The Pandemic: One Year In.

Today is an odd sort of anniversary, but this is a date I will remember for the rest of my life.

Today is the one year anniversary of the day the pandemic officially affected my life. One year ago today, I was at work, nervously talking with co-workers about the increase in cases, and how stores in the mall were already closing down; wondering if we were going to follow. The WHO had issued a global pandemic and all this was so new, so strange. We wondered how long it would last, or if it was as bad as the news said. There was a lot of worry, and sometimes I wonder if we didn’t worry enough. There was a lot of denial and confusion; nothing like this had ever happened before, not in a hundred years, and so much had changed since that time.

A year later, and wiser, covid has become a daily thing in my life. I wear a mask when I go anywhere, vinyl gloves at work, and douse my hands with sanitizer and soap. There are new variants in the illness. Some are worse than the original, some not as much, and as I write this I wonder if life will ever get back to a place where I can say normal again, or is this the new normal?

A year ago I was dressed for St Patrick’s Day; green clothing, eye makeup and lipstick. My shift was until 9pm and we were slow. No one was out. I had the next day off and was to work a close on Thursday, but the next day, as more stores closed, I got the notice that my workplace would close too. Now it was becoming scary. I was officially laid off on April 2, but I was lucky. My workplace was honouring my scheduled hours and paying me for them. The Federal Government was already implementing special unemployment benefits (taxable) and I was able to draw on that. From March 18th until June 1st, almost ten weeks, I was in lockdown. We only went out for groceries, my husband didn’t visit (we talked on the phone), and I tried to keep myself and my mind busy, and not get too deep into ‘doomscrolling’. Some days were better than others, and I thought I had a good grasp on what was going on, but the fact I quit doing the things that I loved (writing mostly), meant that it was affecting me in ways I didn’t know.

Going back to work at the beginning of June and everything felt different. Plexiglass was up around the cash regisers, we had to wear masks for our entire shift, and we had to keep six feet from customers AND co-workers. That last one was the hard part. I played traffic cop and had to direct customers and break up groups that huddles around tables. If you were going the wrong way, I’d tell you.

#SorryNotSorry.

Now, one year later, it took a while, but we eased into a routine and learned to block out, if not ignore completely, the constant barrage of covid related news. I take a quick look when the new numbers pop up, but then go back to what I was doing. I have a dozen masks ready to go, seven cans of Lysol and I don’t know how many small bottles of hand sanitizer, not to mention my own stash of vinyl gloves. They say we’re on the verge of a third wave and a possible third lockdown. Vaccines are out and being distributed, but I’m not sure when I’ll get mine. We’re still working on the elderly, and front-line workers, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel safe again.

So here we are, one year in and I’m still trying to keep busy. I went from doing nothing to doing too much, so I’m still trying to find a healthy balance. I went for a nice long walk this morning, and it felt good. Maybe I’ll start doing that again. It seems to ease my mind, and these days, that’s the key to surviving all this.

Stay safe.

About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

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