Tuesday evening. I’ve just had to double-check what today this is – losing track of time is how you know your vacation is going well.

Today’s hike took me to an abandoned iron mine that apparently got gobbled up by a swamp at some point after the 2000 geological survey. Not the most productive three hours of my life, but hey – exercise. The other location I visited was more interesting, though. An old apatite mine didn’t have much to show in terms of fun rocks, but after I got up and turned around, I found an old rusty pickaxe just 2′ behind me. (See the pic below.)

It looks like it was made at some point after WW2 (rubber handle and all), but I can’t narrow it down more than that. Had it been lying there for a year? Had it been there since before I was born? Had it always been there, an immutable artifact imbued with strange magic, while the world grew around it? Or maybe it’s the symbolic rusted manifestation of a post-modern Arthurian legend, and by pulling it out I became the king of geologists? There’s simply no way to know for sure, so I’ll go with that last option. (Pixcalibur!)

I got to meet my AirBnB host last night. Cool guy. He’s in his 40s, and he’s spent most of his life working with troubled teens by taking them hiking and kayaking at a local summer camp. He’s a true outdoorsman while I’m a stereotypical geek, but we overlap a lot in our love of hiking, shiny gems, search&rescue (he used to be a wilderness EMT), and cider. This may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. That was also the first in-depth conversation with someone other than xgf that I’ve had since early March… Ye gods.

My company’s lawyers have prepared the final packet for my Canadian permanent residence application (I got invited to apply about seven weeks ago.) Now it’s time for one last round of reviews, crossing the i’s, dotting the t’s, that sort of thing – and then it’ll be just a matter of waiting for some kind government official to bestow upon me the permanent resident status. (I talk about waiting a lot, don’t I? That’s 2020 in a nutshell.)

In covid news… Canadians have another reason to be righteously angry with the US. American troops on a stopover in Newfoundland have been leaving their hotel and going out in blatant disregard of the 14-day quarantine rule. They claimed that the border agents had given them the green light. No one is really buying that – folks are trying to figure out what exactly the policy is – but either way, it’s a hot mess.

At an LCBO store earlier today, an employee wore his mask on his forehead.

An even bigger mess is “Doctor” Stella Immanuel. It was only a matter of time before Trump found a doctor who was sufficiently unhinged to back him up all the way. Immanuel got her medical degree in Nigeria, then became a practitioner in Texas, and claims her Nigerian experience allows her to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to everyone. (What is it about Republicans and hydroxychloroquine? Did they buy a huge stockpile they’re trying to get rid of? Did they all pitch in with their retirement money?) If that wasn’t bad enough, Immanuel also claims that doctors make vaccines using alien DNA (space aliens, to be precise) and that there are sexy demons who invade your dreams and suck out your life force. (To be fair, I’m not 100% sure about that last thing – I had to stop reading to protect my poor brain cells.)

So… yeah. The rest of the world is slowly reopening after going all in on science and empirical evidence. The US has a literal witch doctor advising the president and being retweeted by him. Many people have said this before, but it bears repeating again and again: if you were to write this all up as a novel at any point before 2020, any self-respecting editor would’ve had you committed out of general principle. (Or at the very least thrown out of the building, with a restraining order to follow.) Life will forever be stranger than fiction, if only because it can be far more absurd – and not subject to the editorial process.