Saturday, October 6, 2012

Deconstructing Three Controversial Things

1. When the brouhaha about redefining human life was raised in Parliament a couple of weeks ago, I looked carefully at the photo of the Member of Parliament who presented the bill. He looked familiar and then I remembered. A few days before, I had been windswept and frozen, sitting outside in a sweater at Word on the Street. I had met a vast array of people that day. One of them had been a man in a suit, quiet and pleasant, who was talking books with me when he was approached by a panhandler looking for spare change for a meal. The suited man checked his pockets and only had a twenty. He offered to take the man to lunch and the man agreed. Before they left the booth, the panhandler asked the suit whether they knew one another, that the suited man looked familiar. Quietly, the suit said that maybe they had met before, that he was in fact a member of parliament. And then they slipped away together. It helped me in the midst of the outrage of the week that followed to remember that this was a man who treated people with kindness and dignity.

2. I read yesterday that Gloria Taylor died. Taylor was a passionate voice for assisted suicide, who lived with ALS and who did not want the horrible death that comes with that disease. But it wasn't the disease that killed her -- it was an infection that appeared to be unrelated. She died quickly, with her family around her. I was happy for her that she had had a good death, as they say, but I was also struck by the fact that too often I worry about things that may never happen. Her fate looked pretty clear -- which was why she fought as she did -- but in the end, it was different. It made me think.

3. Today the weather is cold and breezy -- and I love it. We've had warm weather since about February. I mention to someone how glad I am for sweater weather and they look at me like I have three heads and mention the snow in Winnipeg and Calgary. Well, that's not what I want either. I just want proper Canadian seasons. Once summer holidays end and the days start to shorten, I want winds and rain and even frost. I actually don't like hot days in autumn (or winter, for that matter). I want to buckle down to work, to be glad to be inside, happy to put on wool socks and to drink hot tea.

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