Tag Archives: pandemic

Are We There Yet?

Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

I have to be honest with you. These past few weeks I’ve been feeling a little like the kid who sits in the back of the car asking repeatedly, and somewhat annoyingly, “are we there yet?”. And it’s not because I have to go to the bathroom or am feeling a little peckish and want to stop for a bite. It’s because I just want to get the hell out of the damn car that I’ve been in for way, way too long. Truthfully, it’s a trip I never wanted to take in the first place. Because who wants to embark on a journey without having the slightest inkling of when it’s going to end? Or, for that matter, where you’re going to be when it does. Which, if you ask me, is pretty much what we have all been on for the past year and a half. The thing is, now that it looks like we are approaching the end of our little sojourn and there is, as many are wont to say, a bright light at the end of this rather long tunnel, some of us are asking ourselves, what we are going to do now that we are “there”? And where the heck are we, anyway? 

As can be expected, there are lots of psychologists out there with lots and lots of theories about how people are going to act and react to the new found freedoms they are being doled out. In case you haven’t figured this out yet, let me quickly point out that I am not a psychologist, and rarely do I spend time developing theoretical constructs of why people don’t do or do, do what they do. But as an introspective shallow person I have a pretty good idea of what it is I do and why I might do it. Which explains why, at this stage of the game, I think it should be ok for me to add my voice to theirs and share with you my thoughts, and I’ve had quite some time to formulate them, about life after the pandemic. From a shallow person’s perspective.

Hand Washing. Let’s start with the easy stuff. I don’t know about you but I pretty much always wash my hands at the appropriate times, even before I was threatened by a global epidemic, and I expect I will continue to do so after it passes. Admittedly, I might not frantically search for a spot of sanitizer each and every time I leave the grocers or find myself accidentally placing a finger on the escalator railing to avoid losing my balance and crashing into the person 6 feet in front of me. Still, I suppose it will take some time to use up that 14 gallon bucket of “Germs B Gone” I purchased in the frenzy at the beginning of this whole thing, which means I’ll likely not give up this newly formed habit for quite some time. 

Going inside: With other people. I don’t know. The weather’s pretty nice right now so what’s the rush? Coffee on the terrace is lovely and those restaurant patios have expanded so much that there’s now more space outside than inside for most of them. Besides, I love inviting people over to my home knowing there’s no way they’re going to step inside which means I don’t have to clean for a day and a half before they get here. For now, I’m going to stick with the outdoor only regulations and cross that other bridge once there’s a bit of a nip in the air.

Concert and Movies: I should be more excited about this possibility than I am. I have to admit that I loved going to concerts, especially those intimate little coffee house venues where complete strangers come and sit at your table because you’re cool and they’re cool and the sweet smell of something lingers in the air so no one really notices how hot or stuffy or exceedingly crowded the place is. No wait. That was the sixties. Sorry. I seem to have lost track of time. Nonetheless, I think I’m going to hold off on these for a bit. What with my pandemic subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Crave, Prime and something else I can’t remember the name of, it will be a while before I can afford a large popcorn and drink at the movies anyway.  

Baking: Well I baked a little before the pandemic and, like many others, I baked quite a lot during it but I am still not a baker. I know this because I was never good at science and I have come to learn that real bakers are. I was however, an English major which could explain why I am good at reading and interpreting recipes even though I can’t make up any of my own. Now that this pandemic seems to be coming to an end I intend to keep baking. But sadly, I suspect I will never be a baker. 

Wearing Masks: I know most of us, including me, are chomping at the bit to ditch these. They’re hot. They make our glasses fog up. And almost always, just when we thought we were ready to pull out of the driveway and be on our way, we realize we forgot a mask and have to run back into the house to find one. But before donating all of your carefully selected, colour coordinated masks to your local quilting guild for their commemorative pandemic project, think about this. When was the last time you had a cold or the flu? How much money have those of us who wear it, saved on lipstick? And how many times did you thank your lucky stars that your chit chatty neighbour didn’t recognize you and walked right by without stopping to share all, and I mean all, of the neighbourhood news. Think about it. And maybe do what I’m going to do and keep them on just a little bit longer.

Social Distancing: I’m pretty sure my comfort zone has always been somewhat wider than most so this one might not be as problematic to me as to some of you. I mean what’s the big deal about a few extra inches between friends? It won’t be difficult for me to keep those one or two extra steps between us for a little bit longer. And by “little” I mean into the foreseeable future.

