Back to the Future

            Unlike the 1985 movie, we will not be able to go back in order to change the future. In fact, the future will be nothing like the past, not even from two years ago. Our behaviour, social conventions and latent suspicions of each other will stay with us for a while. I was never a kisser or hugger so I don’t miss that but would like to visit friends without feeling awkward. When I walked into our pub, Camp was already there checking his stupid phone which he quickly stuffed into his pocket when he spotted me.

            ‘Those vaccinated enjoy great privileges in Israel, he said. ‘Fitness centres, theatres, sporting events and concerts are open to them but Netanyahu is tough on vaccine-deniers: they are excluded from the easing of restrictions and this has led to large protests.’

             ‘Switzerland suggests that either proof of vaccination or quick-tests at the respective venues are required. What about here in Canada? I asked. 

            ‘As far as I know, nothing changes for those vaccinated here, as of yet. They still have to wear masks, keep their distance and observe all the protocols and restrictions. Canada also does not recognize anyone who has been vaccinated in another country and wants to enter Canada. The still have to test and quarantine.’

            ‘I know but why is that?’

            ‘It has to do with the possibility of transmission, even after you’ve been vaccinated and also, they will not enact a mandatory vaccine here. It’s against the charter of rights.’

            ‘Ok, let me get this straight. If the vaccine prevents the virus from entering the cells and the ability to replicate itself, then how can you still pass it on? It seems logical to me that once vaccinated, the virus is neutralized.’

            ‘Yes, sounds logical to me as well. I think it has more to do with control and political optics. Nobody wants to make decisions that could backfire in an election. We know the Canadian entry protocols are absurd and lag behind everybody else. Blame the PM and the jetsetting politicians.’

            ‘You’re right, we just lag the rest of the world in vaccine rollouts and coherent covid and travel policies. Disappointing really and a tad embarrassing,’ I said.

            ‘I see Switzerland – which you always cite as forward and modern – narrowly voted for what’s called a ‘burka-ban’. What you make of that?’ Camp said.

            ‘It affects about 30 women in Switzerland, most of them so-called converts. I think it’s plain silly to make a whole country’s population vote on what 3 dozen women can or cannot wear. Now what, the burka police? It’s a law that will not be enforced, especially since the whole population now wears face covering masks. How bizarre.’

            Camp just shook his head of grey curls and focused on his beer. ‘It’s been a year since this pandemic hit here. From one day to the next, everything changed,’ he said. ‘And today are we any wiser or is it just more of the same. Trillions of dollars borrowed and spent, airlines grounded, snowbirds abandoned, social events cancelled, sports, music, theatre suspended, nerves frazzled and work and family environments stressed,’ he said.

            ‘And yet real estate markets are booming. Average house prices up by 15 percent, shacks worth millions and building materials out of reach. Who buys these overpriced properties and who can afford to build a house these days?’ I said.

            ‘Not me, that’s for sure,’ Camp said.

            Vicky brought around a second round, just in time.

            ‘Do you rent or own,’ Camp asked her.

            She looked at him for a beat, wondering if a joke was happening. ‘I’ll never own a house here, not unless I win the lottery,’ she said. ‘I’m lucky to rent from a nice landlord otherwise I’d have to move in with a roomie. Not ideal with a little kid and during a pandemic.’

            ‘Which begs the question: Who can afford to buy in this market?’

            ‘Everybody that can get a million-dollar loan,’ Vicky said, ‘and everybody that inherits or sells up in Vancouver.’

            ‘That’s how the cream separates from the milk,’ Camp said.

            ‘Stick to beer is my advice,’ Vicky said with a wink.

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