Friday evening. I refresh my tracker for the first time in hours, and the US death toll jumps from 6,066 to 7,084. Only 179 in Canada. 10% of the US population, 2.5% of the US fatalities.

The news keeps getting stranger yet. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, vomited a string of MBA jargon at a press conference yesterday, and said that his math shows New York won’t need additional ventilators. That’s something you’d normally see in a banana republic… Elon Musk had bragged that he’d get Tesla to manufacture ventilators for any hospital that needs them; he ended up buying 1,000 CPAP machines elsewhere instead. (Not what anyone would call a useful alternative.) Justin Trudeau said that Canada will use Amazon to deliver medical supplies. That’s huge: a G8 nation has explicitly admitted that Amazon is more efficient than its own postal system. Ironically, the almighty efficient market didn’t quite get the implications, and Amazon’s stock price closed 0.64% down for the day, like the rest of the market. Heh.

Trudeau also said that after Quebec requested federal assistance (the first province to do so), the Canadian armed forces will be dispatched to the northern part of the province to help isolated communities. (Not anywhere near our AirBnB refuge.) That too is huge news. On top of all that, 3M said that the White House tried to pressure them and keep them from sending masks to Canada. They went public with that instead. A banana republic at its finest… In other news, a train engineer in California took his train off the rails and tried to ram the hospital ship. He came mighty close to succeeding, too: the train came to a full stop just 250 yards away. I expect to see more news about conspiracy nuts losing what’s left of their sanity.

I closed my work laptop an hour ago. My 3-week, 23-day vacation is officially on. (Barring a few days with short consultations of a newbie colleague who is behind on our joint project…) The first vacation over a week long since February 2017. I’d looked forward to it for so long, but never imagined it would be like this. And yes, I’m quite aware just how spoiled I am, to reminisce about an imperfect vacation while millions are sick. (1 million officially, likely many more unofficially.) Well, in any case, I’ll finally catch up on sleep and reading. Not a lot of sunshine in rural Quebec, but there’s plenty of fresh air. No fellow travelers and hostel guests to chat with, but I’m with my favourite person in the world – and I’ve never been much for crowds, in any case. How strange to think that 23 days from now, the world will be in far worse shape while my internal battery will have recharged. Rest and recreation as the pandemic rages.

Gf and I are having more deep, heart-felt discussions in between cooking experiments and binge-watching Le Chalet on Netflix. She’s feeling better after breaking the keto diet, though her heart acts up at random intervals. Just a matter of finding the right electrolyte balance, most likely. With every passing day, we grow a bit closer. If and when this all ends, we’ll move in together – and continue this beautiful, strange adventure.