During the last week of August, I started a “list of firsts”. That list has since been interrupted as Toronto residents, among others, return to more cautious public health measures—notably not venturing into other households—now that we’re into wave 2 of the pandemic.
It’s not a huge list, but it’s a meaningful one, and stretches back to the end of June.
- First time seeing friends in person (June 28): Physically-distanced visit with Lizzie, Zoltan, Val and Laurie (drive with Laurie, masks, me in the back passenger seat) on backyard patio at L, Z and V’s building (again on Aug 16).
- First time seeing family (July 26): Physically-distanced visit at my parents’ place—masks indoors and distancing in the living room/dining room and out on the patio, by household pod.
- First time back on TTC (July 31): Short bus trip to/from Camille’s annual vet checkup/rabies shot (TTC good).
- First walk with a friend (Aug 1): Physically-distanced, with friend Brenda, on the Cedarvale Ravine trail.
- First dinner with a friend (Aug 1): Thai delivery, with my neighbour MC, as we both sat inside our respective doorways across the hall (then, a doorway coffee on Aug 9).
- First trip downtown (Aug 4, to Yonge/Bloor): Second TTC trip (YUS subway), to pick up printouts of two large reports from a freelance client (TTC good).
- First hair cut (Aug 7): Third TTC trip to see Rhonda at Top Cuts, Avenue/Lawrence (salon excellent, TTC not good). People on transit not wearing masks properly (not covering noses, or pushing mask down to chin to talk on cell or eat) and not practising physical distancing when they had opportunities to do so.
- First Tim’s iced cap (Aug 11).
- First coffee in a park with a friend (Aug 22): Met my friend Kerri in a park in my neighbourhood, picking up coffees on the way.
- First hug (Sept 6): At my mum’s 80th birthday party—distanced indoors/outdoors, masks indoors, and one person (me) wearing mask/gloves plating food for everyone. Mum was determined to hug everyone, so we all wore our masks and washed/sanitized our hands, and she got her birthday hugs. [She also gave me a quick hug on July 26—but I was so shocked, I didn’t hug back.]
Largely due to the careless actions and negligence of fellow citizens, our COVID-19 case numbers have shot up—and those who have been most vulnerable during this pandemic are once again at great risk. It’s not like we weren’t expecting a second wave this Fall; but it came early, hitting hard and fast. And it didn’t have to be this way; so many of our new cases were completely preventable—but some folks and businesses decided to ignore public health guidelines, experienced infections and infected others.
October holiday festivities have basically been cancelled, especially in Ontario hot spots like the GTA. It reminds me of when I was in grade 8, when the behaviour of a few classmates forced the cancellation of our class trip to Washington, D.C. Most of us have been following public health guidelines and city bylaws, and making great sacrifices along the way—and because of the actions of a bunch of idiots, we’re now all in detention. All are punished.
This makes me extremely angry and deeply frustrated; and I struggle with how I’m going to navigate this second wave, especially from a mental health standpoint. Many of us live alone, in a household of one, and are now facing the prospect of ongoing solitude during the holiday season. I get that people want to socialize, that masks can be uncomfortable, and that it’s exhausting to be continually careful and vigilant. We’re all tired. Like numerous public health officials have told us: this is a marathon. And we need to keep on top of the situation and take good care—of ourselves and each other.
I also realize that I can only control my own actions and responses. So I will continue to follow public health guidelines and city bylaws—for my own safety and the safety of others, especially my loved ones—and hope that those who haven’t been doing so, or let their guard down, have a change of heart.
And, one day, I will resume my list of firsts.
What’s on your list of firsts? What are you missing the most during wave 2?