If you remember being a kid, or you currently are one, and certainly if you’re a parent, you might be familiar with uttering or hearing this phrase, or both, at some point during one of the summers of your lives: “I’m bored.” And this year, it’s safe to say, nothing would be better than to have the opportunity to hear or say them again.
Although it hasn’t quite been three years since Manitoba had a summer in which the usual sorts of summer activities were allowed, since the first year of the pandemic saw relaxed restrictions in the summer, which turned out to be the calm before the storm of the real impacts of COVID-19 beginning in this province, 2019 was probably the last time that doing so felt normal. And although the virus has by no means disappeared, the restrictions put in place to try to contain and manage it largely have, and it’s nice to be able to have friends over for a barbecue or go camping or have drinks on a patio without worrying about whether you are breaking rules or being unsafe or if you remembered to bring your immunization card.
Though it’s only a little bit more than half over, 2022 has had a lot of action. Russia invaded Ukraine. Roe v. Wade was overturned in the United States. There have been all kinds of shootings, including one at an elementary school in Texas and, just last weekend, one by police in a remote First Nation in Northern Manitoba. In Thompson, there was a provincial byelection to replace the late NDP MLA Danielle Adams, whose tragic highway death is only seven months in the past. If it feels like a lot has happened since December, it’s because it has. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of other momentous events that we are forgetting to mention, but you get the picture. The world sometimes seems to be spinning faster than ever and, with the 24-hour news cycle and pundits talking things over and so on and so forth, sometimes it can feel like you’re being swept along by a tidal wave of events that never stops and gives you a chance to breathe.
Luckily, however, there’s summer. For children and youth still in school, classes are suspended for a couple of months, resulting in much-needed downtime to prepare for the next 10-month haul that begins just two months from now. For parents of such children, weekdays are no longer dominated by the school schedule and the need to ensure your kids are there on time, that they have a way to get home, that dinner’s on the table before everyone gets hangry and that no one misses any band practices or hockey games or field trips or piano lessons. As we mentioned above, life has a way of getting hectic.
Even if you still have to go to work over the summer, which is a terrible feature of adulthood that really doesn’t get as much airtime and criticism as it should, at least you know that, if you’re off in the late afternoon or early evening, there can be several hours of sunlight and occasionally even nice weather to enjoy before the daily grind starts up again the next morning.
2022 has been a year already, and it’s going to be more of one for people who live in Manitoba, as municipal elections are scheduled for Oct. 26 and it appears that, although only one has made a public announcement about it, there’s going to be at least three candidates running for Thompson mayor, and who knows how many for councillor and school board trustee. Luckily, prevailing wisdom holds that voters don’t pay much attention to politics in the summer, if they even do so the rest of the year, so it probably won’t be until late August or even September that campaigning begins in earnest. That’s right at the same time as school starts back up, and hockey, and ice skating, and other fall and winter sports and activities. So enjoy the next two months, hope that nothing out of the ordinary happens and relish the feeling when somebody finally says, “I’m bored.” Chances are, it won’t last long.