What is the first thing you plan to do after the pandemic ends?

March 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns, and after this year of disruption, we asked some of our staff and volunteers the first thing they want to do after the pandemic.

Graphic by Kash Patel

Really, I just miss baseball. All my other obsessions can be fed some other way. My preoccupation with material literature has been met with the reopening of Indigo. All my sports cards needs can be met at J & J’s on Weber St. But there’s just nothing quite like blowing out both your knees racing some kid’s dad to first base at a repossessed soccer field on a Thursday night. The things I would do just to throw my arm out again, always advertising the fleeting strength of my fragile elbow to the 12 or so middle-aged tax attorneys—and their wives—who’ve consolidated to shape our little game of slow-pitch. What’s even more exciting is the fast-food roast beef sandwiches we all get to shame-eat in our fourteen-year-old cars after the game! It’s really all for the love of the game.

Jackson Carse, Arts & Life Editor

Once the pandemic is over—I mean, really over—I want nothing more than to go on a shopping trip. Not for groceries or essentials, not for anything that has any pandemic connotations. I want to pack into a car with my closest friends—sans mask—and hear their voices in real-time as we sing at the top of our lungs to the playlist I spent all night preparing. When we pull into the mall parking lot we won’t have to wait in line outside to get in. We’ll go through every store and spend all of our hard-earned money on clothes we fall in love with, and we won’t have to worry about not touching anything or standing too close to other people in the queuing lane. The word “pandemic” won’t even cross our minds, and when I finally smile at people, I’ll see them smile back at me.

Deanna Fitzgerald, Staff Writer

If you asked me my thoughts on the GRT a year ago, I’d probably give a much different, less romanticized answer, but one unassuming thing I’ve been missing about pre-pandemic life is taking public transportation. I know this probably sounds weird because buses are not the most sanitary of places to begin with. I don’t even want to think about how infrequently the handrails were sanitized or the seats deep-cleaned. I will admit though, that I do miss the long rides where I could do nothing but look out the window and listen to music—it gave me time to be with myself and be content with just being with my thoughts. Taking the bus also meant that I’d actually be going somewhere, as opposed to now, where I’m stuck staring at the same four walls every day. Evidently, it’s not the bus itself that I miss, but rather, the normalcy of it.  So, I can’t say that taking the GRT or the Go Bus is going to be the first thing I do after the pandemic — I’ll probably reserve that spot for hugging my family and friends — but it’s definitely an aspect of normal life that I’d be glad to return to.

Alyssa Di Sabatino, Editor-in-Chief

When we’ve moved past the pandemic, I would like to go to concerts again. There’s something about overly-priced beer, sweaty mosh pits and live ear-splitting music that makes me forget about the world and immerses me in the spirit of music. My first concert was WayHome music festival in 2017, but being a concert junkie started in 2019 after seeing Skid Row, Queensrÿche, Def Leppard, Ringo Starr, Charly Bliss and PUP in the span of six months. While I was on an adrenaline rush to chase after more concerts and music festivals, the pandemic quickly squashed my hopes with the risks of large in-person gatherings. As some of my favourite artists continue to release music, I sympathize with their inability to use concerts as a revenue stream. But as soon as I receive my COVID-19 vaccine and concerts open again, you’ll find me fighting to get closer to the stage in Royal Blood’s mosh pit.

Marina Black, Opinion Editor

I just want to escape to one of the many cafes scattered around KW and lose myself in my work and the sounds of happy people chattering in the background. I miss being able to refresh myself by taking a deep breath and being greeted by the smell of coffee intermingled with the scents of various spices. Mostly, though, I miss the feeling of being around people, but as an observer rather than an active participant, in an atmosphere that’s relaxed and content. Hardly ever quiet, but almost always peaceful.

Kash Patel, Web Director

One of the things I am going to prioritize doing post-pandemic is to get on a plane and visit my friend in Texas. I miss seeing my local friends as well and want to prioritize following up with friendships I never want to see disappear. The pandemic has taught many of us how much we took lunch plans with friends or family for granted. I am going to definitely say yes to more of those opportunities that I would have put off in the past. Visiting my friend in Dallas is definitely a good place to start!

Lauren Symbolik-Berger, Video Editor

I think of myself as an introvert, but COVID-19 has really forced me to recognize how much I miss being around other human beings, especially in the most mundane settings. The first thing I want to do when the pandemic is over is go to a movie theatre. I want to walk in and smell and hear the popcorn popping, buy myself overpriced snacks and happily watch the trailers and make note of the movies I might want to see next. I just need to sit in a dark room with other people and enjoy what was once a normal experience without having to worry about anything other than the movie we’re all there to see. I often think back to when I saw Avengers: Endgame in a completely packed Cineplex theatre when it was first released like I’m an old woman reminiscing about the good old days. I’ll never forget the palpable anticipation, collective cheers, gasps and audible sobs. God, how I miss that kind of shared energy. 

Emily Waitson, News Editor

After a long year of staying at home, overwhelmed with adjustments and ever-changing restrictions, I think I am with the wide majority in wanting a return to normalcy. As countless others have said, I just want things to be as they were prior to the pandemic. Once the pandemic clears, one of the first things I would want to be able to attend is an entertainment event. Whether that be a sports game or a concert, it usually always leads to a great night out and has been one of the top things I have been missing since March of last year.

Mark Cascagnette, Sports Editor

As a first-year university student, there are the obvious answers: partying, studying and working. However, the root of a university student’s perspective and answer derives from the notion of inert human nature; to experience human connection. Ask anyone about the first thing they want to do after the pandemic and their answer will be something they can do with others. The human experience in life is to foster connections and drive emotion with others, like a two-way street with traffic constantly flooding in both directions. The pandemic may have called this ideal to a halt but when the pandemic concludes, the sun will shine on a brighter day, one not taken for granted. I conclude with a question for the readers. Does it matter what you are doing after the pandemic, or does it matter who you are with?

Mark Price, Contributor

After the pandemic, the first thing I will do is reflect on the hardships that the pandemic has caused and advocate better preparedness for future pandemics. An unfortunate fact of humanity is that we have sickness and diseases that do not discriminate; they can threaten our lives and our existence on earth. COVID-19 caught our world’s governments by surprise, and I feel that all the states around the world have been scrambling to find solutions and ideas that the generations to follow will pay the price.  I will dedicate my advocacy to the people who have suffered needlessly due to the non-preparation of a recurring issue that is apart of the human condition. My dream is to ensure that the governments will have a swift solution when the next pandemic hits so the damage will be minimal and we can keep leading our ordinary lives. 

Franco Salis, Staff Writer

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