Posts by Alyson Shane

What a day

- by Alyson Shane


This morning when we were in the garden John noticed a bumblebee sitting on a leaf on our raspberry bush. 

We got worried because we've never seen a bee so chill. We accidentally brushed the bush when we walked by and he didn't move or make a sound except a little frantic buzzing that was cute as heck but concerning.

We didn't know what to do so we left him alone, but I took a picture of him and asked my friend Heather through Twitter what I should do because Heather's the smartest person I know when it comes to

bugs or animals or nature, really

and she suggested I leave him a little spoonful of sugar water to see if he needed a little pep back in his step.

So after my morning meeting I went outside and he'd fallen to the ground (!!!!) and was buzzing like crazy on the patio stones we use as a walkway and I started

panicking, y'know?

because he didn't look like he could fly and I was worried that the little dude was a gonner, so I picked a big leaf off the raspberry bush and waited while he took his time slowly climbing on, buzzing with stress the whole time

and he was stressed and I was stressed for him, but I picked up the leaf and moved it to a safe place where the dude who comes to mow our lawn wouldn't step on him or jostle him while he got his strength back. I moved the bee/leaf to the deck and put it on the table so the leaf dipped gently in a little container of sugar water I'd made.

The bee was buzzing and scared and obviously not cool what what was going on, so I backed off and went inside and

well, my day kinda went off the rails from there.

Somehow I managed to pop both tires on my bike on the way to an onboarding meeting with a new client which meant that on top of walking my flat-ass bike home in +30C heat with a backpack with a laptop on my back, I also needed to bum a ride there from Rose (bless her heart) who came and picked me up and

(seriously, bless her heart)

after our meeting drove me to The Exchange with my two popped tires so I could get them fixed at Natural Cycle and,

wouldn't you know it

right after the guy working there told me he could fix them, and I'd sat down on the (socially distanced) patio at Amsterdam Tea Room and the sun was shining and my

jaw, hands, shoulders, heart all started to relax, after I ordered a fancy negroni and breathed a big sigh

my phone rang and it was the guy from Natural Cycle saying that, oh shit, his coworker had just sold the last two tire tubes in my size and he didn't know how long it'd be until they got more. He suggested I call around and see who had anything and warned me that because of the pandemic everyone was low on supplies because

(who'd have guessed)

during a time when people don't want to be in close quarters together everyone wants to be on a bike.

(Which as a cycling advocate I love and and happy for
don't get me wrong, but
this timing really sucks.)

My fancy negroni came and I sipped it as slowly as I could while stress-calling other bike shops around town and trying to play it cool. I cancelled my evening plans and considered the cost of cabbing my tires up past Polo Park and realized

wait, dummy, you have friends

so I did something I almost never do: I called a friend and asked for help.

I was lucky! Tineke (bless her heart) picked me up and not only drove me to the other bike place, but stayed with me and made me laugh and cry from laughing and hugged me and drove me to the liquor mart after so I could buy some wine to decompress with at home after my stressful day and

brightened my day with her sweet heart and soul.

I'm so lucky to have the friends I do.

When I finally got home John helped me put my new tires on my bike and we ordered sushi and cracked the wine I'd bought with Tineke. After we'd finished getting the tires in place and reattaching the chain and adding my new streamers

(yes I'm a 32 year old woman with streamers on her salmon pink bike)

I walked my bike into the front yard to take it around to the shed and remembered

oh, my little bee pal

who of course as long gone.

Buddy was just going through a tough time, but he managed to pick himself up and go back out into the world fuelled by the sugar water and the kindness of others

and
y'know
I get that.


