Preaching to the Choir


‘How was your trip east?’ Muriel asked as I sat down at our usual corner table overlooking the calm waters between Gibsons harbour and Keats Island. ‘I made Camp close the store early so we could have a drink together. I hope you don’t mind me joining your weekly cabinet meeting.’

‘Not at all Muriel, if I had known I would have invited Clare to join us,’ I said. ‘We loved the Laurentians, where we visited an old friend who just moved there in July. An hour and a half north of Montreal this hilly – some even say mountainous – region features many regional ski hills and quaint small towns spread around the several dozen lakes. It’s especially beautiful at this time of year because of the glorious fall colours. The whole vista is awash in gold, orange and red. Mind you, all those deciduous trees will drop those pretty colours to the ground leaving a stark and barren wintry landscape behind.

‘You sound like a travel commercial,’ said Camp, joining the conversation.

‘Well yeah, on the other hand the whole of Montreal is a construction zone, unlike anything I’ve seen.’

‘I hear it’s how the the local mafia washes its ill gotten gains, through municipal construction.’

‘That’s the word on the street,’ I acknowledged. ‘All I know it’s a mess. Somebody told me that there are only two seasons in Montreal: Winter and construction.’

‘How’s your French?’ Muriel asked, ‘or should I say Quebecois?’

‘I get by but all the young people are bilingual. I did notice that many Quebecers think of themselves as Quebecers first and then Canadians unlike us who see ourselves as Canadians first.’

‘I saw that there were half a million demonstrators clogging up the downtown there. I guess Greta Thunberg was in town, along with Trudeau.’

‘Yeah, trying to save face,’ Camp punted.

‘We didn’t know about it and drove right into the whole mess,’ I said. The entire downtown was locked down and a massive river of people poured down St. Laurent and St. Denis. Impressive by its sheer volume. The upside was that all public transport was free until midnight.’

‘You think all those demonstrations worldwide will make a difference?’

Muriel asked.

‘I’m not sure,’ I said, but the politicians better listen. I hope this concern for their future will get these young people out to the polls.’

‘To vote for whom?’ Camp asked.

‘I suppose they are looking for change, radical and real change, which is not on the ballot this time around,’ Muriel said.

‘It’s one thing to agree on the science and the necessary change in our energy production and consumption but a whole other cup of tea to actually enact and live it. As I said so many times before: nobody wants to give up their toys and travels, their cars and lifestyles, especially not those darned baby boomers who want to go to their graves with a glass of bubbly in the one hand and waving the peace flag with the other hand,’ Camp said.

‘Do you ever feel that we’re preaching to the choir, that nobody will change their minds or be converted because of our arguments?’ I said.

‘There is nothing wrong with preaching to the choir,’ Camp retorted. ‘The choir needs to hear the repertoire and practice and repeat the songs until they are almost perfect.  All we’re doing is arguing about the same ball from different angles. Some even think the ball is a flat disc. Others see the ball in the shadow or in the full sun. Some might even turn the ball around hoping it will be a cube some day.’

‘I guess. Is it easier to destroy then to build and is it easier to commit or forgive, to know and deny, to tell the truth or to lie?’

‘We’re full of beans today aren’t we,’ Muriel said, ‘are you two always this serious, no quips, no jokes, no laughs?’

‘We usually lighten up after the second round,’ Camp said and just like an apparition Vicky was on her way with two pints and a 9oz glass of Sauvignon Blanc.’

‘I didn’t see you guys at the climate rally last Friday. There were more people out than for Canada or Sea Cavalcade Day.’

‘Clare and his lordship over here were in Montreal with half a million people clogging up the down town and I kept the bookstore open in case anybody wanted something to read,’ Camp said, ‘I couldn’t pass up so many people walking by.’

‘And I had to babysit my neighbours kids – the future – since the schools were closed and the parents still had to go to work,’ Muriel said.

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