Thursday night.

One thing I’ve definitely accomplished during this pandemic: I got several of my local coworkers to start saying “Happy Thor’s Day.” They might be doing that just to humour me, but I want to believe that this one-man meme will take off. Today, Ontario. Tomorrow, Canada. Next week, the world! mwahaha

(Why yes, I am indeed quite bored.)

In my virtual world, No Man’s Sky, I ended up adopting a brontosaurus-looking dinosaur, and now I have a giant pet merrily running around when I explore new worlds. (I know “brontosaurus” is not the preferred nomenclature but hey, I was grandfathered in, so I get to use it forever.) The imagery and the overall feel of those virtual worlds is downright amazing, even though I know it’s a lie. This is, at best, a shoddy substitute for real travel, for real discovery. I remember, back in August, when I returned from my giant roadtrip where I explored abandoned mines and collected lots of shiny minerals. After all that, the virtual world of Elder Scrolls Online seemed like a flat cardboard cutout, though it boasted some amazing graphics. This is a little bit like Matrix: can I truly enjoy the incredibly detailed and beautiful virtual worlds when I know that I’m literally unable to explore the real world?..

Online, the Vaccine Hunters group has expanded its arsenal: now there’s a twitter account that sends out notifications as soon as we learn about a pop-up clinic. Those started going up within the last two weeks: they’re not announced in advance, they target hot-zone neighbourhoods, and they just set up and give out several hundred doses to everyone who lines up. The twitter account spreads the message as soon as we learn where the new pop-up clinic is located that day. This is so cyberpunk… A ragtag group of cyber-volunteers using the worldwide web to send out immediate notifications to people’s handheld mini-computers, telling them the locations of pop-up clinics distributing the rare vaccine against a highly dangerous virus that’s killed three million people. And as in any decent cyberpunk novel, the government is utterly useless and held hostage by giant international corporations. Heh. What a world…

Due to work and the general lack of know-how, I don’t have the time or the ability to help locals find their vaccination appointment slots. That said, by now I’ve consulted quite a few Canadians (about 15-20) on the logistics of getting to the US to get vaccinated. It’s hard to believe that driving to another country is easier than finding a vaccine here, locally. I’m sure at least a couple of the people I talked to will heed my advice. If a person that helps smuggle people across the southern border is called a coyote, does that make me a moose? Gonna have to change my online nickname from Platypus Prime to Major Moose if this keeps up!

In more prosaic and down-to-earth news, I’m kinda running out of food. I’d planned to buy enough groceries to last me two weeks in quarantine: even with my bread going moldy and with the eggs getting frozen solid in this ridiculous tiny refrigerator, I still have some stuff left to munch on, but not a whole lot. Today’s lunch was a can of tuna, two apples, some muesli with honey, and a cup of green tea. I’ve still got a big box of cereal, an untapped jar of peanut butter, and a block of cheese, Last night, I devoured the last two cups of Ramen noodles and the last of the tortilla chips. (They make a fun, if sad, meal if you microwave them with some cheese on top. Sad but delicious.) Protein is gonna become an issue soon.

Today is my 14th day of quarantine, and you’d think I’m free to go. Unfortunately, the official rules state I must wait for the results of my 10th-day covid test. A couple of issues with that… The courier company they use doesn’t work weekends, so they picked up my sample on the 11th day instead. (And if your 10th day falls on a Friday – congrats, your quarantine is now three days longer just because of the pickup delay.) And given the utter chaos and all the bottleneck issues of their mandatory video chat on Sunday, I’m going to assume they’re quite overwhelmed and might have a backlog of tests to process… As always, I hope I’m wrong. I really, really want to go for a long walk outside: if all the streets are empty and I don’t pass any other people, then how am I a danger to everyone else? It’s been two weeks since my last human interaction, and I have no symptoms, so in a way, I might be the safest person in Ontario right now. I’m going to stay put for two more days (at least in part because the weather forecast is pretty bad) but if there’s still nothing by Saturday… I’m honestly not sure what I would do. On the one hand, I want to be a law-abiding Canadian. On the other hand, not all the laws are meant to be obeyed. If their lab is so overwhelmed that it’d take them, say, two weeks to process the results, are people really expected to spend 24 whole days indoors? (27 days if their test happened on Friday.)

If I do choose to be a blindly rule-following shut-in – well, that right there is a perfect opportunity to go full-on bachelor and live off pizza delivery. I do need my protein, and I just don’t trust the grocery delivery people to keep meat cold enough while they’re delivering it. That’d also make for a weird party story at some point in the future – how I was a patriotic Canadian by spending my staycation locked in a small studio, eating pizza, and playing video games – all for the sake of public health! If I do that, I’ll be living my teenage dream: for my 13-old self, that would’ve been a perfect lifestyle. How strange this life is…

In covid news, things are getting even worse here in Ontario. Ontario’s population is 14.6 million. The latest projections show that we’ll get 12,000-18,000 new cases per day by the end of May. The province’s 2,300 ICU beds could also become overwhelmed, with 1,600-1,800 of them going to covid patients. Every option is on the table right now: ugly options such as triage, as well as riot-inducing options such as mandatory curfew. (Quebec has had it since January, but when they tried to lower it to 8pm, people literally rioted.) I wonder if one of Ford’s many advisors will finally convince him to institute paid sick leave. He doesn’t seem like the kind of person to back down and admit he was wrong, and his stubbornness is making this pandemic even longer.

Meanwhile, there are some bad logistical delays. Moderna’s shipment of 1.2 million shots was expected to arrive next week. Instead, it’s delayed, and might not get here until the first week of May. With everyone and their dog being terrified of AstraZeneca (thanks, media) and refusing to take the AZ appointments, that leaves just Pfizer. With no domestic vaccine manufacture of its own, Canada depends on other companies and other countries for all of its supply, and this is just one of the possible scenarios that unfortunately materialized. (Other, worse scenarios include the EU banning all exports. That would be bad.) Because of the delay and the uncertainty, the entire country’s vaccination scheduled is up in the air. Some of the local clinics have already stopped offering new vaccination slots… So fragile, this vaccination timeline of ours. The big ambitious goal of giving each Canadian at least one shot by Canada Day (that’s July 1st for all you outsiders) might be in serious danger now. As always, once again, I really hope I’m wrong…

Stay safe, y’all. Enjoy some fresh groceries and lovely walks outside on my behalf, eh? I’ll just be here, munching on patriotic pizza and playing patriotic video games.