Am I becoming more judgmental in these days of isolation and social distancing? I’ve been asking myself this question more and more lately. In Canada, at least in British Columbia, citizens aren’t forced into seclusion. We have been asked to stay home as much as possible; go out only when necessary. When we do go out we must keep a distance of three meters from others. Those are the basic rules plus there are all kinds of recommendations about cleaning items brought in from the store, wearing masks when necessary, etc. One very strong rule has been that those who travel home from abroad must quarantine for two weeks.
These are pretty standard rules for the times we are living in. Some countries are more heavy-handed with citizens and others offer no parameters at all. But Canadians, for the most part, are trying their best to stick to the government and department of health guidelines. Except when they aren’t. We have now been isolating for more than a month, the economy has pretty much shut down, and everyone is getting tired of homeschooling their kids and watching old TV shows. We are edging towards pushback time.
We all saw the photos of cars jamming the highways and B.C. ferries filling up on the Easter long weekend. I guess people felt like they just had to get out. I was bursting with anger and judgment. How could they put their own needs before that of community and country? Why were they so selfish? But what could I do? I was helpless to stop any of it. My anger only served to raise my blood pressure.
Closer to home there are other issues. Supermarkets have markers to indicate how to distance and people are supposed to respect each other’s space while shopping and not doddle around. Unfortunately, every time my husband goes grocery shopping there’s some kind of problem. Someone comes close and reaches over him for the item they want, others block the aisle and browse, some get extremely resentful and nasty if he asks them politely to please step back. Social distancing has become a real test of virtue and patience.
Other situations of concern crop up even closer to home—our townhouse strata. Is it ok for neighbours to get together in someone’s backyard if they keep their chairs three meters apart? Is it ok to meet with your adult kids and go for a walk in the park if you keep social distancing rules? Is it ok to have a strata council meeting outside (again with distance in mind)? Is it ok to troop out the road in front of the strata and bang on pots and wave signs in support of first responders and healthcare workers? Aren’t most people just doing this from their backyards?
I have mixed feelings about all of this. People mean well but are they bending the rules too much. I just don’t know. Groups beget groups beget groups…. I’m trying my best not to be judgmental. No one wants the government to dictate what they can and cannot do but, at the same time, can we be trusted to follow guidelines for an extended period. B.C.’s COVID19 numbers aren’t as high as in many other places. Maybe that lulls us into feeling safe. But what if we could see the virus dancing in the streets or sitting on people’s shoulders? Would we be more careful?
I’ve decided that the best I can do is to protect my family as well as I can, try to stay optimistic, and worry less about the behaviour of others (unless it directly affects me). Indignation isn’t helping me or those around me. Lately, I have found that giving to those in need has helped me to let go of these feelings. Maybe that’s the best remedy for all of us.