|RUNNING INTO THE SUN|
The SASKATCHEWAN HIGHLAND GATHERING AND CELTIC FESTIVAL was in full kilt this morning in Victoria Park – and those bagpipe blow-toned drones really did drown my thrumming attempt at the FARMERS MARKET right next door.
My strategy to overcome such was not complicated. I packed up my bag and went looking for a place to hide … setting up my buskspot at SHOPPERS ON BROAD. SHOPPERS was quiet (an understatement when compared to Victoria Park), and the pedestrian line thin. Whenever given this lack of consumer circumstance I tend to wool-gather whilst I thrum, and my theme is the usual recurring one of the road genre.
I love the road theme! I love that stranger-come-to-town scenario where my Walter Mitty imagination explodes into a life that so far is moribund, explodes into that life of me being a traveling minstrel!
My long desire is to be an international busker, having notoriety only to those who read this blog. I’m not waiting nor wanting to be discovered for a bigger stage; I mean after all, there is no bigger stage than the planet!
I want to steer off that vanilla expressway, and not follow the social crazes that I’ve been prone to do to date. I, along with the rest of the hoi polloi, can’t seem to stop comparing myself to my peers. And according to Jess Ferreras (May 21, 2016), this is such a ruthless comparison, a notion that is daily enforced not only in work and recreation, but also in our social media. I mean, really, doesn’t everyone who is friend-farming (FACEBOOK) have the tendency to twist and promote their rather mundane routines into achievements unique and spectacular!
Following are my notions of what represents the vanilla expressway zeitgeist, the one on which I’m most familiar and experienced and have so far stayed the course, and now after achieving success in this ruthless comparison, I am wanting to steer off onto the roads less traveled by, abandon the current crazes, and simply follow my the sun and … my heart:
- AN IMPRESSIVE JOB
Having an impressive job seems important. And not so surprisingly, it seems important because it is important. Being in a work environment which you love is great, but certainly not experienced by the middle-class majority members who moil and moil and moil some more. This moiling brings the necessary income to have life accessories of course, which include three to six weeks of yearly vacation and at career completion, a Cadillac pension.
I’m still in the workplace, fortunately in a job that I love.
- NEW VEHICLE
Practically everyone I know who after landing that impressive job buys a new set of wheels. Vehicles in my clime and locale are essential. My city is not big enough to offer a slick and ready transit service, not like the services offered, going west to east, Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. My city, Regina, does not have the population base, and therefore the tax dollars, to provide more than bare-bones bus schedules in limited areas, other to and fro downtown. Anyone having to get anywhere seems to need an SUV or a sports truck or sports car. Sedans have become vanilla, even for those in the vanilla. Fortunately for me, I live right downtown.
- NEW HOUSE
Once the children arrive in thought or in the flesh, it’s time to find new digs. And these new digs, especially with children in mind, really should include the back yard (to throw a ball) and white picket fence to contain the play area. Whenever children are in the mix, this means having the common sense to afford the extra space to accommodate them.
Houses truly do become homes; whereas, rented apartments are just that, rented spaces to sleep and shower in.
- FANCY RESTAURANTS
Everyone feels the necessity to experience some seemingly sophisticated evening of song and dance; this is especially true for couples who have children. Before the children, when the lovers were single, going out to bars whenever is the norm. Once the kids arrive, everything has to be planned but … also experienced in the terms of social norms. Fancy restaurants or neighborhood brewpubs are definitely the trend for the younger generations of emerging adults and for the older generation of those wanting to stay young at heart.
- COTTAGE AT THE LAKE
It’s not uncommon for any resort area to have row upon row, from lake shore to lake view properties filled with families in summertime Saskatchewan. Every weekend (and I’ve been there) loading foodstuffs and booze to take to the cottage at the lake. Every weekend when we owned our cottage at the lake was not a sandcastle weekend. Factoid: Every weekend I would fix the place a bit, mow the yard a lot, and get ready for company. As a family we certainly had good times down at the beach, but the cottage was really a rustic version of our urban home. It was, to the children’s chagrin, not as good a place as for indoor recreation as was our home in the city. And as the children grew older, especially in their adolescent years, were just as wanting to stay in the city and hang out with friends, rather than experience the family-fun times at the lake. I’m told this is not uncommon. I’m told that in their later adolescence and emerging adulthood, THEY want the lake cottage to themselves to entertain their friends, not really encouraging the parents to be present.
