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COLUMN: Permanently scarred or temporarily paranoid

Covid has changed my view on socializing

Other than and, the and a, I think Covid is the word I have written and spoken the most in the past year.

It seems to enter every conversation and article that I’m a part of. That’s not to say that every story we write at the Mission Record is about Covid, but it does have a way of creeping in.

For example: New art show opens at Mission gallery – Covid restrictions apply. Father’s Day parade planned – to replace car show cancelled due to Covid. Council holds public hearing online – to ensure social distancing is maintained to prevent spread of Covid.

You see? No matter what we write or talk about, Covid tends to show up in one way or another.

After 18 months of Covid coverage, the situation has left me a little confused and I think emotionally scarred. Let’s deal with the confusion first.

Is Covid over?

As far as I know the answer is a pretty solid no. B.C. is slowly relaxing restrictions as more people get vaccinated and case numbers continue to decline. However there is still a long way to go.

Yes, we can travel around the province again and groups of up to 50 can meet outside (for weddings etc.) but masks are still mandatory, at least for now.

Now cast your eyes downward, towards the United States, and things appear to be a lot different.

Some states have removed almost all restrictions. California announced they were “turning the page” and basically returning to normal.

I turned on the television yesterday to watch one of the NHL playoff games (Montreal at Vegas) and was astonished to see a bench filled with players, coaches standing behind them wearing masks, and behind them were 17,000 screaming fans in the crowd, most of them not wearing any kind of face mask.

Disneyland has reopened to non-California residents? Television talk shows are allowing live studio audiences in New York?

What’s going on?

I know the border is still closed between Canada and the U.S., but I’m pretty sure the virus doesn’t need a passport to float on over to our side.

I’m scratching my head over comparing the Canadian reaction and the U.S. reaction to Covid. Personally, I prefer to err on the side of caution and stick with the Canadian approach.

That brings me to being emotionally scarred.

With B.C. relaxing some of the restrictions, people have a little more freedom to move around and socialize.

I have a small group of friends that I play poker with once a month, but we haven’t seen each other in person for more than a year. When Covid hit, we decided to play online, rather than gather together and disrupt our separate bubbles.

This month, the invitation to play arrived by email, like it always does, but this time it’s going to be a live game.

That means I have to actually leave my bubble and go to someone else’s house to play.

Now, there are precautions in place. There will be two tables of five to allow more social distancing and it will take place on the patio so we are all outside. However, there’s a part of me that’s scared to go.

I mean, I don’t know where these people have been. Do I have to touch the cards they deal me with their Covid infested hands? What if someone licks their finger before dealing?

Ewwww!

I’ve spent 18 months avoiding people, now I’m not sure if I remember how to socialize or even want to. Am I being paranoid or just cautious?

The idea of talking to other people seems foreign to me now. Like a hermit, crawling out of his cave, I’m nervous to be a part of the real world. I certainly don’t want to head down south in the near future.

Covid has changed me, mentally. People are bad, dirty, virus carrying monsters waiting to infect me.

It’s true, I’m not paranoid.

– Kevin Mills is the editor of the Mission Record