for the last 2 ½ weeks, we’ve had pretty crazy weather here in vancouver. we often have winters when it never snows (imagine! and we’re in canada!) often, we have one quick dump that disappears right away. not this year. if you want to read all about it, visit derek’s blog (great pictures there, too).
of course i chimed in with the snow talk. “have you seen .. ?!”, “can you believe … !?”, “but the city should … !” – note all the exclamation marks.
the snow, you see, is so inconvenient. couldn’t use the car for a while – had to walk or take the bus, not out of environmentally righteous choice but because we had to! imagine that! and all that getting dressed, it takes forever to put on the old boots, etc, etc, etc.
i knew a young man from hongkong once, a lovely person really, but very consumer-oriented. his measuring stick for everything was convenience. he hadn’t learned the most rudimentary cooking techniques because it was inconvenient; shopping anywhere but in a mall was inconvenient; loose change was inconvenient.
the word convenient comes from the latin convenere – literally, coming together. convenient is what comes to me. where i don’t have to do much; it falls in my lap.
convenience and creativity are not good friends. i’ve spent quite a bit of my life having little money; a rather inconvenient state of affairs. but lack of funds makes you very creative, let me tell you. and one of my fondest memories from working in vancouver’s downtown eastside, one of canada’s poorest neighbourhoods, is a poor man’s high tea we cobbled together. the tea cups came from digging around in thrift store and church basements. instead of tablecloths we had shawls and kerchiefs. the affair was held at the empress, a rickety old skid-row hotel – the visitors had to walk past hookers and drug addicts to get to the old mezzanine loft. one of our social work students played the piano, and to this day i dream of the food.
and was it ever inconvenient. we didn’t have enough chairs, so we begged first united church to loan us some. we carried them across two blocks. there was no running water, only in the smoke-filled $1.95-a-beer bar downstairs. there was one washroom for the whole floor, shared with the single-room-occupancy tenants. i was in a fog of burnout during all of the planning and carrying out of this pipe dream.
and it was wonderful. but not convenient.
other things that are not convenient are childbirth, being married for longer than four months, battling cancer, meditating, making mashed potatoes from scratch, keeping promises that make you stay up all night, looking at our dark side, taking the cat to the vet, volunteering in a seniors’ home …
chasing after convenience isn’t going to bring me happiness.
so i should be quiet. instead of joining the chorus of ranters and ravers, i will smile at the snow and slush. they keep me out of convenience.
image by technochick