Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2020/ COVID-19 Part 5: The New Abnormal

COVID-19 Part 5: The New Abnormal

I guess this has been ten weeks? I think of the middle of March as being the beginning of the new era.

I have stopped obsessing over the numbers. I guess we all have gotten bored of reading about COVID-19 every single day. But for the record: the Region of Waterloo reports 1033 positive cases cumulatively, with 159 hospitalized (non-ICU) and 55 hospitalized in ICU cumulatively. So locally at least we appear to have kept up with hospital demand.

Our senior homes are in bad shape. One home (Forest Heights by Revera) had 250 beds, but 169 residents and 68 staff are reported as having been infected. So it looks like the general population has been okay, but long-term care homes have not.

The CBC reports 78072 cases cumulatively in Canada, with a death toll of 5935. Lots of other people have recovered but will likely suffer long-term health effects.


I still feel anxiety around people. I do not like going to the store. On Saturday I took a bike ride to Burlington and the downtown/waterfront was packed! Some people were shaking hands. I felt anxious, although I guess there was no reason to be -- most people do not have the coronavirus.

If anything I am leaving the house less often than before. Sometimes days go by and I do not even go out for a walk. One big problem is my compulsive spending. If I go for a walk then I want to buy food, which is bad both for public health and for my wallet. So I have been staying home too much.

Ontario is looking to lift restrictions, because it is summer and people are squirrelly. I am hoping that I can go to parks and sit down in the sun soon. I have gone on a couple of bike rides in the warm sun, which helped immensely.

I don't want to spend the summer inside. I have to find some way to be outside without spending money, and while staying safe. (It is not clear that staying safe is even a worthy goal.)

I have decided that I do not enjoy Zoom seminars that much, although I am making an effort to attend a few. I have been talking with a few people on the phone, which I guess has been okay. I probably get enough human interaction to keep doing this indefinitely, but I am not getting enough outside time or exercise.

My days revolve around food. The thing I look most forward to is dinnertime, so I procrastinate until then, and then I am too sleepy to be productive. My days have fallen into a rhythm I am not enjoying much at all. I am not reading much or getting much done on anything, and I am wasting way too much time on the computer.


Nobody knows why some places have been hit hard and others have not.

Lots of places have not had severe lockdowns and they seem to be doing fine. Sweden is getting a lot of flack but Canada's curves look about the same.


Some of the life choices I have made turned out to be wins in this crisis, and some have turned out to be big losses.

Cycling is a stupid form of exercise. It takes way too long to get enough exercise to be worthwhile (especially given how slowly I cycle). I can cycle for eight hours a day and still get less of a workout than somebody who is at the gym for an hour. But in this lockdown people who depend on the gym (or team sports like basketball) are really suffering, and I still get to cycle on the roads. So that was a win.

For about a year I had tied my identity to Watcamp. Now that we don't have in-person meetups, advertising events seems incredibly stupid. Even if restrictions are lifted in other areas, I do not think we will be having in-person meetups this summer. Being obsessed over events and social connections was a big loss, and I am a big loser.

Living like a cheapskate has been both a win and a loss. I know how to prepare cheap food, and since I kept my rice cooker I have a way to prepare food. However, I gave away the microwave that had been sitting in my room for a decade, so now I can only prepare food with the rice cooker. So that has been a loss.

Having no friends and few social interactions has overall been a loss, but in this pandemic it has not been so bad. I would not say it has been normal, or even acceptable, but it is not that different than what I am used to.

I guess that being a computer nerd has been a win, so that I can pretend to work from home. Having some income has been a win, even if that income is less than half of the CERB.

My shopping habits have mostly been a loss. I used to shop by going to five or six places and getting whatever was cheap. Now I have to restrict the number of stores I go to. I used to avoid standard grocery stores. Now I go to FreshCo every two weeks and I hate it. I used to depend on the farmer's market (and Food not Bombs, and St John's Kitchen) for cheap calories, and now all of those are more-or-less gone. Because I do not get free or heavily discounted food any more, my grocery budget has gone way up.

I have enough books to read even with the libraries closed, so that is a win. But I am getting very little reading done, so that is a big loss.

I have been able to continue interacting with my online communities, so that is a win. But those bonds are weak, so that is a loss.

My blog has been a big loss. I have all these technical entries to write, and I have not written any of them.

Being a hoarder has overall been a win. I have a bar fridge and a rice cooker that I ought to have discarded years ago, but I have them now. I stockpiled a bunch of salsa and condiments that I should have thrown out, but now I am eating them. I always hate myself when I bring books home, but now they are sitting in my room taunting me.


I am now used to being at home, although my productivity remains awful. After the initial excitement of figuring out how staff could connect from home, I am back to working at my nonsense migration project.

I need to find new employment, but job hunting nauseates me at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. I have a job application to send out, but my resume has been sitting open on my computer for a week now, and who knows whether I will get to it. But my financial situation has gotten more dire, and sooner or later I will need much more money to survive than I am bringing in now.

But I am scared. I am frightened of going to an office. I am frightened that I will not be able to handle the work. I am frightened that I have gone past the point of no return, and that I won't be able to hold steady hours, and I won't be disciplined enough to put in the work to keep my job, and I am scared that I will be stubborn instead of telling people the things they need to hear for them to give me a chance.

I am also resentful at the prospect of losing my summer, although I guess that may be what we are looking at anyways.

Most of my coworkers are going to the office a few days a week. I have not. I am kind of frightened of going into office buildings now. I hope I will get over this eventually.