I accidentally tuned in to english CBC the other evening -- French I listen to on purpose -- and it was the same old thing. Someone has written a book about getting away from it all (for three months). The interview was a barrage of assumptions from start to finish. We all have stress. We're all too hyper-busy with our kids and careers. Comfortable Canadians love to complain about the crappiness of the lives they've created for themselves and never think twice about projecting their myopic concerns onto those of us who do not share them.
Shut up and hibernate!
Look! It's snowing -- it's winter, you idiots! Quit driving already! Don't even go to work. Just turn off the lights and go back to bed -- until April. Give the world a break!
Maybe a good long sleep would alleviate some of the stress people constantly complain about. Wake refreshed after months of dreams, having forgotten why you were an angry, rude automaton in the first place. "But the bills!" What bills? Bill collectors would be asleep, too. People do what they're told. That's why they've got mortgages and jobs. And then they monopolize the media with their complaints. Well, here's another order: knock it off! And we'll all feel better.
Or take your hibernation on flex-time. Spread your six months of no-cost activity over the entire year, as those of us in the Slow Toronto minimal movement do.
There is a Slow Cities movement, with slow food and slow streets, in picturesque towns in Italy and elsewhere. It's more of a challenge to do nothing in Toronto, which was once billed as The City That Works (Because There's Nothing Else To Do).
Face it. Our needs are exactly the same as those of the African village woman who spends the day weeding, getting water, grinding meal for food and building fires for cooking. True, in winter northerners require more resources -- unless we're all bundled up in blankets with the thermostat turned down. But then, in the summer, we fire up air conditioners. We just plain use more of the earth's finite wealth.
Women had a chance to nip exploitative capitalism in the bud. But out of necessity created by wily man-made rules, they fell for joblife. Jobs with strictures that completely negate the realities of life -- menstruation, children, illness, spiritual needs -- became the shifting sands upon which North American non-culture is built.
Being a computer slave involves a lot of staying at home but none of the benefits I see in true hibernation. Computers are not restful. Neither are they smelly or tactile like real life. A healthy visit involves dressing up, going out and touching someone whose breath you can smell. But "going to' someplace in our socially degraded situation means, to a frighteningly large portion of the population, sitting in a dressing gown and clicking a plastic mouse.
Only the Slow Toronto hibernationalists I know are off-line, off-road and close to the ground. You may think we're a small group but, au contraire, as they say on Franco CBC, we're quite numiferous.
I resent that the fresh, sweet, sled-ready snow we've been getting is immediately transformed into flesh-biting salty slush spray by licensed traffic. How sad is a life spent driving around with a bumper sticker saying "I'd rather be tobogganing'? Everyone could be. Come on! Call in sick, fed up, and take to the hills.
In the spring, after your nap, you can plow up your parking space to plant a vegetable garden. But if you insist on continuing to zoom off, stress-bound at all hours, why not consider a time-share? Let a homeless person enjoy your hearth while you're too busy to tend it.