Published In The Great North Arrow, June 2021: Waiting...


- jim Young


“It’s important that you manage your expectations.” - anon


It’s the “waiting” that’s getting to me.

For the most part, all the “lock-downs” and “stay-at-home” orders have been pretty easy for me to cope with. I’ve pretty much been a loner most of my life anyway. Growing up with five sisters, I had my own room and I spent most of my time there building model airplanes, listening to my music and writing.


In the summer months I would be outside, comfortable in the solitude of my tree house or sitting on the edge of Lover’s Creek catching fish and watching the wildlife. I never really needed much companionship other than my dog Punky who would accompany me wherever I went.


Punky, as I mentioned, was a dog. But he willingly took on the part of Faithful Companion, Indian Scout, Pirate, Space Traveler or whatever particular character was required for the fantasy and adventure I had chosen for the day.


I’ve been able to keep myself amused all my life. I can sit for hours in front of the tv and if I get bored, I will get up and turn it on. So being home alone with my wife throughout this pandemic has kind of been a walk in the park for me.


But even a stay-at-home loner like myself is starting to feel the effects of the closures as I long to return to some sense of normalcy. I hear everyone say “we will never return to normal again.” 


That’s not true. We will return to a “different” normal and that’s fine with me. I just want to get there sooner than later so we can see what the “new” normal will be and start making the necessary adjustments.


The scary thought of course is “what if this IS the new normal?”


What if wearing masks and social distancing never goes away? What if the future involves closures, supply shortages, skyrocketing prices and shipping delays as a new way of life?


We are currently waiting for delivery of a couple of large ticket items. (An ATV and a prefab shed to house it.) It’s taken us a long time to decide to make these purchases. We spent most of our lives working hard and saving our money so that we could make these purchases. So why was it such a difficult decision to actually spend that money that we have saved all these years?


And now that we have made the decision and committed to the purchases, we can’t have them. At least not all of them. Like most everything else we have purchased over the last year, we have to wait. The promised delivery date of the ATV has come and gone. Twice. And to add insult to injury, the suppliers are not forthcoming with updates. I understand we’re in the middle of a pandemic, but I don’t understand why we’re being kept in the dark as to what exactly the delays are and why?


I’m a reasonable person. But when the promised due date comes and goes with no warning, no update and no explanation, I tend to get a little grumpy. Don’t tell me “We’ll let you know when it’s ready.” I want to know when you “expect” it to be ready and I want to know if that changes, when it changes and why it changed.


If the manufacturer can’t provide a date because the parts aren’t available, they should likewise be putting pressure on their suppliers to provide dates. Based on that, schedules can be made and timelines can be planned.


We’re well over a year into the pandemic. Companies should have enough experience behind them by now, to start planning for the delays. If not, it makes me suspect that some are taking advantage of the pandemic to create false shortages, increase demand and inflate prices.


There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel but I hope it's not just a mirror reflecting the light source coming from another far off wave.


Still, when I get discouraged and start to feel sorry for myself with the delays and shortages we are facing here in Canada, I can’t help but think of my friends in Cuba.


They know all too well about delays and shortages and waiting their turn in lines. While things are particularly bad right now for my Cuban friends, when the pandemic is over they will still have delays and shortages and lines to wait in. And that’s just for food and everyday provisions for their family.


My friends in Cuba have a tough time accepting that I have not just one house for my family but another house (garage) just for my car. I wouldn’t get much sympathy from them if they discovered I’m upset because I’m waiting for delivery of an ATV and yet another house (shed) just for my ATV.


The lights at the end of the Cuban tunnels are still pretty dim since their hardships are not likely to end with the end of Covid.


So, if the Cuban people can remain resilient and as happy and hopeful as they always seem to be, then surely I can strive to do the same, at least a little while longer.


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