Maxed out 

The feel good column

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I’m just so excited I can hardly contain myself. No, it wasn’t Tuesday’s copious, light powder, though that was certainly sufficient excitement for one week, coming as it did after an unfortunate spate of nasty, sunny weather.

It was, admittedly, exciting and especially gratifying to ski clean, deep lines on a morning whose wee hours of predawn I had spent visiting the websites of a handful of well-known ski resorts in, forgive me, Colorado. Having taken quick tours of Telluride, Silverton, Monarch, Breckenridge, Copper, Vail and Beaver Creek, I was pumped to go skiing. So, apparently, is everyone there. The major difference is… we have snow to ski on; they have hopes for the future. I feel their pain. Well, not really. What I really feel is their hoped-for pleasure. Being the nice guy I am, I sent them all reports on what a great morning it was on Whistler, extolling the thrills of that to which they can only look forward. So far, none of them have thanked me. Odd.

And while I’m pretty excited about the Whistler Film Festival, that’s a different kind of excitement altogether. It’s an excitement easily contained. It’s the kind of excitement I feel just knowing there are quite likely people in town who are famous, near-famous and, maybe, not-yet-famous but who will be famous some day. That I wouldn’t recognize any of them if they were sitting on a chairlift beside me and, more likely than not, wouldn’t even be familiar with their names, doesn’t lessen that particular brand of excitement. Famous is famous. And in the Age of Celebrity, even I might pretend to recognize them or be familiar with their names in order to avoid seeming like a complete pop culture Luddite… which I am.

To tell the truth, I’m actually excited about the Film Festival as a sort of anti-excitement activity. The fact is, there is just too much excitement in my life these days. I can’t think of a better cure for overexcitement than sitting in a dark theatre and getting lost in someone else’s fantasy, drama, documentary, whatever. When the lights go down, when the terminal talkers finally shutup, when the last cellphone is turned off and when the shadows finally start flickering across the screen, the excitement scrabbling for shelfspace in my consciousness seems to just drift away, like mist filtering through cedar boughs. Doesn’t really matter what the film is; they’re all good hypnotherapy.

When the credits start rolling I can stop wondering about who the cowboys in red serge are going to indiscriminately taser next. I can stop wondering about what I’d do if I were lost and hungry in a strange country where I didn’t speak the language and where, inexplicably, no one seemed the least bit interested in my distress notwithstanding the 10 hours I wandered around aimlessly, hoping the next face I saw in the crowd was my mama, come to pick me up and give me something to eat. I can stop wondering whether I’d finally start creating a disturbance, hoping to get somebody, anybody, to pay some attention to me and maybe show a little humanity or at least a scrap of curiosity about my lingering presence in a place where people ebb and flow like Bay of Fundy tides. I can stop wondering how scared shitless I might be when four armed cops and a couple of security dudes started playing Surround the Sucker with me as the sucker. And hopefully I can stop wondering how the inevitable whitewash is going to turn out. The Mounties always get their man… unless their man is, well, their man.

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