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don’t pay that ransom

October 25, 2022

With profuse Canadian (and they’re the best) apologies, I return to the digital world after a six month, event-filled absence. Not that it hasn’t been tumultuous for all of us. The Ukraine war rages on, as do U.S. school shootings. Political ads in America are surpassing record hype and hysteria. Gas in British Columbia is $2 per litre (@$8 per gallon). And climate change didn’t even register a mention as a concern in a recent poll south of the 49th.

The political climate in the U.S. is so toxic right now that I asked Jude if we could switch the news over to a Smooth 70’s music channel. Right now Pink Floyd is telling me not to bother them about that goody good bullshit because they think they need a Lear jet. They might have been speaking sarcastically. It was always hard to tell with those guys.

Point being, money talks. The nonpartisan research company Ad Impact estimates nearly $10 Billion will be spent on the mid-term elections. Mercy, mercy me, Marvin Gaye is now lamenting, as he hands the mike to Carly Simon to remind us that’s the way she’s always heard it should be.

Must it, Carly? The Repubs are hammering the Dems on law enforcement, glossing over the supreme irony that they’re anti-crime yet somehow anti-gun control. The conventional wisdom is that the GOP will win back the House and maybe the Senate. If so, expect a slew of petty investigations in Congress. Trumpism will get a reset even if Trump isn’t central to it. I believe at least one of his legal entanglements will doom him, most likely the Mar-a-Lago miasma, but I have consistently underestimated him.

This summer Jude and I drove to northern California to visit her son and meet our three-year-old granddaughter. On our way we spent a night in Washington to see old friends. The small town on the coast we stopped at was holding a bikers’ convention of sorts. There were more hogs and tattoos there except for the Sturges rally. And ample Trump flags.

Plus, the small town near her son’s home where we stayed had more churches than I’ve seen in 17 years in Canada. One of them, in a strip mall we passed every day, had a big sign in Rubenesque rainbow letters that said “Joyful Healing”, with “the church of” in much smaller black letters at the top. It took me several days to realize that it wasn’t a massage parlor.

On the way home, we managed to catch the rush hours in Portland and Seattle, so it took me weeks to unknot from all that after we rolled into home. I garnered two memorable insights from the trip: that I am much more rural than urban, and that I am much more Canadian than American.

The first was no surprise. Buying a farm sorta made me suspicious. The second did surprise me. I still have deep roots in the U.S. All our family and old friends are still there. But to immerse ourselves in U.S. culture, even on the Left Coast, for ten days was a bit of a shocker. Granted, Jude and I live in a progressive bubble on Quadra, but just about everyone we meet up here is friendly. And we have two fundamentalist churches on island.

It’s great to get back in touch. Let me close with some classic Canadian advice: If you ever get annoyed, look at me I’m self-employed. I love to work at nothing all day.

  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 25, 2022 6:49 pm

    We are so glad you had time to spend with your granddaughter!!! Grandkids are the best… Give Jude hugs from Jim and I
    We think fondly of our time with you guys…. Of course, we have a suite ready …..anytime you can come and stay
    Love Jim and Cathy

    • October 26, 2022 5:49 pm

      It’s great to hear from you kids! Jude will be promptly hugged. Our welcome mat is also out.

  2. Judith permalink
    October 25, 2022 7:24 pm

    We haven’t been South in 31/2 years. We even just now sold our motorhome. We don’t really plan to go back. The kids are so busy when we go down there they really don’t have time to visit. The best is catching up with old friends. I am beginning to feel more Canadian than a lot of Canadians. What happened up here? All these cries for Freedom and complaints about being made to do things to their bodies they don’t agree with. What happened to the old Canadian attitude that we are all in this together? When we visit the US we don’t really come across the right-wing nuts as we do here. But I do feel it is quite unbelievable what has happened to the Republicans. It is not understandable.
    You are so lucky to be on your own land. Life here at the condo is miserable but it is the end of the road for us now. Thanks for telling us about your trip I have been living vicariously through my friends on FB taking cruises and traveling all over the world and I hardly ever go to Victoria. Hello to you both it must have been hard during the drought there but it looks like it is over.

    • October 26, 2022 5:46 pm

      I’d be happy to stay on the farm the rest of my life, with the occasional trip to Campbell River to shop and check out the newest Dairy Queen Blizzard flavour. I realize in retrospect that all the traveling I did was a search for where I belong.

      • Judith permalink
        October 26, 2022 6:42 pm

        Yes, we have gotten so used to the isolation and even not seeing the kids. Because the reality of traveling and trying to see and spend time with kids and folks is stressful. As you mentioned the traffic!!!! We couldn’t move around Nor Cal like we used to. We were nervous wrecks. It starts with Sacramento, then the Bay Brea, and on down to Monterey. White knuckle all the way. I try hard not to see any news, we don’t have a TV, but all these crimes pop up on Youtube and I was getting political blogs which I now just delete before reading because nothing gets any better.

      • October 27, 2022 5:37 pm

        Oh, yeah, Bay Area traffic. There is (or was) an interchange in Oakland where you have to ascend blindly onto another artery in the fast lane. One of the hairiest things I’ve ever done.

  3. John Bozich permalink
    October 26, 2022 12:04 pm

    AP-always great to see the words you choose to share! Glad you could cross to the south to see family, but northern CA is a lot more like one of our southern states such as the one from which you originated…Trump country, in other words. I turned 75 on Monday and the Colonel prepared delightfully delicious spread of pies/cookies/coffee/tea/etc on Sunday for those who wanted to and could share part of the afternoon with us. She and I are doing well, as are the kids. I have great fears that the several very positive aspects of our democratic republic here are at true risks of being discarded by an actually small minority of folks who, because of the weaker aspects of our republic (congressional districting/gerrymandering/state ability to restrict voting rights and even outcomes), are falsely believing their version of “freedom from government tyranny” is actually beneficial for them…alas, I believe those folks are ill-informed/duped and will suffer perhaps even more personal losses than I shall. Cheery closing, huh-stay well Marine!!

    • October 26, 2022 5:43 pm

      It feels like the U.S. is receding from a high-water mark. Despite all its flaws, America once strived to improve, but now it’s dealing with a rise in white nationalism under colour of Christianity. It’s a hideous, soulless disguise.

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