A toast

My dog is lying on the carpet in a sunbeam near my feet.

Occasionally he looks up when I shuffle or reach for something. He’s got anxiety so he’s not usually the most restful dude, but he’s trying to relax. He also suspects there’s food around as we get closer to dinner time so he’s vigilante about the potential for dropped scraps.

The music of Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans is currently playing quietly throughout my house.

My son is watching TV in the basement and my wife is napping.

It’s one of those rare moments over the last couple weeks where things almost feel normal.

But then, of course, I remember that things are very far from normal.

And it seems pretty clear that, whatever happens on the other side of this, we’ll almost certainly have a different definition of “normal.”

So while most people who are reading this probably know me as a “beer blogger,” that’s not why I fired up the laptop today and, realistically, I’m not sure I’ll have much motivation to jot down any thoughts about drinking beer for the foreseeable future.

It seems like kind of a weird time to think about beer, other than my immediate needs to find it around 5pm and to put it in my mouth, or a time to think about maintaining a fucking blog, of all things. Indeed, it’s a weird time to think about much more than the safety of our loved ones.

My wife and I are are both still working, but she is shouldering the majority of the work trying to create some structure for an active, bitingly funny, scarily smart, curious, loud, and energetic grade one student as the demands of my work often mean I’m still tethered to my desk for large parts of my day. It is an insane, hectic, often frustrating situation. Sometimes there is yelling. Sometimes there are tears. But we remind each other that we are both extremely fortunate to have jobs we are able to do remotely and for which we are both still being paid. Many people have lost or will lose their jobs before this is over. We are also fortunate to have space to let that energetic kid burn off some energy from time to time. I can’t imagine how we would cope if we were still in the condo we left behind in Toronto five years ago.

It hits me more and more each day of this pandemic what a luxury it is for us to be able to handle this situation the way we are, and, while we are frequently at our wits’ end, I am thankful.

So maybe I will make this about beer, for just one second.

Because the reason I’m writing this is that I’d actually like to take a minute to raise a virtual glass. A toast to those who are still going to work today, and tomorrow, and until someone says not to anymore. I don’t just mean healthcare providers, who are willing to go to work and care for the sick and put themselves in harm’s way and whose selflessness will literally be the thing that saves many and many of our lives.

I am of course more thankful than ever for healthcare providers and our country’s healthcare system. But I’m also extremely thankful for the people who are still stocking store shelves and who are still bagging groceries, who are manning assembly lines and driving trucks full of the things we need, who are still making sure the lights are on, the phones are working, and the fucking internet is still working so we can all stay connected to talk about Tiger King like the world is somehow still a little bit normal.

Most of us aren’t leaving our homes unless it’s utterly necessary—and yet we find ourselves totally reliant on the resiliency and bravery of the people whose jobs leave them no choice but to leave their homes.

So it doesn’t feel like a time for silly little websites about beer, but I wanted to take a minute, sitting here with my dog at my feet and my family safely snug in the Sunday stillness of our home before the madness of working remotely and home schooling and calming a rescue dog who barks at every delivery, to say thank you, to raise a toast, and to wish all of you well.

I hope all of you are finding some semblance of normalcy and comfort in these weird times and I hope to raise a glass with all of you in real life soon.

Hang in there.

8 thoughts on “A toast

  1. Ben,

    I sincerely enjoyed reading your message today. Thank you for sharing and caring. Stay safe, be well and love to all.

    Stephanie Black Wasaga Beach


  2. That is so beautifully written Ben, so heartfelt. I hope we all appreciate the things we are fortunate to have and the people who love us during this unprecedented time. When our new normal surfaces we will love a bit stronger, laugh a bit longer and never take for granted the time we get to share. Love mom❤️

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