Thursday, November 8, 2012
Chill Clear Morning, North Vancouver
I woke feeling the chill on my exposed skin. I pulled the comforter close. Gilbert, the cockatoo jumped into bed with me. I figured the heat had gone out in the night. I prayed. I tried to return to the dream of gathering but my mind remained interested in the 'why' of the chill. Gilbert was especially glad when I hauled myself out of bed. The diesel heater was going just fine. I watched the bright red and blue flames dancing in the Dickinson window. Outside the day was clear. Ice and frost coated the dock. Winter had arrived. No rain. Just cold. I closed windows I'd left open in the warmth of the night before. Wearing moccasins, sweats and a leather bomber jacket and Harley Davidson leather ball cap I followed Gilbert out into this new Vancouver world. The mountains were pristine. Grouse Mountain looked especially inviting for the Alpine set, so near and alive. Walking I tried not to slip on the dock. My Dad didn't like the winter as he got older. As Gilbert with his warm winter coat gleefully sniffed everything with an optimism only a little dog could display I thought of Arizona. No water to bathe but dry hot sunny days. It sure was sunny today. I don't remember seeing the sun so bright. A friend wonders if Obama manipulated the weather throwing Sandy off on it's timely political spree. Creighton, Kalla and Clive Kusler have written about massive weather manipulations. Yesterdays "futuristic' is today's reality. I wonder how many Presidents have been able to do this. Is this incredible brightness and clarity this morning some kind of hang over from man's muddling management. Or am I just so Vancouverized with rain and grey that I can't just appreciate a Winnipeg winter sky that got lost somewhere over Alberta and veered to rest over us. I'm not complaining. The world has a Paul Simon Kodachrome look this morning that makes one concerned the authorities might have found a way to put trace amounts of LSD in the drinking water. I've been talking to patients too long. This magical dazzling light driven reality is just the sacred shining through. There's a crack in everything just for that purpose. I could imagine spirits darting over the still waters of the bay and angels descending and ascending singing hallelujahs. I don't imagine angels on rainy days, trolls and demons, yes, angels, no. Mermaids would be welcome too. Gilbert has peed on every tree. I've returned to the warmth of home with the windows closed and a space heater adding to the heat from the diesel stove. It's not Churchill. I've known a lot colder climates that this coastal moderation. But we were prepared for that. The houses were all weather stripped, furnaces ran year round and I wore parkas and long johns. My problem here is that I wear underwear indoors or shorts and a tshirt. I refuse to wear sweaters and long pants yet that's what I did all year in the winter worlds of interior and northern Canada. This is what I have to think about. Hedonism. Warmth of the body. I should instead be scourging myself to forget about the bodily pleasure. Think of God. Don't wallow in the flesh. I'm due to read the "Purpose Driven Life" again. I've become complacent again thinking about heat and warmth and bodily pleasures too often. It doesn't matter that my foot hurts and those joints I've traumatized with vehicular crashes ache with the cold, I need direction. With purpose and direction I can head off on a mission and shake off the concerns for comfort. I can be Marcus Aurelius, the stoic Roman general leading his army into battle. I can sing Onward Christian Soldiers even and march with the Elect. It's not like there's a shortage of barbarians and zombies out there waiting to be met in physical or spiritual battle. Joan of Arc would be mounting her steed and slaying heathen english adulterers were she here. I am enjoying this coffee though. Stove top Quatemalan expresso made in my little Italian maker on the Mediterranean gas range. I really think the spiritual war could wait while I finish another cup. I'll get to work. I'll shower and dress and walk Gilbert to the car. We'll put the hood of the Mazda Miata sports car down and drive to town fending our way through the zombie traffic of Vancouver where every second driver has smoked some of the multi billion dollar corruption of BC Bud. Washington has legalized marijuana for taxation purposes to the south of us. Our politicians and courts are still collecting too much graft and kickbacks to do anything reasonable about the massive drug and alcohol problem of the city. Even Amsterdam is getting ahead of us with their experience. Maybe one day our local constabulary will finally listen to the advice of the Bombay consultants who long ago dealt with the drug problem, marijuana and poppies growing in the fields. We could exchange police information, "Okay you brown guys tell us white guys what worked for you getting your people off drugs and we white guys will tell you how we got our people to stop making stills for whisky." It all seemed so innocent when we sang "Take a toke" or "Copper Kettle". Yesterday I faced another violent pot head remembering how the pot heads killed Stuart. That was after Belushi died and we were supposed to have woken up to the hazards of drugs. A week doesn't go by without me seeing another Charlie Sheen mad man whose just as arrogant but poor and without a career, family and industry to support his drug addiction. Drug abuse and alcoholism will destroy our health care system. Even as America's Obama care is embracing universal health care I'm asking why should I who doesn't smoke or drink pay for the wealth of the executives of the booze and drug industries, especially the robber baron pot lords and ladies that make the Kennedys look like kids. My Respirologist friend says there wouldn't have been a department of respirology were it not for the massive illness from smoking. There is no medical marijuana that is smoked and yet the insanity of society tries to insist that a smoking addiction is what God wanted us without chimneys to have. Sure marijuana had therapeutic value in a tea and cocaine had therapeutic value in a leaf but the delivery systems have long destroyed the benefits by adding a horrendous burden of public health and crime problems. Why should companies carry the responsibility for the health care of workers when the industries that are directly associated with abuse could just as easily require an insurance premium for a million dollars from every drinker or smoker in the community. I have to pay a fortune as a hunter for a firearm 'license' because guns 'kill' but where is the equivalent 'killing' license for cigarette smokers, drinkers, crack heads, and pot heads. Time to shower. Have to get to work to do what I can for the wounded. The weekend is coming. Remembrance Day. The soldiers of the wars are celebrated in memory. My dad before he died sat with several other WWII veterans and they all agreed one breakfast that the Canada we know today is not what they went to war for. They were ashamed of the cowardice of leadership and the lack of law and order and the absolute despicable way the workers of this country were treated while the slackers were celebrated and rewarded. "All our friends who died were lucky not to see this," the old men said. It's not so bad I say. I could be living in Russia, China or the Middle East. I could be living in the US. I'm here in Canada and my principle problem today is finding something warm today. I also have to watch my tongue. A friend said of me when he heard what I'd said to some pompous and stupidly arrogant beaurocratic authority, "Dr. Hay doesn't tolerate fools well, unless they are his patients." At the asylum we used to say the bars were on the windows to protect the patients from what was out there. I've got to get dressed and go 'there' this morning. It's cold outside.