We met at Camp’s place, outside on the bench under the deck, out of the rain. Muriel brought out a couple of beers and handed them to Camp, staying well away from me even though we’re technically in the same bubble. Made me feel like a pariah but I get it. The fear, rational or not, is in all of us. We make circles around each other and step out of the way of oncoming people, even in the middle of the woods. I don’t like it but I try to follow the footprints in the right direction at the grocery store and the mall and I’ve already been maligned for walking the wrong way. ‘Thanks Muriel, I said, how are you?’
‘I’m fine but I don’t’ think Sophie can come out here for Christmas from Montreal. That is a bit depressing. Otherwise, I cope, do the best I can. Zoom is my happy place now.’
‘This will be a harsh winter for many, with job losses, business failures and social restrictions. On top of all that, there will be a great deal of mental distress, the fear of the unknown and the grasping at straws, like the vaccines, which will further divide the haves from the have nots. Some will have it, some not, others will refuse it, others fight for it,’ I said
‘No holiday parties, not even family visits are on the menu this season. There must be places in the world that are Covid free. Like New Zealand, or even Australia and of course most of the South Sea and Caribbean Islands.’
‘Yes, but there are no 2 or 3 week family vacations to exotic and tropical resorts this year; not with mandatory covid tests and quarantines on both ends. Therefore, nothing but cancellations from the major airlines, hotels shuttering, restaurants closing, even ski resorts scaling back in a big way and tumbleweeds blowing through the airports.’
‘It’s almost like a dystopia, a Margret Atwood novel, or a bad TV series,,’ I said. ‘On the other hand, over 40 films and TV series are in production in Vancouver right now with mandatory weekly testing and strict protocols keeping everybody safe and healthy and making a paycheck.’
‘Schools are open, daycares, restaurants, even some pubs, public transport, ferries, groceries, stores and pharmacies, some public pools and the hospitals. Nothing is really closed, except gyms, theatres and stadiums but everything is scaled back and covitized. Life must go on. We still need to eat, drink, laugh and talk to each other,’ Camp pointed out.
‘Do you think the election in the US is finally over,’ I said, trying to change the subject.
‘It’s been over for a long time. But would you want Biden’s job? Not me thank you,’ Camp said. ‘He’ll inherit the pandemic which is out of control, the immigration mess, the Mexican wall, the tariffs, the fiscal time bomb, the healthcare fiasco, the environmental challenges and an estranged world community and the troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan will also be on his plate. He has got his work cut out for him and against a deadlocked congress and a renegade ex-president. I don’t expect major changes, except Biden will govern not with tweets but mostly behind closed doors.’
‘That should be refreshing after four years of rule by twitter.’ You got another one of these?’ I handed Camp my empty bottle.