Hugging: Last but not least, and I would be remiss if I left without mentioning it. I know this has been a really big deal for a good portion of the population. Me? Well to know me is not to hug me so perhaps my perspective on the return of the hug is a little skewed. Let me just say this. There’s an old adage that claims “Father knows best” and I’m starting to think that if everyone had listened to mine we might never have found ourselves in the backseat of this car in the first place.

Regardless of how you do it, as you step back into the world please remember the wise words of our own Dr. Henry. “Be kind, Be calm, Be safe“. And as my Dad would say, whether we were in the car or not, “Take it easy“!

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I Am Not A Baker – Coming Soon

As you can well imagine it has been rather difficult to write a shallow blog during this pandemic. Admittedly, the impact of COVID-19 has not (yet) had a major effect on my life. To be brutally honest, it has been frighteningly easy for me to confine myself to my home and to connect with others primarily through Zoom, Facebook, Google Hangouts, Skype and that old fashioned mode of communication, the telephone. Yes it’s true, I still do have a landline. Sure it’s been hard to give up my grocery shopping habit. Thursday used to be a big day in our house what with the delivery of all the flyers. Now it’s one trip, in and out, sales or no sales, and I thank my lucky stars I am able to continue to stock my pantry with what I need. But I am painfully aware that for many life has taken a dramatic downturn financially, physically and emotionally, and I do not for one minute want to minimize the sadness and suffering our friends, family and those we do not know, are feeling right now. Our world has turned upside down. Everything has changed. The most common and perhaps accurate description I’ve heard is “it’s just weird”. I think there is some consensus that at any moment Mr. Rod Serling will step out of the shadows to pronounce we have now entered “The Twilight Zone”. Unfortunately it seems we are binge watching the episodes. 

The thing is, as a retired shallow person, writing my blog has actually occupied a fair bit of my time. There’s the thinking about what to write, the writing, the procrastinating, more writing, the online Bingo games in the middle of the writing, the editing (yes, I do edit), the searching for and finding an appropriate pic and finally, the putting the whole damn thing into WordPress. And without all of that I have to admit I’m a little lost. Normally I’d manage to wile away a few at the local cafe but in the “new normal” there’s only so much time I can spend encouraging my broccoli and cauliflower seedlings to “keep up the good work” as I sip my tea in my own backyard. Fortunately a couple of years ago I discovered that not only do I like to eat my cherry cheesecake, I like to make it too. Me and Doug Ford. Who would have thought! 

Yep. It’s hard for even me to believe that the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is think about what I might bake. Well that’s not exactly true. The first thing I do is go to the bathroom but you don’t want to hear about that. And now with little else to occupy my time, these days all I want to do is bake. Got a recipe for Beer Bread? I’ll run down to my local speakeasy and grab myself a brew. Morning Glory Muffins made with Red Fife flour? Got a pantry full of that. Cookies? Just give me a sec to source some organic, fair trade semi-sweet, dark chocolate chips. Never mind there’s only two of us to devour all of these goodies. The pandemic has awakened my baker within. There’s only one problem. 

While I love to bake I am the first one to admit that I am not a baker. And I know this because I spend inordinate amounts of time watching real bakers bake on baking shows. The ones where they compete against each other to see who can construct a cake that recreates most of downtown Manhattan, including a proportionately correct replica of the Statue of Liberty, while incorporating chili powder and olives, the “secret” ingredients concocted by their particular panel of sadistic judges. If you have never witnessed this spectacle you must. What you will quickly discover is that these people are master’s of their trade. To say they know what they are doing is tantamount to saying the Pope believes in God. Or Trump lies. But I digress. There are no measuring cups here. No teaspoons. No tablespoons. Not a hint of a written word anywhere. You won’t see these guys checking the old cellphone to decide if it was one egg or two. They just know what they are doing. Or watch Mary crush it in her kitchen. Now I love Mary but I need to know how it is that she can make a three course meal which includes a delectable desert, without ever getting one teeny, tiny speck of oil, or a little smudge of flour on her always fashionable and never protected, frock. For goodness sake. Even her hands stay clean!

As you can guess, nothing like this happens in my kitchen. And I have to think this is the case for many of you, especially those who have recently become part of the pandemic baking craze. So I’m starting a new blog. For people like us. The ones who find themselves wondering how it came to be that there was still an egg on the counter when all things were said and done. Did I take out an extra or just forget to put this one in? Who check our measures not twice but many multiple times. Who follow instructions to a tee. Who know that a 15 minute prep time will somehow mysteriously expand to about an hour and a half. Who didn’t know what the heck Red Fife flour was until last week. It’s the truth about baking. For those of us who bake but are not bakers.

Don’t worry. It’s not the end of the shallow blog just the beginning of something new.

I Am Not A Baker. Coming soon. Watch for it on WordPress.

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