Endemic Fear or adjusting to the crazy….the new normal?

When a pandemic or epidemic does not go away, it is referred to as ‘endemic’.  ‘Commonly present’. And that means; ‘This is the new normal’Do not be afraid, we are just gonna have to live like this for a long time.  Covid, the gift that keeps on giving. 

It is pouring down today.  Really wet.  We got togged up like the Franklin Expedition and started the trek up to the village centre for our annual Flu shot.  There is no centre and there is no village but we have a community building and that fills the role of downtown for us.  Sal and I slogged 500 yards to the boat, pumped it out, got the motor running and headed up coast in the ‘declared’ storm (it was miserable but it was NOT a storm to us). 

When we got there the community dock was kinda full.  I squiggled our boat into a small space and we tied up.  Other outer Island residents were arriving and departing. The public health nurses were keeping warm and busy up in the Bunkhouse (a few hundred more yards up hill) and a small crowd stayed waiting socially distanced just outside in the rain while the needles were given.  We wore masks.  A busy day in November. 

Eventually Sal and I got in to the day-clinic.  We de-layered.  Hat, gloves, rain jacket, vest, shirt….down to the t-shirt.  After the usual Care-card rigmarole, ‘in-line’ socializing and the odd side joke with the nurses, we were done.  We had also taken fuel up to the car, put it in, started it and ran it a few hundred yards up and down the road just to keep the cobwebs out of it.   Then, we trudged down to the boat, a few more chit-chats with the comers-and-goers and then into the boat and we headed home.  It was still coming down buckets. 

Two hours after we started, we were home making tea.  Sal laughed out loud…….   “I was just thinking how lucky we are and how convenient all that was given that we all live off the grid!  We even got a Tetanus booster.”

“Why is that funny?”  

“Well, it took us two hours even tho I admit that we kind of dawdled a bit.  We schlepped about a mile or so over rough terrain and then we ran about four more miles by small boat.  We did a bit of car maintenance, socialized in a downpour and waited about twenty minutes for procedure and protocols to pay out before being jabbed.  We did it all during a gale warning although it was actually pretty calm by our standards.  By the time we were done, I was thinking how convenient that was and then I recalled the same procedure when I was working in town.  This way was two hours of hiking in bad weather including sea-travel by small boat, the city procedure was maybe 15 minutes down the hallway and yet, for some reason, it all feels so much more convenient out here. Hard to explain.”

Basically, Sal was describing the new normal for us.  OTG normal.  We schlep and slog around to do just about anything.  I carried the 25 pound gas can down to the boat and then up the hill to the car and that was likely the lightest load I have carried in a long time.  Before we left, Sal had climbed down to the lagoon to tie up an errant log.  Something as simple as ‘going to the nurse for a shot’ was pretty good exercise.  THAT is our normal. 

We have adjusted well over the past 18 years to our OTG normal and I can see the same kind of subtle ‘adjustment’ we are now making for COVID.  We are still adjusting but we have more than adjusted somewhat to the Covid pandemic. 

I asked the nurse: “Do I really need to get a Tetanus shot?  I am not an antivaxxer but I am an anti-puncturist.  It does seem as if I have been jabbed a lot lately…ya know?”

“Well, sir, do you work outside a lot?  Do you use sharp tools?  Are some of your tools and materials rusty at all?”  And she said all that to me with a straight face.

I laughed and adjusted my attitude.  “OK.  Hit me”.

Is that the way we all die…….quietly adjusting to the warm bath as the heat is incrementally raised until we boil away like the proverbial frog?   Am I just adjusting to everything and yet everything is really out to get us?  Is that nurse to be trusted?  Did the Chinese make that Flu vaccine?  Sheesh.      

Hallowe’en

The day starts right: all misty and grey……oooohh.……and Sal comes out in the morning, “Did you clump around in the closet just now?”

“No. Been sittin’ here. Why?”

“I heard something big moving around in the closet!”

“Well, open the door and check…..”

“Are you CRAZY!!! What if it is a bear?”

“Fine! I’ll check.” And, I get up and open the closet that has only one access – from inside our bedroom. I wanna see the bear that can hide in the closet but who also sneaked past us in the night to do so. And I open the door.

“See anything?”

“Nothing………bit of bear scat is all…..”

