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Pause, Breathe: Compassion in a Time of Slowdowns


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/11/15

When I sit at work on break, if I get them, I wonder as to the manner in which to conduct myself. There’s a sense in which the time spent sitting, pondering the time, is both a huge waste of utility and a point of rest and relaxation. I sit in this tension, wondering.

I think about the individuals who come and go, who flutter in and out of the doorways of the restaurant during a pandemic. In British Columbia, we’re set as a province. We have good healthcare. We have a culture of moderate care and concern. People are here for one another.

In this sense, whether a pandemic season or not, people have one another’s backs. British Columbians are good like that. When push comes to shove, even the less well off, they have an ability to show general care and concern for another person.

So, this culture of care is part and parcel with the relatively robust healthcare system. Even in the instances of restaurants struggling to make their way, I sincerely don’t sense resentment for having to shut down. A livelihood is lost. A source of community wealth generation goes away. However, people have one another’s backs.

Similarly, sitting here at the restaurant, we’re in the middle of a two-week lockdown. While, simultaneously, there’s not much of a change in the general culture. People come to eat out less. There’s a sense of greater safety precautions on the periphery.

However, sitting here, I can’t help but think of the Americans who are dealing with a far greater number of cases in total, per day, and with fewer healthcare provisions for poorer Americans. How are their businesses doing? How are those community suffering? How is rural white America handling the pandemic? It’s an aging population acquiring a highly contagious dis-ease in psychology and disease in a virus-based pandemic. The most cases, for now, are in the United States. That will likely become India later with some tight competitors in Brazil and elsewhere.

But even in spite of this, Canada feels well. It feels safe. It feels as if the correct measures are being taken to mediate the virus and help keep Canadians both safe and calm. Calm is important because many Canadians lack the correct knowledge to understand the deeper principles behind evolution and viruses. However, they understand hygiene and the maintenance of good, quality health.

On a break at the restaurant, I get to watch some of the dynamics of the population play out. Some things become obvious such as the dress and look of people who are caught in the pandemic. But they want to get out.

They have to travel out with the family if at all, in a sense. So, they will look alike, dress in a similar way, and look more or less common to the area. These are strangely the markers of a pandemic as played out in the rural regions of Canadian society.

And sooner or later, the break ends.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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