What have these masks done? If anything other than add a layer of protection and added comfort for the risk adverse person who is looking at us. Outside, just walking around, it looks odd to see a face so covered. Inside, where it seems we’re all breathing the same air, it feels different, maybe more right and that can’t be just me. Of course that rule only seems to apply with strangers, as rarely do any of us wear them amongst friends or family. And of course this is written with a nod, to the security it affords the healthcare community that was seemingly sling-shot into a role of authority they are unaccustomed to, outside the clinics and hospital bays.
In a world, where we rarely discuss energy transfers and the nice feeling we get from a friendly wave or a polite nod of respect. It can be hard to ascertain what we are missing. Regardless of the numbers, and the sad reality of a pandemic. This is worth discussing. We’ve been through recessions and depressions before. It seems odd to conflate the two, as economics seems like numbers but so does this disease based on the chatter from our news outlets and media forums.
If you’ve lived in Alberta for any length of time, you get used to these quarterly updates as much as we are all used to the rapid changes in weather. Often we are left with some odd feeling every year of, was it this cold at this time last year? Or some nostalgic sense of how much snow used to fall here around this time? At least until we get to the spring, where it always feels like the winter months have gone on longer than they should of. But that’s just the small talk we used to discuss. Now we seem to struggle, outside of our social platforms, to communicate at all.
That’s how this feels. Gone are the days when I would inwardly judge another person for not having white enough teeth, or for not hiding gaps when they smiled. What can I say? Foolish notions of my youth mixed with the vainness that comes of it. At least for now, this is washed away by nearly two years of wondering when I will see you smile again. You Calgarian! That’s who I’m writing to. You beautiful person, who regardless of where you were born, are accepted simply because you live here now. That has always been the non-discussed staple of what makes this place so great. ‘Isms’ aside, and even with the years of tolerance over allowance, its the embrace of diversity which makes us great. Even the embrace (albeit with some push-back) for this new level of conformity. But that should only last a small time.
For conformity is only a symptom of fear. And us Calgarians, we don’t fear for long. We’re Albertan and that means something, or at least it used to. We adjust, we adapt and we overcome! Not with the machinations of sophistication. Not with the violence of brutal civilizations, long gone from the spirit of youthfulness. We overcome with ‘Western Hospitality,’ and an invite to the bbq. And we will likely overcome this moment as well. That is the sentiment at least.
I don’t know how observant others are…
But I can see you Calgarian. When you pass by, I can see whether your mask raises on your cheeks with mine. As my smile, hidden by a wall of blue, or whatever other colour the merchandisers have supplied me with that day. My smile beams at you, trying to pass as much goodwill energy at you, hoping that you’ll reflect it back to me. Knowing that we’ll get through this and life won’t simply just return to business as usual. As I hold a dream inside of me, of something better than we had before and what the world is currently offering. It’s hard to notice, but I can still see your smile. So don’t hold back, because when you do, I have to work harder to imagine and pretend that you were smiling at me. And I do this, because I know the power of positive energy and that for decades we’ve lived off of exchanging it back and forth amongst one another, regardless of our political dispositions. That’s all I hope for! Once we are through the variants. That your smile and mine, Calgarian, will never again have to succumb to politicization and economic decline.