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Some weeks back I was allowing myself to stare into the abyss a bit and contemplating that here I am in my late 50's and I have no, among many other things, friends. Oh, I have plenty of genial acquaintances in real life and people I've known a very long time who I have occasional contact with. Folks who'd give me real, tangible help if I was in need are out there, as are those for whom I'd do likewise; probably two closely-overlapping circles on a Venn diagram. Every few years I have a girlfriend for a while.


There's no one I hang out with. No one seeks the pleasure of my company, casual or otherwise. By the same token, I seek not that of others. Used to be easy, throwing back a brew or two and shooting the shit, back in the day, but me no drinky long time. There's flying friends and we ride up the mountain 6-10 at a time for a half-hour in a van or in smaller carpools but it's all who happens to be there that day, at least for me. Not much "Hey ___________, let's go _____________ next weekend.", mostly because I don't like to _____________ , especially on weekends.


This was all more a framing-things-clearly than a self-pitying lamentation. Here's how it is, there's probably a good reason.


Fast-forward a couple of weeks and John Mullaney hosts SNL and during his monologue mentions how his Dad (likely my slightly-older peer) has no friends. The guys he socializes with are the husbands of his wife's friends. So true; seen it. Subtract the wife and whatcha got? (my wife had no local friends, FWIW) Actually felt a little better.


Now we're looking at various levels of formal and informal quarantine and "social distancing" for Covid-19 and here I am an old pro!

More or less a normal Saturday, which my family treats as a "work day" as a mental reminder to treat the following day as a "rest day."

But since it's also Pi day, my work today must include some math. At this time I am focused on a creation of my own that I have labeled "arrangements." These Chinese Remainder Theorem analogues have some interesting properties, but so far they haven't provided any earth-shattering insights, and today was no exception. I started my theorizing session by properly defining my terms around a small sub-idea that at certain lengths, arrangements could be guaranteed to be unique. At the end of the day I had definitely concluded that while some arrangements could be unique, the vast majority of them would not be. This conclusion brought a decisive end to one avenue for possibly approaching Legendre's Conjecture.

But that's just one avenue, and now I have a stronger understanding of how these objects really work. This negative progress is still progress.

I've already written on Friday the 13th. In fact, I received the call while I was penning March 13, 2020, just before dinner.

We'd attended a surprise birthday party the previous Saturday, and the guest of honour and my wife made plans for lunch. She and her husband often donate to local theatre, and are producers of some shows. In any case, they met for lunch downtown.

My wife's friend received a call regarding a meeting at the theatre. She brought my wife with her.

Elsewhere in town, a playwright awaited opening night.

Emma Donoghue has written for decades, but it's fair to say her greatest fame came from the novel Room. This brilliant book, disturbing and hopeful, became a bestseller. Hollywood made a movie from it-- which should no more be mistaken for Tommy Wiseau's The Room than David Cronenberg's Crash should be confused with Paul Haggis's film of the same name. Then it became a play. The story concerns a woman, kidnapped as a teenager and held captive by a sinister man. She gives birth to a son and must raise him in a room. It's the only world he knows, and their life seems entirely normal to him. Ma, however, knows their situation cannot continue, and she plots against their captor.

The story can be placed in different contexts. A version ran last year in Ireland, and a Korean company wants to stage a production.

The current adaptation came home to Canada, to the Irish-born author's adopted city-- our city, as it happens. They planned a run locally, followed by a touring production.

I can only imagine the monumental disappointment of the author, the director, the cast, and the crew when they heard the news. Due to COVID-19 (the reality of which we were only just beginning to grasp), the theatre would close. Opening night would not happen.

At the meeting, the theatre announced, in addition to the closing, that they would stage a "final rehearsal" that would run early in the evening, mainly for friends and families of the cast and crew. My wife, being by sheer happenstance at the right place and time, received the nod, and asked if I could join her. I wondered about the ethics and safety of going, but we'd had few cases in this county at that point, and I cannot change the circumstances surrounding this one event.

They transformed Donoghue's powerful novel into an incredibly dynamic and touching piece of theatre, one of the best I've seen. It's decidedly different from the strong film adaptation, and more affecting. And we all had the opportunity to say these things, to the director, the actors, and the writer, while the crew packaged up the set.

I could review the acting, the theatrical effects, the music, and so forth, but I'm hoping, when this pandemic passes, the show will be revived, and, as intended, tour.

And when it does, I strongly recommend you see it.

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