Hamish and I take a stroll down memory road and reminisce about the first few years of the pandemic. What our lives were like before, during and now as it appears to be winding down. I wanted to record this episode as I feel some of my memories start to fade and I feel like future Taylor in 20 years will appreciate hearing me talk about it while the memories are still fresh.
Watch my special All My Covid Jokes for free here!
This week's song "Better" was kindly donated by Isla, a NZ musician.
You can check out her on Facebook and Instagram if you need more Isla in your life!
Get in touch with me!
YouTube • TikTok • Instagram • Facebook• Twitter • Patreon • MERCH
If you'd like to join the subreddit to discuss the show, visit r/ruddlemethis!
Ruddle Me This: Funky Retro Funk by MokkaMusic
Ramblin' With Ruddle: Rock Your World by Audionautix
Here's one I wish we had submitted because it's very topical at the moment. So it is, new election campaign, please vote. All good if not, not working as well as predicted. Oh no, that's way too relevant. That's one of those articles that you're like, oh no, this is actually a satire thing. Yeah, could be a mistake. All right, so we'll get we'll get we'll move on from the Lamingtons radio stuff. Welcome back, Ruttal Maniacs, to another episode of Ruttal Me This. I am Taylor Ruttal and with me once again, frequent collaborator is Hamish Mabin Ross, back to join me for another indulgent episode of the podcast. This week, we thought, well, I thought I would do a sort of retrospective time capsule podcast on the whole pandemic. Because I have. I don't know if this is a unique experience to me, but I have a bunch of memories of things that happened during the pandemic and I feel like we're going to forget what it was like in, you know, 20 years or something. So I thought it might be something future me will appreciate for me to do kind of like a dear diary or like a just a well, I've got the memories in my head. So That's what I thought we'd do today. I thought we'd bring Hamish back and we are just going to talk about what our experiences would like before, during and after the pandemic. So with that, welcome back to the podcast Hamish. Hello. Thank you for having me once again. I'm sorry to interrupt your XCOM 2 time, but I figured this was something that the people needed to hear. Yeah, it's very important. Study. that I was doing. Preparing for the next tragedy that we're about to go through, right? Yeah, yeah. So I thought, I thought, yeah, no, why not relive some of those pandemic memories as well? Yeah, I suspect you're just based on what little you told me about your experience of the pandemic. Yours was a lot less fun than mine was. So we'll get into some of that now. So. First of all, before we start, any listeners out there, if you haven't already, go and check out my 15 minute comedy special, All My Covid Jokes on YouTube. That is free to watch and it has all sorts of hilarity based on that family friendly fun time we all had to enjoy the pandemic. So the first question, I've got a series of questions written down that I think will provide a good structure. So the first question I'll ask Hamish and then I'll answer myself is, just before the pandemic started, what did your life look like? What were you doing and living and etc? So I guess as we were finding out that the pandemic was beginning, like end of 2019, I just had a nice trip over to Melbourne, got some new tattoos, went to a big convention over there and I just started my new job working at the Dunedin Public Hospital. And then as we were starting to get into the beginnings of 2020 when it was like, oh, there's this new virus coming. It seems to be spreading. Oh, there's a case in New Zealand. You know, remember when it was big news, it was like, oh goodness, there are eight people in the country that have COVID right now. And it was like kind of, kind of scary and kind of I don't know, uncertain. I was still cracking on with work at the hospital. A colleague and I were starting to get a bit concerned that maybe something was going to happen. We were trying to get our boss to like, at least get things prepared, so that we could, if need be, that we could drop everything and work from home. and they just kept telling us, no, you're just panicking or don't worry about it. You're just being overly anxious and stuff. Yeah. And for some context maybe to some international listeners, I think this is the first time that we've actually had a pandemic, like a global pandemic make it to New Zealand because I don't believe we ever had Ebola here. And then before that, I remember there was a swine flu and a bird flu that were... Yes. the kind of variations on the SARS virus, if I remember correctly. And I have a very vivid memory of being in high school. It was a very rainy day. It was, and all the lights were off on the floor for some reason, it was a really dark thing. And I remember one of the teachers told us, yeah, they reckon that they've got, we've got swine flu in the country. And that was like a big, what do you