Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life isn't over just because September looms.

I feel like I'm coming into the last weekend of the summer. Although I'm not going back to school (although I think about it every year around this time - apparently you have to apply in, like, February pffft), a shift always takes place.

I feel like things revolve around PEI and I in the summer. So many friends return to PEI for at least a week, like an annual pilgrimage to a land of sandy, over-taxed glory. All that I need to do is sit still and let happiness revolve around me. Then mid September hits, friends have returned to school either as students or teachers, visitors have stopped coming, and I start desperately planning vacations to visit people near-far, kinda-far, and very-far away.

Islanders have been complaining about the weather a lot this summer. As Canadians, it is our duty to feel that Mother Nature is constantly trying to ruin our lives. It is far too common to hear, "Not much of a summer, eh?"


(Although I was in a bad mood one day in late May, and last Sunday night.)

But this summer has been fantastic. People people people everywhere! I don't think I was ever bored for more than fifteen minutes. I feel like I wasn't able to fit everything in. I wanted to see more of people, see more people, do more things. More ^ 3.

In an effort to be an optimist, here is a list of why [my] life won't suck between September and Christmas.

  • Visitors! - People still come in the fall-shoulder season, just not as many. While this summer has been sprinkled with new visitors every fortnight, I still have one awesome former co-castmember visitor from Ottawa (allo Char!) still on the to-arrive list.
  • Friend displacement. - Last year my friend inventory dropped rather dramatically at the end of the summer and through October. In response, I spent the equivalent of a small, under-developed country's GDP on plane tickets and actually made some new friends... and moped really hard for one whole weekend. It was boring. This year, although many people have already left or will be leaving soon, the distances required to visit most of these people have greatly diminished. In fact, most of them are even in the same time zone or one time zone away... and in North America.
  • VACATION!! - I tend not to take a lot of vacation in summer months because I let the people come to me. This must be how Jesus feels every Sunday morning when people go to church! In late October I'm heading to the magical vacation world of central Florida with former co-castmember Erin. Why? Because my (our) heart throbs for rides, fireworks, pixie dust, and saving the US economy via retail love and duty-free booze.
  • MORE VACATION TO PLAN!!!! - I'm looking at you, Central America and Aeroplan points. Voy a estudiar mis libros de espanol esta hibierno. (This is actually 2012, but prep-work will take place prior.
  • More writing. - Evidently, I don't write a lot in the summer. I'm too busy having fun with visitors, friends, strangers, unrecognized strains of bacteria, etc. I quite like writing and feel not writing here actually makes my writing quality at work dwindle, and I find it harder to focus. So look forward (or not - though I suggest you do) to more postings. As I'm my own biggest fan, I also look forward to more posts and reading them down the road when I'm procrastinating about stupid things, like going to bed.
  • Velo love. - I haven't biked nearly as much this summer as last. I attribute some of this to the fact I started [trying to] play ultimate frisbee once or twice a week. I attribute more of it to the fact that the Biking for Breakfast Challenge (aka PEI tip to tip in one day) was cancelled, so I wasn't actually training for anything specific. I expect life to die down a wee bit over the coming weeks, which equals more bike time. My summer velo bucket list needs some more items scratched off.

So remember, friends, life isn't over just because September arrives. Sure life actually does end for some things (fruit flies... f-ing buggers) but we should be able to trudge along nicely. First we get a long weekend, then a Beer Festival, ice cream (not to say you can't eat ice cream now, but I'm sure you'll eat it in September too), Thanksgiving long weekend, Remembrance Day long weekend, my birthday long weekend (trying to make it official with the provincial federal government), people start coming home for Christmas break, then it's Jesus's birthday, then we go skating and snow shoeing, and then it's summer!!!

Yay, semi-fake optimism!

Here is a picture of a donkey to wish you a happy weekend. (What do you mean it's only Wednesday? Tears.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things I learned in drivers ed.

I started writing this a few weeks ago. Summer is distracting.