And so our scary day has begun. I have never been a big fan of All Hallowed Eve or Halloween. Not even when I was a kid. Too many stale handfuls of popcorn and bare apples! And some of them reputedly had razor blades in ’em! And too much of that cheap orange triangle candy that tasted like wax. In my neighbourhoods (‘hoods), the kids Trick or Treated alone or in packs o’kids but parents were not all backed up in the dark on the sidewalk. It was just kids. The scariest thing for us was the bigger kids all backed up in the dark behind us waiting to steal the good candy.

I only began to like Hallowe’en when I could give out the candy. The little ones were adorable and usually more than a bit confused about the whole thing. They were the only sensible ones.

Every year some parent or teen set themselves, their dog or their neighbourhood on fire in some creative way. In the latter days, it was by way of cheap off-shore fireworks. I think that is when the Chinese government realized they could wage war on another country by strategically using cheap exports.

Kids do not trick or treat much living OTG. Too far between houses. Too wet between islands. Too many really big kids dressed as bears. It must seem like a veritable wild place to a new kid. “I ain’t going out there! Are you mad!”

But this year, we have so many new parents and kids (at least another four this year) that a small group is going to ‘inner-circle’ trick or treat around a small cluster of full-on family houses. And then they will all gather later at the old misty ‘Blockhouse’ remote and deep in the forest. The blockhouse is surrounded by a small orchard. If there is mist, I wouldn’t go. WAY TOO SCARY! One of the island cougars lives near there. And I mean the feline variety.

“Maybe we should venture out to the blockhouse this year. It would be fun to scare the little kids. More fun to scare the parents.”

“How would we do that?”

“Still got our old full-bear costumes?”

Umh…that CAN’T be right….?

Trudeau appointed Anita Anand the new minister of Defense. That could be a good thing. She’s reportedly smart and dedicated (although the report came from her). And, I suppose, a non-military person can do the job (altho she is a fresh 2019 inductee to parliament and a lawyer – that makes her a rookie at the very least). And I have no problem that Anita is female. War and danger affects both genders even if the men are way more likely to be in the actual fight and end up wounded or dead.

But I do have a small problem with what she said was her first priority. “My top priority is to make sure that everyone in the Armed Forces feels safe and protected and that they have the support that they need when they need it and the structures in places to ensure that justice is served,”

“I am thorough, I am determined, I am dogged, and I am results-oriented. I will be dedicating all of my energies towards this task.”

Ms Anand, of course, is referring to the problem of sexual harassment in the military.

I do not want to suggest that men and women in the military SHOULD be harassed in any way, shape or form. Nor do I think sexual harassment in the Canadian Forces can continue to be trivialized as various reports have indicated. It is just that…..well.….is Ms Anand putting priority on military sexual harassment when, in fact, the harassers and the victims are the ones we send out to fight and die in a war? That seems wrong-headed. Is she saying, “You can go to Afghanistan and shoot your way around the country and maybe get shot or killed but I am focusing all our resources on keeping you sexually safe from harassment when you are in camp”?

I’ll answer my own rhetorical question: Yes. That is exactly what she is saying.

Put bluntly, Moira, isn’t the problem of sexual harassment NOT really the first priority of our Armed Forces? Bum-pinching is really bad but is it as bad as a violent death on foreign soil? I mean, shouldn’t our desire for their safety be more inclined to the actual theater of war than on the gender conflict?

Our first priority is to defend the country and fulfill our international obligations. If Ms Anand and Justin think the first priority of the Defense Minister is to keep armed soldiers safe from unwanted sexual solicitation, bum pinching and even sexual manipulation, they are wrong and Ms Anand has proven her inadequacy from the beginning. (Justin’s inadequacy has long been established). Is sexual harassment really as bad as those same soldiers getting their heads blown off by an IED (improvised explosive device) or AK47?

If you have a personal agenda and it gets you into parliament and you are picked to be a minister, that is basically a good thing about Democracy. Ms Anand is on a mission and that is why she ran. Good on her. But when you are picked to be the Minister of Defense, your mission becomes a much larger one than your own personal agenda. If Ms Anand wants to champion sexual victims, that is great. And she should. That is what she wants to do.

You go girl!’

But that is NOT priority #1. It is NOT even in the top three.

Equip the soldiers. Train the soldiers. Deploy the soldiers. Do our national and international duty. Get our soldiers back intact. And then…..and only then..…IF THEY ARE STILL ALIVE….worry about who pinched whose bum.

