Uruguayan Tennie

$2 Canadian coinWhen the bimetallic Canadian $2 coin came out in 1996, most of us thought it was unique. There were tales at first about how the centre sometimes fell out, but you never hear such things today. Basically we just feel it’s a pretty cool coin, and a small handful of those add up really quickly.

About a month ago, I bought some windshield fluid at an Esso in Rosemont, around the corner from where Cleopatrick now lives. It came to just over $5 and I paid with a $10 bill, so I got back two toonies and some change. But when I got back home, I noticed that one of them had the number 10 on it, so I examined it more closely. Was there a special issue one year that I hadn’t seen before?

No, not at all. The clerk at the Esso handed me back an Uruguayan 10-peso coin. And although it is slightly thicker than a toonie, one wouldn’t notice because it is otherwise identical. Except it’s only worth about 50 cents Canadian. In other words, I unintentionally got short-changed $1.50.

I held on to the Uruguyan coin for a while, reflecting on how it’s more likely for something like this to happen in a larger city. Another time, I got (and only noticed when I got home) and Jamaican dollar piece instead of a 5- or 10-cent piece. Either way you slice it, I got jipped again, as a Jamaican dollar is worth a hair over one cent Canadian.

Yesterday I had enough time between client calls to step out to the bagel shop a block away from my place. I guess you could say I bought four fresh, warm bagels for only $1.30 instead of the usual $2.80. That’s quite a deal even by Montréal standards, where good bagels are relatively cheap.

I no longer have my Uruguyan 10-peso piece, however.

Oh Blog, Oh Blog, How I Miss Thee!

The Swirling of TimeThe last time I posted in this blog, it was still Daylight Saving Time for 2009. Today, we started DST for 2010. Granted, we spend more of each year in DST than standard time, but that still means that I have gone more than four months without touching this blog. And that makes me sad.

It makes me sad because I really do miss blogging. When I started this thing in late 2002, there were no such things as Facebook or Twitter. In fact, back then, there were very few blogs by people in Atlantic Canada where I lived at the time. Now, many are quite satisfied with those easy and instantaneous messages on social networks, reducing a person’s thoughts to 140-character chunks.

I miss blogging because it allowed me to delve more deeply into what was (or is) on my mind. Some postings were merely diary-like updates, which definitely have a place on a personal blog, but others gave me an opportunity to reflect on sundry topics without placing myself in the centre. For instance, I still remember my posts after Hurricane Juan in 2003, a storm which, while no Katrina, left a lasting impression on those of us who lived through it. Or how this blog helped me through grieving the loss of my father — already six years ago this past Friday. While an intensely personal event, my father’s death is something that I diarized in a manner that was more than a mere recounting of my feelings of grief.

I miss blogging because, first, I like to write and, second, I like to be read. Yes, I admit it: I like to be read. Is there anything wrong with that? Does that make me narcissistic?

No, I don’t think so. At least not totally. Not in the pejorative sense of the word.

I also miss real blogging as it used to be at the beginning of the Aughts (i.e., the ’00s or 2000s), before it became mainstream. Back then, the blogosphere — a term coined supposedly as a joke in 1999 by the late Brad Graham of BradLands fame, which eerily is still online, untouched, seemingly with no one having found a way of updating it to warn of his death — was a social network in its own right. Some members of this network were simply “lurkers” — again, not in the pejorative sense of the word — who had their “blogroll,” while others were producers. This social network led to real connections and, yes, sometimes real discorde. Many eventually met in person at improvised “blog conventions,” while in one case that’s very close to my heart, one blogger’s online reflections led one “lurker” to e-mail the blogger her reflections on that post, which led to a string of back and forth e-mails which, over time, finally led to the blogger moving to Canada and marrying the lurker! (Okay, I’m skipping a few steps, but you get my point.)

By the same token, the flip side of blogging has always been risk — not just of exposing your thoughts to whomever would stumble upon them, but also of writing something that can lead to real trouble.

Take, for instance, when I was working freelance. I had to hold back whenever the thought that preoccupied my mind involved one of my clients. Now, employed and no longer a freelancer, I really have to watch out. After all, people have lost their job over what they wrote in their blog! I have made some references to my work, but I’ve steered clear from bitching about it. And believe me, these days, I’d really want to bitch about it!

Meanwhile, most people who know me in person also know all about that “other story” I haven’t blogged about, at least not directly …until now: the fact that my spouse and I have split. I’m reticient to get into it for a whole bunch of reasons: not wanting to turn this blog into a de facto kangaroo court against someone whom I did marry, after all; feeling it would not make for compelling reading; not wishing to publish something that could lead to the same kind of trouble as can bitching about an employer, and believing that it’s not such a good idea to turn this blog into an alternate therapist.

So, confronted by these fears and countless hours of (self-imposed) overtime at work, what I have done?

Nothing. I abandoned this blog I loved so much.

I’m thinking of changing that, though. I miss it too much. I’ll have to think a little about how to come back, but I will. Promise!