More Social Distancing Fun

As people and businesses become more accepting and committed to social distancing, one side effect is some atypical situations that I can’t help but find at least mildly amusing. And really, it’s times like these when everyone can likely use an extra smile or two. For example, at the grocery store there are now markers on the floor, spaced 6′ apart, indicating where people should stand when lining up for the checkout. Where once stood a lineup that might haven taken up MAYBE 15 feet now sees lines extending further. Much further. Of course, it inevitably leads to people unintentionally cutting into the line until they realize the end of the line is actually about 72′ away. The look on their face as they realize the short line they thought they were lucky enough to score was in fact too good to be true. And yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.

My Winter Bike.
Don’t worry, it’s just resting.

And while there’s definitely humour to be found in this whole situation, some people are obviously (and rightly) very concerned by it. When I was out earlier today, I crossed paths with an older woman who was out for a walk. We were on a pedestrian bridge at the time so there was only so much space that could be given. She stayed as far over as she could and wouldn’t even make eye contact. I offered a “Good morning” to which she just kept walking, staring straight ahead. I think I noticed a VERY momentary glance in my direction at which time I think she MAY have tried mouth a “Hi” but there was no accompanying audio. I have to say I felt a bit bad for her. I mean, I don’t believe she didn’t want to say, “Hi”, I just think she’s scared. And I’m sure she’s not the only one.

Anyway, for the foreseeable future social distancing will likely be touted as critical to stopping (or at least slowing) the spread of the coronavirus. How successful that will be is anyone’s guess but for now there aren’t a lot of options and at least it offers people the illusion of safety. As it happens, I still find myself almost enjoying the pseudo-mandated isolation. There may not be an “I” in team but there’s definitely one in “Introvert”. Of which, I most definitely am.

There are also “I”s in “bike”, “exercise”, and “social distancing”. As such I decided to combine the three by taking my winter (aka. beater) bike out for a ride. Yes, at this point in the year, I’m a bit overdue for putting said bike away and bringing out my summer bike. That day will come. But for now, my winter bike and I enjoyed a good day of social distancing while getting a bit of exercise in the process. Not surprisingly, because I’m me, I decided to shoot a bit of video of our outing. As usual, mostly for my own amusement since it’s not like this site gets much traffic. Hopefully the video will appear below … I have no doubt it will be flagged by YouTube for copyright infringement. Maybe they’ll just slap ads all over it. Sigh.

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The Not-Entirely-New Normal

I could be the poster child (or adult)
for Social Distancing.

Over the past week, I can’t believe how many times I have typed, said, heard or read the phrase “Social Distancing”. So much so that “Social Distancing” is now the primary suggestion that pops up when I type “so” on my phone. If it’s not the “word” of year (if there really is such a thing), I’d be surprised. Either way, it appears that it will be the new normal for the foreseeable future. Although, not ENTIRELY new for some. In all honesty, I can’t say that I’ve been struggling with the isolation of said Social Distancing. Truth be told, as a introvert I’ve spent more than a little of the past 40+ years social distancing so, for me, it (along with frequent hand washing and minimizing face touching) is somewhat of the norm for me. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s go back.

For six weeks I didn’t work. Ah, the life of a freelance video editor … especially a traveling freelance video editor who leans toward working on a remote basis whenever possible. And since I was spending those six weeks housesitting in a mountain home, overlooking Okanagan Lake in Peachland, BC, I would say I was living up to the “remote” qualifier.

On the upside, the lack of editing work gave me more than a little time for mountain hikes and any other recreational activities I could come up with. And, as seen in my previous post, I even made a few short videos of some of those activities, primarily for my own amusement – but also for the eight or nine people that might still find their way to this blog these days. On the downside, there were times that boredom definitely crept in – not to mention the lack of income which was becoming a bit of a concern. Little did I know those days were prepping me for the weeks to come.

Despite the lack of editing work while in BC, I could take some comfort in the fact that I knew a quick-turnaround and somewhat big project awaited me upon my return to Ontario. Yes, the BIG downside would be that of being back in Ontario but at least there would be a paycheque (or, more likely, an e-Transfer) at the end.

I returned to Ontario on the evening of March 5th – an evening that concluded with an impromptu get-together with a few friends over a Guinness or two at a local pub … there may have been a loaded nacho or two consumed as well. Despite (or maybe because of) my aforementioned unofficial life-long social distancing training, I’ve never been one to take outings like that (or the opportunity for outings like that) for granted. After all, you never know when they might be taken away. As such, a good time was had by all.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, returning on the 5th. The next morning I found myself sitting at an edit suite at my client’s place. I would spend the bulk of the next seven days there. And when I wasn’t working on the project there, I was working on it back at the house. 13-15 hours a day. Admittedly, part of those long days were because my ever-aging laptop doesn’t particularly enjoy working with 4K footage. Regardless, the Friday deadline was constantly looming and didn’t really care about such trivial challenges.

