Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Twenty Sixteen: That's The Math

Sula and I moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick this Summer and it has been a net gain on almost every axis. The landscape is austere and humbling, the light and space and air has been rejuvenating and invigorating. Kind of like hitting a reset button on all the backed up stress and anxiety which got stored in my body when I lived in a large city. Our house is roomy and comfortable with huge picture windows on both floors. Everywhere we look there are trees. I feel more connected to the Universe. Sula rides her bike to work through a wood (weather permitting). We see more of each other. We have more bandwidth for coping with the natural stresses of life.

I miss my friends. I feel more healthy. I miss my friends. I feel more healthy. I miss my friends. I feel more healthy. That's the math. However many times I screw up the napkin and start again.  With all the lines of subtraction and addition, that's the message: division. And, I could feel Toronto turning me into someone I didn't want to be. Every time I was on my bike and a motorist told me to get the fuck off his road, I felt my humanity shrinking from the world. I could feel myself hardening.

(Two years ago, on my way home, a driver on College Street swerved into me repeatedly, purposely trying to knock me off my bike. I hadn't done anything. I'm a model cyclist, respectful of traffic laws and those big metal machines I share the road with. It was a moment which scared and shocked me deeply. It led to this question: How much longer can we live in this city which is feeling increasingly hostile?)

And then the rest of 2016 happened. I bounce off the date because according to my internal clock it's still the late 90s and 2016 feels like a very far off, science fiction date. I have trouble coping with all the horrible things that happened this year. It feels to me like the world is hurtling toward a crisis. I feel myself getting older and more and more out of sync with things. It feels a lot like that driver who tried to knock me off my bike has been given permission to act that way. That his attitude toward sharing space in the world, his intolerance, has been legitimized, given a face and a voice.

Maybe all generations feel this way. Maybe this is what the counter culture movement of the 60s - with their free sex and drugs, strange clanging music and anti-war protests - felt like to the people who'd lived through WWII.  Did it look like the rejection of everything they held to be good and worthy?


But it still makes me feel sad and small.

And I miss my friends.