A Safe Bet

“We laugh at novels in which the weather tracks the moods of the characters, yet our own moods mostly track the weather.”—Aaron Haspel, Everything (2015)

IMG_0672Next year, I encourage you to predict that in early to mid-April, when everyone in Montreal thinks the winter war’s over, when everyone thinks spring is around the next corner, BOOM!—we’ll get one last snow storm that bums everyone out big time. This is a great prediction to make because: (a) it happens almost every year; and (b) Montrealers habitually forget that it happens almost every year. But if you can somehow force yourself to remember that it happens almost every year, and make the prediction in 2017, you’ll seem like a far-sighted sage with a crystal ball under your mattress when it happens. In fact, you’ll merely be not an amnesiac. Then again, maybe half of what makes a sage a sage is simply not being an amnesiac. Maybe the wise are merely those who remember what the rest of us habitually forget.

Despite the fact that I really ought to know better, I must confess that my knee-jerk response to this mid-April snowstorm isn’t the melancholy disappointment of a world-weary grownup who’s been there, done that; it’s the melodramatic disappointment of a moody teenager who’s just had her heart broken for the first time. And I’m not alone! This emotional response, childish and silly though it may be, is painted on the faces of everyone today. Such sadness on these slushy streets! The 211’s never been so quiet, so eerily quiet: these caged birds no longer wish to sing. A silent spring indeed! We sit here in our cold, soaking wet shoes, on this stuffy, overheated bus, trying to forget a day that’s barely begun. It’s like we’re all sleepwalking through the city today, like harmless zombies, sharing the same shitty dream.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Goldfish (2017)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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