Arts Hudson

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Coronicles 3 - Wrestling Covid to the Ground
Tales from the Great Pandemic
by Art MacDonald

As he wrote in Coronicles 1 - Tales from the Great Pandemic, Art usually writes in the first person but he is finding the need to socially distance himself and will therefore write in the third person - third minus first: there's your two meters social distancing right there.

Coronicles are COVID-related stories that Art has heard or read and that he thinks are worth repeating.

Following the Science

To defeat Covid, we all have to follow the science, make logical decisions and act responsibly. There was a great exchange in a Canadian paper about this. Someone had written a post about following the science but their English was not great. The next person posted (paraphrased), "After following the science, you should follow the grammar." Another post said that science was about cause and effect. In the spring we were told not to wear masks, we had a lockdown and the cases went way down. Now we are told to wear masks, we have had a lockdown and cases are way up. Obviously, the science says masks increase the number of cases.

Online, people often miss sarcasm, which is why we have the sarcasm tag: </s>, which means end of sarcastic text. Unfortunately the above writer didn't use it. So we had many posts about how masks are effective and not wearing one kills grandmothers. It's always grandmothers, never grandfathers or mothers or other people. Anyway, someone felt this mask smugness was getting out of hand and so posted (paraphrased), "Wearing a mask has not kept the cases down so perhaps people should wear two masks. That might help." Getting into the spirit of things the next poster wrote (paraphrased), "Perhaps three masks, and keep them on 24 hours a day, even at home." As Art wrote in Coronicles-2, humour is the best medicine - he just hopes it works against Covid.

The Enforcement Stories

It's all very well to have rules and policies but we have all realized that there are lots of irresponsable people who don't follow the rules. Such as a lot of our politicians - rules for thee but not for me. Anyway, the Surete has been enforcing the "no gatherings" rule very diligently. Such as in Gatineau, where six police were dispatched to break up a family gathering of six people. There was an altercation so that two maskless police manhandled the maskless gatherers - a great Covid spreading opportunity.

But Hudson now has an elevated Surete presence. Art saw police cars at Jack Layton Park and Thompson Park the same day. Evidently they were checking that walkers and the tobogganers were staying six feet apart. Makes you wonder why they're here. Do they think Anglos are more likely to get close and personal? We're not as bad as the Finns. You know, Finland brought in social distancing for the pandemic and one Finn says to another, "We now have to stay six feet apart." The other one says, "Why so close?" No, we're not that distant but we keep our distance more than a lot of other Quebec groups, and a lot of Hudsonites stick by the rules. Art was walking in Jack Layton Park and people would wait for him to cross the bridge before crossing the other way because the bridge is only about four feet wide.

Outdoor Stories

You know how you used to go to a local restaurant or store and you'd see lots of people you knew and you'd stop for a chat. Well, the new place to meet people is on the Hudson trails. Trails near Le Nichoir are popular and the Town has just advised that cross-country trails starting at Whitlock are now open. So you're walking along the trail and someone comes the other way and yells, "Hi Art, how're you doing?" All you can see is a hat, two eyes and a mask, so you think, "Who the hell is that?" before they say, "It's so-and-so, I know you don't recognize me with the mask," and you carry on from there.

So you get to catch up. Do you know how much the property down by the church sold for and how about the one further east - that's expensive. But that other one is a bargain. And what are they doing behind the National Bank building? Have you been down to Pure Art's new store? What did you do for New Year's Eve? No, you didn't! Are you working from home? I know, those old laptops get hot. How much does an addition like that cost? No we're not considered essential.

The other thing you see on the trails is dogs. Dog walking is considered essential. Even with the latest lockdown and curfew, Art's been told that you can still walk your dog after 8:00 pm. Dogs have caught Covid but apparently they're not infectious. That's just as well because the dogs Art has seen on the trails were not wearing masks and many did not stay six feet away. Art likes dogs, but to avoid having the leashless ones jump up, he looks them in the eye as they approach and yells, "Hi Doggie!" Invariably they run right by, often with a sideways glace as if to say, "Weirdo."

The 2021 Stories

Art and others had been hoping that 2021 would be the year we get back to normal, but with new Covid strains on the horizon, that may no longer be true. Art likes one self-deprecating British columnist who wrote, "I've concluded 2021 will be much like 2020 but with the additional knowledge that I'm not the sort of person who rises to the challenge." Guess you can rise to the challenge only so many times before you start spending your days drinking wine, eating chocolate and watching Netflix.

Or playing videogames. Videogames have the advantage that there's never a shortage - you just download copies. Not like chess sets - they're sold out. You can play chess online but Art thinks it's not really the same. Of course winter sports are permitted. That's caused another epidemic - sledding injuries. The bit of snow we have is really fast for sleds. The other day you could see it at Thompson Park. Kids would speed down the hill and go almost halfway to the lake. That little hill is pretty safe but you could probably hit a tree if you put your mind to it.

So now we're locked down with a curfew. Doesn't make much difference to Art since he hasn't been going out partying all night anyway. Although all night would be Ok for the curfew - just arrive at the party before 8:00 pm and leave after 5:00 am. Has Legault thought this through? The curfew is promoting all-night parties that are probably super spreader events. Maybe that's why the curfew is controversial. Legault says it's to emphasize the seriousness of the situation, i.e. there's no real purpose. Not a good look, according to Art.

So, let's see: by February 8th our cases will be way down, the hospitals will be empty and we'll just have enough time to book our spring break holiday in the south. Ok, not in Florida because obviously the US will still have a raging pandemic. But flying over their territory on the way to somewhere else is probably safe - can the virus droplets rise up into the stratosphere? And if the lockdown doesn't work, will we get more lockdown? Is there a pattern here? So many questions - so few answers. We have a month to ponder this and other imponderables.