“you have to live your life”

The title actually should be “you have to live your life.”

“You have to live your life” is one of those phrases I have heard a lot, to explain or justify a lot of things, since I came to Quebec in 2004. I don’t know its origins, if it’s an Anglo translation of a French cliché, or if it’s a uniquely Anglo Quebec thing to say.

Perhaps you’ve seen those surveys going around social media “How isolated is everyone right now?” with a 1-5 scale.

1: Living normal
2: Being cautious, but still going out
3: Going out as needed, mostly staying home, still seeing friends and family
4: Very limited, only going out when unavoidable and very careful contact with people
5: Full lockdown

I’d said “3.75” but I’m downgrading to 5, or 4.75 if walks outside count. Carrie’s now responsible for shopping in the neighbourhood.

I’d been staying home with one exception since the 12th, when Quebeckers were told to stay home.

The big exception is that I’d planned to record this weekend and next weekend with Volte. We’d booked studio time months in advance. We’d rehearsed the shit out of the music (though in classic Volte style also added new and difficult things to songs shortly before recording). I was confident and excited to do it.

I’d asked my oncologist if I could do it. My rationale: I could drive to the studio and back. I’d be six feet apart from everyone almost the entire time (it’s a big space) and a recording studio is sort of like quarantine anyway. It’s certainly less risky than going to the grocery store or pharmacy.

Last Thursday, he agreed, and told me I could do it so long as nobody else was sick. Friday morning he called back and said new directives had come down and I shouldn’t do it.

He told me they have new data from China that say people with cancer–whether or not they’re undergoing treatment at the time–are more susceptible to covid-19 and are more likely to have a worse case of it if they get it. So no recording for me. It is only the second time he’s ever told me not to do something.*

Every other time I’ve asked him if I could or should do something, he has always said “you have to live your life.”

But sometimes, you just have to live.

*The first time was when I went on The Drugs. He banned travel for a few months to make sure I didn’t have any adverse reactions.