 

It's so hard to turn away sometimes

- by Alyson Shane

As far as news consumption goes I guess you could say I obsess a little bit, but I'm a wonky person who likes to be well-informed and finds politics and rhetoric interesting and important and so I listen to multiple podcasts, like

Up First
What a Day
The New York Times Daily
The NPR Politics Podcast
Pod Save America
Pod Save the World
America Dissected
FiveThirtyEight Politics

just to name a few

and every day I read articles from the New York Times, the CBC, The National Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Los Angeles Times

just to name a few

and as a Canadian who attended a Black Lives Matter protest that was 20,000 people strong and managed to go off peacefully and without a hitch being bombarded by media coverage of how badly things are going in America is

horrifying, to say the least

and this morning on NPR I heard about the 52-year old Navy vet named who showed up and was beaten by police for

literally just standing there
trying to talk to the officers

and that was scary and awful but then I came across a video of what happened on my Twitter feed and I wasn't prepared for what I saw



you don't have to watch the whole interview (though you should) but at least watch the part that starts around 1:00 where a federal officer just WAILS on him for several seconds before they douse HIS FACE in pepper spray

and yes I've read news reports and listened to pundits talk about it but somehow still wasn't prepared to see it play out on camera, and as I scrolled through the Portland news in my feed and watched videos of federal agents in riot gear shoving people and beating them up and barrelling into groups of moms peacefully protesting, tears started rolling down my face and I became a big, blubbering mess

because I'm terrified for the people in Portland and Chicago and Detroit and for

all of America, really

because this is what the slide into fascism looks like.

Being Canadian and watching this go down just south of the border is complicated because, on one hand, thank god that's not happening in my city, in my country, thank god I don't have to put on a helmet and a mask every night and go out and march until the morning light just to get police to stop killing black people

but on the other hand I can't do anything. All I can do is sit in front of my screen and cry and get upset and blog and hope against hope that things turn out ok in America

but I'm not holding my breath.


 

8th day in a row with no cases

- by Alyson Shane


6 active cases, no new cases this month, no evidence of community spread.

Whew.

Today I put on makeup and packed up my laptop and walked to a meeting with a potential client, my first face-to-face meeting since before the pandemic began.

We sat at opposite ends of a long table that was disinfected before was sat down and after we left, we didn't shake hands or get that close to each other and I found it hard to focus on what I was saying because I was in a room with OTHER PEOPLE for the first time in months

and it felt awkward and weird and though I feel much more myself

happy, energetic, upbeat

after being around other humans I felt weird and apprehensive and I think we all did because even in a province that by all intents and purposes is (for now) relatively COVID-free

we're still in a pandemic and the world is a dumpster fire around us.

After my meeting I had lunch at Wall St Slice with Tineke who I also hadn't seen IRL since the pandemic began and even though the entire experience felt safe and clean and socially distanced

the whole time I was worried about how close people were

how long we were sitting

if our sitting was inconveniencing other people who wanted to sit

and a plethora of other socially anxious feelings that I managed to smother with slices of pizza and a beer and laughing and smiling and catching up with someone I love and haven't seen in

too long, honestly

the uncomfortable, anxious feeling of not knowing what to do, or knowing what other people around you are doing, and feeling like whatever you're doing is the "wrong thing" didn't feel so bad for a while.

Winnipeg has been lucky because (bless us) we're a big-small prairie town with low density and a high level of personal vehicles, so managing community spread seems to have been relatively easy compared to other places. Our cases started out low and stayed relatively low and have been low for weeks.

Things (almost) feel normal again.

But today Colin came over and a bit and as we sat a safe distance apart we talked about the precautions Sookram's is taking to reopen the taproom and about how other businesses are handling things and it was a reminder that

there's still a pandemic out there and until there's a vaccine life isn't "back to normal"

no matter what it feels like when yr out and about

and no matter how many slices of pizza or beers I have.

 

Marketable Depression

- by Alyson Shane

Today Raymi the Minx tweeted about her book Marketable Depression which I bought and still have and back when I first read it in 2005 made me feel

seen and
heard and
okay, maybe.

She was out there talking about her fucked-up mental health and how she was making it work and making a living off her blog and her social life

(today we'd call her an "influencer" but that language didn't exist yet)

I'd read her blog and see that she didn't care about nudity and sex and drugs and alcohol and depression and getting drunk and high and partying too much and used to think

she's so strong. I can turn my sadness and weakness and fear into something like this, maybe.

Maybe.

