Not Usual

My morning walk, more than an hour later than usual, was longer than usual.
Routinely, I step out of bed, dress quickly, pack my messenger bag and make my way to my usual Starbucks. It’s not a long walk, but it is necessary. Most days I will park myself at a table with my large hot dark roast coffee, then complete and post my ramblings for the day. It is my usual daily habit.
I’ll then write in my journal, play around with some poetry that has been knocking about my brain, or wander through my news feed on social media.
That routine was altered this week when the provincial government ordered all restaurants closed to customer service, except for take-out.
My morning routine was, today, altered further by a sign on the door at Starbucks proclaiming the store was temporarily closed and redirecting me to the nearest alternative location.
It was inconvenient but understandable, given all that is going on everywhere. We are becoming accustomed to dealing with inconvenience in these pandemic days.
It was warm this morning, so the additional steps along the wet sidewalk were not a problem (I’ve been trying to get out and get my minimum 10,000 daily steps in anyway).
The streets were quiet, not usual for this time of day in downtown Toronto. The stream of streetcars I’ve become accustomed to seeing at this hour were fewer and far between, with less passengers. Many people still need to get to work, but many more are working from home these days.
A lot of businesses have temporarily shut down because of the coronavirus. I already knew that, but the signs in most doors along the walk announced the closures, or limited hours. Some of the restaurants and coffee shops we’re still offering take-out, but you could see the chairs and tables stacked up, or sections closed off through the darkened windows.
The dental office was temporarily closed, as were two branches of two different banks. One store had a sign saying it was becoming cashless because of COVID-19, taking electronic payment only.
These are not usual times.
I got my coffee, thankful for the small luxury I allow myself each morning, and chose a different route home, reading each sign on doors as I passed. The liquor store is still open, with limited hours, and retailers were posting limits on the number of customers allowed in, or limits on the number of certain items your were allowed to purchase.
A few more people appeared on the streets as I walked; those in search of coffee or making there way to work. We all seemed to naturally keep our distance and kept on moving.
These are not usual times. We all hear the news (is anything else happening besides the virus) and we keep trying to look forward to some form of normalcy, but it is hard to see past the difficulties in front of us.
Each of us is working through issues, some of us are suffering, but all of us are affected by a virus has changed the way we think, work, and live. We are all isolated in one way or another, and still we keep moving forward.
I hope today is good for you, that you are safe, and that your coffee cup is full and warm. I hope you find gratitude in even the simplest accomplishment or smallest luxury.

03/20/2020                                     j.g.l.

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