The new norm has been bittersweet for me from the start, but it’s come with many blessings in disguise. For one, I was able to take a break from long commutes to work, and work from home again. I was over and done with commuting in packed subway stations. I was relieved, and ecstatic about the government enforced “social distancing” rule applied to the GTA transit system. It was the perfect rule to enforce, for many reasons. For one, some subway stations are over crowded to a point where it’s not safe, when walking through. Secondly, when buses are over crowded, drivers continue taking more people in, or they drive right past you. You may be waiting for a bus for thirty minutes, and it passes you by. Without before warning, you may be late for work or an appointment. On top it, your fare may expire and you’ll have to pay again, so annoying!
The first time I took the TTC after almost a year, and hopped on a bus, I felt as though I was in a dream. The yellow social distance signs all over the seats…. Folks are literally NOT ALLOWED to sit directly beside you??!!Wow! You mean, I don’t have to deal with a stranger falling asleep on my shoulder? Sounds good to me! I don’t have to anticipate, how to politely ask a stranger, for some “space” to squeeze by them from the window seat. My personal space feels protected, the way that it should in public. I feel much more relaxed and enjoy the ride.The seat beside me will be free for my bags, and I have all the space that I need. Traveling on the TTC has been a pleasure, since these rules have been enforced. It’s one change for our new norm that I did not need to adapt to. I’m definitelyused to it!
Hey good day:) I hope your day is going good so far. I intended on posting this months ago, forgive me, as the opening of this blog was written months ago. I wrote it at the end of winter, as winter was ending going into spring.
The “mandatory” power outage last month, lasted for two hours, and I was thankful that I was given a heads up. I hoped it would not be any longer than two hours, and I hoped that it wouldn’t become super chilly down here. It’s a little chilly down here already. It helped that I was prepared for it, but I was still inconvenienced because my cell phone died! Usually this wouldn’t be a big deal, but because it wasn’t properly charged, my alarm for work didn’t go off! I was already showered and ready for work, but fell asleep for a bit, wrapped in a blanket. I was waiting for the power outage to be over! I was super annoyed that I woke up late! I’m always on time for shift, I’ve never been late! My manger texted me, asking if I was okay, she even texted that she was worried about me, and that I’m NEVER late! This is the first time I missed my alarm, and my manager was very understanding. It wasn’t a big deal, yet I was still bothered. Having no electricity really sucks, and we take it for granted.
So, we had yet another “mandatory” power outage, and had it lasted for twice as long, it may have interrupted work. That would not be good! I don’t think anybody in Toronto would be prepared for that. We’ve been blessed that they usually don’t last for a full day. We haven’t been left in the dark. We recently started getting severe weather, but nowhere near what has happened in Texas. Some folks say it’s “unnatural” weather, and I agree. I was watching folks down there, posting videos showing their firsthand account of the affects of the power grid going down. The flooding videos sparked anxiety in me, but I forced myself to watch them. The worst one, was a cell phone video taken by a mother with children. She was forced to sleep in her car with her children for warmth. There was no telling when she would be able to enter her home again. I could feel the chill in my bones, the discomfort, as though I was in her shoes. I reminded myself that it could be worse up here in Canada.
Fast forward to May: The double-down restrictions have just been announced, meaning many products are off limits, again. I was shocked to see that CANDLES, and LIGHTERS were included in this list. So candles are not considered essential???? Aren’t they the main go to when there is a BLACK OUT???? What the hell is going on here???? My friend and I had a discussion about this, as I exited the Dollarama in the evening. She couldn’t believe what I was telling her. Yup, candles are forbidden. The price of candles can be quite expensive, regardless of your budget. Fortunately, stores like Dollarama offer an amazing assortment of all types of quality candles, at low prices. I never thought that I would live to see the day that candles were considered “illegal” to purchase. I never thought I would see yellow tape sectioning off DO NOT ENTER ZONES on items like candles and candle holders.
So, we’re near the end of May, candles and lighters that were outlawed for almost a month, are FINALLY legal to purchase! During the law enforced restrictions, folks in the GTA questioned and protested against this ridiculous rule placed upon these essential items! Up to a week ago, the ban was lifted, but only on these items. I accidentally picked up a candle holder that was not covered with yellow emergency tape, and an emergency signal went off at the self check out! A cashier had to come and help me, to authorize me so I could continue checking out my stuff. I apologized to her, as she explained that the item was on the, “DO NOT BUY LIST”. I proceeded to tell her that it was an accident, and the item and section of shelf, was completely open, and NOT covered by yellow tape. I added that I try to avoid putting them in an awkward position! We both chuckled. I’ve been in every Customer Service reps position before, but this new world of outside rules, is on another level! I am sure to commend them and Thank them for their service on every shopping trip.
