“Black Friday, Cyber Monday, national shopping holidays next?” I said to Campbell as I sat down, shaking the rain from my hat.
“I take it shopping is not your happy place.”
“I know you run a bookstore Camp and you rely on people shopping for books but what kind of a world is this relentless consumer driven existence. We shop until we drop goes the clichée and unless we participate we perish,” I lamented.
November rain. But just at the edge there was the sun trying to push through the grey clouds. I stopped for a brief look and headed inside.
“Camp, did you hear the latest proposal by the pundits in Ottawa? This one is about Universal Basic Income, UBI for short.”
“Can’t say I have but this idea surfaces every now and then and it even has been tried in a few places and studied to death. How do they plan to pay for it this time?
“With online casinos and marijuana taxes. They figure the bill for a Canada wide UBI program would be $ 41 billion.”
“Being a Swiss of Viking and Celtic extraction I thought you have this innate, Teutonic compulsion for precisions and exactness,” Camp said, as I sat down. “It’s not like you to be late.”
“I’m not late Camp, you’re early, probably haven’t adjusted your inner clock to the daylight savings time. In case you haven’t noticed it’s now getting dark at five o’clock. I really don’t like walking in the dark. I think we’ll have to move up our cocktail hour to get in synch with the daylight.”
“I wish they would just abolish the whole thing. Drives everybody crazy adjusting all the clocks and it’s not my inner clock but the one in the store I forgot to adjust and here I am, an hour and two pints early all by myself. “
“First thing tomorrow, adjust that clock,” I said. It’s just typical of you Camp, the distracted, cerebral professor.”
In October 2018, ten of us, cousins and spouses, ventured on a two-week trip to South Africa, organized by our youngest cousin, who grew up in South Africa. We took an overnight flight from Zurich, and arrived 9 hours later in Johannesburg where we were whisked off to the Johannesburg Country Club, a left over cluster of old manors and lounges from the Brits, sprawled over a few acres of groomed gardens and surrounded by a ten foot high wall, topped with electric security wires. Over a scrumptious, extended lunch we were treated to a bit of history from our cousin who loved this country of his birth with a natural passion and he also knew that we were curious and keen to know where we were.
“Now that we’re through Halloween, Hallows Eve and the Day of the Dead we can get on with life,” I said to Camp after Vicky delivered our first round of welcome beers.”
“My friend’s mom had 130 kids at her door,” Vicky said.
“Wow, that’s a lot of candy.”
“Yeah, guess what my nephew’s costume was.”
“Nope, “serial” killer. He had three boxes of cereal with a knife through them strapped to his back.”
“That’s hilarious,” Camp guffawed, “myself, I’m reluctantly decorating for the next event, the biggest one for book stores.”
Despite the relentless rain this week I ventured outside and walked to town. I certainly didn’t want to drive and Clare was off in the city for work. The leaden water of Howe Sound and the drifting gun metal clouds draped across the coastal mountains presented a monochromatic palette, somewhat resembling my sombre mood on this blustery fall day.
“Camp, did you read those stats in The Washington Postwhich state that Trump told 3250 false statements and lies in his first 500 days. That was at the end of May, he has since added another 970 lies in June and July,” I said.
“The truth doesn’t matter in politics. It’s the message that counts and the messenger,” Camp said. “The crazy thing is that it doesn’t seem to damage his popularity at all, to the contrary, he has an 85% support amongst republicans. In fact he inspires other autocrats like Putin and Erdogan and the recently elected Bolsonaro in Brazil to follow his example. Lie, deny and call everybody else a liar, a cheat and a misfit.”