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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Kissing gogum

BY Sonny Orr Sep 27, 2021

There’s not much to say about our lives now. The change is here, and we feel it big time as it cripples our economy and breaks our morale, while severing our link to what was once known as “vacation”. 

I know it sounds lame, but everyone needs a break occasionally, to get away from the dreaded carriers of this virus and avoid mankind in general. The great outdoors is now the new haven for escapism. A big nod goes to social media for keeping at least the thought of escaping alive. For us in the North, isolation isn’t such a big thing. But what gets me is the price of all this on the consumer for the same thing. 

A general slowdown of the global manufacturing system anticipated a drop in purchasing. However, it was the wrong bet. The pandemic actually increased our needs for many things, spawning a new brave new wave of online shopping and home delivery. That increased demands on businesses that were handicapped by the pandemic as they found producing items to sell is difficult without employees. 

Meanwhile, we said goodbye to the important things in life – pleasure travel and restaurant meals, cinemas and live concerts – all the great things that kept us entertained. We are so grateful that we can at least eat in a restaurant again. But be patient: a lack of cooks and wait staff means your stomach will grumble before a plate finally gets to your table.

I didn’t try going to a movie theatre on my latest foray to the south because the convenience of movie streaming in the comfort of our hotel room was a great alternative to rubbing elbows with strangers in the dark. 

We progress toward a possible football season, which is thankfully played outdoors, but the lack of a team to cheer for might be problematic. Baseball, maybe… I don’t think catching the high foul ball in the stands would be advisable, knowing that the pitcher spits on it for that extra curve effect. And the Expos won a World Series only after they were renamed the Washington (DC) Nationals. Where is Felipe Alou when we really need him?

Perhaps the government could add an incentive other than the lottery it created to incite people to get vaccinated. They could offer a tax credit, for instance, and if your riding wins in the region for the most vaccinated, least spread of contagion, etc., then a refund would reward you for making life easier on the medical system. Money talks, and a sure thing is better than a one chance-in-7 million thing.

Up here, I’ve kept the habit of avoiding contact. Staying honest while answering questions about where we travelled is also helping. This is all still relevant. We need to continue to respect all the measures that are being asked of us. 

Think of it this way – it’s even worse than drunk driving or intentionally hurting others. It’s more sublime than that – it hurts everyone you love most in this world in an invisible way. That’s a big difference, but the risk is low if you follow the protocols. 

Think of it this way – keeping diseases out of the country is highly important in the agricultural industry. Who wants their entire crop to die of blight or something like that? So, if plants are important, so are humans. Plants have no choice, but we do, so be like the plant – get vaccinated!

We are nearing a deconfinement level that might do away with the mask. But only if more people get vaccinated and the kids as well. Then, maybe, we can go back to the times when shaking hands didn’t feel scary, and you won’t have to worry about endangering your Gogum by giving her a kiss. And you know that she would really love a kiss from you. 

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.