Hello, awesome readers!
You good? Are you practicing the new religion of social distancing? Has this pandemic caused you to lose a piece of your mind?
I was recently invited to contribute to an anthology of personal stories and experiences during Covid-19. Published by Acclaimed Books, all the proceeds are going to an international non-profit organization called Bridge2.
The truth is that non-profits scare me. My fear is that they’re run by millionaires who are billionaires because they live off the proceeds of their supposed cause. There I said it.
But with further research, I learned that ALL proceeds for the anthology, entitled With Love Comes Hope, are legitimately going to people in need.
And since this is a contribution with no exclusivity, I’m allowed to share what I wrote with y’all. (In case you think I’m plagiarizing myself.)
So, here’s what I wrote.
2020: The year of quiet chaos and self-acceptance
By Mona Andrei (that’s me)
When the pandemic first broke-out, I was on vacation in Cuba with two of my besties. One of those besties also happens to be my boyfriend. Apart from his daughter FaceTiming us every 11 hours to give us an update on world events, I was oblivious to what was going on. The word “corona” was now being passed around with its sidekick word, “virus”, yet I still thought the world was talking about beer.
We were only gone a week and yet when we arrived back to our real lives in Canada, the world had changed. My first indication of this was when I crawled into the back seat of our Uber ride and saw that the driver was wearing a face mask. Since it was the wee hours between the previous travel day and a new one, I was too exhausted to have any reaction except notice. Our driver was finishing a long shift and she too was tired. It was clear that talking incessantly was her way of staying awake. She told us how people were hoarding toilet paper and that you couldn’t find alcohol anywhere. That’s when my ears perked up with a question. “People are hoarding toilet paper AND wine?” Our Uber driver confirmed that what she meant by alcohol was hand sanitizer. Phew. Okay. No biggie. Perhaps the media is exaggerating. Feeling relieved, I went back to letting myself fall asleep in the back seat.
Over the next few weeks changes to the world as we knew it continued. Retail stores were closing, leaving civilizations across all societies with access to essential services only. The term “self-isolate” was now a recommendation for public safety, and social distancing became the new culture. The human race was becoming afraid of itself.
Next came the latest trend in shopping. Online purchases became the new norm and the anticipation of home deliveries, the new distraction. If you did happen to go to a store, the Walmart greeter was now someone wearing a mask and latex gloves, and instead of welcoming you, the role now was to ensure that you washed your hands before entering the store. This, of course, was the anticlimactic end to waiting in line as stores began limiting the number of people they allowed in at one time. This was to enforce limited contact between shoppers and clerks, now known as frontline workers.
Even people out for daily strolls practiced the six-foot distancing rule as passersby walked to the middle of the street to avoid each other. Getting hit by a car had become less risky than catching Covid-19.
As we, the social beings, immersed in an unfamiliar self-isolation period, couples argued more (I know this because I could hear my neighbours), home-schooling became the new education system, and ads went from “come buy our car” to “we’ll get through this together. Come buy our car.”
With everyone working from home, Zoom and other online video conferencing platforms have become a way to socialize – from meetings to happy hour, graduation ceremonies to birthday parties. Pajama bottoms and blazers are now the new craze in office attire. (Personally, if and when this passes over, I worry that I won’t remember how to wear pants.)
Meanwhile, there’s always a positive perspective. As we, the social humans, are now forced to enjoy more alone time, we’re also learning to remember who we are as we take up the fine and almost lost art of baking home-made bread and binge-watching our favourite shows on Netflix during office hours. Priorities have changed and 2020 has become the year of self-reflection.
Meanwhile, with less people driving to work, the air is getting cleaner and we’re discovering that while hairdressers are not an essential service, liquor stores are. Lipstick sales have gone down as more and more people are wearing face masks.
Technology now plays a huge role in family gatherings. Celebrations are scheduled on screen and hugs are now shared as emojis.
With the world feeling under house-arrest, we’re re-learning to appreciate the quiet that resides within us. Self-care and self-acceptance are now more important than promotions. Where once we ran to our hairdressers with the first sign of grey roots, today those grey roots are making a statement: This is who I am.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to buy a few dozen hats. Since this started, Amazon Prime has become my new bestie.
If you want to learn more about the book and how you can help, check out the publisher’s Book for the World Facebook page.
In next week’s post we’ll be talking about the sadness that has taken over the world with the inhumane and coldhearted passing of George Floyd and others.
Meanwhile, I’ll say this: Black Lives Matter. What kind of world are we living in that we have to mourn a senseless death. That’s not a real question.
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