Behest of the West: Celebrate silent times? C’mon!

A not-so-silent majority of silence seekers have killed local celebrations.

A not-so-silent majority of silence seekers have killed local celebrations.

We can still party, as long as it’s not too late, and we can still go to the beach, as long as we don’t bring beer, but last year’s letter writers are this year’s victors as fireworks have died in Tofino.

They will be resuscitated on certain holidays; Canada Day’s night will still light the harbour, but in terms of celebrating personal or mutual accomplishments, they’re dead.

I hear the letter writers as loudly as they hear the fireworks they’re so furious about.

I have never lived with anyone as long as I’ve lived with my beloved pitbull Sandy. She is fantastic and wonderful and a gift and I didn’t rescue her she rescued me, and all of that, but when it comes to keeping calm she comes up well short.

If she hears fireworks, she immediately focuses on putting her paws in every square inch of the house at once because we are under attack and she has to protect us.

If my son Jr. hears fireworks, he concludes that sleeping during such an exciting time is intolerable. Once the noise stops, it’s obviously his important duty to tell everyone in the house about what he heard and about all the wonderful things that noise might have come from. Dinosaurs are his go-to hypothesis. It’s a lecture I can’t sleep through and, like his dad, he can sometimes take forever to wrap it up.

My 6-month-old daughters Crimson and Clover are just becoming aware so everything they see is new, terrifying, exciting, and worth shouting about. When their spectacular eyes shut, it sparks a wonderful fantasy starring the mythical creature known as ‘an hour to get chores done’ and there’s nothing quite so frustrating as hearing fireworks start to explode and watching those gorgeous eyes jolt awake.

You and I are exhausted. We work weird hours. We work late, often all night. Tickets to paradise aren’t given to slackers. We live in a world peace rarely visits and, whenever it does, it’s not insignificant.

We can be forgiven for getting so defensive whenever our peace is threatened but can we be forgiven for refusing to trade even a moment of it for someone else’s celebration?

We’ve earned the right to fill our lives with responsibilities. We have not earned the right to tell our neighbours’ kid who just graduated, got married, published their first novel, or achieved some other once-in- a-lifetime feat, to keep it down or get out of town.

Life is full of truly amazing and inspiring moments that should be celebrated with as much gusto as one can muster. How dare we even attempt to extinguish a worthy celebration’s spark?

If I ever get married—relax mom, this is hypothetical—I’d want fireworks to be involved. Ditto for my kids’ graduations. If the Blue Jays were to win the World Series, how could we not light up the night? Yet here we are, living in a world where we can’t.

There were absolutely unnecessary fireworks being set off by inconsiderate beach-goers celebrating whatever day of the week it was and council was right to put an end to the sleepless hours these unwarranted fireworks caused.

The most perplexing part of all this though is that the one thing that could have linked our parties was seemingly never considered.

Fireworks permits were free. Where was council’s alternative revenue refrain on this one? If a fireworks permit cost $300, the only fireworks we’d hear are the ones truly warranted and the district’s piggy bank would start filling up with all kinds of leveraging funds and council grant money.

The district’s staff claimed permits made enforcement impossible because bylaw officers couldn’t know if the fireworks being heard were permitted or not.

Couldn’t that be solved by a simple calendar outlining permitted fireworks displays? Heck, put that calendar online so everyone can know when fireworks are coming.

We’ve talked about this before but let’s make it the chorus: council can’t be blamed for this. They are particularly receptive to letters and letters complaining about fireworks filled their mailbox last summer. It’s tough to gauge if these letters were worthy of the power they wielded because anyone who hates fireworks had a reason to write in, whereas writing an impromptu letter to your local government about how much you love fireworks would be adorable but also strange.

Those letters are no longer impromptu. They are now needed. Any interest?


Andrew Bailey is the editor of the Westerly News. You can find his weekly column ‘Behest of the West’ on page 4 of our print edition every Wednesday.