Realistic Ideas

by Nic Olson

I was pretty damn close. I don’t repair other people’s shoes, but I sell them. And I repair my own sometimes. And up until fairly recently, I inhabited my parent’s basement. It has almost been ten years since I wrote that in preparation for my Grade Nine Farewell, looking forward to the horny days of high school, when I would fool the masses into thinking I’d amount to something.

I mean, at least I was realistic. However I know for a fact that my Grade Nine graduating class includes several doctors, dentists, optometrists, teenage pregnancies and rich suburban lifestyles, and they likely wrote exactly that on their one powerpoint slide at our Farewell. I mean, it is hard not to be realistic when you live in a rich ‘bedroom community’ of a booming city, especially when your position in life and your family’s affluence could give you anything you wanted. Such was the White City way.

If it is that simple to predict what life will be like in ten years, and if my prediction has any weight on what actually happens, it looks like I will indeed be that long-haired dude that lives in your back alley under the pile of old plywood that the city won’t collect. That jaded and stubborn ass-of-a-man that always talks about how he could’ve been earning six figures a year but didn’t want to sell out to the man, then the booze got ahold of him.

Six years ago today, when I started this pathetic attempt at expression originally called ‘Partying since 1988’ and more recently but no less childishly named ‘Balls of Rice,’ I expected to end up being an Engineer by now, this blog simply as an outlet to stumble through as I learned my maths and sciences. Instead, this blog nurtured a trade that I have grown to love, and instead, I am unable to get a job distributing food and washing dishes because of my lack of experience in anything that apparently matters.

I’ve often lamented at my life of a well-to-do Canadian, with opportunity bowing to me, getting essentially everything I’d ever tried for, and now that I got what I wanted in the form of not getting what I applied for, it was the wrong time.

I picked beets and carrots today at the garden. Good carrots. One great carrot, photo worthy and sweet. Sitting in the vinyl chair and chewing on carrots still covered in dirt I watched cream-coloured butterflies rise and fall. I used to think those were moths, simply because they hadn’t the pattern of the Monarch. But I didn’t realize the difference between the flight of a butterfly and that of their night-dwelling cousins. Moths with the straggly bearded bodies, the combative flight patterns, the ability to strike unwarranted fear into humans four-thousand times the size. Moths are moths and butterflies aren’t, and if they were silly enough to sit in the cocoon thinking they could come out as whatever they wished, then I feel sorry for them. And us.

I obviously knew that I’d be a shoe repairman. I was as realistic as a caterpillar, just waiting for his day.