When I was in Haiti a few years back, I rode from the airport to our compound on top of the luggage in the back of an open, lumbering truck. It was madness, really. No one seemed to follow any road rules there and I later learned when it came to running the roads, the bigger the better.
However much it seemed that big trucks ruled, it was the dirt bikes that could out-maneuvre everyone and squeeze their way through.
It makes me think of the big trucks parking in our nation’s capital. In one way, I think it’s quite something that compared to our rioting neighbours to the South, this group of Canadians found a way to make a statement without looting and violence.
Truckers have found their strength by using their size to make a statement.
It’s ingenious really.
It could also be seen as bully tactics.
While I do believe it’s time we learn to live with this virus, I am not a fan of how truckers have gone about trying to force the hand of government. I think they are perpetuating the very economic disturbance they are rallying against and using bully strength to force an issue that is not quite ready to be resolved.
We are ALL learning about this virus, from epidemiologists, to scientists to laymen. It’s new. It’s smart. It’s changeable. I am 100 per cent vaccinated and 100 per cent on board with being cautious and careful against this mutating threat. I can wear masks and distance a little longer to make sure hospitals aren’t overwhelmed and our vulnerable populations are protected.
To me, that is also freedom. Freedom to think of the collective, not just my own self. I wasn’t super keen on having someone stick a needle of a new substance in my body either but I did it for my parents, who have health issues. I did it for all the little kids who are unvaccinated, the elderly with health issues and everyone in between. So. There. Mine is just one tiny voice adding to the cacophony of opinions floating across my social media, office desk and the news.
We are all, I believe, finding our way through these challenging times, much like dirt bikes weaving through the crowded streets of Haiti.
Big trucks may think they own the streets but everyone has a path to take as we journey together to survive this virus.
• • •
Related, sort of, is the second part of this column. One wise friend told me once, when I was struggling, to “use the strength of others.”
This can be interpreted in many ways but I use it for learning.
Recently, I wanted to create a “wow” starter for a meal I was preparing for guests. Realizing my limitations, I turned to my nephew, Nathan Verburg, who is head chef at a restaurant in Kitchener.
He told me to bring mushrooms, a baguette, a bag of milk, lemons, garlic and a red onion.
From those basic ingredients, he showed me to make Mushroom Tartine with homemade ricotta cheese, lemon-infused mayonnaise and pickled onions (first time I’ve used coriander and fennel together). I didn’t even know you could make homemade ricotta cheese!
He taught me to slice green onions (shallots) in thin strips and dunk them in ice water so they curl into a gorgeous garnish. So cool!
We ended up feasting on these delectable starters, tasting layer after layer of flavour. With this lesson and practice, I earned the skill and confidence to serve the starter for my meal.
I could have followed a recipe. I could have watched a YouTube video. Instead, I got to spend time with my nephew, learn new skills, laugh in the kitchen and honour his gifts at cooking.
These are the things that sustain me when that vocal storm gets too loud and senseless. Connections. Family. Fun. Food!
I hope they do for you too, whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated. Whether you support the trucker-based blockade or don’t.
In that wish, I find my peace, and acknowledge that we all breathe the same air on this planet and share all the nasty viruses that float, unseen, between us. We share this road, even when our opinions differ. ◊