A year ago today I went to Costco. We had a birthday party for my grandma’s 85th birthday.
We had four travel-related cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba. Four.
We debated canceling the party, but didn’t. My mom, aunt and I went to Costco, picked up a cake, and saw a guy wearing a full face respirator mask.
I mean. We thought that was a bit overboard. We were just there to check out if they’d restocked all the toilet paper and other stuff that had sold out with people lining up like mad on the infamous Friday the Thirteenth. (They had. It was pretty uneventful.)
I had not really considered that’d be the last time I’d go to the store for a few weeks, never mind a whole year.
First my doctor’s assistant asked if I was self-isolating. I was. Then my doctor told me to self-isolate. She’d semi-revoke that 3 months later, probably realizing the length of the situation at hand was potentially interminable, but it’s been a year and I’m still avoiding the general public, mostly because I don’t have to go anywhere. Severe asthma may not be as big of a risk factor for severe COVID outcomes as once thought, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not one. If I don’t have to go anywhere, why risk it?
It’s been a year of learning, of scientific innovation, and of science finding better answers—sadly causing some to lose faith in science because the evidence changed, or finally feeling emboldened to show their true colours because of widespread “acceptance of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories taking even deeper hold as people lived their lives online. PSA: Science can change our opinions, that means it’s working. Masks help. Vaccines work and help more.
(And if my vaccine has a microchip in it, I just want it to have debit, thanks!)
It’s been a year of outdoor visits with only a few friends. A year of FaceTime, Facebook, and Zoom catch-ups. A year of reconnecting and probably less losing-touch than I’d have thought—aside from a couple people I’d begun to reconnect with, we’d sadly already lost touch. At least we are now rarely at a loss for conversation, with the weirdness of COVID-life always a fallback option. And of course, a year of Guide Dog Murray visits every month or two that really help speed a week along.
I need more hobbies I’ve discovered. I’ve tried jigsaw puzzles thanks to Lana and I don’t hate them like I thought I would. I still haven’t baked any sourdough yet, but I’ve made bread. And cake. And hand pies. And ice cream—a lot of ice cream.
At some point last spring I pulled my Nintendo 2DS out. I tried Animal Crossing: New Leaf, eventually getting a Switch Lite for the full pandemic experience of New Horizons. That held me for about 8 months but I’ve now moved onward to Pokémon, at least for awhile. The video games though have, perhaps unexpectedly, led to reconnection with several people, for which I am grateful.
I’m past ready for the unprecedented to be over. I’m sure we all are. To be a year in and still know going to a restaurant like we did just over a year ago is quite a long way off (at least it is for me) is rather bananas.
It’s been a weird—and in ways wild—year. And there’s at least hope in sight that things may return to some sort of normal during 2021, and more-so, for 2022 when maybe we can see people’s full faces again.
And as always; thanks, science. Thanks doctors and nurses and researchers. Thanks all frontline and essential workers. It’s been a year, and I hope you all know how much we need and appreciate you.
Oh, and I wonder if that guy in Costco with the full respirator is still wearing it or if he’s downgraded to something else.