Dazed and con­fused

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Rus­sell Wanger­sky is TC Media’s At­lantic re­gional colum­nist. He can be reached at rus­sell.wanger­sky@tc.tc, or stop by his house, where he’s im­pa­tiently wait­ing for a mail­box key and prob­a­bly yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Twit­ter: @Wanger­sky.

So sum­mer is wind­ing down, and I be­lieve the sun has fi­nally cooked my brain.

I know I could write about a va­ri­ety of re­cent elec­toral erup­tions — Con­ser­va­tive sup­porter who got a whole day’s fame for his as­tound­ing on-cam­era per­for­mance, a Lib­eral can­di­date do­ing the same and crash­ing in flames over past of­fen­sive so­cial media com­ments, an NDP can­di­date rushed to hos­pi­tal af­ter over­dos­ing on earnest­ness or piety (the NDP elec­toral party drugs of choice) — but in­stead, here’s a col­lec­tion of smaller things I just don’t un­der­stand.

Tues­day, I got a let­ter from Canada Post. I’m one of many Cana­di­ans be­ing con­verted to a com­mu­nity mail­box ( for me, a walk past just one neigh­bour to the box), and Canada Post likes to keep me up to speed on the riv­et­ing process. At the mo­ment, there is only a con­crete pad, so imag­ine my alarm about get­ting a let­ter em­bla­zoned, “Im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion about your com­mu­nity mail­box keys.” Had I lost them al­ready? Had ter­ror­ists seized them as part of a ne­far­i­ous plot? (No, wait, the Tories would have warned me about that.)

I sup­posed I should have re­al­ized it wasn’t as im­por­tant as it claimed, es­pe­cially be­cause it was ad­dressed to “Mail Re­cip­i­ent.”

In­side? The im­por­tant mes­sage: “Your keys will be de­liv­ered to your home. You don’t need to do any­thing to re­quest them.” So, an im­por­tant up­date about not do­ing any­thing at all. My favourite part? The keys will ar­rive in a closely de­fined 26day win­dow. And Canada Post won­ders why us­age is fall­ing? It needs four weeks to de­liver some­thing it is send­ing it­self ? But on­wards. I go to a gym on those in­fre­quent days when guilt over­takes me. (As op­posed to those guilt­less days when I eat un­healthy food in­stead.) The gym is in a shop­ping mall with a mas­sive park­ing lot. On week­end morn­ings, when the lot is empty, cars and trucks park as close to the door as pos­si­ble — so close, in fact, that ev­ery week­end, there are ve­hi­cles il­le­gally parked all over the nopark­ing hash-marks. So let me get this straight: you’re will­ing to get up early on the week­end and head to the gym to drink pro­tein con­coc­tions that smell ab­so­lutely vile, and crush bru­tal amounts of weights, but you won’t walk even 10 ex­tra feet from the abun­dant le­gal park­ing spa­ces? Heaven for­bid you might get tired on your way to ex­er­cis­ing.

Next, the in­fer­nal ma­chine. It’s giv­ing me a com­plex. I can’t count the num­ber of times I’ve stepped into the wash­room at work, only to have the lit­tle box high on the wall de­cide that now is the opportune time for it to breathe out a fine mist of some lab­o­ra­tory’s ap­prox­i­ma­tion of over­rid­ing ol­fac­tory pleas­ant­ness. It emits its chem­i­cal won­der­ful­ness with a soft, de­clin­ing sigh, the sort of sound a long-suf­fer­ing spouse might make as you reach into the top cup­board in the kitchen for the na­cho chip bag. (“I’m not go­ing to say I’m dis­ap­pointed with you, but I am.”)

Why do we need bat­tery-op­er­ated (or plug-in) ma­chines that puff out lit­tle chem­i­cal pack­ets of scent? This isn’t the 17th cen­tury, when you needed a scent-laden hand­ker­chief un­der your nose to pro­vide even a mo­ment’s respite from the open sew­ers in the streets.

And don’t get me started on scented garbage bags. You now have a hard time buy­ing kitchen garbage bags that aren’t laced with smell-block­ers — I can’t even find plain bags any­more. Here’s a sim­ple fact: garbage smells like garbage. Al­ways has, al­ways will. There’s only so much lip­stick you can put on that par­tic­u­lar pig.

On Sun­day, driv­ing the high­way, I passed a dirt road in the mid­dle of nowhere. Sit­ting on the shoul­der of that dirt road was a shirt­less man in his 20s or so, his head quite lit­er­ally in his hands.

I feel your pain, buddy. I feel your pain.

Rus­sell Wanger­sky

Eastern Pas­sages

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