Some Thoughts on the Last Day of July, 2017

  • As I drive home from Cowansville I’m a bit surprised that I’m not more tired. As I sat in the medical clinic awaiting my number to be called in order to register for a blood test which I had been putting off for weeks, I was mindful how physical exhaustion plays with your mind. For example, you have less control over where your eyes roam. You look at a nurse at her station, look away, look back again for no apparent reason, over and over.

And so on, with different things to look at. Like the board showing the number of the patient being tended to. My number, C018, was pretty good; I knew I would be going up soon enough. Sometimes, when I’ve gone for blood tests, I’m way, way down, maybe 30 or 40 numbers, and the wait can be quite long. But I had arrived early, hence my tiredness, and was only 18th on the waiting list. So why was I looking and looking though my number was still a long way from being called?

Not only had I woken up early, I had also slept poorly for a change; I can easily sleep eight to nine hours a night, so catching only three or four leaves you with that feeling you normally have in airports after an all-night flight spent wide awake.

I did feel normal enough to be aware of some of nice things when you happen to have perfect weather in the middle of summer.

  • For example, the date on the calendar. If I could freeze time, I would choose a beautiful day in the middle of summer and experience that for a few months. Summer is my favourite season; I often wish that July would last forever. This summer, I had been anticipating driving for the first time in a many years without air conditioning, something I discovered I had lost while my car sat idle at my house for six weeks while I was out West travelling with my wife last summer. However, considering the cool and rainy season we’ve had to date, I haven’t missed my air conditioning all that much. I know that the day will come, maybe next month (which is tomorrow, boo-hoo) or next year when I’m sure I will lament a summer’s drive due to the incredible heat and humidity hitting my face, but it hasn’t happened so far.


  • As I drove home I noticed a couple of things. There was the herd of cows, for one, sitting in a large group at the edge of a field. When I was young, my mother told me that cows stood when it rained. I now think that cows sit before it rains, for some reason. The day might be fantastic as I write this, and the sky was cloudless at 9:30 this morning, but the forecast is for rain later today. In my experience, cows sit before the first drops fall. Don’t ask me how they know…


  • We had to slow down for a crew repairing the highway. Route 139 from West Brome to Sutton is in a “Quebec funk”, in other words, bad condition. Bumpy, ugly, striated with varicose-veined lines, giving it a definite ugly-duckling appearance. The stuff the crew was putting down was typical Quebec highway repair asphalt, looking as if it would be washed away in a week or two: crumbly, soft and weak in the face of a typical Quebec winter. As President Trump would say: “Sad!”
Okay, so Route 139 isn’t as bad as this other Quebec road…
  • But, returning to a positive theme, an article in the Montreal Gazette on the weekend, was all about Quebec’s newfound economic robustness:
  • Hooray, we might no longer be the country’s poor cousin! I was thinking, as I drove past this poor excuse for road repair, that maybe one day, one day, we will see some serious road construction on Route 139, using durable materials… (Well, one can dream…)
  • While waiting for my number to be “called”, I tried to read, through the fog of extreme tiredness, an article in the weekend’s Globe and Mail about the Montreal band Arcade Fire. I thought (hoped) that maybe with their latest release Everything Now I might start appreciating their music, which hasn’t really happened to date, except for a few cuts from their album Neon Bible. So I pulled over, searched ITunes on my IPad for Everything Now and added it to my library, clicked Shuffle and was disappointed once again – at the melodies, the singing, even the so-called messianic vision of their leader Win Butler. However, I’m not giving up hope. The free U2 album that was given away on ITunes a couple of years back, Songs of Innocence, is slowly growing on me; I may change my mind regarding Arcade Fire, but will try to do so by checking in on another older album. Sorry.

These disparate thoughts went through my mind today, racing home from Cowansville to Glen Sutton.


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