Saturday evening. Today, gf and I went for an hour-long walk – for once, in the middle of the day and not in the evening. The resort near which we’re staying has been shut down. Normally, there’d be hundreds of people out and around on a sunny day. Instead, we saw only 25-30, walking mostly in couples, keeping their distance from us and others. We looked at a nearby lake and a tiny waterfall before heading back. There’s so little traffic that a family of five deer crossed the road about 100 meters away from us.

I tried to go out and get some more snacks and wine/cider/soda. (We hadn’t stocked up on those because there was limited space in my Kia.) The end result was pretty funny: the resort is one giant tourist trap, with fake-looking storefronts that are open only for pedestrians. The only legal parking spot in the vicinity was a “VIP” parking lot that charged $20 for the privilege. (The only other car there probably belonged to a security guard.) When I made my way into the gaudy tourist trap, it was disturbingly empty: I saw about five people during my 20-minute walk. The sole grocery store was closed – indefinitely, according to the sign taped to their door. The liquor store (SAQ, Quebec’s version of LCBO) simply had a “closed” sign without any promise to reopen. The nearby gas station was also shut down.

The speed limit is low here, so it took a while to drive to the gas station 5 miles away. They were open and had some food and (fortunately) plenty of wine and beer, though no cider. Just for the sake of gallows humour, I picked up a couple of six-packs of Corona. The gas station’s clerks were hidden behind a shield of plexiglass. They wouldn’t accept cash, according to the signs posted at the counter. The barcode scanner was pointed toward customers: you were expected to scan your own purchases and then bag them up into the plastic bags they’d slide your way through the small opening. (They also yelled at me not to touch anything unless I intended to buy it. Admirable vigilance.) It’s the small changes around me that fascinate me: there were no discounts on candy and snacks, and it really looked like the gas station’s owners decided to capitalize on the disaster. ($4.79 for a small bar of milk chocolate, etc.)

The Tim Hortons next door was open for walk-ins (unlike the ones in Ontario, where they’d only take drive-through orders), and they were happy to see me buy a dozen doughnuts. (Hey, it’s the pandemic and my first vacation in three years – you don’t get to judge me.) Once I finally made it home after a two-hour trip, gf and I sprayed everything with Lysol like the virus-avoidant team that we are.

The world is… Well, it’s not getting better. Not really following the news too much anymore. I have a rough idea where this will end up: years of working as an analyst can get you to see big trends long before they happen. In the US, you now need papers to cross state lines. So far, it’s just Texas and Louisiana: there are no real penalties and the enforcement is more like a guideline, but visitors from Louisiana are nonetheless expected to explain why they’re traveling and where they’ll be staying. Meanwhile, in Miami Beach, the police set up four three-person squads to respond to anonymous tips about out-of-towners (New York, New Jersey, etc) who don’t stay put. (No real sanctions either, at least not yet.) It’s too little too late for Florida, since their governor had kept the whole state running so as to avoid losing the spring break profits… 8,383 dead in the US as of right now. At some point in the not-too-distant future, we’ll all look back at this and think of early April as the good ol’ days. Here is hoping states and cities won’t turn on one another.

Gf and I are about to go on Amazon to shop for random things – art supplies, hair scrunchies, hard-to-obtain snacks… Her roommates in Toronto are disregarding all the social distancing rules. One of them brought over three guests; others are saying they should each be allowed to bring “one person you love.” The one roommate who is asking them to reconsider is being made fun of. I know they’re all party-loving extroverts but jeez… This is only their second week (I think) of isolation, and I don’t think they’ll make it. On the upside, gf’s friend’s cough has gotten better, so maybe it was just a cold. So it goes.