Saturday, May 1, 2010

Arrivals and departures.

I met up with some old friends last night. Mr. Pretzel. Mr. Booze. And Mrs. Self-pity.

This was one of those weeks where nothing – absolutely fucking nothing – went the way it is supposed to when you only live once. I'm not sure what set if off, because it was a myriad of disasters and disappointments from start to finish. Perhaps it was Cousin Sarah's move back to Ontario, and my several trips to, and through, the Havenot airport – but at one point I asked myself, why?.

That's it. Just why?

'Funny then, that "wonder" was the number one Virtue sent in by so many lovely, funny, and fantastically fucked-up readers. (I am so not alone.) Was that because Wonder was Barb Stegemann's first listed Virtue and y'all are just lazy asses – or, is wonder something we all frantically search for to replace that ol' dickhead, doubt, who lounges on the sofa saying things like "No. Don't be silly. You? No, you can't."

So, there I was at Havenot Stanfield Underpants airport mid-shitty week, anxiously awaiting Sarah's arrival, when the woman twitching nervously next to me said something like, "Would you know where these folks were at?" in the thickest Newfoundland accent I have ever heard.

If you've never heard a Newfoundland accent, it is a wool blanket on a chilly day. A shot of whiskey in hot chocolate. And under most circumstances, it is funny as hell.

But not this week. This week, even a charming Newfie accent was twinged with fear and doubt.

"I can't find my daughter." she said. "She was s'posed to be here an hour ago from Edmonton. She could be here... lost."

I looked around and thought, Christ ya, there's gotta be 15 lobster fishermen and a cab driver here by the 3 baggage carousels. Easy to see how you could lose someone. But I mustered up some kindness and asked her if she'd checked the Arrivals board.

"Arrivals board? I've never done this before", she said wide eyed.

I was about to say "Did you just come down off Walton's fucking mountain, or what?" when I saw a look in her eyes. Here was naive wonder, colliding head on with serious fear and doubt.

I wandered over to the Information Desk where Angus MacMinimumwage expressed disinterest as I enquired about a flight from Edmonton. A flight that wasn't on the Arrivals board. He rolled his eyes and said the flight was late, arriving soon from Toronto and dismissed me like I was dog shit on his Wallabees. It took every fibre of my being not to reach over and grab him by the Nova Scotia tartan vest and beat him to death with the Doers and Dreamers guide.

I went back and explained to the woman, that her daughter should be coming through that door any time now. The door Cousin Sarah was walking though – all aglow with hope spiked with courage, wisdom, and a new Toronto haircut.

I am happy to say the Newfoundland mom was reunited with her daughter, and it's time to announce the winner of the 7 Virtues perfume and book giveaway. Everyone deserves to win, well, maybe except for the person who wrote in humility which, while technically a virtue, isn't one of Barb's virtues.

The winner is Shelly Webb.

Shelly chose Courage, and something in her email resonated with me. I think it was the part where she said, "Today’s virtue is definitely COURAGE; the courage just to get out of bed and do it all over again. It’s a funny world we live in when the most momentous part of the day is just finding a pair of pants that doesn’t cut off the circulation to your lower extremities."

We hear ya, Shelly.

Back in the company of my ol' buddies Mr. Pretzel, Mr. Booze and Mrs. Self-pity, I was sad to find them repetitive and boring. I've moved on. I'd gathered them together to whine about my crappy week but then I remembered something, and called it an early night.

I remembered that May 1st is the fourth anniversary of the death of a friend. Sheelagh Nolan could have been the poster girl for 7 Virtues. She had them all – beauty, courage, justice, wonder, truth, wisdom, and with the exception of the occasional Friday night – moderation.

Sheelagh also possessed grace, humour, forgiveness, wit, mischief, joy, kindness, selfless love – and a laugh that could brighten the darkest sky. Or the shittiest week.

May 1st is the day I wake up and thank my lucky fucking stars – for knowing her, and for being alive.

Oh... that's why.