Thursday afternoon came and, while a long night of rendering and exporting of the final video awaited, we were on schedule for a timely finish. Then the event was cancelled. Sigh. Welcome to the new normal. Well, maybe not entirely.

Coronavirus seemingly brings out people’s inner baker.

Oddly enough, since the grounding to a stop (or near stop anyway) of much of the world and economy, I actually find myself with a few video editing projects of the active, imminent, or (less promising) tentative variety … just when I was seriously contemplating using some of my free time to learn the dark art of making sourdough. My future as a baker will have to wait … which is probably for the best based on my last trip to the grocery store which revealed a total lack of flour. Apparently, the coronavirus is bringing out the baker in a lot of people.

And that pretty much gets us back to where we started several paragraphs ago. Social distancing. Working remotely. And more social distancing. These are certainly interesting times we’re living in.

Oh, one last sad side note: In addition to all of this coronavirus craziness, this week also included what may have been the passing of the least memorable Spring equinox ever. For those that missed it, it was on Thursday. Welcome Spring … you deserved a better start.

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Published in Peachland

Not a whole lot new to report since my last post … actually, there’s pretty much nothing new to report since my last post. But when has that ever stopped me from filling up more than a few paragraphs of what many would likely describe as filler. So be it.

Welcome to Peachland, BC.

With work projects being more than a little elusive of late, I’ve spent a fair bit of time hiking some of the local mountain trails (and occasionally improvised trails). Not surprisingly, I’ve yet to tire of the Okanagan Valley. Although, I would like to return again in the summer sometime. August, in particular. My last summer-stop here was in 2015 as part of my Kitchener-Vancouver-San Diego-Florida cycling tour. And it was then that I had the absolute best peaches. Ever. Peaches have alway been my favourite but I didn’t know peaches could be SO good. I kind of feel bad for all the other peaches to which these Okanagan peaches will forever be compared.

Other than hiking, the biggest excitement of late here in Peachland was probably the Family Day event at the local riding club. While there were no horses in attendance, there were a couple of skating rinks. And a fire pit – I didn’t think fire and ice would react well together but in this case they did. There was also some free food and beverages, a tug of war, and about 60-70 people (and a couple of dogs) in attendance – all seemed to be enjoying themselves. I didn’t bring any skates with me or have any access to said equipment (which may be for the best as I haven’t skated in, well … a while) so I opted to take the drone up for a quick flight for fun and to document the event. Of course, with all the new regulations surrounding drones, I had to be somewhat selective as to my flight route – not that I thought anyone in attendance would care but it only takes one person (with nothing better to do) to complain. In the end, all went well.

I ended up taking some additional amateur (i.e., unpaid) footage from the ground and put together a one-minute highlight reel of Family Day in Peachland. I’d say it wasn’t really my intention to do that but since I had taken my camera with me clearly I thought it was a possibility. Have to keep busy after all.

I also submitted one of the drone photos to the local weekly newspaper, The Peachland View, and they ended up using it on the front page. I’m famous!! Or, my photo is anyway. Actually, this is third consecutive year one of my drone photos has ended up in the paper – the previous two were of the annual Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day. Despite the multiple publishings, fame and fortune has not followed.

I’m famous! Well, my photo is anyway.

Let’s see … what else is there to tell? Oh, have I mentioned that the Okanagan Valley is beautiful? Well, it is – if you like mountains, anyway. And I very much do. This past week has been especially nice with the sun and blue sky treating us to stunningly beautiful days and equally beautiful, clear and star-filled night skies. The latter being thoroughly enjoyed during my evening 5 km walks.

Sadly, my time out here is rapidly coming to an end for another season. For the previous two years my winter visits here have been for close to three months and included multiple house-sitting gigs. This year there is just the one. However, yesterday I had a great reunion with Rodger (of Rodger, Heather, and Jack the dog) for whom I house-sat in 2018 and 2019. Rodger and Heather stayed local this winter which means I won’t get a chance to visit with Jack the dog. For those unaware of my time with Jack, well … simply put, he’s my favourite dog. Ever. Seriously. That’s not to meant to diminish any of the MANY dogs I’ve taken care of and/or played with over my many years – it’s just that Jack the dog is, well … Jack. So, without a visit with Jack in 2020 I’ve opted to recycle a few visual memories (video below, photos in the Photo Gallery) of Jack from last year’s sit. Who’sa good doggg?? Yup, Jack is. And he SO knows it. But in a good way.

Oh, and while I’m posting videos … as I mentioned before, I haven’t had much to do in the way of work-related video editing lately – this video would be a good example of how to NOT make the most of some spare time.

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© 2020: Mark's Midlife Crisis