mean it got here? And so I think. New Zealanders were pretty cocky in the beginning about the pot. Like, I think a lot of people thought it was never going to make it here. But in their defense, we had a pretty good track record of not happening beforehand. Yeah. I mean, I guess not to completely dismiss your point, but we did have I think my grandmother remembers kind of the polio epidemic. There was a lot of. a lot of stuff going on with that. Children weren't allowed to go to the swimming pools because they just didn't know how it was spreading and things. There was the big rubella or German measles outbreak in the, I think the 50s, but there was also another. And then there was of course the Spanish flu at the end of like World War I when all the troops came back. So that was quite a bad pandemic. But yeah, certainly for us living memory. COVID has kind of been the one that actually stuck. Like, yeah, SARS, bird flu, and swine flu never really eventuated that much. It was always just something happening elsewhere. Yeah. I'll give a little bit of my, what I've been doing, much like Hamish, I had just gotten back from a trip. I went to Japan and I think it was November 2019. And I remember being slightly concerned that this, because when it began, I remember you just used to hear rumors about like, it's this virus in China and we're not sure like what else was kind of, I don't think we heard a lot about it. And I was probably in that group of Kiwis that was really cocky that it'll never make it here. But I remember being slightly concerned that it was going to impact my trip there. But in the end, it was fine. I made it over there and back without any sort of incident. But then... It was February 2020 when they declared that it was a global pandemic, wasn't it? Yeah. I very vaguely remember that because we did a series of comedy shows at a venue called Duck Central, probably the week before the pandemic was announced or something like that. And yeah, I just remember that was in February. Otherwise I wouldn't know what month it was, but yeah. What was my living situation? So I was working for a newspaper as a graphic designer in the office. I think I had not long been at that job to be honest, maybe half a year or something. Still living with my parents. The thing that happened to me was I got back from Japan and sort of thought, oh yeah, I'll spend a year kind of freelancing and trying to find some work and thinking, you know, I'll move out eventually and I might be at home for a year or two. And not long after finding said job. Yeah, we had this global pandemic, which kept me there for probably a couple of years longer than I think I would have liked to stay. But yeah, that was kind of my situation there. When things were kind of ramping up, the next question I've written down is, were you scared of COVID? I think my colleague and I were. not scared necessarily, but we were certainly very aware of it. And we were trying to take every precaution that we could, you know, working in a hospital, albeit as administrators, yeah, you're acutely aware of the people that are coming and going from the hospital. You know, they started talking to us about the potential, like consequences of if there were outbreaks in the hospital, all the plans that they were putting in place, like, oh, okay, we're gonna split all the doctors up into little teams and they will only work within those teams. So if one team goes down, we're not losing all of our doctors. My work did something similar, split it into A and B team. And yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah, well they, but I think also the other thing, we were sort of very aware of it and cautious because my colleague was pregnant. And so we didn't know, like, you know, there's, there was no research really happening. Yeah, it was, it was not like, is it going to like kill her child? Is it going to be like a disfiguring thing? Who knows? She more susceptible. So we were, we were very, very aware of that and not wanting to like, you know, obviously you don't want to actively get yourself sick. It's never, never the thing you want to do. No, no. I, um, I remember being, the thing that makes me laugh in hindsight is I remember, I think we all did this, we read off the list of who was the most vulnerable and it was like the elderly but then also people that were out of shape and I was like, oh Lord, I'm in one of those categories. So I definitely remember being like, I'm probably cooked if I get it, but I was... I was living with my parents, I was more worried about bringing it home and them getting sick and then them getting killed by it. So that was definitely like, that was definitely on my mind. And I think the thing that was hard to judge is it feels like everybody's had a slightly different experience of it. Like I know people that it was the worst pain they've ever been in for the whole kind of week that they were sick with it. And then you have other people that were like just a little bit under the weather for a week. So we really, like you said, there