A tragic event, even at two or three degrees of separation, has the effect of sweeping away the inconsequential and irrelevant annoyances in life. That has certainly been the case in Calgary after the recent tragic and inexplicable slaying of five young people. For those of us who have daughters and sons attending university in this city, this event struck very close to home. A shock.
Too often, in the daily grind, it’s easy to focus on small matters and lose perspective about just what’s important. Given that it’s spring, with all the promise of new beginnings and new growth, it’s a good time to let go of old grievances. Here’s one – our tiresome, retired neighbour who regularly uses his leaf blower at 4:30am to clear his drive of a skiff of snow. After the first time this happened, our daughter came out of her bedroom in full sail – ready to confront me for blow drying my hair at such an ungodly, ridiculous hour of the morning! Nope, not me, it’s the high whine of a landscaper’s tool – tool being the operative word. (Ok, so it’s a bit easier to let this one go as the days of relentless snowfalls are behind us.)
Life’s just full of aggravations and slights from unattended yapping dogs (of which there’s always one or two in close proximity), rude people, inconsiderate drivers, unreciprocated invitations, to a host of other issues and complaints associated with community living. Life can be filled to the brim with dissatisfaction, but it doesn’t have to be; it’s also true that our neighbours, with only a few exceptions, are interesting, helpful, friendly people, and several are close friends.
In the course of the day, I can usually find as many examples of decency and friendliness as the opposite, but it’s the bad behaviour that rankles. When that happens, it’s time to reach out to family or friends and laugh at the small matters that can darken any day, because they are small matters, and you know that when real tragedy strikes close to home.