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truly madly deeply

I was in the lounge at the Y at noon and the TV was on; I stopped, staring, open-mouthed, as our new prime minister held a press conference seven minutes after being sworn in. After announcing his cabinet which is HALF WOMEN as promised. When he was asked why, he answered, “Because it’s 2015.” I nearly wept.

He was asked if he’d thought of his father on this day, and he replied of course, he was sure his father was pleased to see that Canadians had chosen to celebrate diversity, something like that. But then he said, “Sorry Dad, but I’m really thinking more of my children and all the children of Canada, whose lives we are going to work to make better.”

“There is a god,” I said out loud, and people in the room nodded. The new government was led in by a Cree drummer and entertained by very young Inuit throat singers; the speaker acknowledged that they were all standing on First Nation lands, and there, in the front row, Margaret Trudeau, who has waged such public battles of her own. Respect, thoughtfulness, kindness, generosity: this is what I want my country to be. I did weep. As someone wrote on FB: “Sugith Varughese Defense minister is a badass who saw combat. Science minister actually is a scientist. Former refugee who escaped the Taliban in cabinet. Transport minister is a fricken’ astronaut. I could go on and on. And the capper was “Because it’s 2015.” Boom.

It was the most heavenly day ever, soft and warm, the trees golden and scarlet, everyone in this city blissful in the sun, because we know this will not last. I thought of a student who read an incredibly moving piece yesterday about being diagnosed with terminal leukaemia at the age of 30, then given an experimental treatment with a 12% chance of success – and here she was, many years later, perfectly healthy. She’d been given the gift, she said, of being alive each day. Today was like that in Canada. Even the weather was celebrating the rebirth of our nation.

We know winter is coming, and we know Justin Trudeau will have to disappoint us as political realities set in – but for now, he is like the sun itself. I am sure every other country on earth envies us. And I can only imagine how deep is the despair in the NDP party these days, because there’s not a word Justin Trudeau spoke today that could not have been spoken by an NDP prime minister. Where’s the place for a party that’s further to the left or the right or wherever it tries to land?

On the other hand, yesterday, I went out of my way to show what an idiot I still am. For some time, I’ve been preoccupied with getting rid of a bunch of jewellery I was given through the years – some by my grandfather after my grandmother’s death many years ago – that I’ll never wear. A heavy ornate garnet bracelet, my mother’s cameo brooches, chunky rings – get rid of them, I thought, and I found Cynthia Findlay Antiques on line. After much back and forth, I brought a bunch of stuff in yesterday for her to see.

The place is unbelievable – miles of gorgeous vintage jewellery, yes, but tons of other stuff – china, silver, vintage clothing, books and old wooden boxes, which are my own weakness. Overwhelming.

She looked at what I had to sell, noted how dated it is, and finally made an offer which, though I thought it was much too low, I accepted. For about ten seconds, it was a relief to have got rid of the stuff. And then the second thoughts began. In bed that night, I was awake for hours, tossing, trying to still my mind – it’s only stuff, it doesn’t matter, you’ve got rid of it hooray. But my mother’s gold Victorian brooch, my grandmother’s bracelet, for so little – no! It felt wrong. Finally, at 3.30 a.m., I did the only thing I could think to do besides take a sleeping pill, which I also did – I got up, called Cynthia’s office and left a message – I was sorry but I’d made a mistake and please could I return her money and have my jewellery back.

First world problems.

What a waste of her time and mine. What a fool I am. I will never NEVER try to sell something ever again. I take the first offer that’s made without negotiating and then torture myself because it was too low. I’ve done it many times before in my feeble, failed attempts at selling vintage clothing. Poor Cynthia will have to find and return all that stuff, and then I will find a way to sell the pieces I really don’t want and keep the rest. Including my mother’s brooch. I am convinced her appalled ghost appeared and kept me awake until I made that call.

After that debacle, I went down the street to TIFF to attend the latest in Scott Freiman’s wonderful series Deconstructing the Beatles. I’ve attended two others, but this was the best yet – an exploration of the making of 1965’s Rubber Soul, showing in detail their influences, how these geniuses walked into the studio with not a single song written and four weeks later had not only an album but two other hit songs for a single. The big TIFF theatre was, again, sold out, all ages, older people like me learning more about an iconic album from their youth, and young people learning how these incredible musicians did what they did. What a treat.

I gave Scott Freiman my memoir during his last visit, and today he told me it was, “A really sweet story and well written.” Thanks, Scott – that means a lot from one of the great Beatles experts of the planet.

At lunch today I watched Trevor Noah on my computer – a wonderful interview with Gloria Steinem. He was interested that she has written a book about travel but doesn’t drive. “When you don’t drive,” she said, “your adventure begins as soon as you leave the house.” Drivers, she said, are “in little tin cans all by themselves”, whereas taxi drivers are fascinating company. I concur. Whether it’s struggling to survive on my bicycle or chatting with the taxi drivers from Pakistan, I love it all.

In February, not so much. But we have more sun to celebrate first.

PS As if there weren’t enough joy today, just read an announcement that Jon Stewart is going to land on HBO in 2016. I need to call Rogers and change my package to get HBO. I had a feeling cuddling pigs on his wife’s abused animals farm, while important work, wouldn’t be quite enough for this great man. Welcome back, my dear Jon. Can’t wait to see you again.



2 Responses to “truly madly deeply”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I am jealous of your new PM because who do we have here in France? The National Front who is gaining ground coz everyone's sick of limp Hollande! And then there's Sarko in the background who no-one wants to see again. Things are grim here. My income tax has gone up 38 per cent this year. Honestly, if I didn't have a good job, I'd seriously consider returning to Canada now that you have that lovely new PM. Oh well, at least I have a decent job.

    Juliet in Paris

  2. beth says:

    And you have an awful lot of good cheese. But we do have this divine man. At least, he's divine right now. Reality will set in. But right now, we're in heaven.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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