Archive for the 'Places' Category

An Ode to Hamilton

I see him, without fail, each time I take the dogs for an evening stroll. “If ever someone were to eat 80% of my face,” I think to myself, “it would be you.” When we pass, I look him right in the eye (just one though) to make sure that he knows that I know he is not to be trusted.

Hamilton is a city defined by its people. The thing is that its people are so magically diverse that there is no real way to define it at all.

My apartment building itself is filled with a mixture of the hopeful and hopeless. It was built sometime in the early 20s, meant to house Hamilton’s rich and famous. I like to imagine what it might have looked like in its day. As I walk through the halls, I hear the voice of Ron Burgandy echoing in my head, or maybe I am actually hearing it from someone’s TV. Regardless, Burgandy says, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” If mahogany smells anything like marijuana, Ron Burgandy’s apartment and my apartment building have much in common.

Having been born and raised in a city Hamilton adjacent – one that prides itself on being both morally and economically superior to its blue collar neighbour – I have found myself surprisingly fond of my new home. I like it here.

“It’s not as bad as you think,” I once told a friend.

“You should take that to the tourism office. I think you just found a new slogan. Hamilton: it’s not as bad as you think.”

But, seriously, it’s not as bad as you think.

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Libraries

library

It had been a year since I had last been to the Burlington Public Library, and, upon first sitting down at one of the cubicles, I wondered what had kept me away for so long. A few minutes later, it hit me: the smell. Not of the library itself, the building is exceptionally clean and the cafe on the ground level causes the faint aroma of coffee to permeate through the three floors of well-lit stacks. No, the odour that I had been assaulted by originated from the cubicle adjacent to mine.

A man, who appeared to be in his late fifties, was seated next to me, tapping furiously away at the keys on his laptop. His hair resembled a bird’s nest, with tresses twisted and tatted, sticking out in every direction. He looked as though he had been in the library for days, although I knew this not to be the case as it was 12 noon, and the library only opened its doors at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. 

In spite of my fragrant neighbour, I harrowed on with my mission for the day. I was a studious student, steadfastly studying. All sibilance aside, I had assignments to complete and chapters to read. It was just too easy to procrastinate within the walls of my own home, and the library provided the atmosphere I required to buckle down and finish the work I needed to get done. 

Libraries have become my new favourite place to be. If you were to ask any of the individuals I typically associate with during the week where to find me during our lunch hours, they would surely reply, “In the library.” The Niagara College library is my preferred location to kill time between classes. I find a spot to sit down and plug in my laptop, and then I spend the next hour diligently working away at whatever assignment is due next. I once even took a nap in the library. It was unintentional, of course, and I am pretty sure that I drooled all over the slides I had printed out for my Public Relations Principles class. But I will tell you a secret, Internet: I went to class that afternoon feeling fully refreshed.

Algonquin Park

algonquin

It was 4 a.m., and I was huddled in my sleeping bag trying to slow my rapidly beating heart. I could hear the cause of my distress, a six hundred pound black bear, huffing and snuffing directly outside of my tent.

My tent
My ultra-light tent.
Made of incredibly thin nylon and almost non-existent polyester mesh. 

I silently cursed myself for not purchasing a tent made of steel. Granted, it would be heavy to carry around with me, but in that moment I felt that it would quite literally be worth its weight. 

Each year, I go on a summer camping trip into Algonquin Park with approximately ten teenagers. Because I am technically the leader, I feel morally conflicted when, upon hearing a bear, a part of me secretly hopes that someone else will wake-up and scare the bear away before I am required to step into my leadership role and take care of the problem myself.

Splash Wars

In spite of the terrifying encounters I have had with some of the overly inquisitive inhabitants of the park, there are few things I enjoy more than being out in the middle of the woods. The beauty each day holds frequently makes up for the nights I often spend fearing for my life. And, if I am at all honest, I will admit that there is something about having an excuse not to shower for a week that privately thrills me.


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