At the height of my Raymi-reading days I was living in Hamilton and it was a mistake and I was lonely and the part I regret the most is how I treated Peter who just wanted a nice, easier girlfriend without the baggage and anger and sadness

but it was me and it was us and it was then

so I'd drink too much and sit on MSN Messenger or paint or blog on my old old old old blog

(like this, maybe)

hoping that screaming into this empty void
I'd feel a sense of purpose
of value
of humanity

Like if I leaned into my sadness maybe it would make me unique. Special.

Give me the sense of purpose I was desperately looking for.

I thought
like Bukowski, like Kerouac
my value was in forfeiting my pride
to document the depth the human experience
as shitty as I could make it it could be.

I sat in our one-bedroom apartment drinking by myself wishing I lived in a different city and was a different person and wishing I could maybe go back to Winnipeg so I could party away these sad feelings

and then I did

for longer than I wanna say

and I made my life hard and complicated and chose drama and the wrong

friends
partners
jobs
situations

mostly because I didn't think I deserved better and thought that having "friends" who partied for days and encouraged me to shirk my job and overstayed their welcome and drank all my booze and would make out with me even though I had a boyfriend 

(who wanted an open relationship so contain your gasps folks)

was somehow what I wanted, deserved, was the best I could do

maybe.

More like I was addicted to the drama and to feeling bad and being around people who reflected my low self-worth back at me and whose drama and beefing made me feel okay and valued and

gave me something to talk about, write about, obsess about

I was really messed up.

Tonight I picked up Marketable Depression for the first time in years and read through it like the first time and holy shit that book covers a lot more messed-up stuff in a 2020 context but it reminded me that

the only way to make an experience permanent is to

document it
publish it
blog about it

because if there aren't words to capture yr experience
what the hell is there?

 

Today in "Things That Surprised Nobody"

- by Alyson Shane


Everything is horrible including the weather, my mood, the world, and politics.

Donald Trump signed an executive order that could obliterate free speech on the internet.

I wish this wasn't surprising but I've actually been worrying about something like this for a long time. Twitter refused to censor him for so long, and now it's too little too late and I'm scared of where this is going. Stay tuned I guess.

Premier Brian Pallister, who recently lashed out at universities and said their staff have an "ivory tower" attitude, is the least popular premier in Canada.

Can we just vote this guy out of office already? Manitoba deserves a million times better than this goon.

I could probably say something critical about Justin Trudeau now but for the most part I haven't been annoyed with him so maybe I'll just picture him dong that hair flip and

DAMN IT

I just remembered that the 10 day sick leave policy the Liberals are getting credit for pushing for was actually an issue the NDP were fighting for and negotiated for

Don't get me wrong: I'm happy to see the policy being put forward, but it'd be nice if the media gave Singh and the party more credit for all they've been doing to help Canadians during the pandemic. John called the NDP "the Unofficial Opposition" the other day and that's basically what;s going on, because I keep waiting for Andrew Sheer to say something of value and

big surprise

he never does. 

But what should I expect from someone who lied about being an insurance broker

(I guess it sounds sexier than "worked as an insurance clerk, waiter, and in the office of an MP")

and spends most of his time criticizing what other people are doing instead of coming up with innovative solutions himself.

Politicians like that are the worst. 

Are all politicians the worst? 

Maybe not. I don't think so.

I don't think people like Bernie or Obama or AOC or Jugmeet Singh or Jack Layton or the (late, great) Winnipeg City Council Member Harvey Smith got into this racket

I think they got into it to do some good, and I wish we'd see more of that.

Tags: Politics Rants

 

I did one of those quizzes from the mid-2000s

- by Alyson Shane


Back when I first started blogging in the mid 2000's people would do these weird quizzes and questionnaires on their Livejournals and Deadjournals and Xangas and Geocities sites

(I'm aging myself, I know)

I'm not sure why we all did these. Maybe because quizzes are fun? Or because it's an easy way to crank out a blog post without saying much of anything at all?

Either way, here's one from a long time ago with answers from today. I found this on an old friend's Livejournal and because I've been in the house forever and am feeling nostalgic for the Northgate movie theatre and big Garden City parking lots and 

just walking around, honestly

and thinking about how different things are now. 