Warm greeting from a cold woodpecker

It was a dark and stormy night. The ferries weren’t running. We were intending on getting home after a rather harrowing* four day visit to family in Victoria. Intentions mean nothing in bad weather if you live OTG. We stayed, instead, at MoneyPenny’s B&B (fantastic) in Campbell River and weathered the storm like city-folk. Wine and take-out as modest compensation.

Today (the next day) was still blustery but more to our liking and off we went. The car was heavily laden with luggage, supplies and, of course, a few building materials. Loaded the boat to the gunwales and slogged our way home over the still rumbling seas. But the storm was a Sou-easter and our landing is in the lee of the land so we were fine. The funicular went down, the supplies went on and, after docking the boat, we moved everything uphill and started to unload. We got home around 11:00. Sal is still putting stuff away now at 3:00pm.

Part of the reason for so long a process is that we often will stop and have a cuppa tea and light the woodstove. I was stacking some scotch (natch) in the closet when Sal said rather calmly, “Could I get a hand over here?”

I stopped what I was doing and attended to her. “S’up?”

“There’s a woodpecker in the stove!”

Our woodstove has a long stove-pipe. Over 16 feet long. It has a dog’s leg bend near the top. The top section is eight feet or so with the majority of it outside – of course. The top is covered by a chimney-top. Woody must have forced himself in a rather small-ish opening at the top, fluttered and fell down the stove-pipe and, amazingly, landed safely on top of the baffle at the top of the burn-box. There is not much room between the baffle and beginning of the stovepipe….I am guessing maybe 1.5 inches.

Not content with that particular location, Woody somehow scrambled along the baffle and fell into the larger stove area where he remained until Sal discovered him.

We opened the door, Woody flew around the room a bit and then smacked his fine self into a window. He was a bit stunned (but he is a woodpecker, after all. He has a hard head). I covered him with a towel, we slowly opened the window and Woody fell out of it and flew away.

Woody is our second such guest. A couple years ago we had a squirrel. Same process. Same window.

Life OTG, eh?

*I said ‘rather harrowing’ not because ‘going urban’ was any worse than usual this time but mostly because we are even less accustomed to the madness that passes for modern life these days. You know the drill……it took twenty minutes to drive four blocks due to heavy traffic, had to go to the drugstore three times to pick up a bottle of Rx eyedrops (first delay: was ‘our systems are down’, second delay: one untrained young clerk with twenty people in line = one hour wait. Third time we were lucky: only took twenty minutes!). And so it went. Traffic. Line-ups, malls, parking, insane prices…..surrounding you everywhere you look is junque and poor-quality crap complete with really bad service. I am literally incapable of dealing with it all anymore. Sal often makes me wait in the car. I sit there looking at other angry old guys waiting in their car.

Here’s an interesting note: everywhere there are HELP WANTED signs. Everywhere! My son explained part of the problem is the housing crisis. Where he works, they have hired several workers from out-of-town who start their first month living in a hotel or motel. By the third month, they decide that finding an affordable decent place to rent is too impossible and they resign and go home. These are folks making $60+ to $100K a year! They are young, but have no down payment and rents are too high to pay even IF they can find a place! That’s crazy!

The good news? We are home. It is fantastic. I used to swear I would never leave here again. Sal would subsequently make me go somewhere horrible but has recently spaced out my traveling obligations to once every four months. This time, when we got home, she said, “I never want to leave here again.” Personal growth is a wonderful thing to witness.

OLD DOGS. NO NEW TRICKS!

Two were in their very late 60’s…..

The rest of us six, were and still are in our 70’s with one of those – the birthday boy that very evening – turning 81. A very ‘boyish’ 81, I have to add. That is 8 really old people having a dinner party. The meal was spectacular, the wine flowed freely and so did the conversation. It was all good. I think. My hearing is a bit off and I had forgotten my hearing aid so I am not totally sure. Still, one does not have to be able to hear while drinking wine and so I was doin’ just fine for most of the evening.

Two of the people are summer folk and are leaving soon. They are headed back to the big city. She’s keen to find a level sidewalk and a Starbucks. He’d prefer to be here. But his biggest thrill is going to the university library he visits frequently and we do not have much in the way of libraries out here. All our books are still in the trees.

Boyish 81 and his wife are also summer folk but they are ‘hangin’ in a bit longer this Fall. They may even try on a bit of living some part of the winter OTG. Given that ‘home’ is Ontario, winter here is considered snow-birding to them.

