For a long time after I moved here I thought there was some weird perception of me as a bored retiree yawning my way through a new life. In my own defense, this was because every time I had a new project somebody would say “Well, that will give you something to do.”
I have since realized that it is a common expression, directed at anybody and everybody. It reflects one of the core cultural truisms of this Island. Most, if not all, need to be busy. All the time.
Few I’ve met have hobbies. I haven’t met one man on this rock who reads for pleasure. Not one.
So picture in your minds a large chunk of the local population, adhering to self-isolation, absent the possibility of a lobster or tourist season any time soon, weary of trying to watch limited television, totally unfamiliar with the internet (many lose their phones when they throw them in the ocean out of frustration), and understanding that there is no end in sight.
Sleep is becoming rare. Tempers are getting shorter. “Something to do” is a way of life and it’s getting harder to occupy themselves.
I’ve noticed a change this week. The recognition that life won’t go back to “normal” anytime soon has sunk in. This has been coupled (coincidentally) with changes to our state of being out in the middle of nowhere.
For example, as of today (I think it’s today) the State of Maine has shutdown. They’re telling people (emphasis on New Hampshire) not to travel there. People in (for example) Dennysville and Pembroke are supposed to stay inside but if they have to go out they’re supposed to stay in Dennysville or Pembroke.
The police say they aren’t planning to stop people on the highways at this time. Nobody has mentioned cars from New Brunswick (i.e., us) travelling up Route 1 to visit Canada. The national governments may have decided that’s OK – it’s uncertain what Maine will decide.
All of this has made some people choose to be more self-sufficient. In a demonstration of the triumph of hope over experience tillers are being readied to create more/better vegetable gardens. On a rock. Boo’s place is being eyed for soil, seeds are being exchanged, plans are being carried out. The possibility of fresh vegetables is mouth-watering. More importantly, it’ll give them something to do. 🙂