A Big Fat Slice of Chocolate Cake

“I want to encourage you to document your life, home, family, and feelings over the next few weeks. Write it down somewhere . . . We are literally writing the history books. Don’t assume someone else will capture it better than you . . . Write it for your children and children’s children. We’re all in this together. Let’s remember it the way it was.”

-Laura Tremaine

March 13, 2020. Beaverlodge, AB

Yesterday, all of the sudden, the purely hypothetical build up of the past few months burst into being. In a rush, it was real. NHL suspended. Prime Minister self-quarantined. People lining up to buy toilet paper. 

I didn’t need toilet paper. I went to a local bakery and bought the most delicious looking cake they had. When the world’s in a panic and falling apart, you need to focus on the good stuff.

As I stood in a massive line at Save-On Foods today, my basket full of children’s Advil and bread and milk and cough syrup, it felt like the world was ending. 

At least, the world as I know it is ending. All of these years I’ve watched footage of World War I and II, of the Great Depression, and thought, with gratitude, that those things don’t happen anymore – not in my lifetime. 

All of these years I’ve watched documentaries that ominously promise there’s a massive earthquake off the coast of BC coming, we just don’t know when; they warn that the next great pandemic is coming, it’s just a matter of time. But, it was all hypothetical to me. It was all something that might happen in the fogginess of the distant future. Having lived a life where nothing ever went wrong on this level, those warnings were unbelievable. 

What privilege I grew up with.

Tonight, for the first time, I am scared. I’m worried for my Dad – diabetic, chronically tired, 62, driving a bus full of kids. Today he looked old for the first time. His face lined in a way I’ve never noticed before. He’s susceptible. 

I’m not ashamed to say I fight back tears. I’m not ashamed to say I couldn’t fall asleep last night. I tossed and turned. 

I think about how all the people posting on social media about how this wasn’t a real problem are eerily quiet now.

I also think a lot about how the internet allows everyone to act like an expert, to share their dangerous, misguided opinions in times like these. 

I think a lot about the irony that healthcare workers are being asked to take wage cuts (was that really just a few weeks ago?); to do more with less, and now we are asking them to do the most with the very least yet.

Tonight, for the first time, I am scared. The instructions are that we go to work on Monday, like normal, that we take training this week to prepare us to teach from home if needed. 

Tonight, for the first time, I am scared. So many other sources recommend social distancing to stop the spread. Now

Tonight I am scared. But being scared and doing it anyway is my modus operandi.  I will face this – whatever this turns out to be – with level headedness, with resilience, with humour. I will respond to the stress and uncertainty and panic with love, reliable information, and a big fat slice of chocolate cake. 

I hope you do the same.

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