Vaccination Gratitude

Now that I’ve had my first shot, I cannot stress enough how grateful I am. I’m grateful to the scientists who made the vaccine, I’m grateful I live in a country where it’s accessible to me. I’m grateful to the people working tirelessly for sixteen hours a day trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

I feel like such a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel so much less anxious. I feel so thankful. It is such a blessing to be able to be vaccinated.

I’m so thankful to have the added protection.

I’m so thankful that vaccines have been made more accessible in my province this week.

I’m so thankful that so many people appear to be getting them.

Vaccinations are a good thing. For everyone in society. If you have the chance, and it’s something that I highly recommend everyone take the opportunity to do (if you’re able, that’s of course, as I know it’s not medically possible for some people). If you have questions, please talk to your doctor. Or a doctor. Basically, ask a medical professional.

My anxiety has gone waaaaaaaaaaaay down since getting the shot. I’m still distancing and wearing a mask, of course. It’s just peace of mind to know that I have an added layer of protection. It feels so good to know that.

Transitioning to only accepting digital payments is a form of classism

Fair warning: It’s Friday night and I have been thinking a lot this evening. While I follow this train of thought in my head, I question my ability to adequately convey the thoughts.

Prior to COVID, the western world was already deeply entrenched in digital payment systems. Credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Crypto Currency, these are all forms of digital payments that have been driving the economy for several years now. This transition to digital payment mediums was only exacerbated by the pandemic when many businesses transitioned away from accepting cash because they wanted to limit their employees handling cash.

Cash carries germs. Germs could get employees sick. COVID is bad. COVID comes from germs. Therefore cash is the enemy. At least around here it has been.

I can’t tell you the number of businesses I’ve been to since March in which digital forms of payments are the only payments they accept.

Eventually, even after we’re all vaccinated, digital payments are still going to be the norm. We know this because this was already a transition happening prior to COVID.

This is classism.

We’ve already played the ageism card and told seniors and the elderly they need to get with the times and learn our technology. Now we’re playing the classism card and telling people that if they cannot pay for something digitally, they cannot pay for it at all.

We are (as a society) developing a system for people of financial stability and resource to be able to easily purchase their goods and services with digital means, ignoring the fact that technology is a luxury. Technology is not something that everyone has. Despite what people say, it’s not even something the majority of people have. I know that we like to pretend everyone has a cell phone and everyone has a bank account, but factually, that’s not the case.

What will homeless people do when they’re no longer able to take their cash to purchase… well… anything? What are they going to do? When they can’t even buy a freaking banana, or a hamburger or whatever it is they might need and would have otherwise in the past used cash to pay for? They’ve had a hard enough time finding businesses that accept cash during the pandemic. So what happens when we transition to a fully digital payment system for good?

Banks treat homeless people as liabilities and very few banks actually provide (very few) homeless people with a bank account (I’ve only ever seen one bank here in Canada that seeks to give homeless people a bank acccount). If they don’t even have a bank card they’re definitely not going to have the newest iPhone to use Apple Pay. Are Apple or Samsung going to step up and provide technology for the homeless and a system for a reloadable balance?

Please don’t say ‘Well they shouldn’t be homeless anymore’. That is a form of classism. You and I have no idea why, or how, someone wound up homeless and we don’t deserve the right to judge them. We can help them if they would like help, yes. Judge them? Hell no.

What about people who live in abject poverty? Because, while people don’t always like to admit it, there millions of Canadians, and tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of Americans who don’t just live below the federally or locally determined poverty line, but actually live in abject poverty. Their roofs are caving in, their meals are few and far between, their resources are almost non existent. These people don’t necessarily have bank accounts because, quite frankly, they don’t have money to put in a bank account. Even if they do have a bank account, though, if they don’t have any money in the bank account, they may not be so inclined to take what little money they do manage to get from a family member, friend, neighbour, side hustle or whatever source they’re getting it from, to put in a bank account in order to pay for milk and bread.

Banking fees are no joke. If someone’s already dealing with an extreme budget, or lack thereof, forcing banking fees upon them is only furthering the burden they’re already bearing.

Please don’t say ‘well they shouldn’t live in poverty, then.’ If it were truly that simple, then no one would be living in poverty.

