Living in Canada, there is a tradition up here that happens every spring. “Spring” is defined as when the temperature gets above freezing for more than twelve consecutive hours. If you see a puddle of water outside of someone’s home, chances are very high that it is now officially spring.
The tradition that I’m speaking of is the Canadian custom of taking off clothing as soon as it stops snowing. I was out driving around town yesterday and I saw shorts. Keep in mind, it was about eight degrees out. You still don’t need a refrigerator at this point—just find some shade by an evergreen and put your milk over there for a few days and it would be fine. There is some unwritten rule that says that if you can bare some legs and the blood technically continues to flow to your extremities, then you owe it to yourself—and society—to walk around in your shorts, a bathing suit, or even just some underwear on your way to the grocery store. Hey, I’m not wearing a winter jacket, so apparently pants are now optional as well.
My neighbourhood still has large patches of snow around, although there is some sad, brown goopy grass poking its stubby blades through some yards. This means that it is time to rake the lawn! One neighbour is literally raking the grass around the clumps of snow. Is this really helping? Isn’t this nature’s way of telling you to go inside and watch Wheel of Fortune? It always seems to be the seniors who are doing this—I’m not even forty years old, and I can barely muster the energy to glance out the window. Meanwhile, there’s an eighty-five year old lady raking her front yard like my cat in the litter box. Scrape, scrape, scrape—well, I think all of the brown goop (leaves) has been separated from the other brown goop (grass).
If I ever lived on a farm, I think that the rooster would eventually get on my nerves. However, the rooster is doing its job—the sun comes up and this animal is screaming at the top of its lungs. Okay, I get that. We have a similar situation it the city. I call him “motorcycle guy”. When spring has sprung, it is now apparently time to rev the motorcycle in the garage. Mind you, the bike is not actually making an appearance at this point—it is like the space shuttle. The bike needs about four hours of preparation time in the garage first before “launching” at seven miles per hour onto the mud-puddled street. Hey, is that Buzz Aldrin on a motorbike? I sure hope so—that would be about the only situation where I would be okay with four hours of revving a motorcycle in a garage. (Because then I would have an astronaut as a neighbour, and I would put the mail that was addressed to me in his mail box so he would be forced to come over to my house to drop off the mail and then I would invite him in and spend the next three days demanding to know if the moon missions were faked. Or we could just watch Seinfeld reruns.)
The thing I don’t get about motorcycles is that they don’t do anything. Even a tiny car can carry things—like groceries or supplies—from point A to point B. But a motorcycle just carries the driver and maybe, sometimes, in rare instances, someone else. There seems to be ninety minutes of preparation time, which involves a leather scuba outfit, cowboy boots, and often a helmet with the spike on top. Okay Kaiser. Let me stop you right there. You can tell that the government is making the motorcycle guy wear the helmet and he doesn’t want to. Motorcycle guy is like “alright, I will comply with your laws. I will wear the helmet. However, I will affix a huge spike on the top of the helmet, so that in the event of a crash, I will become a human javelin. I may be safe, but if I stab enough people, there will be a new law passed that says all pedestrians must wear Kevlar body armour when walking down the street.
Body armour wouldn’t apply to the legs of course—it is spring, after all.