It was a long trip home, and now I’ll take a vacation from the mainstream media.
No doubt about it, traveling to Hawaii was much easier when we lived in British Columbia. It is roughly twice the distance from Toronto, and as of Sunday, twice as many time zones. Perhaps more notably, this time we were island hopping, so it was twice as many airports, with one long layover. I spent most today in bed, sleeping off jet lag and a couple of high wind nights at the end of our trip.
Our trip was wonderful, although very windy. Despite the distance, it takes about a minute to be reminded that it’s worth it after we’ve checked in at our destination. However, the energy around the trip was very different, thanks to the coronavirus and the related media coverage. By the end of the 2 weeks, I couldn’t believe how much I missed our news broadcasts and looking forward to seeing if the Canadian media is handling its coverage differently. I found it difficult to tell the difference reading online, since the voice in my head is mine. I wasn’t dedicated enough to spend extra screen time trying to find video access when touring around and getting outside were the priority.
Now that I’m home, the difference between the US and Canadian media is clear.
The most obvious distinction is that most of the speaking at news conferences is being done by actual doctors, while politicians stand by their side. One doctor in particular, Dr Bonnie Henry, is being acclaimed in the media for being “calming voice in a sea of coronavirus madness.”
In comparison, what I saw, no matter which news channel I tuned in to, screen time was dominated by politicians and talking heads. It was antagonistic, full of misdirection, inconsistency, interruptions, and shouting. All the shouting.
I get tired of hearing how quaint and polite Canadians are supposed to be. The tone usually implies that we are somehow simpler, but not in the good way. But there is no missing it – the loss of civility, and I’m starting to think an associated loss of trust – south of our border is markedly more advanced in its spread than it is up here in the Great White North. Despite our politeness, we are not immune to this virus of thought.
My compulsion to stay informed can return to normal levels.
My hands are dry from all the washing, and this will probably be the first time I don’t get sick after flying to and from Hawaii. After our last trip 2 years ago, I was down for the count for over 5 weeks with what I called a “super-virus-and-or-bacteria.” After five weeks and two rounds of antibiotics, it was impossible to know what it was, but I’m pretty sure it came from the chorus of congested wailing babies on the overnight flight. (They still are the source of nightmares!)
I’ll know for sure in a few days if I’ve picked up any bugs. Until then, I’m lying low, staying away from my elderly mom, and avoiding the TV as much as possible – a good idea at the best of times – and choosing my news and other input sources very carefully.
Here’s some people I like to read, and what they have to say:
Seth Godin – Stuck at home
Jill Filipovic – Love in a Time of Cynicism
and if you’re OK with f-bombs accompanying your psychology,
Mark Manson – Things are not as they seem
We can all support each other. If you have any thoughts or recommendations, please share them below.
PS. Photo made at Hanalei Bay Pier, Kauai