Opening Statement



Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Beaches, Condos, Crowds + So On

Tuesday morning, the first week of summer vacation and I'm all but at a loss for words. Nothing particularly earth shattering going on.  As TSU 3rd VP I'm basically off for the summer. A few phone calls, emails, some meetings down at the union office. I'm not going anywhere near school, not even thinking about it. I've got all my Autism courses back again for the fall. Every so often someone takes a run at my job, but then spends a bit of time with the students, or has them integrated in their class, and next thing you know, they are back with me and my workers again, nobody else around. Ha.

They are severely autistic, and I mean severely, so either you  get what's going on or you don't. I should figure out some day why it suits my temperament. Folk even tell me they feel sorry for me, or wonder how I can stand it, but for me it's just fine. I quite like it. There are a small but very tight group of support workers and then the six student teenage boys, all but totally out of it, but each with their own distinct personality. In it's own way its a very comfortable, happy little place. I wrote about it before in one of my June blogs if you want to go check it out in my directory; middle column bottom of the postings. So my teaching schedule seems to be pretty much taken care of for another year. Plus I was re-elected to the teacher's union executive again for my fifth term. Seems pretty much steady as it goes come next fall.

We had a great time at Willow Beach. Dave and I swam out into the lake with our snorkeling gear, but it was pretty cold still, a cool spring. A very invigorating but not otherwise particularly inviting swim, especially when I know I'm heading down to the Caribbean soon, which is as warm as a bathtub with coral and schools of coloured fish. Lake Simcoe has more of a rugged northern Canadian summer ambiance to it. The water is  royal blue, clean, not too choppy and I believe it's about 50 miles across from Barry to Orillia. The bottom is mostly rocks, some big fish but dull coloured, to match the surroundings.

It was quite nice out on the dock. Janet and Loretta were sitting on the beach chairs. I fell asleep sprawled out on my towel  for a bit. There was a very pleasant breeze, it was a hot and sunny day. The local neighbours fixed up the lake shore at the foot of the street. Built steps down to the waters edge, two layered with a lounging area and a generous sized dock. There are sun chairs for the locals to use. It is by invite only. Otherwise the town would be swamped by the two and a half million Torontonians just an hours drive south .

Let's face it. Every year the city says Lake Ontario is safe and clean by world standards, which I guess means it's like a big toilet. I wouldn't swim in it, nowhere near Toronto anyway. Willow Beach itself is a very small town, generally considered a part of Georgina, which isn't very big either. Dave says Lake Simcoe has deteriorated a lot since he grew up there as a boy. It still seems very nice but he says he actually used to drink from it, not anymore. Much of the waterfront is locally owned which means the owners have land rights up to the water's edge, rather controversial, but it has held up in the courts.

Slowly but surely the shore line has been bought up. The local towns charge huge parking fees, if they allow parking at all, to scare most everybody else off, or at least to create local funding for the shoreline upkeep. In the case of Willow Beach, the locals got together and run and keep the docks for themselves, everybody contributing. Quite pleasant. Not a very affluent place but with a dumfy kind of southern Ontario small town charm. It's definitely a relic in time around here these day, though there are other such communities along the Ottawa Valley and Lake Erie. Otherwise not.

I'm not especially one for the large beach resort areas like Sauble Beach on Lake Huron, or Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay. Of course they've got long stretches of white sand, many, many kilometers long which are public beaches or provincial parks. But they get packed, and the towns, if you can call them that, basically remind me of amusement parks. I like to chill out more now.

I use to go a lot as a kid, which I remember as being quite typical. The whole family would pack up the car and off we'd go, maybe even rent a cottage. Go to Wasage and you'd recognize everyone from Toronto. Hi! Oh hi! etc. etc. etc. We'd hang out and party like crazy there as teens. I recall in particular the May 24th Victoria Day long weekend at Sauble Beach in 1975. Carloads of young people just kept pouring in and all hell broke loose.

There was a huge riot, for no particular reason except it was the long weekend. The main street shops were trashed and set on fire. The Ontario Provincial Police launched a pincer strike. Landing marine style on the beach with billy clubs and shields to a barrage of beer bottles, battling their way up the main street. Meanwhile reinforcements arrived along all the roads into town to try to contain the madness.

I remember sitting on a hilltop with my buddy Chris, watching all this. The rowdies would chop a tree down along one of the roads in. The cops would get out of their cruisers, scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do. Suddenly they'd be hit with a barrage of beer bottles from the hundred of teens partying in the woods. Sheer madness.