was so much that we didn't know about it. And I guess that's the scary thing for us is like not knowing what's coming, right? Yeah. Well, it was, I mean, it was just like not knowing how bad it was going to be. And then it was like, there was no real certain information. So it was like, is this bit true? Is this bit true? It was constantly being updated. You know, you're hearing all sorts of rumors from all sorts of places and you're like, is this true information or is this coming from like an anti-vax group, for instance, or, you know, it was all that stuff of, oh, well, it's like 99% survivable. And it's like, yeah, but 1% of a population of 8 billion is actually quite a lot of people. Quite a lot of people, yeah. But yeah, it was just not knowing. And then of course, like, as we've seen in the last couple of years, it just mutated, it kept changing. So it was always like, oh shit, is it going to get worse? Is it going to get better? Who knows? I'd forgotten that feeling of seeing on the news that they've announced that COVID's mutated again, because you go, everything's going to take a step back now, all the lockdown precautions. I mean, it was all good stuff to go and be wrong, but like for us that we're like living through it. Cause I feel like, from what I've heard. from family and friends that live in Australia. And I've got a friend that was in London for most of the lockdown. New Zealand's lockdowns were quite strict compared to the rest of the world, which I feel like it was the right decision. But like, when you're, I still remember you'd see those broadcasts. You remember when the government would say like, we've got an announcement at five o'clock tonight. regarding, you know, like, oh, yeah, we're going back into the lockdown. I think that's always it was like never a good thing that you're going to hear about. That sort of knee jerk reaction of like, oh, no. Yeah, yeah. There's an important announcement at four o'clock. Oh, shit. This ain't going to be, oh, we found the cure to COVID. And you can all resume your lives. Yeah. I think, like you said, as well as the experts and that. didn't really have a timeframe for when things were going to get better. And, um, like I still have this very vivid thought in my head. It was a memory that stuck around for some reason. I was walking around with my brother. Cause you remember, I guess we can move into lockdowns now. Cause that's my follow-up question to the way you scared. Um, I was walking with my brother. We all got a sort of daily government mandated walk to, um, to keep the to keep the mental breakdowns away and whatever the... I think it was mainly for our sanity, they gave us a bit of a walk. And I still remember looking at a sunset and just thinking to my head, I wonder how long it is going to be until we have even the announcement of a vaccine being worked on or something, because I have no idea how long these things take. And yeah, that was, I think for a lot of us, that was the thing of just like, it was you, maybe it was good for certain people because we literally had to live day to day. You couldn't really make long-term plans anymore. Yeah. I mean, I just, to go back, I do quite like the way you phrased that the government took us for a walk. That's how I think it was just the way you see it as if they, they turned up knocked on your door and they had like a leash ready. Come on. It's time for walkies. Look at dude in a hazmat suit. I'm doing circles in front of the door. Just pawing at the door waiting for him to turn up. Peeing on all the light posts and stuff on the way through. Taylor, you know you don't have to do this, right? It's just a walk. I mean, I, so like, for me, the lockdown... announcement when we first went into it that was that was kind of um that was kind of wild because i can't remember exactly what day they announced it but we had left work on the Friday before lockdown was a thing and the following Monday was going to be Otago anniversary day so we had a day off work and then i think it was maybe the Saturday they said look okay here's the big announcement Wednesday We're going into lockdown. I think it was maybe the 25th of March, something like that. And I get a call from my boss on the Saturday or Sunday. And he's like, hey, could you come in on the Monday? No one else would be there, but we need someone to come in just to, just cause we're gonna have to start getting everybody to work from home. No one's gonna be coming in. You've been telling them those for months. And it was like, great, okay, fine. Um, and so it was just this mad scramble, but it was that, that particular first week was quite hard, uh, because my, my dad, my granddad and I have birthdays within the same week. So my dad's the 20th, my granddad's the 25th, and then I'm the 28th of March. Um, so we, my, my dad and I had to rush. to Christchurch on the 17th to visit my dad's father, because he was terminally ill. Oh, right. And they were like, we don't think he'll last too long. And as it happens, that was the last time that I saw him, because