And that is the theme for today’s blog……snowbirding is getting harder and harder. (Is it just me or is travel overall getting harder and harder?) Of course, the hardest part of snowbirding/traveling is the cost of it and the logistics. Ya just don’t teleport to Costa Rica, ya know? If we set aside the cost (so easy to say) you are still and increasingly challenged (as you age) by the logistics of it all. Throw in a pandemic, vaxx-passports and the price of gasoline and the snowbird flocks are staying at home in droves (that HAS to be a redundancy, right?).

We did. We stayed home. A flock of two who drove nowhere! Last winter was tentatively planned as a getaway year. The previous one was the obligatory one-year-in-four we spend at home and so we were ready for a getaway. Very ready. Three years out of four, we usually go to where the sun DOES shine. But last year was Covid year one. This is Covid year two. We be stayin’ put again this winter.

I am basically OK with that but, I must admit, I do not like having my options limited. I like having choice (you know? Like in voting?). Choice makes me think I have some control in my life, silly as that may sound. But, honestly, I have very little control and I know it. Not a lot of choice either.

Firstly, I am inclined to ‘listen’ to travel advisories and they are generally always bleak. “Don’t travel to San Lopez without first getting the series of twenty four inoculations against the hundreds of deadly diseases they have there!”

Secondly, I tend to look on-line for vacation ‘deals’ and, increasingly, dirt poor countries like the fictional San Lopez seem to now rent out out mud-hut haciendas with no running water for US$250.00 a night. Globalization first means greed and unrealistic expectations – you know? The American Dream!

Thirdly, there is the gauntlet that is now the average airport. Hours of torment and hell followed by fatigue, disappointment and lost luggage. Maybe a little Montezuma? The hurdle required to get off the ground is so daunting I do not even want to attempt it anymore. Levitation is for the birds!

The countries we generally visited in the past were usually ‘poor’ in the sense that the average person there earned much less than we did. So….we went there to exploit them! (but, of course, we are ‘nice’ about it, eh?). The problem is that 1st world capitalism has been embraced by all three worlds (only three?) and so some historically poor countries now operate on a psuedo-first world basis. They charge what the market will bear and double that for tourists – triple that if they are white tourists. And their original culture is now basically just for the tourists. More and more of their genuine, real-life, very-different culture is being replaced by McDonalds, Nike and Coca Cola and, of course, cell-phone culture-madness.

It is patronizing, condescending and likely racist of me but I kinda liked the third-world countries of yesteryear that still employed beasts of burden, wore traditional garb and their economy was really just the public market place complete with live chickens and baskets of eels for sale. I was in China in the early 80’s and it was water buffaloes, mud-huts, open sewage and collective farms. People got around on tractor-pulled hay wagons. It was virtually medieval.

Today, only forty or so years later, I might be run over in China by a Tesla, a Rolls Royce or Ferrari. Or all three at the same time! And I am likely now amongst the poorest in the new giant marble and glass shopping mall they just opened…..

Travel is starting to lose it’s appeal…….

What a mess!

Turn your back for one minute and, VOILA! The workshop is a mess.

OK, I admit it. I messed it up. I had to build a new boat-roof and that means carpentry and f’glassing and sanding and painting and well, it just never ends. This is a miserable little project but I will share it with you.

I (we) drive a small runabout. It’s fine. Nice little boat. Great engine. It’s all good but, of course, small runabouts are ‘convertibles’ as a rule and, if there is any kind of shelter tacked on, you can’t see through the windshield in bad weather and so those little covers are more trouble than they are worth. Unless, of course, it is dark, freezing and the howling wind is slanting the ice-rain in your face. That usually brings a few second thoughts.

One of our neighbours dealt with the problem very nicely. She has to do a ten mile run just to get within hailing distance of another OTG’er and so her boat trip is a bit more challenging and a lot more wet than ours. We travel faster, for a shorter distance and the waters are not usually too crazy. She, on the other hand, has to navigate ‘Crazy’ Channel and, in the winter, she has had to detour around water spouts sprinkling her designated route. Little water tornadoes 20 plus feet high! Several of ’em! She has had ice forming on her boat! Her little boat is maybe 14 feet long, very low in the water and has no ‘protection’ whatsoever. No lights either.

Anyway, she wears a motorcycle helmet in the winter, complete with ‘visor’ or ski goggles. And that, she claims, is all that is needed. That and multiple layers of clothing under a top notch wet weather outfit (and a little fluffy dog stuffed in there somewhere).

