Thursday night, Christmas eve.

Hard to believe I finally made it not just to the end of the year but to my 10-day staycation. There are no tropical hostels to visit, no abandoned mines to explore, no friends or family to fly to: just 10 days of exploring the great Canadian indoors and relaxing. (To the extent that’s possible when you know there’s a raging pandemic outside your window. Think zombies outside your bunker.)

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my quest to learn to love classical music. Well, it turns out Bach isn’t really my cup of tea. Instead of hunting down the most famous works by other composers, I decided to just play random classical music on YouTube to see what clicks. Bad news: my new all-time-favourite is pretty recent and not part of the traditional classic canon. Good news: it’s absolutely amazing. “The Heart Asks Pleasure First” by Michael Nyman is amazing. Light, mesmerizing, and without those pompous baroque overtones you get with some of the classic composers. The long-term goal is to get a full-length playlist of my favourite pieces. I might be from a long line of Eastern European peasants, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn to enjoy high art, eh.

In covid news, a tragedy is unfolding in Toronto. A nursing home ended up with a giant covid outbreak. 58% of the residents (109 out of 188) have tested positive for covid. Likewise for 49 staff members. There have already been 26 deaths, and there will probably be more. The nursing home doesn’t have oxygen tanks or nearly enough resources to control the situation. With enough qualified staff, this situation can still be salvaged, but right now it’s unclear who is doing what. It’s possible that the boilerplate updates from local hospitals don’t represent the urgent work behind the scenes; it’s also possible that there’s a bureaucratic nightmare and no activity. Locally, this is a tragedy and the top news item. Globally, it’s a drop in the bucket, one tragedy among hundreds of thousands. The first covid clusters in the US were in several nursing homes in Washington state. At the time, everyone was on the edge of their seat, refreshing the news feeds to see if the situation improved. Now, less than a year later, these outbreaks make headlines only if they happen right next door.

Will we ever get the full account of all these isolated tragedies around the world, preserved for future generations and those who have survived? Will anyone be capable of reading it in its entirety?..