Shouting and sharing
In just the past few days I’ve heard several stories about how our society is breaking down. Three involve doctors. In the first case, a patient shouted at a doctor during an in-office visit. In the second, a doctor shouted at a patient. The third involved a patient seen by a specialist who identified an uncommon ailment. “I wish I could call on my residents,” he said, then explained how Covid had reduced the opportunity in hospitals for residents to spend time with doctors. As a result, there will be cohorts of graduates who conclude their studies without seeing some maladies first-hand.
While sports events are now playing to full houses, many people are living on the edge. Covid can be blamed for part of that but I think there is something else at work. Like many things that happen in Canada, this phenomenon began in the U.S. with a divisive Donald Trump, followed by anti-vaxxers who tried to shame those who followed science.
Those currents have aroused demonstrations in Alberta and Saskatchewan where inoculation rates are low. The reason, at least as viewed from the east, is the imported Wild West behaviour that means you don’t have to worry about your fellow man, you just look after yourself. Some practitioners might call it pioneer spirit. I call it a lack of empathy for others.
What the world needs now is more events like the one we attended yesterday, even though it was a sad occasion, to mark the death of a woman. For too long, death notices have said a full service will be held sometime in the future. In this case, the celebration of a life went ahead. To be sure, it was held outside, under a tent against the rains, but one hundred people were all together, focussed on something other than themselves. There were half a dozen speakers with tearful recollections, happy moments to share, and poems they had chosen or written themselves. A piper played a lament; a fiddler offered some reels. Sandwiches were served.
Everyone left feeling more at peace because they had participated in a ceremony with others. Until we get away from lonely self-interest we will never return to the communal delights of pre-Covid days. We’ll just stay strung out, shouting at doctors.