I’ve really only begun scraping the surface of what issues come from not having, or using cash any longer. I don’t know who else has noticed but a lot of charities are only accepting digital payments these days (unrelated to COVID). That means for every charitable donation made, banking fees will be incurred. There are A LOT of organizations who relied heavily on an extra dollar here or an extra five dollars there from a lot of people. It might not seem like much if you’re well off, but what would normally be providing an extra $5 bill now has the possibility to incur a $1.25 (or more) banking fee, depending on where someone banks. That’s enough to turn people away.

This future that we’re building around cards and smart phones, wireless transfers and so on… it’s a deeply flawed system being built for the financially stable, the resource rich and well off people of this world.

Everyone else? I guess they’re out of luck.

Empty grocery stores :(

I went for a drive today, just to get out of the house. I didn’t go in anywhere. I just wanted to see the outside world. During my drive I passed four grocery stores, all of which had lineups outside of the store for people waiting to get in.

I went to the grocery store earlier last week to get some staples (before our Premier made his most disappointing speech yet) and I had mentioned that the store was quite empty when I went. Seeing so many lines outside of stores today had me wondering if it was still going to be the same.

I’ve been ordering groceries on Instacart since Canadian Thanksgiving. When I ordered my weekly groceries today I was sent a notification from the Instacart shopper that the line was so long outside of the store he wasn’t certain he’d be able to get shopping done and brought in the time slot selected.

I sent him a message saying that’s totally fine and that if the line up is taking that long, then to not wait. My groceries were only $40 and with a 15% tip, that’s certainly not worth him waiting in line for even an hour, honestly.

He assured me he was fine waiting in line.

When he got into the store he immediately started sending me notes about substitutions and refunds. Eggs – gone. Almond Milk – gone. Chicken – gone.

He’s still at the store shopping now.

His messages have said he was only able to find 4 of the 11 items.

For normal people who order on Instacart, I’m sure that substitutions are fine, but with all of the allergies I have, I have to be very specific about the food that I purchase.

Anyways, the Instacart shopper was only able to find four items, which makes me glad that I did go to the store before closing earlier last week. I feel bad though. With only the four items, it doesn’t even come close to the minimum $35 order requirement. He assured me in the messages that it was fine.

I’m not really sure what’s going on with all of the panic buying right now. I think people might be genuinely afraid because of the fact that we’re literally the only province in the country without any genuine restrictions. Maybe people are stocking up now, thinking the hammer is coming down in a few weeks because there’s still such a large portion of our population that doesn’t seem to believe Corona Virus exists?

The news is on for background noise as I type this. We broke 1,700 positive cases in 24 hours. I remember how dumbfounded and angry everyone was when we broke 1,000 cases for the first time. That was weeks ago (what feels like a year ago) now. Now we inch closer to 2,000 per 24 hours with each passing day and people just roll their eyes and move on. We continue to hold the most positive cases in the country now, by a considerable amount, despite being the fourth largest province from a population perspective.

The lack of food in grocery stores is giving me major flashbacks to this past spring when EVERYTHING was picked over. Somehow things are infinitely worse than then.

‘Measures not restrictions’

Our Premier came out of hiding yesterday for an unprecedented showing of just how much of a fucking moron he is.

To the surprise of no one with a brain, the Premier stood in front of national television cameras (47 minutes late) to gaslight Canada into believing he’s taking adequate measures to control the spread of COVID in our province. Which, I would like to add, is still the province with the most positive, presently active cases in the country. The provinces ranking second and third for most active cases have three times, and double the population of our province, respectively.

Refusing to call them restrictions, because they’re not, the new ‘measures’ he’s ‘putting into place’ are effective Friday. The funny but not so funny story is, they’ve already been mandated at the municipal levels since July. And yet here we are.

Effective Friday both my city and the other major city in this province have a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces. Both my city and the other major city in this province mandated that at the municipal level in July.

Effective Friday social gatherings are no longer allowed… except in restaurants, pubs, bars, movie theatres, casinos, water parks, and the mall. A thinly veiled effort to keep people in public, spending money. You’re not allowed to meet your family at home, but if you want to go out for dinner, have-atter. Oh, and you might as well make a night of it and stop at the waterpark some good clean fun before you go home.

Effective Friday stores are required to operate at 25 percent capacity. Because nothing screams ‘I’m trying to help you keep your lights on’ like ‘I’m going to limit the customers you can see in a day, so just make them buy more when they’re in your store’.

