The year of quiet chaos
Local humour blogger Mona Andrei contributes to international publication on the pandemic
Documenting our experiences during this unique and devastating period as a way to help others is such a great way to give back. And of course, being a humour blogger, I couldn’t help but focus on the fact that this situation sits on the edge of our own sanity.
– Mona Andrei
West Island blogger, writer, author and frequent WestmountMag.ca contributor, Mona Andrei, is included in an international book on the Coronavirus that was released on July 31. With Love, Comes Hope: Stories & Inspiration During the 2020 Pandemic is an anthology written by more than 70 writers from across 30 countries around the world, spanning every continent.
The project was created by the publisher, Acclaimed Books Limited, and 100% of the royalties are being donated to an international humanitarian charity called Bridge2, supporting people in need around the world. Acclaimed Books Managing Director, Peter Lihou, offered a personal message of thanks to Mona for her contribution.
“July is actually a big month for me,” says Mona Andrei. “I finished writing two books that are scheduled for release later this year and then this morning – on the last day of the month – I received the news that today is launch day for With Love, Comes Hope. I was especially pleased to be invited to write a piece about my personal experience during lockdown while collaborating with others from around the world. Documenting our experiences during this unique and devastating period as a way to help others is such a great way to give back. And of course, being a humour blogger, I couldn’t help but focus on the fact that this situation sits on the edge of our own sanity.”
Read Mona’s contribution below.
2020: The year of quiet chaos and self-acceptance
By Mona Andrei
When the pandemic first broke-out, I was on vacation in Cuba with two of my besties. One of those besties also happens to be my boyfriend. Apart from his daughter FaceTiming us every 11 hours to give us an update on world events, I was oblivious to what was going on. The word “corona” was now being passed around with its sidekick word, “virus”, yet I still thought the world was talking about beer.
We were only gone a week and yet when we arrived back to our real lives in Canada, the world had changed. My first indication of this was when I crawled into the back seat of our Uber ride and saw that the driver was wearing a face mask. Since it was the wee hours between the previous travel day and a new one, I was too exhausted to have any reaction except notice. Our driver was finishing a long shift and she too was tired. It was clear that talking incessantly was her way of staying awake. She told us how people were hoarding toilet paper and that you couldn’t find alcohol anywhere. That’s when my ears perked up with a question. “People are hoarding toilet paper AND wine?” Our Uber driver confirmed that what she meant by alcohol was hand sanitizer. Phew. Okay. No biggie. Perhaps the media is exaggerating. Feeling relieved, I went back to letting myself fall asleep in the back seat.
‘She told us how people were hoarding toilet paper and that you couldn’t find alcohol anywhere. That’s when my ears perked up with a question. “People are hoarding toilet paper AND wine?
Over the next few weeks changes to the world as we knew it continued. Retail stores were closing, leaving civilizations across all societies with access to essential services only. The term “self-isolate” was now a recommendation for public safety, and social distancing became the new culture. The human race was becoming afraid of itself.
Next came the latest trend in shopping. Online purchases became the new norm and the anticipation of home deliveries, the new distraction. If you did happen to go to a store, the Walmart greeter was now someone wearing a mask and latex gloves, and instead of welcoming you, the role now was to ensure that you washed your hands before entering the store. This, of course, was the anticlimactic end to waiting in line as stores began limiting the number of people they allowed in at one time. This was to enforce limited contact between shoppers and clerks, now known as frontline workers.
Even people out for daily strolls practiced the six-foot distancing rule as passersby walked to the middle of the street to avoid each other. Getting hit by a car had become less risky than catching COVID-19.
As we, the social beings, immersed in an unfamiliar self-isolation period, couples argued more (I know this because I could hear my neighbours), home-schooling became the new education system, and ads went from “come buy our car” to “we’ll get through this together. Come buy our car.”
‘Pajama bottoms and blazers are now the new craze in office attire. (Personally, if and when this passes over, I worry that I won’t remember how to wear pants.)’
With everyone working from home, Zoom and other online video conferencing platforms have become a way to socialize – from meetings to happy hour, graduation ceremonies to birthday parties. Pajama bottoms and blazers are now the new craze in office attire. (Personally, if and when this passes over, I worry that I won’t remember how to wear pants.)
Meanwhile, there’s always a positive perspective. As we, the social humans, are now forced to enjoy more alone time, we’re also learning to remember who we are as we take up the fine and almost lost art of baking home-made bread and binge-watching our favourite shows on Netflix during office hours. Priorities have changed and 2020 has become the year of self-reflection.
Meanwhile, with less people driving to work, the air is getting cleaner and we’re discovering that while hairdressers are not an essential service, liquor stores are. Lipstick sales have gone down as more and more people are wearing face masks.
Technology now plays a huge role in family gatherings. Celebrations are scheduled on screen and hugs are now shared as emojis.
‘Meanwhile, with less people driving to work, the air is getting cleaner and we’re discovering that while hairdressers are not an essential service, liquor stores are. Lipstick sales have gone down as more and more people are wearing face masks.’
With the world feeling under house-arrest, we’re re-learning to appreciate the quiet that resides within us. Self-care and self-acceptance are now more important than promotions. Where once we ran to our hairdressers with the first sign of grey roots, today those grey roots are making a statement: This is who I am.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to buy a few dozen hats. Since this started, Amazon Prime has become my new bestie.
With Love, Comes Hope is available for purchase on Amazon.
Feature image: Mona Andrei, courtesy of Mona Andrei
Mona Andrei is the writer behind Moxie-Dude.com – Life updates gone wrong. Or right. I’m undecided. She is listed as a top 100 humour blogger (even though she doesn’t only write humour). She is also author of SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood (Cynren Press) as well as the writer for a collaborative book entitled, LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE: 15 Principles for Success and the Stories that Inspired Them (Tremendous Leadership), which she wrote as a legacy project for two industry influencers. You can connect with Mona on Twitter or email her at Mona@MonaAndrei.com