Well, this was….unexpected?
Whatever I was forecasting for 2020, this wasn’t it. And I know it’s the same for you. We just could not have imagined the changes we would be put through.
It’s like watching a movie showing the “future” of the 20th century. No one imagined cell phones, or having instant access to information anywhere, anytime through the world wide web. Carrying cameras, movie cameras, movie studios in our pockets. Drones affordable for average folk. No one got streaming music and movies. Or the gig economy. Or how inexpensive and extensive foreign travel would be. Or how we wouldn’t get flying cars.
Who, in 1970, would have imagined people would STILL be marching against systemic racism?
For myself, I’ve been knocked out of the comfortable life I’d built for myself. For two years after I retired I had been looking after our youngest grandchild (la belle princesse) every Thursday. We would go to a playgroup and hang out at the park and I really loved it. But she started full time daycare and just like that I was not needed. No more getting up at 5 am and going out to the suburbs; (quiet sob) my time was my own.
But it wasn’t. I had signed up for Tourism Vancouver city host volunteering, and so once a week I would approach touristy-looking people near the cruise ships dock, and offer directions and maps and suggestions. I loved it! I wore a nice uniform. The people I helped were grateful, my fellow volunteers were all well-travelled and well-informed about the rest of the world. I had so much fun that I was soon doing it twice a week. But the cruise season ends at the end of September, and thus so would the volunteering until Spring.
So I signed up to do some temporary office work. I loved that, too! Going to different industries, using my old skills. And if I didn’t like the situation, I’d just ask not to be assigned there anymore. I made money, which I put away for our planned trips to foreign climes.
I am staying two meters from the grandchildren, even when I get to see them. Or, if I’m babysitting them while their Mom is out I wear a mask — no cuddles. No volunteering this year, all the cruises have been cancelled and the border has been closed with our nearest neighbour and biggest tourism customer. And as for temp work, the few jobs that are available are going to younger, braver workers. A trip I had planned to Great Britain with my sister has been cancelled. Our usual hostelry in Penticton will not open this year, so we’ve cancelled that trip as well.
This is not an uncomfortable life, and I realize how privileged I am that I am able to live it. But I could never have guessed things would turn in these directions.
For us, some of these changes like delivery of pet food and specialty foods will be more or less permanent for the immediate future, we’ll have to forgo our trips to Granville Island or West Broadway on transit. What other changes? Who knows? Maybe voting by mail-in ballots. More and more online shopping.
I had thought we’d be getting grocery delivery until the vaccine comes out but when I asked my husband if there was anything he wanted added to the list, he looked off into the distance and said “I’d like….to go to the store.” He knows I am still very apprehensive of going into any sort of crowd, but he said he’d take it on. The heavy stuff we can still get delivered like liquids and canned things, but for produce, meats, bakery and deli items, he’s ready to head into the fray, masked and cautious. That’s great news because it’s difficult to get exactly what we need when ordering, you can never get unusual items like bavarian meat loaf or English bangers, and there’s so much waste from what we over order. Add in the cost of the delivery and we’re throwing money away.
What changes can we all look forward to? Fewer brick and mortar stores? Better take out and delivery meals from restaurants? Architectural changes so every home has a space for a home office to accommodate more people working from home? Apparently electric bikes are selling like hotcakes as we all try to get outside without crowding each other (and we live in a very hilly part of the world, with the older crowd trying to get back on the bike after abandoning it). Will our traffic patterns change? Will offices be redesigned to avoid face to face meetings? Will people work longer hours but shorter weeks because they don’t have to commute hours each day? What about education? Health care? Fashion?
Who can say what things may come?