Effective Friday hotels are required to only see guests by appointment only. I’m honestly not sure what planet he’s living on but I’m pretty sure the hotel industry has been operating with reservations since the beginning of time.

Also, to go with the ‘appointment only’ measure… all hair, nail, waxing salons, barbers, etc… are required to operate by appointment only. Because, you know, they haven’t been. Up until now you’ve been able to casually walk into any salon in this city and ask for a four hour colour, cut and perm appointment and they sat you right down to get started.

Churches are no longer allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity, they’re required to operate at 1/3 capacity and there are zero exceptions to this.

Oh and fitness classes are cancelled until further notice. If you want to workout, you cannot go to a class, you’re going to have to go into the gym and share the weight and cardio equipment with every other Tom, Dick and Harry who refuses to wipe down equipment like the gym was meant to be used for.

Perhaps his biggest measure of the announcement, the one he’s most proud of, effective Friday all concert venues and conference centres are closed, indefinitely. Because, you know, concerts and conferences have been going on as though it’s business and normal and that needs to be stopped. Concerts can absolutely not happen any longer.

The economic and mental health impacts of staying at home are far too restrictive for the people of this province to be able to live freely. People need to be able to go out and infect each other if they so please. The premier hopes, though, that with these measures, he’ll slow the earth-shattering depletion of our health care system minute by minute.

Oh, and if you’re someone like me who suffers from anxiety and being in public right now, just stay home, he says. The mental health implications of stay-at-home measures are far more important than the mental health implications of the deadly virus currently running rampant (un)checked throughout the province.

He finished by once again reminding us that if we just all ‘work together’ and do the right thing, the spread of COVID will slow. He’s been spewing that line since September when he had 700 cases. Perhaps he just doesn’t watch the news and isn’t aware of the 15,000 presently positive cases (and climbing by the thousands daily).

It seems like we’re in for a world of further hurt in this province with this moron at the helm. What’s really sad is that the way our law is written in this province, the chief medical officer has absolute power to overwrite his ‘measures’ and actually put restrictions in place to slow the spread. She won’t though.

My biggest takeaway… if you want to see someone who doesn’t live in your home, just go to the casino. Or maybe the mall. Actually, the mall is a really good idea because then you’re inclined to also shop local, right? Right?

The Discord Dummy catches COVID

One of the reasons that I was very anxious about how sick I was this past week was because one of my coworkers recently let us know that he tested positive for COVID.

Firstly, I wasn’t surprised when he told us. I’ve written about him on this blog before, here and here. Basically, he’s been exceptionally careless about the ongoing pandemic. He’s been going on dates and hooking up with females like it’s nobody’s business, and, detailing his exploits on the company discord. The fact that he has COVID was a little bit of karma finally catching up with him.

“Practice safe sex” really takes on a whole new meaning when there’s a deadly pandemic sweeping the globe. I can’t imagine the frustration of the health care workers trying to do contact tracing and having to follow ‘Girl I had sex with from Tinder’ as a lead.

While I haven’t been physically present within six feet of him, we were in the same office together for several days. We walked the same halls, opened the same doors, you know… we shared the same vicinity. So, the fact that I was really sick had me extremely worried that it was COVID and that I had caught it from him.’

Anyways, apparently he’s felt like absolute shit. He went so far as to say this is the sickest he’s ever been in his entire life. Do we think he’s going to learn anything from this experience? Doubtful.

The good news is, I didn’t have COVID. I had the flu. I’m feeling much better now, which I am grateful for. I think I was feeling extra whiney when I was sick because I had the added anxiety of waiting for test results. Thankfully I was able to avoid people for several days so I know for certain that no one else got sick because of me.

Grocery delivery is quickly becoming one of my favourite conveniences.

As for Axel, haven’t heard from him in a couple of days. Hopefully he’s recovering well. Even if he did have this coming, I still hope he’s not suffering too badly.

Back when we first started hearing about this virus in late January on the news, one of the first things my brother said about it was “You really can’t vouch for the healthiness of anyone but yourself”. Which is so, so, so true. If anyone who reads this is dating during this pandemic, just be careful. You really can’t vouch for the health of the other person… even if they say they’re perfectly healthy. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I’m anxious

I slept until 1:30 pm today.

My mind has been plagued with so many worries for the past week that it’s been difficult to fall asleep, and when I finally do fall asleep, it’s been increasingly difficult to wake up and actually get up.

