A season after The Season

by Nic Olson

It is the season after the season where the seasoned shopping veterans return their Christmas-purchased goods for other sizes, styles, seasonings and the glorious, un-expirable, unbiased store credit. The season after the season does not even pretend to be characterized by joy and peace and love and good tidings, but rather a series of crumpled up receipts and cigarette-scented clothing in ragged paper bags. Disgruntled comments about the roads and how the weather has turned and the months ahead that include said weather. A gluttonous left-over that inhibits those benevolent feelings that rose in us just weeks before.

Although I detest them more than an inner-thigh pimple, I envy the people who are decisive to a fault. Those people who can buy a shirt without trying it on or looking at the price tag or thinking of what pants they could wear it with. Those people who can go through university for ten years, changing their major seven times and end up with a BA in Geography. I detest these people because they think not of the consequences and often end up spending money that they don’t have, but I envy them because they seem to be capable to block out rational thought. They are able to make a decision and live with the outcome no matter how horrendous it may be. I will never be able to do that. I am the great over-thinker.

Sometimes when you look on a map, even if you know where you are going, there are four different routes that look possible and equally as fast and easy. Like you are at the head of an octopus and his legs are your options, intertwined but all ending at the same point. On my short drive to Vancouver, somewhere in Eastern British Columbia, I was unsure whether I was supposed to take the BC-5 highway or continue on the TransCanada or take the third option, even more unknown than the others. The signs only said that there were options, and not which one was the fastest, or most beautiful, or had the best Chinese restaurant on the way. So I cursed the province and my mapless car. I could have picked a route and accepted that trail of asphalt without worry. They all end up where I am going, just with different elevations and types of trees and gas stations to see on the way. Sure seems easy on a map.

Someone told me, “That’s the thing, Nic, they are all possible,” referring to the unlimited number of options and ideas and suggestions I have been sorting through since my last good idea ended in September. And although every option presented to me seems as if it could work, as if I could be a bus driver, or paramedic, or teacher, or taco salesman, or graffiti artist, or tailor, or janitor, or street kid, or clerk, I am somehow unable to choose one, although they would all work out someway in the end. I need to master failure but my over-thinking mind won’t allow me to make the first step.

Then sometimes when you look on a map, there is only one way to get where you are going. Only one road, no shoulder to slow down on, no rumble strips to warn of your apparent doom, no signage to reflect your headlights and tell of potholes or curving roads. Once you pass the junction mentioned above to follow a specific route, it becomes like this. A one-direction, slow-travelling, dark highway that is easy and comfortable, which you can’t get off of until you regret your initial decision to take it or decide that it was the right one whether it actually was or not. That is what scares me. Passing the junction where everything seems possible into the one-lane road that has no options is the most terrifying aspect of my current life.

So I will spend another several months in a limbo competition, waiting until the insides of my feet blister, my back gives way and my knees buckle, trying not to think about the variables, such as a drunk man holding the limbo pole or beer spilt on the limbo floor. Soon enough I hope that either a road will be better lit than the rest (or at least less rainy), either that or I will play a pretty pivotal game of eenie, meeny, miney mo.

Catch a tiger.