The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, August 04, 2006

Best Read with Cheese

Oh my dear friends. Here it is, a lovely Friday before a long holiday weekend and I am blue. My computer has a virus (how? why? wherefrom?), and my car needs to go in for some work tomorrow. So two things in my life that help get me around this big ol' world of ours are feeling poorly and acting up, and I am at the mercy of specialists to fix things. It's irksome, to say the least. Contrary to what you might have heard, I'm not (that much of) a control freak – but when I know so little about the inner workings of two of my own world's lifelines, I feel helpless and oddly guilty. Now I know by next week my car will be fixed and my computer will be fine. So really I should just shut the hell up and thank my lucky stars my "problems" are what they are. Honestly. I should know better than to gripe about a leaky exhaust system and some pesky computer virus (brought upon, probably, now that I feel a need to confess my guilty pleasures, by visiting some Big Brother fansite – I get a little off balance every year about this time, and no, I don't really want to go into it, but thanks for wondering).

Has anyone read the news lately? It's beyond heartbreaking. All of it. Even the "good" news like "Vaccine Gives Hope to the Obese".

Way, way back when I was a bona fide youngster, I figured the New Millennium would mean incredibly magical things such as picture phones (check), people shaving their heads as a fashion statement (check), and flying cars (no check, but given the challenge of gravity-based driving for many, that's probably best left on hold). I did not think that people would be at war with one another.

My parents lived through WWII as children – Canadian children. All sets of my grandparents (more than the usual two due to divorces, remarriages, etc.) never saw any active combat, but war was still something that was a part of my parents' young Canadian lives. There was rationing, there were blackout drills and air-raid drills at their grade schools. I can remember being tucked in at night accompanied with war stories from my mother's memories. What to do in case of a bomb threat (hide under your schooldesk). How one couldn't even have a cigarette lit in the living room when the sirens would go off. Sugar was a luxury item. She learned how to knit socks using four needles (crazy complicated to me) as she helped her own mom put together care packages for our soldiers overseas. She collected tin foil. She said goodbye to a lot of young neighbours and cousins who never came back. And if they did, they were incredibly damaged. I was lucky, she would tell me. I wouldn't have to live through that. Because things were different now.

Things are different now indeed. Sugar rationing is a laughable idea (but would probably be a good thing). Most days, I yearn to hide under my desk for no real reason at all. As an occasional smoker, I am assigned to hide my disgusting habit at all times. And nobody knits socks anymore, do they?

But the threat of saying goodbye to friends is there. Huge time. I didn't envision such a thing as The Internet when I was a kid. Sure, I had pen pals galore, but I was mostly in it for the pretty stamps and stationery and "Hello Kitty" stickers. Now I have true friends on the other side of the world with bombs falling on their front doorsteps. And that wasn't supposed to happen. My mom told me people had learned things since she was a kid. Guess not.

So my car makes a funny noise and my computer is probably going to need reformatting. Other than that, I'm only marginally uncomfortable in this heat and, dang it all, I couldn't find any sugar-free tonic water to mix with my Grey Goose vodka.

Peace and prayers to all that should have my "problems".

Have a safe weekend, all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I constantly have to give myself permission to not learn how to knit.

"It's okay if you never make a pair of socks."

Anne C.

Fri Aug 04, 09:36:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Your sentiments within a historical context are excellent, thank you for the perspective, Mel. Beautifully written as well.

Fri Aug 04, 12:02:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Brings back memories, Melbel, hearing my parents talk about food rationing, coupons for meat and sugar, women painting seams on the backs of their legs because nylong stocking were scarce. It's so sad that almost every generation we have to kill a bunch of people under the mistaken belief that we're safeguarding our "liberty."

Fri Aug 04, 01:24:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Damn, Mel, you just made me teary here. I'm sitting at my desk perfectly morose with my own 'problems' (coincidentally, a computer full of Trojan Horses and the like, and a minor pay reduction), which are nothing compared to what real problems are. Thanks for the perspective, doll. I needed it. Bon weekend!

Fri Aug 04, 02:55:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

oh Melbel, how do you do this??? this has stuck such a chord, thank you for making me feel grateful, aware of how lucky I truly am, wonderful writing. I can crochet!! but socks, sharon Hurlbut is a great knitter..xoxo

Fri Aug 04, 03:56:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

The news is on my mind even more than usual these days, and to truly contemplate the suffering makes it damn near impossible to get out of bed and face the day.

And yet we face the world with our delight and our joy (where we can) - because sometimes that is all we can do to shed light into the darkness of the world.

thank you for your sharing, Mel

Sun Aug 06, 05:24:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MelBel, give that computer some aspirin and a rest. I hate it when my system is down. Know how you feel.

Maple Room

Mon Aug 07, 10:20:00 am GMT-4  

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