Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Passport To Everyday Life

February 5, 2008

I just went to get a passport photo.  I even put on a tie, a rarity in Vancouver.  Although I don’t have any immediate plans to leave the country, you never know when you might.  Hey, it’s possible that I could win a fabulous vacation somewhere warm and exotic.

Imagine it happens to you – and you don’t have a passport.  What if your prize has to be claimed within a limited window of time?  Or you want to take it before winter is over.  Have you seen the lines of people at the passport office?  Have you heard how long it takes these days?

Ever since the Americans decided that Canadians would need a passport even for day trips, there’s been a huge backlog.  That kind of annoys me because if I did  go somewhere, it wouldn’t be to the U.S. – not without a specific reason, anyway.  No offence to any American readers, but it’s just not exotic enough.

Florida?  Seen too many pictures of other people ‘relaxing’ there.  Vegas?  I spent the longest week of my life in a casino here, one night.  The thought of a whole city like that makes me appreciate other possibilities all the more.  Hawaii?  Hmmm… maybe, but if you’re going to go that far, why not carry on to Tahiti or some other Pacific paradise?

It’s not really a vacation if you go some place you see every day.  The U.S. is all over the media.  It’s in the papers, on TV, in movies, on the internet.  Shit, I even just excused myself in advance because I assumed they would be reading this.  If I were to go on vacation, it would be to get away from ‘them’.  Is there a corner of the world that hasn’t heard of them yet?  Some place that doesn’t cover the entire year long campaign before they actually hold an election?

What the fuck is a primary, anyway?  And why the fuck should an American even care, let alone me?  Why can’t they just get down to it like civilized people and say, “Here they are – Asshole #1, Asshole #2, Asshole #3, and Asshole #4 –  pick one.”

Anyway, as I said, I have no plans to go to the U.S. or anywhere else, right away.  But it seems we need photo ID for so many other things these days, and my old passport expired.  So I have to spend ten bucks on photos and another hundred on the application, just in case I ever need it.

Advertisements

A Valentine’s Day Reminder – Already

January 18, 2008

There it was, on my monitor.  A pretty picture of red, pink, and white hearts on my ISP’s home page, accompanied by a headline link telling me to “Plan early” for Valentine’s Day.  And Valentine’s Day was still four weeks away.

The Christmas season has barely gone.  It was not so long ago that there were pine needles on the floor of common areas in my building.  The garbage and recycling bins are still overflowing with the detritus of collective merriment.  And, now, we are being called upon to start planning to spend again.

We seem to move from one commercial holiday season to the next, each one telling us to spend, spend, spend.  Our calendar is marked by these shopping points.  We pace our year around them.  Our society is geared towards them.  They are the individual legs of our annual migration.  The ads for the seasonal sales are signposts counting down the miles to the next rest stop.  Retail rules.

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know I’m not one to remind people of the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas.  You know – the story of an alleged baby born in a stable in Bethlehem, the city of David, when his parents were supposedly going to the city of their birth for a census there is no record of, conveniently matching the prophecy of the first testament.  But, stories of the increasing commercialization of Christmas are not exaggerated.  The shopping season starts much earlier than it used to.

The same is now true for Valentine’s Day and all the other events or holidays.  No sooner does one holiday or long weekend pass than we are reminded of the next.  I can’t recall a four week runup to the day of romance in the past – ever.  It will be followed by the Easter season, followed by the Victoria Day/Memorial Day long weekend, Canada Day/Independence Day, the August Civic Holiday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas again.  All perfect opportunities to shop.  The retailers’ calendar has become our calendar.  Welcome to the consumer society!

You may not even realize how deeply entrenched this is, but, the fact is, many people can only find time to shop on these long weekends.  They’re too busy in their daily lives for anything but daily necessities like grocery shopping.  If they do have time to shop in between, they probably can’t afford to.  If you can afford to and have the time – congratulations, you’ve made it!