Erin's Journals

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Just a thought… You’re only human. You don’t have to have it together every minute of every single day. [Anne Hathaway]

Okay, true confession time: I tried to shake someone’s hand yesterday. We were walking around downtown Sidney and a young man holding his two-year-old son started up a conversation. When we were done, I said, “I’m Erin…” and he replied with his name and then we both instantly recoiled when we realized we had extended our hands for a shake. We laughed. I mean, what else are you going to do?

This is what our new normal is. We’re all trying to figure out the rules as we go along. In BC we’re doing well with how few new COVID cases are making the news each day; here on the island, it’s been something like three weeks now. While people are itching to re-open and to return to how things were before the start of March, we’re being advised to make haste slowly as the saying goes. And, yes, I’m okay with that.

But one fella who’s dear to my heart doesn’t agree with the rules or – to give him the generous benefit of the doubt – hasn’t been abiding by them: my dad.

As I told you, Dad tripped and took that nasty fall on Wednesday. He was badly scraped up and suffered some cuts and bruises but, thankfully, nothing that required more than bandages at the hospital and some TLC at home. When we all heard from him later that day, he sounded sore and quite out of it. Who knew when he’d be up and around again? Well, I got my answer in the weirdest of ways. 

The very next day, Thursday, he was not only up and around, but he went out to the local mall to try to get his toenails cut. Yes, they have someone at his home who does them, but because they charge twice what the ladies at the mall charge, he refuses to pay it. Next time, he may decide otherwise, because upon returning home, he was finally nabbed.

I hate to narc on the guy, as I love and respect him to the ends of the earth, but he was seen either parking the car or walking into the residence, having clearly been on an outing. So when he was caught and locked down for a week of isolation at his residence, my three sisters and I couldn’t help thinking about the song from the musical Chicago: “He had it coming.”

He’s been going AWOL repeatedly during lockdown. (In truth, he was trying to hop the fence last week when he tripped.) Yes, he’s told us about his outings: driving his gal pal for her medical appointments or supplies, going to the car dealership because his signal lights were malfunctioning…and other such errands. I’m thinking the drama that surrounded him Wednesday made it a bit of a shocker when someone spotted him on an outing the next day. So we got “the call.”

Unlike the messages or calls our parents would get from the school about us, the woman who phoned Heather was apologetic and gentle when she said that Dad was going to have to be confined to his suite for seven days. She said she had to; he knew what the rules were and despite him telling her he has three masks (I don’t think he wears them simultaneously) she told him that it wasn’t in line with what he knew the limits were.

Dad’s girlfriend was seriously ticked off and told Heather, “Your father is so well-loved; I can’t believe they’d do this when there are other people here who go out to get their hair done and whatever else they please.” 

We were raised to follow the rules and our dad, a career military officer before flying commercial planes, instilled in us the same respect for authority and the guidelines laid out for us that he’d had drilled into him. As my younger sister Leslie berated/teased him the other night: “Dad, I’d have expected it from my sisters. From my mother. From me. But YOU? You are the last person I’d expect not to respect the rules!”

In his way, our Rebel With Three Masks is taking his lumps – both literally and figuratively – with pretty good humour, but like his girlfriend, doesn’t understand why rules seem to apply to some and not to all. They’re apart, but fortunately it’s not for 14 days, the previous recommendation during COVID-19.

Wait a second – could this possibly be the first time in his almost 87 years that Dad has ever experienced a double standard??? I would say that in many ways it might be a teachable moment, but I think I know our dear ol’ Dad better than that.

The good news is that he’ll be out by Thursday to share with his fellow residents the birthday cake Leslie’s bringing on our behalf. But from a distance, Dad, from a distance!

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, June 9, 2020