“Where are my pants?” “Was her name really ‘Areola’?” “We gotta get Grose outta here.” “I think I’m going to follow through on our drunken deal to vomit on the bridge.”
And then we got on an airplane.
At the airport coming back. Fresh out of the ocean, and into an intense hangover.
On this day two years ago, I set foot back on Canadian soil — carrying one of the worst hangovers of my life — with the intention of staying for a while. It’s been quite a ride.
In order to look forward, it’s first necessary to look back.
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. A lot. And you know what? We’ll all do it again, over and over. But I hope that not one of us does it tomorrow.
When you only plan to purchase one, small item and approach the supermarket check-out counter to find an extended line, the natural inclination is to return the product, leave, and come back at a more opportune time. In this scenario, the rationale makes sense. What happened last weekend, and what hopefully will not occur over the next twenty-four hours, makes no sense whatsoever.
Last weekend I read about many Canadians arriving at advanced polling stations only to quickly complain or walk away completely at the site of the lengthy lines. This, I don’t understand. Are we that spoiled that the mere thought of an inconvenient moment will dissuade us from taking part in, arguably, the most important aspect of our society?
Blackouts. Ice storms. Christmas. New Years. Something called a polar vortex. It’s certainly been an eventful few weeks back.
Though I’ve been back numerous times in my three and a half year absence from living in Canada, those visits differed greatly from this one. Every other visit had a specific end date; I always had a ticket back to Costa Rica. This time I don’t. That’s not to say that I’m back in Toronto indefinitely – that isn’t true – but I don’t have any definite plans to leave. This changes things considerably.
I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth noting again. When you visit home on a temporary basis, you never escape vacation mode. There’s a hard beginning, and a hard end. You know how much time you have, and hope to accomplish as much as you can within that time frame. If you don’t do one or two things, or miss out on seeing a few friends, you know you’ll catch them next time. Not the end of the world.
Today is Friday, which means it’s feria day. As I have since I’ve moved to Jacó, I will go down to the local farmers market and pick out the freshest assortment of fruits, vegetables, and other goodies that the weekly offering allows. Today is also Balut day – the designated Friday of the month in which I will head to San Jose to join the Danish boys in what’s quickly become one of my favorite evenings. And as I do almost every morning, I woke up, did some email, did some writing, and went down for a short walk on the beach. Nothing to see here.
Today is also the last time I will get to do those things in Costa Rica.
That routine that I have become so accustomed to has acted as a pretty effective shield against everyone’s most hated game of counting down the time you have left. For the last month everyone has been asking me how I’m feeling (supposedly in regard to my imminent departure and not that I have looked painfully ill – though one can’t be sure) and my answer has consistently been that I am pretty level.
I don’t always watch Fox News, but when I do it’s in a drunken stupor.
Whenever I need a good laugh I turn on the conservative network. Never in the morning, because that’s too much to handle before my first cup of coffee. Never at night either, as that’s not what I want to be thinking about as I go to bed. Also never for more than thirty consecutive minutes, as that becomes simply overwhelming. But for those thirty glorious minutes in the afternoon, Fox News hits the spot.
There’s something to be said for over-the-top, completely ridiculous television. I understand the need for this type of programming – and more importantly the audience it attracts. I also understand logical arguments when I hear them; I don’t often hear these on Fox News. Needless to say, I don’t schedule thirty minutes of my day to be intellectually stimulated. Rather, this blocked off period is for pure amusement.
I remember hearing about white collar and blue collar jobs. I also remember a time when I understood the difference. These days, the distinction is blurred at best.
If society deems blue collar work as something that entails physical labour and white collar as having a cubical, I suppose the best way to describe my current situation would be collarless. If we extend that metaphor, I think it’s fair to say that all of my endeavors over the last three years have lacked neck protection.
The collars analogy is just an attempt by society to insert a semblance of categorization into the workforce. I know this. But, identifying with a collar allows perspective. Knowing that you fall into one category or another enables you to distinctively see where the line between the two falls – and, in turn, to reflexively be aware what it is about you that makes you belong to one or the other.
But what if you don’t belong to either one?
I don’t usually do this. I am a creature of habit and thus like doing things when I say I’ll do them. This is for a few reasons but mainly it’s about organization. Without previously setting aside time to do certain tasks I would let my overwhelmingly best quality to take over: procrastination.
Up until I got my first “real job” a few years ago – though most people still tell me I’ve never had a real job – procrastination was my best skill. I practiced it. I honed it. I got better at it every day. But since I’ve crossed that mythical and mysterious line into adulthood I’ve had to put my most practiced skill on the back burner and start honing my new best skill, though definitely not my favorite, of organization.
I like to know when I’m doing something and for others to know that it will be done by a certain time. Google Calendar has really helped me with this and I can attribute much of my organizational skills to that. If you don’t use Google Calendar, you really should. *This is not an advertisement for Google. But if Google is reading (whoever that is) I’m not not listening. *
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For as long as I can remember it has been this way and even today I’m not entirely sure why. That is, I know why I like it; I’m just not sure why I rate it above other holidays that I am also fond of.
Christmas is great because everyone gets together who may not see each other on a regular basis. The food is rich and plentiful, the weather crisp and laughs abundant. With houses lit up, homes decorated and a general sense of calm, Christmas is an easy choice for favorite holiday.
Except it’s also very planned. Over organization and its structured nature, in addition to it being a big day on the calendar, are reasons why I think it’s not number one. Easter has become more of a vacation holiday than a celebratory one. New Year’s Eve is usually a letdown. St. Patrick’s Day, aside from not being a “real” holiday – despite what my opinionated Irish friends would tell you – is certainly fun, but cannot be taken seriously as a holiday preference.
I’m the eldest of two children; my younger brother is three years younger than me. Though the difference in years isn’t stark, the difference in experiences growing up certainly is.
Case in point can be seen with the ever infamous “hand-me-downs.” As the older sibling you’re always giving things away and as the younger sibling you’re always receiving them. The funny thing about hand-me-downs is that neither party is entirely pleased with the process.
The older sibling never really wants to completely relinquish that item they’ve grown attached to even though they know they have no more use for it. The younger sibling would prefer something new rather than worn. Being the elder in this scenario, I was always told when it was time to give that sweater to my brother; when it doesn’t fit anymore it’s time to move on. Seems fairly obvious.