Better off dead?

Tonight at the Food Lion:

CASHIER: How are you tonight?

ME: Good. You?

CASHIER: Well, I’m alive.

ME: That’s definitely better than the alternative.

CASHIER: Not really, because I know where I’m going when the lord takes me. That’s the easy part, right? Life is the hard part.

(Silence)

CASHIER: Um, if you believe that, of course…

It must suck going through life wishing you were dead.

Even back when I was a believer I don’t think I ever managed to convince myself that my life would be better if it were over.

Random thoughts upon turning 54

My celebration of Rosanna Arquette’s birthday was as low-key as I’d hoped. My only regret is that Harris-Teeter was out of every flavor of cake slices except “gay.” All the same, it was pretty good, even though I was really more in the mood for chocolate.

The annual pontifications:

  • There is absolutely nothing particularly interesting or special about being 54. It’s sort of like being 37.
  • One bad thing about this birthday is that it’s the first one I am spending as an orphan. And yes, I still feel like an orphan, even at 54.
  • My life is not as exciting as it was a few decades ago, but in many ways, I’m enjoying it more. Having enough money to live on and enough experience to know better than to do really stupid things helps. I’m happier than I’ve been in years.
  • Spending a bigger proportion of my time traveling and exploring is a big part of why.
  • So is having a job career that I love.
  • So is remembering how much I love being single and independent.
  • As I have said many times before, perspective and context are essential in every aspect of life.
  • I’ve never been more frightened about the direction of my country. Strangely enough, I’m also managing to maintain more optimism than I expected at this point.
  • If you don’t get your ass out and vote on 6 November, I no longer want to know you on 7 November.

Atlantic Canada adventure, part 2

I’m home. Flying back from Halifax only took fifteen hours longer than driving would have. I hate flying.

So I’ve now done the Maritimes. I’m glad I’ve been there and I enjoyed the trip, but a return trip is not a terribly high priority for me. The whole area is just too rural and lacks a lot of the urbanity and diversity I associate with Ontario and Québec, though there are still some interesting notes I’ll add to that long essay on suburban form in Canada I’ve been formulating for years now.

A few more random thoughts:

  • New Brunswick is the only “officially bilingual” province in Canada. Greater Moncton (and particularly) Dieppe was the only place I visited where it really seemed to “take.”
  • There are a lot of a highways that seem to have much more capacity than the traffic requires.
  • I found Halifax the most interesting place of all, probably because it’s the biggest city in the region and had some of the only decent bookstores I found.
  • Halifax also has one of the oddest street numbering systems I’ve ever encountered anywhere.
  • I’d like to read a spatial history of Saint John because I really don’t understand how it developed the way it did.
  • A&W’s “beyond meat” burger? Meh.

Atlantic Canada adventure, part 1

It’s very odd for me to be wearing shorts in Canada.

I’m usually here in October, and it’s usually a bit chilly for shorts. I had fantasized that the Maritimes would be chilly even in July, and it is cooler here than at home, but the daily highs are still much higher than the 25F maximum I was hoping for. Stupid heatwave…

Anyway, quick impressions of the eastern provinces so far:

  • New Brunswick is apparently the one place where St. Hubert and Swiss Chalet peacefully coexist. That may or may not be a metaphor for something.
  • I’m surprised at how small the main municipalities are, particularly Saint John. I realized I’d seen most of it after just a few hours last night. Halifax seems to have a bit more texture and size. I’ll be back there at the end of the week.
  • People here are very nice. Their driving behaviour, alas, does not reflect this fact.
  • I have not yet tried the new A&W plant-based burger. That may happen tomorrow.
  • The combination of being so far north and also being in the western part of the time zone means that it’s disturbingly light outside till well after 9PM.
  • Like everywhere in Canada, the public libraries (and librarians) are great!
  • Also like everywhere in Canada, the residents seems so happy to be here. There’s not that (growing) perpetual, simmering anger that we have in the US.
  • I eat too well when I’m travelling.

More to follow…