It’s minus -8 here in Toronto and we’re due to get more snow. Children were supposed to go back to school on Monday after three months of online-only but HA HA it was a snow day instead! GOTCHA, says Mother Nature. Of course in TO we are adequately prepared for such snow storms, so it is, at most, an inconvenience. *reads with horror at what’s happening in Texas*

Monday morning, while huge swathes of North America woke up to Snow Days, I woke up with the pandemic malaise – that specific overflow of stress that means waking up one day out of the blue and just not. having. it. Slept okay; coffee was good; not hungry or PMSy. Just…. not having it. Spent most of the day trying to do my Necessary Things but thinking longingly of my bed the whole time. Do we have a word yet for that sudden emptying of the tank that seems to strike randomly during *gestures at everything*? If not, we should.

Tuesday was not much better. Wednesday I had a huge nap and was still yawning my head off at 8:30.

One of the joys of a pandemic is that spike of sudden terror at any new slight deviation in one’s meatbag while at the same time being extremely bored and cabin fever-y. Am I fighting something off? Is it the Rona? Is it just a head cold because we still get those? Is it not anything virus related at all, but simply extreme boredom? Malaise. Cabin fever. SAD. It’s the middle of February in a cold, dark country so it could be any number of these things. A combo platter! So many choices for mental malaise!

In the before times when I had February blues I would take myself off to a new coworking space, have a coffee from a new cafe, or just give myself errands in the far reaches of the city, to break from routine. None of those are on the table. I am lucky that none of those are on the table. I am lucky that I can choose to take a snow week if I want. I am lucky to be bored.

And yet.

And yet I stare at blank pages and wish the words would come out. I wish I could work on a new story or Ominous Sound (my time ghosts novel) or edit Fletcher & Cooper 2 for more than 15 minutes without my brain returning an unrecoverable disk error. I wish I could go for a walk without grousing about the cold or all the people sharing the sidewalk who aren’t wearing masks. I wish I could browse, in a store.

Imagine missing browsing.

And yet. Our city is due to open in *checks calendar* 3 days? That can’t be right, our hospitals are still swamped and we still have variants swarming–but Schools and Businesses Must Open, says DoFo, and so they will, and we will find ourselves in yet another lockdown in late March or April, this time with our faces pressed against the window wishing to be out in the spring air rather than bear another month of lockdown in *checks calendar* a time of year when no one wants to go outside anyway.

So it goes. Everyone wants to go back to “normal”. But this is the normal. This will be normal for a while yet. Any time we try to go back to the old normal we only prolong the new.

So I guess I will keep trying to do things in little drips and dribbles and bundle up and go for my daily walks and when the mood strikes and circumstances allow I will continue to declare Snow Days even when the leaves are out and flowers are blooming.

If you happen to have a better word for that pandemic-specific malaise, let me know. Until I find one, Snow Days it is.

Published in blog personal


Victoria Feistner is a novelist, a graphic designer, and an artisan in equal parts, although some of those parts are more equal than others. She resides in Toronto with her husband and two fur children, also known as cats.

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