Friday, November 27, 2020

Not Winning

I rolled a couple of little balls out of Aluminum foil for Fred and Ethel; they were absolutely thrilled with them. Pinecone Park became a soccer field yesterday. I loved watching them having fun and getting exercise during the calm before the storm: We got a rain warning early in the morning for the afternoon and today.

The bird feeders were busy all morning, full of little birds providing a great distraction from housework. They seem so cheerful and they all are really robust.

We took walks and I spent the day puttering around the house. Then it was spa, dinner, a little television and my I went to bed really early (eight) because I had a headache and was exhausted, and I slept for eight hours which is really unusual for me.

When I first when out for wood this morning there was not a cloud in the sky. Now, however, the stars are gone, and the weather is predicted to be nasty. Another day indoors.

I can’t believe that the days go by and that I’m never bored or lonely and I’m not reading! These days are perpetually empty on my calendar, yet they roll by in a way that has me going to bed terribly satisfied with my little life. The days fly by; I’m incredulous.

Today’s windy. It looks like a good day for a power failure. But the dog walk will be dry, and my generator is going to start, for sure! I’m headed into the studio if the bright sky holds, when I get back home from the walk.

Yesterday, I asked myself, “What am I proud of?” The first few things I put on my list were obvious; they were things I’d done as a function of my career. The exercise was worthwhile when I remembered an event at Ridgeview Elementary School on sports day—the day we all went to school to play games all day.

I was at Ridgeview for grades one-to-six. I left when I was eleven. This event happened during sports day when I was in grade five or six. I was in some kind of race and soon after it began, it was obvious to me I would not win, so I walked off the field.

A teacher sought me out: “Why did you abandon the race?”

I asked her: “What’s the point of finishing if you can’t win?”

We had quite a talk. All I remember of her is how strongly she believed that I should have finished the race. “One should never give up,” was her mantra, and this was a lesson I needed to take to heart. She wanted to know where my parents were. Most kids had at least one parent present; it was a party day for them and the teachers too.

Without parents to involve, the teacher took me to Mr. Dickson, the principal and my home room teacher. I loved him. Now it would be two against one, so as we walked to find him, I pondered my defence, and that defence is what I am so proud of.

I don’t remember what I said. Duh. But I do know that the gist of my argument was that I was attending an institution and part of a society that celebrated only winning and that winning was not something I valued or needed. That’s what I’m proud of: that I had spunk at such a young age. 

I also said that I saw no value in competitive sports. It was a mantra of my life. I hated sports because it was all about winning; only winners existed. It was the same in the sailing school Dad sent me to every Summer. I didn’t need more opportunities to be invisible. I’m proud I knew my mind and that I spoke up.

Most kids learn negotiation with siblings and parents. Without a sibling and parents who kept me isolated, I had to learn how to barter with kids and school and my teachers (secular and Catholic).

It was kind of a terrific way to learn, really, because with siblings and parents, kids tend to scream, cry, yell and slam doors, etcetera, but with authority figures, you have to “win” with words and ideas and stay calm. You can’t use volume or hysterics. I reckon that’s why I joined the debating club in high school and furthered skills that served me well as a technical writer.

It began with that race.

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