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  • Marc Lalonde

Christmas? Bah, humbug!


This guy's facial expression sums it up nicely

I’m really not in the Christmas spirit. At all.


I’m at a loss, folks.


Christmas is here.


But not the parties, the occasions, the suppers with loved ones and the evenings out.

The cozy dinner parties in ugly sweaters, the happy gatherings of families, the festivities of the season and the delight in the giving of gifts are just not there for us this year.


I don’t know what to say anymore when it’s all been said so many times, and better than I possibly could, about the COVID-19 lockdown and quarantine, and I can only hope than when we do, finally and mercifully, come out on the other side, we come out better and happier.


Because I’m not sure I can take any more of this stuff. I’m a person who needs to have two things going on in his life to be happy. First, I require a steady stream of socialization, because I get a substantial amount of my energy from my interactions with others.


Second, I know that I’m an emotional being and my emotions are always close to the surface on me. I have been told I would make a shitty poker player because my facial expressions almost always betray my inner feelings. I have a hard time maintaining a neutral visage when I’m being confronted with something I don’t want to hear, don’t care to hear or something that hurts my feelings, which are the delicate fine-bone china of my psyche.


Be all that as it may, I’m still a person in the world and I’m living life in isolation, like so many of you, dear readers. Now, I’m getting my training in because I am very blessed to have a home gym I can call my own but I’ll be very, very honest – and very, very vulnerable.


I need people in my life. I need the energy of hearing what’s new in their lives, knowing their preoccupations, getting their perspectives on things and their opinions on others. I treasure those moments. I do not know how to just sit in my house and stare at TV. Granted, that can occasionally be fun, and even therapeutic, but not every night, man.


It’s.


Every.


Single.


Frigging.


Night.


I’m lucky in two ways; first, my daughter plays hockey as part of a sport-etudes program and thus, she is still allowed to take to the ice with her classmates and hone her skills in a supervised, safe environment, and despite the government edict that older high-school students can only go to the school building every second day, she is able to get on the ice five days a week – in the evenings on those days she is not in class.


The other blessing is my home gym. The ability to train my body in the manner I have become accustomed has been a real positive thing for me. Granted, some days feel like I’m pushing against an obstacle that just won’t move, but at one point or another, I always get it done.


I’m seeing training clients outdoors as well. Which, up until this week, was mostly tolerable. Not too cold, not too much ice and not too much bitter chill wind. This week, winter has arrived with a vengeance and I’d be lying if I told you I relish every minute of it. I really, really, really don’t. And there are some moments where I question why I’m doing it.


But I know, in my heart of hearts that there is a good reason for all these things. It offers us the opportunity to keep our loved ones healthy – for the present and into the future – and is an inimitable test of our resolve as people. But it's a funny juxtaposition, I think. All it takes is the slightest blink of positivity and that's usually enough to get me through the day. It's often enough to conquer these feelings of hurt, pain, insecurity and inadequacy.


Make no mistake. I'm hit with these feelings a fair amount.


Moments of disheartening feelings can often be cast aside, but by the time everyone is vaccinated and we are at a critical mass of a COVID-free population, it will have been a year – and possibly more – since I last taught an in-person fitness class and since we were first locked down.


Word on the street is that Quebec Premier Francois Legault – who told us we could have Christmas and then took it away like Lucy used to take the football away from Charlie Brown, blaming us when his original 28-day lockdown from October is stretching into the new year – is going to shut down all non-essential businesses this week, thereby rendering screwed those people who, like me in the past, have waited to the last minute to start Christmas shopping.


I wonder, though, at the end of all this what the human cost will be? My children will miss out on important milestones – no grad trip for my son in his last year of elementary school, no Dodge Cup for my daughter last season, and likely, this season as well. No football playoffs. No family vacations. No chances to see beloved family members during the holidays.


Just us, living in our homes. Hanging on for dear life.


I ask the question again, though, and I haven’t yet heard it answered for me in a way I consider to be satisfactory: If we are preserving life and health, then what are we protecting? Humans are social animals and we are losing that aspect of our social fabric with every passing day.


We’ve become a nation of people who go out of their way to avoid others. We only see other people now as those who are in our way at the grocery store and who are in our way in traffic. Hell has become other people – and it’s not something I’m comfortable with.

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