Maxed Out 

The February of my discontent

By G.D Maxwell

To most of the northern hemisphere, February is what the doldrums are to ocean sailing, an infuriating calm. A listless, motionless break in routine you know isn’t going to last but seems nonetheless endless in its banality.

February is at least one reason I believe living in a ski resort makes more sense than living somewhere else. Most Februarys – the immediate edition excluded – are simply the best month of the year for hopelessly addicted ski bums. You can generally count on the best snow of the season from the beginning to the end of the month, relatively uncrowded slopes and, since cumulative stress fractures usually don’t put you on crutches until March, an overall vigour in both body and soul.

The only problem with February in paradise is it’s so damn short.

So why is this February so… so… so blah? Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s just everyone I seem to run in to, but there seems to be an epidemic of malaise that’s settled in and, like that mutant cold/flu thing being passed around, just won’t go away.

Wednesday mornings, this malaise most notably manifests itself in struggling to find something, anything to fill this space. For the first time in nine years, it seems like a struggle. My mind wanders from one possible topic to another to another. None spark bright enough to catch fire.

There was, for example, a wonderful incident in Alberta last week. An Edmonton school bus driver, driven past the edge of distraction, kicked a 10-year-old boy off her school bus. The kid, hyper, spoiled and sorely in need of discipline apparently completely lacking at home, was bouncing off the walls, sticking his head out the windows and generally being a monstrous pain in the ass.

Fed up, the driver booted him and the kid ended up walking to his aunt’s house, some 40 blocks away. No harm; no foul. No bogeymen waiting in the bushes, no frozen bodies found in a snow pile. Just a long walk on a winter’s day and a rare chance for the little miscreant to reflect on that philosophical, chicken and egg conundrum of cause and effect.

So what happened? Did the kid learn a lesson? Having reflected on his behaviour, did he come to appreciate the concept of a time and place for everything and conclude riding the school bus was a time for pretty much just sitting in his seat?

Don’t be silly. The school bus driver got disciplined, moved to another route, black mark entered in permanent record. The kid? No doubt he learned, again, what a special, special person he is. How the world revolves around his immediate needs. How generally accepted rules of social discourse don’t really apply to special people like him. And how it’s okay for him to do whatever he wants whenever it pops into his tiny, self-centred brain.

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