Someone recently commented on a previous post that I seem to be practicing my silent days alone and that I should get back to interacting with more than just my dawg. Good point. I’ve been alone because I’ve been hunkered down at the cottage by myself for the last month. I actually prefer being silent around people. It tends to provide far more interesting material for me to write about. I’d also imagine that reading about my interactions with others is farrrr more interesting than reading about any disturbing recalls from my past or flailing attempts at insight that might escape the previously locked up recesses of my beautiful mind.
So, I packed an unopened 25 pound bag of dog food into my Osprey backpack from Sojourn, (my new weight training regime) then Tucker and I drove 30-minutes to Lindsay, Ontario in order to be with humans again. Walking some of the “urban” trails alongside the river near the downtown core, was actually quite nice. They were filled with seniors walking, baby boomers running and holidaying city folk cycling. (There are many reasons I will never be a cyclist. First and foremost – the outfits. It seems like it would take a cyclist about 45-minutes just to put on all the crap they wear in order to shave off .06 of a second they need to qualify for… NOTHING!)
Because I couldn’t say “Good morning” or Hello” to people as we passed each other on the trails, I simply waved and nodded. One of the more interesting conversations I eavesdropped on was four octogenarian men discussing how to spice up leftovers with hotdog wieners. (Mmmm yummy!) When you’re quiet, you notice more. For example, the two men tanning nude on their second floor balcony. (Speaking of wieners.)
Finding myself a bit disoriented while trying to make my way toward the main street, I approached a postman for directions. After indicating that I couldn’t speak, I formed a C with my hand and then a drinking motion. I figured that asking where I could get a coffee from was easier than attempting to explain that I was trying to get to the humans. (Imagine how creepy THAT interaction would have gone!) He over exaggerated “THREE blocks that way” with his hands, while speaking slowly and loudly to me. Cliffy Claven probably walked away feeling he’d done a good deed that day – helping out Special Ed! (John Ratzenberger – one of the nicest humans I’ve ever had lunch with. Excuse, let me just pick up that name.)
While I was sitting in the park taking a wee rest and eating my protein bar, a taxi driver got out of his cab and walked all the way over to the bench I was sitting on. He asked how old Tucker was. After I communicated that I couldn’t talk, he too spoke slowly and loudly to me. Special Ed felt “special” again!
While I was at the deli counter at the supermarket sampling meats and trying to communicate my desire for something hot and European, (describing Penelope Cruz with gestures can get really awkward) the manager walked over and asked me if I was deaf. Now, on the surface that sounds like a smart-ass thing to do. ASKING someone if they’re deaf? C’mon! But deli lady wasn’t being a jerk. She was using sign language! CRAP! I KNEW this day would come! Someone finally busted out full blown sign language! It’s kind of like when you’re in another country and you decide to show off using the only seven words of native tongue you know. Then, the person you’re speaking with thinks that you actually speak the language and launch into a full on conversation. BUSTED! That’s exactly what happened at the deli counter! I could feel the mood of the middle aged women behind me go from patient sympathy to “DUDE! Get yer hot European meat and move on already!” (Come to think of it, the middle aged women I know don’t say “dude”. They’re not the biggest fans of Penelope Cruz either.)
I feel like an ass letting people think that I’m “disabled”. They feel that they’re actually helping out someone who is “challenged” and then walk away thinking they’ve done a good deed. When in reality, (they have no idea just how challenged I really am) they’ve unknowingly helped some putz who simply decided not to talk for the day. But what else do I do? Do I try communicating to every person that “I’m practicing the sacred art of silence preparing for a two month vow of silence while walking The Camino and could you please tell me where the McManis Cabernet Sauvignon is?” I tried that early on and it just felt like I was wasting they’re time. The puzzled looks of confusion I also got, only seemed to muddy the interaction. I felt like an ass, so I cut it down to, “I can’t talk. Where do you keep the hemorrhoid cream?” (Figured I would stay with the “pain the in ass” theme.) I kinda feel like I’m scamming people. I feel like Johnny Knoxville in the movie “The Ringer”.
He pretends to be “special” so he can get into the Special Olympics. (He needed the money for noble reasons, people. C’mon! He’s not a complete tard!) Someone suggested I wear a button that says “I’m Practicing A Vow Of Silence”. That might be cool on The Camino, but out in the Canadian public with John Q. Hoser? (Buttons were NEVER cool, even in the 80’s.) So do I just keep letting people think that they’re helping out Special Ed? What if I keep it brief only during a customer service interaction that requires expediency? Then, with less time sensitive interactions, maybe I can explain things more?
PART 2 (Hey – I’ve got some time on my hands. Sorry. But you gotta hear about Blisters and Bunions and Bears OH MY!
Breaking in my new Lowa hiking boots from Sojourn has been easier than breaking in my feet/ego.
I think the last time I had a blister on a toe was when I was 17. I was working as a head wrangler at a ranch camp in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California called Woodlake Ranch. The ranch camp was owned by a camp/conference/retreat centre 4500 feet up in the mountains called Hume Lake. Because it’s located at such a high altitude, every winter they made a skating rink. I was up in the mountains at a staff training event and of course, being the only Canadian around, I had to show all them Californian hippies what real skating was. One problem – the only skates they had were figure skates. And the only guy I know who successfully crossed over from hockey skates to figure skates was my pal, Val Bure. (Candace Cameron Bure’s husband) He was a contestant on a Canadian TV show called Battle of The Blades where retired NHL players paired up with retired professional figure skaters and competed as pairs. Val rocked it and won the whole thing. Probably because he was Russian. (Oh those Russians. Thanks Boney M) Another problem – the only pair of hockey skates anyone had were 3 sizes too small for me. EGO POWERS ACTIVATE! TOE NAILS DISAPPEAR! BLISTERS POP! But dang I was awesome! I skated circles around everyone else. They must have learned so much from me. I can only imagine how absolutely thrilled they were when I cut in front of them and “snowed them” with my skates as I stopped only inches from their shins. (It’s astounding to me that I was single at that point in my life! What a catch!)
Let’s talk about bunions. That word only recently entered into my vocabulary. UGH! “Bunions” is an old person word, right? It’s like “prostate exam” or “Viagra” or “bran” or “ear hair” or “glasses”. If there is a God… ohhhhh the fun She must have. Yes, I said She. Because God seems to have the vengeful, comedic foresight of a woman. Why else would men’s bodies be designed in such a way that multiple ego busters would manifest at the same time in his life that he begins to feel confident and successful? I mean, what does it say about The Designer when a “friend of mine” looses his sex drive and his eyesight around the same point in his life? A tad redundant don’t you think? And his doctor (a female friend of his, I might add) keeps pushing him to get his prostate checked. AND… hair has begun to sprout out of his ears like ear wax was Miracle Grow. And here’s the kicker. It takes someone else pointing out his ear hair for him to even notice, BECAUSE HE CAN’T SEE THEM! And plucking them? LOL! Plucking them with his crappy eyesight would require he hold the title of “World OPERATION Champion”! (Batteries not included.)
So if there is a God, of course She’s is a woman. Well played oh Mighty One. Well played.
While Tucker and I walked the 17 KM’s around the North end of the lake, a black bear ran across the road about 60 metres in front of us. COOL! It was pretty funny watching Tucker acting like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz when the lion thought he was all tough… “Put ’em up! Put ’em up!”
THIS WEEK’S CONFESSION(s): I feel bad that people think they’re helping out a “special” person when I interact with them on my silent days / I’ve got bunions / Hair is now growing out of my ears / I need glasses to read / My sex drive is disappearing faster than Robin Thicke’s career