January chilling

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The New Year seems to have crept by this year, lingering on for a week or so before I noticed any real action in terms of people heading back to work again. The weather is a little ornery though and these past few weeks have spurred on a number of issues that people are constantly peeved about.

One such peeve was the shift of whose favourite hockey team would make it past Christmas. Then there is the one-upmanship of whose favourite brand of vehicle would start in the record-breaking cold, and how many tries with the remote starter did it take. And this somehow makes Mr. Machismo the ultimate chooser of the best vehicle, ever, period.

Then (and this must be a Canadian thing), whose city or community had the coldest weather and whether or not the effectiveness of moist cold air of the city versus the dry colder air of the North made a big difference on who felt colder. But hey, who cares? When it’s cold outside, it’s warm inside.

Then came the contest on whose house is the draftiest. I happened to cure my house’s cold with some duct tape and just MacGyvered it until the snow stopped coming inside. I must have tied with someone else who had the drafty house blues.

The greatest badge of honour is being able to tough out the James Bay Highway without mishap or calamity in order to brag to your grandchildren, or most often these days, to your great-grandchildren. For many seasoned travellers of the 700-kilometre stretch from southern Quebec, it always pays to heed the speed limit. Many people speed simply because it is so rare to see an SQ officer handing out speeding tickets. But who cares about speeding tickets when you need to get towed out of the ditch or if your vehicle hit one of the many craters that are cutely referred to as potholes – which local mechanics rely on for drumming up business.

Then, there are the stargazers. I’m not complaining about the blood red moon, which used to put fear in the hearts and minds of the unknowing and the superstitious. Back a few thousand years ago, sacrificing a virgin to the gods seemed to work and the moon went back to normal. But hey, we are finding out that our ancestors knew the world a lot better than we do and were also aware of how the solar system works.

Today, however for anyone to be recognized for knowing anything at all they need to have a long list of credentials and letters after their name. Yeah, like I need a PhD in commerce to shop – or not – at Wal-Mart. But this New Year’s blood moon brought out the photographer in everyone. And no one was sacrificed! Though I do wish that some Americans would sacrifice their leader to the Mexicans in exchange for some guacamole.

Finally, the first payday after the holidays, which quickly disappears in a puff of interest charges, ATM charges, bank charges, and paying off real bills. It will take another pay period just to feel a little financial security. Thank god that the next big thing is Valentine’s Day, when only your heart can provide the feeling that money can’t buy.

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