Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – A blend of emotions with our new world

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I admit to a blend of emotions with our new world.

From a health perspective I’m a tad freaked out by Covid-19. Clearly with stage four Emphysema, a compromised immune system and other complications I am at high risk with the current pandemic. There is no hospital for me now should I get ill since all the respiratory nurses, tools, machines etc are over booked already and I would be exposed to the disease around the clock. So it is imperative I stay safe.

Ironically it is difficult to know if I might have the virus as its symptoms are all the things I experience around the clock daily – tight chest, trouble breathing, tired all the time, deep cough… Certainly the odds are not in my favour – so caution is foremost. On the other hand I am certainly one of the fortunate ones in that I have a fair sized yard I can wander about in, garden, relax, even safely distance-visit with folks if I was foolish enough to invite anyone over.

I am also blessed because the writer side of me is very much a hermit and use to working out of the home. There is a huge part of my lifestyle that screams ‘lone wolf’. I am just as comfortable alone as around people. In fact, I prefer it. I am cozy being social for a couple of hours but soon after seek a quiet, private place to be. So being stuck at home is fine in general.

However like most readers the fact I’ve been told (firmly requested I suppose) to stay home – makes leaving the house that much more appealing. Even I admit to going a little stir crazy or suffering cabin fever.

So it was that I joined Tez in going for a ‘drive by pick up’ of some needed supplies for the house yesterday. I had not been in the car for at least two weeks. I still recognized it.

My town, on the other hand, did not seen the same. Compared to normal the streets were pretty much empty, no traffic jams, row upon row of closed down businesses, empty malls, few pedestrians… Our drive felt somewhat surreal, like we were stuck in a futuristic sci-fi movie which was not so futuristic.

I was just about to comment to Tez how odd it all seemed until we pulled into the drive through pickup line at the store. While the lineup for cars seemed odd watching the lineup of people waiting to actually go into the store was disheartening.

Clearly there were two schools of thought taking place just 20 feet apart. Those in the car largely seemed aware of the virus dangers and those on foot largely not. Of the 75 or so people we observed make their way slowly into the store maybe five were wearing masks, gloves or any item to protect themselves or others. No one was maintaining the six foot minimum distance though a couple of folks were attempting to.

Boggling that people can be so ignorant or myopic.

I felt deep concern for the employees (mostly young people) attempting to appease the customers and putting themselves at risk. Meanwhile I saw no store managers outside demanding people show proper spacing including around their employees.

If we are to actually eliminate this virus then basic guidelines such as safe distancing are mandatory. We are only as strong as our weakest link.

I was thrilled to head home and hideaway again in the one place I feel safe. Not sure when I will adventure out again. Certainly I am not the only one in danger and I worry for the world, for the young.

At the same time I find the whole virus thing fascinating and almost, dare I say it, a shake up the world needs. Hope it is not too late for us to figure it out.

The dramatic changes to the world’s fast paced lifestyle has had its positive sides. Our world has gone from frantic pace to slow and we have gained much from it. If the world was a record album we have gone from spinning at 78 rpm’s to 33.  Our slower speed means dramatic improvements to our air quality from lack of pollution and many other forms of environmental abuse. The virus has also emphasized a number of other social benefits such as getting to know family members again, renewing hobbies, learning to relax, outdoor exercise, home cooking…

None of that can hurt and hopefully they are habits we will maintain when the world speeds back up again.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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