There is a stillness in the air that only winter can bring. I look outside my door and all I see is white, a few window shutters across the street and the trunks of tall tress, everything else is covered in snow. Over the last two weeks Squamish has literally been smothered in the fluffy white powder, day after day after day large snow flakes like cotton balls danced gracefully to the ground, stacking up and leaving the towns people scratching our heads. It never snows in Squamish and if it does, it never lasts. I think this town has only one snow plow, nobody wants to drive, the roads are all a mess and the shopping sprees are over. For Lydia and I it doesn’t matter anyway, we have no car to drive.
This fall, we both bought bicycles to roll with. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need a car, we still shared my van, (white lightening, ha ha ha) to take care of other such problems, like roadtripping to Skaha in Oct, or buying and transporting our new baseboard heaters, or sometimes even to go out for a nice dinner. But with all this snow, the road biking option is out – and now, so is the van.
When I heard that terrible sound the second time, my head hit the steering wheel and my hand hit the dashboard. I hit it a few times actually, the radio even came on but I managed to hold back the tears. Lydia stood outside next to the small pile of luggage we had brought home from Ontario over the holidays, she could feel my pain. The sky was black, the night was cold and my van had died peacefully in it’s sleep. We took a shuttle back to the airport and made it home safely around 9pm via the bus. It was a sad day and white lightening will be sorely missed.
So, as I am sure you’re all well aware of by now, the American Car Industry has been teetering on a slippery slope for the last 4 years and recently it has been announced that the government will bail them out again and try to save what is left of the once mega powerhouse that is General Motors. One of the ways that GM got into trouble was that they were leasing cars left right and center, now there is nothing wrong with leasing vehicles, it’s a great way for many parties to be happy and great on tax breaks if you are self employed, but only if the car is still worth something after the lease is up. That’s the difference between a well built machine and a not so well built machine. It’s like the difference between Patagonia and say Columbia. A patagonia fleece jacket will last you for decades. So when people realize that they owe more on their American car than it is actually worth, they get frustrated, people drop off their leased vehicles and nobody wants to buy them, not even the previous party. GM gets stuck with thousands of vehicles they can’t move, and thus they get stuck with enormous debt. The record being a $38.7 Billion dollar net loss for 2007.
My GM van was good to me, it kept me satisfied and took me all over North America many, many times, from NY to LA from LA to Colorado, From Colorado to Mexico, from Mex to Squamish from Squamish to Toronto and back again, and again and again. But it cost me on fuel and in repairs, something or another was always on the fritz and to be honest, I’m surprised it lasted me as long as it did. But I have no complaints. I sold it to a wreckers and they will recycle it.
But this whole situation we are dealing with is to be expected. If you make something cheap, if you make it ugly, if you make it without care or attention to detail, if you make it more for profit and less to satisfy the needs of a customer, you will fail. It is the people who decide, and that’s only fair.
As the fresh snow keeps falling outside and the economy keeps changing, hitting us with little surprises both good and bad, it makes me ponder the new season quickly approaching us, and I’m left with nothing but a glass half full. I feel a transformation coming. I think people are tired of the way things are, the things that aren’t working. I think people feel this world is a little bit fragmented, disjointed at times. This coming apart feeling all starts within ourselves and our communities and our nutrition. I think we are on the verge of something bigger and sweeter than we know, and I think people are getting ready to unite. We need to embrace this transformation, lead it, celebrate it. Make no mistake, these small actions will spread, as does every action. We have seen the decay that takes place when important issues are neglected, even within ourselves, our own bodies and our own health and fitness – and these matters are no longer beyond our control. We now understand how it all works and we have the power to change everything. I think I’ll start with 50 push ups and a glass of water.
Here is to a great new year everyone. With big smiles from he west coast.