Hiding from the world seems ideal. The world can’t hurt me if I’m hiding in my room.

So, let’s start:

My office is opening on Monday. Two of my coworkers tested positive for Corona Virus yesterday. They weren’t in the office, but, it does serve as a reminder to me that I have no control over how safe, or not safe, my coworkers are being with their interactions. I’ll admit, I’m terrified that I’m going to go into that office and it’s going to take no time before I’m sick.

Not only that but stupid thoughts are plaguing my mind. How do I share the coffee maker? Should I buy a cooler style lunch bag so that I don’t have to share the fridge with people? Not sharing the fridge will keep me out of the lunch room and further away from people. Is it weird to be afraid of your coworkers? The city is still in triple digits for positive cases being reported daily.

Kids are also going back to school next week. Since our Premier is determined to share literal propaganda about this virus and how people contract it, I’m ultimately concerned that social distancing is going to fall by the waist side and cases are going to shoot right back up. And at that time, is my office going to stay open? Will my office close again? What’s the future look like in a world that is anything but certain?

In September I’ll also be attending a memorial service for my uncle who passed away earlier this year. Technically speaking we’re still not supposed to be holding gathering’s here. Rather than a memorial service at a Funeral Home or inside a large room somewhere, we’re going to be having it on a beach. Even being on the beach, I’m still nervous about it. I’m trying to arrange getting a Corona Virus test before going but I’ve learned that I cannot get a guaranteed return period for results. The memorial service is on a Saturday, and if I get a test on a Friday, I cannot get a guarantee that I’d have the results for Saturday. It’s making me nervous because, while I don’t intend on getting too close to anyone, I honestly would never forgive myself if I were the reason for one of my family members getting sick. For that reason, I want the test. So I have to figure out what day to get the test for guaranteed return of results.

Speaking of going to a memorial service, I’m basically not allowed to return to work for two weeks following. The week following the memorial service there are two crucial virtual events that I’m supposed to be prepping our company for. Doing that from home is going to be difficult. I’m trying to remind myself that I’ve been working from home since May so it shouldn’t be that much harder. It’s just going to involve me having to hire people to do some things at the office that I can’t do.

I’m also worried about money. I’m always worried about money. That doesn’t seem to go away for me. I think that’s something that largely effects the majority of the human race, so I am trying to remind myself to not let that get the better of me. It’s been plaguing me since childhood so it’s really nothing new.

Am I overreacting? I’m certain that I am. Anxiety is not logical, though. Anxiety has never been logical. I’m just worried. And the worries don’t seem to lessen no matter what I do. So I don’t see myself leaving my bed any time soon.

Texas is business as usual

In a non-pandemic world, one of the most prominent aspects of my new job is that I’m supposed to be travelling with the sales team to help them with events, client meetings and all that jazz.

Whilst the majority of the world seems to have halted all in-person events, Texas seems to have… missed the memo? I’m not too sure what’s happening down there. They seem to be going ahead with their in person events and they seem to believe that it’s business as usual.

In a non-pandemic world, there are three major events in Texas in October and November that would require being there for three weeks. Three weeks… in Texas. These event organizers are still going ahead as though nothing is going on. They’re basically hounding my office at this point to get our flight information and registrations verified.

“Why aren’t you coming?”

“We’ve got hotel rooms booked for you.”

“Accommodations are being made. Please let us know when your flights are booked.”

My boss has cancelled all trips, events and in person meetings for the rest of the year. He’s talking about doing the same for the first half of 2021 as well, depending on how the rest of this year unfolds. Texas (and when I say Texas I mean the event organizers of these specific happenings that I am supposed to be at, but I don’t want to say their names because, well… sharing their names would give away the name of my employer and… I don’t want to do that) isn’t happy with him for doing that.

I wonder what it’s going to take before they give up the in-person components. They must be struggling for participants if they’re hounding us to come down there.

Charges laid in intentional spitting incidents (yes, plural)

A man has been arrested and charged with possession of a weapon dangerous to the public after it was reported that he was spitting on people that he rode by on his bike this past weekend.

Multiple people have come forward, three of which have been noted publicly, exclaiming this same man spat on them as he rode past on his bike during the same time frame on Saturday afternoon.

