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  • Clarke Wallace

FOLLOW THE RULES?

We have this pandemic knocking the hell not only out of this country but countries around the world. I’m talking about COVID-19 popping up where it’s least expected.


With it come rules we’re expected to follow. Ones we damn well better or be fined. Self-distancing us from others seems reasonable. Staying home, if possible, is another.


Things get a little testy for me when these ‘rules’ make no sense. Last week in the Globe and Mail Andre Picard captioned his Opinion column with this query: ‘Can I have a beer in my driveway?’


The answer is ‘No!’ This from Brent Moloughney, associate medical officer of health with Ottawa Public Health who warns us not to look for ‘loopholes’. Loopholes? Hmm.

This rebuke hit the fan with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson saying, in one breathless sentence: “If you and your neighbour are having a beer or lemonade and you are at the end of your driveway six feet apart, two metres apart, then enjoy.”


I have a few troubling demands of my own. Don’t sit or play in a park that can get you a whopping fine. And this: You can’t go golfing if the person sitting next to you isn’t a relative.


I can’t think of any relative of mine (even friend?) who’d golf with me. Miss a ‘given’ short putt. If near a wooded area, my shots off the tee will bank left and go there to be lost forever. I can hit left or right-handed with the same debilitating results.


Let’s get back to Andre Picard who tells us, “If we want the rules to be respected, rules have to make sense.” Right on. Why slap a homeless person lingering on a park bench with a $700 fine?


Others of mine: Being fined for walking your dog? Don’t stop to talk to someone and be fined for not being two metres apart.

Author’s comment: What worries me is when – maybe even ‘if?’ – these annoying little directives aren’t dropped as they should be when life gets back to normal? Or become the ‘new’ normal? Like wandering along a park path, and straying off onto the grass? Shades of George Orwell’s novel 1984. Now that’s scary; real scary.

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