It felt like the riskiest thing I’d ever done. A 2-hour walk downtown, a chilly dinner on a heated patio in the pouring rain and a quiet evening in a hotel room without Netflix. I hadn’t walked those downtown streets for 10 months. I hadn’t eaten on a heated patio for 4 months or been inside a restaurant since the beginning of time.
The joy came from the thrill of navigating once familiar streets while avoiding the Zombies with my best friend and partner. A science-fiction fan, COVID time felt like a Zombie movie. Anyone could be Zombie. Once friendly faces seemed sinister. They didn’t have to cough on you or start to eat you to infect you. It didn’t matter how much you loved them or they loved you.
In the beginning I enjoyed cocooning at home, working in my pyjamas from the comfort of my bed with a couple cats in my lap. I went into lockdown joyfully, scouting out food delivery services, setting up a pantry, narrowly avoiding hording toilet paper, organizing and reorganizing the house for maximum self-sufficiency. Bedrooms became offices, a storage room became an exercise space and over the summer we restarted our garden and grew some of our own food. We even joined the sourdough bread movement.
But Home was no longer just home. 10 months working from home blurred the lines between home and work. Senior leadership roles required more than the 9-5 to manage a complex remote workforce. Aging parents living with us had multiple and sometimes conflicting needs. With the quarantine, they needed more than we could give and services were harder to come by. Offices had to be converted back to bedrooms when our sons periodically came home from university. Quarantined within a quarantine. They might be Zombies themselves. We needed a break from home.
So an overnight stay-cation became an adventure of a lifetime. Overnight bags on our backs, we trekked the 5 km to carve out 24 hours of joy without the distractions of daily life.