Please be sure to continue to stock up and candles, lighters, matches, portable lamps etc. There’s no telling if or when the yellow tape will go back up…I’m not kidding!
Sorry for the delay! I’m continuing from where I left off, and I also have something else to say:
Coupled with shutdown and virus fears, I’ve become even more understanding. I’ve had customers attempt to go to battle with me over the phone, before I explain the refund or freebies I’m about to give them. It feels like folks have more pent up energy to battle over nothing, due to-quadruple-shutdown fatigue. My patience has been tested on a daily basis by defensive customers. Their worry and fear causes them to act up, when they have received a promo deal late, or they think they’ve missed a potential deal. They panic and fret over the money they think they’ve lost, or money they hoped they would not have to spend. I totally understand, and am very empathetic towards them. The problem is, they act as though it’s a conspiracy against them! It can be very difficult to communicate when they are all riled up. I remind myself, that this maybe their biggest problem of the week. I always keep in mind that everybody’s problems are different, and the pandemic has introduced many brand new problems to many folks. Problems that they never could imagine having to deal with. We all have our problems they say, and I try not to judge who has it the worst, but I find myself doing so. Every time I walk past a homeless person, who’s crouched down with a mug in hand hoping for change, I know that I don’t have it the worst…
As I exited with her bread, she Thanked me again, and continued to chat. I was actually ready to walk away, and go about my business, but she continued asking questions. She was curious about where I came from, and where I lived before moving here. I assumed she was curious because our short convo earlier. My perspective on this neighbourhood was pretty solid, and I told her that it was “different” when I was younger. She proceeded to explain the differences from her day on to now. I spoke freely about my family being one of the only black families on our block, but we were very comfortable. She shared with me that there was only a few on her street, back in the day. I could tell she was trying to choose her words wisely, which I found amusing. She told me that she’s been living in this neighbourhood for forty years, and that she was seventy years old! I never would have guessed that, she looked amazing for her age! She had a lot of spunk and spirit. I thought it was super cool that she cared to hear my opinion, and have a genuine conversation. As we walked towards our destination, she Thanked me again for getting her bread. I said, You’re Welcome, and it was nice speaking with you, feel free to say Hi if you see me around. She responded the same.
Although the bakery battle didnot result in a verbal or physical altercation, it still had an affect on me. The last thing she said to me was in reference to that same rude lady, “I guess it’s the type of customers that frequent that place…..” I found that very interesting for a few reasons. One, she wasn’t talking about colour, race or creed. She was talking about BAD MANNERS ATTITUDE, and SNOBBERY!
I nodded with my masked face. I told her that I understand, that’s why I stand faaar back and confirm who is next. She was very upset and annoyed, and I knew there was a valid reason why. As the circle-line of customers began to grow, everybody joined the conversation. I was the odd woman out in this one, as usual. I’m not the main demographic of the neighbourhood, by any means. This elderly woman surprised me with her gumption, she had a lot to say regarding respect. She continued, telling the group that people are really “acting out” due to their frustrations with the shutdown. She added that she does not expect to see THAT type of behaviour around here. She proceeded to call out that particular Customer’s rude behaviour, pointing directly at her through through the window glass. She said, “Well THAT ONE is a problem!…” I’m not quite sure what she mumbled after that. Another customer tried to interrupt, and correct her, as though her speaking out was wrong. She remained solid in her stance, and would not allow anybody to minimize her opinion. I however, was very comfortable with the subject matter. I was glad that she was calling it out and telling the crowd that it is unacceptable. Manners are very important to me, especially in public. Manners, basic respect for your fellow man, keeps us civil on the most basic level.
I took it that she has a certain expectation from folks around here. My expectations are different. I hope for the best, but expect the worst from every, and anybody.
I started to walk away as the group grew larger, I didn’t have a lot of time left to wait. I also wasn’t in the mood to figure out who was next. I avoid crowds in general. As I was in the midst of saying, “Bye, have a nice day! The line will be a little shorter now”, I was told that I was actually next in line. I thought, Oh! Okay, I guess I’ll buy that cookie then. I decided to enter the bakery. As I walked inside, the lady asked me if I could do her the favor. She asked if I could please tell one of the staff that Helen, is outside waiting for her order. I said, “Sure! No worries.” She said Thank you. Through her masked face, I could see in her eyes that she was surprised at my enthusiastic response. If only she knew how many frustrated, impatient, confused, entitled, sarcastic, customers I deal with everyday. Coupled with shutdown and virus fears, I’ve become even more understanding. I’ve had customers attempt to go to battle with me, over the phone, before I explain the refund or freebies that I’m about to give them. It feels like folks have more pent up energy to battle over nothing, due to-quadruple- shutdown fatigue.
