It’s kind of a weird time. I was a server before all this started, so I lost my job fairly early on in the global pandemic. I drove down to Seattle on March 9th for the Strokes concert, driving back that night, and got a bit of a cold a few days later. Apparently Seattle got hit bad, but I didn’t really know that at the time. None of us really knew what was coming, I guess. I’m psyched I got to see the Strokes twice in one week though. PLUS they played One Way Trigger and Evening Sun in Seattle, but not in Vancouver and those are BANGERS.
A few days later, a Thursday, my boss and I decided that it wasn’t worth the risk and I should take a few days off. I phoned the health line the next day and they told me to self-quarantine for the next two weeks. When that was done, the world was quite a bit different, and instead of waiting tables, my colleagues that had stayed on were mostly answering phones and boxing takeout. And trying very hard to stay apart in a very small restaurant with a very very small kitchen.
Today, a lot of people in my position have found ourselves with the incredible good fortune of being able to stay at home collecting $2,000 a month in order to keep the more vulnerable parts of society safe. I have to remind myself every day that this is a gigantic privilege, and though I’m fairly introverted and thrive when all I have to do is read books and write nonsense, a lot of people aren’t anywhere near as fortunate. Beyond the effects of the actual virus, people are killing themselves, people in abusive relationships are finding that they now have no escape and are confined 24/7 with their abusers, people who don’t qualify for CERB or EI and have lost their jobs have really limited options, and people who were already in precarious situations, like living in the street, can’t really shelter-in-place and are having a really hard time navigating this.
All the while, front-line health workers are dealing with the brunt of this every day. They don’t get to sit at home earning $2,000 a month. Neither do grocery store workers, restaurant cooks, and tons of other people that work in jobs that are incredibly essential but are not well-paid. This virus has effected us all differently, along lines of race, class, and gender, and once the world gets a handle on it, we desperately need to revisit the ways we’ve structured our institutions, and the ways we treat each other. “The old way wasn’t working, so it’s on us to do what we gotta do.” I think that’s a Tupac lyric.
With the privilege-acknowledgement out of the way, overall these last couple months have had a fairly positive effect on me. I’ve had the chance to really think about what I want to do, what’s important to me, and who’s important to me. I’m exercising a lot and feeling really fit, despite the ever-present bulging gut, and I’m writing again. I really like writing. I missed it.
When I lived in Australia a few years back I’d kind of sequestered myself at my grandma’s house (RIP Jean), a roughly 10 minute drive from Yarrawonga, a town of about 6,000 year-round residents that sits about three hours north of Melbourne. I’d read Stephen King’s On Writing and decided to follow his advice and write 2,000 words a day. I churned out two decently-thick science fiction manuscripts that I have not looked at since. (I tried, a couple years ago, to edit one down into something reasonable, but realized that I used the cliche, “the more things chance the more they stay the same,” three times in the first 10 pages or so. I was very discouraged and I shredded it. Haven’t really looked at either since.
Maybe I’ll revisit them again one day. I still have the .docs. But lately I’ve had the chance to dive back into this love that I’ve always had for stories. I’m reading so much, and writing little short stories that I’m really hoping other people might actually like.
Anyway, I just wanted to stretch my blogging muscles a little bit. I’ve clearly got the time. Take care of yourselves, take care of your families, think about what’s really important, don’t stress about ordering sushi 3/4 times a week, it’s a crazy time so do what you need to do.
Lots of love,