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My heart skipped a beat when I saw the Sasquatch card. I’m a fan of all his incarnations, whether as Sasquatch, Big Foot or Yeti.
Big Foot seems to be a creature that peaked in the seventies. Like the Farrah Fawcett hairdo, powder blue tuxedoes and disco, Big Foot was hot. I remember an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man that starred Big Foot as Steve Austin’s nemesis and later reformed ally. There were often reports of Big Foot sightings and grainy photographs of a hulking creature lurching through the woods. I found it thrilling. For a while Sasquatch reigned supreme and then sadly, he seemed to fade into obscurity. Perhaps Big Foot was too common place, not flashy enough, too passe.
Lately I have been hopeful about a Big Foot revival. With the hairy mountain-man look that is the new hipster moniker, there are a lot of Sasquatch-esque guys in skinny pants lurking about these days. What was old is new again and maybe back to the land trendiness will herald a return of Big Foot.
I think Big Foot and I would be friends. Perhaps I feel an affinity for him because I too have generously endowed feet and happen to be on the hirsute side. One of my many fears is of being stranded on a desert island without a razor or tweezers. I would look like a menacing female Sasquatch lumbering about the sand dunes and would be mistakenly shot by my rescuers. I think Big Foot and I would understand each other and enjoy hanging out, but we would give each other space when we needed it. Like Big Foot, I am a solitary creature. I would like to spend more time in the forest, ambling around in unabashed hairiness, enjoying nature and quiet, leaving worries of fashion, finances and accomplishments to the smooth skinned urbanites.
Naturally I ordered a stack of the Sasquatch cards.
It was a day of dusting and getting groceries and sorting through piles of papers. Chores. Chores are a bore and I felt like my precious day off was shot to hell. I admit that I was a tad bitter and pouty.
Even though the sun was already setting The Sweetie and I went for a bike ride by the lakeshore. The breeze was refreshing on my face and I felt silent and weightless, gliding along the waterfront path. I was free and whole and happy. I felt myself grinning. I wasn’t grossed out by the goose poo everywhere and felt like I was fully embracing summer. All of the sudden my boring day of chores became something beautiful.
Just like that.
I am a kinder, more cheerful being in the summer. In the winter most situations annoy me or are too overwhelming to bear. The sound of someone chewing too loudly can throw me into a murderous rage, the smallest chore can feel insurmountable, a fat person with a little dog can send me into a flood of tears.
The subway broke down the other day as I was heading home. Weary, sweaty travelers were visibly disgruntled and exasperated. In the winter I would have taken it as a personal affront, shaking my fist at the subway gods and lamenting my unsavoury options. Do I squish myself on a bus and slowly suffocate in a mass grave of down-filled jackets or do I walk for blocks in the freezing cold until I no longer feel my face? By contrast, my summer self looks forward to a walk and feels delightfully smug for wearing oh-so-comfortable grannie-esque sandals.
As I skip along my nose starts running and my eyes feel itchy. I conclude that the ear nose and throat specialist is correct and I do in fact have allergies. I sigh in relief that it isn’t nose cancer as I had suspected all winter. I rejoice about the time I’ll save now that I no longer have to look up rare sinus cancers on the internet.
I pass a woman decked out like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. Her stringy grey hair is in two ponytails affixed with plastic baubles, she has a haphazard smear of lipstick and is wearing a pink and white frilly dress. In the winter this sartorial sight may have struck me as sad, verging on grotesque, but instead I give her an invisible nod for her rebellious fashion sense.
I feel my hair getting damp from the heat and rejoice that since it’s flat and lifeless on a regular basis I don’t have to worry about the humidity ruining anything. I feel like I am the star of my own limp hair commercial.
A dog carrying a frisbee in it’s mouth almost makes me burst into song. The canines are unperturbed by the heat and so am I. If I could wag my own tail I would. In the winter I am jealous of dog owners. “They look like assholes. They don’t deserve a cute dog,” I’d snarl to myself.
Luckily for those who find my Pollyanna outlook unbearable, summer is a short season. Soon I will be back to feeling cold and morose. If I were wise I would recognize that I create my own reality. My jolly self could last all year with the right mindset. Of course, if someone were to give me that advice in the winter I would spend days plotting their demise. My dark side will return when the leaves fall from the trees. For now I am a sweaty, shining, somewhat irritating, light.
Reason #1,476 why I love The Sweetie:
Last night I had a zombie nightmare. Zombies rank very high on my list of terrifying creatures. There is something very unseemly about being devoured by the living dead. I have never fully recovered from watching “Night of the Living Dead”, ”Dawn of the Dead”, and “Day of the Dead”. Obviously I am a sick glutton for punishment because as much as these movies horrify me I remain strangely fascinated. A few years ago “28 Days Later” elevated the undead to a whole new level with the introduction of fast moving zombies. At least clumsy, slow zombies, tenacious as they were, offered a slight chance of escape. The idea of athletic, running zombies is too much to bear. Of course, I went on to see “28 Weeks Later” and was traumatized by Robert Carlyle as a sprinting and scheming zombie. I remember reading a review where he was described as the Stephen Hawking of zombies.
