Duffer - the signs of spring March07
DUFFER .........the signs of spring
by Ian Robinson
WINTER has pretty much come to a close, unless you live in one of the godforsaken places like Labrador or Yellowknife or Toronto.
Actually, winter's over in Toronto, but it still qualifies as godforsaken.
Have you driven there lately?
It's like all the good drivers were exiled to foreign climes and all that's left are geriatric lunatics with lead feet and thick glasses and for whom peripheral vision is a fond memory, like sex with women who are successfully resisting the pull of gravity.
And apparently, when handing out driver's licences, nobody in the Ontario government has stressed things like turn signals or checking your blind spot.
Driving in Toronto these days is the only argument I can think of in favour of gun control. I was riding in a cab, who apparently came from somewhere where the point of driving isn't to avoid collision with other vehicles, it's to race past the Improvised Roadside Explosive Devices.
Normally, the urge to shoot other people only hits me about once or twice a week.
I was in downtown Toronto last summer on a business trip and by midnight on a weekday, you could have fires a howitzer down Younge Street and, not only wouldn't you have killed a single taxpayer, I doubt anybody would have called the cops.
I swear, there's more decent nightlife in Medicine Hat. So "forsaken" fits.
For Canadians, winter is like what Catholics have to go through when they die.
First there's Purgatory for a couple of hundred or thousand -- and then there's Heaven.
Heaven for a Canadian is when you go outside and you don't have to be wearing what the Columbia Clothing Company refers to as "a clothing system".
Summer, you don't need a clothing system. You need a pair of shorts. If you are a wimp, you need a pair of sandals.
My Dad always thought people who wore shoes in the summer were wimps. Come spring, when he was a kid, he'd put on his bathing suit. That was what he wore. All summer long. No shoes. No sandals.
When fall came and it was time to go back to school, he'd sit down and put his feet in his father's lap, my grandpa, and grandpa would take out his Buck knife and peel and inch of callous off my child-father's feet so he could comfortably wear his back to school shoes.
Talk about your rites of passage. When I had to go back to school, I got some new notebooks.
My dad didn't have to cut off some of my feet.
They built people tougher in those days.
The good news about spring is this:
1) You can wash and wax your car and the shine lasts longer than 20 minutes. I don't know where you live, but the first hint of snow, this city panics and you've got trucks running up and down the turnpike scattering gravel, sand and salt.
2) You can go outside wearing a pair of shorts. (Of course, if you live Calgary, like I do, you don't ever put your parka away because it's gonna snow or sleet in July).
3) You get to wear sunglasses all the time. Not only do sunglasses make you look cool ....
4) When you're sitting on the beach looking at the shapely adorables perambulate past past you in all their pneumatic glory, nobody calls the cops on you because nobody knows you're ogling some teenager in a bikini that would fit comfortably, wadded up, in a shot-glass.
5) The rich morons who think it's perfectly sensible to spend $175,000 on a four-wheel drive Hummer -- the only people who really need them are wearing uniforms and tooling around in Iraq trying to kill the kind of people who'd love to fly fully-loaded aircraft into tall buildings in North America -- get out of their giant vehicles that fling stones into your windshield and replace them with their Lexus sports cars.
6) You can sit in your backyard and enjoy the peace and quiet of the 'burbs.
The bad things about spring are:
1) In the winter, a dirty car is normal. If you're a lazy bugger, like I am, spring means you've actually got to wash the darned thing or nasty little neighbour kids come around and write "Wash me!" in the dust on the tailgate of you pickup.
2) It's so hot you pretty much have to wear shorts, and when you put on your shorts, you look down at your flabby, middle-aged thighs and think: Uh-oh! Gravity works! And it's doing a serious number on me.
3) While you may think sunglasses make you look cool, people who see you wearing shades do not think you look like Arnold in The Terminator. They think you look like a middle-aged guy trying to buy cool by shelling out for a pair of Ray-Bans, not to mention the fact that...
4) When you're sitting on the beach shifting your eyes behind your shades to watch the shapely adorables perambulating down the beach... your wife sitting next to you know EXACTLY what you're doing, and you will pay for it later. Trust me. You will pay. When she decides its time to repaint the house because the colour doesn't match her new car, don't complain. You're getting off easy.
5) Guys who quit driving their winter Hummers to exchange them for their Lexus sports cars are a bigger menace in the summer than they are in the winter. They change lanes without signalling and look at speed limit signs, multiply by two, and drive that fast.
6) The peace and quiet of the 'burbs that lures you out into your back yard lasts about 15 minutes, just long enough for the 15-year-old two doors down with eight, separate facial piercings (What is it about this new generation of teen that makes them want to look as though they got into a fight with a guy armed with a nail gun and lost?) to start up his garage band.
Courtesy of Turf & Recreation Magazine
Canada's Turf and Grounds Maintenance Authority