I’ll continue in another blog, I’m trying to go to sleep earlier tonight. Good night and Good sleep.
Since the recent announcement of the fifth,( Ithink), “Stay-at home-order”, there’s much confusion which has put some folks on edge. At the beginning, it looked as though there were even more people outside, at the same time. For one, it’s finally spring season, despite the fall-like days. On blessed ten degree plus days, the weather brings the masses to the streets, we’re all trying to absorb some sunlight. I try my best to get out while the sun is out, and sometimes forget to anticipate crowded sidewalks. A shop that usually would have a sprinkle of people around three in the afternoon, may have three times as many people waiting outside. The lines formed on the sidewalk are confusing, as there’s not much room to form one. Sometimes folks may be defensive while trying to hold their place in line. I’m pretty laid back when it comes to these things, I simply try to keep my distance and respect others. Working from home, I’m not out outside dealing with this as much. I am thankful for that. This is a very nice neighborhood, and for what it’s worth, folks have been very polite and considerate with the lines.
I had a craving for a sugar cookie, and I can’t remember the last time that I had one. I am guilt free when I treat myself to special treat, since I’ve cut back tremendously on sweets. I saw a tray of colourful decorated cookies in the neighborhood favourite bakery, “Mabels”. They have great product selection and an awesome environment. It’s a cute, classic, very small and dimly lit shop, a classic midtown vibe, I love it. I figured I’d treat myself to one cookie, just ONE. I didn’t bother to go inside, because the line was too long and sweets weren’t my top priority. As I weaved in and out of the “Get-my-shopping-done-with- some-sunlight-while-the weather-is-still-nice” crowd, I hoped it wouldn’t be as busy later. I decided to wait until my shift, and if I still had the craving, I would get one.
On my thirty minute break, I quickly walked over and outside there was only three people waiting. I automatically did the six-feet stand back, while securing my place in the scattered circle line. A very short, small framed elderly lady began to talk to me, as strangers always do with me for some reason. She was standing close to the door looking into the window at the side. As customers slowly exited the shop, she turned to me and said, “You can’t even look inside of the window! This lady yelled at me thinking that I was trying to bud in line!Geez! People can be so ridiculous, they are really on edge! I’m just trying to see if my pickup order is ready.”
I nodded with my masked face. I told her that I understand, that’s why I stand faaar back and confirm who is next. She was very upset and annoyed, and I knew there was a valid reason why. As the circle-line of customers began to grow, everybody joined the conversation. I was the odd woman out in this one, as usual. I’m not the main demographic of the neighbourhood, by any means. This elderly woman surprised me with her gumption, she had a lot to say regarding respect. I will continue in my next post.
Only in my dreams have I walked through a ghost town mall. I’ve had a reoccurring dream for years where I’m wandering around a large empty or messy department store. If you keep up with my blog, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I know the reason I have these dreams, and I haven’t had one in quite some time. Those Dreams rattle my spirit, and leave me feeling sorrowful as I awake. It’s been a minute since I posted, but I’ve been drafting blogs all along. This post is a wee bit late, as we here in Toronto have entered into yet another 28 day lockdown/emergency stay at home order. This is from the day, I on the outskirts of the city, for my appointment. I decided to stop off at what used to be the closest place to shop at my old stomping grounds. I’m in no way a mall type person, or one who loves to shop, just for the sake of shopping. I like to shop, but with a purpose. I always try to carry a list, and stick to it. I can not shop out of boredom, and I don’t have the money to do that anyways. Wandering around a packed mall, trying to fill a void in yourself, while wasting money, is not healthy. It’s quite zombie-like, in my opinion.
It was quite surreal entering the good ole local mall, as I walked towards it, I felt as though I was in a lucid dream. Parking lot deserted, there were only a few people in sight, three people. The mall was finally open for business, but I wasn’t excited to go inside. There were only a sprinkle of cars in sight, and no snow to mask the vast empty parking lot. I decided to stop a stranger, and ask from a distance, what was actually open inside. He was the only person in sight outside of the mall, Thankfully he was, because he polite. He confirmed that the food court was open, I was happy to hear that! I missed those good ole bean burritos, one of my favourite things about this mall.
