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.