I overheard a story recently about a new gym being opened. It’s called “Resolutions”, and it’s only a gym during January and then turns into a bar for the rest of the year. It made me laugh. Resolutions are great, but now that the end of January is here already, reality tends to keep us honest. And speaking of honesty, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always play by the rules. There’s always that little grey area that makes things just a tiny little bit more interesting. Not that I’m advocating breaking the rules. This post comes with a firm, blinking “Don’t try this at home” disclaimer. You’re on your own. This is just my story.
But first some background. As most of you know I’m a Dutch guy living in Canada, and anyone who has ever spent New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam will know the entire country turns into a war zone at the strike of midnight: there’s fireworks being set off everywhere but pretty much anyone and everyone. As my sister so delicately puts it – it’s interesting how, especially in a time of recession, so much money is blown up in the air for some short-lived sparkles. It’s a pretty sight though, in my opinion.
I understand I live in a different country now, so things are different. Allthough I’m still not entirely sure what Canada’s official New Years tradition is, fireworks lit by every house on the street definitely is not one of them. At midnight it’s surprisingly quiet. I’m no expert, but I think there might be some law or bylaw against the general public setting off fireworks. Judging by my observations in the past few years I came to the following conclusion: Unless you live on a native reserve, it’s not a general practice. And that’s where I work the grey area a bit. Since I’m on the outskirts of the city limit, I try to light a sparkly or two at midnight, just to ring in the new year. Most years I have a bit of an audience with people watching in front of their windows, and occasionally inviting me in for some New Years bubbly after my sparkly. No harm, no foul.
Except this year things were different. No audience, except one friendly neighbour who, from his dark porch, called me an “idiot”, “fire hazard”, and even threatened to come over “on the count of three”, not to share a glass of champagne but to beat me up and put me in jail. With that kind of power, and since he didn’t seem the type that’s aware of the legalities surrounding a citizens arrest, it must have been an off-duty Calgary police officer? The whole tirade was spiced up a bit by a wholesale supply of F-bombs and other allegations that showcased some serious built up anger management issues. Maybe he didn’t get what he want for Christmas. It happens, and for that I’m very sorry.
Now I’m not denying (or admitting, for legal reasons) any of those allegations. I can be a bit of an idiot at times. And even a fire hazard, probably. None of that has much to do with professional fireworks used in a responsible manner. My first hour of 2015 was interesting, gave a little food for thought but ultimately prompted me to have another glass of champagne. And, as I told my neighbour: I’m done now. Happy new year.