Handshakes

by Nic Olson

Eight months and a day. I surprised myself too.

I moved to Montreal eight months ago yesterday, and I am just as surprised as you that I haven’t crawled back to my parent’s basement floor in Regina, or that I am not living on the street making clever cardboard signs asking for money downtown Montreal. Neither is far off, I’ll tell you now. Suprised. Pleasantly surprised.

I email my high school teacher every now and then because she is awesome. In her last email she sent me a few sentences about how she was proud of me for my Level 2 French grade which I had to tell her about, about her family successes, being one of the more ‘successful’ families I can think of, and she sent me a link to her daughter’s website. The website was basically a portfolio which highlighted her journalism career so far, videos, awards, cirriculum vitae, etc. She had worked for several news channels doing reporting and anchor work, and is now overseas furthering her resume’s already extensive reach. While scrolling through her long list of academic achievements, scholarships and journalism awards I found a section from high school awards which highlighted her graduation year in 2005, making her a single year older than I.

I don’t rely on pieces of exaggerated paper to tell me what I haven’t done in my life so far, but I will let a website tell me. Panic or worry aren’t verbs I would select when describing myself in basically any situation, unless I’m holding a rifle in the middle of a city while the cops pull up, but the vision of what I could have done in this period of time that I have done nothing got me contemplating. As I sit here shirtless on a Saturday morning, buying scores of Habs tickets with my Unemployment rates for my ‘job’, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be getting out of it anytime soon. At least not until the end of the 10-11 season and the end of my intensive language courses. My 69 year old neighbour, Gilles, gave me some truly helpful resume, and handshake tips, as well as the tip that you can bullshit your way through most any job in the world, so I feel like I will be doing well in any position, even if I’m trying to find a job when I am 69.

Downtown on a Friday night is never where I want to be. The douchebag level of anywhere public in the world at that time is multiplied by a thousand times and misted down with all kinds of body sprays. The first weekend since all of societies finest, the students, have arrived, and they are running the town with their parents cash flow. I talked with a few semi-decent human being students, semi-decent because I honestly couldn’t tell, but it got me trying to decide if it is a shame that so many morons are in the education system, or if that is who it was designed for. Still can’t tell. One girl told me she was trying to decide what she was going to do for her life when I realized I haven’t used that phrasing in a long time, and for good reason. Life isn’t there for us to sit around trying to decide what to do for the rest of it, or what your purpose is, or what to do next. Life is just there to live, and the meaning of life is little more than existence, love, and sharing it all with others.

I don’t tell people that I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life anymore, because I’m not, because it doesn’t matter, and because I feel like I’ve got a good idea as to what is going on. Somedays.

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