10 Things I’ve Learning from Living in a Global Pandemic


COVID or Corona? I’m glad we’ve all begun to adopt the COVID-19 name for this virus because Corona wasn’t cutting it. It made people think of beer; some even swearing off said Mexican brew just because of the name association. No Corona beer does NOT cause COVID, despite a bunch of dumb people thinking so.

More for the rest of us, I say! On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than a cold Corona with a wedge of lime. Am I right?

I’m a Canadian (who likes Mexican beer) and finally we’re starting to reach an acceptable vaccination ratio that will enable us to start returning to life as ‘somewhat’ normal. In my Province, I’m told by Sept., things will be considerably better as those of us who are smart enough to get the jab, will be fully inoculated.

So, what have I learned as we start to emerge from this nightmare?

  1. TP brings out the worst in us.

Never. Ever. EVER underestimate the value of butt wipe. Seriously, the hording of toilet paper has left many of us traumatized. When the value of TP overrides the value of essential things like: food, clean water, shelter etc. it’s time to reevaluate how humans think. WTH people!?!?!

I have fond childhood memories of visiting my cousin’s farms where the outhouses only had old Sears catalogues to wipe your butt. Really! There was no running water when visiting Dad’s relatives when I was a tyke.

Imagine all the Sears catalogues that would have been horded if this would have happened in the 70’s in all of Canada’s rural areas. Closets filled with stacks and stacks of Christmas, Spring, Summer and Winter Sears editions, cloistered away like holy relics in case one ever ran out. I have a funny story about trying to sell my mother’s old Sears catalogues (door-to-door for a nickel) when I was about 5. I won’t get into the particulars, but if COVID-19 had come to town in 1971, and had I lived on a farm… I would have been RICH. As it was, I didn’t sell one darn issue. True story. Mom found me out when our neighbour snitched on me. Thanks. Mrs. W.

And it’s not like there wasn’t enough TP to go around in 2020, there was plenty! It was just those SOB’s who got frantic at the thought of doing without that caused the buying mayhem. But(t) why toilet paper? Why not water or food? I get the hand sanitizer but why not soap? Humans are crazy animals…you can’t survive on toilet paper, people!

2. To believe or not to believe?

People (some, anyway) would rather believe in conspiracy theories than keep themselves and the people that they love, safe. I mean, let’s pretend that I didn’t believe that there was a worldwide pandemic. Let’s pretend that I thought the WHOLE THING was made up to wreak havoc on the world’s economy and put billions into the pockets of vaccine companies. Say I was naive enough to think that. If I were, I’d always wonder at the back of my mind: What if?? What IF there really was this terrible virus going around infecting people and killing indiscriminately?

Would I really want to take that chance in infecting myself?? I mean, as I write this, 3.7 million people have died and even if I doubted that, what if it were all true (she says in a harsh whisper)? And if it were true, what if… what if I got infected while complaining about my civil liberties being infringed upon by being (forced no less) to wear a bit of cloth in front of my nose and mouth while I’m near other people – and what if I infected someone… and they DIED?

I mean, come on!! How hard is it to wear a mask, anyway?! Is it really worth murdering Grandma over? Let’s be honest, when this thing first came out, it was the elderly and others with compromised immune systems who were most at risk for mortality. SO. If I didn’t believe in it and thought all of the governments and health systems were lying to every single human being on the planet – is it worth risking Grandma?! Or in my case, my elderly mother?

Well, apparently so! And now (we totally knew this was going to happen) because viruses mutate, we’ve got a bunch of new Bad Boys on the block called “Variants” (please let that never be the name of a boyband) that’s serving up a monster case of whoop ass to a number of countries and it’s killing like wildfire in a tinder-dry forest. Social distancing? What’s that? Staying the hell home? No way! Cover your face? Why?!

Unbelievable. I suspect a lot of these folks are flat-earthers, too. PSA: I want to thank all of you nutty folks for outing yourselves. Now that we know who you are, we can all avoid you.

3. Vaccine woes.

A lot of the believers are more afraid of the cure than the disease. O.o Yup, even us people who realize this amazingly contagious virus is real and is actually taking a lot of lives while leaving others to never quite recover completely from the hell they went through, are more worried that the cure will harm us rather than being worried what the virus could do to us. This, despite repeated stories of pure HELL from those that have survived. And those that got a little sick? Well, that’s no fun, either! Yes, there are a spare lucky few who are asymptomatic, but it’s not like you can take a test for that. You take your chances, folks.

So why is it that even though we are capable of sending robots to another planet, so few trust our ability to manufacture a vaccine in 9-months? It’s not ‘new’ technology, we’ve had decades of practice! Even the ‘newish’ MRNA vaccine has been worked on for over 30 years. And yes, there a few of the regular vaccines that have a very rare unfortunate side-effect. I get that, you take your chances there, too. But given the choice, I took a gamble with AstraZenica. Why? Because it was the first one offered to me. It was worth the risk and I’m fine. The chances of getting a blood clot from COVID are 10 x higher. We’ve literally vaccinated millions and millions of people and guess what? The virus is receding. Guess it actually works, eh? Imagine that.

4. Masking up.

Putting on a mask is more complicated than algebra. You’d think wearing a strip of cloth that’s supposed to go over your nose and mouth with two elastics that you stick behind your ears would be self-explanatory. But no…no, clearly it’s not. I’ve stopped counting the number of people I see wearing their masks: a) below their chins, just covering their mouths and not their nose (do they just breath through their mouth when they do this? How uncomfortable!), b) partway covering their nose (hoping no one will notice) or c) wearing something other than a proper mask – like pulling up their turtleneck sweater to cover their mouth thinking this is the way to do it. I saw that. I can’t unsee it. Ever.

