by Nic Olson
It arrives when you least expect it. Babies, STDs, large cash settlements, snow. It has snowed finally.
Running home I found a four foot snowbank in my neighbourhood. I just dove into it ass-first anticipating cloudy landings and great bodily imprints. My tailbone cut through the snow straight to the sidewalk. I can’t stand up straight. It was worth it.
Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
-Kurt Vonnegut, A Man without a Country
There are several ‘How to Build a Community’ posters around my neighbourhood. All the cheap and poor Anglophones move into a French part of town and want to start a community in English. Real great. I wouldn’t call it a community quite yet because I don’t even know my roommates. One has shingles on his face and the other is from Ontario, or B.C, or Newfoundland…
The apartment below me has a dog that they abuse. It whines and barks all day long, then they come home and yell at it for shitting on the floor and the bed. Great parenting.
The homeless man that asks for change at the highway intersection stands at the depanneur throughout the evenings.
The apartment at the end of the block in the middle of renovations have been very neighbourly however, donating pieces of insulation and brand new bricks for shelving. Donating may be a liberal way of putting it.
I watched a French video today in school about how people are addicted to the internet, and how in the year 2030 we will all work in Iran but from the comfort of our homes on Simulated Reality machines and how all of this will cause schizophrenia. The lady on the metro billboards with god-awful glasses said so. She is undoubtedly a genius.
I just finished a chapter today trying to explain, mostly to myself, why we are on Earth. I did so with uncomfortable ease, being that it is a question that philosophers have been asking themselves for thousands of years. But I got it. I’m twenty-two years old but I’ve got it down pretty well. You’ll have to wait and buy my book to see what I think it is. But Vonnegut disagrees. Not directly, but indirectly. They could go hand in hand. I would love to walk hand in hand with him and his moustache.
Community isn’t as easy as saying hello to your neighbour. I smile at nearly everyone I walk beside on the sidewalk, but I have not once got a smile in return in this city, until today, when there was a foot of snow on the ground. I got a wave, a smile, and some positive curse words from a man shovelling his car out of his parking spot. Community could stem from this but not entirely. Community is comfort. Community isn’t cold, and I couldn’t feel my toes when sitting and eating supper today. Community isn’t electronic. Just ask Vonnegut. Community is support for someone jumping ass-first into your neighbourhood snow drift. It didn’t support me, and my lower lumbar is paying for it.