COVID-19: What Pisses Me Off — People Who Don’t #StayHome
What Pisses Me Off! Apr 07, 2020
I do make conscious efforts to live a mindful life which to me means living with purpose, being present and practicing non-judgment (as much as possible). Being mindful however does not mean I don’t get mad. So, what’s pushing my patience into a bubbling impatience these days? In this global pandemic….
What Pisses Me Off — People Who Don’t #StayHome
To be clear, I’m are not ranting about those who are leaving their homes to put themselves (and their loved ones) at risk to ensure their communities still have critical services. This includes a wide range of people from all medical staff to all airport staff, garbage disposal workers, store clerks, pharmacists, police officers, firemen, government employees, those working on developing supplies and the list goes-on (apologies if I did not name you) but I give all of you a deep bow of gratitude for being our umbrellas in the face of this storm.
My rant is for those who are not staying home because they still don’t take COVID-19 seriously and/or are bored and/or looking for a way to show how they “rebel” against rules. It’s also for those who are not practicing physical (aka social distancing) when they do run errands and/or are still coughing openly and/or not taking the personal hygiene suggestions (hand-washing) seriously. These people will likely be the first to complain about the circumstances not getting better soon as well (it’s like people who post angry statements about politics but didn’t go vote – if you were not proactive to be part of the solution, don’t you see you contributed to the problem?)
As much as I blush admitting it, I must be honest; initially (towards the beginning of March), when I first began to really hear about COVID-19, I did not take it as seriously as I do now. At the time, it was not declared a global pandemic and I did wonder if it was being blown out of proportion in the media. I felt for the people testing positive but was confused about the difference between COVID-19 and the general flu. An internal optimist, I was also hoping the concern for the spread of the illness would blow over as quickly as it felt like it began.
Things however have changed extremely rapidly the past few weeks and the question of “do we have to take COVID-19 seriously?” has turned into a critical statement “we must take COVID-19 seriously.” Everything we have learnt and continue to learn about this virus indicates the best way to control the spread is to stay at home and wash our hands frequently (avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes).
Most governments are issuing rules, regulations, tips and working around the clock to offer support during this fearful, uncertain time. Medical professionals, spiritual leaders, celebrities and even some social media influencers are advocating and encouraging people to stay at home. Family and friends are finding creative ways to stay connected (e.g. group video calls) and it feels like the majority are doing their part to flatten the curve of COVID-19. The problem is, some people are still not adhering to the physical (aka social distancing) and Emergency Measure bylaws including staying at home unless it’s necessary. It’s very frustrating that a small, defiant minority can have serious health consequences for the majority.
There was wide-spread outrage when news stations started reporting thousands of Spring breakers on beaches in Florida a few weeks after the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic (WHO declared it on March 11th 2020, pictures emerged of crowded beaches on March 20th even after travel advisories had gone out). Not only were these spring breakers defying rules to “party”, but many took to social media to brag about it.
Another example is an Indian wedding that took place on March 21st in Abbotsford, British Columbia. As a South Asian myself, I understand how many customs and traditions are involved in our weddings. I know it’s a very important, auspicious occasion for all involved and though my heart goes out to anyone that had one planned during this time, we must take Emergency Measures seriously and cancel/postpone our large social gatherings. If someone gets sick, will you consider your celebration worth it?
Governments are starting to crack down on social gatherings and issuing fines for non-compliance (Brampton for example, an Ontario city with a heavy South Asian population is now issuing fines from $500 – $100 000 CAD for people not following Emergency Measure bylaws). This was implemented in Brampton due to people jumping over caution tapes and fences to access public parks and other closed areas and/or have “street parties.”
It’s unfortunate that it’s come to us needing such strict policing. It’s disappointing that not everyone is putting what’s best for their health and the public health first. Normally I lean towards the mentality that “snitches get stitches” however, these are not normal circumstances. If we see people blatantly breaking distancing rules, we need to remind them as peacefully as we can that it’s not okay – if that doesn’t work, make that call to authorities. We shouldn’t silently watch from our windows for fear of being a tattle-tale. A lack of action and/or consequence to the small, selfish minority will keep the majority stuck behind our windows for even longer at risk and/or in fear of getting sick. We shouldn’t hide behind our screens either – the audacity of some people to post videos of them blatantly breaking rules, coughing on things, etc. should be taken seriously. Let’s not give these people the attention and fame they are so desperately seeking – these posts should not be “liked” they should be reported.
I believe this global pandemic is tragic, frustrating and scary. I also believe it’s an opportunity to cultivate compassion, to practice our patience and to connect with each other with more creativity than ever before. COVID-19 requires collective, community action so let’s rise to the occasion and ensure our actions are helpful towards each other and not harmful.
To help encourage others to follow the public safety guidelines, lets led by example. One way is to follow all rules especially if you do leave the safety of your home to run critical errands (stay two meters apart, go grocery alone if you can, check in on our elder and/or sick neighbors through their doors, etc.). You can also use your social media platform to demonstrate your commitment to taking COVID-19 seriously; spread awareness on the importance of staying home by posting using #stayhome, #stayhomestaysafe, #flattenthecurve and/or #plankthecurve.
Main Image Photo Credit: www.ottawamatter.com
Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...
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