If Tomorrow Never Comes

I ate lunch outside today – Pizzoccheri and red cabbage slaw. Yes, it was only 5 degrees, and everyone else sat in the cafeteria. That was OK. I was wearing my 700 fill down jacket, had a bowl of hot vegetable soup to sip on and, even though I was in the shade, the sun was showing its smiley face on the peaks beyond. An hour later, I found myself inside, looking out of a closed double-glazed window at the sleet. The change was fast, indeed.

I am currently living in the third country, the third continent, since The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. I, like many others, have been locked down, locked down, quarantined, locked down, close contact quarantined, tested, locked down, retested, and vaccinated. I have learned much during this time, or, should I say, I have seen things more clearly. Maybe it’s both. This continues.

A few weeks ago, someone asked me what I was planning for the winter vacation which will be here in fourteen days. I had some ideas for myself and the two children who I would be with. Some of these were fanciful, some more modest – planes and hostels and deserts, trains and museums and hotels, car and hills and chalets, walks and board games and pizzas. I took a little time to explore these options. Not too much time, mind you, I was entertaining myself, not preparing. A good thing too.

Last Friday, two of our colleagues ventured to the UK. When they arrived back on Sunday, they were told they had to go into a ten-day quarantine. The previous day, the UK had been placed on the quarantine list by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health – conditions changed.

From 26 November 2021, 20h00From 27 November 2021, 20h00From 29 November 2021, 00h00From 30 November 2021, 00h00
Hong Kong
South Africa
Czech Republic
United Kingdom
Required to quarantine if coming from – Switzerland December 1, 2021

On Wednesday, we were informed that a colleague had tested C-19 positive and, yesterday afternoon, we received instructions for teaching in a hybrid model. Last night, we were notified that a student had tested positive, and the Swiss Government flagged new measures as it attempts to manage the latest heaving. The world is changing. It always has, but now, it affects us, directly, again.

I wrote, above, that I have begun to see things more clearly. Maybe, I should have said that things are more apparent to me. Maybe it isn’t my eyes that see better, but that your actions (or inactions) are more visible to me. Maybe, these days, when what we have taken for granted doesn’t exist as it did, we are much rawer, angrier, and we let it show.

This week, much of the talk has been of how quarantine restrictions will affect peoples’ winter travel plans. People are upset, of course they are. It isn’t just the travel restriction that is the issue, however, it is also the cause of the restrictions that is causing angst. Or at least, what other see as the cause of the restrictions. I have listened to a number who are vaccinated complain, some loudly, that they shouldn’t have to suffer because others haven’t been vaccinated. I have some appreciation of such a position, though (a) it would be good if they presented the data correctly and (b) I think that social responsibility goes beyond just being vaccinated.

(a) According to the data that we have of here, a quarter of all hospitalisations due to covid-19 are of fully vaccinated people. It is at least this number currently. Vaccinations may be a help, but they are not a guarantee, and this seems to be conveniently omitted, or dismissed with a “pfft” and wave of the hand. We also live in a region where the movement of people is highly dynamic – a lot of cross-border and inter-city travel, with lots of opportunity to be exposed, and to expose others.

(b) I’ve asked a few people whether they have installed the contact tracing app on their phones. None I have spoken with have done so. They either had not thought of it or didn’t need to because, well, because they were vaccinated and had their vaccination passport. They were “safe”, despite us knowing that no-one is safe. But it costs nothing, nothing, to have the app on the phone, so why not have it? It can only do good, perhaps great good.

I could go on and write about mask wearing, sanitising, and attending meet and greets this past week (no really, there were plenty of these). Suffice to say, that there are risks we don’t need to take at this point in time. The time for such indulgent social activity is past, for now. Hopefully, it will return, though who really knows. And this brings me to the point that I have tried to emphasise to the people I have spoken with.

A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a beer with a few colleagues, listening to some music in the background, when Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” played. I heard. I will not reach to say it was a prophecy, but I will urge you to listen to it and beyond it, and ask yourself the question he poses.

There are ways to be, things to do, people to see, that are important to us. Unless we are extremely mindful, it is only when we lose the opportunities to live such ways, that we recognise just how important they were. Past tense. I hope that the current situation, once again, serves as a reminder of this. I hope that, should things improve, we remain aware of this and that we make the effort to do what is important when we can, not wait until it is more convenient, for this may never come.

While I can, I will – Switzerland 2021

Published by Athan Rodostianos

Educator, world traveller, dreamer. The world is there and open. Live it, love it, breathe it share your experiences, be kind, be good.

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