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September 17, 2008

Slow Pedestrian X

-this photo has nothing to do with this post. It's just cool dont'cha think?

I thought I might treat you to a little guest observation from my friend Michelle Cook a.k.a Meesh.

Meesh and I have found ourselves in similar inexplicable situations in the past year wondering what to do next with the second half of our lives; something that we can sink our teeth into that isn't topped with butter or rolled in gooey brown and white cinnamon sugar. Not an easy combo to beat I might add.

Meesh amuses me profoundly, usually first thing in the morning, when I open my e-mail and especially when she is in Ottawa, given the time difference, I can't wait to drink my coffee and read her witty observations.

She has spent her time changing "official residences" between Calgary and Ottawa, depending on when her mother, who was appointed secretary to the Governor General and herald chancellor in September 2006, is called away on very, very, very important official Canadian business. In February 2007, her mother received her commission as deputy of the Governor General. In other words, she hangs with Michaelle Jean.

For me, it's perhaps not so embarrassing to be in this state of inertia/angst/bewilderment because I don't have parental success to live up to, or to live down. I'm never sure which it is. But, Ms. Cook has a mother who has carved out a niche for herself in quite definite ways.

My mom worked part-time in Hardware at Woodwards, a well-known, no longer in existence department store in B.C.

Michelle's mom, as I have copied off the web, served as legislative assistant to the late prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Mayor Ralph Klein appointed her as the City of Calgary's chief of protocol for the XV Olympic Winter Games. Mrs. Cook is a member of the board of the Alberta Literacy Foundation and is the communications advisor to the Parliamentary Precinct Oversight Advisory Committee. [What the hell is that? I think perhaps Meesh and I need to make up a title for ourselves akin to that.]She is the recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Medal in recognition of Canadians who have helped create the Canada of today.

So, this morning I receive an e-mail from the younger Cook who is currently dogsitting for her mother who lives in some official Georgian mansion on the property of Rideau Hall.

Substantial parts of Meesh's e-mail have been omitted by me to protect the innocent.

It says...

"I'm exhausted. I haven't had one undisturbed night's sleep in a week. Honestly, I don't know how my mom puts up with these dogs. They're a going concern. On Sunday night, Pucci got sprayed by a skunk! I had to wash him in V8 juice. The bathroom looked like something right out of CSI. I washed Bella down as well just in case she got some secondary squirt on her. But Pucci still stinks and both of them have this orange hue. That's what happens when you wash fluffy white dogs in thick red liquid. My mom's away until tomorrow. When she left, they were beautiful, pristine, sweet-smelling, newly groomed dogs. Now they look -- and reek - like street mongrels!"

This one follows the theme...

"I'm sitting here in Ottawa alone in the Amityville horror house (er, Canadian heritage residence) with the smelly doggies (they go to the groomers tomorrow for de-skunking and re-fluffing!)

And in another...
At least the label "expensive child" is not as bad as "slow pedestrian" Meesh says to me. This is what I decided I have become, she says, while I was walking the doggies the other day in the ritzy neighbourhood behind Rideau Hall.

I was truddle-ing along in my sweat pants, with my wee plastic bags full of scooped poo, and my hair all askew as all these expensive cars and buff cyclists whizzed by me, living their fast-paced, focused, purposeful wealthy lives, with not a [second] thought to forcing me and the doggies onto the grass.

Then, up ahead I saw a sign. It said "Slow Pedestrian X". Now, I know it meant: Slow down. Pedestrian crossing. But at that moment, I felt "this is what I have become. I am a slow pedestrian X.

Everyone else is racing by anonymous me as I amble along aimlessly with smelly dogs and bags of poo!" I am a slow pedestrian X.

Oh my she says, our theme for today seems to be all about running in the other direction - from bad jobs, bad dates - except for me the slow pedestrian. I'm sticking to walking."


(At least she CAN walk. This afternoon while out with my friend Dee as we were heading into Stanley Park, I did one of those spectacular running falls. You know the kind. You trip, your foot gets stuck while you're moving forward as if you stepped in gum and you find yourself being propelled by the devil or something.

It's as if you're a surfer headin for the big waves. You know you're going down but to prevent the inevitable, you somehow start running to postpone the inevitable while doing a duck and cover manouvre that changes into mimicking the roll of a professional stuntwoman. Finally, your hands hit the pavement first, as if you're coming into a skid at first base with all the bases loaded. It's a shock.

But, I have to say, in spite of what you often read in the papers about Vancouverites, three strangers came running to my rescue.

Are you okay? they said peering down at me. I believe they were a man and two women. I look up in disarray. Dee is a bit speechless. I only catch the glimpse of a mauve T-shirt as the woman wearing it noticed I was fine and decided not to intervene afterall. The man with the bicycle helmet is the person I stare most intently at, as if he's an anaestesiologist (if you can spell that you win a prize) calling me back to planet earth.

He's trying to conceal a smirk like the one I would have had if I was watching me fall,(I lie, I'd be laughing uncontrollably and trying to hide that fact) and finally my own laughter signals to this nice stranger that his is acceptable so he lets out a little relieved chuckle. (Slow Pedestrian X. I think not! That's, Meesh's self deprecating moniker, not mine. Baby steps I say!).

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