At the beginning of March 2020, when we had our monthly meeting at work, the first serious discussion of COVID-19 came up. This was a few weeks before the lockdown came into effect in Canada. None of us in that meeting were expecting a shutdown. We had the assurance that things would be fine. But then, we also forgot that there was Murphy’s law.
Over the next few weeks, the number of COVID cases was on the rise. And then came the shutdown. Somewhere in the middle of March, the government of Ontario ordered all non-essential businesses to close. That was when reality hit me hard. I could not sleep that night because I worked in a manufacturing firm and had no idea if we would be able to continue.
However, it turned out that the company was deemed essential since we manufactured certain products for essential businesses. After I knew that my job was safe, I felt relieved. For the next few weeks, there was no traffic on the roads and I remember that I was the only vehicle on the street for the 10 minutes that I drove to work.
I watched the fuel prices stoop down to an all-time low. Empty gas stations sometimes made me think if I was living in a science fiction movie. I continued to work full time, 8 hours a day in the office until March 31. By now, most of the common workforce was already experiencing the brunt of the pandemic, or at least the restrictions.
Panic is No Good
This was the week when people in my town began to do panic shopping. Most of the shelves were empty. Me, being a minimalist, used to spend around 20 dollars a week on groceries on average. I always maintained a just-in-time inventory at home, but that just did not work that week. But I got whatever was available and made meals out of it.
I never understood the need for panic in the midst of a pandemic. It felt like i was living in a Steven Spielberg movie. The huge lineups outside Costco were on the news and images of people stacking up their shopping carts with toilet papers was everywhere on social media. I wasn’t able to check everything on my shopping list, but there was no…