I have breakfast with Bento on occasion. He’s a font of dry wit & home-spun philosophy. Seasoned with an occasional outburst of passion on topics he feels strongly about. In moments of what might be fake humility, he claims to know nothing about anything. But I enjoy listening to his take on whatever the current news headline might be. His sometimes scathing assessments on political situations, gender wars & generational differences can bring me to tears. Usually of mirth!
This morning, the news was on in the diner. Bento had decided he wanted to eat out for breakfast before any lockdown might be implemented. On TV, a doctor was uncertain about, but continued to speak of, the hope for warmer weather tempering the coronavirus outbreak. Bento wondered why they ever let the bleeping bleeper escape with a medical degree! “Bleep, couldn’t the bleeper just look up the temperatures in Australia, Singapore & the Philippines?” I nearly choked on my toast at his summary. And while I grabbed my phone to check the temperatures & to see what the case counts were in those countries, Bento muttered that they were running around “that fella’s” golf resort with the virus too. “And what’s the temperature down that way? Isn’t that where all the snowbirds go for winter?” True enough that!
Bento was all on for a lockdown. Though we’re in an area that has yet to officially record a single case of the coronavirus, Bento is convinced we have them. And that we should be locking things down ahead of getting into a situation like Italy. “The horses have bolted over there,” he says, “and I hope they can round them up.” So what are you doing coming out for breakfast, Bento? “There you go!”, he waves his arms in the air. “Even sensible people do stupid things.”
“Some of us are just too stupid to be allowed to make our own decisions sometimes. Look what happens when we vote.” Bento wouldn’t be considered politically correct sometimes. “The Asians have a better handle on things. They do what they’re told. But not us. Oh, no! We like to be free to do what we like. Even if it’s stupid!” He went on a little rant about our healthcare system being overloaded already & that we had no chance if this thing was allowed to run rampant. He was loud now, & further encouraged by the grunts & nods of agreement from other customers within earshot. And that pretty much included everyone there. “We’ll be bleeped if they start rolling into emergency by the boatload!”
After he paused for a bit, I shared my thoughts on a lockdown. Maybe we should keep things open. To protect the economy perhaps. People need their jobs after all. And what about my retirement investments? “Ah for bleep’s sake, Paul, wouldn’t you be better off losing a few dollars & just surviving ’til retirement age.” I burst out laughing & nearly choked inhaling a piece of egg. Hard to argue that one!
As I picked up my cheque to leave, Bento shouts out that he expects that I’ll be wearing a hockey helmet & gloves next time he sees me. Now there’s a Canadian solution to remind us not to shake hands that just might work round here!
“No panic, Paul, but a little suffering can be good for the soul!”, was wrapped into his farewell comments.
“And quit smoking!”
I think I’ll go out & buy some toilet paper now! 🤪😁