- URGING FAMILY TO STAY CLOSE TO HOME
And yes, everyone, including our kids, generally speaking, grows up and gets a job. This is so great. When the kids have grown and gone, wouldn’t it be treacly great for every one of them to get an impressive job with three to six weeks’ vacation and a Cadillac pension and live right within the same city as the parents? And wouldn’t it be great if the kids and grand-kids gathered every Sunday for an afternoon visit and evening dinner at the grandparents’ abode. This is what we strive for, to limit our children, too, to the locale and expressway stay-near-home adventures … that everybody who is normal seems to adhere to. It’s a stay-near-home lifestyle that is predictably free of family sorrow, rather safe in any physical and metaphorical aspects, and is especially seldom filled with challenge or surprise. A stay-at-home life time adventure can only lead to a life of really limited adventure. Your kids have their own lives -- let them live it without the parent all-knowing bias and guilt-ridden interference.
- A RETIREMENT OF GOLF AND ARIZONA
When the day comes to toss the necktie and spend the last few decades of life trying to score less than par … that is the day you can finally set your drive on auto cruise. I just hope that day never arrives for me. Golf has become the most favored middle-class craze of choice, its popularity rising constantly these last two decades. I do think the popularity of golf is in direct correlation with the baby-boomer retirement phenomena. This is really a no-brainer. People, who are getting longer in the tooth and bigger in the belly, find a certain solace in the game of golf. It’s a soft exercise (if driving around in a golf cart and getting out eighteen times to swing a club exercise); it’s competitive (with others or for the more cerebral, for within yourself), and it’s an opportunity to experience the wind and the rain and the sun (although rainy day putters are rare). And where better to putt than in Arizona, this is especially true if your principal residence is in Saskatchewan, Canada. In Saskatchewan, our golf season is short, short. Spending winters in Arizona certainly adds the greens to your winter.
This is not for me! I don’t want same ol’ same ol’ convention and norm and restriction.
I WANT MORE.
But wanting more ain’t easy. Wanting more could really mean suffering the consequences of leaving a locale (for certain), or depending on the relationship, leaving a loved one (maybe). Wanting more means a wistful willing to exit the conventional with-it.
Moving on from anything, especially anything of convention means a certain sense of loss, a sense of grief, or at the very least a temporary depression and the rest of your life second-guessing. These, not surprisingly, are the notions that have been en-grained in the general wisdom of the nature of life.
To live is to suffer is the skinny of Zen. Striving to stay within the confines of social convention and striving to stay within the accepted notion of common-sense, means not seeing the bigger picture. It means not seeing the picture of LIFE, and not LIVING A LIFE.
Seeing the bigger picture, especially when the nest is empty, gives one the opportunity to choose a lifestyle based on personal dream and desire. Actually living and being a player in the bigger picture means resisting the urge to put one's life on auto-pilot, and resisting the temptation to be seated in the economy class seats right next to the Joneses.
While you are still raising your children, for their sake it is probably socially important to follow the zeitgeist, keep rolling along doing the best you can for yourself while accommodating those dependent upon you. But when your kids are grown and gone ... there is little reason not to believe in your dream and little reason not to live that lifelong road dream.
Steering off that vanilla adventure expressway is not easy, but anything in life worth having is not easy. You only live once and only for so long, both literally and metaphorically. Even when blazing trails off that vanilla adventure expressway there will be good days and bad days. Even so, just keep in mind:
SHOULD YOU STEER OFF THAT VANILLA ADVENTURE EXPRESSWAY ...
YOU ARE THE NOW THE ONE WHO IS WRITING YOUR OWN SCRIPT!
Those marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:
|SELF AND HONETTE (DAUGHTER OF MY FRIEND, MARYELLE) AT SHOPPERS ON BROAD|
|PARKING AGENT, HARPING MARK AND SELF|
|BEAVERS ON MY BIKE RIDE ALONG WASCANA CREEK|
|TRAVERS AND FRIENDS FROM FRANCE, TURKEY, RUSSIA, AND AUSTRIA ON A BOAT IN AMSTERDAM|