Disclaimer: This is a rant about covid. If you live in an American State or some nation that is open for business as usual, please don’t comment here with a political agenda. You can comment if you want, but think twice before you hit publish if you’re going to tell me how you had a steak dinner in a restaurant or went to a party at some club or how all your stores are not going out of business because they are all open and functioning as normal. I don’t give a flying
fuck crap which way you lean in terms of your political orientation or covid and I don’t want to engage, or have my readers engage, in a political pissing contest on my platform. Please and thank you. I’m just ranting here to get the unfairness of all this crap out of my system. #SorryNotSorry
My email exploded. There’s a bunch of messages coming through from the hockey manager. My teenager, who is 15, has played competitive hockey since the age of 4. This is probably his third last year of playing competitive – after he graduates from grade 12 (he’s in grade 10) he will probably be done. Unfortunately, this year has been nothing short of a clusterfuck.
For obvious reasons.
But here’s the thing.
They are at least still practicing. There are no games, but they’re still on the ice once a week (pre-covid was minimum 4 times per week).
They go to the rink and follow a million iron-clad protocols to keep everyone safe. They’re teen boys, right? They want to get out and burn some energy. Walking puppies in the park is one thing, but that kid of mine needs to do some hard, sweaty skating with his buddies for mental, and physical health purposes.
Some hockey leagues have a lot of covid cases. Ours doesn’t (that I’ve heard). I know this because we’re not shut down yet. We keep getting pulled back with more restrictions, but we’re still going to the rink. And that’s because they, the hockey organization for this minor league, has stricter protocol than any school system I’ve seen.
But this isn’t just about the hockey team. This is about some of the peripheral observations I see when I’m out with my son. And by out, I mean school drop off and pick up. This is pretty much the only ‘out’ there is other than shopping for essentials.
I pick up my kid at the high school every other day. I see most of the kids come out with masks on most of the time, as they walk toward the car that will take them home.
There are kids at the bus stop as well. The buses get pretty packed and I just don’t want to deal with the possibility of covid or other germs so I’m driving my kid because I can.
Fine, right? No big deal.
So as I sit in the parking lot, I see a bunch of teens huddling together without masks. There’s at least 5 or 6 and within arms’ length or closer. Some of the girls hug each other, touch each other. Some of the boys high five each other.
They don’t look like they live together in the same household.
I’m thinking, ok, I don’t know, maybe they’re in a bubble.
Whatever. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
But then a teen girl with a toddler, probably a niece or something, arrives from across the field. She picks up the toddler and lifts her close enough to the 5 or 6 friends of hers to do high fives. With the baby. Who is not wearing a mask (she doesn’t have to, nor should, at this age) nor gloves.
This child has now had contact with 5 or 6 strangers.
I just shake my head.
Does her mom have a mom who is old and sick? A relative who has health issues? Does the mom of the baby know that her baby has had contact with several teenagers?
Do these teens in the huddle who look healthy carry an invisible virus that could unleash havoc on someone vulnerable? Are they asymptomatic covid carriers?
No one is monitoring this and I’m on the fence. Should I be bothered by this? They’re just living life, being normal. God knows we all miss normal (mostly).
And yet, cases are surging. Hospitals are filling up. Medical staff are stretched.
I start to question myself – should we just get on with it and think of this virus as not so dangerous? Is everyone who is locking us down overreacting? Or should we take it seriously?
I’m taking it seriously. Even when I waver a little (because I, too, am fed up.)
I don’t want any virus, not covid, not the common cold, not the flu.
Nor any other respiratory issue.
Now, after watching this and similar scenarios at the high school ever week I get to come home to hockey emails that sound like this.
“Hockey Arena has been instructed by York Region Health to close the dressing rooms. Starting today, players are to come dressed to the rink. They will have 15 minutes to put their skates on at the bench. Everyone is to be as fast as possible in the rink. Reminder that the max number of people on the ice is 10. No parents or spectators allowed in the rink.”
So, we are to take our 15 year old sons who look like men and all their gear which makes them look like the Hulk and have them dress in the car, which is difficult at best. (We drive an Elantra. It’s a small car, not an SUV.)
Some of those boys are 6’2″ and over 180 or more pounds.
What’s a goalie going to do? No way he can dress with his extra padded gear, or the goalie pads for his legs, in the car, it’s just not doable.
But sure, the boys will do fine. They’re used to it now. They want to keep going to the rink so they will do what they were told to do. They will follow fucking protocol even if people at their own high school aren’t.
It’s winter now. It’s cold. Dressing in the car and/or the parking lot is just stupid. And, parents can’t go inside even if they wear a mask and stay 2 meters apart. Not even to use the facilities.
So the dads, and some moms, sit in their cars and run the motors for heat for at least an hour.
HELLO ENVIRONMENT POLICE…do you like the smog filled parking lots?
In the meantime, little babies are doing high fives with a few unmasked teens in high school parking lots.
It all seems so futile.
Thank you for reading.