It was actually pretty chill and relaxing walking around, like a beautiful nightmare! No crowds, clearance sales everywhere, extravagantly low prices, and quiet. I felt gratified purchasing four nice tops for under thirty bucks, after a year of restricted buying. These stores are desperately trying to get rid of inventory from last year. I actually purchased an additional top that I really didn’t really want, but the cashier accidentally included it. I had placed the top on the counter to ask about the sizing, since we’re not allowed to use the fitting rooms. I was indecisive because of the size, but before I could tell the cashier didn’t want it, she had already rang it up. I didn’t want to buy anything extra that I don’t really need. I kinda felt sorry for the store, I know they need the sale, so I didn’t refund. As I was telling the cashier how much I love and miss this store, she said they weren’t allowed to be open until now. They weren’t allowed to be open for pick up either, because the mall had been shut down for almost a year. It felt good to be able to support this store, as they provided great product and service for years.
This pandemic and slew of shutdowns, has changed my view on shopping, and spending, even MORE. Shopping is a past time for some, and therapy for many. I get it, however, saving and preserving your budget, will help you feel more secure in these unprecedented times.
Recharging your battery, preserving your energy, crucial in these times. I write this as I’m pushing past my bedtime. Taking care of your basic health will make a world of difference on your next compulsory medical visit. I say this because many of us have not, and willnot see a doctor anytime soon for our yearly check up. The cost of a medical visit has changed drastically within a year, and not just the price. We can not afford to go to a medical clinic or hospital, unless it’s absolutely necessary. There’s too many people in line, and too many folks who are in desperate need of medical attention, especially the elderly.
As I continue to add to this blog, it’s 12:15am, and I’m supposed to be getting ready to go to bed. I’m trying to get a little more sleep than usual, because my body needs it. I recently had a major dental procedure, and I’m trying to give my body the extra rest it requires in order to heal quicker. I think I’m healing pretty well so far, it hasn’t been a full week yet. I’ve followed protocol, and did what the dentist’s paper instructions told me to. I’m not in pain, Thankfully, but I am experiencing normal discomfort, adjusting to the change in my mouth. It has been challenging eating though, not just with food choice, but being restricted to one side of my mouth. The good thing is, my daily diet is mostly comprised of what I need to eat, so I’m okay with pea soup for a week or so.
I’m actually about to eat a cup of sugar-free apple sauce. I haven’t had apple sauce in years, now it’s one of the only things that I can eat. I’m craving the taste and crunch of a solid sweet apple, love to be able to bite into one right now! Teeth really are a blessing, and I do believe we take our teeth for granted. My urge to eat a chewy candy has slowly diminished, and I’ve cut back even more since the procedure. The thought of the sticky sweets being stuck in between my teeth scares me! I only have half of my mouth to chew. I need to preserve the half of my mouth that I still can use. I will never look at candy the same again.
I took this pic on an unusually warm beautiful evening, on the way to my favourite neighbourhood fruit market. I was going to purchase some bananas and avocados. Two fruits that are soft enough to chew for sure. Good thing that I love them and eat them everyday anyways.
I’ve go more to share on this topic, but I’ll save it for my next post. Good night and Good sleep.
I had a dream in December that I felt compelled to share, but didn’t. I had the draft unfinished in my folder since December. I decided I should share it, and it felt good to share my last dream. I appreciate the likes and positive feedback. I especially appreciate that people actually took the time to read it. I know it will not bring me closure, but I do feel better, stronger, and lighter when I share these type of dreams. So, here goes:
It was a pleasant dream, only because of the way she appeared, and how she looked. I left the paragraph in draft status, and added a few details here and there.The dream had a double meaning, and I put two and two together. It left me feeling somber. I had just had an awkward and heated exchange with the “group” I’ll call them. We were on the porch of an old house that I had never seen in my life. I was standing alone on one side, as the group was on the opposite side. As I walked towards them, I was stopped, and repelled by a swift arm motion by one of them. It felt like a magnet repelling another magnet. I was being pushed away, rejected, repelled. I stayed back, didn’t even question it. Then I turned and ran away. I ran away to find somewhere to hide. I wanted to get away.
I ended up in some room then my mother suddenly appeared in the doorway. She stood in the arch, glowing. My mother looked so beautiful, and she was glowing so bright. I loved the fabric, and the pattern of her hair scarf. Her hair was wrapped perfectly, it was perfectly symmetrical. She looked regal. She spoke a few words to me in a casual tone, but I was not focused her words. I was just happy and relieved to see her. I do not remember exactly what she said. I felt safe, I felt as though she came to back me up, to reassure me that it was okay. She understands what my mission was. I felt as though I had an alibi…
I woke up feeling sombre, yet relieved to have seen her again. I was holding on the snapshot of mom and her beauty and beautiful energy. I knew the meaning of the dream, but I felt sad and powerless.