Pandemic Journal 24/3/2020 — a time travelling walk after dawn…

24 March 2020

Dear Pandemic Reader,

Shall we let the calendar blur into a whirl of days? Dress up at night for our dreams? Sleep like perambulating beauties outfitted in day wear?


In social isolation for who knows how long? I confess…

I long for the touch of a friend, the hug of a child – in particular, my child. But I’m satisfied with my daily life thus far: I’m in good health. I have a poodle, an obsession with genealogy, a library of books, many movies, a love of cooking, food box delivery, and good friends to FaceTime with or call. I am fortunate to not be struggling with teaching and grading or essay writing and exam preparation or the demands of double duty with work and childcare or worries about rent money or impaired mobility.

I can walk to the nearby ravine.

Awakening early this morning, I noticed my neighbour Maarten’s text: “Annie figures she wants a walk. Come along in say 10 minutes.” We’ve walked together last week – at a very good distance ever vigilant of the coronavirus corroding our social spaces with the promise of illness – or even, death, especially at our age.

I imagine the chime on the phone woke me up: “OK. It is cold. Yuk.” Soft skiff of snow last night and after balmy winter days this past weekend, the temperature looks to have dropped. At least the city dwellers are less likely to be out and about chitchatting too close for good health. I’m afraid they risk getting us locked up inside our homes with more stringent federal regulations to stem the catastrophe that may await our health system a few weeks hence.

Timing was no problem this morning. No need to rush. No hurry to dress since I slept in my clothes. Why bother with pj’s when you can save on laundry? Must have fallen asleep while watching – what was it?….

I slap dash brush my teeth, slide on a new day’s deodorant under my familiar blue sweater, zip on my bright orange NDP jacket, and fit the dog with two layers, – her stylish red sweater and a plaid coat. Carefully I attach her leash to her halter – coyotes like these quiet times in our neighbourhood. And there are decades of stories about missing cats and very occasionally a small pup’s disappearance.

Thinking Maarten might be quicker than me, I ask: “Front door or back?…Going out the back….”

Then I change my mind and slip across the front porch and down the steps into this blue grey light just after dawn.

Standing in the middle of the street, I wonder at the silence. The sun peeps through the threads of pink, yellow, and orange light – an illuminated weft of my summer garden.

I notice his clarifying note and the original date: “My message is two days old. Let’s do a walk this afternoon. Too early now.”

“Oh I’m already out,” I say. And that’s how I’m an accomplished time traveler on this early morning silent walk – a wonderful beginning to another day of isolation.

“I’m warm in bed,” writes my friend. And, inspired by the somber scene around me, I’m not one bit envious.

Dead quiet serenity on my street at 7:00am MST 24/3/2020
Simone de Bebe en route home after our 7:00am MST walk.

A few hours later, texting with my friends, the numbers mount north and south of the 49th parallel. I vent my rage at the US President. My emotional temperature approaches adolescent temper tantrum from time to time. Another friend calls to tell me her son, an Ontario doctor, is very worried about their wellbeing and we elders mustn’t go shopping. I’ve been cooped up in my house for days now. And I don’t plan to heading out any time soon.

I can imagine how much this young doctor knows that we don’t yet. And his anxiety about his parents, like mine for my daughter, burns. The Canadian critical case load may crash our advanced but fragile health system. And no tele-doctor will save anyone’s bloody life. My temperature rises and I imagine myself pinning a tail on Jason Kenney’s donkey eye.

COVID-19 88numbers tell a tale of plausible disaster in the weeks to come. #StayHome !!

Pandemic Postscript – crowdsourcing water repair

My toto toilet tank suddenly does not fill up with water. Nothing urgent – I’m using my large red metal outdoor watering can to fill the tank. This morning, my dear friend Ian, handyman par excellence, offered to come over. But I don’t want him running around getting parts etc. So I’m going to try to fix this on my own.

Any suggestions? Eg

1 thought on “Pandemic Journal 24/3/2020 — a time travelling walk after dawn…”

  1. Janice, I love this, a collage of text and texting and photos and video–it is so original and of course, I love your thought! This takes us into the contemporary isolated experience documenting time’s Nowness and our world mediated by phones and our reaching out to each other. So lovely!


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