Tag Archives: balance

Never Turn Your Back On Your Car

In the past I’ve mentioned how bad things tend to sneak up from behind.  I’m especially paranoid about bad things involving my behind.  This has led me to develop a few, um… let’s just say ‘unique’ behaviours like always sitting with my back to a wall and obsessively checking the butt-end of any spandex-containing garment I intend to wear.

Nothing has sneaked up on me for a long time; but this week I got ambushed by an entirely unforeseen enemy:  My car.

It was raining when I parked at the art centre for my Friday painting group.  I sidled between the vehicles and carefully opened my passenger door, not enough to hit the vehicle beside me, but wide enough to retrieve my largish Rubbermaid tub and the art canvas I carry on top of it.  Thinking ahead (and smug in my own efficiency), I hit the door locks before I grabbed the tub so I wouldn’t have to add ‘fumble with keys and lock car’ to my list of acrobatic manoeuvres.

I eased the tub out, balancing on one foot and stabilizing the door with the other, while remembering to keep a thumb on the canvas so the wind wouldn’t blow it away.  Then I turned to complete the final step in my awkward ballet:  Slamming the door with my elbow while holding the tub in both hands.

Everything went fine:  The door latched, and I didn’t drop my tub or fall on my butt.  Except… when I tried to walk away, I couldn’t.

I had a moment of blank incomprehension:  “Can’t move. Why…???”

Then I realized the wind had gusted at the exact moment that the door slammed shut, and a big fold of my jacket was locked into the car.  And there I stood:  My back jammed against the car, both hands occupied by the tub, arms immobilized by the tightened jacket, and rain bucketing down.

After a couple of futile tugs on the jacket, I raised one knee to balance the tub and groped behind me for the door handle.  But no; I’d been efficient.  The door was locked.

Then came the truly ridiculous part of my performance:  Standing on one leg, balancing the tub on my drawn-up knee, gripping the handle of the tub with my left hand, left thumb stretched up to hold the canvas in place; all while insinuating my right hand between the tub and my belly to reach my waist pouch (which was jammed under the tub), where I’d ever-so-efficiently stowed my keys in a zippered pocket.

By some miracle I still didn’t fall on my butt; but it was a near thing when giggles seized me halfway through the process.  The only saving grace was that my car has electric locks.  If I’d had to insert a key in a keyhole one-handed, behind my back, while standing on one leg balancing a heavy tub, I probably would have done myself an injury.  From laughter, if nothing else.

I managed to free myself without drawing a crowd of jeering onlookers, so I considered it a win.  But that’s the last time I’ll ever turn my back on my car…

Book 15 update:  Another good writing week!  I’m bombing along on Chapter 43 and all the threads are finally coming together.  Dare I say… “The End” is in sight…?


Filed under Humour, Life


Christmas is over, and I’ve completed my annual pilgrimage to the mall.

No, not for Boxing Day shopping.  I don’t care if it’s “80% off, everything must go”.  I’ll cheerfully pay twice as much in January if it means I get to avoid anything resembling a retail outlet for the next week.

On the contrary, I engaged in a personal and private ritual I’ve upheld for the last fourteen years, ever since we moved into our house a few blocks away from the mall.

Each year, on Christmas Day, I stroll over to the mall to stand in awe and wonder, contemplating the grand sweep of empty parking lot.

Quite apart from the fact that wide-open spaces make me happy, I also enjoy the knowledge that it’s one day out of the year when most people get the day off.

I know there are lots of people still toiling behind the scenes.  Our wonderful police and emergency services are working harder than ever while the rest of us, freed from our common-sense work routines, rush around making sure we do as many life-threatening things as possible.  Meanwhile, our transit keeps moving and our communications systems keep talking and our passenger planes keep flying.

I’m thankful for all the people in essential services who keep our world running regardless of religious or secular holidays.

But the convenience stores were hard at it on Christmas Day, too.  Since when did it become “essential” for us to have immediate access to a bottle of pop or a pack of smokes?

Cue grumpy old woman:  ‘Way back when, there were no convenience stores (at least not in our neck of the woods).  All the stores were closed two days a week – always Sunday, and either Saturday or Monday.  Nobody died from potato-chip deprivation.

Granted, it was a little inconvenient if we were baking and we ran out of eggs or milk or something, but we planned ahead.  We kept enough on hand, and in the worst-case scenario, we did without.  After all, it was only a couple of days.


I know; it was primitive.

It was also… relaxing.

Don’t get me wrong, I take advantage of seven-day-a-week shopping like everybody else.  We all lead busy lives, and it’s great to be able to just pop in and grab what I need whenever I think of it.

It’s just that I like the idea of taking a break sometimes.  Forget “holy” days – nobody can agree on those anyway.  But wouldn’t it be nice to set aside a handful of days a year when everybody calls a halt?

I expect there would be an uproar from retailers and consumers and probably even workers at the mere suggestion that malls could close occasionally.  I won’t be surprised if very soon the Christmas Day closure becomes a thing of the past, too.

So, while it lasts, I go and enjoy the empty parking lot.

Slow down.  Take a breath.



P.S. I’m giving away two signed copies of Never Say Spy over on Goodreads – the contest closes Jan. 1/13.  Pop on over if you’re interested!


Filed under Commentary, Life