A view from the self(ish) perspective
I feel as if I'm tempting fate to type the following, but here goes ...
Presuming we don't get sick, the semi-lockdown we're experiencing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has barely touched our lives except for one thing: I am out of work.
Out of work, but not disastrously so. Raven is still on maternity leave, at either 90% or 100% of her salary (I think the latter), and I have learned sufficient frugality from her that I actually have a couple of thousand dollars in the bank — something I was unable to accomplish back the days more than a decade ago when I earned twice what I do now. And it looks as I will be eligible for some sort of government package that will cover my lost income at least until August — which is when our plan had me leaving work to become a full-time dad anyway.
And in a worst-case scenario, if we both somehow lost our jobs, we live in an apartment owned by non-profit housing corporation and so, would be eligible for a rent subsidy until we were back on our feet.
Long story short, I don't think any of us are sick, I want to stay home with my daughter and I might get paid to do so for the next four months, and I now have more time to write and to work on being a publisher — yes, if you're looking for something good to read, click this long link!.
What's not to like?
Not quite eerie ... but close
Oh yeah, there's plenty not to like.
On a personal level, we had intended to visit Raven's parents and family in Macau in April but that plan — obviously — is on an indefinite hold.
Much more seriously, people — quite a lot of people in some places — are dying. Many others are seriously ill and still more people are losing their jobs and anxious that they will lose a lot more than that.
And I believe, too, from information derived via The Other Place, that at least one of you has symptoms of Covid-19 and is feeling understandably anxious because of it, so the situation is hitting me on a personal level as well, if at some distance.
Here in Ottawa (see photo above), life goes on but in an eerie sort of half-normal fashion. A lot of stores are closed and the streets — even close to rush hour — have a Sunday feel to them, while queues to get into grocery stores are now the norm. (I also went to the Beer Store yesterday — yes, booze has been deemed an essential service; and rightly so, as the last thing an over-burdened medical system needs is to have its emergency rooms crowded with alcoholics suffering from delerium tremens — and found it nearly empty.)
People are mostly being very good about keeping their "social distance" from one another and seem to be dealing with the situation with consideration and good humour. That said, our just-in-time supply system is having serious problems keeping things like toilet paper in stock, as has been widely noted throughout much of the world. The toiletry section of my local supermarket reminds me of the empty shelves we so often found in Cuba.
And here we are ...
And so the entire world lives in times more uncertain than ever. A global economy based on suicidal fossil fuels and with a production capacity that far exceeds demand, while the rich hoard an ever-greater percentage of the whole is now being stressed by a deadly new virus that has spread across the world with shocking speed.
I think that most of us, myself definitely included, feel on a gut-level that things will soon (or soonish) go back to normal, and maybe they will.
But will they?
On the one hand, governments in a lot of places are instituting emergency measures that provide them with powers they may be loathe to relinquish, while on the other, many of capitalism's contradictions are ever-harder to paper over.
Can the climate movement become a fully-fledged anti-capitalist movement? I dunno, but I can dream ...
Me, I'm doing my best to hunker down and raise my daughter as if the world is a safe and wonderful place and will only get better. I will dream.
Meanwhile, how are you folks coping with the situation?
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