It's nice to reminisce. Pandemic be damned, let's do this:

Have you....

1. Ever been offered an engagement ring? Hell yeah, front of all my friends at my 30th birthday
2. Longest friendship? Cenquist or Trimble
3. Last gift you received? An Easter Card from John's Aunt Lemire! She sends us one every year and it's very sweet
4. How many times have you dropped your cell? Too many to count
5. When's the last time you worked out? I rode my bike to the bank the other day and even though it was only 20 minutes each way my body was sooooo sore the next day
6. Thing you spent a lot of money on? Food, and things to make food. Books, too
7. Last food you ate? Slow-cooker carnitas tacos with a mango avocado salsa
8. First thing you notice about the opposite sex? Laugh/smile
9. One favorite song? Hot Dog Stand - Begonia (this version omg)
10. Where do you live? Wolseley, in Winnipeg
11. Cell phone service provider: Rogers
12. Favourite mall store: Uh H&M? The Apple store? I don't go to the mall that often
13. Longest job ever had: Working for my own dang self! I've been self-employed since 2015
14. Do you own a pair of dice? Both the regular and D&D variety
15. Do you prank call people? I was never one of those kids who prank called people let's be honest
16. Last wedding attended? MINE. It was so much fun and it feels like a perfect dream now
17. First friend you'd call if you won the lottery: I wouldn't call anyone about it (weird flex but ok)
18. Last time you attended church: Christmas 2018 when we went to the Timothy Eaton Church with my aunt and uncle and Grandma, and John and I sang with so much GUSTO that the family in the row ahead gave us dirty looks
19. How old are you? 32 (have you ever written down your age and had it shock you like "holy shit this is how old I am already?" because that happened to me just now
20. Biggest lie you have heard? "I am a very stable genius"
21. What do you want to drive? I'm not really "into cars" but a Tesla would be neat
22. Where's your favorite place to eat with friends? Anywhere that isn't in my own house and over Zoom would be great, but Carnivale's all-you-can-eat meat swords and slices of pineapple oare sounding pretty good right now
23. Can you cook? I can! It's a fun hobby
24. What car do you drive? I've never owned a car
25. Favorite plant? I like pothos around the house because they're hardy and lush, but most plants in general besides the Titan arum are ok in my books
26. Last time you cried? A few days ago, probably, I cry easily and often
27. Most disliked food: Durian or tarantula*, or those gross microwave grilled cheeses we got from 7-11 on Koh Tao when were drunk and hungry at midnight
28. Thing you like most about yourself? I like that I'm motivated by being useful and making a positive difference. It gives me a real sense of pride and satisfaction with how I spend my time
29. Thing you dislike most about yourself? I get in circles about things that worry me and I have a hard time not obsessing over things that I can't control, but I'm working on it
30. Longest shift you have worked at a job?
12+ hours back at the old Winnipeg Arena - I saw Godsmack and Aerosmith because I worked the concessions!
31. Favorite movie? Oh this is tough - Pan’s Labyrinth, Citizen Kane, 12 Angry Men, Her, and Jiro Dreams of Sushi are some tops, but I have a list that's at least as long as my arm
32. Can you sing? Everyone can sing! I don't have a well-developed range, but I sing a lot these days
33. Last concert? We saw Bedouin Soundclash at The Park Theatre right before everything shut down
34. What are you listening to right now? "Horse and I" by Bat For Lashes
35. What color are your eyes? Aqua/blue
36. Who knows your darkest secret? My therapist
37. Last movie rented?
Well this is a quaint question - 2010?
38. Thing you never leave home without? My iPhone
39. What will your epitaph say? "A woman of strong laughs and opinions."
40. Do you like Chinese food? Yup - both the American version, and the authentic, unusual kind
41. What book are you currently reading? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
42. Is your room clean? Yes, but I didn't make the bed today (quarantine life)
43. Laptop or desktop computer? I have both and don't really have a preference
44. Favorite comedian? Tina Fey
45. Do you smoke? Only the Devil's Lettuce
46. Sleep with or without clothes? Without
47. Who sleeps with you every night? My husband (still gives me a thrill to say that)
48. Do long distance relationships work? Sure they can, it depends on the couple and the circumstance
49. How many times have you been pulled over by the police? Once in a buddy's car and I was so scared I nearly peed my pants (he'd accidentally turned right at an intersection where no right turns were allowed)
50. Pancakes or french toast? French toast but I'm probably gonna go make pancakes after finishing this
51. Do you like coffee? Don't most adults?
52. How do you like your eggs? Pretty much any which way, I love eggs
53. Do you believe in astrology? Not really but I think it impacts people's self-image so that interests me, plus it's fun to indulge and be silly sometimes
54. Last person you talked to on the phone? My grandma, for Mother's Day
55. Last person on your missed call list? Kim
56. What was the last text message you received? Katrina just sent me a video of her Animal Crossing world that she's been terra-forming 
57. McDonalds or Burger King? McDo all the way down
58. Number of pillows? Our bed only has four but I wish it had WAY MORE - John isn't into it so we compromise
59. What are you wearing right now? Red stretchy jeans and B&W striped tee
60. Pick a lyric, any lyric or song?

