Canada Kicks Ass
I’m Not Scared to Reenter Society...


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bootlegga @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:11 pm

I’m Not Scared to Reenter Society. I’m Just Not Sure I Want To.

This post-pandemic summer is evidently expected to be one long orgiastic reunion, after which, once that’s out of our system, it’s back to work, back to school, to what we used to call “normal.” And if the pandemic had ended, say, last June, after a couple months of lockdown, we probably would’ve returned to our lives with relief and jubilation. But after a year in isolation, I, at least, have gotten acclimated to a different existence—quieter, calmer, and almost entirely devoid of bullshit. If you’d told me in March 2020 that quarantine would last more than a year, I would have been appalled; I can’t imagine how I would’ve reacted if you’d told me, once it ended, I would miss it.

“For the last year,” a friend recently wrote to me, “a lot of us have been enjoying unaccustomed courtesy and understanding from the world.” When people asked how you were doing, no one expected you to say “Fine.” Instead, they asked, “How are you holding up?” and you’d answer, “Well, you know.” (That “you know” encompassed a lot that was left unspoken: deteriorating mental health, physical atrophy, creeping alcoholism, unraveling marriages, touch starvation, suicidal ideation, collapse-of-democracy anxiety, Hadean boredom and loneliness, solitary rages and despair.) You could admit that you’d accomplished nothing today, this week, all year. Having gotten through another day was a perfectly respectable achievement. I considered it a pass-fail year, and anything you had to do to get through it—indulging inappropriate crushes, strictly temporary addictions, really bad TV—was an acceptable cost of psychological survival. Being “unable to deal” was a legitimate excuse for failing to answer emails, missing deadlines, or declining invitations. Everyone recognized that the situation was simply too much to be borne without occasionally going to pieces. This has, in fact, always been the case; we were just finally allowed to admit it.

That grace period is almost at an end; the dread specter of normality looms. Unlike a lot of people, I was never terrified of going broke or getting evicted—the flimsy twin pillars of my existence were government loans and a (way more successful) friend’s apartment. I was also inessential, and so I have been sitting in the same room for the past year. After so long spent doing nothing, the prospect of having to Do Things again is daunting. My new tolerance for human interaction maxes out at about two hours, after which I start getting secretly antsy to be alone on the couch watching TV again. I’m reminded of a film I once saw of a captive gorilla being released back into the wild, huddled away from the open door, afraid to leave the safety of its cage.

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rickc @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:47 pm

My city closed down March 18 2020. We reopened in June. I went back to work in the first wave in June. I had enough seniority to go back, but not on day shift. I went back on graveyard shift and have been on that shift since. I have had numerous openings to go back to day shift, but have not moved on them. I am not sure if I can go back to all that human interaction. I have gotten used to a life of isolation. We are on a skeleton crew at night. Very limited human contact. Many times I am the only person eating in the lunchroom. I get off work at 7 am. I can go shopping after work and the store is empty. Traffic is non existent. I have turned on my tv twice in the last two weeks, once just to to see if it still worked. It has got to the point where even people on tv bother me. I never planned on turning into a hermit, it just happened. Its not that bad actually. Watching sports used to have me yelling and screaming at the tv every night, the neighbors hated it. I can count the games that I have watched in the last year on one hand. I already know the outcome as the game is recorded, so there is a lot less emotion. I find that I have a lot less stress these days. No news, no sports, just internet and books. I have found a little bubble in the middle of a large, extremely loud, crime filled city. My own private Idaho. I like it! [B-o]


Zipperfish @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:04 pm

There's been good, there's been bad. My guitar playing has reached a new level, but so has my drinking. I'm a pretty extroverted person--I like social interaction--but even I'm like "Oh yeah, how do you socialize again?" So for some folks it may be pretty daunting.


llama66 @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:08 pm

I can go either way. I will probably visit some friends, but I enjoy my shut-in life now.


Thanos @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:17 pm

I've always felt safer when I'm alone. And I have near-panic moments when people get too close to me physically. I'm not looking forward to larger crowds in stores and such again. To tell the truth the last 14 months of recommended/enforced physical separation has been kind of a relief to me. :|


xerxes @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:18 pm

I’ve always been an introvert and a homebody so the pandemic lockdowns didn’t affect me that much. That said, it will be nice to be socialize properly again. Since the pandemic started my SO’s bestie has had a baby, had that baby’s first birthday and has a second on the way all without having a proper party for already of those occasions. So it will be nice to have proper get togethers again.

