We decided to go back to our pub by the sea in order to support them and our servers. We sat at our usual table, surrounded by plexiglass partitions on wheels, even though there were only a couple of other guests, in the opposite corner. Vicky was happy to see us and when I asked her how her holiday was, she said: ‘What holiday? Oh, you mean the time off over Christmas and New Year. Like in: no work, no pay. Thankfully, I got the BC recovery bonus and we’re still open to the public. I missed you two.’
Once settled in, we decided to leave a big tip, a belated holiday bonus.
There has been a lot of outfall from the hooligan assault on the capitol last week. Arrests, firings of top officials, resignations at the White House, impeachment proceedings, bans on Twitter and Facebook for the chief hooligan and condemnations from around the world.
‘A journalist asked the big question during the assault on the capitol last week: Is this the end of an area or is it the beginning of a new movement?’ Camp said.
‘You mean Trumpian fascism? Or the rise of the deplorables?’
‘Yeah, something like that. You know Trump might survive as a grammatical oddity, become part of our vocabulary, like an adjective as in: it’s so bad it’s almost trumpian. Or a noun as in: don’t be such a trump, instead of an idiot or a loser,’ Camp said.
‘That’s funny Camp.’
‘The fact that the world is so divided and fractured is not a good sign. There used to be a time when ideologies mattered and people debated each other. That sort of dialogue is long gone and has vanished into novels and histories. Now it’s fights and blame games.’
‘You’re right. The divisions are starker than ever, between the poor and not poor, between the sexes and even ethnicities. We all know that the only conspiracy was that 81 million people voted for Biden. And the only one trying to steal the election lived in the White House. We need a new area of tolerance and understanding, of education and enlightenment, a new age of caring, compassion and altruism,’ I said, preaching to the choir once again.
‘While the pandemic is wreaking havoc in every country, overloading healthcare systems and wrecking the economy, plunging millions into debt, bankruptcy, despair and misery, I’m trying hard to find the silver lining, the positive and uplifting good news,’ Camp said, taking a mighty swig from his mug. I did the same.
‘Ok, I’ll take the challenge,’ I said. ‘This year will be a much better year than 2020 which is a good metaphor for hindsight,’ I proclaimed. We will live in a saner world with Biden as president; the pandemic will be wrestled to the ground thanks to vaccines and immunity, and we should see some summer concerts in the park and outdoor sports coming out of hibernation. Travel will again be possible and borders should open up again. Yes, I think 2021 will be Year One. The comeback year.’
‘You’ve been smoking some of that Kusch weed you’ve been growing? Let me give the reality check from this side of the table.’ Camp said. ‘First it will get worse, before it gets better. More covid-cases, more restrictions, more economic hardship, more bad weather. But you’re right, by next fall, we should be in better shape. Until then, keep a low profile, stay where you are, be kind and be safe and be positive. How is that for a stump speech from a cynic?’
‘Not bad Camp, almost optimistic.’
Vicky, with perfect timing brought a second round to the table. ‘You two seem to be in a good mood. What’s the occasion?’
‘Oh, not much,’ I said, ‘just trying to forget about last year, pretending to be optimistic.’
‘Very commendable,’ she said, ‘better an optimist than a trumpist.’
‘See, what did I tell you!’ Camp almost spilled his beer. ‘Vicky, you just proved my point.’
‘Glad to be of service,’ she said, giving me a raised eyebrow and a conspiratorial wink.
‘And keep the change,’ I said.
‘Wow, what’s this for?’
‘For being a ray of sunshine in this dark winter,’ Camp said.