selfish ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’m not a fan of the the whole “wait and see” approach that seems to have gone on in many countries. We waited until it was too late.

      It is ridiculous how many people don’t wash their hands, or just wet them and think they’re good. It’s no wonder so many people get sick during the winter. Now we’re really paying for it.

      I think I read somewhere that someone bought $18,000 worth of hand sanitizer on Amazon and is trying to re-sell it but they caught him and won’t let him. People are nuts.

      Stay safe, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. rebbit7 says:

    I admit that I hadn’t believed that it was that serious, but now I’m starting to take this issue seriously. I work at the airport, and our hours are being cut due to the decrease in flights day-by-day (including now those from Europe). What I see, though, is that our nation has failed to contain this virus, let alone before it was too late; I blame greed and capitalism over public safety, thanks to our idiotic president. This has become more than a health issue, but more so a social one: jobs are being affected, stocks are plummeting, and everyone’s going nuts overstocking toilet paper, rice, etc…it’s insane just how fear can lead to this happening now, and I truly hope actions are taken to get this all under control. Time will tell.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      From an outsider perspective, it feels like it took the shut down of sporting events as well as the positive test for Tom Hanks and his wife, before the government really took it seriously. I think your president was just saying a few weeks ago that it was a hoax? No world leader should be that naive or unprepared. You’re right, so much is being affected by this. It’s almost hard to see how we get back to normal, without everyone staying home for the next 2-3 weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dutch Lion says:

    Good stuff Paul. Tell me about the Maple Leafs game…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It was against Vancouver on a Saturday night and was exactly one week after the Leafs lost to an emergency backup goalie. The Leafs won! But I forget what the score was.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dutch Lion says:

        Sweet action! I hate Vancouver. The Canucks are jerks. Blackhawks are scuffling again but only a few points out of the last wild card spot. I hope if we finish the season the Hawks can make a push. We’ll see. Good luck to the Maple Leaves (inside joke).

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Becky says:

    Can you just be in charge of everything?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ann Coleman says:

    Yes, the key is to use common sense, not panic. There has to be a middle-ground between “OMG, we’re all going to die!” and “This is nothing and you CAN’T make me wash my hands or not gather in large crowds!” And personally, I think that middle ground is the common sense you are proposing in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Unfortunately, a lot people aren’t finding that middle-ground, and the ones who think they can still go about their normal day are going to be the ones who prolong this further.

      Like

      • Ann Coleman says:

        I know! And then, when it’s finally over, our economy will be trashed because of all the companies that went out of business and all the people who are going to lose their jobs.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. mydangblog says:

    Great post, Paul. I don’t remember people going nuts over toilet paper during the panic leading up to Y2K but I do remember the panic. People just need to wash their damn hands—not just now, but all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Something like this has been in the back of my mind for a long time. Maybe it all started when I read The Stand. Thankfully we’re not at that stage and I doubt we ever will be. But we do need to change our lives. We need to start changing ways.

    Out here in American it takes something to disrupt our routine for us to take notice. Now that our sports has been taken away we are noticing.

    On the bright side. I took a trip to the local grocery store yesterday and was pleasantly surprised at how normal everything seemed. There was no panic. Just another day. We need to get back to that. We need to take caution but at the same time we need to learn to live with it.

    Excellent post, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I agree with you. It wasn’t until sports were gone that people took this seriously. Even then, shutting down the leagues wasn’t a proactive measure – it was already too late.

      I wonder how much longer we have to wait before our governments just lock us down.

      Glad you could have a peaceful trip to the grocery store! Those are going to be hard to come by.

      Stay safe, Bryan!

      Like

  10. Great post! It’s honestly been crazy to see the extremes from each side-those who are fighting over/hoarding everything they can get their hands on, and then there’s those who intend to carry on with their lives without taking any precautions. I know this virus doesn’t seem to be affecting younger people as much, but it blows my mind that when college/work shuts down in an effort to contain an outbreak, they see it as an excuse to party/travel/go out as much as they can without thinking about other people they could possibly spread the virus to (and brag about ‘being able to do what they want’ on social media). This is something that EVERYONE needs to take seriously in order to be effective, and with all the panic/anxiety it’s caused people, it’s best for people to think about and be considerate of others right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! I agree, young people think they’re invincible, but the stories about people having the virus without showing any symptoms should scare them…It somehow does not. I just wonder how long things will go before we start seeing lockdowns because as you said, everyone needs to take this seriously, and until they’re forced to, they won’t.

      I appreciate the comment! By the way, having the cast of The Rookie like your tweet was very cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Folks, Were We Not Washing Our Hands Before? – Strikeouts + Sprinkles

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