Today is the six-month anniversary of me owning a car! In honour of Car's birthday, she is going to the garage to find out why her 'check engine' light is exposing itself. She has been driven about 40 kilometres and has gone through one third of a tank of gas.

Not really, but apparently I don't drive very much. However, the past month was record setting with Car creeping into Nova Scotia (her homeland), heading to the north eastern tip of the island, heading into Anne's Land, and getting lost/confused twice on the same day up Chelton/Crapaud/Summerside way (PEI = awkward road signs). I also drove downtown twice. In related news, Bicyclette is earning her some lovin' between my legs. In other related news, Lady Velo is not having nearly enough fun this summer. (Bicyclette = commuter, sexy hybrid bike, Lady Velo = zippy, sexier road bike.) I don't blame having a car for lack of bike love, I blame hyper-socialization and me saying yes to, basically, anything that won't get me pregnant, sent into space (I don't deal well with isolation), or cause a disruption in the space-time continuum.

All this driving and responsibility reminds me of drivers ed. The small, important things that some people might forget.
  • Go faster!/"Keep up with the flow of the traffic." - One of our drivers ed class took place on the Trans Canada Highway. One student would drive out to the Confederation Bridge, and the other student would drive back to Charlottetown. I honestly don't remember if I drove to the Bridge or back (I think back?) but I remember very clearly the driver instructor telling me to go faster. The curves of the roads were designed to be taken at the speed limit and higher, I didn't need to slow down. She also said, "This is probably the only time you will ever hear someone telling you to drive faster." She was wrong actually, my papa was telling me the same thing in slightly different words ("Keep up with the flow of the traffic!") when he was driving me to get my beginners licence photo taken. Then he rear ended someone. He exceeded the flow.
  • Who/what Jean Chretien really cares about. - Our in-class instructor was discussing the history of seatbelts laws and why they exist. He said, "You know what Jean Chretien [at the time Prime Minister] cares about if you slam directly into a telephone poll?" and my friend's older brother answered, "The telephone poll!" The instructor said Ellery was probably right, along with (the answer he was looking for) health care costs. I also agree Ellery was probably right. Bringing down a telephone poll causes phone line problems - this was 1998 so mobiles weren't common - and electricity problems. Given that it basically takes two people sneezing at the same time to put out the power in PEI, it is a rather valid concern.
  • No moose here! - One chapter of our book discussed dangers of driving in Canada, with our abundance of wild life. The in-class instructor paused as the book specifically mentioned moose and prancing deer. A very valid concern for much of Canada, but not for us. He said, "Well, I guess you should watch out for Clydesdale horses or something?" I laughed (along with everyone else) and couldn't help but picture a clydesdale in show, with his mane all done up, trotting fancily down the road neighing, "Good day, ma'am," as I passed on my penny-farthing. For those unfamiliar with the clydesdale, think of the Budweiser commercials. I've also attached this photo below. I have added a stick figure to help you get a scale of how big the horse is. The scale may be slightly off, but when I was four-years old, this is actually what it felt like. Horse = giant killing machine.

  • Blinkers! - You're supposed to signal when a passing lane ends to show that you're merging back into the single lane. A sign for other cars that the passing opportunity is over, and don't f-ing rear end me.
  • The chapter that actually tells you how to operate the machine/car. - We skipped this chapter. We probably shouldn't have, as my car knowledge was quite non-existent. I assumed my parents drove a standard because the shifty apparatus was between the two sweats, and not by the steering wheel like their previous car.
  • There is no such thing as an accident. - It's probably almost true. I'm sure 99.9% of car 'accidents' could be avoided if drivers paid attention more and drove properly, like they did in their drivers test so long ago.

With all these great lessons I learned from drivers ed, I am now a very competent driver. Although about six months after I got my licence I backed into another car in my drive-way. It was dark... and I was really excited because I was going out to buy a Halowe'en costume (a jedi... yes, I may had been a bit geeky). But my more so real accident was driving to school in grade 11 shortly after being licenced with Brother and a friend. I was KEEPING UP WITH THE FLOW OF THE TRAFFIC (just like my papa!) and rear ended someone. Just like my papa. Yay!