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Prest: Stop hitting the COVID wall, start embracing it

Accepting our malaise and mediocrity is essential for weathering a pandemic winter
Kids on hike
A couple of young explorers head off for a COVID-friendly adventure. A lot of people are looking for ways to beat the pandemic blahs of early February.

Are you hitting the COVID wall?

Of course you are. We all are. Our lives have been thrown upside down for almost a year now. Vaccines are on the way, but most of us haven’t received them yet and there’s that nagging worry that maybe they’ll be delayed. Many of us have lost jobs, or are feeling lost in our jobs as we endure endless Zooms in our pyjama bottoms. And did I forget to shower again? Sniff test ... yes.

If we are not literally sick of this, we are most definitely figuratively sick of it.

And it doesn’t help that we are in that early February hell hole. Even pre-pandemic, this was always the least wonderful time of the year. Christmas is a distant memory, the rain never stops, and it feels as if we’ll never see the sun again. What excitement is there on the horizon? And don’t give me any of that Valentine’s Day malarkey. Where am I taking my sweetheart on a date this year? The laundry room?

Yet there were politicians and public health officials in B.C. last week telling us we need to “do more” to stop the spread of COVID-19. Right.

I know the vast majority of the people reading this column heard that and said: “What? Do ... more!?”

Because we haven’t partied with our best friends in a year. We haven’t played a hockey or soccer game in months. Many of us can’t even hug our mom.

Do more?

Here’s my counter proposal. Let’s do less.

And no, I don’t mean we should stop doing everything within our power to stop the spread of this awful virus. Stay home. Wear a mask. Continue to not open a bootleg nightclub in your penthouse condo. You know, all the little things we’ve been doing all along. 

And when I say “do less” I don’t mean that we should give up in despair either. We’ve come too far to give up now. Plus, I really want to see how my new Legend of Zelda video game ends. I mean, my kids’ new game.

So we’re not giving up, or giving in. But what should we do right now, with our faces all smushed up against that COVID wall?

This part I want you to read in your best Motivational Speaker Voice. What we need to do right now is “Embrace. The. Wall.”

Yes. Embrace the inadequacy we all feel, the malaise, the mediocrity, the blah.

We can’t hug each other, so let’s give that COVID wall we just smashed into a big hug. Find a warm spot on the wall, curl up on it and take a nap. Lean up against that wall with a trashy magazine and take a little “me” time, acknowledging that it’s OK to feel very imperfect these days.

Who knows, maybe embracing inadequacy is what will drive us all to new success. It worked for a quiet little Montreal restaurant that was recently featured in the New York Times. Cuisine AuntDai gained overnight fame after someone took to social media to post photos of their cheeky menu which contained brutally honest evaluations of the restaurant’s own dishes.

“We are not 100% satisfied with the flavor now and it will get better really soon,” the menu states about a cold dish called Mouth-Watering Chicken. “PS: I am surprised that some customers still order this plate.”

The restaurant, of course, has been crazy busy ever since their uninspiring chicken went viral. An honest assessment of an honest effort that honestly could have turned out much better? That sure sounds like where we are right now in this pandemic, doesn’t it?

Even airline pilots are admitting their fallibility. A recent story in the Los Angeles Times detailed how a number of pilots, using an anonymous reporting system, have described themselves as being “rusty” in the air due to a lack of flight hours during the pandemic. If they can come to terms with their pandemic inadequacy, then maybe we all can.

As long as the pilots don’t literally, you know, “hit the wall.” Or the mountain or power lines or whatever. 

But let’s allow ourselves to be inadequate. Take time for yourself. Ask for help. Say “no” if you need to. Let your husband play Zelda all day. I mean let your kids play Zelda.

You get what I mean. It’s obvious now that we’re not going to smash this wall to bits. But I bet we can, ever so slowly, start to nudge it over together.

All we have to do is lean.

Andy Prest is the sports editor of the North Shore News. His lifestyle/humour column runs biweekly. aprest@nsnews.com