Tuesday, February 04, 2014

What a Funny Old World 

Photo of CN Tower looking eastward from Bathurst Bridge
CN Tower from Bathurst bridge. Image via Daily Dose of Imagery

It’s a funny old world. If the word “funny” is some kind of acronym like FUBAR (something like F**king Uncanny Nonsensical Negative Year; Fully Unlikable Nasty Neurotic Youth; F**king Unbelievably Nauseating News Year; Fearful Unimaginable Nightmare Neuters Yourself) I suppose it would be normal to feel like you don’t fit in the world when your father dies. I suppose I always feel this way in January. I suppose it’s normal. Nominally normal.

It’s no wonder I feel I don’t fit in the world. I barely fit in my pants. This is the pattern I’ve recognized that you may recognize too. January is cold, grey, damp and dank. I’ve gained ten pounds and no longer fit in most of my clothes. I shall exercise this demon away by hook or crook or by running or training. By the Ides of March, my weight will be more normal. Nominally normal, at any rate.

“Welcome to the Belt Empire”
I will do that, just as soon as this nap is over. There’s the rub. Rubbing my eyes that is. Pretty much from now until March, I would prefer to let gravity win. My only exercise during this time will be a sport I like to call 1-man stationary luge, also known as Couch Luge. Don’t laugh. You try pointing your toes. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Also during these months of static electricity and static exercise I like to eat. Stew mostly. Followed by bread and beer, please and thank you. All of this is pretty much a recipe for waist line expansion. Welcome to the Belt Empire. Always expanding and contracting. It’s the most annoying game of Risk you’ll ever play and your trousers are the game board.

And it has been cold. Probably not Winnipeg cold but cold nonetheless. Toronto has had 16 extreme cold weather alerts this year. That’s about sixteen times nominally normal. Since I’ve lived at this apartment, it seemed like my days of sweaters were over. In an attempt to counter the extreme breeze from the large draughty single pane windows, the landlords crank the heat as if to warm Beelzebub himself. My south facing apartment can sometimes be sweltering, but not this year. This year I’ve been re-introduced to my wardrobe of thermal underwear and merino wool base layers.

Adding to any Seasonal Affective Disorder I might be experiencing I’ve also been house hunting. I think hunting a house would actually be easier than trying to buy one. It’s not like they move around a lot. I’m a terrible shot, but I think I could hit the side of a house. That would be so much easier than trudging through the city, going into strange houses that you either wish to leave or live in. It's more safari than hunting. Then you get to put in an “offer”, first at a level you’d love, then at a level you could live with, then at a level when you start to question even living in this city at all.

This weekend I did hunt down a genuine prospect of a house. I even put in an offer (the real estate equivalent of firing a shot). Alas it was not to be. In the sports analogy of my mind, I was ahead in the third, but another offer forced overtime. I went into the OT period looking to take it all with one shot. I was not willing to go into a shoot-out. Thus it was, the big one got away. Regrets? I’ve had a few but more than this, I didn’t overspend on a small house by the railway.

On the emotional roller coaster of January, I’ve hit a few peaks and valleys but if you’re tall enough to get on this ride, you should also ensure you have the stomach for it. I recently read that in mid-January, the Inuit of Northern Greenland celebrate the return of the sun after over 40 days of winter darkness. This year it rose two days earlier than expected. You’d think that would be cause for celebration not consternation yet it set residents worrying about what it meant. Climate change was determined to be the culprit as the horizon appears lower due to reduced ice caps. Not so sunny a predicament after all. Unlike Greenland’s Inuit, I’d welcome the early return of the sun about now. At lunch someone mentioned NASA has said solar flares have been unusually active lately. I’d like to think of it as the sun reaching out to us to offer us a sliver of warmth to cut through the polar winds going down our collars, telling us, “Fear not, I’m coming for you.” After all, you realize the sun will rise again tomorrow – and fall too. Such are the peaks and valleys of January.

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