Column like I see 'em - The post pandemic to-do list


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

We’ve all likely reached the point in the COVID-19 pandemic where we’re asking ourselves the same questions: When will it end? When will life get back to normal? As I type this column in an empty room, dealing with the isolation as best I can, I still don’t know the answers and most likely, neither do you.

I am, however, feeling a little more optimistic that we are near an end than I was a month ago. Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers continue to trend downward and it feels as though the light at the end of this dark tunnel we’ve travelled down the past two months is getting brighter. Obviously, we must remain cautious and follow the advice of our duly elected and appointed leadership. But, if we keep on the path we’ve been following, our dream of returning to some type of normalcy will come true, and we need to be prepared for that. That’s why I jotted down my post pandemic to-do list.

1. Get a haircut: I don’t know about you, but this definitely needs to be at the top of my list. At this point in time, my hair has reached that ridiculous point between short and long, where you just can’t do anything with it. Fortunately, half a container of hairspray and styling gel has somewhat put this mop under control, though it is shellacked to the point where I could play football without a helmet and have no fear of a concussion.

Or perhaps, I should go the other way and just grow back that sweet mullet I was rocking in the early 1990s. Think the Billy Ray Cyrus achy breaky look, but with a perm… I made very bad choices as a youth and that hairstyle is one example. Thank God most of those pictures have been lost to history.

2. Visit family: My parents retired just down the road in Brandon, but during the pandemic, they might as well have lived on Mars. Travel is not suggested, so most of the interactions have been by phone. The lone exception has been when I picked up my all-season tires from their shed while wearing an N95 mask and they stayed inside and waved from the window. Not exactly quality time, but you get what you can get nowadays.

I look forward to the day I can once again chauffeur my mother to the book or grocery stores. She never got her drivers’ license, so once a month, I drive to town and take her out to all those spots. Every time, she slips me some money for gas or to go get some lunch. I’m a middle aged man, yet still, my mother seems to want to give me an allowance. I’ll wake up tomorrow and be 65, yet somehow, still be her little guy.

I look forward to once again getting into debates with my father about politics or sports. Arguing with him on why my perspective on that certain politician or hockey player is the correct one, but then realizing after the fact that he was probably right all along

I look forward to giving both of them a hug…and anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m not a hugger. I think once this is over, I’ll get over that particular personal quirk. Also, I’ll have to remember to steal and burn that one graduation photo in their living room, where I’m sporting the awful achy breaky mullet.

3. Count my blessings: As bad as the COVID-19 situation has felt for me at times, I honestly have not felt the type of hardship suffered by so many others. I was able to keep working through this on a full time basis, something many of you have not been able to cling to. I look at some of my media compatriots, for example, in Reston, Souris, Deloraine and Melita, who were laid off for 12 weeks at the start of all of this. I think to myself  “There, but for the grace of God...or really, my boss, Ken Waddell, go I.”

Capitalism is not sentimental, so I fear that those jobs and many others in a wide array of other fields, will never come back. I hope I’m wrong about that.

4. Learn from this: This is the one thing I hope all of us place upon our individual to-do lists. We need to remember the lessons collected from this experience. This pandemic has shown who really is important to the world and it’s not Instagram influencers or YouTube “celebrities”. Neither one of those ensured the grocery stores shelves were stocked when we needed it.

After all this is said and done, think of that store clerk, who not only helped you during this crisis, but did so with a smile on their face, while fearing that they’ve spent their eight hour shift breathing in a death sentence. Remember who actually had value when we were all on the brink and treat them accordingly after the fact.

If you do decide to come up with a post pandemic to-do list, I’d like to know what’s on it. I think it would be good for all of us to share what we look forward to when the old normal, hopefully becomes the new normal once again.

Disclaimer: Column like I see ‘em is a monthly opinion column for the Neepawa Banner & Press. The views expressed in the article are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Neepawa Banner & Press.