The Editor’s Desk: There’s always a silver lining

Stories — some of which might even be true — of people making the best of bad pandemic situations

Many people are making the best of the COVID-19 pandemic. See if you can determine which of the following stories are true.

1) Eighteen months ago Kayleigh Watson and her fiancé Brad Torrance sent out more than 200 invitations to their wedding, which was set for Sept. 12: the five-year anniversary of the day the two met. Since then Watson, 28, who works as a public relations consultant for a large agricultural machinery manufacturing firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has spent countless exhausting hours planning the event. Due to uncertainty around COVID-19, she and Torrance decided to cancel the big event, and will instead hold a simple service with just immediate family in attendance. “I can’t tell you what a weight off my shoulders it’s been,” she told ABC-TV affiliate KTUL in Tulsa. “I don’t wake up every morning worrying about flowers, and catering, or what the weather will be like, or if my brother-in-law will stay sober through the reception.” The pair will have an informal barbecue for close friends at some point; in the meantime, they’re putting the money they’re saving towards a downpayment on a house.

2) Dustin Carlson, 35, who works for a trucking company in Palo Alto, California, is not missing the cancellation of all professional sports. “Most of the people I work with are guys, and it’s great not to have to pretend to be interested in sports all the time. That’s all they seem to talk about. You have no idea how exhausting it is, having to pretend to care about the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, or Tom Bradley [sic] leaving New England, or if the Mariners can turn it around this year. Frankly, I’m not in a hurry to see major league sports start up again anytime soon.”

3) Evelyn Barnes, a 61-year-old grandmother of seven who lives near Chichester in West Sussex, England, says that while she loves her grandchildren — who range in age from 18 months to 11 years — she’s enjoying some “me” time during the pandemic. “To tell you the truth, they can be a bit exhausting, especially the little ones,” she admits. “I’m not as young as I used to be.” Her husband Roger, 66, retired last year, and the pair quickly found themselves acting as almost full-time babysitters for their various children. Now that their visits with the grandchildren are virtual, they take up much less time, leaving Evelyn and Roger able to work on their garden, plan their post-COVID travel, and resume some hobbies: photography for Evelyn, carpentry for Roger. Evelyn has also become more tech-savvy during the pandemic. “If I’m on a video call with one of the grandchildren and they start acting up, I pretend the connection has got a bit dodgy and say I’ll talk to them again soon. It works a treat.”

4) Hundreds of would-be campers were frustrated when the BC Parks website kept crashing on May 25, the day British Columbians were able to once again start booking campsites at the province’s parks, but Randall Jackson wasn’t one of them. “Every year we go on a family camping trip, and every year it’s the same,” says the 37-year-old father of three from Port Coquitlam. “It pours with rain, or someone has an accident and we end up in an Emergency Department. The kids complain about no WiFi, and I hate not being able to have a hot shower every morning. Plus there are the mosquitoes and flies, and if we have a campfire then my youngest son’s asthma starts playing up.” This year, Randall spent two hours pretending to try to book online, then told the family he’d been unsuccessful. “I don’t think anyone was too upset, to be honest,” he admits. He’s currently looking into renting a lakefront cabin with decent Internet access and indoor bathroom facilities for when travel restrictions loosen.

None of the above are true, but which ones did you think might be?

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