Here in North Middlesex, we seem obsessed with inconvenience. Take the the future of our high school; a city bigwig’s suggestion that E-learning might help the enrolment problem found few backers. Better to be inconvenienced by having your children go all the way to London apparently. Wind turbine farms have generated more than the expected electricity: some local residents have lain down on the road to inconvenience truck drivers delivering the turbine blades. On another front, even though, as our newspaper solemnly reported, “January is a time of no mosquito issues,” concerned citizens reviewed plans to render life as inconvenient as possible for next year’s crop. Well, who can quarrel with that!
Nevertheless, for me, living in a small village means things are handy: You can go to the library and be home again in 10 minutes — and that includes checking out the books the librarian called you about when she realized that Hotmail failed to send the automated message.
Recently, one of the wardens hurriedly left church just as Communion was starting. I didn’t quite catch her explanation, but apparently she was coming back. I was last in line and tried to delay — in both kinds — in case she returned in time, but she just missed. However, she did partake of the final hymn and the dismissal. She had just put her house up for sale. A Sunday morning showing was scheduled, so she had to dash home to put her cat in the car.
And things are made handy: Take the bright yellow port-a-potty behind the sign on Main St. advertising the Parkhill Area Horticultural Society (aka the Hort). Apparently, the municipality asked the company to remove it during the last postal strike for reasons I am not clear about, but it has reappeared — like a winter aconite in a snowy garden.
A letter to the editor in the Parkhill Gazette reminded readers that our local sanitation company donated it not just for families tobogganing on the hill beside the post office but for all visitors to the town. It gets serviced weekly, has a hand sanitizer dispenser, and is available for use “no matter what time of the day or night.”
There are other washrooms, but they are at the Leisure Club, a distant stroll on the other side of Coronation Park (past the famed Royal Oak, carved to commemorate William and Kate's wedding) and, inconveniently, they don’t open until May.
Speaking of trees, had you attended the general meeting of the Hort, you would have learned something handy about landscaping. The owner of the local nursery advised against spending hundreds of dollars on a formal landscape design. Just bring your house measurements to their garden store, and she’ll draw an outline of your house and yard in the gravel driveway and place plants in it until the desired effect is reached. Then you can spend that money on plants rather than paper!
Also, everyone knows about the convenience of mulch for the garden especially when it provides nitrogen for the soil. A lively and somewhat unexpected discussion ensued as to the nitrogen-providing benefits of human urine. Apparently, it is very handy for re-invigorating compost heaps, and if you can get urine from a male of the species, it can be used to ward off unwanted critters. This surprising information raised a few titters amongst the mostly female audience. Practically speaking, we could use some around our neck of the woods as we have been shocked by a threesome of semi-feral cats, enlivened prematurely by the mild weather no doubt, engaging in unmentionable activity on our lawn.
But alas, there is a downside to convenience. We have been subjected to more than our share of door-to-door inquiries especially about natural gas contracts and subscriptions to the London Free Press, neither of which we want. We accept solicitations from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, however, as their representative is also our neighbour and has used his Bobcat to clear snow from the foot of our driveway (before we got our own beast — whereupon, as you will recall, it stopped snowing).
Anyway, the other day I was meandering around the kitchen in my dressing gown when the doorbell rang. It was only 10:00 in the morning, so much too early for the Mr. Heart and Stroke. I shrank down beside the sink until I was sure whoever it was had gone. To add insult to injury, there was another knock on the door several hours later. By this time I was properly clothed but still not convivial. I am an introvert so for me, answering the door is like answering the phone: if it’s important, they’ll call back.
And sure enough they did. As I was making dinner, another knock on the door. I said to Greg who’d arrived home a few minutes before, “For goodness sake, that’s the third time today! Can’t they get the point!” He said rather firmly, “I think you’d better answer it.” This startled me, as his attitude to unasked-for social interruptions is much like mine. But I did as I was bidden, looked out and saw a grey van parked in the driveway. Turning to come back up the porch steps, there was the driver. He was carrying a huge bouquet of flowers.
Yes, it was the chap from Frontier Flowers delivering my Valentine’s bouquet.