Today I made a delicious vegetarian curry for friends who were returning from their first day at school during a pandemic. The children, their parents, and I shared the curry on the front patio. Socially distancing, of course, especially since Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, had just boasted the UCP didn’t spend money to protect the children from the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? you ask. We have our hunches -- he doesn't care much for human beings. And had already distributed billions to rich white oil men running oil companies into the ground and out of province.
I am so very fortunate, I tell myself. Retired and on my own. Not to mention a lifetime of white privilege, class privilege. Location. Location. Settlers have more than a leg up. And now I’m out of the loop of daily care for a young child. I don’t know how I would manage single mothering during COVID. Probably badly. Now I have no one to send to school or not. Home school or not. No classes to prepare. No papers to grade. No schedule to adhere to. The end of summer approaches and I’m writing less, hanging around outside, walking more, leisurely weeding the buckets of thistles and pesky plants that rise up in all this rain and sun.
By day, I count the inequities now underscored and bathed in broad daylight by pandemic effects. The youth with no future. The aged warehoused in dead zones. The mothers whose workday suddenly expands with childcare, teaching, and at-home paid labour. For instance, in my old haunt - the university, academic women’s publications have fallen off precipitously since COVID-19 appeared. The pandemic operates like a magnifying glass of injustices. ...Once I went for walks in the ravine. Now I listen to the rain from underneath the covers. The monsoon that is late May and sometimes June promises to go on through the summer. My psychic drama.
This pandemic, like a dark bird of history pierced the thin membrane of our personal world. Ripped open we feel the call of friends lost and and found. Their voices sound in our dreams. We bear witness to our loss. Our bounty. And reach across to others. ...In this new era, COVID-19 time, this impulse to connect, an essential element in our well-being, is enabled by our digital technology. Isolated in our homes or wherever we find ourselves, connections stretch out the minutes of our day into a zone of contemporaneous aliveness. We humans peer at each other through machines. Our bodies relax or contort into awkward postures scrunched down on a chair - or standing, our weight on one foot, at the sink.