All “gatherings” are now forbidden in Quebec, as part of efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. It’s unclear if a group of 2-3 people constitutes a “gathering”; five or more definitely does. I was passing through an older friend’s neighbourhood earlier today on my way home from a work-related trip out and decided to stop by and say hello from a safe distance, as I’d promised him. That “hello” turned, at his insistence, into a forbidden espresso, a forbidden dinner, a forbidden glass of red wine and a forbidden ride home in his van so we could talk more. All through that time he made up excuses not to be worried about the coronavirus, and we told each other stories from our childhoods and, at times, pretended nothing was wrong.
As he let me out of the van, he looked straight at me and said, “If I do get sick and die, don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s my decision to have guests in my house, and my decision alone.”
That’s the world we live in in spring 2020.