maybe i'm not as canadian as i think.
i started a tradition in the mcintyre clan 5 years ago on new year's day.
instead of an "all is quiet on new year's day" vegetation, we do full blown canadianna; ice skating, tobogganing, hot chocolate, followed by marginal delights at "the royal fork buffet."
the first time we all boarded the tradition train down to "the forks", rumor had it, the exceptionally cold winter had ensured the assinaboine a longer, winding frozen trail, exceeding the length of ottawa's rideau canal.
[this is news in winnipeg.]
even the press was there. and within moments of toe picking the ice, i was little miss interviewee, sporting kevin's monstrosity of a coat and bug-eyed shades a la nicole richie. (sooo 5 years ago).
but as soon as i hit the ice, i remembered.
oh, yeah. i can't skate.
[hence the reason i played goalie.]
i certainly skated occasionally as a child, but i could never compete with all my private school peers who racked up figure skating lessons, glitzy costumes and level patches faster than i used to go through a bottle of codeine.
this athletic awkwardness, coupled with the frenzied wind, filleting my cheeks into two rosy pounds of flesh ready for sacrifice, sent me gliding for the wings and an obvious realization.
i hate winter.
so, although family bravely marched into the bleak wintry landscape today, skating with thin grace, and tobogganing despite soldiers of the unknown injuries, i chose to remain behind.
i am first generation canadian. born to a latvian and a dane, i grew up in toronto, now live in los angeles and have spent at least 2 years of my life in denmark, and possibly a year in winnipeg.
but my internal compass has no home.
the arrow inside has always erratically twirled, pirouetting, spinning nowhere on a broken spring.
and as i sat at dinner tonight, the same family jokes and stories played out over my head, like a ping pong match, with comedic precision, and comforting familiarity. and sadness.
for now, more than ever, i feel like an outsider.
with every casual joke about someone drinking too much, having a couple of drinks for courage, someone landing in jail, when people were going back to work, what the kids were doing; i was shimmied out to the border's edge where i peeked over shoulders, trying to twist and shout my way back in.
"i don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member..."
the little red haired girl is now 130 lbs. she wears men's pants and is in constant, swollen pain. she has no job, no kids, no prospects. she has a husband whom she failed so badly...so terribly...that she doesn't know if he should want that membership again.
and she is an addict.
[she longs for suburbia. for franchises. for strip malls. for 9 to 5. for mega stores. for iceberg lettuce. she longs for routine. for monotony. for catatonia. will that keep me honest? will that keep me sane? will that keep me sober?]
she is those frustrating, awkward, last pieces of the puzzle. those last few that looks so similar, but up close, upon dissection, are utterly unique and profoundly integral to the picture as a whole.