Monday, July 12, 2010

Having a Ball

Hello everyone. It's around two in the afternoon. I just tried to go out for a walk and discovered what a dreary day it is weather-wise. Got all geared up in hat, water bottle, Trekker Breeze, cell phone and digital recorder only to walk out into a thankfully gentle but persist ant rain at the moment. In all other aspects, things are going alright with the exception of zero creative inspiration. Yesterday was an excellent end to the weekend. In many respects, it more than made up for my failure to get out during the evening on Canada Day. Not certain I blogged about that so perhaps a slight digression is in order here.

I had gone out to have a stroll around the lake and hopefully some interesting conversations on the way. Everything went well and I indeed met a number of folks. It got cold so I went in for a while. Changing into longer pants, I figured I'd spend a couple of hours catching up on stuff inside and then head out to hear the fireworks which I presumed would be in the area around the lake. At the very least, I figured there'd be people out there. With my trusty Trekker Breeze and cell phone, I headed out wearing my light jacket. Unfortunately, I got one small detail mixed up in my mind. At the beginning of the walk out towards the path around the lake, you need to pass a small building for underground parking on the left side. I somehow got it into my head that I absolutely had to pass it on the right. It's like when you're dead certain that you purchased something and look around in every conceivable place you imagine you may have put it when ultimately, you never bought the item at all. That's the closest analogy I can come up with. Passing it on the right leads you to a dead end and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I wasn't coming to the turn leading down to the path round the lake as expected. A well-meaning lady saw me out there as I made repeated attempts to find my way onto the path. Like most sighted folks, she didn't comprehend how one very small detail can make so much difference. She thought I should just stay where I was and not get lost. I got the impression she left with one that I was a disaster waiting to happen rather than an intelligent single blind man just one crucial fact short of getting where I wanted to be. Knowing full well that it would be something dirt simple and damned obvious to my father when he came the next day to get me on the way to a family activity, I eventually gave up and went back inside where I heard plenty of fireworks and people from my balcony in utter solitude. I was literally steps away from a long-held dream of attending a cultural celebration taking place where I wouldn't have needed any help getting to or from the gathering if that one small detail hadn't lost its integrity in my head. It would have made for a splendid end to an otherwise great Canada Day even if I didn't end up encountering anyone particularly willing to converse. I would have been part of the celebration taking place in my community on my own terms for the first time in my life. At least I know that stuff happens there now. Next time, if I'm not somewhere else with friends or family, I'll damned well be out there. If I'm to have a less solitary life which positively impacts my community, I've got to give people as much of an opportunity to get to know me as possible. Nobody has yet come and knocked on my door. That just doesn't seem to be done around here. Shared purpose or shared events are the only avenues to building connections. The church has certainly provided that to a degree. However, I'm going to need more than that if I hope to make any permanent headway against long bouts of writer's block and times when I go two or more consecutive days without seeing anybody. This is particularly the case in the winter when it's a lot harder for me to get anywhere alone. Since there's no indoor social gathering spot in the building that I'm aware of, taking a walk around the lake is my best option for the present. I can do that without fear of getting too lost and can therefore meet people in a situation where I'm confident and competent.

Yesterday, after the church service, a whole bunch of us went out to watch the World Cup Soccer game at a Boston Pizza in Oakville. I figured I'd go along rather than spend yet another afternoon alone. The game itself struck me as somewhat dull. I hadn't heard a Soccer game since I was forced to go along when my brother Dan played with other kids. That has to be something over twenty years ago. I found myself far more interested in the human dynamics playing out in the restaurant. To my surprise, things were very civil despite there being two groups of fans supporting opposing teams. There were a lot more Holland supporters than those cheering for Spain but the Spaniards gave a very credible auditory account of themselves. Neither team actually seemed to get anywhere though. Each time I heard a cheer and felt certain that a goal had at last been scored, I was then told by Joseph that this hadn't happened. Tremendous cheers kept signifying that nothing or "nil"in Soccer parlance, had actually changed. A bunch of people got penalty cards but only one player was actually removed. One goal ultimately decided the outcome. By all measures a non-enthusiast has to work with, it seemed an incredibly poor spectacle. However, nobody really got out of hand or seemed to lose interest. Even the kids were very well behaved and less prone to antics than I would have thought. Neither group of fans put any effort into getting the goats of the opposing side. There were no verbal jousts or anything like that. Even at the end when Spain won the game, it simply provoked a cheerful but contained song from the Spain supporters which apparently wasn't their national anthem. It certainly proved to be an enjoyable time out. I met a few new people and there was lots of conversation to be had prior to the start of the game. When that began, people were understandably otherwise occupied.

Later that evening, I went for another stroll around the lake. Again, I met a number of different friendly people including a Jehovah's witness. I hadn't met up with one of those in ages but found that their message has remained pretty consistent. The end times are *close* at hand so everyone should prepare. I strongly disagree with the first part of that statement. Regarding the second part, I've always thought that the best way to prepare for an event over which we have absolutely no power was to do our utmost to be better people and build a better here and now for everyone. God will take care of the rest. I respectfully let her know where I stood and that while I'm very interested in friends, there had to be more to the relationships I'm after than arguing over theology. As part of a genuine friendship, I don't mind that at all. If, in the course of natural discussion, the subject of religion comes up, I'm happy to have at it. However, having people come over for that specific purpose alone isn't the sort of visitor I hope to have in my place. She seemed to understand well enough where I was coming from. I expect we'll have more discussions while I'm out for a stroll. Other residents also said hello. I couldn't count the number of dogs I met. Ironically enough the dog belonging to the Jehovah's Witness was the least friendly. Having suffered abuse from a prior owner, he was the least able to serve his owner in that crucial ice-breaking way that dogs seem to. If anybody needs a social edge like that, it would have been her. Jehovah's Witnesses labour under a dreadful social prejudice which, at times, I've sadly found was deserved. This lady, however, seemed quite reasonable to me despite our differing prioritization and focus. Usually, I tend to laugh at irony. Once in a while though, as in this lady's case, it's just irredeemably sad. A guy named Kevin was another interesting character who's been here for something like thirty years. He's apparently going deaf in one ear and blind in one eye. For a musician, that's gotta be a bit challenging. He plays at a local pub and says I should call him if I'd like to go there and hear him. That could make for an interesting outing. There were a whole lot of kids out there despite it being fairly late in the evening. They all sound friendly enough. I didn't hear any scraps going on in the playground.

This morning, I at last got around to finishing Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink: Don't Think". I also listened to a lecture he did on TV Ontario's Big Ideas podcast. He certainly sounds full of vital energy. I could listen to him all day. The most interesting part of the book for me was that shooting in New York which Malcolm reconstructs and analyzes near the end. Having read that section could eventually pay huge dividends for me with Enchantment's Twilight presuming I can eventually get that project moving again. The rest of the day has sort of drifted away on me. I got a little cleaning done, heard the news, answered and read a bunch of emails, tried a mildly amusing new free time waster from Blastbay Studios called Palace Punch out, and chatted online. Nothing all that remarkable really. It's approaching eleven as I finish this entry. I'll try and keep these coming out more often until I get one of my projects going or something unexpected comes along and absorbs more of my time. If nothing else, I can look back at these later in life. Who knows? Perhaps some historian will find these entries useful in an unexpected way. It's something at least.

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