Monday, October 3, 2011

Be careful what you wish for

Back in Lachute, I spent a lot of time walking and jogging and having silent conversations with the universe.

I had asked for a quiet place, near a body of water.

I got a quiet street, but a noisy place near the river. I didn't ask to be "right by the river" so I got 'near' with some slums between it and me and sick, violent people upstairs and next door.

So I asked harder for peace and quiet. And I got it, but then it was too quiet. That was after the back injury and I'd spent the entire summer recuperating. Then followed winter, and that, too, was solitary. I would take naps sometimes in the afternoon and my dreams were, as always, fascinating.

But when I woke up it was always with the sinking feeling of, "Oh, no. I'm back in my dreary life again."

Very depressing.

Now -- I'm in the city, and again near water, as requested; still not close enough, though. I need to be more specific! Don't have the splendid view that some neighbours enjoy. When the leaves fall off the scrubby trees behind our property, however, I'll see all of downtown Montreal and the entire mountain across a stretch of water throughout the winter. But I want the summer view, too.

As for the quiet, well, we ain't got much of that, but I'm dealing with it. And when I wake up from a nap now, it's with the knowledge that a bus runs right by our front door and I can hop on anytime and go anywhere.

Friday, June 10, 2011

1000 Ways to Die

A few weeks ago my son and I were discussing the best and worst ways to die. Strictly theoretical. Of course we've never quite gotten our heads around the suicides of two of his childhood friends a year ago, so the topic comes up now and then, sometimes prompted by things in the news.

In fact, that was how this topic came up -- local news channels had been talking about the trial of the Piedmont doctor who'd killed his two children and then, laughably, "tried" to off himself by drinking Windex. We agreed that a doctor would have more knowledge and means at his disposal than this half-assed method.

Referring to the two friends who hung themselves, I asked Alex, "How does someone even know how to tie the right kind of knot for hanging?" And he said, "Mom, the Internet."

Of course. You can find just about anything on the net, can't you?

So this led to our discussion of best and worst ways to remove oneself from the daily grind of earthly existence.

I thought pills, but it would have to be lots of them. He said, "Think of the horrible sick buzz you'd get first. Maybe you'd puke, and choke." I thought: car running in garage. I don't remember how he disputed that one; I still think it sounds easy. We agreed that any form of asphyxiation (drowning, smoke) is bad. Jumping off anything from very high up is bad, in my books, but he said if you fall backwards without looking it's OK.

Yesterday, I hit on the perfect one whilst watching a terribly sad documentary on the Irish potato famine and the dreadful trip one boatload of refugees endured trying to get to North America. The ship was sinking and it was the middle of winter. The captain and his top men escaped to a lifeboat, leaving most passengers (including many children) to perish in the frigid waters or on ice floes.

And, finally, I heard the words which gave me the answer to our debate: the best way to die is of hypothermia. After the cold, your body feels warm and you get sleepy. Off you drift, off you go.

Meanwhile, the potato famine story opened my eyes for the first time to another debate: act of God or genocide? Both, as it turns out, or as historians are proving. Ireland continued to export food staples while its poorest were starving, the thinking being that the poor

ate only potatoes, and couldn't be convinced to change their diet to survive. And many landlords were more than glad to be rid of their peasant tenants so that their land might be converted for more lucrative uses. Shocking, really. I plan to read up more on it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

And then I changed my mind

I was thinking about moving back to Montreal, or near Montreal, but after remembering how thrilled I was to move into my present abode, I decided to stay put.

Sure, as a friend says, I can find cheaper somewhere else. And yes, I was considering moving in with my son so we could ease our respective financial burdens.

But after consideration, I decided there is NO WAY I am ready to have neighbours overhead or under me. I spent too many years listening to other peoples' plumbing, snoring, doorbells, telephones, shouts and dogs to move again. Just the thought of packing and hauling stuff into and out of a truck fills me with fear and near-nausea.

Part of my thinking, too, was that this town is so dead I can barely stand it anymore. Everyone I know agrees... it's a BORING PLACE TO LIVE!

But since I can't change the town, I can change my attitude about it, and damn well find things to do.

So there.