Sunday, 21 December 2014

Turning the Page on Global Warming

Dateline: Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM – Winter is officially here.
Dude! Where's my car!?
I'm dreaming about getting the cycle and the kayak out in Spring.
Today is the shortest day of the year and tomorrow is officially the first full day of winter. I'm already planning the first days I can drop my kayak into a river or tune up the cycle for a ride. Of course, my immediate concern is whether I have amassed enough movies and books to get me through. Hmm... Perhaps a few more of each.
Winter is an ideal time to plan an exodus. Not the two week variety. The big one.
Of course, this morning I kick on the iTunes, click “random play” on my selection of Sunday morning mix tunes and... wonder of wonders... Bob Marley starts off the morning taking me immediately to a mental scene of palm trees, white sand and breakers foaming over a reef.
The whole event around Solstice and winter got me thinking about how difficult it is for Canadians to have success in outdoor sports. We’re pretty much snowballed unless it’s hockey, skiing or riding a CO2 belching motorized dog sled. And then there's hurtling at a hundred miles an hour down an iced tube. They call that last one Bobsled. I'm thinking Bob was missing a few ice blocks from his igloo.
To combat this discrepancy in sports such as golf, we have devised mechanical wonders like indoor driving ranges with industrialized, sub-atomic heaters blowing warm air at our frost bitten crotches and virtual screens where you can pretend-play against some of Canada's best (like the 2003 Masters champ). Still, it hasn't the same allure as real world antics where I can crank a golf ball off the nearest Sugar Maple, have it ricochet back and leave a good sized divot on my golf buddy’s family jewels.
Hmm… it could have been a frozen hockey puck there, Jacques. Stop moaning, you sissy. You're up next. Next time wear a cup. Oh... and here's your missing jewel.
Then, there’s one of my preferred activities… cycling. A few hardy individuals brave the winter by riding their bikes through the season looking like a puffy Don Cherry in raving lunatic Technicolour. Donned in a snowsuit, mukluks, snow mobile gloves, battery-powered-automatic-feed Tim Horton's travel mug and a triple thick balaclava, if they strolled into a bank in the States they would be porous by way of hot lead faster than Jean Chr├ętien can choke a voter. Here in Canada, the bank teller simply offers a free cup of Timmies, a donut and a tissue for ever present cold weather nasal snot.
Oh my God I'm gonna have a coronary!
So I turn to cycling indoors which means a spinning machine at the local YMCA or in my living room. Cycling at the gym or "The Y" isn’t entirely nonconstructive. All a person of my vintage need do for motivation is choose a cycle behind a blistering hot, sweaty twenty-something in black spandex shorts and spend the entire session trying to catch up. Perfect, my brain thinks. I'll be in great shape for Spring!
Until I dismount the contraption and my legs betray me like over-cooked spaghetti leaving me puddled on the dead-sweat-smelling gym floor.
Cycling in the living room has its own dilemmas. The same motivation doesn’t exist. (Well, there's Charmed reruns and it just isn't the same.) On winter evenings, there's hockey on the TV to get the RPMs up though it's quite the balancing act riding a stationary bike, whooping it up when the Leafs score and avoiding spilling beer (sacrilege). During the day, all you really have for motivation is Days of Our Lives, Doctor Phil or a droning talk show about the most recent medical break-through to moderate menopause.
Ready for a winter paddle.
And... while spinning along, every so often the contraption kicks off its stand conveying the unsuspecting rider (me) at warp ten across the beige medium pile carpeting into the fifty-two inch Hulka-Monster big screen TV. Now I find myself with the television horizontal and me lying prone on top with beer, pretzels and regurgitated Timbits strewn everywhere. The great part is the right leg disappearing into the wall... beside the hole made by the left leg last week... and the other hole left by my elbow the week before.
I think I have it fixed now. A half dozen lag bolts into the antique wood floor and I'm all set.
The long winters here make it difficult for us to thrive in outdoor summer sports. On the other hand, we’re great at hockey, pretty damned good at skiing and very proficient at sliding down the middle of an icy, hilly city street on our Hugo Boss clad asses. That last one isn't a sport but it’s a hoot to watch. I gave a guy a ten last week for careening off a British green Miata, grabbing some lady's take out coffee on the way by and scattering a waddle of nuns from Sacred Mary Heart of Sleet before coming to rest with feet in the air against an "icy conditions" street sign.
Dreaming of somewhere warmer
All of this brings me back to this year, the early spring and late fall. Could this be Global Warming? Is it possible Al Gore is right? If so, we’ll be the new Florida soon and finally produce some respectable tennis players. All we need to do is sell more tar-sands sludge and eat more Alberta beef.
As often as we find ourselves positioned as Miss Congeniality in summer sports, is there any doubt we have to be pretty damned nice people… eh?
So... promote Canucks in summer sports by buying more gas and driving around in endless circles on your snowmobiles. Don't forget to load up on steaks and ribs. Hurry, will ya? Kayaking on the dining room table in front of a seascape on a big screen TV is... well... I rolled off twice yesterday. Helmet, dude! Helmet!
I'm gonna need a vacation.