I thought I’d try something else. Last year I built a little metal roof-support structure and, on the top, placed a lightweight plywood roof. Small. Two feet by 5 feet. It sits higher than normal little rooftops so that I can get in and out without hitting my head and so that I can still see over the windshield in bad weather. It was good. But, but, but…..

Good isn’t always good enough. I did not f’glass the first ‘prototype’ simply because I did not expect the first one to be perfect. And it is not. It should extend a bit further out over the windshield, be a smidge wider and, since I wanted it light, I used only ‘doorskin’ for the roof and just painted it. This time, all those deficiencies have been corrected. Within a week I will have a better roof over my head. And, of course, I’ll send a pic.

But here’s the point of the story – not that there is much of a point at all – I undertook this new project without double checking my materials. I figured to ‘cobble’ it up if I had to. But Sal went onto the neighbouring island the other day and came back with some doorskins for me. Wahoo! I was ‘on my way’. And I progressed rather quickly…….(quick is very unlike me but the workshop was clean and ordered and that really sped up the process….who knew?). I already have the roof half-made. And yesterday, I started to f’glass it.

So, who has a bunch of resin and mat and cloth and, most important, hardener for the resin on hand….just layin’ around? Turns out…I do!

Yeah. In my ‘accumulation’ of bits, parts, supplies and crappola over the years I have also added all that is needed for f’glassing. Not enough resin to do anything HUGE but I have enough cloth and mat to build a small boat! Of course, it was not readily found. Sal and I first went on a ‘hunt’ for what we ‘kinda felt’ was there somewhere. And we found several stashes of f’glass materials and enough resin to do the job. Having all the stuff was very, very satisfying.

“Dave! That is NOT a story!”

I guess not. Apologies. It is just that Dave’s hardware collection has not let me down in 18 years. I have junk. I have stuff. I have crappola. My work may suck but I can keep on going and that’s half the battle.

The other half is keeping the workshop tidy….

PS: minor dilemma……….the catalyst may have gone stale over time. I may have counted the drops per ounce of resin out wrong. It may be too cold in the workshop (altho I fired up the kerosene heater and it felt warm)….regardless…..it has been almost 20 hours and the ‘glass’ has not fully kicked off. It’s half-set but not hard-set. That is a setback. I am gonna crank up the heat and NOT work on the roof today….give ‘er a chance to set up. I hope. Please God. If the workshop is a mess now, a half-set f’glass project is a colossal mess!

PPS: There is a God! It kicked off! All is good. Well, it is still really bad workmanship but good enough for the standards I work to…..virtually none….if it stands on its own and doesn’t fall down, it is good enough!

Tabletop Maker (to be sung to the tune of Paperback Writer)

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Dave
And he needs a job
So he’s gonna be a tabletop maker…….table top maker….
Tabletop maker is a sawdust story of a sawdust man
And his brilliant wife who doesn’t understand
He had a job working for the rats
It’s was a steady job but he’d had enough of that
He wants to be a tabletop maker….
Tabletop maker

I cobbled up a table from that ‘patchwork quilt’ of wood bits yesterday. It looks good. I am no fine-carpenter but it would look ‘at home’ in any remote Siberian village or, perhaps, some inbred, poor section of Appalachia. My aesthetics are crude, my skills are lacking and my standards are a smidge low, I have to admit to all that.

On the other hand, I am now almost done with the obvious, trip-over-it projects still sprinkled willy-nilly about the place – for this year, anyway. There are no more in the workshop (save for saw-blade sharpening). I have a couple more shelves to do for the new shed. And I still have 18 lengths of logs to pull up and stack. Plus a boat roof to f’glass soon. Plus, plus, plus….but…..

Every year there are plus-plus-plus projects that do not get done. They get ‘held over’. They will be amongst the list of things to do when the weather/season improves. I have a five month reprieve before the pressure starts to build again (such as it is) and that means more like 6 months before anything actually gets done. Still, Thanksgiving is generally regarded as a seasonal shutdown date. Give or take a week, depending on the weather.

