‘Last week I debated if I should close my store and join the social distancing movement,’ Camp said when he sat down at our table which was the only one occupied in the whole pub. ‘This might help to slow down the crown virus a fraction but it definitely would be the death knell for the already non-profit book store. So, I decided to keep it open, wipe the door handle every time somebody comes in and out, wear surgical gloves for the money which is practically non-existent, don’t breathe on people and keep an upbeat atmosphere by playing funky music. No blues, no classical but reggae and jazz like Charley Parker, Miles Davis and such. If nothing else it keeps me in a good mood.
‘Sounds like you’re trying to ignore this whole virus scare, but you and I know it’s coming and then it’s going and it’s here to stay.’
‘I had a discussion with a woman at the store just the other day, and she said something that struck me as profound. She was about our age, mid-sixties. She pointed out to me that our generation never had to face a common enemy or disaster like this covid-19. Maybe in the 50ies there was the atomic bomb scare when everybody built atomic shelters and did school drills in case of the big one. Since then nothing really. Wars, yes, disasters, yes but no pandemics or world wars like our parents and grandparents had to go through. This is the first time in our baby-boomer existence that we’re faced with a life altering crisis which will define our future.’
‘She was right,’ I said, ‘and this will alter our future behaviour and social interaction, our travel and security, probably our way of life. My hope is that this health crisis will bring people closer together, not physically or socially but spiritually. We are facing a common enemy and we are in this together. Of course, there will be idiots and ruthless profiteers but I believe people will want to help each other get through this and the majority will be sensible and do the right thing.’
‘Let’s hope so. Do you think I should close the store?’
‘I think you’re ok for now but you might be forced to. It’s not that busy as you pointed out and people usually come in one or two at a time, not groups, and most of them are locals, since there are no tourists around.’
‘Yeah, I hope you’re right. I think more people are going broke then will get sick.’
‘So far the pub is still open but that could change. What do we do then?’
‘We alternate, one Thursday at your place, the next at ours. I’m sure Muriel and Clare would agree to that. I’m stocking up on beer, just in case. Coronas are on sale.’
‘Did you watch the debate between Biden and Sanders last Sunday,’ Camp asked.
‘Afraid I did. Reminded me of the two old muppets in the balcony, bickering at each other over past mistakes instead of focusing on the future and getting rid of Trump.’
‘My friend pointed out that the present economic downturn due to the virus coupled with the low price and oversupply of crude will probably kill off the tar sands in Alberta,’ I said.
‘It might, but anyone driving a car, using synthetics and plastics in any way or walking on bitumen side-walks and roads, or needs winter tires, or a raincoat, or uses natural gas, cannot bitch about oil and gas extraction, transport or refinery processes,’ Camp said, finishing his pint.
‘When Vicky brought our refills, Camp asked her if the pub would remain open.
‘Today yes, tomorrow we don’t know. As you can see, you’re the only two guests. No more hockey games, no more birthday parties, no more fun. And not to mention, no more money for people like me.’
‘We’ll be here as long as they let us,’ I said, ‘and tomorrow is the first day of Spring. and we can all attend and be there.
We discreetly left a hefty tip. It’s the decent thing to do.