Told that bitch I'm sorry though
'Bout my coins like Mario (Mario)
Yeah they call me Cardi B, I run this shit like cardio


"I run this shit like cardio" is one of my favourite expressions

61. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? Any, I'm a fan of most jams
62. Can you play pool? Not even
63. Do you know how to swim? I mean, I'm not a lifeguard but I can hold it together in the water
64. Favorite ice cream? I recently discovered that I love pistacho which means I'm growing up, but overall I like cookie dough ice cream
65. Do you like maps? Uh I used to look at my dad's old World Atlas if that's what you mean (I was a nerdy kid)
66. Tell me a random fact about yourself? I won the "Most Enthusiasm" Award for my performance as an extra in our Grade 6 production of Little Orphan Annie
67. Are you procrastinating right now? Ugh yeah, I'm supposed to be researching FTUE's (pronounced fatooey) which stands for First Time User Experience and is not very thrilling work
68. Ever attend a theme party? Bitch I throw theme parties
69. What is your favorite season? Summer
70. Last time you laughed at something stupid? Today, at this video
71. What time did you wake up this morning? 7:30 A.M.
72. Best thing about winter? When I can skate from The Forks to my neighbourhood along the River Trail
73. Last time a cop gave you a ticket? Never
74. What's the scariest thing you've ever done? 
75. Strangest thing you've ever eaten? I ate tarantula, squid eggs, durian, crickets, and a bunch of other weird stuff in Thailand last year
76. Do you think pirates are cool or overrated? Who are these dummies who think pirates aren't cool?
77. What are you doing this weekend? Gardening, BBQing, and puttering around the house
78. Who's your best friend? I have a few, but I'm closest to John
79. What is the third letter of your name? Y
80. How old are your pets? 7 (Toulouse) and 5 (BJ)
81. What color is your backpack? Mint green
82. Are you sick? Moar like sickening amirite? (also, no, not sick)
83. Book you are interested in reading? Palaces For the People - it's on my list!
84. Is the bathroom open? What kind of question is this?!
85. Favourite smell? That dusty smell when it's raining
86. Your most prize possession? Some photos of me from when I was a little kid - I don't have many
87. Are you smiling? Now I am
88. Do you have on eyeliner? Pffft no, it's the quarantine and I don't have any Zoom calls today
89. Do you miss someone right now? It's more like a general yearning to be among people and feel normal
90. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? Back to Asia in a heartbeat - Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore are all on my list once the idea of international travel or being in airplanes doesn't raise my blood pressure
91. Do you have a Myspace? Oh looooooord this makes me feel old. Not anymore
92. Are you in high school? Ahahaha no, I graduated university back in 2013
93. Do you have a crush? Yeah, and I'm married to him (aww)
94. What is your favorite nickname for yourself? John calls me "Bear" which I really like, and some of my older friends call me "Shaner"
95. What color is your bathing suit? Mustard yellow
96. What's your favorite brand of water? Tap water? I don't drink bottled water
97. Did you go on vacation last month? No because there's a pandemic and we've been social distancing in our house since mid-March
98. Have you ever been on a cruise? No, cruises are a gross industry that shouldn't be allowed to exist
99. Do you have a sister? Finally, yes! I married into three
100. Are you upstairs? No, I'm in my basement office because I'm supposed to be working but I'm putting it off because it's not really exciting work and I'm excited to have a Zoom call with Tineke at 5

Whew! Was that as fun for you as it was for me?

