Friday 3 July 2020

Keeping the Shadows at Bay

We had an excellent Dominion Day, thank you, spent in the countryside with another Canadian-Scottish couple and their children. We lunched on pancakes with maple syrup, and we dined on hamburgers. We had a lovely walk through fields up hills and down dales, praying the Rosary. The Canadians sang the National Anthem in French. Being able to sing the National Anthem in French just feels more Canadian. Don't ask me to write it out, however.

The next day I went back to swimming through the swamp of bad news, and it was pretty terrible. While researching a freedom of speech story, I watched a short video of a coked-up woman playing around with a gun in a car and then shooting the man beside her in the head. As the previously lively yet nervous man fell sideways with a sound like the air being let out of a balloon, blood pouring from his head, the woman and the man in the back burst out of the car.

The person who posted this video had introduced it with an unpleasant racial slur, which made it all the worse. The injured man did not die, by the way, but suffered significant brain damage. I had to find this out myself, as the poster wasn't interested in his welfare.

To put this in perspective, I couldn't make myself watch the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" series because I couldn't take the violence.  I can't watch Scorsese films, and I lasted only the first two minutes of Wild at Heart. Incidentally, what the hell is wrong with the human race?

Don't answer that: I know.

As an exercise in freedom of speech, the poster failed in his object. Well, that's assuming that his object was to convince other people that his racial theory was correct. I'm doubting that his object was to traumatise (however mildly) a conservative alt-media journalist and give her a serious case of writer's block. Yesterday was not one of my got-two-stories-done days.

I seriously need a holiday but--and here is the point of this article, really--for once world events are having a serious impact on my daily, domestic life. What I really want to do is go home to Toronto, chat to my parents, possibly swim in their pool, definitely visit my siblings and best pals, rediscover how hot a Toronto July can be. However, my parents are over 70, and despite a torrent of stories suggesting that everything we have been told about coronavirus is wrong, I am mortally afraid of somehow infecting my parents.*

The more likely plan is going to Poland. However, this is not so simple either, for whereas England is not going to punish its residents with a two-week quarantine after returning from July travels, it appears that Scotland is determined to do so. Being quarantined at home doesn't matter as much to me, as we have a garden and food delivery accounts, but B.A. refuses to risk being quarantined. For one thing, if he isn't laid off at the end of the month, he will be called back to work.

Did I mention that B.A. (like so many others) is at risk of being "made redundant"? Yes. But we won't go there for now. I am not being made redundant, so we'll be better off than thousands of British households.

Under these circumstances, it would be great not to have to take on board all the other sufferings in the world. The ideological carnage in the USA is just really too much, and I deliberately did not read the Dominion Day news in Canada because I knew that a day celebrating Canada's history and people's would naturally be used by malcontents as an excuse to pour hatred on our country. (I don't know what is worse--that or using shows like "Anne with a E" to rewrite our history and literature.)

So what to do? Well, the first thing to do--I think--is to stop reading any news except the news I have to write on. That's it: two or three bad things a day. No more than three broken hearts, bad bishops, ideological outrages or social atrocities a day.

After that, I really don't know what else to do to keep the shadows at bay.

*And I can't stay elsewhere in Canada--there's a strict 14 day quarantine, so I'd have to stay indoors and not see anyone anyway.

Update: Occasionally I come across sanity-saving "good news" or, rather, good old news.

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