Face(mask)ing Evolution

We did our first ‘lockdown’ Costco shop in early March. (we do a regular once-a-month bulk-goods shop there)

We were the only one’s in the entire place wearing masks, (and gloves – which we don’t use anymore, but use soapy cloths that are immediately washed, instead – soap breaks down the virus protein) including the staff. (there was one other bloke, however, who came in with a full gas-mask-and goggles-and-gloves combo) Those were the days when no-one knew, at least in our neck of the woods, how virulent or transmissible the virus was.

Every stare that turned our way varied between incredulous, scathing, pitying, etc. Most people studiously avoided making eye contact with the crazy plague-rumour-mongers.

To say that we felt uncomfortable was an understatement. Not only did we experience that initial ’emegherd I’m going to suffocate!!!’ sensation when wearing masks for the first time, we also were very aware of those ‘slings and arrows’ being cast our way from the other shoppers. All we knew was that we were both in the ‘at-risk’ category and weren’t going to take any chances.

Each month there were a few more mask-wearers. We’d nod politely to each other, making sure we were two meters apart at all times, while some other (unmasked) shoppers would make a point of passing by even closer than they normally would. (I mean, what kind of dipshit arsehole do you have to be to do that on purpose? – rhetorical question, I know)

‘Normal’  – there’s a word that’s never going to have the same meaning again.

Scientific evidence slowly revealed more of the nature of the beast.

The global infection rates climbed, as did the global death-toll. (over 16 million people are confirmed to have been infected world-wide as of midnight last night – PDT)

Almost every government on the planet dropped the ball, big time, and most, to their credit, eventually, picked it up again.

Last month about a third of all the shoppers in Costco were wearing masks. Everyone looked uncomfortable – the wearers of masks and the un-wearers of masks.

But, a change was in the air.

The long-term reality of this plague sinking in, I suspect.

I felt a knot of tension in my gut that reared its head every time I went into a shop or enclosed public space, unravel, just a little bit.

Yesterday’s shop was, interesting.

About half the shoppers wore masks. I didn’t spot anyone wearing it under their nose, or chin.

We mask-wearers have learned to ‘eye-read’.

We smiled at each other, a camaraderie of shared responsibility, not just for ourselves but for the unknown health-status of others.

It was a good feeling.

I looked into the eyes of those who weren’t wearing masks. As best I could anyway, because this time no-one was making eye-contact, at all. Their brows were furrowed in a sort of defiant desperation.

Peer pressure, whether internally or externally imposed, is a fearsome thing, particularly when someone’s not ready to engage with the knowledge that they’re going to have to change their sense of their Self … It’s not just the actual wearing of a mask, it’s all the reasons why they chose not to in the first place, and how loudly they touted those reasons, and who they touted them to.

Like just about everything that sets off our flight/fight/fright knee-jerk response, reality is nowhere as universe-ending as we imagine it to be. Who knows, we may all come to appreciate learning how to ‘eye-read’.

Road Trip: A Few Stats and Our First Adventure

We’re baaaaack!

Long Winding Road

Long. Winding. Road

Stats:

31 days

5 provinces. 1 state

10,000 kilometers

17 campsites

Mosquito bites: Me – 1,964,281 … Mrs Widds – 2

Roadworks – The entire length of Hyw 17 from the BC/Alberta border to the Manitoba/Ontario one. (only a slight exaggeration)

Bridges under construction – Every bridge in Ontario. (no exaggeration)

Another valley, another bridge

Another valley, another bridge

Gigantic humongous scary storms – 6

Biggest variation of temperature in a 24 hour period in one place – 37°C to 17°C

Times we forgot to chock the wheels of the RV – 1, setting up our 2nd last campsite, and that was the time it rolled a bit and crunched the leveling jacks. (of course) Nothing our trusty RV fixer-uppers can’t fix,  but oh, the embarrassment!

You can't see it but they bent one of my flippers

You can’t see it but they bent one of my flippers

Moments of complete awe and wonder – too many to count

Arguments – none

***

The Costco Adventure – Day 1

Because we didn’t get our trailer until two days before we left we had very little time to acquaint ourselves with how everything worked, or to stock up on holiday supplies, so our first plan of action was to trundle our merry way to our Costco and shop.

The trailer brakes didn’t seem to be working properly from the very beginning, (we thought) so by the time we got to Costco (½ an hour from home) we decided to call our RV guys and see if they had any suggestions. The safety chains were a bit tight so Mrs Widds (with a great deal of Mrs Widds patented glaring) got them undone, untwisted and reattached, and we set off …

… and got 10 meters along. A very loud BANGCRUNCH!!! rattled our truck completely freaking us out. The hitch attaching the trailer to our truck completely separated from the truck and our lovely shiny trailer was smack down on her nose in the Costco parking lot.

If you know anything about trailers and hitches, you’ll know this doesn’t happen without deliberate human interference. Someone had removed the cotter pin that locked the hitch in place. From the moment we left home we were a major accident waiting to happen. It was only the tight safety chains, and Costco, that prevented us from being a statistic on your nightly news.

***

By the end of the second day, we were here, so all was … well, neither forgiven nor forgotten, but a whole lot better, and we felt like we were really on holiday.

Mt Robson, the beautiful

Mt Robson, the beautiful

***

Next: Winnipeg, oh Winnipeg