If you do this and post it somewhere, tweet at me and let me know so I can see your answers!

*(Upon further reflection, the durian was worse than the tarantula.)


 

Somehow it's May already?

- by Alyson Shane


Yesterday we walked to our local coffee shop to buy beans and stood in a line on the sidewalk out front because only one person can be in the store at a time. Usually you have to walk all the way to the back of the store to pay at the register, but they had everything set up on stools and tables and this little mobile serving station made of wood.

It wasn't perfect but it worked. We got beans and two iced lattes and I never thought I'd be so happy to talk to a friendly face from the neighbourhood. I felt giddy afterwards and thinking about

just how nice and normal it felt

tugs at my heartstrings a full 24 hours later. 

We went to Food Fare and it turns out one of the Pandemic Things that I fail at is following the taped arrows on the floor in a grocery store because I spend so much time thinking about what I need and not enough time looking at the ground that I wind up walking down them the "wrong" way and needing to circle back and start over. 

But honestly it's not so bad. 

Wear yr mask. Smile with your eyes. Say "thank you" to every damn person risking their health and well-being to serve your community.

Yesterday was the last "trip" we'll take into the neighbourhood for at least the next few weeks until we know what community spread is like with eased social restrictions. 

Manitoba's cases seem to have plateaued so we're in Phase One of reopening but John and I are spooked by all the tweets and posts about busy patios and parks and too many people lining up outside of stores and not social distancing properly.

I'm sad and worried but trying to have a stiff upper lip about it since we're luckier than most and (hopefully) all another surge in cases locally would mean for us is more time spent hunkering down at home.

I was worried that the minute we eased social distancing guidelines people would go crazy and act a fool and once again the internet confirmed that I was right. It's upsetting to know people are putting each other and their loved ones in danger to stand in a too-crowded line or have a beer on a jam-packed patio

People seem to think they're safe and I hope they're right.

But everyone who dies because of the pandemic is someone's somebody and I can't wait until this is over.


 

Things almost feel normal

- by Alyson Shane

spent most of the day in the garden
organizing pots, raking leaves, tilling dirt
drinking beer and listening to The Boss

waving to our neighbour across the street
who came over with his cat the other day.
her name is April
and he brought her over on a leash on his shoulder
until she got too anxious and started crawling up and down his back

cute cat, though.

We spent last night eating pizza
drinking beer
(thanks for the delivery Barnhammer!)
in the sunroom while it rained.

Lots of people were out on their sun rooms and porches, too waving and yelling and saying hello.

Tomorrow we're getting our new BBQ delivered
along with some pegboard and stuff to hang up/organize our tools
and we're gonna BBQ steaks and carrots with red onion and fennel
and wave at our many, many neighbours as they walk by

keeping a safe distance away.


 

Hi, how are you

- by Alyson Shane

I'm holding up. Barely, sometimes, but mostly together.

There's an order to my days because this is what I'm used to. I've worked from home for six years so I'm not losing track of weekdays or losing my sense of reality like a lot of other people because I don't have a commute to miss or coworkers to miss socializing with.

My office is next to my bedroom.

Podcasts are my commute.

Usually it's me and the cats and the silence of our house and it's glorious. I love working from home.

This is the easy part.

The other easy part is staying busy. Between my agency and my startup I have a never ending list of stuff to do, and because I cope with anxiety by creating structure and routines I'm using this time to focus and build them as much as I can.

We just hit a major milestone with HeyAlfa the other day that's going to blow people away.

(Never let a crisis go to waste, as they say.)

