The Humanity of Fear

Spring-like weather has finally hit our fair province and it has everyone feeling a little giddy.  The entire month of April has been fraught with rain, drizzle, and fog. A bit of sunshine rips through the heavens and everyone is out raking lawns and arranging the patio furniture. I participated in said frivolity against my better judgement. May 24th has not arrived which usually brings an extreme dip in the temperature and a mini version of Snowmaggedon.  I’m happy with the sunshine and the above freezing temps, but still anticipate donning my parka and wading through waist deep ice crystals by the time June rolls around.  We remain ever hopeful of Winter’s demise, but we know better. Our shovels stand at the ready in porches, and our snow blowers continue to remain on active duty until, well, always.

The lockdowns and restrictions continue as the plague rages on, ravaging through communities and ICUs with a vengeance rivaled only by that of an Australian wildfire. We are shielded here, to some degree, from the overwhelming contagion that has infiltrated Ontario and other more western provinces, but we continue to remain cautious. We listen to Health authorities. We understand the COVID fatigue. It’s getting harder and harder to remain isolated from the ones we love and remain six feet from embracing our friends and families, but for their sakes we take a step back.

I felt the first impact from COVID on a simple trip to the grocery store, last year. It turned out it was more complicated than I had expected. Line-ups, directional arrows, do I bring my own bags?  No browsing, get what you need and get out.  I remember walking into the store, and everyone was wearing a mask. It wasn’t Halloween and it wasn’t funny. The fear of talking to each other was palpable. No one dared approach someone or invade their personal space lest you risk the onslaught of public scorn and the attack of a deadly disease. I hated it. I sat in my car and cried. This wasn’t the community in which I had lived for sixteen years. This wasn’t how we existed. We were a chatty, friendly, hospitable bunch. We helped each other with the carts that stubbornly stuck together. We said a friendly ‘hello’ and shook hands without fear of catching something. We reached out to pat someone on the back or give someone we haven’t seen in a while a hearty hug. Remember those?  Hugs?  This disease has taken lives, but it has also taken our humanity. That’s the worst part. People are too afraid to reach out and care. Too afraid to be kind. It may cost someone his life to shake your hand. Facial expressions are hard to read behind a mask. Is she smiling? Is she frowning? I can’t tell. The emotional connection between strangers is lost in the hazy fear of catching a deadly disease. And it’s heartbreakingly necessary.

Normal, whatever that may look like in the future, will return slowly. We will again be able to be with family and reunite with more friends, but we will always remain wary. That little voice warning us to stand a little farther apart, to keep our hands to ourselves, to wash and sanitize at every turn will be forever yelling at us. Years ago, the biggest threat to kids going to school was head lice. “Don’t share hats,” the teachers and parents had warned. “Don’t share your combs or hairbrushes. Keep your hands to yourselves. Stay apart from each other. Don’t share locker space.” It’s now a common practice to stay apart, not so much for the sake of head lice but for survival.

Moving forward, our grace under pressure may crack, but let’s not lose it altogether. We continue to save lives by staying apart. We continue to care for each other by being distant, no matter how off-putting that may appear. The compassion is now in the words we speak and in the actions we fulfill. We can recover our sense of humanity and community by reaching the common goal of a COVID-less society. Get vaccinated. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Stay alive. Those are your choices and your responsibilities. Let’s get this done.

Take care and stay safe,

KJ xo

Why I Don’t Like You and Other Truths

It’s true. There are some people in this world that are just hard to like. You know the ones. The obnoxious guy who always tries to make puns out of ridiculous things; the girl who incessantly judges all the other girls; the sarcastic narcissistic boss who decides you are not worthy of his time and/or discussion hence he ignores your pleas for a meeting and constantly schedules you to clean out the photocopy machine during lunch; the highly OCD/Religious lady who declares you Hell-bound lest you fall on your knees and immediately repent for the wine you drank last night and the garden gnomes you stole off her lawn during your drunken escapade… You know. THOSE people.
I’ve decided I should write down all the things I DON’T like about people, so I can discover all the things I DO like and compare. It’s a shit-list, but well worth my time…since the photocopier is a lame-duck anyway. WHO NEEDS LUNCH, EMMIRITE???!!! Ugh…
Since we all love a good list, here’s a list of characters I don’t like:
The “I-don’t-drink-cause-it’s-bad-for-you-and-not-because-I’m-a-recovering-alcoholic-which-would-be-way-more-understanding-if-I-was” person – WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?! I know, I used to be in your crowd, and as the saying goes, the rehabilitated are the worst…so that would be me. Instead of being the rehabilitated alcoholic, I’ve reinvented the program and did it backwards. I’m the rehabilitated non-drinker…tea-totaler gone alckie if there ever was one. I’m the worse…I love a good glass of wine…alcohol and I are good pals…in moderation. BUT REALLY? Nothing? Nadda? Cocktail? No? I just don’t see how we could go on being friends. Hand in your friendship rewards card. I just can’t deal right now…

