“We don’t like beige,” my artist and designer friend often insisted, before the word “pandemic” became vogue.
“Beige. I think I’ll paint the ceiling beige,” my late husband used to joke, raising his voice a few octaves, mimicking what a bored wife might think, staring up during another romp on the “workbench”. (I never liked when guys called it that. Embarrassing and degrading.)
Synonyms for beige: boring, dull, uninspiring, blech, blah.
We don’t like beige! Ceilings, walls, or days! (That kinda rhymes.)
Yet here we are: locked down again, under stay-at-home orders for cripessakes, as yet another beige day melds unremarkably into the next.
Well, we could colour it up with some emotion, like this Globe and Mail headline: “First-wave lockdowns were marked by fear. Second wave, by frustration. And now: anger”
We’re certainly seeing red in Ontario due to vaccine distribution, with the provincial and federal governments doing a whole lotta finger-pointing over who’s to blame. On a recent CBC “Front Burner” podcast, Dr. Naheed Dosani, a palliative care physician who cares for homeless and vulnerably housed individuals, recommended that vaccinating the sick and bringing vaccines to factory and communal work settings (in the absence of paid sick days) would certainly be a step in the right direction. Perhaps last month’s 600-person outbreak and subsequent shutdown at Amazon in Brampton could have been avoided?
And here’s a question: What ever happened to rapid testing? Just googled it, found a CBC article from April 6thby Nick Boisvert which says, “It’s unclear how many of the province’s 11 million rapid tests have been used so far.” Hmmm.
“To my knowledge, we’re hardly using them at all,” Dr. Camille Lemieux, chief of family medicine at University Health Network, says in the piece. “We’re in a scenario right now where, if there ever was a time to use them, it is now.”
While rapid Covid-19 tests are less accurate and more susceptible to false positives, Boisvert writes, “experts say rapid tests ultimately offer distinct advantages that could alter the trajectory of the pandemic if they are deployed widely and strategically. Crucially, the tests can be used to catch people who are either asymptomatic or displaying only mild symptoms.”
Since we’re struggling to deploy vaccines “widely and strategically”? It’s a pretty good bet that rapid testing will stay on the back burner, huh? Like our lives.
Chatting with my daughter over Easter weekend, as my iPhone dished up colourful family memories of us in places like Costa Rica and Disney World, she lamented, “We still want adventure in our lives!” We do! A trip to the grocery store? So beige! (At least it was the last time I went. My husband B, thankfully, does the grocery shopping. A hyper-organized, spread sheet fanatic, he’s much more adept at writing out the list in order of Sobeys’ layout.)
Chatting over Zoom (Zoom fatigue anyone? Everyone?) with gfs a while ago, one of them, a single gal, who was not complaining, merely observing, said, “I’m just starting to wonder. Is this what the rest of my life looks like? Work from home. Meetings and work outs over Zoom. Social-distanced visits with neighbours in the hall way.”
Is that all there is? Like that old song by Peggy Lee. “Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.”
Maybe dancing is the cure, the fix, the colour? If so, I’m lucky. I have dance in my life, in the form of instructing Jazzercise, three days a week “live” when things are sorta open and one day a week over Zoom when they’re not. It’s a balm, a salve. Not beige at all, especially when I wear hot pink.
On a “Ten Percent Happier” podcast, guest Dr. Lisa Feldman-Barrett, author of How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, suggested a couple of things you might find cheesy and/or hokey, but work if you’re willing. Practice gratitude. I started doing this years ago on my grief journey, listing three things I am grateful for as I lay me down to sleep. So powerful. Also this: practice awe. Say what? I haven’t tried this one yet, but apparently if you practice feeling “awe”, for say five minutes a day, over little things – like a cardinal, the root in the ground that tripped you, a stunning exploding tulip – you will experience more awe in your life. Like a child.
Please, share what you’re doing at your house to colour these bland-blech-blah beige days. Indeed, a meditation session here or there, a hot bath with Epsom salts, or a bike ride through the park, while all wonderful activities, completely miss the mark when it comes to expressing those adventurous desires burning in our hearts.
Wesbsite photo: My grandkids, dancing beige into bright pink last summer.