Erin's Journals

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Just a thought… Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all of the answers. [Socrates]

Boy, does this situation give me questions! Here we go.

Rob was reading me a story yesterday and it got us both to thinking about the choices – and their aftermath – that could arise from this “new normal” for our neighbours down east.

In New Brunswick, they have taken a gradual step into returning to normal socializing. Here’s the move, expected to last some two to four weeks, and I’m going to be curious as to what your reaction is.

This big initiative involves the loosening of physical distancing restrictions with the allowing of two-household gatherings: people can choose one other household to partner with, to establish a “two-family bubble.” BUT it’s more complicated than it sounds: their choice must be mutual and, once they decide, they cannot choose a different household. “No take backs.”

Follow me here: once household A chooses to be with household B, the occupants of B cannot choose to partner or bubble with household C. It’s a two-way only arrangement. And remember, it HAS to be MUTUAL.

So here are some of the Solomon’s Choice issues that come up for us – see if they do for you.

Say we choose our Aunt and Uncle who live fairly close to us, and we ask them to become our B. We love them and they love us, but we don’t know for a fact that we’d be their B, if you know what I mean! They have longtime friends who live nearby and share their history, and are often in each other’s company.

So, if we chose them, it might very well place them in an awkward spot if they wanted to opt for someone else. We’d have to say, “Okay, no hard feelings,” suck it up and promise we’ll get together – which we have – as soon as this quarantining comes to an end.

All right. Then, say we choose our friends in Sidney, the oft-mentioned and much-loved Charles and Nancy. We miss them like crazy! But they have a daughter who lives nearby and she has children. Who wouldn’t choose a daughter and grandkids first? So…we’d get a big “no thanks” from them, too, after also putting them in an awkward position. Best not to ask, really.

Which leaves our solo friend, and who knows if we’d be her B. She would actually be farther up Charles and Nancy’s list than we would, and deservedly so, but she’d likely be pushed down by the aforementioned grandkids, too. So, we might all wonder why we were with someone when we weren’t their first choice.

It reminds me of the feeling in school when everyone had a “best friend.” I don’t think I was ever anyone’s bestie and whether that has to do with my own personality (LOL?) or the fact that I always just seemed to be parachuting into a new school as an armed forces kid, I don’t know.

But for what it’s worth, Rob says he was never anybody’s #1 either. Does this mean there are more people out there like us, or are we a special kind of loser, who happened to be drawn to our own kind? How lucky we are!

The choices being made by New Brunswickers (now marking several days without a new case of COVID-19) could put them in a different kind of uncomfortable situation as they face decisions that may, at worst, leave scars and, at best, need some explaining. Interestingly, this social experiment (which would make for a great book one day by someone, I’m sure, and I’d call it #Awkward) has already begun in New Zealand.

If you want to comment, please go to so everyone can share.

Have a gentle day – don’t forget the special on all Canadian TV channels tonight featuring music and messages from homegrown celebrities in support of front line workers during the pandemic. There are sure to be some memorable moments and we join them all in unending – but thankfully not unsung – gratitude.

Rob WhiteheadSunday, April 26, 2020