It’s hard to start any conversation without the latest new buzz-word, another Greek letter, Omicron. Two weeks ago, we had never heard of this latest mutation or variant of the dreaded Covid virus and today it’s Back to the Future and Groundhog Day all rolled into one. Luckily, we can still meet at the pub and my partner in beer is already comfortably ensconced in one of the new comfy patio chairs in our lair by the sea.
‘Don’t even ask me about the latest travel advisory by the feds,’ Camp said, holding up a hand to stop me.
‘You’re a good mind reader,’ I said, ‘but I would like to hear your opinion on it.’
More Travel Woes
‘I know we talked about travel woes a couple of weeks ago. Actually, it was me doing the talking and you drinking my beer.’
‘Which you so generously offered to buy me,’ Camp said.
We were once again sitting at our local pub, even though it doesn’t really feel like a public place since there is hardly any public present. And it’s snowing.
‘Everyday there seem to be new travel restrictions, each more confusing than the last one?’ I said. ‘Travellers are now framed as disobedient distracters, to be vilified and punished.’
As Sophie, Muriel’s daughter, would say: ‘Rich people’s problems.’
‘Unless you have the wrong test on arrival like those 2 guys in Calgary who were hauled away like criminals and incarcerated in a plastic lined room, with no information, inadequate food and no communication.’
‘Yes, I read about them. The Westin, Calgary Airport is now a quarantine Hotel but sounds more like a detention centre,’ Camp said.
I know it’s not Thursday but Saturday but I called Camp to meet me for lunch and have a chat about Trudeau’s latest move to punish travellers. He only agreed to join me when I promised to pay for the beers. I really wanted to know what Camp thought about these new travel requirements.
‘The new measurements enacted by the Canadian government yesterday amount to nothing less than a fine and punishment for travellers, no matter how long they’ve been away or where they’ve been to. The penalties are especially aimed at snowbirds, who remove themselves from the Canadian winter to sunny destinations like the Caribbean and Mexico,’ I said.
‘You live in Granthams Landing and are a member of the GWA, Granthams Wharf Association, aren’t you?’ Camp said when I stripped of my winter coat and sat down, at our usual place in our own local watering hole which is awfully quiet these days.
‘Yes, we are. You probably want to know what I think about the lodge proposal at the old Granthams post-office site. I’m in full support of the present owners and their plans. They are doing a fantastic job in renovating the historic building and improving the parking and access to the wharf.’
‘I thought you’d say that,’ Camp said, nodding. ‘Of course, there is a vocal opposition, claiming that the proposed lodge with 5 short term rental apartments, will forever change the character of the community as well as endanger and impact the lives of the present residents.’
The world still revolves around the sun, weather happens outside and reactionary politicians make up new rules to catch up to the ever-evolving new reality. It’s the same old world but boy, did the rules ever change. From travel to office work, sports and performing arts; from school and university to family gatherings. It’s all different now. Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt or sick. Is that really a workable policy?
‘Will the vaccine be the magic potion, the panacea that people are hoping for,’ I asked Camp, who came over with a six pack of Coast Lager from Persephone, our local farm brewery.
We were sitting on a bench by the sea shore, six feet apart, enjoying the warm spring weather, breaking another silly law: drinking in public. That’s because one of Muriel’s and Camp’s neighbours complained to the town council about us sitting on Camp’s front porch, disrespecting distancing guidelines. I never thought I’d see neighbours denouncing neighbours, not for hiding illegal aliens, but for acting normal. Clare put it bluntly: ‘This virus outbreak will bring out the worst in people and the best. People will rally to help and support each other or rat each other out.’
Life is a beach goes the saying except around here life has been a puddle with a few rays of sunshine to brighten up the dreary, soggy days. Lucky are those who can escape to sunnier climes and I envy people who aren’t bothered by the wet winters in the pacific Northwest. I grew up with real winters, white wonderland, blue skies, hot coco and skis instead of gumboots.
I lumbered into Grammas Pub, looking for Camp who was already seated at our usual table and sat down with an exasperated sigh.
‘How was your trip to Mexico,’ Camp asked. We were both sitting once again at our usual table at our pub by the sea side, looking out at the choppy water, and the grey skies, nursing our pint.
‘We love Patzcuaro, the small Mexican town amongst the volcanoes, and I could spend a lot more time there, but Clare still has a good job in the real world. The weather was perfect, kind of like June around here. How about your trip to Portugal?’ I asked.
‘How safe is safe,’ I asked Camp just as Rosy, our Irish server, put two pints in front of us. ‘I’m referring to a travel advisory I came across which lists all the places to avoid, like parts of Mexico, Central America, Venezuela.’