Chris and I were still into the love, peace and understanding hippie thing. This was towards the end of that whole era, and in retrospect I guess this is where the rebellion all started to deteriorate into chaos. We found it all quite incomprehensible, though no doubt fascinating. We were up for the weekend, no car, we hitch-hiked, which was still cool. I hitch-hiked across Canada to British Columbia the following year. Anyway, on this long weekend, we ended up crashing out in our sleeping bags under the pines near a motorcycle gang camp. The only safe place, quite ironically. The police weren't going to mess with them. So we managed to avoid getting our heads cracked. On the way out a few days later there was debris and beer bottles lying everywhere as far as I could see. I kid you not. The locals where loading up pick up trucks with the bottles to take them to the beer store for a refund.

After awhile it was nick named the May Two-four Weekend because everybody but everybody would at least buy one twenty four bottle case of beer. I don't think it's called that anymore. I don't know. I've long, long since moved on from any such scene to middle-aged respectability. Still, whenever I hear anyone lament "the kids today" at school, I wonder if we are not often wearing rose coloured glasses. What ghosts must rattle their chains in the closets of summer long past in the lives of grown-ups today? And has this every really changed, or was it perhaps just an isolated moment in time?  Didn't happen before and never happened again? Anywhere else? Hmmmmm. Don't judge the young folk too harshly.

Anyway, the next day after Willow Beach I went downtown to Yonge and Dundas, to buy some music and books for our trip to Mexico. Books and music for lying on the beach type fare. I forgot it was the Gay Pride Parade Weekend, haven't been watching the news, and the Globe and Mail, Canada's "National" newspaper which I read every morning, didn't report on it much. Anyway, by later accounts over a million people lined the parade route this year! What a spectacle! They just kept pouring in and pouring in and pouring in.

Yonge Street was closed off to traffic and was soon jam packed with spectators. I retreated into HMV after a madman pushing a baby carriage kept ramming it into everybody, the baby just lying there oblivious,. He didn't seem to want to let anyone get past. It was beyond me. I really can't stand crowds. There were lots of very healthy scantily clad young women, possibly gay, though I saw one interesting t-shirt, "Straight but not narrow". Bah, I'm in my fifties now, very happily married. Eye candy. I suppose they were rather titillating but I wasn't going to stick around for any kind of parade. I can still belly up front stage at a packed rock concert but much anything else and I still head for the hills. Caught the subway back up to Wilson Station where I parked my car, and drove home for a long luxurious afternoon snooze on the couch.

Yesterday, the weekend over, I began cleaning up the condo, beginning with my man cave. I have my music, books, electronic equipment there, an easy chair, small couch. Moved things around and cleaned every nook and cranny. I clean in this household. I'll let it slip sometimes but otherwise am very thorough. Janet will cook and do the laundry, I clean. We usually get together and take care of the chores around home every Sunday afternoon during the work week. Now I can do it at my leisure, maybe one room a day until it's done.

I collect music and books. The books are organized by subject, the music alphabetically by artist A through Z, and I clean so everything is neat and orderly. I've read that psychologically speaking this represents an obsession with establishing and maintaining order in ones life and world around us. Could be. I like to come home and have refuge from the often chaotic nonsense going on all about. Or maybe I just picked this up by habit from my dad, he was like that too.

When it comes to cooking, forget it, I can burn water. The laundry machines are like huge open mouth beasts that one just keeps stuffing clothes into I as far as I am concerned. I admit, I grew up as a nice "Leave It To Beaver" suburban boy and didn't pay much mind to any of this. I shrink wools and darn it don't you just hate when the colours get mixed! Cleaning is a pretty big job, so I'm not going to get too apologetic. Though I grant you, the only clean up I totally don't get is this environmental thing of sorting everything into bins and taking them to different dumpsters.

Condos have been exempt from a of of recycling in Toronto until now. There are all these coloured bins in the kitchen that don't fit anywhere, which drives me mad. It's ingrained in me that garbage always goes in a garbage can. You take the bag out when its full, tie it up, and dump it down the garbage shoot. Presto! No more garbage! That's why we call a garbage bag a garbage bag; because garbage goes in it and then it's thrown away so the place isn't messy. It doesn't matter if it's paper, plastic or cans, or even food for that matter. It's all garbage. I can't obsess over touching it all again, sorting it into groups and then walking all over the place with it. It goes in a can, a bag, a garbage shoot. Job done. Totally politically incorrect and unjustifiable I know, but old habits die hard. When we redo the kitchen I will get it built so there are special enclosed areas for all this and an orderly system in place so hopefully I will get it figured out straight.

Well, it's Tuesday morning. I'm sitting in the shade on my balcony. The morning traffic has pretty well died down into a workday lull for now. Janet headed off to work about an hour ago. I got up to kiss her good-by, then came out here for my coffee and newspaper etc. I think I will get back to my cleaning. Bye for now!

No comments:

Post a comment

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!