Today, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells us, is an important day in BC. We will find out today if our efforts at social distancing are making any difference. Of course I hope they are. But I also hope Vancouverites don’t get the wrong idea and go back to jamming all the seawalls.
We are a city of people who like to be outside—especially on those rare days when it isn’t raining. So I understand the impetus to hang out at the parks and beaches. I am a runner and a cyclist; I like going there too. Except not lately, because up until very recently a two-meter berth on Vancouver’s seawalls has been impossible. I’ve had to change up my routes, which I resented at first, but it’s allowed me to explore new parts of the city—and that’s been great.
While this disease is causing devastation all over the world, I believe it is also heralding some good things. A lot of gym enthusiasts, unable to pump iron at their local gym, are lacing up their running shoes or getting onto bikes that had long been ignored. Parents are developing an immense appreciation for their children’s teachers. All of us are remembering how important and incredible our health care workers are. (Maybe nurses and teachers will finally be paid what they deserve? One can only hope.)
It’s taken a pandemic for me to realize our family, spread across the globe, can connect online once a week and visit face to face (I know, duh, but apparently I’m a slow learner). Ditto meeting up virtually with my close friend in Edmonton. People are watching out for their neighbours, parents, grandparents. Innovation and cooperation are everywhere.
Yes, there are the bone-headed Corona parties and the college students spring-breaking hard and ignoring all advice to stay home. But I’ll let someone else shame them. Every night at 7PM I think of my daughter and her friends in Toronto, as well as my doctor friends in Vancouver—all of whom are risking their lives in dangerous conditions with inadequate safety equipment, all of them proud to help. Every night I listen on the news to people like Bonnie Henry, Adrian Dix, and Justin Trudeau, and I am thankful for where I live.
We will be changed by this disease. It will be a long time before I’ll feel comfortable in a crowd again. People are losing their jobs. Our economy might never be the same. But if ever there was a time to reflect on the future of our world, this is it.
I hope to write a bit in this space every few days, so you’ll be seeing me again soon.
In the meantime, stay safe, everyone. Wash your hands. Flatten the curve!