Initial fears right now are further transmission of the COVID. All victims of the spitting incident who have come forward have been tested for COVID, been subject to contact tracing and have to isolate in their homes until their tests have been/are returned.

It’s not being reported whether the spitting man has been tested for COVID. Though it’s speculative, I’m assuming that they have tested him since his arrest, if for no other reason because spitting on people is a public health and safety risk right now.

It’s been widely reported that transmission of this virus occurs from transmission of a person’s liquid droplets – coughing, sneezing, and yes, spitting are included. Spitting on someone in the middle of a pandemic can mean serious illness, a hospital stay or even death if someone is infected.

Social anxiety has been on the rise in vast numbers the past several months with so many people realizing that serious harm can come through germ transmission. What would you do, how would you react if a stranger intentionally spit on you during this pandemic, or, at any point in time pandemic or not?

I know what I’d do and it wouldn’t be polite, or the least bit kind.

In my opinion

I’m so livid right now.

If you think the small, simple act of wearing a mask in public is infringing upon your rights, or doesn’t do anything, then next time you or someone you love needs to have surgery (which could very well happen soon if you/they contract COVID) then please feel free to go ahead and tell the doctors, nurses and surgical aids they need not wear masks to protect the sterility of the operating room. Because if you truly don’t think masks do anything, why should anyone wear them for your sugery?

Also, if someone knowingly has a COVID 19 diagnosis and willingly and purposefully goes out into public whilst sick, they should be charged with public endangerment. (Yeah I’m talking about the COVIDIOT case from Fire Island) At that point you’re purposefully releasing a biological contagion onto innocent people that could potentially cause them lengthy hospital stays/death. Yeah… that should be a crime.

Two totally different worlds

The company that I work for has secondary offices in Texas. While our primary office, and most of the employees work here in Canada, there are quite a few who work in Dallas.

The company as a whole has been working from home since March 9th. That’s everyone. Those here in Canada and those down in Texas. While Canada’s cases of COVID has been serious, it’s not nearly been as bad as what the United States has seen and what Texas alone has seen.

So we’re all working from home and will likely be until September or later. While there are less than 1,000 active cases in this province right now, everyone is still being hyper-vigilant about COVID. You don’t go anywhere without a mask. Large events aren’t happening. People, for the most part, are trying to keep the spread at bay.

Texas, on the other hand, we keep hearing stories about how there’s been a surge in cases lately and that the state may have to do some form of ‘shut down’ once again due to the public health risk of so many people being out and spreading the virus.

For reference, there are presently 65,000 more COVID cases in Texas than there are in all of Canada.

So this morning we’re on a call with the Dallas team and one of them asks ‘So how was your Canada day? What did ya’ll do?’

Each of us responded with different variations of ‘absolutely nothing’ because we’re still very much not in the public event planning stage here in Canada.

Anyways, she says ‘I’m so excited for the fourth!’

‘Oh yeah?’ I asked.

‘My girlfriends and I are renting a house down in Galveston and we’re going to have a giant party on the beach. It’s going to be four straight days of barbecues and bar-hopping.’ She laughs.

‘You’re not worried about Corona Virus?’ My boss asked, cautiously.

‘Nah. That’s not that big of a deal.’ She said.

‘It is a big deal’, my boss said. ‘Please be safe and social distance with your friends!’

My boss said it in a very concerned, but very professional manner. He wasn’t trying to lecture here, but more just trying to state the obvious. Well, she didn’t like that. Her response?

‘I ain’t going to let no imaginary disease ruin my 4th of July. We only get one 4th every year and I’m going to make the best of it’.

I was trying to hide my face at this point so that I didn’t say anything condescending. I honestly wanted to. People on the video call kind of… looked away. She was like ‘Hey, if I get sick I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. And if it’s my time to go, I guess it’s my time to go. Nothing is going to ruin my fourth of July.’

I just…

Wow.

I can’t.

How do you have discussions with her? How do you explain to her that it’s not just herself whom she’s putting in harms way?

You can’t.

You really can’t.

We’re living in two completely different worlds.

Our office is avoiding the human race, and each other, at all costs. Seven people have been diagnosed and they’ve all shared some very scary stories about what they refer to as the worst sickness they’ve ever experienced. And this girl? Her response is ‘If I get it, oh well!’

Paid sick leave, right?

Oh my.

Our countries might be right next door to one another but we’re living in two completely different worlds.