Within the unseen bounds of the COVID-19 pandemic it is an unusual though tolerable confession that the only thing I have planned for the rest of my life is breakfast tomorrow at the golf club with friends. Oh, and a haircut next week. Apart from those minor conventions there is quite literally nothing else on the horizon other than a tentative “we must get together” with other residents here.
We have in the past several months since our return from wintering in Florida accomplished the customary annual attendances with the financial advisor, audiologist, family physician, optometrist and dentist. Certainly until the dilemma surrounding our medical insurability abroad is settled we haven’t even the remotest ambition to travel internationally. Local travel – whether restricted to provincial boundaries or more broadly within Canada (specifically for us the East Coast on the Atlantic Ocean) – suffers the universal suffocation of common local businesses like restaurants, museums and shopping.
I succeeded today by mere fortuity to develop an unwitting antidote for the current affliction. I reignited my much diminished retail engine. This may sound an insignificant achievement but within the context of my old age and corollary dilution of materiality, it represents a serious alteration. If one were a dedicated materialist (such as I have been all my life except most recently) the allure of possessions and consumption is traditionally an enlivening pursuit. I will however acknowledge that following our downsizing (when we abandoned whatever didn’t safely go in the dishwasher) and relented our lifetime devotion to real estate ownership and property management – and gold jewellery – our interest in matters physical has dwindled to the point of evaporation. The exhaustion is propelled by the quite acceptable thesis that an old fogey like I requires nothing new. As for maintaining a hold on popular fashion, the instinct is less than urgent. It is normally sufficient that whatever I have fits – and comfortably. The colour and style features are less commanding.
Nonetheless my unanticipated venture today drew me to a shopping centre in Kanata called “Tanger Outlet Malls“. For the past two days – while politely avoiding television shows which didn’t amuse me – I puttered in private on the internet in search of a pair of shorts from Polo Ralph Lauren. If the truth be known, the butter tarts from The Beckwith Kitchen had inflicted the predictable wounds which at last I admitted. I first thought the only way to buy stuff under present circumstances is on-line as seems to be the developing fashion. Accordingly my researches led me at times to Amazon and the Hudson’s Bay Company, third party agents for the supplier. I eventually stumbled upon the mall as the location of so-called Ralph Lauren “Factory Store“, the precise import of which I am uncertain though having purchased several articles there today I am content that I didn’t get swindled buying “seconds” or other damaged goods notwithstanding the purported discounts afforded me. Part of what compelled me to buy the shorts and jersey was that following an extensive examination of the goods in the store I had located four items of which there was but one only of each in the preferred size and colour. My retail instinct has taught me what I have with regret frequently mismanaged; namely, I should have bought the goddamn thing when I found it! The alternative is but a hair’s breadth from the absurdity of “saving it for the funeral!”
The anxiety of this particular era stems from more than the current health issue. The future of the American government and its people is for the first time in my recollection subject to worrisome observation from throughout the globe – including from within the United States of America. Every day there is revealed some new heinous insight in the Trump family and its political ambitions. It is entirely possible that the Democrats will have a landslide victory and that Trump and his cronies will be rounded up for incarceration and judicial pronouncement. Though the same may have been said of Richard Nixon it doesn’t lessen the immediacy of concern nor the possibility of trouble on the horizon.
Interestingly the world awaits with similar focus the outcome of both Coronavirus and the US Presidential Election.