This morning as I was swimming through the blue soup of bugs and sputum that is the Sunnyside Pool in south Parkdale, kicking lazily and watching fat cartoon bubbles burble past my face, I suddenly got the feeling that maybe things weren't so bad.
Outside the pool to the north, traffic was belching along the Lakeshore and the Gardiner. To the south, a couple of canoes drifted alongside the breakwater. There were geese, and Queen Anne's Lace, and a lady in a red tracksuit jogging. Inside the pool, my shadow was a smooth blur of light on the light-crumpled pool floor.
A few weeks ago, a guy came here from New Brunswick (I think) with a trunkload of ammunition, planning to blow up some people and get locked away. A friendly dog came up to him, and he changed his mind. Everything, I was thinking, burbling away under the water, is like that right now. When the sword of Damocles finally drops, you'll be leaning over to scrape some crud off your shoe. When the brick wall falls on you, you'll be left standing in the open window. Your life, I thought to myself, from conception to the present, has been a virtuostic montage of fortuitous pratfalls.
Twelve hours later, in a warm bath scummy with tiny hairs and almond soap, I suddenly realized that I've spent a good chunk of the last twenty years trying to dress, act and think like my late grandfather. I got out of the tub and into my brown-medallioned flannel pajamas and his old blue checked robe, and couldn't believe it had never occurred to me before.
I guess that's as good a place as any to start.