“These Unprecedented Times”

If present-day me had told me from January 1st that whatever optimism she’d been holding onto – and plans she’d started making in her head – would be short-lived, January-1st-me would (a) wonder if I was hallucinating and/or having a stroke and (b) wish present-day me hadn’t travelled back in time to tell me that.

And yet, here we are, in “unprecedented times” – a phrase getting as much mileage in recent days as “out of an abundance of caution”.

And, to understate it mildly, things are really, really weird right now.

I know what’s happening out there with the COVID-19 pandemic is real. I just spent the last four days at work, trying to do my small part to help with getting the rapidly-changing updates in information out to the general public.

I’m currently parked on my couch on my day off, watching the latest press conference from medical officials in another province, where the chief medical officer of health is, herself, now in self-isolation after displaying some cold-like symptoms, and answering comments via Skype from colleagues from other news outlets.

I was out running errands earlier today, trying to practice social distancing as I walked down the street, took the bus, stood in line at the post office, or standing at an intersection.  I’ve been scrolling through Twitter, to see what latest thing people are talking about. I stocked up on snacks – all the sugary and salty things that I probably shouldn’t be eating – in case there are days where I have to stay or work from home.

But in another sense, it doesn’t really feel real. It’s like watching things unfold, but from the other side of a tunnel.

The last time I sort of felt as if I’d left my body was 9/11. But, trust me, I’m not comparing the two at all – this is completely different.

I’m not … panicked. At least, I don’t think so. I don’t think I feel anxious. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel. Overly cautious, a little worried, maybe? I just know things are weird, and they’re serious.

I’ve been trying to keep myself up to speed, in spite of the speed at which things are changing. I’ve been calling my mom everyday. She’s almost 80, and was just in hospital last month for something unrelated, so she’s been informally isolating herself since then, while she gets her strength back.

And wondering just how much weirder it’s going to get, before it gets better.