Friday, July 3, 2020

An Unwanted Visit, But Something Heartening Was Revealed

Since the pandemic began, my wife and I have been very cautious. Because she has an underlying lung condition, we limit our exposure to outside influences as much as possible. For example, I shop for groceries once every two weeks at the seniors' hour, and even that, when I first started, was nerve-wracking, especially fearful was I of the contagion I might inadvertently bring home to her. And quite honestly, as we learned more about the horrible ravages this virus can inflict, I have also worried about my own safety.

Our purchase of masks have gone a long way toward assuaging anxiety, and I shall return to their use in a moment. But first, I'd like to recount a trip we had to take yesterday to Toronto, a city about an hour from where we live, and a place I have never enjoyed visiting. My wife had to see her respirologist at Toronto Western Hospital for an appointment we thought had been cancelled. Getting ready for it took on an aura of military planning and precision.

Hand sanitizers: check

Masks: Check

A list of washrooms open to the public (because I would not e permitted into the hospital with her): check

Lunches: check

My initial plan was to find the nearby washroom, have lunch at the adjacent park, and then just read until her chest x-ray and appointment were over, which we anticipated would take over two hours. However, despite the heat, after having lunch I decided to go for a walk.

Now where we live, wearing a mask outside is unnecessary, as crowding is almost non-existent. But by the time I got to Kensington Market, I donned the mask because the area was fairly busy, and I wore it for the rest of my peregrinations, which saw me go as far as Queen Street West, well past Spadina. What I saw on my walk heartened me. The vast majority of people wore masks, even though it was quite hot and humid, but I think everyone felt that the moderate discomfort of wearing one was nothing to what it must be like to experience Covid-induced shortness of breath or intubation.

It made me proud as a Canadian to see so many acting responsibly.

Which brings me to the report below. While there is undoubtedly some wistful exaggeration in it, I think it captures the Canadian spirit and ethos rather well:

Quite unlike this nonsense, eh?


  1. .. we did Kensington.. a mercy trip per a dear friend of The Boss.. brought her sherbert.. Grabbed a pound of Ecuador shrimp.. 10 bucks.. while there.. the shrimp 'slayed'.. later of course.. reasonably crowded.. elapsed time approx 30 minutes inc 10-15 chat with her friend.. her on her porch, us on the sidewalk..

    1. Certainly it is good to see things opening up, Sal. As long as we all do our part, I think things can move ahead safely. I just hope people don't get complacent if the infection numbers keep going down.

  2. .. I recall SARS very clearly. At that time I was shooting in many of Canada's teaching hospitals. Shooting interviews, actual surgery, even in preemie wards. You have not truly seen the miracle of life until you hold a 1.5 lb infant in your gloved palm. Needless to say, the sterilization of my camera & I & the choreography of my 'behaviour' was intensely supervised. I often came away astonished.. forget I said 'often'.. I meant 'always' ! I knew I had been allowed to approach the highest altar of science and care. I had been among gods and godesses of medicine. I know Western well. Parking is hell ! Lately, I mask with a sense of humour (TTC and soon any public interior it will be compulsary of course) but I do know I resemble a tall version of Billy the Kid during a holdup.. or alternatively, Blackbeard.. gunslinger or pirateer.. hmm who will I be today ? I don't mask when on my bike or in our neighborhood but I always have masks in my various backpacks & saddlebags as well as in the car. A significant cloth handkerchief around my neck.. The Boss has her own pet themes of course, Pirate of course.. or music related. I maintain she could make a burlap bag be a fashion statement.. just by wearing it.. so she can certainly 'style' a mask with the greatest of ease. She too must be impeccable re infection as she is often in the company of her employer - an 'at extreme risk' public figure.. thus I must be equally impeccable. In baseball parlance we both must aim to 'bat 1000'. Zero mental lapses.. ZERO ! We are all so fortunate that these new regimes arrived as the grip of winter yielded to spring & now summer.. the fall to follow.. and progress and understanding are growing in Canada eh. This winter is likely to be a dirtbag.. as life in North America.. and especially Canada will migrate indoors.. for a long tough cold haul. We need to muscle up - toughen up.. adapt adapt adapt ! And to loosely quote someone we both communicate with.. we need to be 'resilient'

    1. "We need to muscle up - toughen up.. adapt adapt adapt !"

      Well-said, Sal. In the end, it all comes down to our collective character.

  3. There was one word in that report that stood out for me, Lorne. It was when Bonnie Henry spoke of "cohesiveness" as the key to crushing the pandemic. Cohesiveness, social cohesion, the keystone to our strength whether it is in preserving democracy or coming together to fight back against the difficult threats of the day. Unfortunately even here in Canada hyper-partisanship has deliberately sought to wreck social cohesion, to divide us into camps, to turn us against each other. Nowhere do we see that more than in the degradation of the United States.

    1. I hope that we are sufficiently aware and vigilant not to ever succumb to the virulent, divisive and rabid hyper-partisanship that infects those to the south of us, Mound.