amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Ottawa, August 6, 2020 Strawberries and Hope

I did my Zoom fitness class again for the first time in a few weeks. Grueling, but it felt good to stretch abs, back and core. Carleton Athletics will be doing a mix of Zoom and in-person classes in the autumn. This body will stay virtual. I’m in no rush to go back to the gym. For me to do so, I would have to take public transit as well, so that’s extra risk. I respect those who make different decisions. We all mitigate risk in our own ways.

I went out for a walk this afternoon in the sunshine and it was still hot, but cooler and not as humid as it has been. August light is slanting already toward autumn.

 I was wearing a blue-shirt with stars on it that read, “things are looking up”—a deliberate choice on my part. I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic, but I have a small glimmery feeling of hope. Not because I believe Covid-19 will end anytime soon, but because I believe that change is necessary in the world and the pandemic is bringing to light the reasons why capitalism and profit first policies are harmful for the collective.

 I don’t like the term “the new normal,” because for those  without jobs, health insurance, homes, for those who are victims of abuse and hatred, normal / status quo thinking was the reason they were suffering and still are. Normal is for the privileged.  It doesn’t take into account the needs of the collective, only the individual. We need to make vast social and political changes in order to create a better world, not return to any version of what was perceived as normal by the 1%.

I went to Massine’s for the first time in months today. In my bag now, I always carry hand sanitizer, clean masks in a ziplock bag, and an empty ziplock bag to dispose of used masks after I remove them. I saw so many people walking on Bank and Somerset who had their masks on their chins. I think this is because they are going to be popping in and out of stores. They must believe that it is ok to do this, but it is not.

Ottawa Public Health has a huge information campaign about masks and the correct way to wear them and when to take them off and how to put them on, so what’s the issue? These people I saw have the best of intentions, I’m sure, but they’re going to make things worse for themselves by exposing the masks to airborne particles and then putting them back on. My solution is to  carry a bunch of clean masks with me. 

I purchased the cheapest variety from Staples, a ten-pack for $40. I carry the pack with me, then after I wear them I put them in the wash. I respect that some people can’t afford to buy multiple masks and perhaps that issue needs to be addressed by public health. There are all kinds of fancy and expensive pretty masks out there. But if you can’t afford that, just get the cheapest you can find. Charles goes through two to four masks a day with having to take public transit and go thru St. Laurent Mall daily on week days. Masks should be sold in every convenience store, every drug store, every grocery store and even in dispensers, the kind that have water and candy. There should be no reason why anyone who can wear a mask can’t have several of them on hand, along with hand sanitizer when they are outside of their own dwellings.


Anyway, back to Massine’s. It was nearly empty. I just wanted to pick up a few items for dinner. We get our groceries through PC Express now, so we don’t have to bother going to the store regularly. But I was out, am on my own tonight, so I picked up a few salad items and a treat. I spend almost no money anymore since cafes were closed, and since i'm doing my damndest not to spend on books etc. It's just too unpredictable a time to spend money freely right now. Job security is not something we can take for granted.


I had my little treat, strawberry mochi, whilst reading a letter from a dear friend. It was lovely. Tonight I will have nectarines and strawberries with my salad of spring greens along with some trail mix.

 So where does my hope come from? I think we will learn how to live and adapt to what we need to do during the pandemic to keep others and ourselves safe. I know it doesn’t seem like that given how some folks are not understanding how to wear masks hygienically, but it will come.


I heard Dr. Tam on the radio and she said that a vaccine, even if it is developed, will not necessarily end Covid-19 very quickly. There will be some trial and error. We have to plan for the long term and plan to follow the protection measures now and for the next few years.

 I do worry about kids going back to school. That seems absurd and dangerous. I hope friends are able to keep their kids out of school and can find a way to homeschool, if at all possible, or if not, to arm them with as protection for their physical and mental health as possible, not to mention that of the parents! I suspect that the outbreaks will be too great from the moment they try to open the schools and we’ll see another lock down in the autumn.

Autumn will mean revisiting appointments I cancelled in the spring: dentist, optometrist, and will also mean some kind of plan for the flu shot…but that’s not now. For now, I’m taking everything one breath at a time. How about you?

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