With nowhere to go, columnist Chris Hunt finds himself right where he belongs – with the people he loves


Columnist Chris Hunt, right, with his partner, Angela Jacques and their son, Riley. Photo Credit Tracy Lucking

Years ago, I read an autobiography of a New Zealander who decided city living was no longer what it was cracked up to be, so he did what any rational man would do.

He packed up his stuff and moved to a deserted tropical island.

Save for the occasional hurricane, crippling fevers and having to catch breakfast while not wearing pants, it was paradise.

Until madness began to creep in.  I won’t go into particulars, but I will say his psychosis culminated in him nearly committing murder most fowl. 

One day, a wayward duck happened upon the author’s hut.  He spent weeks feeding it by hand, gaining its trust to the point where it’d regularly visit.

It was a sweet friendship of sorts – until the nightmares began.

He had dreams where he strangled and ate his feathery companion, the sentiments of which carried over to his waking hours.

The author didn’t trust himself.  He was trapped in his own mania, possessed of an all-consuming bloodlust. Eventually, he decided to scare it off for good, lest he kill it.

The author said he’d started to long for comforts absent from him for far too long, such as meat.  I hazard that maybe the extended isolation was affecting him.

I empathise with the man. 

I too long for familiar comforts that are just seemingly out of reach.  Usually my birthday would see me scaling the heights of Mont Tremblant.  Not this year.  This year, COVID-19 shackled me to my couch.

Halloween is an event I look forward to every year.  Few things please me more than seeing my son dressed up in whatever extravagant costume his grandmother handmade for him as he goes begging for handouts.

Afterwards we’d go to his grandparents’ home, have a small party and watch a scary movie after he’s in bed.

Not this year.  This year COVID ensured the scariest thing I watched were reruns of The View.

Christmas usually finds us staying in a beautiful hotel in downtown Montreal, Hotel Bonaventure.  We always ask for a view of the rooftop pond so we can ogle the resident ducks first thing in the morning before browsing local Christmas markets.

Not this year.  This year COVID ensured the only browsing I do is online, usually looking for larger pants.

And you know what?  I’m OK with all of that. 

One day shortly before Halloween I got antsy.  I had to go out and do something.  Nothing in particular.  Just something.  I’d gotten so used to being on the go that when I no longer could, I went a little crazy.

Not Norman Bates crazy.  More like not having coffee for a few days kind of crazy.  You know, a small twitch here and there and perhaps the occasional urge to kick a squirrel in the teeth.

My kid though, he’s pretty great at taking it easy.  While I aimlessly puttered, he took blankets and pillows from his room and built a fort in the living room. 
“Daddy?  Wanna go in my fort?”

He’d asked many times before, but we always seemed to have somewhere we needed to be. 

He had this brilliant idea to tell each other scary stories.  Nestled within his fort, I listened to my son spin the most elaborate story about a bear politely terrorizing a small town. 

As he spun his tale, the ever-present desire to go somewhere fled. I was right where I needed to be.

“Congested humanity.” The author used that term to describe life away from his serene island.

In his paradise there were no malls, no cinemas. No fashion trends.  No hustle.  No bustle.  Just beauty in simplicity.  The author’s one regret?  Not having someone to share that beauty with. 

Sure, we may be marooned in our homes, but at least I’m stranded with people who matter to me.