Best friends stand by and trust each other through good and bad times. Most solid friendships are based on shared experiences or childhood bonds. It’s comforting to have good friends with whom we can be ourselves and all pretense and role-play falls away. Such is my relationship with Camp whom I’ve known for many years. He’s like a brother and I value his advice and counsel. We know each other’s wives and family, share concerns about health and money and most times we are on the same wavelength with the state of the world and the big picture. We disagree sometimes and respect each other’s opinion. We depend on each other for honesty and solid judgement and we like each other’s company. Such is the state of our friendship. When I asked Camp what he thought of the bromance between Putin and Xi he scoffed at the idea of their friendship.
‘Although they have sworn ‘boundless friendship’ to each other, their relationship is above all a partnership of convenience. This was obvious by the recent phone call for Xi’s birthday. Both men are 69 and have met almost 40 times over the past ten years and both men think very highly of themselves.’
‘But do they trust each other?’
Camp is back from his Whistler sojourn and he has plenty to complain about the prices of food and accommodation in this holiday enclave. ‘How can normal people like teachers and nurses live in this hyperinflated town? Never mind artists and book sellers. It’s unaffordable for working stiffs like myself.’
‘I haven’t been to Whistler in ages,’ I said. ‘I used to go skiing there but like you I can’t afford a $ 200 day pass.’
‘Rich men’s problems, as Sophie would say. To change the topic, how is the world turning? I haven’t been paying much attention to the news in the past week.’
Camp is at a book event in Whistler, which gives me a chance to air some of my grievances. We live in troubled times, probably always did, but unlike yesteryear when radio, TV, newspapers and tabloids were the sources of information, today we are inundated with up-to-the-minute newsflashes coming from every political, social and media driven internet platform, as well as cable TV and national broadcasters. Who can keep up with this barrage?
The best of friends and family can be torn apart and separated by betrayals and divorce but these days also by big events like a terrorist attack, a presidential election or a pandemic. There is a point in time when there appears a crossroad. As the song goes: one path leads to perdition and one leads to sanity. It’s what Portugal’s Rear Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo offered his country: Two roads, both with snipers on them. One road for the unvaccinated where the shooter will be able to take out one of 500, on the other road, the vaccinated path, he will only be able to take out one of 500’000. Which road do you choose?’
The days are long and the sun is trying to push through the haze, promising warmer weather and maybe even a summer up ahead. I love the long days and the fact that I can walk to our pub and back in full daylight. I could see Camp already parked at our usual table in the corner and he waved when he saw me approaching. How long have we met like this over a couple of pints? It seems like years, before, during and now, after the pandemic.
‘Did you see the announcement that BC is decriminalizing small amounts of hard drugs, a first in North America and highly overdue, I might say.’ Camp said as soon as I sat down.
‘Yes, I did read about it. Two and a half grams of coke, heroin, fentanyl or amphetamines with no risk of arrest or criminal charges and the drugs cannot be confiscated.’
‘A step in the right direction. Over 10’000 people have od’d since 2016 in BC. These were not criminals but victims of a volatile drug supply, mostly off the streets, mental health, addiction and cultural problems.’