Thursday night.

Time to triangulate and reassess: I’m aware I’ve been getting progressively more bitter when it comes to politics, and that’s pretty ridiculous. What I do here and now, in this pandemic-induced isolation, is a trial run for the rest of my life, for when I can finally quit the rat race and enjoy the little things in life. I’ve still got 40 good years ahead of me, and I don’t want to spend them as that awkward crazy uncle who raves about politics at Thanksgiving. Heh. A lot of it was just the sheer chaos coming out of the White House. We’re all very lucky that things never escalated to the point of an actual war, especially one with nukes. The assassination of that Iranian general in early 2019 brought us quite close to that point.

So, I’m gonna make a conscious effort to read less political news and just try to enjoy life more. (It’s pure folly to get upset over things you have no power over, in a country you don’t even think of as your own any longer.)

My very slow exploration of the local neighbourhood by means of lunchtime walks continues. It reminds me of old text-based games where you’d type in commands like “go north” or “go west.” Exploring quadrant after quadrant of the predefined grid: it’s just like this here, exploring one little block at a time. Today’s haul: a giant sculpture of dominos (the game, not the pizza), and my discovery of a local Jewish community center. It’s located between the Ukrainian museum, Chinese consulate, and a Native American community center – now that’s what I call a diverse city, eh.

In covid news… Another coworker got it. This time it wasn’t someone I work with directly, but a newbie acquaintance in the States. He said he most likely got it at a Christmas get-together with his sister’s family. Most adults there got sick. They think one of the kids had it but didn’t show any symptoms. The coworker was out for three weeks, just got back to work, and still can’t smell anything. Each of these personal accounts reads like a low-key horror story, a variation on the theme.

Here in Canada, to quote a meme once more, I’m starting to see a trend that I’m not so sure I like… I’ve only now noticed that the promises of August vaccination came exclusively from Ontario-based news stories. The overall news announcements from the Canadian government can’t promise anything better than “by the end of September.” That’s a big no bueno. A coworker of mine put it quite well when she compared the vaccination campaign to a large construction project: you’re pretty sure it’ll run over budget and over schedule. The only question is by how much. If Ontario is just being cute with us and offering their base-case estimate, and if this thing actually extends into October… Ye gods, how long will this blog series actually go on for?..

In more morbid local news, a man died one day after landing in Toronto from his three-leg flight from Nigeria. The official guideline for Canada is that no one can board a plane headed for Canada unless they can show a negative covid tests. Allegedly, this guy’s test was still pending when he started his journey, and they let him on. Having a deathly ill passenger board without a negative test, potentially infect hundreds of fellow passengers on three separate flights, and then die so soon after landing in Toronto… That is not a good look. There’s a lot of finger-pointing happening right now. All three flights were with Delta, and they’re claiming everything was done by the book. Transport Canada, the big federal agency that’s supposed to enforce this stuff, hasn’t commented on this.

This is remarkably different from the way things are done in Taiwan: based on some travelers’ testimonials, they’re sidelined to a separate area after landing, then given a rapid test, then transported (in a hermetically sealed taxi) to a special hotel, and then not allowed to leave their room for anything for the duration of the quarantine. (The food is left on their doorstep.) There may or may not be tracking bracelets involve – I can’t recall. That’s quite expensive and requires a lot of attention to detail, but it can be done. Otherwise, you have loophole-jumping passengers dying within 24 hours of landing. The sole consolation here, such as it is, that most countries are screwing up as badly as Canada when it comes to travel enforcement. Even now, well over a year into this pandemic, Taiwan’s strict approach is more or less unique.

Good night, y’all.