he died on the 26th. So just a couple of days before my birthday, when we were in lockdown, And I think that was a particularly difficult thing because I know there were a lot of the news reports or whatever were trying to kind of guilt the government and being like, oh, how about how much of a slap in the face is this to people who can't visit their dying loved ones and stuff? Yeah, yeah. And I remember hearing that, you know, in the standups that the prime minister would do. And I remember just thinking, I think actually at one point, my mum and I had gone to the supermarket because I was living at home with my parents and we'd been to the supermarket and we heard that on the radio and both of us just went, oh, fuck off and turned the radio off because we had actively had that situation and we were like, no, we understand it's tough, but it's for a good reason. That's that sort of getting offended on behalf of someone else. thing again, isn't it? I bet most people probably were like, you got to do what you got to do, right? Yeah. And like, it was definitely like that early, that first lockdown when it was, was it four weeks that we were in lockdown and then they extended it to six or was it six and they extended it for another two? I actually don't remember. I think it might have been four weeks and they pushed it another month or something. But yeah. Yeah. We definitely went longer than they anticipated, didn't we? Yeah, yeah. And I think they were just being overly cautious. But yeah, so I spent my 31st birthday in lockdown. Oh wow, yeah. Which was fun. But yeah, I mean, we just kind of got by. I do remember though, distinctly thinking at one point, because I was working from home, I realized that I hadn't really left the house at all. I wasn't really bothering going out for walks and stuff. I was like, nah, I'm good. I don't need that. And I realized, yeah, I just hadn't left the house for two weeks. And I was like, okay, when you next go to the supermarket, I'll just come along for a drive. Like again, I was really like a dog. I was like, I'll just come in the car, it's fine. You're in the car, you're barking at other people, other eldest sons in the front seat. But what about you? What was the lockdown like for you? Yeah, so one other question I was gonna say as well, were you working, you were still working whilst you were in lockdown, right? Yes, yeah, so when we were at level four, I was working from home. And I think once we got back to level three, I was technically allowed to go back to work in the office because it was like essential workers or whatever had a... had a pass, so all hospital staff were considered essential workers. So I just found that easier to go back to the office. Makes sense. Mine was, we, my company actually did a really good job of making sure we were able to work from home in the weeks leading up to like, Oh, this might be a thing. I suppose, cause we were in the news, they kind of had their finger on the pulse of like, what's going to happen. And so we were able to work from home, but because a lot of businesses couldn't operate, they didn't need advertising. So there was, you know, I would do like maybe two ads in a day and I would just have to kind of keep my phone on me in case they needed me to do something. So it was pretty- Right. Yeah, it was interesting. I think something that a lot of creatives, because Hamish and I, we're both standups. And the thing that a lot of creatives, I think felt like they had to try and keep, doing something in the locked in, I guess, especially if it's literally your full-time job. I know people turn to things like Twitch and Zoom shows and I never did anything like that. We did put together one, how do I explain it? It was like an improvised slideshow comedy thing. We did that on Zoom as a bit of a fundraiser for the place I started doing standup in Japan. I also didn't feel like, cause I think for a lot of people, I have some friends that are in like construction or horticulture and stuff like that. People that basically couldn't do anything and just got this great holiday where they got to like chill out for a bit and catch up on all their TV shows. And I, looking back on it now, if I could send information to my past self, I would have told myself like, just relax, just enjoy it. Just look at it as a holiday. Um, but yeah, also I think I'm someone that, uh, it doesn't do well with one, not knowing what's going to happen next. So I think I was had that sort of meeting anxiety where, um, I think we spoke about this in the phomotophobia episode where, um, if you, if, if I know I've got a meeting at three o'clock, I'll find it hard to commit to anything big during the day. Because in my mind, it's always like, even if it's hours away, my brain still thinks we might have to drop everything and rush off to this meeting or whatever. I think I found it hard to commit to any projects because I was like, wow, the pandemic in theory could end tomorrow. Knowing now it didn't, it went on for years. Yeah, I was just in this weird, like I did