MAGOO TOAST
Bad drivers – Ugh. I think everybody admits to knowing a bad driver, but never admits to BEING a bad driver. With so many of BD’s out there, you would think SOMEBODY would cop to being the one and only asshole who takes pleasure in cutting you off, or speeds up as you are about to pass, or texts and drives then is surprised by rear-ending someone…I’m actually a pretty decent driver…seriously, I’m an excellent driver…just don’t talk to Hubby… no, don’t do that.

Diaz Bad teacher
The Narcissistic “I’m- fucking-awesome-and-you’re-the-lamest-lamo-evah” dude – GET OVER YOURSELF. YOU SMELL. WE ALL FIND YOU HIGHLY OFFENSIVE AND AWFUL TO BE AROUND. GET OVER YOUR MOMMY ISSUES AND GET SOME MANNERS…AND STOP BEING AN EMOTIONAL FUCKWIT. I think that covers it.
Competitive, much? – Seriously. I can only handle the ‘you vs me’ thing so long before it gets old. I’m done. If we just come to a mutual understanding of cohesiveness and team work, all will be good. There is no need for this competitive bullshit that takes up way too much time and effort. It’s too hard…let’s move on. By the way…I WIN.
The Russian Judge just gave you a -10. – Judgey people are the worst, right? They decide who is right and who is wrong, who is ‘in’ and who is not, who wore it best, who wore it like a burlap sack, who has too much eyeliner on today, who is an idiot, who doesn’t belong because she has the wrong colour of hair, the mommy who looks down her nose at you after you had that glass of wine at breakfast lunch…seriously. If you can do better, than do it. Otherwise, be supportive…be objective…be open minded. Oh, Goddammit, just be Oprah.

That's right!  I'm awesome!

That’s right! I’m awesome!

The “You’re-going-to-Hell-and-I’m-not” person– okay. Jesus turned water into wine, right? He saved Mary Magdalene from being stoned to death, right? He told people not to judge others unless they want to be judged, right? Hmmm….

My Jesus toast says 'Be non-judgey'

My Jesus toast says ‘Be non-judgey’

The Whiner/Constant Complainer – OH MY GAWD STOP IT ALREADY. It’s not going to get better by incessant whining…DO SOMETHING. If it’s not the way you want it, CHANGE IT YOURSELF. Otherwise, leave me the hell alone. I’m busy making lists…Ugh..

That should be a pretty exhaustive run-down of all that is annoying in this world. The awesomeness is below…
Givers
Considerate drivers
Tolerant
Positive
Good Sense of humour. Imperative.
Social people who make unsocial people less awkward and more social-ish. It’s a talent. They can draw people in and make them feel at ease, instead of reminding them of their usual awkward and self-conscious selves. It’s a rare gift.
Happy

So, the truth in assigning what’s wrong with people vs what’s right with people is as individual as the person. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to judge, its human nature to complain and its human nature to drive badly…so I’m told. I guess the human condition requires us to be more supportive and less rigid in our expectations, to be more tolerant and to be accepting of everyone as they are…as annoying and as difficult as that may be. We are all in this together…so putting up with each other’s idiosyncrasies is imperative if we are to have some check marks on the ‘awesome’ side of the list. Tolerant, giving, positive…words to define humanity at its best. We all have people we don’t like and think we could go on without, but if we did that, we would lose three quarters of the population! Who wants a world of ‘perfect’ people?

Wait…I’m thinking….
Sorry. ‘Perfect’ is an unreal ideal.
We are all human, afterall….

I'm not Human...I'm a Sloth.  But I'm still cool...

I’m not Human…I’m a Sloth. But I’m still cool…