Surly Thursday, Not the Funny Kind

 Not gonna lie, things have gone to shit around here somewhat. I had a funny Surly Thursday post lined up for before our April Break (postponed from March) and then our Covid cases went through the roof and both my school and Eve's which had had very few cases were suddenly turning up positives every couple of days and I was working in the office which means cradling a lot of sweaty heads and catching a lot of nose blood, and I was feeling both anxious and guilty for feeling anxious when I was still in a pretty low-risk position. I was booked to work the last three days before the break in the office and I toyed with not going in, because quite honestly as a sub they don't pay me nearly enough to take that kind of risk, or to sit in sweltering PPE in the isolation room with a kid who has an upset stomach and needs to be isolated until a parent can pick them and all their siblings up. But I didn't want to leave the school short-handed, so I went in and it was okay, and then I sort of crashed into a boneless heap.

This boneless heap was shortly thereafter animated by rage and spite when I guess there were rumours that Ontario was going to ask for health care workers and/or vaccines to be shared from the East Coast. A bunch of East Coasters took to Twitter to express their displeasure with this. In a way I get it. I know we're all exhausted and frightened and a prolonged crisis like this makes it really hard to stay compassionate and gracious. In another way I was profoundly hurt and angry that a bunch of people were almost gleefully proclaiming that the people of Ontario had brought this on ourselves by not following the rules and it was only right that we should suffer the consequences.

This sentiment completely ignores the fact that many outbreaks came from workplaces such as factories where low-income workers weren't given paid time off to get tested or stay home if they were sick, and that there was no evidence at all that all of the cases were generated by gatherings or people flouting restrictions. We have a premier that wouldn't institute paid sick days or close schools, even when it was known that the variants are more contagious and school cases were increasing. I have heard of crises in other parts of the world many times that were down to poor government management as much as to acts of God. I have never felt anything but lucky and concerned about how I could help. Now a high number of people, many of whom I followed, some of whom I considered friends, saying "you want me to give up my vaccine for these jerks?" Well no, I don't actually, but also now we're not friends anymore because that was an asshole thing to say when you know you have Ontario people who follow you who are sick with fear and anger about what's going on in our province. It takes a certain amount of willful blindness in that person's place to feel morally superior instead of just fortunate. 

I used to be kind of dismissive of those memes about shattering a plate and then trying to glue it back together to show how you can't just say "I'm sorry" after saying something hurtful and make everything go back the way it was. People screw up, I would think, and there's no way we can all avoid ever saying the wrong thing. But a few times over the past couple of years someone has said something that I knew almost immediately had caused irreparable damage to our relationship. Sometimes they did even say sorry. Sometimes I even appreciated it. It didn't change the fact that that thing was said and I would never forget that they said it. 

The cool thing about this is that I've also realized that, when someone says something like that, I don't have to let them just stay in my life and keep aggravating the sore spot. I used to be bad at this. I would continue to see people or be Facebook friends with them or follow them, even when every interaction left me fuming or annoyed or going over what I wished I'd said in my head. Sometimes I did start arguing every point, because for a lot of my life I wasn't confident or assertive enough to argue or speak out even when I felt like I should. Then I'd get to the point where I'd be wondering why I kept up a relationship that was more work than satisfaction. One person on Facebook actually asked me something like "why do you keep being friends with me if you disagree with everything I say?" and it was like a light bulb - omg, I don't HAVE to be? Omg, I don't HAVE TO BE. 

I don't know why I was so hesitant to walk away like this before. Maybe I thought they weren't that bad. Maybe I thought it was too drastic a measure. I was wrong! It's so liberating! The people in my timeline are people I actually want to see and they say kind, funny, helpful things! Like Hannah (HI HANNAH), possibly the only person from the East Coast I didn't unfollow because she told everyone who snarked about Ontario to fuck off. 

The irony is that I have now bitched about this issue so much that I'm even sick of myself, but I've typed out all this crap and I'm unable to unfollow myself (believe me, I've tried), so I'm going to consider this cathartic and try to speak of it no more. Hang on, that might not be irony. Fuck it, I don't care. 

I'm going to post this pitiful diatribe and then plan to get back to being funny next time. 



