Saturday night. Spent the day hanging out with xgf again: she’s doing better but not great. She recently swallowed her pride and called the local volunteer group that delivers groceries to people with disabilities or compromised immune systems. (And she has both.) After the groceries are dropped off, you just transfer the total amount to the volunteer through Interac – a really cool (and free!) money transfer system everyone uses in Canada. I’m not sure if that group existed before the pandemic, but nonetheless, this is a great example of random acts of kindness in the world.

Xgf was also worried about catching covid and developing severe symptoms (to the point of not being able to get out of bed), since she lives by herself. Her frame of reference was some random person on Reddit, who said hospitals won’t admit you unless you’re in critical condition. My arguments to the contrary didn’t help, not even when I mentioned that a rural hospital in Quebec gave her top-notch treatment (including a brain scan) when she had chest pains. After 10 minutes of back-and-forth, I called Toronto’s health department.

The person on the other end of the line confirmed that treatment (such as it is) is available to everyone, and that hospitals will definitely provide help if the patient’s condition is bad enough. When I asked for details, she said that only 52% of ICU beds in Toronto were occupied. She also said that although 81% of acute care beds were occupied, there were always overflow options. That seemed to make xgf feel better, if only for a bit. She comes from a strange background… Just the other day, her mother (who moved here from Poland) said that a Polish surfer on Instagram (heh) said the virus was a hoax, and she believed him because he always such positive and heartfelt things…

It’s hard to describe the strange reality we’re living in, when surfers from landlocked Eastern European countries are listened to for their medical advice; where volunteers go grocery shopping and spend their own time and gas to help those in need; where there’s simply too much news for any one person to digest, and many end up reverting to their previous worldview and biases.

A couple of days ago, Ontario rolled out the plan for 10-person social bubbles. Your own family, plus another family, plus however many people it’d take to get to 10, can all hang out together – as long as nobody joins another bubble. If at least one person cheats on their bubble, and if one bubble develops a covid infection, the overlap may infect others. This isn’t something that can be enforced, and judging by all the large groups we saw in the local park today (it was picnic weather), many will likely ignore it. Still, as bad ideas go, that one isn’t too terrible. It’s an attempt to give some semblance of order to the chaos that would result if everyone just gave up. We’ll see how that plays out.

And meanwhile, only four weeks to go until my hopefully relaxing vacation. Just 20 business days, and they fly by so fast… In exactly 28 days, I’ll be sleeping in my rental car at some highway rest stop, halfway to Thunder Bay, the amethyst capital of Ontario. I can only wonder how different the world will be 28 days later.