My first days of pandemic living
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
All of a sudden, 95 percent of my interactions had disappeared over just 27 hours.
March feels like so long ago. I had just gotten back from a newspaper conference with the Other Press in San Francisco on the first of March and was getting ready to buckle down, as I was in four classes that winter semester and I needed to focus. There was still a lot of outside schoolwork I needed to do, including a job interview at a Vancouver touring company, and working my job at a movie theatre. Most of these occurrences would come to an end or face drastic change, and for me, that change started to rear its head on March 11.
March 11 was the first time the pandemic really came onto my radar. It stemmed from the diagnosis that National Basketball Association (NBA) Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert had gotten the disease, leading to the suspension of the game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder and the NBA season that night. That is when I knew this disease—which I had heard about but never really paid too much attention to—really became serious.
But there was no time to dwell on it, as I had a presentation the next day in my marketing class. It was a presentation about selling a product—mine was candy (I got full marks for it). I decided to wear a suit for the assignment, so I decided—since I had the rest of the day free and was looking so fancy—to maximize the moment and go for an interview at a touring company who was doing on-the-spot interviews at their Vancouver office. The interview was the best I ever had; I was on the ball, answered my questions well, and had good questions to ask them. I could tell that the interviewer was impressed. Afterwards, I went to Patrons Tacos and Cantina, my favourite Mexican restaurant in Vancouver. As I ate my flauta, I watched the sports news coverage and found out that the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball had also suspended their play.
On Friday, March 13, many post-secondary institutions announced that they would be suspending in-person classes immediately; Douglas was not one of them. They were going to wind down their classes the next week. I woke up on Monday not wanting to get on the SkyTrain for my sociology class in New West. Luckily, my teacher announced on Blackboard that he was suspending the class for that day. It was good he made that decision early, because by 11:58 that day, the school had officially announced that all in-person classes were suspended.
Since I lived close to the David Lam Campus, I decided to go down to the campus to get some answers from the students about how the pandemic was affecting them to use in an article. I came across a lot of very upset students, of which many had already left their houses before the in-person campus closures were announced and now were just working at school to make their journey to the campus worthwhile. The whole day was so surreal. Everyone gave off an aura of shock at how fast our individual worlds had changed and shut down. That night, which I spent at home since the paper’s usual Monday pitch meeting was cancelled, I heard the announcement that the movie theatre I worked at was shutting down, and I had been laid off. All of a sudden, 95 percent of my interactions had disappeared over just 27 hours.
Telling this story now is a little ironic to me because in this past week, the experiences I had back in March have kind of come full circle. Last week I was laid off from my movie theatre job again due to the closures, I had another job interview that I thought went well, and things are starting to shut down again as the coronavirus cases begin to surge. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, but I do know that the shock of this time does not hit as hard as it did back in March. I guess that comes with the territory of existing in the new normal of 2020.