The slow single climb towards back pain
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
Pretty soon, everyone in Canada will have experienced their own birthday during the lockdown; a few people may have experienced two. Isn’t that something?
It’s almost that day again. That day that comes once a year for all of us to commemorate our own emergence into the sunlight. Well, I’m talking about my annual trip around the sun. Indeed, I have managed to brave the tribulations of the past year, skirt the horrors of the lockdown, and best starvation using only frozen pizza and assorted cereals. I have successfully survived and shall add another number to the string of digits that denote my age-rank. Yet, this year there will be less fanfare than normal, no drinks, no parties, and no group shenanigans. Just some words plastered on the inside of a screen, against the white pixelated background of a Facebook wall.
I realized while I was talking to my mom the other day that all these numbers have blended together. I mean, I know that I’m 20-whatever, but I don’t know which 20-something I’m becoming. I recall that this year’s digit is greater than last year’s, but the specific number eludes me. I remember being 18 and thinking I’d never feel back pains, and like everything I thought, I was wrong. I have decided to blame coronavirus gluing me to this seat and confining me to a slow rotation between my couch, bed, and computer chair (did I tell you this before?) for any twinge in my spinal column. I promise it’s not that I’m old now. This life thing happens so slowly you’d think it isn’t happening at all and then you realize it’s been done to you. Like watching rain turn into puddles and then puddles grow into swamps. It’s just another strange day in an equally strange week as the strange world spins on its axis.
Pretty soon, everyone in Canada will have experienced their own birthday during the lockdown; a few people may have experienced two. Isn’t that something? The penumbra of COVID-19 has embedded itself into the horizon of our lives so thoroughly that the banalities (or electricities) of a birthday have slipped from our minds to a forgotten realm like old teddy bears and favorite T-shirts. Happiest date of birth to you indeed.
Will we have a cake for coronavirus this year or next? We must be careful to keep the party a secret, you know how much COVID likes surprises. I hope I’m invited to the party; I promise I’ll give a nice speech about how much COVID has changed my life. I hope you get invited too; we can go halfsies on a present, save a little coin ‘cause we probably both need it. It’ll be you, me, and everyone else, singing songs and swaying gently—six feet apart of course—we’ll take turns lifting our masks to eat the cake and we won’t linger in place for more than 25 minutes. Separate entrance and exits with hand wash stations galore.
I never much cared about my one day in one month that comes every year. I suppose I didn’t get enough presents as a child, or maybe I was just so special every single day that no day felt all that different from the last. This day will be even less exciting than usual. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a grilled cheese sandwich and a couple of donuts. I’ll stand outside and let the sun warm my face too. I think I deserve it this year.