i hope that no one actually believed that i would spend all of my time on the couch playing video games all weekend! i imagine that no one is really reading this stuff anyway, so i doubt that anyone would draw that conclusion. after all, it would be a waste of all this free time that i have to just play video games all day!
no, i knocked one of the big to-do’s off of my list today. i drove all the way out to burlington, ontario (55km away) to visit my old home there. i was surprised to learn that some of my friends didn’t know that i spent two years here when i was 8 or so – going to school, trudging through the snow, and becoming the person that i am. it was a very very happy time in my life because i was so young and happy and had good friends and was so full of joy and life.
the old townhouse is exactly the way i remembered it. in fact, after giving it almost no thought, i was surprised to realize that i remembered the exact address of it – which made finding it considerably easier after almost 30 years! i drove out to it and found it right off guelph line where i had left it. it looks almost exactly as i remembered it, with its quaintly landscaped central courtyard, rolling little hills, and brick construction. my mother’s house also has brick, so i imagine they must like brick, as i do.
the second photo is significant, because a happy memory of mine is a game that i used to play with my mother when i would go to school. she would always tell me not to climb over the fence at the back of our complex and cross over the neighbouring parking lot (for what reason, i still cannot understand). well, every day, i would sneak around to the back and try and hop the fence, and some of the time, my mom would run around to try and pull me down and make me go out along the street. it was a fun game, and it’s a powerfully happy thought to me – something so simple as this little interaction – that can hold such an incredible concentration of love.
my school was a bit of a disappointment. i remember it being larger and friendlier. i think that they have not had to replace the flag in the 27 or so last years since i saw it last. clarksdale public school is frozen in time, like so many other public schools, except that they have taken some of the joy away from it. there is still a convenience store 50m away from it, where i used to go to buy licorice and gum and occasionally hockey cards that i would trade with my friends paul and kevin. but they modified the exterior to discourage one of the other happy memories i have of burlington, “ledgies”.
paul and i had developed a game called “ledgies” that i have no idea if is a real game or not. basically, you took a tennis ball and hucked it at a wall with a ledge. the trick was to get the ball to pop off of the ledge, rather than just smacking perpendicularly against the wall. this clearly worked your aiming skill at throws and to a much lesser degree, your ability to run in to catch a pop-up. if your ledgie popped straight up and miraculously hit the ledge a second time, and you caught it, that was the supreme, unbeatable “double-ledgie” – which i think i only got once.
now, they have put some crappy aluminum siding over the concrete walls so that you can’t really get a good ledgie game going without popping the ball left or right at random. total crap.
i couldn’t remember where paul’s house was. i couldn’t remember if that house that i think was eleni’s was hers, and it didn’t look like she still lived there anyway. i think i remember the crescent where we used to play road hockey. and i remember the huge hydro lines that ran in a little greenspace just behind our complex. i remember the other convenience store closer to our house where i would also go to buy hockey cards.
a lot of what i am doing here has to do with figuring out who i am and who i will be going forward from here. part of that has to be a re-evaluation of who i have been. and today was a huge part of that. i still have a lot to do and see and learn before i come to some conclusions about the type of life i want to lead, and i had some very interesting offers for self-discovery later on in the day. i think that the next couple of months will see a great many changes in me.
ps. on a slightly more sober note, i was delayed in coming back to the city on the QEW by a crash that kept me virtually stopped on the highway for 20 minutes, and looked to have traffic heading SW backed up for about 15km. on top of looking like a rather bad accident, it was a significant punctuation for today’s adventure to realize that life is short indeed and that there is not time to waste navel-gazing when there are things that need to be done. i always chide toronto drivers for being shite, but really, no one deserves this kind of end – or even if it’s not the end – this kind of suffering.