….I feel like a quarantined cruise ship passenger-rat. So does Sal. We are NOT yet stir crazy but we are moving in that direction. Sal, of course, is better-tempered and nice to be around still (but still crazy after all these years). I am getting grumpy…..well, grumpier! But it is odd what is making me feel this way.
The first thing is the bloody physio regime at the hospital. I could write books about that insanity but I won’t. You are spared my lament. I’ll save that frothy rant for the letter-to-the-Health Authorities (including Dix, the minister) and maybe to the admin at the hospital. I will enjoy that. My spleen needeth venting.
But, for the medical record, the surgeon was perfect. Ab-so-bloody-lutely perfect. More perfect than Trump’s phone calls. This guy really did a great job. I honestly do not think it could possibly be better. Sal could walk normally, without an aid, for at least twenty steps after ten days. She can walk maybe 500 with just a cane and she thinks of her walker as ‘just plain silly’. She is way ahead of schedule. So that is good and, quite frankly, that should be the message.
But, it is not. This message is much more OTG than you might think.
It’s about acclimating. It’s about change in attitude. It is about style. Most of all, it is about freedom.
When you move OTG, you are faced with enormous challenges. Those with gobs of dough who have others build for them deal with the challenges using filthy lucre but the vast majority out here ‘do for themselves’. And, in the doing, they gain a lot of hard-to-measure satisfaction, knowledge, skill, perspective and a huge appreciation for nature, wilderness, trees, ravens, whales and, most of all, blissful peace and quiet. All of that is kind-of-to-be-expected.
What isn’t realized at the time is that you are also working and accomplishing to the beat of your own drummer. You work to your own schedule, your own sense of logic, your own style. You are actually also gaining freedom. And you are shedding social constraints.
Where before OTG you had to ‘fit in’ with others (and play nicely), now you don’t. Now you captain your own ship from getting water to making power, from food sourcing and prep to First Aid. Very quietly Dave was put back in charge of Dave (OK, Sal is in charge but I think you know what I mean).
Living in town (even for just 15 days) means ‘making appointments’ and waiting on others and relying on others and dealing with others……and, in a small town, that is NOT horrible hell. At least not at one town-day at a time. But I am now even more ill-suited to ‘civilization’ and ‘their ways’ than I used to be. I chafe at waiting for traffic lights, lining up to get past construction sites, lining up to buy crap and all the little ‘impositions of order’ that urban life requires. I can do it. But it is getting harder with each day.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a complaint so much as an observation that I have lost the veneer that was my previous and somewhat civilized social behaviour. I am now a little bit wilder. I now no longer fit. I am quite clearly way out of my new-found comfort zone OTG and I am uncomfortable with the so-called comforts of the city. Interestingly, Sal is feeling that, too. “You’ve poisoned me!”
“Well, now I am impatient at what seems like a sea of common stupidity. Even I want to scream at people who are NOT doing what they should be doing. I used to just wait patiently and smile nicely but now I get irritated if the cashier is talking to her friend on the phone while I stand there with the money in hand. I am annoyed that the nurse on shift has never worked that department before and doesn’t know where anything is or what she is doing. I was there two days and I knew more! I might even get belligerent someday if this continues.”
“I doubt that very much. Tinkerbell unhinged is still a sweetie-pie. You’ll always be nice.”
“Well, this belle is ready to go home. Like, NOW! I want squirrels!”
And here is the weirdest thing: I am now somewhat off-put by all restaurant food. I know, I know…what the hell? But, you see, at home Sal and I eat what we choose, cook it the way we like and take the amount we think we need. Restaurants don’t work like that. Which is fine. Really. It is actually somewhat interesting once in a while. But living in the moho means more ‘take-out’ and ‘prepared foods’. And, after awhile, it kinda feels and tastes ‘all-processed’. Yuck! I ordered a medium-size pizza the other night (usually one of my favourite town-treats) and it came from CR’s best. Almost unpalatable for us now. Half was all we could eat. Two people, HALF a medium pizza and even that was eaten out of duty. We can no longer tolerate too many restaurant meals. How did that happen?
OTG has obvious differences from urban life. Everyone knows that. And there are pros and cons to both. But we have actually changed! The change is deeper, more subtle than I previously knew. It took two solid weeks of living ‘the life’ to realize that this is no longer good enough for me. I gotta get out. I’d like to get out NOW. Sal wants out, too.
We’ll see how that goes.