The other night, while doing the dogs’ Last Pee, I commented on the night sky. On a clear night Port Stanley’s skies are star-studded. It’s just another one of the perks of living in a small fishing village on the shores of Lake Erie with next to nothing in the way of light pollution.
“If you think the stars are bright here,” said my husband, “You should see them up north. Why, on certain nights, you can see the Aurora Borealis!”
An innocent enough remark if we hadn’t just been discussing where we ought to move when we retire. I like the idea of retiring in situ. He likes to at least entertain the notion of retiring elsewhere. “What about B.C.? What about the West Coast?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Land is too expensive out west.”
“Not in Squamish!”
“I don’t want to live in Squamish.”
“What’s wrong with Squamish?”
He tried a new tack: “What about Tobermory?”
Now, I love me some Bruce Peninsula, but I am of the firm opinion that, as one ages, one should run away and not towards more snow.“Too much snow,” I said.
Then the conversation took the inevitable tack. “What about up north?”
Ken is from Timmins, Ontario. If you want to know how north that is, it’s north of the Artic Water Shed. There are two seasons in Timmins: a two month long summer and a ten month long winter. The summer is beautiful if you don’t mind black flies the size of fruit bats. The winter is . . . Well, let me put it this way. In Timmins there is so much snow that they can’t remove it from the streets — nowhere to put it — so instead they pack it down, raising the level of the street two feet. You have to bend down to feed your parking meter. In my opinion, that is too much snow. Way too much snow.
“What?” he says in mock chagrin. “You won’t consider retiring up north, but you expect me to agree to retiring down south!”
Now, that’s where I’ve got him. I used to want to return someday to my home state of North Carolina, to warm weather and piney woods and dogwood blossoms blowing in the air, to the place my ancestors have lived for three hundred years.
Lately, however, I’ve come to reconsider my position.
Open carry laws such as North Carolina sports piss me off. I’m afraid that, if the butthole ahead of me in line at a Starbucks happened to have a gun poking out of his back pocket, I would find it virtually impossible not to wonder aloud and to anyone who would listen about the size of his penis. I told my husband this once and he got quite angry with me. “If you did that, I’d be expected to defend you,” he pointed out. “Against a guy with a gun.”
The North Carolina Legislature’s recent anti-LGBTQ measures are another thing that really pisses me off. If there was a business where I lived that would not serve LGBTQ people, I would feel morally obliged to picket said establishment, hoisting a sign on which had been inscribed witty, salient invective . . . when what I really want to do in my Golden Years is go on field naturalist walks wearing khakis and a Tilley hat and knit sweaters for penguins tarred by oil spills.
No, as far as I’m concerned, Port Stanley is just fine. I can see the stars. There’s snow, but not so much snow that you want to kill yourself. Guns are controlled, everyone’s human rights are respected and buttholes, though certainly present, do not constitute a majority of the population.
If I want to see the Aurora Borealis, I will go to Iceland. Which I would like to do. Once. For a week. And then come home. To Port Stanley.