Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!


May every change it brings your way be for the better

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How I became an axe murderess . . .

So five years have whizzed past, just like that. I know, because I had to go and renew my driver’s license today. Every fifth birthday we get to enjoy this added amusement, compliments of the BC Motor Vehicles Department.

Bear in mind that winter babies like me are accustomed to a whole range of weather possibilities greeting them with birthday wishes. Last time I renewed, the roads were bare, the sun dazzling and though it was pretty nippy out there, only a light skiff of snow hung around lending a pleasing seasonal touch.

This year’s motif is mounds of the stuff, grey with salt and sand, heaped waist deep along the roadsides with a sneaky slush camouflage over ice streaked pavement. No matter, tradition dictates, and all that. After waiting hours in vain for a snow plough to find our little road, the hub and I braved the mess and sallied forth. And back. And forth. Numerous times, getting out to where the important people dwell, with their handsomely cleared roads.

Now, things have changed over five years I must say. For one thing, newer, better technology means a longer period of happy anticipation awaiting the arrival of your new permanent license. For another, they don’t have the yellow happy feet on the floor any more. But the biggest change is the instructions for having your picture taken.

“It’s like passport photos,” said the helpful clerk.

I was doing just fine without the yellow feet and had my face under control – not an easy trick, when you’re doing your best to keep your Bell’s Palsy from betraying you. Anyway, everything was fine, until the clerk finished giving the new instructions.

“No smiling. Please keep a neutral expression.”

Who has a ‘neutral’ face, I ask you. A two-year old on the potty? A bit player in 'Deliverance?'

For some insane reason, a vision of the multitude of snapshots from my years in Korea flashed through my mind. All unsmiling, neutral expressions that, well, simply crack me up, because I know these friends as loving folk with a pixilated and joyous sense of humour. Of course, I laughed out loud.

Mmmm. The clerk was plainly startled. To her credit, she shrugged and shot me a resigned glance I could only interpret as practiced patience. I took up the position again. And once again, mercifully, had the face reigned in.

“Well, that really messed the camera up,” she muttered quietly when nothing happened as she tried to take a second shot. And of course, it flashed at the precise moment I lost the battle and my face collapsed in hilarity. The practiced patience was thinning noticeably.

“Wow, I’ve never actually had one break before,” I sputtered out.

The other clerk’s laughter drew my clerk’s attention away. When mine turned back, I had again assumed the position; jaw securely clamped shut, neck locked in place, immobile. You couldn’t have moved my head the width of a sub-atomic particle unless you’d swung a wrecker’s ball. Hard. I was ready.

So was she. Instantly, the apparatus flashed and she was saying, “please step up to the counter.”

I did. She swiveled the computer screen for me to see what my new license would look like. I was supposed to check the text information for errors. What text information? My full, astonished attention was riveted on the photo.

“Omigod!” I shrieked like a Nickleback groupie. “I look like an axe murderess!”

Golly, can you guess how happy I am that renewal time only comes around once every five years? I bet that clerk is, too.

"Just one of life's little vicissitudes, I suppose"

I heard that expression a lot from my Mom when I was a kid.

It was her way to explain anything that got changed by forces beyond our control, so she wouldn't have to get warped out of shape trying to really explain. A sort of philosophical "meh," if you please.

Personally, I'm sort of partial to life's little vicissitudes. Just the little ones, of course.

The ones that promote a giggle, or snicker, snort, chuckle or even flat out belly laugh - when the gods of laughter toy with us. Life's full of little changes with silly consequences.

This is a blog about the ones that make us smile.