Throwback 2020 (Kimberly Barber, March 2020)

I considered not posting this week, because I’ve just about had it with this COVID business. Remember 2020? I do. I remember how isolated I felt, how hopeless it all seemed, how we were all trying to buoy one another up with little slogans (like the ones I photographed on a morning walk back in March of that first pandemic year, pictured above). It all seems so quaint now. How inexperienced we all were in the Art of Pandemic!

It’s most certainly felt a bit repetitive this week as I’ve a) had to return home from a 2020-postponed gig due to: yes! COVID (we all got sick), b) had to attend several planning meetings to “pivot” (oh, how I hate that word) and plan for “contingencies”, c) felt a return (though milder) to COVID symptoms that I thought were over as of Monday. The latter has been the most disappointing of all, and yet somehow emblematic of this whole shitshow (sorry, there’s no other word for it). You get sick, you’re isolated and lonely and grateful for any support you get (thanks, Odette!), you start to get better and feel hopeful again, you actually have some energy and you celebrate a little (!), you get worse because the symptoms return in some modified but recognizable form, you go back to the beginning. That’s what this week has been.

I returned empty-handed (at least that was the feeling) from Winnipeg on Monday and lived it up a little, only to present once again with symptoms on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday and Thursday I was pretty much bed-ridden and feeling like this would never end. This morning, things seem to be looking up. Symptoms are improved and I’m cautiously optimistic. But then again: our hospitals are overrun, this virus seems to have a mind of its own and everything feels just too much. It’s déjà vu all over again. I’m going to remind myself of some of those slogans, and among my favourites at the time was one my daughter sent me: LOVE IS NOT CANCELLED. I’m holding on to that.