Diary of a week — where we travel from the hot sun into cold reality.
Sunday. We return from Mexico after a memorable family Christmas. It’s difficult to leave the sunshine. The previous night I’d had a nightmare about being in a plane crash and watching the pilot wrestling madly with the controls as we plummeted to earth.
The real flight over the Baja is a nerve-wracking, literally turbulent journey. But we land safely. Sometimes it’s good when dreams don’t come true.
We change planes in Phoenix and get back to Vancouver just before midnight. The man in the seat next to me is from Tampa, Florida. He says he’s a financial consultant and works with a bunch of B.C. companies.
He comes up every other week. Must be tough to leave the sun, I say. “I hate it,” he says. “Too cold, too grey, too rainy. It’s depressing. I don’t know why people live here.”
I’m mildly irritated. I’m happy to be home. Nice to escape to the sun for awhile, but I like to live in the real world.
Monday. Miraculously, I didn’t get sick in Mexico, but nearly everyone in B.C. seems to have got the norovirus while I’ve been away. It’s a particularly horrible bug that’s making people nauseated and generally lousy.
The star of the moment is Larry the vomiting robot, designed by British scientists to help study norovirus. He vomits fluorescent blue water, and studying the projectile puke will somehow prove helpful.
I go onto one website to look at the graphic images of Larry vomiting. He really can vomit. It reminds me of a particularly sad night after too much squid and garlic and bad plonk in Spain. I suddenly feel very queasy.
Tuesday. One of the best pieces I read over the holidays was an article by Lord Sacks, the chief rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth. He’s a cool dude.
He suggests five rules young people should follow as we head into a new year.
First, dream. Think about what you really want in life and try to follow your dreams. Set long-term goals.
Second, follow your passion. “Nothing — not wealth, success, accolades or fame — is worth spending a lifetime doing things you don’t enjoy.”
Third, don’t ask what you want from life, ask what life wants from you. How can you give rather than take? How can you help make the world better?
Fourth, make space in your life for the things that matter, for family and friends, love and generosity, fun and joy. Without this, you will burn out in mid-career and wonder where your life went.
The fifth rule, work hard. Very few succeed without working hard to make those dreams come true.
Wednesday. I buy a lottery ticket. Hard work can only take you so far. Luck has to play its part. I don’t win. Back to the grindstone. And dreaming.
Thursday. The Oscar nominations come out. Most of the films are bum-numbingly long. So is the best-movie list. Expanding the best-picture category to 10 is too much, too confusing.
I’m delighted Ben Affleck’s Argo makes the list, probably because it’s under two hours long and Canadians come out of it looking cool. The James Bond movie Skyfall didn’t make it. A pity.
Bum-numbing, maybe, but it sure kept you on the edge of your seat.
Friday. I met the late, now-disgraced British disc jockey Jimmy Savile twice in the 1970s, once when I did a story on the BBC show Top of the Pops and once when he spoke at a crowded London church to a huge congregation.
He was a beloved, if quirky, British institution, knighted by the Queen for his charity work.
A police report Friday said the now-deceased Savile raped 34 people, including 28 children. He sexually abused countless others. He used his fame and celebrity to prey on young victims, hide in plain sight “and groom the nation.”
He fooled everybody. I shook his hand. We exchanged pleasantries. I thought he was an OK guy. I still feel sick.
Saturday. On a cheerier note, my thanks for the many nominations for best-ever Canadian novel. You’re a well-read bunch and have come up with some predictable nominees as well as some novel surprises.
I’ll print a selection next week.
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