How long do we get to be happy? What I mean is, having wished for something and got it, how long are we allowed to simply appreciate the thing we now have before either beginning to resent it or to wish for something else?
And the answer is: two weeks. At least that's the answer for me, in the case of the Toronto apartment where I am now living after more than a decade in a small town. Two weeks and counting, that is. I still get a kick out of walking downstairs and seeing Riverdale spread out before me like a deboned pork roast unrolled on a butcher block (probably the wrong image, since the area seems to have more than its share of vegans). I still enjoy hopping on my bike to head downtown, or wandering over to a coffee shop with a view of the Don Valley and skyline -- that's it in the picture there. I still marvel at how few kilometres I have put on my car in two weeks (like, 25).
My apartment, though not perhaps hot, is still a nice girl -- the mild romance has not gone out of our relationship. (In fact with the pictures up she looks kind of dashing.) I have less space for things than I did in the house in Cobourg, but then I have fewer things. And with space at a premium I can ask myself if I really need something and if the answer is no I can throw it out.
I am not right in the heart of the happening downtown, but I am about 100 kilometres closer to it than I was two weeks ago. There is not a fantastic bar right around the corner, but that may be just as well. When I think about all the ways life is not working out -- from global warming to impending war to embarrassing local political leaders -- I am doing okay. Nothing much to complain of.
Oooh, except those bastards at the Cobourg cable company. Would you believe they are trying to bill me for my old TV box and modem even though I already mailed them back????
I know, eh? Cogeco, you are getting a piece of my mind on Monday, I can tell you.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
An ethical dilemma regarding football tickets occupied much of my yesterday. Should I have been upset? Should my daughter have been upset? How can a simple act of generosity result in so much heartache?
But first, an update. My new digs are charming, near-spacious, and 100 kms closer to downtown than my last ones. My books are up, my rugs are down, and I am almost caught up on my laundry. I have bought groceries, had my bike tuned, found an okay neighborhood bar and coffee shop, acted badly at a gas station, got a parking ticket (first of many, I am sure), and made an actual enemy. In short, I'm starting to feel at home.
More on moving week next time. Today my theme is generosity and stress. A friend offered free tickets to yesterday's Argo game (that's it there). I am not a fan but my daughter Thea said she would be delighted to go, so I drove uptown to meet my friend and pick up the tickets. All good. Yesterday was game day and I was on my way to Thea's to deliver the tix when I found myself stuck in film festival traffic. It got ugly. People were lined up to see who was going to get out of the long limousines. I fumed. Thea texted me: WHERE ARE U? I texted IN TRAFFIC! She texted: THE GAME WILL START SOON!! and I texted I KNOW I KNOW!!! (If you think I was being dangerous, texting and driving, all I can say is that you don't know film festival traffic. I had moved 0 feet in the previous ten minutes.) I'm sure she was not angry at me, but there was a sense of "Geez Daddy" in her texts. And I know I was not angry at her, but still there was an edge in my feelings -- a sense of having gone to some trouble for not much reward. And I got to thinking about how much happier we would both be if there were no football tickets and we were home doing our small daily things, and how a simple generous impulse can result in a lot of stress.
When you are stressed, it helps to have a villain to focus on. The mayor, the Prime Minister, the guy yelling at you for parking your moving van in the only available spot (which is how I made my enemy. Sooo cool). In this football ticket saga there was no villain -- except maybe George Clooney or whoever was in the limo, and he probably didn't want to be here either. It goes to show you.
Thea and her friends arrived in time for the game and had, apparently, a great afternoon. I don't know what I will do the next time anyone offers me a freebie.