I had a cold last week. I hate being sick.
I find it offensive, as though the germs are deliberately attacking my ability to get stuff done.
At first I thought it was nothing major, some dry coughing, runny nose. Enough to keep me home from my day job. When I couldn’t go into work on Tuesday morning, I thought “well at least I can get things done around the house.” I walked downstairs put in a load of laundry, walked back up and that was all the energy I had for the day. Zilch accomplished. And if that wasn’t bad enough, three days later, on Friday, I laid down to take a “short nap” at 9 am and must have turned off my alarm. Because I woke at 1:23pm.
Five days of being flat out and getting nothing done.
The rational part of my brain says I obviously needed the rest to heal. The rest of my brain is jumping up and down with clenched hands throwing a temper tantrum of epic proportions. All. That. Time. WASTED!
It seems as though, for me, this hiatus is a lot about letting go. Letting go of self-imposed stress. Self-imposed expectations. Letting go of my ideas of what productivity means (more output, more checks on lists, more action!) and accepting that sometimes what seems to be unproductive is good. My jaw hurts just thinking that but I’m trying to get there.
In the wee hours of the night when I was lying awake with hamsters running around my brain I started composing this post about the end of my clay class and the things I made and more importantly learned. I will get to that.
But then, like most trains of thought at 3 am, it took a left turn.
And I started thinking about the weather.
When I interned in England in 2002 my supervisor commented that Canadians are obsessed with the weather, she didn’t know of any other nationality who kept such a constant eye on what was happening outside and what was upcoming. At the time I was shocked and I realized it was true. We are obsessed. But when Mother Nature is out to kill you 8+ months of the year, it’s important to pay attention. Last week it averaged about -30 C. One day, five of the coldest places ON EARTH were in my province. And everyone still has to get to work, buy groceries, and go on living, even if your skin can freeze in 10 minutes.
That internship made me fascinated with how people from other places view so-called mundane things – like distances. I discovered all the other interns, who were from countries around Europe, had a very condensed sense of distances. I had been looking into some side trips to Scotland, France, and the Netherlands. Living in Canada I see it as no big deal to drive 3 hours for a visit. I know lots of people who go that far for a daytrip. I told the other interns I was thinking of driving to Scotland for 3 days and they acted as if I were mad. One woman from the Czech Republic was flabbergasted – her family had a cottage three hours from Prague and they felt it too far to drive for less than a week. As an undergrad I’d drive 8-10 hours home for a 3-day weekend (similar to the trip I thought to take to Scotland). But a half-dozen interns is a small sample, do other people feel the same way? Distance is a set thing, a solid measurable number, but peoples’ perceptions of, and relationship to it, seem so different.
Another thing that interests me lately is peoples’ experience of wildlife – I wonder is it a ‘Canadian-thing’, ‘a Calgary-Thing’, or…what? I live inner city in a city of about 1.2 million people. I often joke to my husband that in the event of a ‘real zombie apocalypse’, at the rate we hike, it would take a week to get to the city limits. My son’s school is even further towards the downtown. But this is an email we received from his school yesterday:
There has been a bobcat sighted just east of the school towards the big hill. Please be cautious.
I had been wondering why we hadn’t had as many hares around the yard this year. There’s usually two-four who camp out on our front lawn, plus ones we see roaming the back alley. Now I guess I have my answer.
And I was worried letting Arthur walk to school because of reckless drivers! Ha!
Do people in other places/cities/countries have things like this happen? Bobcats this far into town are a new thing, but hares, deer, coyotes, cougars, and even the occasional bear are all normal-ish to have in the suburbs here. It seems to me that Calgary is unusual in having so much wildlife, or am I wrong?