Attaboy.ca

Over There (in the UK)

January 16, 2003 at 12 PM

-17 And The Living Is Easy

These are the days when you really feel alive. The sun shines down on the land mockingly, as if to say, "Hahah, you can see me, but you can't feel me. Nyuh nyuh!" That is, you feel alive because you become more aware of your mortality when it's imperiled by its very environment.

Yes, Montreal can be that cruel place in January where you start pondering how warm just plain freezing seems -- you know, 0 °C or 32 °F -- instead of the dark-side-of-the-moon temperature that confronts you.

The one minute it takes me to walk to the bus stop in the morning and the zero to three minutes I wait for that bus have become my primary disincentive for even bothering to get out of bed.

Once I'm on the bus, I suppose I should count my blessings. Public transit here is pretty decent if you live around the core, and I do. Stumbling onto the bus with my steaming coffee in hand, tuque on head, gloves fumbling for my transit pass, I join the commuting masses for another ride. Everyone has that morning glaze over their face and although people make eye contact now and then, it lacks feeling or opinion. Like how a baby looks at you. Without prejudice.

It's not a long ride, but it's long enough that once initial eye contact is over, people don't know where to look. The bookish have books. The businessmen have newspapers. Everyone else carefully reads the ads above, inspects the variety of footwear or finds their assigned spot of blank.

Little can shake this transit stupor. But have you ever noticed what happens when a real live baby boards the bus? Babies immediately become the magnet of everyone's aimless attention. Babies crack the commuter shell, eliciting smiles from even the most-hardened stoic. People dotingly stare at a baby and the baby will curiously stare back, or even offer smiles. The mood of the bus lightens; people forget the hassle of being shackled to what my friend Ryan likes to call the peasant wagon. We can't all drive a car, and besides. In the middle of January, with spring still only a lingering, nameless feeling, we take what pleasures we can get.

Comments

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Previously: CBCRadio3

Subsequently: As Was The Style At The Time

January 2003
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