I will mark 23 years in Canada next month in the midst of a pandemic.
I work from work, which is 50 km away from my home, on the evening shift as a senior writer at CBC Radio. I go to an almost empty office. By the time I’m done, it is 10 p.m. and I (leave) (or return home) without anyone to say good night to.
Most days our line-up is COVID-centric with a sliver of other news. The largest mass shooting in Canada, or the military helicopter crash off Greece or the Snowbirds accident in B.C.? They wait in the line-up while Covid-19 stories and the spreadsheet, which updates the death toll, take over.
We are the Alert Desk, deemed essential work. Our job is to get the correct information to our audience, to inform their decisions. These days a simple choice to have a picnic in the neighbourhood park could push you toward death. The Pope and the PM have thanked the media collectively for our work.
While there is food on my table and the job fills up my bank account every two weeks, I am dulled. In the larger scheme of things, the lack of contact in my empty office sounds like a modest change. But the human toll of not meeting people, not being able to have that simple chai break, is wearing me down. Now more than ever I realize the value of human contact.
I think about the many seniors in care homes who have left behind thriving families. Some are sick with Covid-19 and, at the final stretch of their lives, are left alone, and probably will die alone.
I’m not sure how I want to mark my 23 years in Canada.
Probably I’ll do it by counting 23 blessings. For sure being part of The Shoe project will be at the top of my list.
TEENAZ JAVAT is Indian by blood, Pakistani by bond and Canadian by choice. Among many of her duties, Teenaz writes headlines for a living at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She lives with her husband and adult children in Mississauga, Ontario.