some stuff in my day job, but it wasn't really, that wasn't really fun. Didn't do a lot of stand up and I think I was just unable to commit to, I couldn't commit to being productive or relaxing. I was in this weird in between and just like, cabin fever definitely set in with my family. We had a lot of blowouts towards the end of it. And it's, I'm happy to say I'm living, flooding now. So it's, our relationship has improved a lot, but. Yeah, towards those ends of like, it was like lockdown. And the fact that I'm like way too old to be living at home. The fact that I was still kind of working, it was all just like, yeah, no, not good vibes. As the kids would say. Yeah. I think I found that especially for level four, working from home, it really messed with my kind of work life balance. Yeah. Because I would find that I would basically roll out of bed, put some pants on, and I was straight to my desk in my room, and that's where I was working. Yes. And so I could do that from like eight o'clock, and then I would work probably through lunch, like I would just maybe get something from the kitchen and then sit down with food and just eat at my desk while doing work. Yeah. And then quite often, instead of stopping at like five o'clock, I would keep going till about seven and then be like, oh. Oh shit, I need to stop working now. Cause yeah. And I couldn't kind of separate it. But once when, when I decided to go back to the office and work from there, it was a lot easier cause I could get, I had my exercise to and from work because I was biking and then I could start and stop, you know, it was a lot more kind of segregated being like, this is work time and now I'm done. Yeah. I think that's. that's something that's a lot of studies have been done in the wake of this about having a dedicated space for work, a dedicated space for sleep. I understand as well that contributes to a lot of us having sort of like quote unquote insomnia is bed is kind of a generalized eating, chilling, scrolling on our phone, watching TV from the bed and sleeping zone. And that's why people struggle to go to bed because the brain associates that with a whole bunch of different things and not just sleeping. Yeah, true. But the, so we've got about seven minutes left in this pod. Let's get through some more topics. So vaccinations, I presume you're vaccinated. You would have had to be because you are in the medical industry, right? Yeah. So we were, I think the second group. after, was it 65 plus, or 70 plus, that once the sort of quote unquote elderly group got there as we were in the next group. So we got ours done fairly quickly. And I think, yeah, I mean, and since that point, I've had boosters and stuff like that, which I've been grateful for because I've had a few close calls with the old COVID. Do you respond? Yeah. Do you respond fairly well to the vaccines? Like they, like I noticed a lot of people get messed up by it. I've had like only one of the doses really got me, but everything else has been all good. How about you? Yeah, I think the one of them, I got the most minor of headaches the day of, I think. One of the others, I think I felt a bit sleepy. That was about it. Interestingly, the latest one that I got, I think has possibly fixed a problem that I had with my heart. Oh wow, okay. Which is strange. I used to have... Well, I've... For a while, I've had these weird kind of palpitations, like my heart will just kind of beat out of rhythm. I had it tested. I had to wear a... What's it called? A halter monitor for 24 hours that just monitors your heart rate. And I would mark down like when I had these weird episodes. And they're like, oh yeah, your heart just misses a beat every now and again. Like, you know, the classic like little up and down and line that's showing your heartbeat, well, every now and again, it would go up and then it would just hit absolute rock bottom for just like a split second and then it would just go back to what it was doing. So I'd have these weird bits where I was like, Ooh, it felt strange. And it was like, my heart stopped. But it seems that has now stopped. Do you know weirdly enough? have experienced weird heartbeats like very rarely, but just thinking about it now have not experienced any since I got the COVID vaccinations. I've had this bloody tendonitis for God knows how long now coming up on a year or maybe year and a half or something like that. And every now and then a tiny bit of my brain, the little conspiracy theorist part of my brain goes, you never had this pain before you got the vaccinations, did you Cobb? And like. I'm sure it's, you know, complete coincidence, but just as that little part of my brain, that's like, I wonder if it's related. Yeah, like obviously I should say, in no way am I saying that medical science, this, you know, I have no idea. Yeah. This could be purely circumstantial, but it's just something I noticed after getting my booster is that, yeah, the thing that my heart normally would do seems to have stopped. Yeah, it's like a Viagra initially, I believe was a heart