Comments

There is nothing more freeing than cutting a toxic person out of your life, whether it be online or face-t0-face. Some people just make a person feel bad. I feel this: " because for a lot of my life I wasn't confident or assertive enough to argue or speak out even when I felt like I should" but some people are not worth that time or courtesy. Some people are not worth talking with about certain subjects. So, as you know, I'm wholeheartedly in your corner. I mean, yes, people sometimes make mistakes, and misspeak, but toxicity is a whole other ballgame.

I do believe in that "glued together" plate as well. There are people who are still in my life because their value outweighs their giant assy thing they said, but I still remember the thing they said to me and how they made me feel, when they smashed my plate. You know? Anyway, hugs, you know I'm here and always will be. Love you.
Swistle said…
I have found considerable relief unfriending people on Facebook. There was...kind of a large batch of unfriending during the last U.S. presidential election. And I was worried about it: "How can I cut off this person I've known since 7th grade???" Turns out, it's not super difficult, and it's nice not to have to keep hitting the ceiling that a NICU nurse in Georgia is posting anti-mask stuff. In pre-Facebook times, we never would have stayed in touch so long anyway.
Ernie said…
Sorry this is happening. That's lousy for people to make statements like that. At this point, it feels like we should all be operating from a 'we're all in this together' philosophy. I was just thinking yesterday that I hadn't heard anything for a while and I was hoping you were doing well. It's good to hear from you, and while I wish the news was that you've been doing fabulous, sleeping well, and hanging with neighbors on the regular and were just too busy to post, I appreciate you sharing what's happening in your world. I hope things improve soon. -
Tudor said…
I totally understand. I've been super-lucky, so also fairly resilient, through this entire pandemic, but I definitely had a low-point this week completely caused by social media. The vaccine thing is dragging me down and I had just come home from talking to a bunch of the cashiers at my local Loblaws which has kept us all in food and toilet paper for over a year, and which has been my only social outing. As frontline workers those cashiers want vaccines, and have no idea when they'll get them and - I'm going to stick my neck out here and risk being told off - but in light of that I just can't handle the gleeful, over-the-top, celebratory vaccination posts of people I know who 100 percent work from home; posts which they justify by claiming they're battling vaccine hesitancy. Don't get me wrong - the more people who get vaccinated, the better, and I don't dispute their right to be vaccinated. What I would prefer is a little more awareness that, right now, at this exact moment when people have their names on the lists at ten different pharmacies, vaccine hesitancy is not our most pressing issue, and it can be a bit much to see those in-your-face "NO HESITANCY HERE!" posts when there are people facing the public day-in-day-out who have no clue when they might get vaccinated and who would also have no hesitancy whatsoever, if they could only get a GD shot. So, yeah, that bugged me this week.
Dimitra said…
When Marianna was in 8th grade, a middle school classmate, who was toxic and mean to her and some of her friends, apologized to her only and asked to stay friends and get get to know each other better. Marianna told her flat out that her comments hurt people and leave lasting effects. She sternly declined to be friends and also mentioned that she never considered her a friend due to her bullying words and actions. Marianna also recommended she get help and to re evaluate her behaviours towards others and walked away.
Fourteen year old me could have never pulled that off. Neither could 24,34,44 year old me, but as we get older we learn to stand up for ourselves and “clean our closet of friendships” as I say.
You have come a long way to know what and who is best for you and you only. You should be very proud of yourself!
What I have also realized is that our struggles have become lessons to our children and they have been putting them into action without our realization. That’s what Marianna’s actions showed me.
You have done the same with Eve, and our kids are changing the world as we speak. You f’n rock! Xo
Suz said…
I'm so sorry things have gone from bad to worse. It's heartbreaking and frustrating.
No one should be pointing fingers or namecalling; it's unproductive. Crossing my fingers that things start looking up for you and yours.
StephLove said…
I have several people I stay friends with on FB not so much for the relationship, but because I feel I should know how people on the other side of the political fence think. But it can be a trial. I have a cousin I'm always on the verge of unfriending because she's so toxic. Maybe some day I will do it.

I hope the situation in Ontario improves soon.

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