Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ah, Look At All The Lonely People

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been. Lives in a dream.

I'm pretty sure that I know how Eleanor feels, except that it's unlikely you'd find me in a church. It's even more unlikely that you'd find me picking up rice in a church where a wedding has been. There have been times when I've gone to church and felt my time would have been better spent picking rice up off the floor, or shoveling the parking lot outside. At least it would have been more productive than listening to another painful and poorly constructed sermon.

I used to go to church in Toronto. Not because I liked it, but because it was part of my wife's life. I went to be social, though I utterly detested the hour long service. I did enjoy the coffee hour afterwards, particularly because there was someone in the congregation with whom I could relate. He combined business and fun in a rather healthy fashion. Sadly he died in a private plane crash while flying to the southern U.S. with some golfing buddies.

Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear. No one comes near. Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there. What does he care?

I can relate to Father McKenzie as much as I relate to Eleanor.

Ian Varty, writing the words of a blog that no one will hear. No one comes near. Look at him working, strumming his guitar in the night when there's nobody there. What does he care?

Indeed, what does he care? Sometimes I wonder.

Yesterday I did something that I never do...I went snowboarding at Poley Mountain on the weekend. The weekend was created for everyone on this planet who works M-F, 9-5. It is the two days a week when they get to act like retirees or leisurologists. I decided to go to Poley because I felt like being social. What the hell, it was worth a try. I decided that I would suffer through the long line-ups for the opportunity of hanging out with friends who I don't normally see.

The capacious upper parking lot at Poley had cars sardined neatly to the point of overflowing. Minivans lined the muddy and rutted road that led up from the main road. It made getting up the hill difficult, while cars trying to leave barely squeaked past. The lower parking lot below the main road, one that I normally never give a second thought, was also jam packed. This was a dream day for the owners of the ski hill. For me? Well, we'd see.

Poley Mountain is an unimpressive hill that has been made impressive by whoever owns and manages the place. Surrounded by the rollings hills of Sussex and countless dairy farms, they've managed to milk a mountain out of a mole hill. The hill was predominantly populated by families and teens, and one leisurologist. I was told that there were fifteen hundred people there on Saturday, most of whom seemed to be standing in the chairlift line in front of me.

I spent three hours snowboarding at Poley and, amazingly, I didn't know a single person there. Not one. What irony that I should go to Poley to be social on the busiest day of the year, and not recognize anyone. There wasn't even anyone from my village of six hundred and forty people. What the ____ do people in Cambridge-Narrows do? Oh wait, I know. They drink beer, drive their four wheelers, hunt, and watch hockey. Strike one, two, three, four....I'm out. What the hell am I doing here?

No man is an island.

I felt like an island. I often feel like an island. This is not to say that I'm unhappy, but I often amble along my shores without companionship. Fortunately I've been blessed with an infinite ability to amuse myself. Sometimes I think that I do better alone, but it really isn't the case.

Had I met up with friends at Poley I would have bombed the hill in some sort weenie waggling show of testosterone. Instead I often took the beginner hills and practiced riding switch (wrong foot forward). I loved it and I made a lot of progress. That wouldn't have happened had I been social.

So what would a perfect life look like? I suppose I would have gone to Poley, met up with some friends who would say 'hey Ian, let's practice riding switch'. I would have died and gone to heaven. Then I would have left them, gone to the church and swept up rice. This is my life.

Something unbelievably ironic happened during the writing of this morning's blog. At the midpoint of my writing, the phone rang. It was one of my best friends in the world. This friend had called last night but was unable to reach me as I was at the ski hill with all my other friends. When I picked up the phone the first thing I heard, even before a hello, was 'You must have quite a social life'. I laughed out loud, chatted for a while, hung up and continued darning my socks.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh ... Eleanor Rigby.

    If I was to pick up cello, it'd be the first tune I learn. Their best song I think.