Saturday, 9 January 2016


Damp, Dismal, Drab, Dreary and Dull Days

The outdoor lights and indoor decorations have been put away. The tree lies in the alley awaiting pick up. We returned the rented Rug Doctor machine to the grocery store (it took some five minutes for one of our Christmas guests to spill their wine). The carpet’s clean although there may or may not be a faint whiff of cat piss embedded in some of its fibres, particularly proximate to the location of the tree. These holidays are over.

Looking out our back door through the fog billowing from the clothes dryer vent Tuesday morning I observed that the neighbourhood’s jays and magpies had frowned at the crumbs of a heel of bread I’d scattered for them. The sky was fireplace ash, the evergreens grey and there were hints of hoar-frost on the remaining brittle brown branches and twigs. White snow atop squat white garages. You can’t help but think about escaping to other places, exiting the chilly low light of this misty, monochromatic world.

Where to roam for a different set of holidays? WestJet has a January BLOWOUT! sale on for a few more days. I like WestJet because it’s not Air Canada. I hate WestJet because its flight staffs are infuriatingly cheery and chirpy. And WestJet introduced the $25 checked bag fee which Air Canada matched, naturally. Why don’t airlines charge for carry-on and spin cargo hold bags as gratis? Each entitled Einstein blocking an aisle during boarding while mystified and bemused as to why their steamer trunk doesn’t slot into the overhead bin above their seat row cries out for an additional and steep ‘on-and-off’ convenience fee.

I’d like to go somewhere with a little moisture in the air. A place where opening a carton of beer doesn’t slice the nicotine stained and withered parchment enveloping my fingers and hands to ribbons. Our wish to travel is more acute: let’s go while we’re still fit enough to move about for five or six hours at a stretch, while we still perceive hotels as simple shelters, places to sleep and bathe, rather than destinations. I have regrets about my unadventurous youth. I lacked the resources back then but what I really lacked was courage because I’ve always liked things just so and obviously everything would be out of kilter in a foreign place, especially the toilets.

Like many Canadians needing to escape the oppressive leaden skies of winter, we’re looking south. Despite registered Republicans and a national propensity for daily mass shootings (defined by the FBI as three or more persons killed or wounded), the United States beckons. We’ve laughed about rubbernecking the uncontrolled crossing of wretched excess and the grotesque that is Las Vegas. Both Rod Stewart and Elton John are playing that oasis in April; if only it were 1976 instead of 2016. Much more intriguing is a potential music themed road trip through Memphis and Nashville and god knows where else a blue highway may take us. Clarksville?  I’ve never been to New Orleans or San Francisco and I’d blow through Chicago (and Buddy Guy’s Legends on Wabash) or the Big Apple again in a New York minute.

The hindrance is the depressed state of Canadian currency. The loonie while not quite a dead duck is certainly emu-like, flightless. Taking a winter vacation in Canada is for us a bit like the busman’s holiday and of course bad news for the friends and relatives whom we choose to inflict ourselves upon.

No comments:

Post a Comment