We have willingly incarcerated ourselves. The lock-up is oddly no punishment – at least for the moment. We have uninhibited liberty to commit ourselves both gleefully and brazenly to our preferred and cosseting preoccupations. Among them are reading, writing, TV, listening to music, playing the piano, answering emails and naturally – cooking! It helps today that Old Man Winter is taking what I hope will be his last swipe at us – polluting the atmosphere and earth beneath with tiny swirls of white flakes. The weather makes public exhibition uninviting! I will concede that before the frozen crystals melted they exacted a captivating presence. It does however prescribe my limit for snow.
Getting back home is not the private affair it once was. Slipping under the radar is quite impossible. Even the Headmaster of my former boarding school St. Andrew’s College has sent me an email as a reminder that, “If you are returning to Canada, the government has requested that you self-isolate“. His solemn interest no doubt primarily affects those parents with children who may be coming back from a “March Break” before delivering their son to school. This unique vacationer’s stigma has unwittingly attached to the singular act of returning to Canada – pointedly without qualification of the infection from specific social gatherings such as a cruise, staying in a large hotel on the Mayan Riviera or attending birthday and cocktail parties (none of which I hasten to add has any resemblance to what has engaged us for the past month at least). We arrived back in Canada on March 21st which aside from being close to the First Day of Spring is indelible in view of the historic importance of the global epidemic from which we are all sheltering in one way or another. Nonetheless today was outstanding in spite of the guilt we carry as threatening foreign agents!
Turning 16 years old is unquestionably a big deal! It has to be very close to the most significant birthday of what hopefully will be many more to follow! The singularity of one’s important birthday can however be more than the day itself. Birthdays – like other experiences in life – acquire their significance not only from what they are but also from what they are not. It especially behooves one on his or her sixteenth birthday to set into motion the transition from youth to adulthood. While this may not fulfill the ambition for a welcome prize or gift upon turning 16, permit me to advance that there is no greater beneficence than the encouragement to accept life’s struggles and to make the very best of them you can. Curiously the unwelcome and unanticipated evolution of events can miraculously shift into what are the most memorable. And let there be no mistake, your memory of the day will far outlast any other gift!
The global Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll in many ways. Though our particular circumstance does not warrant especial sympathy, there are regrets. At the instance of the Canadian government and our medical insurers, tomorrow we reluctantly depart for Canada from our beloved Longboat Key. Paradoxically today is not only the first day of spring, it is the last day of our winter vacation concluded exactly one month earlier than anticipated.
“In 2020, the spring equinox (also called the March equinox or vernal equinox) occurs on Thursday, March 19, which is earlier than it’s been in over a century! This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.“
Just when the Coronavirus pandemic is translating into an invisible plague with social stigma attached to those who persist in pretending they can beat the odds or that the risk is somehow confined to the elderly or everyone other than themselves, I have been meeting people here who characterize my winter visit as extraordinary. For the second time in recent weeks I have met a chap aligned with the power generation industry. He’s from Pennsylvania where – not surprisingly – the generation of power is not from run-of-the river water (as was my experience) but rather coal fired.
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. 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.
In the common law of torts, res ipsa loquitur (Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”) is a doctrine that infers negligence from the very nature of an accident or injury in the absence of direct evidence on how any defendant behaved. Although modern formulations differ by jurisdiction, common law originally stated that the accident must satisfy the necessary elements of negligence: duty, breach of duty, causation, and injury. In res ipsa loquitur, the elements of duty of care, breach, and causation are inferred from an injury that does not ordinarily occur without negligence.
Considering how devoted I am to deepening my tan it hardly seems appropriate to condemn the fidelity as indolent. It was just after nine o’clock this morning when we returned from a healthful repast at the Green Zebra on Main Street in Sarasota. The place opens at 7:30 am. We were the first customers. Upon our arrival the spindly young chef was lifting a heavy umbrella stand onto the outdoor patio. Our table was inside immediately next the window. We had a ready view of the other early birds (predominantly old fogeys such as we) who were going for a walk, walking their dogs or collecting a coffee. We speculated that there were some fine apartments nearby.
If I am asked “Where did you and Denis meet?” the answer is the Château Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. We were members of the Health Club. Though the official date of our alliance began on Saturday, February 24, 1996 when we arranged to go for a martini together after our swim and sauna, there is background leading up to the event. Upon reflection I have discovered that the Château Laurier Hotel insinuates many of the salient experiences of my life involving not only the obvious erstwhile health and current romantic features but also business, society, friends and family – even some curious happenings.
The weather has been top notch lately; and the forecast for the coming week is similarly reassuring. The sunrise and sunset are about the same time at 7:38 which nicely extends the rapture. This meant a jaunt to Lido Key today was in order. Having done so I am not convinced I am in a rush to return. The beach was extremely busy. We are at the height of the season and judging by the crowds there appears to be little concern about the current pandemic. The advantage was there was plenty to distract – young couples routinely embracing themselves and swimming as though engaged in synchronized cycles, attentive couples and grandparents with gleefully screaming children, male and female students sporting their new and sometimes lubricious bathing costumes and tossing footballs and frisbees, various visitors of different races and languages (notably French, German and Eastern European). I was within hearing distance of several colloquies – though admittedly only smatterings of each but sufficient to intrigue me. What I dislike about the beach here in particular is that the water is too shallow for too far; it doesn’t gather depth quickly enough for me. I shall return to Longboat Key instead. This didn’t stop me from swimming numerous times throughout my four-hour sojourn. Nor did it diminish the pleasure of the children and the supervising parents.