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I ventured into crowds outside of my community willingly last week for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

I don’t experience wanderlust nor do I rebel against science-based protocols and restrictions on personal movement. I bite my tongue in passing judgement on others I know who have been travelling across country and borders for pleasure this summer. It has been two years since I have seen my grandchildren.

A friend and I made plans in June to aim for attending an arts event in town this summer after we got our two COVID-19 vaccinations. We had hopes for a pleasant time considering the circumstances.

We needed to experience the beauty of art during a social outing again.

A Van Gogh self-portrait painting image

The exhibit: https://vangoghottawa.com/

We navigated with her car through summer road construction to Lansdowne Park. We navigated the underground parking facilities. We respected protocols by waiting with masks on, ground level in the time slot visit queue of art lovers then followed slowly at a distance through the maze of digitized art displays and meaningful quotes that led to the immersive experience.

Boats on water at night – Beyond Van Gogh exhibit in Ottawa, ON

The venue was warm with very little air flow. In general, the immersive experience was entertaining and enjoyable. All the while though, the risks associated with the pandemic were on my mind. Even the beautiful images of Vincent’s Starry Night and floral arrangements struggled to calm my concerns.

Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting image in a digital display
Van Gogh Irises and Sunflowers

After 45 minutes of that, I made sure to purchase a souvenir at the boutique on the way out, an over-priced notebook with reprint images of his popular paintings.

Lunch out was a challenge with filling out the electronic contact tracing form before being allowed into the restaurant. Management made safe distancing arrangements for diners. It seems that trendy restaurants are still playing background music way too loud for my preference in enjoying a conversation. Half-way through my salad, I declined the offer of dessert. I just wanted to go home.

There are other art gallery and museum exhibits I want to see this summer. My desire is dampened by reports about the COVID-19 variants spreading about.

I am okay with delaying the satisfaction of my selfish desires for a little while longer, and finding safer alternatives.

I would rather be deprived than dead.

Thanks for dropping by.