January Blahs

I met a woman in the hot tub last night.
Nah, it was nothing like that. I was at the ‘Y’ and it was one of the few times the hot tub was actually in working order and open for use.
I nodded at said woman as I made my way gingerly down the steps. “It’s nice the hot tub is actually usable today,” I blurted out. I’ve always believed obvious, boring statements to be the perfect icebreakers.

I was pleased that this woman actually smiled and answered. I find that there is sometimes a suspicion between the sexes these days, with all the talk about ‘rape culture’ on university campuses probably spreading into the Glebe and other respectable residential areas. One never knows. But she was sixty-plus and I’m getting close to that age. One look at me and she figured I was harmless.

“When this hot tub isn’t open I just use the one at my daughter and son-in-law’s,” she informed me. “He’s an engineer and he’s very smart.”
My Spidey-sense started tingling.
“My daughter helped him build it. She’s very smart too. She’s the Head Engineer at the City of Ottawa. Most of the other engineers are men. She tells them what to do. But they all love her.”

I tried to change the subject. “Do I detect an accent?” I asked cleverly. I hoped that she didn’t find this question too offensive because quite a bit of what I say these days offends someone somewhere, I am told.
“Yes. I’m from Bordeaux, France. But I learned my English in London, England”
No wonder I was confused. Most of the French-speaking women I’ve met were from Sherbrooke, Quebec and learned their English in Cornwall, Ontario.
“Oh, I’ve been to both places,” I offered. She wasn’t interested.
“My daughter could talk at fifteen months,” she continued, “as well as you are speaking now.”
I nodded, plugged my nose and lowered my head into the foaming froth of the hot tub. I don’t know if that is dangerous, and I wondered if it was the usual Ottawa January deep-freeze that was numbing that sector of the brain that controls conversation.

Don’t tell me how great your kids are. I appreciate that about as much as a Christmas card with your family all sitting around the tree, or at the beach, or wherever it is you are at the moment.

I’m not really interested, thank you. And I won’t be putting it up on the mantle in my living room. But maybe I’ve mentioned this to some of you before. That’s why I don’t get many Christmas cards anymore from anyone under the age of eighty.

I know the Christmas season is just past and we’ve all got our heads down for the month of January, trying to sober up from all the seasonal parties, cutting back on our calories and trying to get in at least one good month from the gym membership. An employee of the liquor store informed me that sales go way down in January before picking up to their usual levels in February. There may be even a few of you self-delusional enough as to make New Year’s Resolutions.

I am sounding a wee bit sour here. Sorry about that. I think it’s about time I boosted the January sales at the liquor store.

So I will sweeten up enough to say that although unimpressed with the current trend away from the traditional greeting cards of Santa soaring through the sky or the Three Wise Men trekking through the dessert trying to find Bethlehem without the assistance of a GPS to the current mania of sending ‘selfies’ is still a big improvement over those short-lived and unlamented Christmas letters that seemed to start up in the 1980s and are now buried ingloriously in the graveyard of pop culture alongside, oh, I don’t know, the mullet.

I was never a good typist but I always fantasized about sending out a Christmas letter along these lines…

Dad will be paroled and coming home soon and Mom has upped her dosage of Prozac as a result. Little Joey is four and a half but is still resisting all efforts the be toilet-trained. Jane’s teacher is very pleased with her progress as she makes her way through Grade 2 for the third time. Jim has finished going to school (although he never actually completed Grade 12) and is now making a half-hearted attempt to find a job…

Well, you get the picture (but don’t send me a photo.) I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found candid, frank conversation to be refreshing, if not downright humourous.

Maybe I am actually just another old grump who is too set in my ways.

Any of you know how to set up SnapChat and InstaGram ?

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