You would think that I would learn. I get frightened enough on my own without any celluloid help.
As a result of zombie movie overload I am often plagued with nightmares. Last night’s involved being trapped in an army training camp full of zombies. I escaped, armed with a crappy looking rake that couldn’t battle leaves, let alone military zombies. I was running through dark woods, knowing that the undead were on the march and that I had little chance of survival.
I woke with a start, looked at the time and saw that it was 3 am, the Witching Hour. Now I was extra frightened and needed to pee. Knowing that evil spirits and zombies have a fondness for bathrooms and late night surprise attacks, there was no way I was going to pee alone. That would be asking for it. I nudged The Sweetie who was fast asleep.
“I had a zombie nightmare,” I whispered.
Silence, other than his deep breathing, which almost sounded like a garbled zombie-esque growl.
I kicked him and then plugged his nostrils until he gasped for breath and awoke.
“Don’t you have to go pee?” I asked.
The Sweetie does not believe in zombies or ghosts or the witching hour or any of the other things make solo 3 a.m bathroom trips difficult. Nonetheless, he got up and stumbled to the bathroom so that I wasn’t alone in facing evil spirits lying in wait. He didn’t call me crazy or remind me that he had tried to stop me from watching any more zombie movies. He has promised that he will never pretend to turn into a zombie, as much as it would amuse him.
He is an indulgent and patient zombie protector and my 3 a.m. hero.
I am on the cusp of my forty-second birthday and I still don’t have a driver’s license. I didn’t have a desire to drive when I was sixteen. I figured I’d get around to it eventually and obviously, I wasn’t in a hurry.
A few years ago I started to feel kind of pathetic about not driving. Shortly after my thirty-fifth birthday I went to the ministry of transportation office and took the learner’s permit test. I failed. I didn’t think I needed to study the finicky rules such as the number of demerit points I would lose by speeding past a stopped school bus, or how long my license would be suspended for drinking and driving. I was sure that the police officer would inform me of such things if I were caught.
I re-took the test a few weeks later, passed, and signed up for driving lessons with Young Drivers of Canada. It was humiliating to sign on for something named young drivers at the age of thirty five, and I wished that they had a Middle Aged Drivers of Canada, or a Better Late Than Never course. Fortunately my equally aged girlfriend signed on with me. She and I had a running joke about doing our own version of Thelma and Louise where we envisioned ourselves on the lam, driving across the United States. Instead of driving a convertible with our hair blowing in the wind, we’d have to hire a cab. At the end when we’d drive off the Grand Canyon like Susan Sarandon and Genna Davis, we imagined tipping the driver extra well and holding hands in the backseat as we’d careen into oblivion.
The in-class lessons were excruciatingly boring and humbling, as we were the only old crones in a classroom filled with pimply, giggling sixteen year olds. Once that ordeal was over I began my in-car lessons with Norman, a kind and patient man unable to look me in the eye and with an unfortunate affliction of always having spit balls collected in the corners of his mouth. I wanted to feel a bond with Norman as we embarked on this learning journey together, but I hit a brick wall, once almost literally, as Norman desperately pumped the brake on his side and grabbed the steering wheel.
I’m not a natural at driving. I have a hard time with basic hand over hand turns. I feel a little car sick if I have to look behind me for too long when backing up. I have a terrible sense of direction and can’t gauge space and distance. I have a tendency to be a bit high strung and I startle easily.
The Sweetie did not like driving practice with me. I made him very, very nervous. He knew I was nervous, which made him nervous, which made me more nervous. I developed huge sweat marks under my arms every time I was behind the wheel. I’d hear him practicing his deep breathing exercises as he’d be white knuckling the dashboard in front of him.
Things came to a head one afternoon when we went for a drive along some side streets. In my defense, the road was snow covered and slippery. As I rounded the corner a little too fast I started to skid toward a parked SUV. Instead of pressing the brake I pressed the accelerator. As we sped towards the car and heard a disembodied womanly scream ( The Sweetie) all I could think was, “We don’t have the money to pay for that.” Luckily, he grabbed the wheel in time and steered us away from disaster. He then promptly ordered me out of the car. That was the last time we practiced together.
That was six years ago.
Lately, I’ve started thinking about driving again. My parents will be needing more help getting around to appointments and errands. What will I do when we finally get a dog and he wants to go on walking excursions in remote wooded areas? What if The Sweetie and I want to go on a really long road trip, wouldn’t it be fair to share the drive? I decided that I have to give driving another go.
I signed up for another round of in-class lessons every Tuesday evening for the next eight weeks, and in-car lessons with someone named Jeff. Poor Jeff. He doesn’t know what’s coming for him. I will have to grit my teeth, buy The Sweetie some Valium, warn my loved ones when I will be on the road, and hope for the best. I have to feel the fear and carry on, and if after giving it another go I am still too scared I will throw in the driving towel and start a cab fare fund.