The Self-Isolation Diaries From Toronto by A Grounded Extrovert Travel Writer is not a sponsored post in any way. It’s been a while since I’ve done something from the heart for zero pay or compensation, so enjoy.
Hey, how you doing? Well, I’m doing just fine on this day 28 of self-isolation for the sake of our health.
Truth? I just lied. It’s day 28 since the city of Toronto started to shut everything down and I feel like I am dying inside. In my normal life, I am an extrovert, I thrive on the company of others. While I do know how to be and function as a regular person alone, it’s not my preferred way of life. Mainly, I earn an income working in television and documentaries, but my passion is creating content as a travel writer. Ironically, due to how ordinary people travel and the spread of a virus, my wings are clipped.
After returning from Latvia (read all about those adventures here) and Poland in November, and countless other travels in the fall of 2019, my kids asked me to stay home for a while to be with them. Fair request and I had some personal matters to attend too. I gladly did all that and had an upcoming calendar with new destinations and exciting plans filling up for April, May and June. I’m not even going to list what they were and where because those are all cancelled now.
Hello, depression my old friend.
The Extrovert Travel Writer Is Forced To Become A Homebody Recluse
What happens when a travel writer is not travelling? I can’t say it’s fair for me to speak for anyone else, but I feel sluggish. Directionless. Confused. I am searching for a purpose. Unmotivated. Grieving. Some have pivoted and have been able to make some other types of content. I see you pounding out posts like there’s a pandemic on our hands and… oh wait… There is. I’m still all baffled about being inside and home for this amount of time. I can barely edit together scenes. Everything used to take me four times less time to do.
We have to stay home and hide from the coronanananana virus. For the sake of livening up the situation, my children and I will refer to anything COVID-19 related now as the coronanananana.
Anyone else dreaming of the days of yore when we could freely walk down the street with friends? It’s spring, patio season at all the bars and restaurants would be ramping up right now. I’d be excited to put on a spring dress, a fun pair of shoes and head out. Instead, every single bar and restaurant is closed except for take out service. Parks have been condemned to be empty. Barely a soul walking the streets or sidewalks unless it’s sunny outside. If the sun’s rays are sneaking out, all the runners appear. Hefty financial fines to be issued though to those not belonging in the same household standing or socializing too close to each other. House parties are forbidden. Some stores around Yonge and Dundas Square have used plywood to board up their windows and doors.
It’s almost feeling apocalyptic. Everyone who was on assignment or on vacation was forced to struggle to return home. Toilet paper, ground beef and wifi have become the new currency (it’s a joke, but almost real). Add in some zombies wandering around searching for brains and we’re suddenly cast members in The Walking Dead. I wish I knew who to credit for this meme of Rick Grimes with his shopping list.
Listen, I still do not understand why normal citizens of this country flooded all the grocery stores and bought out six-month supplies of toilet paper for a virus that affects your lungs and symptoms do not include constant shitting and frequent butt wiping, but I digress…
The Month Of March Became A Year Of Hell
Do you remember life before the lockdown? The last swimming lesson the kids had was on Wednesday, March 11. Little Man passed his salamander level, ready for sunfish. Miss M is swim team training, she hopefully will move into competition or lifeguarding. On Thursday, March 12, the premier of Ontario, Dough Ford and Education Minister Steven Lecce announced that the schools would not be reopening after March break and the children needed to stay home until April 5th. They predicted that on Monday, the 6th of April the kids would be back to school and the closure was a precaution. Friday, March 13th, I enjoyed an evening at the gym where no one bothered me and the equipment I wanted to use was all mine. My last evening out to dinner at Banu on Queen Street West was on Saturday, March 14. The city of Toronto announced that at as of midnight on Monday, March 16th, it was closing down all the restaurants and bars in the city to flatten the curve.
It was during this week that we learned what social distancing was. That the virus was now in Ontario and spreading. Coronanananana is coming to get us, but it really didn’t seem like the hype was worth it just yet. We had seen what was going on in China for the past couple of months, that it had spread heavily to Iran and Italy, but Canada is untouchable.
It’s all we are entrenched in now and all we know for the foreseeable future. Climbing numbers of new cases every day. Now I know people who have and have had the virus. There are reports that people are actually dying.
Climbing The Walls
Our former lives seem so far away. Walking outside and greeting a neighbour with a hug or a high five is not something we can do. Prior to March of this year, I had never heard of the phrases social distancing and self-isolation. Today is April 12th. Our children did not return to school this past Monday. The province of Ontario has extended our emergency orders and subsequent home lives until April 24th or something like that.
Provincial parks and conservation areas are all closed. There is no possible way I could have utilized my Ontario Parks annual pass to go and take a hike or toss a canoe into the water. I haven’t seen my mother aside from on Facetime since the middle of February. There are news reports of people being fined for not following the rules. Despite closures and being told to stay home, some have taken it upon themselves to head out to the trails and waterfalls anyway because they think they are entitled to do so. Allow me to be crystal clear here, the longer entitled assholes continue to pull this shit, the longer we’re potentially exposed to the virus, the longer we are all under quarantine in our homes #STAYTHEFUCKHOME
I’ve even chosen a theme song for this period of history.
Social visits in my world now consist of either yelling hello from the sidewalk or on Facetime and video conference calling on Zoom. Saturday nights are for virtual happy hours. Society today is all seemingly observing the Finnish tradition of getting tipsy at home in our underwear called “pants drunk”. Kippis!
