COLUMN: Dealing with isolation is no walk in the park

In this age of self-isolation, the smiles, the waves, the hellos are out in force.

Long before we were all confined to our homes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I would take semi-regular walks around my neighbourhood.

And because I live in a densely populated area, I’d inevitably come across other people – dog walkers, kids riding bikes, or young families out for a stroll.

My usual circuit takes about 40 minutes, and, on average, I might get one ‘hello’ from a passerby. Two on a good day.

I’ve probably handed out the same; I’m more of a quick-eye-contact-and-polite-head-nod kind of guy.

But the world has changed since then. Maybe you’ve noticed.

Now, in this age of self-isolation, the smiles, the waves, the hellos – they’re out in force.

On a recent weekend constitutional, every single person I came within a socially-acceptable two-metres of said hello.

Everyone was smiling, too – which I found odd, considering there isn’t much worth smiling about these days.

Jobs have been cut, people are sick, schools are closed…. but then it hit me: We’re outside. That’s why everyone is so damn happy.

We’re prisoners on day parole, and we all know it.

Sure, we have to go back inside soon, but can you believe this weather right now?

Admittedly, the opportunity to be outdoors is something you’d normally take for granted, or file under ‘small victories’ at the most, but these days, you take the positives where you can find them. Like the prisoners in Shawshank Redemption assigned to tar the roof of that penitentiary building, sometimes we’re just happy to feel the sun on our shoulders.

For whatever reason, I’ve found these short walks bring me a strange amount of comfort, which is in extremely short supply for a lot of us these days, as we wake up every morning stressed about what might come next.

Is that layoff finally coming? Do I qualify for CERB? When we’ve watched literally everything there is to watch on Netflix, what then?

Will someone I love get the virus? How long is the line going to be at the grocery store today?

What if I run out of beer?

Seriously, how many times can we watch Friends?

No wonder we all need a little air.

Usually, my wife accompanies me on these walks. Like me, she’s working from home, and relishes the opportunity to escape the house, if even for the briefest of moments.

It’s also proof that we haven’t got sick of each other yet – not even last week when, upon noticing that we were wearing the same business-casual attire (black sweats, sky-blue hoodies), my wife referred to us as a “quaran-team.”

That was a close one.

We got through it though, just as we continue to get through each hour of each day, watching reruns of old sitcoms, drinking too much coffee, and dreaming, like Andy Dufresne in the aforementioned Shawshank, of the day when this is all over and we come out clean on the other side.

In the meantime, I guess we’ll just keep walking.

Be sure to say hello.

Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.

ColumnCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey, White Rock seniors find their groove

Parking-lot line-dancing is helping keep Kent Street Activity Centre members moving during pandemic

‘Family meetup centres’ helping White Rock seniors reconnect with loved ones

Converted shipping container allows face-to-face time while ensuring physical distancing

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Surrey pushing the poor out of Whalley, public hearing speakers say

‘There is a war on the poor here in Surrey,’ resident Dave Diewert tells city council

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read

l -->