Last night we had the all-out, fantastic and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with our older neighbours. She’s hampered by a gibbled hip and he is 81. Still, they came for dinner, enjoyed yet another Sally feast and, after the evening had carried on socially for awhile, they got ready to leave. But it was a-howlin’ outside. Black, dark, rain-a-pelting down they trudged back to the dock in full-weather gear and set out in their 17 foot boat. It was blowing maybe 25. I left the outside lights of our house on because they provide a reference point for a boater when you can barely see in the dark. We watched them disappear into the night as the wind cried Mary.

In and of it self no big deal……but….consider the facts. A limping Septuagenarian and her Octogenarian husband trekking through the woods in a storm to get to their boat so that, through the pelting rain they could slowly buck and plunge their way home through the ice-cold seas.

Oooooh, c’mon….ya don’t get that kinda fun in the cul de sac!

And the wind screams, “Mary”

Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blown in the past?
And with this crutch, its old age and its wisdom
It whispers, “No, this will be the last”

And the wind cries, “Mary” (Jimmy Hendrix)

OMG! Order from chaos!

The workshop is cleaned up. There is still much to do but walking in and being intimidated by the array of tools, materials, glues and such, all higgle-de-piggeldy everywhere is over. Sal hit it like the HER-icane of order that she is. I helped, of course, but Sal seems to have an inner software program when it comes to tidying up. God, it feels good!

I confess that, after we had cleaned up and stopped for the day to drink wine, I got up and wondered back out just to gaze on the sheer beauty of a tidy workshop one more time. “You should forbid me from ever going in there again, ya know…..I make an unholy mess….”

“Can’t do that. It is your workshop! You make stuff. You fix stuff and I now know where all the crap is….knowing you, you’ll claim you don’t know where anything is and will try to make me do it!”

She’s smart, That Sal. That thought had already crossed my mind…..

In most ways, we did OK this summer. A ton of guests. Got all the wood in, did some much needed maintenance, built a new shed and put everything away. Water system is great! I have a whole tool maintenance regime to get going on; a slew of sawblades to sharpen, a few things to fix, more logs….you know, an OTG’ers work is never done. Except for the naps and wine-drinking, of course.

But, in a few ways, we did badly. Lost John. Didn’t see the grandkids. Living a Covid life. Gettin’ old. There have been some ‘downs’. There have been some ‘ups’. But losing John coloured the whole year black and it still weighs heavily on us both.

UAE’s J & H visiting was a great treat, however. So were all the old gang that usually come to visit – and did. My grandsons are reportedly going gangbusters – growing and happening and doing it all happily and with joy on their face. There was huge loss but there was positive gain, too. It was NOT a typical year but ‘typical’ might not come along much anymore. I cannot see a path-to-normal anytime soon.

I guess you could summarize the year with that old refrain, ‘take your victories where you can’.

Lemming Face-plant

I never subscribed to Facebook. From the get-go, it seemed a dysfunctional thing for me to do. It just never appealed. To be fair, the initial description I received when querying was something like, “Oooh, it’s great! I sent all my friends pics of me having breakfast!” ……..and that didn’t seem like a really fascinating pastime to me, either as a sender or a receiver. I never signed up. Call me anti-social.

But my resistance to peer-group pressure was not absolute. In a moment of weakness, I joined Linked In and, in a quickly dawning awareness, immediately dropped out of it within hours. But, once in, it is not easy to get out. I still get L-In crap and I have never participated in it save for rarely contacting a few friends who, like me, never use it either.

I came to this slightly suspicious feeling of joining social gatherings/groups honestly enough. One day in the 60’s, I passed a storefront featuring a pair of tin cans attached to what looked like a lie-detector sitting alongside a few toy frogs and an assortment of books. Some guy named Ron Hubbard, it seemed, was selling science…..something to do with frogs…and tin cans. I went in to find out. Got a Scientologist sales pitch and left. I received Scientology crap for twenty years!

Despite my anathema to joining and cults, social media is here to stay and the fact that Facebook (likely) got hacked today is some kind of harbinger. Something is up. And that something will continue, escalate, erode, corrupt, pollute or otherwise add more rot to the already eroding system. And make no mistake, Facebook is a huge system within a huge system. Lives are engaged in, involved with, dependent on and vulnerable to social media and especially Facebook. Politics, business, communication and even countries are reliant on Facebook for a lot of their activities. Mark Zuckerberg is worth billions and it is all because of exploiting the human need to ‘belong’.

Fact: belonging to Facebook is NOT really belonging to anything (possible exception: Team Lemming). We have a ‘fake’ membership in a ‘fake’ community and there are a bazillion bad people with weird agendas trying to take a pot-shot at you and your ‘friends’. Why would anyone see that as a good idea?

