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Behest of the West: The cheer is gone so bring on the jeers

The West Coast’s January days are as dark and frigid as December’s and warming up with holiday cheer is suddenly less acceptable.
To paraphrase Nancy Sinatra

I haven’t taken my Christmas lights down yet because Frank Loesser’s words still ring true.

‘Baby, it’s cold outside.’

That’s not a Christmas Carol—Neptune’s Daughter had nothing to do with the holidays—but it’s become one because a lot of us weren’t around in 1949. The boomers were just showing up, but they’re too busy cashing in their Canadian Pension Plans to correct us if they could. Collective memory is often about as reliable as grade-school gossip. Specifics haze over and are replaced by snowballing new realities. By the time Michael Buble sang his own version of ‘Baby, it’s cold outside,’ we’d accepted the verses as festive.

That’s frankly good fortune for the estates of those involved, because the play it gets now is almost exclusively related to the good tidings it’s erroneously associated with.

Those tidings are over now. We’re left with the cold.

If I was around when the world decided to ring in the new year on Jan. 1, I likely would have written a sternly worded letter urging for a date closer to springtime.

The West Coast’s January days are as dark and frigid as December’s and warming up with holiday cheer is suddenly less acceptable. Plus, the ferociously disgusting virus ripping through Ucluelet right now means the answer to ‘What’s in this drink?’ is more likely Nyquil than anything fun.

Cheer evaporates under these conditions and our griping is waking from its holiday slumber. Settle in for a new year’s worth of angst.

I was walking my dog late Monday night when I slipped on a pile of dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk like a cartoon character on a banana peel. ‘The middle of the sidewalk’ bears repeating. That’s particularly gear-grinding to me because the area I live in just had a shiny, new garbage bin installed. That bin cost $8,000; we’re bear aware around here. The dog-walker who grossed out my night must have found it too fancy for feces.

My luck’s still sleeping off its New Year’s hangover. Dog poop hasn’t been my sole dilemma so far.

Did I mention it’s cold? Did you respond with ‘How cold is it?’

It’s so cold, that when I fired up my mini-van last week, the back window looked like Frosty’s face, minus the coal, carrot and top hat. I’m a bad driver though, so I didn’t wait for the defroster to do its job. I, irresponsibly, took my foot off the brake to back out of my driveway and crunched into the Jeep parked behind me. I was fine—more importantly, the Jeep was too—and, thankfully, I’d recently lowered my insurance coverage in pursuit of smaller monthly payments. Had I not done that, I’d have a claim to file instead of a significantly dented van to drive.

Along with my mundane misfortunes, there’s sexier stuff to fire us up. Our politicians are all back from their breaks and Ucluelet has a special meeting lined up for us to rabble-rouse and harrumph at.

We’ve screamed at them to put a full-time bylaw enforcement program in place for years. We’ve been mean about it, accused negligence and done our best to free our dear leaders of their ignorance. The aforementioned dog poop problem has co-starred with illegal campers in our outcry. They’ve been supported by an ensemble cast that’s included dog-spooking fireworks displays and noise-causing neighbours.

Our local government has brought us a plan to grant our wish, though they seem fixated on business licence infractions rather than poop and popped tents. Their strategy to do something that looks, kind of, like what we asked them to has some of us screaming treason, because we’re realizing we’ll have to pay for it. Just how much our business licence fees will go up isn’t clear and, colour me cynical but, I’m seeing Jan. 17’s open house as a way for them to check off their public feedback quota rather than actually listen. We’re fresh out of holiday cheer, it’s time to dust off our jeers.


Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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