The beginning of the pandemic lockdown was a strange time. All of the activities that people usually did outside of the home were suddenly unavailable. Then as restrictions eased, it was as if everyone in the whole country decided that they wanted to do the exact same activity, at the exact same time, needing the exact same supplies.
One such example was making sourdough bread from scratch. Not unlike the toilet paper run, yeast and all-purpose flour were nowhere to be found within grocery stores.
Similarly, at around the same time, video conferencing and online party game platforms became all the rage. Cue Jackbox. In an attempt to stay in touch with friends and family, we acquired the party package following the lockdown announcements. My favorite out of the bunch was a game called “Tee K.O.”, whose premise was to vote for the best t-shirt drawing and slogan combinations created by the players.
I would say that Tee K.O. deserves a reprisal if it is ever dug up from a time capsule, but everything else can stay in the digital graveyard. Knock on wood because the second wave is nearly upon us, but the online nature of the platform was terrible at facilitating real social interaction.
Then, as the weather improved, people swarmed the Home Depots and garden centres. The conversational topics of choice for my property owning friends included home renovation projects and organic vegetable gardening. In fact, certain types of seedlings became hot commodities due to the delayed seasonal start and high demand. The number of people who suddenly sprouted green thumbs this year in particular was astonishing, so we’ll see how this one plays out in future post-pandemic years.
Meanwhile, the lack of a backyard did not stop us from trying to jump on the camping, biking, and outdoorsy adventures bandwagon. In fact, we visited Canadian Tire, Sportchek, and MEC in the hopes of acquiring a bicycle for me to join Nick in exploring the city. We came up empty-handed – I guess everybody else had this idea, too.
Not deterred, we switched tactics, deciding to go camping instead. Sometime in June, I managed to book one of the only remaining campsites available through Ontario Parks. Almost all of the sites were fully booked, whereas in a non-pandemic year, walk-ins were common practice. We, the novices that don’t even have the proper gear to go camping, had spontaneously booked a trip out of the blue! Of course, we soon discovered that camping gear was also sold out…everywhere.
Thankfully, we were saved from cooking spam skewers on an open fire by a generous offer to stay at a friend’s farmhouse while they were away. I’m sure that we would have made fond memories had we gone camping, tarp-less, and cookware-less. When this is all over, we’ll reminisce someday and wonder, “wow, did everyone really turn into a lemming during the pandemic?” And, “were those really the fads of spring and summer 2020?”
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