My daughter, son-in-law and a few friends (including an infant) are coming to visit. That’s nice. They are coming from Alberta. That’s nice, too. It’s all very nice.
And they are good. They are respectful. They are being careful of C-19. Masks, gloves, quasi-isolation (hard to isolate for two weeks if you only have one week).
‘Quasi’ also means they are traveling in a bubble (previously referred to as a car) and not getting out except to pump gas and buy fast food but following all the rules all the time. They will stay in the car when on the ferry and basically make a beeline for our pick-up point and thus should have minimal contact with the great unwashed.
But the locals do not like foreign license plates. They lean a bit towards shunning and harassment of strangers. That’s not good. It’s natural, I guess, but some poor sap who is a local resident most of the time drove a vehicle with Alberta plates and it was keyed by vandals for being from out of province. ‘Mericans who employ the ‘get around’ rule by crossing the border and telling the agents they are going to Alaska (apparently ‘Mericans can cross closed borders if they are en route to Alaska) when, in fact, they really have a cabin on the gulf islands and are going there are also reviled. BC’ers are quite capable of being less-than-pleasant it seems, especially to strangers during a pandemic.
I can understand the reaction. I understand the fear. More than most, I think, I feel somewhat protective of my own mini-neighbourhood (at least this one). I get it. But the problem is NOT with the individual. Someone from a ‘hot spot’ in Florida can be clean and safe to be with while a local who isn’t symptomatic can be a ‘spreader’. You can’t really go by the license plate to determine a person’s contagious-ness.
I am a smidge more sensitive to this, I guess. Two days ago I went to the mid-island hospital for a laser ‘treatment’. That heightened my awareness. My cataract surgery from two years ago was a major success but, it seems, some people grow a bit of cataract tissue back after awhile and I was one. Three minutes with a laser and I am back to seeing well. But that required going into the doctor’s office and then driving over to the hospital. That was weird. The hospital was virtually empty. The doctor’s office was too. There was one patient leaving when I showed up and that was it. I suspect that the minute I left, another patient showed up but the crowded waiting room policy (to keep the numbers up) was not in practice. So far, the C-19 protocols are making things run smoother.
When returning home, we stopped at the local gas station. Pay-in-advance was no longer in effect. “Pump and then pay. In that way, we only come in contact once!”
Sal looked at the line-up at the next stop – the grocery store. “Geez, there are six or so people ahead of me. Shall we go home or should I stay?” She decided to line up and, within a couple of minutes, she was in and two minutes later, she was out. Added all up, the amount of time in the line-up and time in the store was virtually the same overall as it was before. Only difference – she went through the store and the cashier more quickly but had to wait to get in.
The line-up, by the way, was a cartoon of characters from old, bent over, smoking and spitting old guys to cute gals in shorts and carrying babies. I was people watching through a windshield. And all of them were six feet apart.
I mention all this to paint a day-in-the-life but, by focusing on C-19, one can forget that a Humpback went by yesterday. Feet from shore. Very close. Very impressive. Probably the same Humpy just went by going the other way about an hour ago. Opposite shore. Smart Humpy. And still impressive. But we have no whale watchers!
And the garden is an exploding cornucopia of delights!
Sal is picking up the doctor for the routine visit and then she is off to yoga and then food distribution. Aaannnd likely no masks for that almost all-day interaction – seems we are all careful to stay 6 feet apart but not so careful as to wear masks. Go figure.
And wildlife seem a bit more relaxed, too. Seeing deer everywhere. Mink. Fish jumping. Eagles. Ravens. Seals. Somehow the disease has changed the overall ‘mood’ or tempo of life out here. Seriously, the pace is slower. Mind you, June was also unusually wet and cold.
The commercial prawn fishery is also different. Usually we would have three commercial boats in our area at this time. This year, we have one. More than a few summer-only residents have not arrived. Many won’t. And, as mentioned before, recreational boating is down 80%. Tourists-by-air are absent. Few, if any, kayakers. This is a different year, to be sure. This a quieter year.
This is a year to remember.