medication. they realized like, oh, this also does a lot of other things. Like I remember Rick Flea was talking about in a podcast, they asked him, the host asked him how he's doing. And he's like, I'm great, man. Have you seen my wife? And then they kind of have a bit of a laugh. And then he goes, I got two sialises as a part of my heart medication. And you're like, okay, yeah, that's, I'm sure he's happy for a lot of other reasons then. So we've got a couple of minutes left. post pandemic habits, like I've noticed that I wash my hands so much. It's not like I wasn't washing my hands before, but doing things like getting back from the supermarket or basically anytime I enter the house from being outside, I'll wash my hands. And then also, I haven't been legit sick. I think I got COVID, I suspect, once and then I definitely had it once. And then I've had other times that at the time I thought I was getting sick, but thinking about it now. Uh, it was either allergies or a stress release, uh, stress response, not release. Sorry. Um, so I think the whole hand washing thing really does make a massive difference because the amount of times we must touch things when we're out and about, and then you rub your eye, you rub your lip or something and yeah, I haven't, um, haven't hardly been sick this whole sort of pandemic couple of times and that's about it and I was a really sickly, like I used to get sick a couple of times a year, you know, beforehand. Yeah. I think I've definitely the hand washing is definitely one that has stayed on. I still, yeah, as you say, coming back from the supermarket or being out, wash your hands. I do also wonder if we're not getting sick as much because people are just more acutely aware of being unwell. You know, like we used to see those ads for... cold drinks or cold rule all those ones like soldier on take this when you're sick and just get out there and keep being productive members of society with your sickness and give it to other people. There'd be those ones, two people at the bus stop and she'd be like, I'm sorry, I've just got this horrible cold and he's like, me too. And he's like, fine. Yeah. I mean, it was, that was the thing about those pills. It's like, they're not, they're not making you not contagious, not sick. You're just like, Oh, I'm just masking it with painkillers and whatever else. So it's like, Oh, I'm fine. And so maybe I think, I think actually during the pandemic, they did stop those ads. They had to retract a lot of those because I think they didn't want to be like, oh yeah, just take these and keep going. Yeah, you can't. But yeah, I think people are also just more conscious of the fact that if they're unwell, it could be COVID or they don't want to give it to other people and stuff. So maybe that's also why, but yeah, I certainly haven't been since like I had COVID two days before Christmas last year. That was about it. And yeah, I haven't really been sick before or since really. My lockdown was pretty good for that because I mean, we're all wearing masks and stuff. Yeah. That's great. All right. Well, we're coming up to the end of our time on this free Zoom session. So I appreciate you. We basically got through all of the questions, except for maybe what's next. But, you know, life and life goes on, doesn't it? Appreciate you spending your afternoon chatting to me about COVID, Hamish. Anything you want to leave the listeners on? Get vaccinated, be responsible, do what's best for society, don't be an arrogant shithead who thinks ah it's fine it's only one percent of the population that will die because that could be you or one of your family members. I'm going to say a bit of myself. Thank you very much Hamish. Thank you Taylor. See you next time. Thanks again for listening to Roddle Me This. I hope you enjoyed that kind of stroll down memory lane. Hope it wasn't too boring or traumatic. That one might've been a little more for me than for you, but I hope you enjoyed it all the same. Something new I'm gonna be trying out with the podcast now is I'm gonna end all of our episodes by playing a track from a Christchurch or possibly New Zealand-based musician. I made a post in a Christchurch musician's group many, many weeks ago now, and I had some people flick me over some music that they're happy for me to play in the end of the episode. So the first track we're gonna be playing today is from a I believe singer-songwriter called Isla. That's I-S-L-A. She sent me a song called Better. I had a little bit of a listen before and it is very good. Very very talented person there. So if you enjoy the song and you'd like to hear more of Isla's music you can find her page on Instagram at Isla underscore music. That's Isla once again and on Facebook Isla Music. If you're listening to the podcast, Isla, thank you so much for submitting your song. I really enjoyed it and I wish you all the best in the future with your musical journey. So with that, we'll see you next time and here's Isla's song. That's all for Ruddle me this for another week, I will see you next time.