Or why you will never to get away from it all
Yesterday, I took a trip to an island in an attempt to get away of my troubles and be one with nature. The rest of the country apparently had the same idea because my wildlife photoshoot quickly became a queuing session.
To get to the island, I had to pay a fee to share a boat with my fellow travellers. Usually this meant waiting for a boat to fill up to fifteen passengers before the boatman would start his trip. This time there was no wait for a ferry. I literally walked straight to my boat while maintaining social distancing.
When I reached the island, I realized that there was a problem. There were three ferries infront of my boat. I quickly had the sinking filling that the day was going to very different from what I had expected.
My first stop on the island was to use the washroom. (I am fine with being one with nature but I draw a line at exposing my tender parts to nature.) There was a short queue at the washroom. I have only queued outside a men‘s washroom at drinking holes or sporting events. That was not the most surprising part of the beginning.
A group of people had setup themselves next to the washroom to record a music video. Yes, they had brought musical instruments with them. The camera naturally was pointing at a more scenic view (Not pointing towards washroom.) This was an opening act as I soon met more performers along the way.
I took what I assumed was a less popular path. This was an incorrect assumption as I met more people along the way. Families were picnicking in a all the available shelters. Oh well, we know about the best-laid plans of mice and men. (Actually, I did not know of the outcome about mice and men. But I rightfully guessed that the outcome was less than welcomed.)
The beginning of every journey starts with a single step
It was only a step because I found joining another queue. The queue of safe travellers as the earlier travellers were making their way back. The returning travellers were rather inconsiderate as they were either walking or cycling on the path in groups instead of single file. Or pushing their strollers. Some did not even wear a mask.
If those people returning were keeping their peace, I would not have noticed them. They were however expressing their opinions rather loudly. Anti-government speeches? Conspiracy theories? Family arguments? I heard them all. Which made me wonder why people would pay money to travel to an island to walk or ride in the sun while complaining.
The mainland had all the modern trapping of western civilization. MacDonald’s? There is an air conditioned restaurant usually five minutes away. Or one of their rivals. For the cheap price of a coffee, you could sit there and express all your views on reddit. The restaurant probably threw in free WIFI.
Welcome to a circus
Instead of being entertained by animals, I was entertained by my fellow humans who assumed that their quiet thoughts could be expressed in private. The animals were also entertained by their two legged cousins considering how many of them stared at us. The problem is that the animal needed to by the size of monkey or wild boar before I could notice them.
I could not hear any bird song unless it was quiet. Which meant outwalking slow groups or deliberately trailing behind other groups. Or just standing still until all the (manmade) noise died away. To be fair, most of the music selected by these public DJ were pretty tame.
I encountered three groups of people performing for what I suspect is their TikTok videos. Or livestreaming their performance. When I write performance, I do mean performance and not just dancing There a lady that threw herself theatrically on to the ground while her male friend filmed her. There was also another group that took turns posing or acting at an outcrop. I suspected that it was all an act as a guy and girl would take turns getting into romantic poses while the others worked as film crew.
If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you
I would love to say that I was a saint and my behaviour was above reproach. The truth is that I was soon as inconsiderate as the subjects that I wrote about. After giving way for the umpteen time, I also started walking in the middle of the path. The sun and lack of lunch did not help. I was also vocalizing all my frustrations about people. I did not care who overheard me as I was as miserable as all the other vocal travellers.
I walk straight back onto a boat without queuing or looking back.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbours.
Robert Frost in Mending Wall