Unnecessary Loss

It’s only when I talk to other professors when I realize how anomalous is in this group my life with its house parties, travel, playdates for my kid, work in the office, in-person teaching, real trick-or-treating for Halloween, Thanksgiving in Florida, and restaurant visits with friends.

People have stolen a whole year of life from themselves. Imagine how angry they’ll be when they discover it was unnecessary.

P.S. I actually know a few other professors who lead completely normal lives. They are either over (yes, over) the age of 60 or vote Republican.

6 thoughts on “Unnecessary Loss”

  1. “They are either over (yes, over) the age of 60…”

    This is one of the most concerning things about this crisis.

    One of the central messages of the post WWII baby boomer decades was that individuals should be skeptical of all authority and place a very high value on individual freedom and creativity. Continual social/political/economic/cultural change was accepted as normal and individuals were expected to make their own necessary adjustments to the shifting ground around them – no risk, no reward.

    Current thinking is quite the opposite – unreasonable fear of the natural environment, complete obedience to the “trusted” authority of those who speak in the name of bureaucratic “science,” and absolute conformity of behaviour are today’s maxims. Good citizenship is characterized by hiding in your hidey-hole and passively listening to (and later repeating word for word) the fear-mongering Henny Pennies of the powerful.


  2. This is indeed exceptional, yes. Here, we have been trying to live as normally as possible — we go out to restaurants, send our kids to daycare and sit and work at coffeeshops once the kids are out; we even went on a road trip for thanksgiving. We sometimes meet up with friends outdoors for a hike or a picnic at the park but none of our friends are ready to come to an indoor dinner party or do a real trick-or-treat or eat out at restaurants yet. Our university is strongly discouraging in-person teaching although it is “hybrid” in principle, but I’m trying to see if I can teach in-person in spring. We’ll see.


  3. I cannot say I live perfectly normal life, but it is normal enough to react (internally) with “WTF???” almost every time you write something about the restrictions on life in Montreal. 🙂


      1. Restaurants are doing takeout and delivery. Actually sitting in a physical restaurant where half the people are either clueless or corona-skeptics is not particularly appealing to me. I do not consider the probability of dying as particularly high, but why flirt with something that may give one serious complications?.. Besides, I also take responsibility for reducing the probability of accidentally infecting someone else.
        Never cared about gyms, I exercise by walking along the canal. Or the river. I live in such place that I can do both. Nobody limits how far or how often you can walk, or drive. Well, one is not supposed to drive to some remote regions that have small numbers of cases. To me this seems reasonable, as these regions usually have shitty small hospitals.

        I physically go to work every other day. Could go every day, this is allowed. Security is just keeping records of when one was in or out.
        Most shops are open. Farmers’ markets are open.
        Dentists seemed to be open, at least until recently (my dentist was pestering me with her invitations).
        Daycares and schools seem to be open, according to my colleagues.
        People from different households can still meet in the parks. The harshest thing I personally observed done by the police is politely asking a group of 10-15 to distance better in the park along the canal. We have done some really weird things in the parks with people who are clearly not from the same household. (These things were work-related, so I will not specify which things these were, to make myself less identifiable.)
        Masks are required only in indoor public places. Since I actually do walk outside a lot, I see that some people do not wear masks outside, and some do. I personally do not wear mask outdoors, unless it is crowded, as in the farmers’ market.
        Travel to Maritime provinces is still limited, I guess. But it is their own initiative, not federal government’s. This summer I traveled from Montreal to Vancouver and back, in a car with Quebec license plates, and nobody ever questioned anything. Of course we exercised reasonable precautions while doing that. The point was not to prove to somebody that we can do whatever we please, but just to do what needed to be done, while being careful for ourselves and others.


  4. I was surprised when my last ED visit was a perfectly normal one. I was placed in the hallway, no isolation rooms, no worried people asking me “so did you test negative since you had it?” (No, I didn’t, because the results of a test so soon would be worthless without an actual viral culture.) No radiology techs trying their best to avoid me. Doctors actually seeing patients (this didn’t happen at my first ED visit to a smaller hospital last week, and it’s nearly impossible to get an in-person PCP appointment). No triage techs giving me nasty looks because I couldn’t put my mask back up when they put a blood pressure cuff on one arm and an oxygen sensor on the other hand. I left with a preliminary diagnosis and a plan for my followup appointment. It felt normal. It was nice — not that I’m sick, that part sucks and COVID really kicked my ass — but that everyone treated me like a normal person, not like a plague rat. And they were treating their COVID patients the same way — albeit in their own rooms, not in the hallway.


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