I usually hate November, the dreariest month of the year: the declining weather; the increasing darkness, exacerbated by the time change, which I used to love getting the extra hour sleep of when I was working. But now, on my own natural schedule, like a family dog curious why its dinner is delayed, I find myself nodding off early in the evening and waking almost exactly an hour earlier than I like. No, in this year of terrible months, I did not look forward to November.
And then it was here. Starting with a family funeral. Continued lockdown in my region. No curling, no casino, no indoor dining. Even though it’s November, there was hope that patio heaters would extend the outdoor dining season, but alas, even that was deemed too dangerous, and therefore forbidden. Science-based, in terms of Covid virus propagation, sure, but isn’t other harm taken into account by other science facts? Lack of socializing, lack of hope – don’t these have any science-based consequences? No numbers to stick up for the depressed, or even the merely sad among us? Who’s gaining weight out there? Who’s missing their dental care, their elective surgery (who “elects” to be in pain?) Who’s drinking too much? Opioid overdoses are a science-based statistic in the news. Isn’t it the job of the politicians to weigh their science-based advice and make hard decisions for us all, not just those vulnerable to Covid virus harm? What is the point of my questioning? November moves on with or without my pondering.
Daily Covid case numbers are rising, rising on the dreaded second wave, and the media is eager to share them and assign blame to us for being weary with Covid fatigue. No matter what we do, we’re not doing enough, we’re told. Lockdown more. Ban more. Be good, do your duty, protect those at risk. The preaching is constant; am I alone that I’m starting to resent it? Why can’t we be good? Because we must be doing something wrong? Because our leaders need changing? Why aren’t the numbers coming down? I think it’s because we are humans. And humans die. Is this cruel to say? I’m learning much about myself in my November doldrums – that I can think, question, and even admit such thoughts.
In other news, American politics dominates – you’d think that would be a nice break in viewing routine, but those dramas soon become tiresome and add to the general unease of typical November doldrums.
But as usual, all is not doomy and gloomy. A few rays peak through. I cannot resist looking for the brightness in the dark. Hallelujah, November weather this year included an early week-long heat wave here with temperatures like summer. Sunshine, t-shirts and shorts dragged back out from under the sweaters, multiple daily walks to capture the warmth during the short daytime window of daylight. Catch as one can. The month would soon become the dark, damp, cold cruel time that better defines it, with the winds and rain and sleet and scudding low cloud we all love to hate. The first winter snowstorms came in November.
But another ray peeks through the grime: vaccine news is looking positive. 70-90-95% effective rates. Sounds too good to be true! Our leaders are even hinting, giving tentative timelines for their availability. Can we start to plan again? Humans do die, but we also live while we can. I’ll be first in line for any kind of vaccine (even the Russian one?) Risky? Might I die? I am human, so you tell me.
New terms for me this month:
“Plank the curve”. I guess we’ve given up on flattening it? Isn’t a plank flat? Do we crave a variety in our vocabulary? I want to see sliding down the curve. Sliding the curve? Not looking like it for November, at least where I live. We’re still coasting our plank. Riding the high of the second wave.
“Circuit breaker” A shorter, sharper lockdown? I think of getting electrocuted when I hear this one.
Question : “Why…(fill in the blank)”
Answer : “Because of Covid.”
Example : Why does the hiking trail have a sign for going one-way around the kilometers-long loop? I met up facing hikers going the wrong way (gasp) and was so worried we’d have a head-on collision. Not really, of course, but you know, more signs are necessary, because of well, you know.
December, can you believe it, is here. Christmas for me and my closest family. I’ll try to do as I’m told and limit myself to permitted gatherings. I remind myself to :
1) Stop the negative thinking.
2) Do what I can, not dwell on what I cannot.
3) Be kind, kind; don’t judge, don’t shame. At least out loud – does it really matter that the elderly man is pushing his cart the wrong way down the grocery aisle? That the kids are wearing their masks too low under their noses? Walk around them, widely.
4) Try to smile. At least nod, acknowledge one another. We are human beings, of the animal variety. We live with viruses, also of this life.
Good gracious, I need to buy a Christmas tree already.
More stories? Check out previous monthly Covid Diaries. For a break? Books.