Two weeks ago I had a need to go to the city CBD. It was the first time since I left my job in March. I was there for a potential employment opportunity so it was hard to say No.
A few days before taking the trip, I was at home feeling quite anxious and worried. I didn’t know what to expect. The once familiar bus commute now comes with a new twist – social distancing and wearing a mask.
Normally I would say hello to a bus driver as soon as I get on, but that day this guy on duty seemed indifferent and not interested so I said no words instead. I must stress I am not complaining here. Imagine a day in the life of a bus driver during the pandemic. Let’s try to put ourselves in their shoes and show some understanding and empathy.
Carefully I looked around, there were a few people at the back but none of them was too close to me. I guess I just wanted to make sure my own safety along the way.
A few stops later, the bus started to have more passengers coming in, those empty seats nearby were then quickly taken. As the bus was getting close to its allowable capacity, I could feel my stress level going up. The fear of contamination caused my body to react, in a subtle way – my posture became a bit rigid and stiff while my whole body began to tense up. When the short 20 minute trip was finished, a sense of relief was written all over my face. When I got off, it was “a breath of fresh air” the 2020 edition.
What can I say? All aboard, welcome to the new world order today!
While some cities or countries are still on lockdown, banning their residents from going out, I won’t be surprised if many people in our community simply choose not to go out themselves. Mental health has taken a hit. We all need to be kinder and more patient to ourselves and towards others.
By now we are all used to the new hygiene practice against the spread of coronavirus – social distancing, use hand sanitiser, check body temperature, wear a mask upon entering a store. Just the other day when I was doing grocery shopping at a local supermarket, I noticed something interesting but a slightly outrageous scene – a female shopper carrying a trolley full of items, all were wrapped in individual plastic bags.
Being an OCD person, I could understand why she was doing what she was doing – to protect and prevent contamination of germs and viruses. But even to me it was a bit overkill.
Part of me wanted to wear a badge of environmentalist and tell her off, hey you should not be using so many plastic bags unnecessarily. But I gave up the idea. Why? I didn’t know her. I didn’t know her life. I didn’t know what was going through her mind.
Everyone reacts differently to this pandemic. Different age groups have different risk factors and concerns associated with it. Some people’s coping mechanisms may look rather odd, weird, out of ordinary or over the top. But let’s not be too quick to judge others. Cut them some slack.
No doubt coronavirus is highly contagious and spreading fast across the globe, but so can we make kindness…