The crappy thing about making mistakes is – you don’t typically recognize it until you are in the thick of it.
I found myself in the midst of a do-it-yourself dilemma a few weeks ago during a drive from my Calgary home to Vancouver.
It wasn’t an easy decision to pack up the car and go. It involved waiting for provincial officials to ease into reopening life as we know it (hairdressers, restaurants and shopping malls,) a reduction in the number of Covid19 cases and interrogations with friends which began with, ‘Do you think I would be a disrespectful a$$ if I drive to B.C?”
The consensus and conclusions put me on the road albeit with a mask, a lifetime supply of hand sanitizer and plans to social distance.
I was sitting in my car in Lake Louise when I realized the decision, no matter how well weighed, didn’t sit well with me.
The roads had been eerily quiet. Every tourist attraction sign was plastered with huge ‘closed’ banners and rest stops were decorated with what looked like police tape daring any brave motorist to stop and empty their bladder or stretch their legs.
My dog paced in the back of the car while I sat in that Lake Louise parking lot debating whether or not to turn back. I waited for signs of life. For ten minutes (yes, I timed it,) there was nothing. I texted a few friends to tell them about how the road trip to B.C. which I’ve done more than two dozen times had turned into something so trippy I expected zombies to appear. I told them how my unease was exacerbated every five minutes when the AM news station shared another story about how some idiot in a B.C. town had targeted a vehicle with Alberta plates. Smashed headlights, keyed doors and nasty notes left on windshields. I had a birthday dinner waiting for me in Vancouver but I wasn’t sure I had the courage to get there.
A friend in Revelstoke where I was to stay the night listened as I dramatically recounted my drive from the safety of home deep in to the zombie zone. I said maybe I ought to go back to Alberta where I belong, to hit the gas and get away from the marauding B.C. motorists armed with anger and attitude.
“The other motorists, even those with B.C. plates, are a lot like you,” my friend said. “They are pretty nice people. Come on, we’re all Canadian.”
With that sentiment in mind, I pushed on. And I’m glad I did.
Yes, maybe it was a mistake to head out. Maybe it wasn’t.
Either way, I was respectful and if it was an error in judgement no one made me pay for it. In Revelstoke, I was probably the only
person wearing a mask and in Vancouver I spent most of my time at my friend’s home. Other times my dog and I spent hours at watering holes miles from anything except sand and seagulls.
People smiled, motorists waved and I quickly forgot the I’m-an-Albertan-in-B.C. fears. I am Canadian. And even if social distancing has highjacked the way I do a trip to the coast, I was still able to soak in the therapeutic beauty that belongs to every one of us regardless of where – in this great country – we call home.
-Nadia Moharib is a freelance writer, former crime reporter with the Calgary Sun + others, and also the most inquisitive, questioning (yes two words to describe because it’s true!) compassionate, brave, fight-for-the underdog person I know. I miss her a lot!