I understand, of course, that it has it’s appeal. It’s kinda like being able to lightly and quickly chat with dozens of ‘friends‘ who ‘like you‘ but well, I have sheds to build, oysters to chase and logs to chop. Facebook is an illusion of community. Key word: illusion.

And my community is smaller now that I am feral and it has even shrunk somewhat more lately. Covid kinda did that. I certainly have fewer and fewer friends nearby who like me (I think Wim is the closest and he’s in Belgium)! I have also kinda rejected ‘chatting’, too, now that I think about it. Chit chat in any form is basically a waste of time to my way of thinking. But remember: my way of thinking is in it’s twilight. I am old. I have less time to waste and now I have fewer people on whom to waste it.

Nature has a way……

OMG, the time I wasted as a high-school teen listening to ditzy girls saying giggly-gibberish just on the remote chance of maybe having sex with them someday makes my head spin! I have wasted way too much time. And I no longer have it to waste.

Long way of sayin’: Facebook ain’t my thing and I am glad I stayed away. I think more and more trouble will ensue from social media and I think Facebook being hacked is just proof that there is something to be immorally gained at the expense of the ‘membership’. Be careful out there, guys. It feels like the Matrix is heatin’ up.

Where in the World is Dave?

I guess it is time to make some changes in our lives. It feels as if we should. Minor changes, to be sure, but some changes nevertheless.

We are well into Fall and winter feels close-on-it’s-heels (we’ve even been setting a morning fire this past week). A feeling of routine is settling in. Normally, after a busy season, that feels comforting. This is usually the time of year when we ‘plan’ our winter. We will be doing Xmas off-island, of course, so that part of the plan is in place – but it is less than a week.

Then we usually go away somewhere sunny and warm for a bit and then we come back and then we do Spring set-up chores, plant gardens, gather logs for later chopping and then there is the summer season…and, well, summer is a whole new-kind-of-busy and so it goes. Every year, mostly; same but different. Even tho it is all an adventure, it is a predictable, seasonally based adventure…..for the most part.

But this year feels a bit different. This year is kind of a deja vu – a watch it all over again kind of year. By Xmas, this past year will be Covid year #2. No travel. No change. Two years of lock-down. Mostly. I mean, admittedly it is kinda hard to tell a lockdown with us. We are living OTG and are semi-isolated anyway. Throw in a restrictive pandemic and we have been ‘out of it’ for some time. We are no longer in any loops. No longer hip! And my sociability index has been waning for some time, too. Diagnosis: long-GOMs. Extended grouchy old man syndrome coupled with a pandemic and a world gone mad.

I love people, ‘specially my chosen peeps, but, well, I can love ’em from a distance, too. Email is also good. I just kinda feel like I gotta get away, right now. Go, go, go. I feel like going somewhere different, somewhere foreign….. I feel like gettin’ out of Dodge. ‘Cept for one very basic thing: I really do not feel like traveling.

It is hard to go somewhere without moving. That little mental conflict presents quite a conundrum, don’t you think? Of course, I know that I cannot go somewhere without moving so which is it? Do I go or do I stay? Why is that even a question? Shouldn’t I know whether to go or stay? Have I lost my ability to make executive decisions?

Or is this just another manifestation of that pervasive ‘state of confusion’ I have been talkin’ about? It is NOT ambivalence. I still have feelings. I just have the opposite ones, too. I still have wants…I just don’t know what they are, currently. I feel the pressure to move but I have not decided where to go. It’s a crazy state of being. What does it all mean? Is it just the aforementioned long-Covid mixed with Long Goms in a-state-of-flux world? Or is it all just in my head and everyone else is focused and ‘going forward’ (as they say ad infinitum)?

Let me summarize this drawn-out angst: The economy does not seem to know whether it is coming or going; the Canadian electorate just erased the purpose of an election by voting to not change a thing (in a world needing huge change); the Covid-virus is still the BIG story and seems to be planning a whole new season of fun and games all ’round the world; a lot of people have stopped working but do not have the money to do so; school is in…then out….then back in…well, who knows where the school-thing is these days? House prices? Food prices? Aging? Tic tock, tick tock?

And millions still support Trump, anti-vaxxing and all sorts of incredibly stupid Bubba crap. How does any of this make any sense? I am open to hearing a logical outcome…..