Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our National Obsession

Yes, readers, (if I have any left), I am still alive and I do still want to write this blog occasionally! What can I say? Life just seems to have gotten in the way of late. So, I finally have a moment to devote to this and I am a bit stuck about what to talk about.
When in doubt, perhaps I should do what most Canadians do when they have little else to say - talk about the weather. I don't even think we realize it, but as a nation, we are positively, absolutely, nearly maniacally obsessed with our weather. Since we are in the midst of a "heat wave" here in Toronto, now seems as good a time as any to focus on this obsession. So here goes.....
Let's start with last night's power transformer explosion that left half the city without power for several hours last evening. The weather finally heats up and the grid just can't take it. KABOOM! The Kipling power station has an explosion that knocks power out covering almost the entire west end of the city from Bathurst to Kipling and a bit beyond. I work a little further west and all I experienced was a flicker of the lights but no full blown outage that might have resulted in an opportunity to leave work early - just my luck!
However, getting home was another story. Correct me if I am wrong, but if you go back to your basic driving training, however many years ago, we all learned that during a power outage, all traffic lights become "all way" stops. Do ya think many drivers retained this knowledge? It would appear NOT. The bullies just pushed on through without considering the cross traffic and the timid sat there afraid to go anywhere. Chaos ensued. What would normally take me 5 minutes, took 35 minutes and if everyone had remembered their training, might have taken 10.
Major intersections were manned by police, but the rest were essentially "every man for himself". Now, anyone who knows me, knows I am a fairly aggressive driver, so I applied the "he who hesitates is lost" approach and if some timid soul was off the mark in the "all way stop" department, well, I admit, I took advantage of their fear and moved on through. By the time they realized it should have been their turn, I was long gone. Patience is not one of my strong suits.
However, I am off topic, I was supposed to be talking about the weather, but this does all relate - sort of. I think many of those timid souls may have been affected by the heat. Canadians only experience this kind of temperature serge once or twice a summer or if they travel outside the country, so it takes it's toll on the aged and the youngest of our population. It's just too much for many. I will admit, last night, I was a bit knocked out by it too. I sat in my backyard in the shade and after coming out of my air-conditioned car, it was such an extreme contrast, I felt a bit light-headed. It was time for a swim. I am lucky. I have a pool in my backyard, so with no power and no A/C, it was a godsend.
I couldn't help but wonder how old Queen Liz fared as she carried on her Canadian tour, her pale yellow dress and matching jacket covering the full length of her arms and her stockings stuck to her legs - not a bare patch of skin showing anywhere. She probably couldn't wait to get back inside to the A/C and back to England for that matter. Wonder if she had a little sweat on her brow and wished she was anywhere but Waterloo and the exciting tour of the RIM plant. Surely, she would have preferred to be poolside with an icy cold Pimms or something English like that.
So today begins day two of the wave and "cooling centres" are available throughout the city for those poor souls who have no where to go to cool off. I sit here in air-conditioned comfort writing this blog wondering what it would be like to be stuck in the heat with no where to go, melting, withering, miserable. It's hard to imagine.
Do note however, I am not complaining. We pay millions of dollars a year to travel to hot countries to be in this kind of heat. For once, it's free, so we should just suck it up, slow down, remain calm and allow our minds to travel to mid-January - that's enough to make you put a sock in it.
No pool? Run through your sprinkler. No A/C? Find a nice shade tree, pour yourself a glass of iced tea, and chill. Just try to appreciate it.
And do the un-Canadian thing - don't talk about it.


Carla Sandrin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carla Sandrin said...

Well said, Deb, a topic definitely worth the rant. It took me 30 minutes to drive from you house to Bloor that day, which normally would take 3. But as you say, let's all just chill, enjoy the warmth, and have a cocktail!