To all the single parents trying to work from home because we need to get paid to keep the roof over our heads as it’s better money than the CERB from our government and assist their children through their TCDSB virtual learning lessons for the foreseeable future, we will get through this, somehow. There is hope that the kids will go back to school before the end of the school year, but there is no guarantee.
@kathrynanywhereSend HELP! ##marchbreak2020 ##3weekmarchbreak ##marchbreak2020 ##coronalockdown ##corona_lockdown ##fyoupage ##momsbelike
I have decided to entertain my son and help him get his energy out by propping up his old bike in the living room and turned it into a stationary bike so he can “ride” and watch YouTube at the same time. There’s a tent in my living room and my daughter is taking zoom calls with her Girl Guide pack. She’s mastered Tiktok and Facetiming with friends along with enjoying worthwhile games as Roblox, Adopt Me and Flee The Facility.
Fucking and bonding over Jason Bateman in a world pandemic
This is a hard time to be dating. The province of Quebec has gone so far as to promote monogamy, so there it is, multiple partners is off the table for the time being. We have to hang out at home. All the time. We’re forced to have conversations and get to know each other. Or not converse and watch Ozarks. Season 3 is pretty stellar so far by the way.
Guess you get to know who you would want by your side in the midst of an annihilation of society. The solid standard of a job, sense of humour and kind of cute is completely out the window now. You start to look for basic skills such as the ability to siphon gas, know how to break into a pharmacy, a natural penchant for shit disturbing and some bushcraft. If they have the aforementioned survival skills, a nice smile and a six-pack, that’s the jackpot.
Everything Is Out Of Focus
How are we all doing for real? I admit that I don’t do well without other people around. No lying here, I’ve had mood swings. My kids are still spending a couple of nights a week at their Dads and it’s good because parenting during quarantine is like normal parenting except you’re now homeschooling your children weeks after they were supposed to return to school but they aren’t and you’re drowning in virtual schooling on top of working from home, keeping the house clean, laundry done, keeping up personal appearances like eyebrows, and my bikini line. Which by the way, since all the spas and hair salons are closed so we can social distance and self-isolate, is difficult. No doubt some women are celebrating the freedom of not caring because the option fails to exist.
Can This Really Go On For The Next 12-18 Months?
Realistically, this way of life could last for the next 12-18 months. There are scientists working on a vaccine, but guarantees of having it sooner rather than later aren’t likely. There are a lot of folks who are not on board with the social distancing and still think this is mass hysteria being spread by the media. To them I say, I’m so glad this has yet to touch your lives, but when it does be ready.
At this point, I cannot handle another person telling me to stay home. I am doing my part. My kids are doing their part. I need to know everyone else has done their part so we can all move on quicker. This sedentary home life with no in-person interaction is not something I’m cut out for in the long run. I’m glad some people are made for it. Good for them. Stinking introverts. I’m not and as much as it seems appealing to sit on my couch, I can’t much longer. What I want to do is to run sprints in the park. Head out to a patio with friends, order chicken wings and cheers our pints together. To take my kids over for playdates at a friend’s house.
What good is coming out of this? Personally, I’m reading books again for the first time in ages. Due to my lack of motivation to work, I’ve actually spent time sitting on the couch with my kids while they’re home with me. I’m more in touch with friends now, albeit online than ever. I am cooking for my kids more and they’re enjoying it. Today was bacon grease pancakes. BOOM!
In all honesty, knowing that I cannot cook the exact same thing every single day, I have had to get creative. I learned about cooking up pancakes in bacon grease from my friend, Andrea who runs the blog, Mommy Gearest. She’s been cooking and baking every day during the pandemic and has come up with some interesting recipes that I’ve seen on Facebook and Tiktok.
I got an accidental meat delivery from TruLocal. I contacted them to let them know their delivery service has dropped a box of meat at the wrong house and they came back to me a couple of hours later saying I could keep the box and enjoy. WOW! So now they’ve gained a new future customer with me and I’m trying out things I might not have ordered myself to cook like Miami Ribs are in the oven tonight. Ground turkey? It was great in spaghetti sauce! The nitrate-free pork bacon was what I cooked up and used the grease for the pancakes. The bacon was delicious, my kids enjoyed it way more than regular store-bought bacon.
As a society, this has been a huge wake-up call on how we conduct ourselves. Let’s be more kind, compassionate, help neighbours, be fearless, love unconditionally and spend more time living in the moment.
I can’t wait to hug my mom when it’s safe to do so. I hope you get to hug a loved one soon as well.
Glad you found the energy to share this. It’s fucking hard. We do what we can and will fly again soon, my friend. XO extrovert who is also falling apart.
Oh indeed! It’s going to be awhile, we just need to hang on a little longer xoxo
As a ‘stinking introvert’ I’m okay being alone, but this is more alone than I ever dreamed of. I’ve also come to terms with a complete lack of motivation … and I mean, complete. I’m supposed to be on a beach holiday in Thailand right now, so I keep telling myself this is my beach holiday without the palm tree. I’m also supposed to go to Cuba in May, so likely my beach holiday will be extended as a further excuse not to work. We’ll get through this, just maybe not productively. Great post, Kathryn.
Please know that I don’t mean ‘stinking introvert’ as an insult! Your complete lack of motivation looks like hilarious videos on Facebook. I applaud your animal friend videos! Your make over was hilarious!
What? I thought ‘stinking introvert’ was a compliment.
In the highest of calibres!
I think you captured this so perfectly. It’s a strange, strange time
I keep waiting for Jerry Garcia to start singing “what a long strange trip it’s been…” to me
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