amongst books

amongst books

Friday, April 10, 2020

Ottawa, April 10, 2019 Primroses, Primroses

I’m having trouble phrasing “since this pandemic started,” because I don’t mean since January 8, which is when the World Health Organization first started to track a cluster of pneumonia viruses in Wuhan, China. What I mean is when it first started to influence my activities, which is around March 12 when we’d had a few cases and the scuttlebutt was that there would be limitations imposed on group gatherings, including workplaces.   

Like many, I had been aware of the virus’ existence. I knew someone who had been on a cruise in February and I thought it was an odd time to take a cruise. I remember being concerned for them.

Let’s try this: since mid-March, when Ottawa first began to have Covid-19 cases, and the City imposed restrictions on public gatherings…

now I’m going to say something that seems trivial as I write it…I’m going to talk about how much I’ve been enjoying coffee. Seems wrong. I’m enjoying coffee while people are dying or fighting for their lives due to Covid-19 and their loved ones are grieving and friends who are immunocompromised or disabled are especially vulnerable and afraid. I’ve been enjoying coffee. This is the kind of double-think that’s been going on in my mind since Covid-19 began in my city. Again, difficulty knowing how to phrase.

On one hand, I worry and grieve, somewhat in the abstract, but still grief. On the other, the coffee is fucking delicious. As part of his work routine, Charles goes to Tim Horton’s en route to work. Before Covid-19 (BC19), he would take his large reusable coffee mugs to be filled at the Tim’s. The coffee would stay warm in his mugs and he would drink from it throughout his workday. Now take out coffee places don’t allow that because it is dangerous to their workers, which makes sense. What didn’t make sense was his being given coffee in disposable cups and then pour them himself into his own reusable mugs.

For some time, over the winter, I’d had the idea that I could make a pot of coffee in the morning and Charles could take the coffee to work in his mugs. I was mostly thinking about how cold and dark it was on those winter mornings and riding in to work on the train is so cold at six a.m. I didn’t do it though. Not until the pandemic (came to Ottawa is now implied).

So now every morning at around five thirty a.m., while Charles is engaging in his morning ablutions for the day, I make a pot of coffee. We have a wonderful red coffee maker from Bodega. We named it the Diva when we first purchased it because you have to have everything just right before it will work. The carafe and the coffee hopper must be positioned right, as must the water receptacle. I’m not sure I’m using the correct terms here, but you get the gist. We have a grinder too. For the most part we just use President’s Choice West Coast Dark, which is strong and delicious.

If you’re a regular reader, lurker or friend, you might know that I love tea. This is true. Tea is my regular beverage and coffee is something I used to drink on the weekends only, with Charles and on occasion with pals over long convos at cafés. Until the pandemic and this need to not infect people with Covid-19 cooties.

The pot holds enough for Charles’ two large mugs and a cup for me. Yes, I can make more coffee if I desire, but I just make the one pot. While he is en route to work, he texts me and we chat while he’s waiting for the #10 bus from our place to Lyon Station. It is not as reliable nowadays, pandemic days. He lets me know how many riders there are and he tells me when he’s on the train. All during this time, I’m in bed drinking my coffee, texting with my husband. It’s an intimate and lovely ritual that has begun since … the pandemic, a pandemic ritual, if you will.

Since Trudeau has said in one of his daily cottage briefings that we will be continuing the physical distancing and closures of so-called nonessential businesses until there’s a vaccine, we’re in this for the long haul. I think it’s necessary to change behaviour and routines. Some of these changes will occur naturally as we adapt. In our case, one of these is our coffee ritual. What about you? Are there any rituals or new habits you’ve adopted since the pandemic?

Primroses, Primroses has nothing to do with anything. I just came up with it this morning when I woke up and said to Charles I would soon make coffee, in response to his playful “promises, promises.”

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