There is no place like home, goes the cliché which is certainly true for the Sunshine Coast. We’re very lucky to live here in paradise by the sea. I haven’t been to the city, Vancouver, in over three months and don’t see any reason to go. Life is good here and the sun is shining right now. Summer is finally here and people are out camping, swimming, hiking and biking. But we don’t see any tour buses or Germans driving around in RV’s, no Americans filling up the pubs, no Chinese clusters looking for the washrooms. It’s eerily quiet which suits us locals just fine. How long will this go on? Predictions say at least another year, maybe longer.
I found Camp sitting at our table, separated by a plexi glass barrier from the next table. He was thumbing through the Worldometer which highlighted the dismal US numbers of new covid cases and deaths.
‘Only three more months until the US election and Trumps is pulling out all the stops, including tweets about postponing the election. He is sending out storm troopers to arrest ‘trouble makers’ in several cities, he wants kids back at school at all cost and he paints himself as the protector of US citizens. How come nobody figures out that he is putting the very people whose support he is courting into danger?’ I said.
‘You know that on the British Royal Navy’s ‘Man-of-wars’ there were three forbidden subjects for the heavily armed male crew to discuss,’ Camp said. ‘You could not talk about the other man’s wife, politics or religion. All other subjects were allowed. Maybe we should implement a similar rule. We can start with not talking about Trump anymore. Muriel stops me as soon as I even seem to think to mention his name. He is an absolute tabu in our home.’
‘The same with Clare. As soon as I even mention the T-name, her eyes cloud over and she doesn’t hear me anymore.’
‘Does that put us in the same box as the reality deniers and conspiracy believers?’ I asked, kind of as a joke.
‘No, those are usually from the far-right fringe, like Qanaon, which is based on a U-Tube construct and completely fictional. Or the boogaloo boys in their trademark Hawaiian shirts and assault weapons. The Qanon have over half a million followers and are the most fanatical Trumpists out there and he is their champion, re-tweeting Q’s messages regularly. They managed to move from the internet into the streets and are running 46 candidates for the November election.’
‘Yes, they are a dangerous and deranged lot, risen from the slime of Neo-Nazi and White Might movements. Worst of all the media is giving them a platform but we can’t ignore them either,’ I said. ‘In comparison we’re just a couple of harmless eccentric farts, quaffing a couple of brews and shooting the breeze.’
‘You know Camp, what surprises me is that the grocery stores are still well stocked, although the prices have risen quite a lot since March.’
‘I noticed that too, but I gather it’s a combination of factors. The closing of some meat plants drove the prices up; the fact that China is buying our pork again since their pigs are diseased; fuel is up and so are plastic and packaging and rising wages in the agriculture sections contribute and of course there are always profiteers who take advantage of the situation and gauge the customers.’
‘Like for toilet paper, PPE or masks,’ I said.
Camp was reading from his phone: ‘In the long run, economic and environmental conditions in already fragile areas will further erode as food production declines, diseases increase, clean water becomes increasingly scarce, and large populations move in search of resources. Weakened and failing governments, with an already thin margin for survival, foster the conditions for internal conflicts, extremism, and movement toward increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies.’
‘You’re full of good news,’ I said. ‘Makes me really thirsty.’
Just then Vicky arrived with two ice cold mugs full of golden goodness.
‘I bet you, this goes down easy in this hot weather.’
‘It always goes down easy,’ Camp said, raising his glass.