7.23 The Wake

A couple of weeks ago, I went out on a snowy and brisk afternoon to partake in the tradition of Sunday brunch with a great friend. We settled on an Irish pub down the street from me. It's a big place and we like to sit around for a couple of hours after filling our gullets, sipping on coffee refills and talking about life stuff. Three things that simply cannot be accomplished at places where the servers - understandably - want you to leave, to be replaced by other brunch-illiterati.

During about our fifth refill of coffee, we noticed the pub was getting unusually busy for such a snowy afternoon. Then someone took to the small makeshift stage where local Irish folk singers entertained the weekday customers. "Thank you for coming this afternoon," the man said. "I'm sure Cindy would have been so happy to see all of you here."

My friend and I looked at each other. We were at a wake.

The man continued, "Cindy worked here for a long time and she's touched everyone in this room. Can everyone raise the shots we passed out and let's cheers to Cindy."

So, we raised our coffee cups and cheered Cindy. A woman took over the microphone and said some more words. I had to avoid looking at my friend because I was afraid that it would make me laugh. Sure, death is not funny, but at some point, when you're broken and beat up enough, it just becomes funny. It has to.

Unintentionally being a part of a wake felt about right. Like many people, this hasn't especially been the best year on record for me personally. I almost died in an accident, someone very close to me died, frankly, I've kinda had enough of death for a while. Could we take a break from this, at least for a year or so? I mean, I lived through turning thirty and watched everyone around me get married and start families of their own and get divorced. I wasn't prepared for being almost forty where death is added to the list of marriages, kids and divorces.

I'm not the biggest fan of this time of year. It seems all the badness is saved up during the year to be released in the weeks leading up to the holidays. And this year has not disappointed! I'm tired of trying to figure out something cool and interesting to do on New Year's Eve. Perhaps I'm just getting old and grumpy. Definitely grumpy. I generally do cool and interesting things on a regular basis, so I've decided to give up finding something on December 31st.

What I've settled on is finding a cheap AirBnb for a couple of days that has no wifi in a part of the city I don't know well. I'm going to download the rest of Black Mirror from Netflix, and when I've had enough of watching how technology is depressingly and disturbingly screwing up our lives, I'll walk around pretending that I am in the city for business and don't know anyone.

Everyone's luck has to change at some point, right? I'm hoping that mine does on January 2nd, 2017, when I return from my 'business trip'. And what's going to happen then? Oh, I'll probably just fall in love, gain complete financial security, lose the belly that's crept up on me and be working on projects that are personally fulfilling. Totally not much to ask, but really, at this point, I'd just about take anything.

So, let's all cheers to Cindy and join John Oliver in saying, "Fuck 2016!"

Paul Dore