Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 5, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

The crown jewel of Victoria. Hint. It’s not me!


“Lord, I was born a ramblin’man,

Tryin to make a livin’ and doin the best I can,

And when it’s time for leavin’ I hope you’ll understand,

That I was born a ramblin’ man.

Ramblin’ Man – Allman Brothers

I wasn’t going to mention this for fear of losing the few remaining friends that I have left. This will unquestionably raise a few eyebrows and elicit some sneers of derision. But one of the joys of being a senior is that, with advanced age, you start to care less of what people think about you. The only person that really worries me is the undertaker.

It is Spring Break at our school. I have been in the north for eight months without a break. Remember, the only way in and out of my village is by plane. I could not go home for Christmas because it would have been sheer folly to spend my entire Christmas holidays in quarantine only to return to the north and do two more weeks of the same. While I thoroughly enjoyed “Christmas in Kangiqsujuaq”, I have been feeling the need to get away.

I decided to travel out west to visit my son, Peter.

“You did what, you silly ass? Aren’t you aware that there is a third wave of the pandemic going on in Canada and around the world? Haven’t you heard every health official tell people to stay home and avoid all but essential travel? With every passing day, more provinces are going back into some form of lockdown.”

Ok. My internet has been working well lately. I know about all these things and the Raptors long losing streak. Get out the violins. I don’t know if mental fatigue  rates as essential travel but that’s what I’m going with. I have consulted a few doctors and nurses that I respect. I wasn’t looking for their blessing, but I did want to know if I was being careless and selfish. I had the Moderna vaccine four weeks ago and according to the most recent data, it appears the efficacy rate is north of 90%. What I have learned from these doctors and nurses (and reading respected medical journals) is that my chances of contracting Covid are slim and my chances of passing along Covid to someone else are also small.

A few days ago, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States issued an updated travel statement. Here is the nub of the advisory: “Domestic travel is low risk for fully vaccinated people.” I can see you shaking your head. “Len, that is the United States and you are not fully vaccinated.” Once again, deferring to medical experts, the second dose only increases the efficacy rate by a couple of percentage points. The CDC goes on to say that “certain types of travel are absolutely going to be more essential. And that’s not just for work: we sometimes need to travel for our mental health to spend time with people we haven’t seen in a year.”

Honestly, as I sit here in the airport in Montreal typing this, I think that there is a better chance of dying from loneliness than Covid. My entire check in took under 5 minutes including security. I was the only person in line at security. Didn’t need my Nexus card!

Airports are surreal places these days. One is struck by the quietness. People are keeping their distance, of course and wearing masks. Couple this with the fact that every person is on some kind of electronic device and the atmosphere is less cheerful than a wake.

I have been following rigid Covid protocols for a year like all of you law abiding citizens, maybe doubly so because I am teaching where mask wearing is as common as chalk dust. Travelling from the north was the safest part of the trip as there are no cases of Covid and the entire Nunavik region is a green zone.

Traveling from Montreal to the west coast, I decided to add an extra layer of protection by wearing an N95 mask. I pity the health professionals who have to wear these every day. They are quite rigid and not terribly comfortable.

The flights were barely a third full and everyone was wearing masks. Ditto for hotels. As much as I would like to stay with Pete in his yurt, I chose to rent an Air B&B in downtown Victoria. Pete and I plan to hike every day. I don’t plan to go and visit any of my old friends in Victoria in their homes. We will safely distance in their back yards or go for walks. I have brought along an old CCM (Victoriaville, Hespler – I’m dating myself) hockey stick which we will use for our walks. Someone will hold the blade and the other the butt end of the stick. I’m joking of course, but you get the picture. I am going to be exceedingly cautious.

I hope everyone had a relaxing Easter weekend.

Have a great week.

P.S. OMG. I’m getting old. On my flight to Vancouver, the flight crew dimmed the lights and transformed all of the windows using tinted glass. It felt like you were flying at night. I thought that this was particularly weird. Oh yes, on the 5- hour flight, we generously received a bag of pretzels that wouldn’t fill the stomach of a mature vole and an equally midget sized bottle of water. Our “gift bag” also included a mask, hand sanitizer and wipes. How charming.

In the old days, the button to activate the overhead light was on the arm of your seat. Wanting to read, I fumbled around trying to find the gd light. A flight attendant came by and showed me the light button on the screen in front of me. Later, I wanted to watch a movie (Dead Poet’s Society with Robin Williams). I plugged in my ear buds. The movie began but there was no sound. Once again, I found myself flailing around trying to figure out the sound system. Have you ever tried lip reading Robin Williams? As I scarfed down my wonderful meal of 6 pretzels, I realized that I would once again have to reach out to the overburdened staff. Honestly, the flight crew have nothing to do on these long-haul trips other than maybe changing toilet paper rolls in the bathrooms.

A flight attendant was walking down the aisle. Just before she arrived at my seat, I discovered that ear buds work particularly well when they are placed in your ears. I had skillfully placed one end into the screen console but had forgotten to put the buds in my ear. Thank god I figured this out before she got to my seat. Being ejected from the aircraft over Lethbridge would have been insulting and embarrassing.

The movie was excellent. When I arrived in Vancouver, I was understandably peckish. As I was standing in the lineup at Tim Horton’s, I felt an itch in my right ear. When I went to scratch it, I realized that the end of one of my buds had remained in my ear.

Do you ever think that you’re “losing it”?!






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