Also, it would be nice to be able to go see the Whitecaps lose in person at BC place again. Even though it’s going to feel weird being in a big crowd again. I was watching highlights from the Indy 500 last weekend and was horrified at seeing a crowd like that.


CDN_PATRIOT @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:51 pm

Aside from not being able to go buy essentials from time to time due to all the insane lockdowns, my life hasn't changed at all. I've been living normally throughout this whole pandemic, refusing to let it change my life. I'll be the first person to ditch the mask, and finally be able to go to conventions and other events again.

I can understand people that have diminished immune systems from other afflictions, or hypochondriacs, but everyone else has no excuse not to go back to normal. I know I might seem hardline, but it's all a state of mind. I never let myself get scared at the beginning (and for what?), nor was I about to surrender.

For far too often, the human condition has let people fear what they don't understand. I've never been like that. Where most people will accept the word of others (possibly government or in this case, doctors) without question, I will not. I've seen a lot and been through a lot in life, and I refuse to surrender or retreat when the going gets tough.

How we react to events like this not only builds character, but helps define who we are. Vince Lombardi famously said, "The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have."



llama66 @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:50 pm

You're so brave and strong.


Thanos @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:55 pm

Phobias aren't things that can be switched off like a light. They're permanent and non-stop and are only relieved when the person with one gets out of the immediate area of whatever's provoking the agitated response.


bootlegga @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:12 pm

I'm not scared to re-enter society, but working from home has been no different than going to the office, with the exception that we saved me several thousand dollars in daycare bills, gas for commuting, wear and tear, etc.

Despite saving all that money, our family really misses holiday get togethers, going to restaurants, travelling, going to movies, and most of the other things we could do pre-pandemic. My daughter also desperately misses playing and seeing her friends and craves any sort of social contact she can get, and doing it over Zoom just isn't the same as an in-person playdate. However, she has an auto-immune condition, so we've been extra careful and have avoided doing anything except going to the grocery store since the pandemic began.

Our only social outlet over the past year has been a few trips with another family in our 'bubble' to the river valley park system last summer, and we hope to do something like that again this year, but with the variants and my daughter being under 12, she cannot get vaccinated yet, so we're taking a wait and see approach now.

I'm hoping that by Christmas things may be back to a semblance of normal for us, with a vacation next spring as a reward.


PluggyRug @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:43 pm

Zipperfish Zipperfish:
My guitar playing has reached a new level,

Similar situation. Having always been a music lover I started piano lessons about 10 months ago, mainly for the challenge and to alleviate the boredom. Now at the point where it's become a part of my life so will continue, pandemic or no pandemic.

What style of guitar?


herbie @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:57 pm

WTF does this even mean?
Other than resuming going to customer premises and having them yap over my shoulder and NOT listen to anything I say? I've rather enjoyed 'drop it off, fuck off and I'll call you when it's done".
Other than that I'll have the same friends I always had and saw and we can once again go for shitty smorg on Fridays.
Never left society. Society left when I moved here.


llama66 @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 9:31 pm


rickc @ Thu Jun 03, 2021 9:37 pm

It means that a lot of us are not ready to go back to the daily soap opera that was life before the shutdown. The daily drama, the office politics, the gossiping, the backstabbing, the ass kissing, the gridlocked commutes,the endless sea of unwashed humanity at the grocery store, the de-evolution that was Walmart at full capacity. Some of us have made the decision to never return to that world ever again. ... 142830001/


CDN_PATRIOT @ Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:57 am

llama66 llama66:
You're so brave and strong.

It has little to do with bravery or strength, and everything to do with mindset and discipline above all else. Building a high degree of discipline within oneself also breeds unrelenting determination, and pushes out the distractions so that we can function and move forward.

At times like these where a lot of people will shut themselves down and hide, it becomes that much more important for the strong-minded and strong-willed to forge ahead. It's taken me YEARS to get to the level of discipline I hold, and I'm proud of that more than anything else.




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