The Telegram (St. John's)
Slovenly is what slovenly does
Listening with the ears of a child, I probably first heard the word slovenly when I was four or five. My father used it in so many ways. For example, if someone went to church of a Sunday morning with the arse out of their pants, he might say that was slovenly. Or, if folks failed to keep their promises, or to keep their properties tidy – likewise.
Not only that, but he could combine slovenly with words like ungrateful and/or hangashore and if the words were directed at me I knew it was going to be a bad day. Failing grades on a report card could easily elicit that and more!
Slovenly was and is such a colourful word, and while my dear father is no longer around to use it, one of the first words that came to mind as I was driving Signal Hill Road a few days ago was my S-word. While I do realize there are thousands of people in this town who help keep it clean and tidy, there are companies and agencies who do not pull their fair weight.
Take that pile of sand/ gravel that’s on the roadway just across from the GEO Centre on Signal Hill Road. It’s been building now for at least three years or longer. (And no, it has nothing at all to do with the massive project going on at the bottom of the hill or the work at the top.) It is not only slovenly, but it is a hazard, since the upbound traffic must move closer to the centre of the road to avoid it.
Once you get to the tower parking lot, all seems well and for the most part it is, now. But if you peep over the retaining wall, there among the weeds, you’ll see the remains of orange construction bags and such. Weeds, perhaps, are one of our great friends here in the city and it might be they’ve already covered the bags completely along with a tonne of other garbage.
Before we leave the parking lot, however, it is worth looking at the maps that Parks Canada tell us will help to safely enjoy our walk about the North Head Trail. The maps are wrong. They’ve been wrong for three or more years now. I’ve raised it with the highest level of Parks Canada that would listen. Their response: “Well, you know Wayne, we get so used to looking at these things, etc., etc., etc. But we will fix it.” When? That is slovenly. And again, it is not only slovenly, it is dangerous. With tourists trying to follow them in the fog, anything could happen.
If you follow the trail down the north side of Ross Valley, there by the tower you will have a steep climb, but the boardwalk makes for relatively easy going. The thing is, the shrubs/grass growing up through the boards and reduces the width of the walkway substantially. I certainly realize Parks Canada staff have their hands full with Canada 150 and all, but to have the steps in such a condition is — you got it, slovenly.
If you are walking around the trail around noontime you might want to be very attentive, because they still fire that stupid gun. I’ve watched as tourists nearly come out of their boots the first time they hear it. In the era of terrorism and such, is it necessary to have that hearing-destroying nonsense?
And what of today’s headlines? (The Telegram, July 18: “Bound ‘dog’ remains found in pond turn out to be coyote: RNC.”) The article tells of a coyote that was bound and/ or shot and somehow ended up in a pond. Since I love to swim, I tried to imagine what would happen if my legs were tied. I might be able to pull myself along with my arms for a while, but I think in short order I would probably die a horrible death. No human deserves such treatment, nor any animal under nature’s heaven, domesticated or wild.
If you were involved in this caper, my father might have called you a slovenly hangashore, and I’m sure he would have added: without the sense of a caplin.
If you are walking around the trail around noontime you might want to be very attentive, because they still fire that stupid gun. I’ve watched as tourists nearly come out of their boots the first time they hear it.
Wayne Norman St. John’s