Christmas has been cancelled.
Not that i especially wanted to have Christmas.
New corona cases in the province seem to be frustratingly stuck around 650 per day, after dropping from the second wave peak of 800. The BC government has outlawed all private social gatherings, period. My hippie friend who is working on a farm down near the border has had to cancel his planned solstice gathering. They don't have any cases down there, we hardly have any up here, but fucking Kelowna - yet again - fucked the whole Interior by having another outbreak, this time at a ski field. It's tempting to blame holidaying douchebags from Vancouver and Calgary, but since this is the second or third big outbreak over there maybe it's just an Okanagan thing. I am glad i decided to come to Kamloops instead.
An LJ friend wrote about the gap between her LJ friends and her real life community, and it made me realize i haven't talked much about my real life bubble and community (such as it is) since moving here.
My real life right now consists of extremely limited interactions with my landlord and roommates, twice-weekly trips to the grocery store, and the occasional risky dive bar excursion.
My roommates are a twentysomething foreign student, a middle age seasonal laborer who has been out of work most of this year due to the shutdowns, and my landlord who is a retired journalist. For Thanksgiving we had one of the student's university friends over, and my landlord's sister who sells arts and crafts online, and her daughter who lives on disability benefit and volunteers at a thrift store. Other people in my life are the hospice worker who cared for my landlord's late father and her school-aged son. I also hear about my landlord's brother from time to time, though i have never met him. This is our extended bubble, some of whom we were going to have Christmas dinner with. But now that kind of gathering is banned.
Interestingly, bars have not been closed. The bars i go to downtown are working class, one mostly white and the other mostly indigenous. There are a lot of essential workers at both, also some students, but the regulars i meet are retirees and people on benefits, some who lost their jobs this year and haven't been able to recover. For many of us, the bar is the only comfort we have.
Outside on the streets there are still a few homeless, who hang out near the bars to score cigarettes and other charity. Sometimes i chat with them. It's harder to give cash, these days, with all the shops pushing for contactless payment.
I keep wondering what this town would be like if corona was not here. Would the sidewalks be full of tourists, instead of just a few homeless people? Would the bars be packed with party people, instead of just small smatterings of desperate folks, all 6 feet from one another, getting drunk and lamenting the state of the world? I don't think i would like it as much.
Although, i suppose a lot of it is on the types of places i choose to go. I wonder if that sports bar up the hill that i went to on my first night in town still has people lining up for the meticulously disinfected, socially-distanced tables so they can watch hockey and talk about their jet skis? I wonder if the mall has a Christmas crowd? Someone took the time to put up Christmas lights downtown, but i'm not sure who they're for.
Today i saw some decorative candy canes in an empty lot and that put a smile on my face.
I very briefly made it out of my depressive funk a couple days ago to go for a short bike ride.
I played harmonica for a bit, sitting in a muddy parking lot. I also finally responded to some text messages from people that i have left hanging.
My friend M, who lives in Ontario where they are being slammed by the virus, she moved out of the trailer she's been living in all year and found a house in a small town up north. She still doesn't have a job, but her kid needed to start kindergarten and couldn't do it at a campsite in the middle of nowhere. Her boyfriend who lost his job during the shutdown managed to find something in town so they moved back in together.
My other friend R is also in Ontario, in a town that's getting almost as many new corona cases each day as we are in the whole province of BC. She works in software and has only left her apartment two or three times since February. She moved out to that town a few years ago, partly because it's her hometown and her parents, brother and niece are there. They've only interacted over Skype this year. Ontario's government hasn't officially banned social gatherings, so her family made a personal decision to cancel Christmas. She and i have penciled in a plan to celebrate together on Skype instead. We will both get very drunk.
A lot of people i know have been slipping back into addictions or binge drinking this year.
I have been making a conscious effort not to overbuy alcohol. One trick i had in the past - especially in countries where there aren't 24 hour liquor stores - was to keep a bottle of emergency rum at home. But i know that in depressive moods having emergency rum around just leads me to overdoing it. Lately i just buy a six pack and a couple of tall boys and make do. Although the other day i did find myself lost on the streets, half blacked out, after having been thrown out of the liquor store because apparently i was too drunk to buy more liquor. I perhaps would've written some angry post about it, normally, but with my depression i just lay in bed all the next day, and the next, and the next, and then i didn't care any more. The upside of being on sabbatical is that i have time to let myself trip and recover, instead of immediately being sucked back into the misery of work and having my mood spiral ever blacker.
Here is a cold ass selfie.
My phone started blurring the background and i don't know how to switch it off.