By Andru McCracken
Is there work we can do to make our communities better during the shutdown, despite the conditions imposed on us? Is there work we can do to make our communities better _because_ of the conditions imposed on us?
Even while standing 2 metres apart?
In my house there are some projects that just don’t get done except for in very special circumstances. In our house it took a global pandemic for me to even start organizing my tarp shed. It’s still a disaster, but the little I have accomplished really does improve my life at home. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this relatively small investment makes everything around the house work better. Knowing where things are helps me get little projects done with ease. Instead of hunting all day for a car battery charger, I now have the satisfaction of knowing the battery is charging while I move to the next project. Bashed knuckles be damned, at least I’ve got the motorhome charged.
Is there a community analog?
Is there community-level work that just can’t get done except for during these super special conditions provided by the biggest mass unemployment in the history of Canada?
What would they be?
I see lots of good work in response to the epidemic: people helping each other, sewing protective masks, caring for each other, taking the time to make us feel special. These are vital things, great things, but not really what I’m talking about.
When you finally get time to clean out the basement, organize the attic, or throw all the unused clothes out of the closet, it doesn’t just make you feel good. It raises your standard of living. It’s a life upgrade.
What would that be for a community?
I have a project in mind that I figured would probably never materialize because the right conditions just don’t exist. Everybody is too busy doing their own thing. That’s not bad, it just is.
But now things have changed.
Away from our sometimes grueling routines, if we don’t have more time, we at least have more space to think, plan. Space we only dreamt of.
Let’s use it.
Can you think of community work that could be done right now?
I’d love to know what it is.