This will be the first of, one hopes (for obvious reasons), a series of dispatches from Toronto, or what I’m now affectionately referring to as Quarentown. No, we are absolutely not all in full lock-down like poor Italy. This morning, the premier declared a state of emergency, Parks Canada is closed, libraries are closed, we’re most of us working from home, flights are being cancelled, borders are closing, and we’re all being very strongly urged to stay the hell home precisely to prevent a full lock-down from becoming necessary.
I think I’ve been taking this pretty well overall and I’m doing my best to toe the line. But regular exercise is the linchpin keeping my body and soul in good working order; until the gyms closed Monday morning, I was still going to the gym but giving serious stink-eye to anyone looking like they might consider getting closer to me than six feet away. I’ve also been washing my hands so often and with so much energy that I’m basically just disinfecting raw bone and tendon now.
I really need to get my workout on and due to physical limitations and the sensible but heartbreaking cancellation of my Taiko lessons for the time being, I need to ride a bike; however, doing so indoors anywhere but a gym is something not currently available to me. (We have a very small house; if it comes down to getting a stationary bike because we’re no longer allowed outside, we’ll have to trade in some key piece of furniture, like our sofa or bed, to make room for it; but we’ll do it.)
So I went for a bike ride this morning. It was glorious. It was cool but not cold, windy but not abusively so. I had to layer up but not so much that I couldn’t turn my head at all; the roads were, for Toronto, pretty quiet and the trails fully empty. I greeted some dogs and their walkers from goodly distances. I saw a lot squirrels.
(Speaking of squirrels, did you know these lil fuckers are so goddamn tough that they give birth in the dead of winter and then kick their genetically predetermined shithead offspring out of the nest pretty much immediately (based on my totally non-scientific observations)? During my ride today, I saw approximately 8,849 baby squirrels and they were all fine, just doing their own foraging and shit-disturbing with vim and attitude; never mind cockroaches, it’s the squirrels who will rule the world after the apocalypse.)
I felt better, in every way, for taking that ride. I really, really, really hope I can continue outdoor cycling during this crazy time; if this is the only activity I can do out of doors while this pandemic runs its course, fine; more than fine, I’ll be incredibly grateful. When Trudeau announced today that Parks Canada was closing I had a wee panic attack that was only solved by confirming, via the ever-handy internet, that none of the places I like to ride belong to Parks Canada. But it feels like the world is closing in anyway; there’s no reason I can think of that provincial and city parks and trails won’t get shut down too if sensible health scientists deem it necessary.
In response to this increasing sense of claustrophobia, I’ve been eating my feelings and working at perhaps a less than optimal clip and overall effectiveness level. I have eaten a great deal of mint chocolate today, both because it is inherently delicious and because it reminds me of my grandmother who, besides being my best adult ever, used to keep a mint Aero bar in stock for me at all times. Eating chocolate mint makes me feel cozy and loved and worritted over in the best possible way; or, at least, it gives me a hint of feeling that way. I’m not going to lie, it’s also not working optimally today.
Knowing that while dine-in restaurant service is now banned in Ontario, takeout is (for now) still allowed, I’ve spent today thinking pretty constantly of the vegan cinnamon bun place near my house, and whether or not they’re still open, and if they’ll let me buy in bulk or if quantities per person are limited (as with other essentials, like TP and hand sanitizer), and how well cinnamon buns freeze, and how many cinnamon buns my freezers can store, and whether it’s worse to feel scared or to develop the diabetes.
While I rejected it a long time ago as fake news (before fake news was a phrase even), maybe if I try really hard I can convince myself of that stupid notion some vegans have that because we’re vegan we’re inherently healthy no matter what vegan crap we eat…! The claustrophobia won’t get worse even if I expand to take up more space because I’m chewing on candy all the time, right? Ugggh.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person living in a world being rocked by a pandemic (but a person not currently ill from said pandemic), must be in want of more sugar. Fortunately for me, it’s also a universal truism that the first step is admitting you have a problem; I’m hoping writing this spazz-cakes post has made it less necessary for me to eat actual cake in order to achieve a measure of serenity. If not, I luckily have a giant bag of sugar and some AP flour ready to go; never mind that the bag of sugar is so old I’d probably have to break it apart with a hammer to make it usable; if cookies and tinycakes and muffins are the only cure for coronavirus sadness, so be it. I mean, who needs teeth anyway?