I've seen a lot of posts  arguing for and against "productivity" during the pandemic and tbh I think that people need to do what they need to do in order to cope.

If that means living in your PJs and eating Funyuns watching Tiger King for the third time then go nuts if that's what's helping you get by.

If you cope with stress by working out and posting yr workout videos to Instagram Live so you can exercise with strangers go nuts, too. 

We're all just doing what we can to keep it together right now.

Which brings me to the hard part. 

The Hard Part.

the part where nobody wants to write these emails. where nobody wants to deliver this news.

where the weight of being responsible for someone else's livelihood goes from a pressure to a crushing avalanche and even though this is happening through no fault of our own

(they love us, are writing testimonials, have committed to coming back when markets bounce back and things aren't so unstable)

that doesn't make delivering the news any easier. There have been sad nights and stiff drinks and ugly-cries.

Luckily it hasn't been everybody, and strangely enough we're actually closing some new deals so it's not like we're going under, far from it, but things are changing and I miss a few weeks ago when everything felt calm and stable.

(How was that only a few weeks ago?)

In Leonard Cohen's book Beautiful Losers a woman kills herself by hiding in an elevator shaft so she'll be crushed by it and that's what this pandemic feels like

a dark, heavy mass bearing down on us. crushing us slowly.

Sometimes when I listen to the Prime Minister talk or when I hear the nonsense spewing out of Donald Trump's mouth I picture myself lying curled at the bottom of the elevator shaft. The weight of the pandemic pressing cold against my cheek.

The crushing weight of worry makes everything else seem trivial. It's been hard to write. Usually when I sit down to say something lately I've second-guessed myself and thought, who cares?

but earlier today I was talking to a friend about how important it is for us to share our stories during this time, and I realized that I'm acting like a hypocrite

because I haven't really talked about how I'm doing through this publicly, or really with anyone.

and maybe worst of all

I haven't asked you how you're doing.

Hi, how are you?

Tags: Coronavirus

 

It's the first day of spring

- by Alyson Shane

Two months ago I was boarding a flight to Belize to get married. My worst fears were a sunburn and thunderstorms and whether I'd be hungover for the big day.

Dumb, stupid things, in hindsight.

(But you know how weddings are.)

In late January I was standing in our AirBnB, listening to NPR as we packed up. Reports of Coronavirus spreading. Worrying that it would come to Toronto before John and I could safely catch a flight home.

Just over a year ago we were walking down one of the main streets in street in Old Puket, Thailand. There was an old temple on one side of the street and the other was a line of storefronts spilling onto the sidewalk. One of those stores was a "pet store" of some kind I guess, because all we could see was one lonely dude eating while surrounded on all sides by cages and cages of stinky, squawking pigeons and random animals that aren't allowed as pets in North America.

As we walked by I joked

"that's how you start a pandemic!"

Don't I feel like a real asshole right now.

Just a few weeks ago we were out at Fort Gibraltar drinking beer in fur coats and listening to hip-hop while eating poutine. There were at least a hundred people at that event and we're being told to meet in groups of 50 or less right now. 10 or less if you're in the US.

A few weeks after that I was lugging extra bags of cat food and tins of fish home in case we needed to start social distancing.

That was last Thursday.

We're been at home nonstop since then. Neither of us want to get sick, or risk spreading anything around if we get sick

(I'm worried about carrying the virus and being asymptomatic)

and since we can both work remotely that's what we're doing.

But it's hard to stay cooped up and I miss my friends and I miss my city and I miss all the small businesses I used to frequent and who I know are struggling right now.

(If that's you: I see you. I understand what you're going through.)

As an anxious person it's been a challenge. I've worked a lot because work is easy and gives me a sense of control when I feel powerless, but when I'm not staring at a screen I need to do something with my hands so I clean or cook or scroll Instagram or pet the cat.

Thank goodness for the cats.

It's a weird, strange time and I'm sure good things are coming, but right now all I want to do is stay home and curl up and hide from the world until this passes

which luckily is what we're supposed to do

so maybe I'll figure out a way to make this work.


 

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