By TheOttawacker

Bacchus was willing

It’s probably a bit late to start making new year’s resolutions, but I am going to perhaps make a new half-year’s resolution instead.

These blips have dropped right off for me of late. I don’t know, let me out of the basement and I lose all sense of discipline. So my new half-year’s resolution is to produce a daily blip and to write something more meaningful than the drivel that comes out at the end of a long week, after a bottle of wine, and catching up on 10 days’ worth of blips.

July 1 happens to be a good place to start here in Canada. It is, after all, the national holiday, when we celebrate being a good country and completely forget all the things that might, you know, take away from us being a good country. Like genocides, residential schools, MMIW, the tar sands, Nickelback and beating seals over the head with clubs. But, on the whole, Canada is the probably one of the best places in the world to be and to live, and I think it is, on balance, one of my better choices in life to choose to live here. So, as I belted out O Canada!  (bilingual version) at 5 p.m. to our friends out in Victoria, B.C., causing Ottawacker Jr. to break for cover and Mrs. Ottawacker to check all the windows on the back deck were closed, it didn’t seem an inappropriate thing to be doing. (Today’s hangover, as I launch on a Dry July, begs to differ.)

What a strange 153rd Canada Day it was. First, I have to say that I am intrinsically against most “stat holidays” on the principle that I am an intensely miserable bastard who hates being told to have fun. New Year’s Eve makes me cringe; St. Patrick’s Day will be the only day of the year I refuse to drink Guinness; and, in fact, all national holidays should be outlawed for promoting intolerance, jingoism and allegiance to a piece of cloth (whatever shape or strip it might be). Plus, I’ve never, ever seen the point of fireworks – not even when I lived in France and the Bastille Day celebrations were pretty spectacular. But Mrs. Ottawacker likes the day and there is, of course, Ottawacker Jr. to take into account, so I try and get into the spirit. As it were. Put it this way, I am apparently not noticeably grumpier than usual.

This year, with COVID-19 in the news (not sure if you had heard about that – it is a virus going around apparently), everything was virtual. Not only was there no obligation to go out of the house and throng around happily among thousands of people wearing red, it was actively discouraged. Even the fireworks were virtual. Virtual fireworks I can get into.

Unfortunately, I had promised Ottawacker Jr. he could stay up and watch the fireworks before realizing this – opening my yap before engaging my brain is something I do increasingly frequently – so I had to break the news over dinner. In recompense, we watched a movie: Planes, Trains & Automobiles, which despite the scene in which Steve Martin goes back to the car rental place and manages to say “fucking” thirty times in ninety seconds, a rate to which I incidentally aspire, it was an inspired choice for a seven-year old boy. Mrs. Ottawacker, whose taste in comedies matches perfectly our son’s, also enjoyed it, and listening to the two of them giggling uncontrollably at the “they’re not pillows” line was one of the highlights of the day.

Having dispatched the boy off to bed with a cursory bedtime song – he is asleep within 10 seconds if I start off with Ger Wolfe’s The Curra Road – I was somewhat taken aback to see his face in the corner of the room half an hour later complaining of the noise. It seemed as if the virtual fireworks were not enough for some people, so an impromptu display had been organized at Mooney’s Bay. We stepped out the front door and sat on our steps to watch them in the distance.
They were small and insignificant, but as I sat there with my arm around his shoulders, I realized it was definitely the best display I had ever seen.

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