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#7 Water & potatoes, Einstein & Woody Allen

April 08th, 2014

Anne Cameron

Hi, ya, darlin’

The rain continues to fall from heaven and the trees are celebrating. I hope it pours for days. Strange to think that in Tahsis we’re actually relieved to have rain. Usually we get about twelve feet of the stuff every year, most of it in the winter months, which we only half-jokingly call “monsoon time.”

But this year we’ve had an incredibly dry winter. Sunshine, blue sky, cold temperatures. Every stream, creek, river, pond, and lake are far below the usual water level and Strathcona Lake has looked downright pathetic, with possibly one-third of it dry, the frozen brown earth cracked.

We are already hearing about water shortages this summer and an increased threat of forest fires. TV news tells us California is having drought, too. Thousands of acres of farmland are turning into dust. For us, that means increased food prices. The estimated cost of produce will go up by twenty-five per cent. The amount of irreplaceable fossil fuel being consumed to ship produce from here to there and from there to somewhere else is staggering.

So I have asked the manager of a supermarket in Campbell River why it is they have potatoes from Oregon, from Washington, from Idaho, and none from Vancouver Island. He gave me an answer and, who knows, one day I might understand what he said. And apples, my gawd, they’re flogging apples from all over the globe while the orchardists in the Okanagan are facing economic hardship. Well, if California withers and perishes maybe we’ll be able to buy local produce in the stores.

Providing, of course, we have enough water. A water shortage is a distinct possibility. Meanwhile our provincial government is still blithely allowing the logging corporations to go into the watersheds to clearcut the trees which are needed to keep the area healthy.

Nope, we never learn.

Isn’t one of the definitions of insanity the practice of doing the same damn thing time and time again, always expecting a different result? I was Einstein who said that. But you don’t have to be Einstein how to recognize it’s wrong to tolerate such things. The way we let people get away with doing dumb or bad things… well, it’s creepy.

That’s a word that is useful too much of time…

I’ve probably only seen a couple of Woody Allen films. Can’t watch ’em. Just too damned creepy for me. I’m told, time and again, that as a film maker the man is a genius. Well, they say that about Roman Polanski, too, and he’s another one who is just too damned creepy for me. And now we are being, again, assaulted by reports, claims, counter-claims and articles about Dylan Farrow’s accusations she was sexually molested at age seven by her adoptive father, Woody Allen. Predictably enough, he denies it. He says it’s all the fault of Mia Farrow, and that she has coached the daughter because she was enraged that Woody dumped her and took up with her adopted daughter Soon Yi Previn.

Well, I’m no fan of Mia Farrow either, I’m not keen on the image of waif-like vulnerability, it’s too close to professional victim and surely-to-gawd women have outgrown that gluppy stereotype. It’s… creepy. I don’t know for sure, I wasn’t there, but I think I’ll believe Dylan Farrow because there’s something just a bit weird about a middle-aged man becoming sexually involved with a teenager, especially when for years he was, more or less, her step-dad.

Also creepy is that TV series about toddlers in tiaras competing in “beauty pageants.”  Am I the only one who is sickened by such sexualization of those who have only recently learned to walk and talk? Nothing gets on TV without sponsors, so where are their heads at? Who watches this shite? And why?

Good job I’m not Queen of the World. If I was, any parent who put their kids in such obvious meat markets would have their parental rights terminated and the kid would be fostered with someone less creepy.

These days I’m working on an outline script for a proposed TV series based on the purported adventures of John Jewett, who was taken captive by Maquinna, and kept for a couple of years as a combination slave and toy. Well, Jeebus, I’ve read Jewett’s supposed journal, and I’ve read Captain James Strange’s Voyages and I’ve read…and read…and read…and I now believe Jewett and his ghost writer also believed one should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. I hate research. Gack. Because of my increasingly weak eyes, I made an appointment with the eye doctor.

Todd drove me, he’s my unofficially adopted son, and a joy in my life. So off we went to Campbell River to see the eye doctor. Six hundred dollars later they promise they’ll mail me the new prescription. I’ve been tested for everything, up to and including glaucoma and cataracts. They recommended “progressive lenses” and seemed amazed when I said no thank you. I once tried bifocals and was sea-sick for days. A person feels foolish when she falls down the stairs but she feels downright stupid when she falls up them!

I got rid of the bifocals and settled for reading glasses and another pair I kept in the car, for when I was driving. That’s something I don’t do very often because I believe in public safety. I’ve told my granddaughters they’re to stay in school, the family wants an eye doctor, a dentist, a vet, and a business administrator. Then we’ll hire strong high school boys to push the wheelbarrows full of money down to the credit union.

Unfortunately, the granddaughters just laugh. One wants to be a carver, one has her sights set on being an actor, one is committed to music, and the youngest one, well, she’s so busy marching to the beat of that different drummer that it’s hard to imagine what she has in mind. Stand-up comic, probably. The family did, once, manage to produce a lawyer but then he went to work for the environmentalists so he’s not making big bucks, either.

Losers, all of us.

But at least it’s raining.

Anne Cameron received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. A true Vancouver Islander, born in Nanaimo in 1938, she has banished herself to a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans now called British Columbia all got started.




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