Mint Tea Nostalgia, Retarded Stuttering Grandpa

I don’t know what I’m going to write about this time so I’ll just keep the fingers moving and see what happens.

My friend Danko has been living in Germany for the past few years and he just came to my house and visited last weekend. He’s been looking for a permanent place to live, which is ballsy I think. He loves aspects of Canada but hates the winter, the Toronto drivers, and lots of other things. Enough other things to want to find another home. Or maybe there just isn’t enough here that he loves. I don’t know.

There’s a lot here that I love. And it’s easier to live here than anywhere else. I’m lucky to have been born here, the healthcare is great, jobs are not easy to get but better than most other places I’d consider living. Not that jobs are terribly relevant to me, but the economy is. A strong economy is good for a freelancer.

Sometimes I get a little broken-hearted about thinking of all my old college friends and where they are today. Just that we’re not all together anymore. There was a time when most of us lived in two apartments, in twin apartment buildings, a short pitching wedge shot apart. We used to hit golfballs at each others buildings. I used to see most of my friends every day. That was school. It wasn’t real life, but it was fun.

Real life is bigger. I make money now, instead of just haemorrhaging cash from an OSAP loan. Money has made a lot of things better. I have independence.

I think what I miss is that closeness of school. I’m alone right now because Isla’s sleeping and Lia’s at book club, and I’m lonely. I don’t feel lonely very often. I’m a little sad. I kind of like it. I’m going to make myself mint tea, with cream and honey in it, and keep writing.

The kettle’s heating up the water.

I’m making myself all nostalgic. Tea makes me nostalgic. So does fall. It’s like having a broken heart, which sounds bad but it’s nice because it brings me into the moment. It makes me feel things more intensely, like music.

My grandma died, what, about a week ago. Sudden heart failure. I think I miss her now. I didn’t before, it’s crazy how long the shock can last. I didn’t cry until I was alone in my car, driving. A bunch of starlings were doing that swarm thing where they look like a big blob of birds in the sky. They were doing that in front of a sunset. I cried a lot.

I always wonder about my grandpa. We were really close, he died nearly 5 years to the day before my grandma. She died a day before his deathiversary, a week after her birthday, two weeks after his.

My grandpa was really into me building things. My earliest memory of him, he’s teaching me how to use a handsaw. Orange handle, whippy blade. Start it like this: draw the saw toward you, using the side of your thumb as a guide. It makes a shallow kerf. Don’t press down, let the saw do the work. Just focus on keeping the saw straight.

I still build things. I love building things. It reminds me of him. It’s how I remember him.

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I don’t know how I’ll remember my grandma. We didn’t really have anything special we did together. When I was a little kid I used to go on walks with her and her dogs. They were huge. My dog name was Autumn. It was me, grandma, Winter, Eric, and Kenya. Sean was there too I don’t think he had a dog name. I don’t know why Eric had such a boring name, the rest of us had cool names. Eric. It suited him though. He was big and calm, except when he saw another male dog sniffing around near his bitches. Apparently Eric knocked a dog over once and ripped its dick and balls off. Eric had epilepsy and they had to put him down, lots of seizures. Shitty way to go.

My tea’s steeped. Time to add shit to it.

Fuck I love mint tea.

Fuck I love the work Fuck. Look at it. Fuck. F U C K. They’re all beautiful letters, all together. Even if I had a stutter I’d love to say fufuck.

My grandpa used to pretend to have a stutter. He used to pretend to be retarded too. It was the best. Not in public or anything, but at thanksgiving dinner he’d usually fuck around and make everyone laugh. Or just whenever he had a surge of energy and needed to do a jig and a bit of a retard shuffle.

So not drinking is going pretty well. Or when I drink, drinking less. Not getting totally fucking wasted I should say. I’ve bent and broken my one drink rule twice now. I don’t mind. As long as I keep coming back to it as a default for the evening, I think it will keep being a useful system. A couple weekends ago my friend Don lent me a massive soup ladle, it fit 5.5 cans of beer in it. That was my drink for the night. I remember at the end of the ladle thinking I wanted another beer, but I didn’t have one. I didn’t do that on purpose, I just didn’t end up getting to the beer in time to get one while I still wanted one. By the time I was near the beer, the urge had passed and I was thinking about getting to bed.

I often wonder about living somewhere else. Or maybe just some of the time. I think it would be a good thing for me to do. I like the idea of moving around. But there are two distinct mindsets adopted depending on where I am. If I’m in Peterborough, I have a much tamer frame of mind. When I’m travelling, I’m way more adventurous in my head. Lia too. We’ve talked about this. We’ve found that it’s really difficult to make travel decisions from home, but it’s easy to make travel decisions even from the car – on a long drive. Something about moving. It inspires us.

I’ve been making a lot of safe choices lately, and now I know what that’s like. It’s like a house, and a deck, and a bunch of renovations on the house, and renting rooms in the house, and getting new clients and working and meeting the clients and doing a good job.

I struggle with thinking about things in more than a binary fashion. Like either travelling or not. I’d like to think of travel as more of a thing that I’m always open to, and when it happens, great. Being game for anything is becoming more important as I get older. It’s getting really easy to string together a bunch of days that are pretty much exactly the same.

There are lots of people whose days are exactly the same, over and over again, and I’m becoming more like those people.

Some of that I enjoy. Some of it I don’t. I think the biggest part that I don’t enjoy is the lack of adventure.

We don’t really live in an adventurous culture, I don’t think. And yet, I think most people crave the shit out of adventure. There’s the tricky part of adventure costing money, if you want to go to a different country. But then, if we were serious about it, we’d find a way.

Danko’s found a way. He’s visiting all kinds of countries in Europe, and he won’t be stopping there. Our recent talks painted him in hotter places, by the ocean, still looking for his perfect place to live. I hope he finds it. Or maybe he won’t. Maybe his perfect place is always somewhere else. That’s fine too, if that’s what makes him happy.

I didn’t realize how much I missed him until he visited. I miss him so much. But I think it’s better this way. It’s better than not missing him. It’s better than when he lived in Toronto and wasn’t very happy and I wasn’t missing him. Maybe missing is in the wrong category. It should be a good thing to miss someone, but I’ve always thought of it as a negative emotion. It’s worth appreciating, the feeling of missing someone. It’s an opportunity to reflect, and love, and feel grateful for someone. I don’t do much of that, I’d like to do more.

1 thought on “Mint Tea Nostalgia, Retarded Stuttering Grandpa”

  1. You inspire me, my friend.
    Mind is blown with the last thought of “missing” as a negative emotion. You turned that frown upside down and I like it. Keep on inspiring 🍻
    Cheers

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