Unseasonal warm, August like temperatures, have banished old man winter for another year it seems. The skies are blue, the coastal mountains frosted with snow and Vancouver’s beaches are crowed with sun seekers.
‘Hey Camp, know what day it is today?’ I asked as soon as took my seat at our table with the view of the harbour.
‘It’s the first day of spring. We’ve turned the corner!’
‘Yes, I plain forgot. Must decorate with tulips and gladiolas and display some gardening books.’
‘Yes, it’s the season of rebirth, refresh and restart,’ I said. My favourite season really. Everything is waking up: The birds, the flowers and the weather.’
‘Here is to spring,’ Camp said, raising his pint.
‘Here is an odd question that’s been bugging me. Did you ever find yourself to be the oldest guy in the room and then wonder how that happened?’ I said and then kept right on going. ‘I suddenly found myself to be the oldest guy on the pitch, playing soccer. The hidden truth was revealed over beers at the pub when the age question came up. It even surprised me.’
‘Age sneaks up on you while you’re busy living life,’ Camp laughed. ‘It’s not age that matters but how good is your game and how are your knees holding up.’
‘Exactly, I just didn’t want anybody to know because now they’ll want me to pay for a post game round.’
‘I wish I had your problems,’ Camp said.
We both tried to avoid talking about the massacre in Christchurch. Words are inadequate to describe the horror and outrage and how much deeper can our emotional barometer sink? Not to mention the loathsome direct U-tube link, live streaming the 17 minutes of mayhem and death. Ever since 9/11, terror has taken on a cinematic quality. Televised live disasters, beheadings, and now a ghoulish massacre beamed right into our living rooms or onto your interconnected screens or video devices. We couldn’t avoid the elephant in the room and I finally blurted out what was on my mind.
‘I have to say that I partially blame social media and the fact that anyone can beam their madness out to the whole world,’ I said. ‘But what can we do? We can be the three monkeys and close our eyes, ears and stay silent or we can chuck our smart devices and screens out the window.’
‘True, villains and evildoers, extremist and haters never had such worldwide platforms as they have today. But Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, promised to never give that killer his notoriety, she will never speak his name and his face shall remain obscure. Instead she has become the face of dignity in this tragedy. And they will also ban semi-automatic weapons, immediately, unlike the US where 110 people per day die from guns, 40’000 last year alone,” Camp said, slapping the table which made our beers jump.
‘At the end of the day we all need to come together, live, work and strive towards a better life; for the future, for our children, for our world,’ I said.
‘I agree, we need to forge ahead with open eyes, an open mind and a closed door to all that’s destructive,’ he said. We were both grasping at clichés for want of anything else, which showed our frustration and helplessness.
We paused and tried to focus on our beers and the lovely, tranquil view just out front our cozy corner on the glassed in veranda. It seemed a million miles away from all the trouble, misery and grief in this world.
‘Our lives here on the Sunshine Coast seem so far removed from the harsh reality out there and we do live in a paradise bubble,’ I said.
‘Let’s try and keep it that way,’ Camp said.
Vicky dropped off two fresh pints and wondered where we were on St. Patrick’s Day. We both confessed that we drank our green beers at the Legion, listening to ‘Half Cut & the Slackers’.
‘Did you dance?’ Vicky asked.
‘If you can call it that,’ Camp said.
‘And not with each other,’ I added.