Adult learning and bed bugs

Dear Uma: We are back from the fleshpots of Whitehorse once again, having survived yet another excursion on the winter road.

Dear Uma:

We are back from the fleshpots of Whitehorse once again, having survived yet another excursion on the winter road.

Never have I lived anywhere where I felt such gratitude at the sight of my home, so fraught is each journey in this place of snow and ice and wild animals wandering the highway.

In answer to your question: no, I don’t think I would like to live in the Yukon’s capital even though I concede your point of the airport being much more convenient for travel Outside than our current situation. I’ve mentioned it to you before; I have grown fond of this little town, and of my life here. Oddly, it suits me just fine and I am as surprised as anyone to find this is so. Of all the places my wandering could have ceased, I never would have thought of the Yukon.

Few Canadians think of the Yukon, and even our tourism consists largely of people headed to Alaska. I am just as glad; one of the things I like best here is that there are so few of us.

This is also a good place from which to watch the rest of the world; it’s the best seat in the house, so to speak. We are protected by geography and federal money from a lot of the issues that plague people living in more benign and populated places.

And Uma, you gotta admit, it is vastly amusing. Every play is better when one knows the players. When I see things like this ad in the Yukon News this week, life just gets sunnier:

Confined Space Awareness “This one-day course is designed to educate the individual in the recognition of a confined space.”

This government-sponsored course costs $175 and those who sign up will not only learn how to recognize a confined space, but how to work safely with others, or alone, in the confined space. As much fun as I am having imagining who might sign up for this course, it is equally entertaining imagining who the instructor might be. The North, like anywhere else, has no shortage of people suffering from various personal challenges, but recognizing a confined space must surely limit the enrolment.

Although, come to think of it, maybe it is for those who were born here, or for longtime residents of these wide open spaces; people who may truly be hampered by an inability to recognize a confined space.

It does beg the question of a bathroom, however, or even an outhouse, as everyone must at some time or another encounter these confined spaces. Oh! Of course! Obviously they will have experienced confined spaces; the course is designed to teach them to recognize it. The only people I can think of who may need help with this issue and could afford to pay for it are government workers. That would mean there is the possibility that those who were paid with government money to take the government sponsored training program on learning to work in mines are the victims of an oversight. The instructors forgot to acquaint them with the confined spaces of a mining tunnel or the cab of a grader and will now, for an additional $175, make up for their carelessness.

Then there is the one called Managing Response to Threat and Aggression, also government sponsored. Many, if not most, of the participants are likely to be government employees having this venture into higher education paid for by the government. Considering most of the threats and aggression come from this very government, just signing up for it would be a daring thing to do so. My guess would be they are mandated to take this course. Like, take this course or lose your job; all very oxymoronic.

It all sounds like money-laundering, doesn’t it? Like those stores we see that sell Halloween costumes year round and are rarely open for business. Or the one that sold sea shells, all the same sort of shell, dustily piled in bins. It too was rarely open and the one time I went in there, just because it was actually open, the young woman behind the counter could not tell me the name of the shells.

These courses also remind me of the Monty Python list which contained such gems as How to Turn Your Vacuum Cleaner into an Uzzi, and How to Bonsai Your Pet; it’s an effort to take them seriously unless one is making a living teaching them, or taking them, for that matter.

It’s hard to do more than roll one’s eyes at the antics of government, all governments anywhere. They are getting so alike, worldwide, but nothing will be changing as long as there are a few places to like Somalia to remind us that maybe lousy government is better than no government at all. How’s that for hopelessness?

I was glad to hear that Wayne’s surgery went well. The hip replacement procedure is definitely one of the better accomplishments of western medicine. I am happy for Juan that his favourite dog is able to bounce around once again, but I am somewhat struck by the irony of how quickly he was able to have the operation. I have met people here who have been waiting a year and often longer for this procedure. Now I can’t help but thinking they ought to be seeing their veterinarians instead of their surgeons; it’d cost the same, but it seems it would certainly happen faster. One may have to do one’s recovery in a crate, with kibble for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it’d be worth a couple of days discomfort to walk away with a working joint – hopefully upright.

The bed bug panic is not unknown to me; it was all over the Internet, the news growing more urgent everyday as it was revealed that even the posh hotels were getting infested. I thought about it only while I was reading about it; I must say beyond that, bed bugs were not on my mind. Even checking into the Westmark in Whitehorse on several occasions since learning about the pest, it never once occurred to me to ask the desk staff if their hotel had ever had, or was having, issues with bed bugs. Neither Pete nor I have ever encountered them, though we have in our time seen some pretty strange creatures in various hotel rooms around the globe, with the best one being two stark naked people in the closet. Oh those Germans!

Anyway, good to know the big hotel chains are recognizing the problem of bed bugs and have come up with a solution. If you are willing to pay more for your room, they will guarantee it is bug-free. For those who can’t pay this increase? Well, they just have to take their chances, not only on acquiring a parasite but on being seen and known as someone either too poor or too cheap to make certain they do not encounter bed bugs. That would be the nongovernment workers.

Still on the research trail and still finding it interesting enough to keep me going though sometimes I think it would be nice to experience a real job. I’d have to change my hours, but the amount of work time would be the same and I’d have company. Unless I end up in a confined space, alone.

Love,

Heather

Heather Bennett is a writer who lives in Watson Lake.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read