Death in Venice

Lingering here has become out of the question. Following receipt yesterday of an advisory issued by the government of Canada that Canadians travelling abroad should return home or face possible border closing and denial of entry, we’re returning home on Thursday, March 19th. It matters paramountly that our medical insurance will terminate within ten days – an event certainly not worth risking when the availability of hospitalization under any circumstance or at any cost is threatened. Finally if one were by some persuasion to remain here there is the indignity of being perceived as some kind of freak in no man’s land not to mention the metaphorical Death in Venice attribute.

On the broader scale we reckon that of all the qualifications in life we’ve had to endure this is hardly a serious deprivation. There is a fieriness notwithstanding the overwhelming emergency. I am though less enthused about having to deal with the anticipated concerns on the way home surrounding public rest stops, restaurants and hotels which under normal situations would be be congested. In this instance they may be unusually sparse if the general population has heeded its own government’s admonishment to avoid crowds of more than ten. Already people at home have spoken of the eeriness of daily life when basically everything is cancelled – quite apart from the immediate financial fallout for those obliged to work for a living let alone the repercussions for those who like to weigh their money every morning.

For me at the moment the supreme paradox is that the weather predicted for the foreseeable future is utterly perfect by every standard! For the next seven days there are only two which show a smattering of clouds in otherwise peerless skies with temperatures in the 80s!  It escalates the mundane to the epic level of a Greek tragedy! Were it not for the ominous reality it would be entirely theatrical but instead it is more in the category of life being stranger than fiction. In the result humanity is being challenged at every step and not even Tom Hanks or the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister has escaped being impugned. A pervasive indiscriminate affliction of this order is far beyond negligible. It challenges the most optimistic among us. Meanwhile for those content to quarantine and to wait out the exclusion from society it has become a matter of how to entertain oneself without all the usual plugins of employment , education, the arts , dining or going to the beach. For the moment anyway – a period which could easily be weeks or months – there is less to escape from than Venice. The model of a pandemic is more than just a new word. It is completely uncharted territory with which governments and agencies worldwide are unfamiliar and implausible.

The random pollution of natural beauty is not something which can be avoided.  While the corridor in the northeast may currently qualify for increased exposure to rampant infection, the tide here is already beginning to turn unfavourably. Mockingly noting that Cracker Barrel may be inaccessible for biscuits and pecan fudge is inappropriate.

Where is Enid?  Where is Lou?
What did George and Bobbie do?
They’ve all gone and I’m alone
Laying in the son, not at home.

The heat is great, the pool divine!
It’s hard to think of better times!
I guess I’ll pass the time alone
Before I leave to travel home!