How I Survive the Pandemic

The big window in my front room was a movie screen for all of 2019. I watched a 20-storey apartment building rise just across the street, from blasting to framing and finishing. It was the first time I saw how they get the concrete high enough to pour walls and floors in the sky.

This is what happens when you live on the route of a future LRT line—the line goes in and development begins. I’m not bitter about it the way some of my neighbours are. I suppose I would be if it blocked a good view but instead it gives me an interesting new one where before there wasn’t much. Many new views, actually—the windows a wall of screens like you’d see at a big-box electronics store.

The building was ready for occupation by the end of February 2020 then sat empty for three months. I measured the pandemic by the number of screens lit and unlit. In the evenings, a third of them glow yellow, now. I see regular people on the rooftop where for months I saw only men in orange safety jackets.

I admit to having binoculars and using them—we are in a city, after all, and the tall birdcages are a source of free entertainment. I presume the favour is reciprocal—my lights are on, my windows uncovered, too.

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