Apropos of nothing I suppose, this monstrosity of a word in the title apparently means an inordinate fear of long words. I came across it while checking the spelling for triskaidekaphobia which, if you don’t know, means an irrational fear of the number thirteen (and, if you did know, it still means that).

It was long believed, and it was first told to me, that the whole Friday the Thirteenth bit came about because there were thirteen people at the table at the Last Supper. Nowadays it’s commonly accepted that it refer to the date Friday, October 13, 1307, when Philip IV of France started the arrests of the Knights Templar under trumped-up charges of witch-craft and Devil worship. Why? Because he wanted the Templars’ vast wealth for himself.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I bring this up, besides my natural affinity for long, unusual words and history itself and a possible way you could spend your time. Well, but I was wondering how long this self-enforced exile has been going on and it just so happened that it was Friday the thirteenth when the Chief Librarian, the Board’s Vice-Chair and made the unpalatable decision to close the Library, and my reason took on a life of its own. Up until then, COVID-19 seemed to be a distant thing but, from there, things went downhill fast.

Since they started closing parks, despite urgings for us to walk for exercise, we have been further restricted in our possibilities, so we have to look for other diversions. You could take up writing or reading or (shudder) learn some history or new vocabulary. Learn a new language for a little variety in the way that you curse out whoever. If you get really desperate, you could take an on-line course and maybe learn something you can use when the world starts back up. If you have a musical instrument, or if someone is willing to risk getting virus all over theirs, you could learn to play, using lessons on-line.

But people seemed to start finding ways to live with situation and break out. The staff at the Thorold Public Library  have been working hard and now offer Virtual Programming and a special listing of things to do. Musicians are playing on balconies and for neighbours and Brant Parker and guests will be doing weekly “live” concerts on the Canal Banks Shuffle YouTube page. Some people in Britain threw an isolation disco party, whereby houses on both sides of the Tyne River played the same music and flashed their apartment lights on and off.

In some places, people have started “Bear Hunts”. Bears are placed in neighbourhood windows and kids count them as a diversion, without ever going near others. They don’t have to be bears, I suppose, but I don’t know how many people would have stuffed wolverines (the animal, not the superhero – well, either) to put in the window.

Committees and Boards of all types are attending meetings using Zoom (hackers’ obscene interjections notwithstanding) and Skype. Life, as it is, goes on and decisions have to be made and preparations for recovery planned.

These COVID-19 isolation breakout events and services are limited only by people’s imagination because we humans are a resilient lot. Otherwise we would have been an evolutionary dead end millennia ago.

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