My mood and psyche were somewhat better this week. The news was no better, with what’s happening in the US and video of Indigenous people being murdered and clotheslined across Canada. (Since COVID broke out, there have been as many Indigenous people in New Brunswick killed by the police as total COVID deaths as of June 14.)
I feel like so much of this writing is happening from within the little bubble we’ve been told to hold, while the rest of the world percolates outside. Things are beginning to lift. Ontario is relaxing rules slowly, though not as much for the GTA just yet. My company is beginning to think about bringing a few people back to the office, on a voluntary basis. White Lily is doing takeout, thank god. Things are happening, but I still feel very cautious.
Yesterday, in a move that feels both timely and untoward, we began playing Pandemic: Legacy. We’d been fans of the original Pandemic, playing quite a bit before all this happened. Legacy is just as confusing as the original was at first; I’m hoping it feels a bit less daunting in the coming rounds. It does feel weird playing a game one-way (destroying things along the way; you can’t re-play it) but honestly it’s been so frustrating and tough so far I’m not sure we’ll want to go back to it once we’re done.
Hard week. Hard to focus on work, or deal with the work load. Hard to watch the news or read Twitter.
BUT. But. The part of me that gets excited about change is trying to instill some energy in the part of me that feels sand-blasted. I’m reading and donating and trying to watch the news through an historical lens. And I feel hopeful.
The week started with a upward turn — 2020 jumping straight from Winter to Summer in Toronto, though I’m sad that Spring 2020 seems never to have existed — but slid into an almost surreal spectacle of seething rage south of the border. It’s hard to focus on much else; recounting TV shows and virtual wine tastings and Peloton rides seems silly.
I read a Harvard Business Review article this week about regression among leaders working from home, especially as we’ve come out of “crisis management” mode and settled into simply managing once again. I know I’m feeling it. I’m feeling the cramped space as well, especially with Lindsay totally heads-down trying to finish papers. It’s not that I miss the office so much as I miss the separation of personal space and work space.
Still, as ever: these are minor things about which to worry, in the grand scheme of things.
The pre-COVID plan for this weekend was to be in Montreal. Attending a work conference, sure, but also seeing friends. Getting proper bagels. Taking away coffee from Différance and Crew Collective. Maybe trying to sneak in a tasting menu at Toqué.
Here we sat, once more. At least the weather seems to have finally turned. Not because we can be outside in it very much (unlike all the knob ends infesting Toronto’s parks right now) but because we can have the windows open to receive fresh breeze, and hear birds singing.
I finished The Last Dance this week, which somehow led to us watching Space Jam, which Lindsay had seen many times but I somehow never had. I’m desperate for a new show to hold my attention. I’m desperate to find the time to have a new show hold my attention.
I should just be getting back from London today. Back, with my brain full of whatever was at the Tate Modern, and my belly full of Hawksmoor steak. But I’m here, and we’re here, and that Hawksmoor money is going to support front-line workers instead, because the worst thing I have to deal with is not going to London.
This week was somewhere between hard and monotonous. I’ve been using the Calm app a lot to help me de-stress; work gave us all a free subscription, which is nice. Lindsay’s creating some very delicious sourdough. I’ve been enjoying The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan documentary on Netflix. Things are slowly re-opening in Ontario. The weather’s finally turning nicer. I dunno though. I just can’t shake a shaggy gray feeling over the whole thing. So, yeah. Not the best week.
In a lighter timeline than this one I’d be getting ready to fly to London right now. I was meant to speak at a conference at a venue in Westminster. When I got there I’d probably drop my bags and go for a walk around St. James Park. (It’s 23˚ in London as I write this, versus -1˚ here.) Maybe get a coffee at Rag & Bone, or a pint at CASK. But I’m not headed to London, because we’re in the darkest timeline. (Can you tell I’ve finally decided to watch Community all the way through?)
Still, it was a pretty okay week overall. First and foremost, everyone’s still healthy. I took a day off Wednesday, which felt great. My brother celebrated a milestone birthday yesterday. We have plenty of delicious food. Lindsay’s made huge strides with Kramer and has been able to pet him a little, even if he did turn and scratch her pretty hard yesterday.
I mentioned the Peloton bike last time. My worry is that I’d grow tired of it inside of a week, but I’m still really enjoying it. I might have jumped ahead in my ride difficulty a little too quickly, but I’ve reined myself in and can already see/feel progress.
I’ve been trying to keep up with all the great new music coming out, like the new Grimes (very good, and certainly better than her baby names), the new Porridge Radio (excellent) and the new Fiona Apple (brilliant). In and around the afore-mentioned Community I blazed through Unbelievable (imdb | rotten tomatoes), which was hard to watch in the best/right ways and also elevated by Toni Collette, Kaitlyn Dever, and Merritt Wever.
Other than that: LOTS of food & booze deliveries. I might have gone / be going a little overboard.
In the alternate timeline where COVID-19 doesn’t exist we’d probably be getting back from Spain today, with stories and pictures and bottles of wine in tow. Instead, I sat inside for 99.99% of this week. I actually don’t I went outside other than to let some delivery guys in.
A delivery of what, you ask? Why, a Peloton bike! It arrived Tuesday and I set it up Thursday. My first ride was a leisurely pedal through the streets of Reims. I guess these are my vacations now. Anyway, we’ll see how this goes.
In other news: it took an unspeakable tragedy to make it happen, but Canada has banned “‘assault-style’ firearms”. Hallelujah. (CBC)
In a non-COVID world we’d be in Spain right now. Probably Barcelona, or Valencia. Or maybe San Sebastian. Enjoying the weather (it was 21 degrees in Barcelona today). Drinking Albarino and Jerez. Eating pintxos. Maybe watching some flamenco. Then on to Madrid. Instead I opened a 2001 Rioja.
Still, could be much worse. We remain: home, healthy, gainfully employed (and/or schooled, as the case may be), and well-stocked.
We closed off another busy week with some ill-advised delivery from an Italian place, a nice little walk for me concluding in a pickup at Boxcar Social (which has become a bottle shop for the time being), some online hangout time with our friend Sarah, and a chat with my parents today.
I finished The Plot Against America (imdb | rotten tomatoes) this week. Bit of a twist vs. the book, but not a bad one. Well-handled by Simon and Burns, I thought.
That it happened at all in Nova Scotia is hard to believe. That it happened in a place which occupies a hazily-familiar spot in my childhood memories, and where some members of my extended family currently live, is surreal.
We used to have family reunions at my aunt and uncle’s place in Great Village, the next community down the road. We’ve driven that way countless times, as it used to be the primary way to get to Halifax. It’s a name as built into my kid brain as how my dad used to gleefully mispronounce it every time we drove through, as dads do.
My family all seem to be okay, but I imagine they — like the rest of the province — are in shock. Not that. Not there. Not now.
In a non-COVID world I’d be walking around New York City right now, part of a few extra days I planned to tack on to a work trip. Maybe having a pint at Blind Tiger or Ginger Man. Maybe going over to Brooklyn. Maybe hitting a museum. Maybe just walking around Manhattan.
As it is I’m still here in Toronto, but we’re still healthy, still well-fed, still stocked with wine and gin and whisk(e)y, and still working through a backlog of shows and movies and books. We’ve started watching Community — I’d see it in bits and pieces over the years, but never straight through.