Not This Summer

Every summer, my daughter and granddaughter and I spend a few days together at a much-loved old Vancouver hotel.  We have been doing that for years, with the same special family set-up which includes a two-bedded room and also a small single-bedded room attached. I made the reservation three months ago and have been looking forward to it ever since. It’s what we always do. It’s a tradition.
Always. But this summer is different. We think of Kelowna and the 1,000 people who are now quarantining, unable to work or see friends because they happened to be in contact with the ripple effects of house parties and other events to which a few people brought the virus. The virus needs people to carry it from place to place, and I don’t want to be the one who, perhaps while asymptomatic, brings it to my friends, family, neighbours. What would it feel like to know you’d caused such harm to so many?
Things are pretty good on our island. The numbers lately have been mixed, but not really serious. That’s because most people have been staying home, limiting their contacts, and following the directions of our excellent Premier, Minister of Health, and Chief Medical Officer.
And so, we’ve struggled about the annual Vancouver trip. It’s a balancing act for all us these days. On the one hand, why do we want to do this, and on the other hand what are the reasons against doing it?
I want to go. Especially after having spent four-months being pretty much sequestered. I need and deserve a break. And how many such summer junkets might there yet be? My daughter has a busy life, trying to find new directions now that the theatre work has disappeared for the foreseeable future. My granddaughter is going to university this fall and will have many other activities to pursue. I’m old, and now with seventy years and eight, the future doth abbreviate.
But, on the other hand, the virus numbers across the country are still increasing. This trip is not essential. Premier Horgan, Dr. Henry, Minister Dix, and Dr. Tam all encourage us to do our part in bending the curve. Every choice matters.
Should I leave our island where the numbers are fairly low and take a ferry to a city where the numbers are much higher? And stay in a hotel where visitors from all over will be coming and going and possibly bringing the virus along with them? Does that make sense?
But I want this holiday, I say to myself, we Always do this!
But maybe not this summer…
Perhaps, in the light of the pandemic, we should remove the word Always from the lexicon. Perhaps we should simply say “sometimes” or “used to.”
If we aren’t careful, everything could turn into Once upon a Time…
So no, we won’t go.
Not this summer.

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