Column: I hear there’s some bug going around…here’s what to do about it
One gets the feeling that we are going to be a very weird species in a few months after the pandemic is under control (and it will be). A trip to the store for some basic supplies or to a parking lot to buy black-market toilet paper creates a feeling that must have been what French Resistance fighters felt like in WWII. Popping one’s head out is to be placed in imminent danger. We shun other people and scurry to the other side of the street when more than one or two crowd our personal space which, while a recommended one meter, has expanded in our brains to many more than that. Want to see people move quickly? Try coughing in public. Last week while taking public transit someone did just that, and the rest of the train’s few inhabitants bolted to the far end like deer fleeing a wolf. It may seem extreme but this has been deemed the best way to deal with coronavirus, to bring human interaction as close to zero as possible. It’s hard to say if there are better ways – such as, could we possibly spend all the money being handed out to place those at highest risk under intense protection and let the world carry on more or less – but that speculation doesn’t matter. What does matter are the facts. The world’s governments are willing to risk bringing the global economy to its knees with isolation strategies. It is happening, and it is happening fast, and we will simply have to deal with the consequences as they arise. No one knows what they are, and human nature is to fear the unknown, particularly when we can clearly see it is going to be bad. If we simply sit by and watch, that fear will engulf us. The good news is, there are things we can do. The first step is to think not about what we can’t do, but what we can. If you are lucky enough to remain employed through this crazy period, you surely are saving a fortune because, well, it’s just really hard to spend money like we used to. So, what can be done on that front? If you have $10,000 kicking around, you can do something brilliant like what Calgary’s Serafina Energy did – pre-purchase ten grand’s worth of pre-paid gift cards from a local coffee shop in their building. Maybe you aren’t at that level, but why not do $20 or $50 or a hundred? If you’re going to go there anyway eventually, why not help keep the place alive when they most desperately need it? Try ordering take-out from restaurants more, and not less. Keep those businesses alive for another day. Yes, it is gratifying and bonding to cook at home with friends and loved ones, but we do eat three times a day, seven days a week, and, well, there’s bonding and there’s get-out-of-my-face. Do the same for any small business. If they’re closed, go to their website and find out how to get hold of them, and I’ll bet they’ll find a way to take your money. Besides business, we can be humans. Help others, don’t hoard. Our supply chains WILL keep running. Cows will still produce milk. Your fuel will still be at the gas station, and your natural gas will still magically and silently appear at your furnace. Toilet paper is en route from trees to your bum as we speak. Companies are finding creative ways to make hand sanitizer. While we can’t use that cheap whiskey at the back of the liquor cabinet to make our own, there are ways. Above all, find ways to laugh. Watch funny movies. Share funny memes. Text or call your friends who are as isolated and scared as you, and swap the funniest things you found online. Haven’t found any? Look, there’s a lot. Life flows in the direction your energy goes. Try not to watch the death counts. Go for a walk in the woods, 5 paces apart, and appreciate life returning to the landscape. That will be us one day. Stranded at home? Pick up “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at Amazon.ca, Indigo.ca, or Amazon.com. The time will fly by, you’ll learn about energy challenges, and get more than a few laughs. And I know you need them.Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.