Really, people! You know this is an air-born virus and that you typically breath through your nose (breathing IN the virus) and talk through your mouth (spreading that damn thing around) right?? I know it’s uncomfortable, especially when it’s warm or when you’re working out. I get that, really, I do – I rock climb with a mask on for heavens sake; you can’t imagine the sweat building up on my face behind that thing. But still, I wear it because it’s the rule and because it’s the right thing to do. And if you’re one of those privileged idiots who thinks wearing a little piece of cloth on your face interferes with your sovereign rights, I want to remind you of the rights that others have around you to NOT get infected and possibly DIE because you’re being a spoiled little brat. It’s not always about YOU, you, selfish narcissist.

5. How to wash your hands for dummies.

If you didn’t know how to properly wash your hands pre-deadly virus, there is absolutely no excuse now. I’ve never seen so many videos, posters with step-by-step pictures and people advocating for hand washing as I’ve seen in the past 1.5 years. One wonders why a race that can send people to the moon and beyond has to be told how to wash their hands like a bunch of 3-year old’s yet…here we are. So, for those of us who are still confused, here is what the CDC has to say about that. When and how to wash your hands

6. Following instructions 101.

Human beings simply can’t behave themselves and stay away from each other, even if it means risking their lives. How difficult is it to keep to yourself? Well, for some of us, it’s impossible. I think if one could actually see COVID-19 flying around in the air, things would be different, but because it’s invisible to our naked eye – if we can’t see it, it’s not there, right? Wrong. Despite all this dying business and suffering, not being able to party seems to be oh-so-much worse. I wonder why that is? And it’s not just the young fools who thought they were all immune and didn’t give a crap about spreading it – it’s grown-ups, too.

Are we such a sociable creature that we can’t keep apart from other (at the very least 6 ft.) until this all blows over? Can’t we be good little girls and boys because not doing so will only make this madness last longer? Nope. We can’t. Well, some of us can’t resist the crowds, causing ‘super spreaders’ that result in more unnecessary deaths.

I’ve personally never liked crowds and have no problem staying the hell away from others.

And the introverts shall inherit the earth.

7. At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of little kids acting out to get attention.

People are stupid; really stupid. Some actually held COVID-19 parties thinking that if they got infected and survived that they’d then be immune. Yeah. It really happened. And what was the result? A lot of people got sick and some of them never recovered. Are you automatically immune to COVID after you’ve had it? NO. Are you immune to the flu? NO! Why is that, you ask? Because (again) viruses mutate and the one strain that you may have gotten over is now a very different strain. In fact, there are a bunch of them, and not only do they spread faster but some are deadlier.

8. If there is a loophole to cheat, people will find it.

In Canada, our government gave those folks who lost their job due to COVID a bunch of money so they could survive. They also gave companies money to help pay their workers their full wages in case they couldn’t due to a downturn in their business. While this is totally awesome and the rollout for handing out our tax dollars to those in need was swift, there really was no back-end checks to make sure people who were claiming CERB were actually eligible. There was also no accountability to companies who got money and were supposed to use that to top up their employee’s wages.

I personally know people who falsely acquired thousands of $$ claiming they were unemployed due to COVID when in fact, they had been unemployed (and unemployable as well as collecting disability cheques from the government) for years. I also know of a few companies that reduced their employee’s wages, collected CERB but didn’t use that to top them up; they just kept the money. Then there are the landlords/ladies who applied for $$ to help cover the cost of renters who couldn’t pay their full rent because of unemployment and got their full rent, anyway.

Shameful. It will take years for our Canadian Government to collect all of this back – if ever. This is what happens when you put your trust in people and hand out free money. Lesson learned? Hell no, we’re talking about the government, here.

9. With enough ingenuity, some companies can turn on a dime and help save themselves (and everyone else).

It’s not all bad! I’ve read about many companies that instead of rolling over and giving up, they were able to innovate and make something or offer something that everyone needed instead of what they were initially making/offering. Here are some fine examples of smarts.

I could go on and on. Many people stepped up to the plate and produced what we needed in this time of crisis. Well done!

10. Some of us have learned to be kinder, seeking answers by looking inward and growing as souls.

Despite all of the shitty things humans have done to each other during the past year and a bit, many have taken this time to be better people. I walk around my neighbourhood and see signs on people’s lawns asking us to be kind to one another. I see painted rocks left on fences and in the woods with words like: Love, Patience, Healing and Hope in bright summer colours.

And even though we can’t be with each other physically, online live video platforms such as Zoom, GoTo Meetings, TEAMS, Google Chat and Facebook have let us still see each other no matter where we are in the world. Seeing and hearing other people helps us cope and interact. It improves communication and understanding.

Before COVID, I saw my boss only when he flew from Edmonton to Vancouver (maybe once a year). He’d only ever call me on my cell or email me if he wanted to communicate. Now, he TEAM calls me and I see his face (and his family’s cute new puppy) nearly every day. It makes a difference because we can see each other’s facial expressions and read our body language. I also get to virtually meet people in my company whom I never would have, otherwise. When we can see and hear each other, we build better social bonds.

Being compassionate and putting others before ourselves yet still taking care of our own needs is not only important during a global pandemic, but in normal life. I now mostly sign off on my emails with: stay safe and be well. It’s heartening.

If we take away anything from all of this, I hope that it will be to remember we’re all in this together, we are all fallible, messy, beautiful human beings who are here to do one thing: have a human experience.

Now…please don’t hoard toilet paper! There really is enough to go around.

Peace. xo

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