• Menu

The Blame Game

Ottawa, September 2020
Ottawa, September 2020

I don’t have any upcoming weddings or group events to attend, so social gatherings should be banned. I mean, who gets married during a pandemic? What’s there to celebrate? And since I don’t usually eat out in Ottawa, let’s shut down restaurants again—cook your own goddamn meals, just like I do. Bars? Are you serious? Drink alone at home, gee. As for people who have to return to work… tough luck and bad career decisions—why don’t they have one of these jobs where you can work remotely indefinitely, just like everyone else?

What? Does it sound arbitrary? Unfair and excessive, maybe?

Eh, I’m just playing the popular blame game.

The main rule is that random strangers get to decide what others should or shouldn’t be doing BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC! (Using all caps for emphasis is also part of the game, FYI.)

Go ahead, read the news and comments below, browse Twitter, chat with a neighbour—there’s anger and outrage all over the place about IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR, topped by a layer of virtue signalling, #MEANDMYSELFBEINGSAFEANDCONSIDERATE.

It’s maddening.

We’re all trying our best. I mean, no one really wants to get sick, right?

So yes, ideally the best course of action would be to hide in a bunker and come out when COVID is gone. But it’s not exactly practical and sustainable for a hundred of reasons—mental health, the need to make money to survive, the fact there’s more to life than merely staying alive, the lack of affordable furnished bunkers on Airbnb.

This is what I find the hardest with the current situation—constantly having to make judgment calls and assess risks in an environment where experts don’t have all the answers and a real, scary health issue has been politicized. I have to decide what I can touch, who I can see, where I can go, what matters and what can be postponed, what sounds reasonable, when restrictions go too far and how my choices affect others.

Do you feel the same?

Well, for some, the rule seems to be “if I’m not affected, then nobody is.” Where does this lack of empathy and common sense come from?

Recently, a WestJet flight was cancelled over a mask dispute because parents couldn’t get their baby or toddler (depending on the version) to wear a mask. Comments are split between “who the fuck is flying during a pandemic?” and “the government is lying to us, masks are useless.” But age cut-off and mask guidelines aren’t set in stone, can’t we just be smart and adapt based on the situation? I mean, getting a toddler to wear a mask can’t be easy…

School is another controversial topic. If you opted for “in person learning,” you’re a terrible parent with complete disregard for the whole community because kids are super spreaders. But others claim teachers are overreacting snowflakes who just want the year off.

I got some nasty emails (maybe from this person?) this summer when Mark and I went to France because “you don’t travel during a pandemic!” Two of my (relatively young) French relatives avoided us as well “because Canada is close to the US” (??!). Canadians are regularly outraged by the fact planes are still flying domestically and internationally, and out-of-province travellers aren’t exactly welcome in plenty of places. I get it, but realistically, can we prevent people from going places for months, years even?   

Every time cases are on the rise in a specific province or city—populous Ontario and Quebec often top the list—helpful, balanced and research-based suggestions are made, such as “lock ’em up!”, “COVID is a hoax!” and “these idiots deserve to die!”

Private and social functions are also being blamed for some of the recent increases in cases, along with workplace outbreaks. “Breaking news – a Walmart employee tested positive!” “Breaking news – people party even though we told them not to!”

This is a pandemic. We obviously catch the virus from someone, doing something. Can we stop the blame game now? No one is going to win.

Let’s use common sense, follow general guidelines and do what we’re comfortable with. Not everyone has the ability to work from home, homeschool, isolate and stay put for months or years. Entire industries are still on hold indefinitely and even if it doesn’t impact you personally for now, it might later (plus, empathy, right?).

We need to find sustainable ways to be safe and happy. Blaming shouldn’t be part of the plan.   

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *