Time waits for no one and, unless we can figure out how to turn back ti-ime, the professor and I will soon relinquish the humble three in our age and replace it with a
less youthful fabulous 4. This milestone business – whether genuine, or obligatory cliche – has me thinking of that hallmark of 21st century living: the bucket list.
Everywhere you look, someone, somewhere is talking about their bucket list – mentioning travel to exotic locales, or taking the dance classes they’d always longed for as a child, or learning how to cook in French chateaux.
So I feel this pressure to come up with stuff I really want to do, that will make me feel like I’ve really lived.
Except I can’t.
Yes, in keeping with my hypo-planned life-thus-far, I’m [mostly] at a loss in coming up with things I’ve been dying to do. Or, should I say, things I want to do before I’m dead.
Besides, of course, seeing the Northern Lights. Whilst staying at a glass igloo in Finland. (Visiting Australia was on the list, but then the professor let the boys watch this ‘Deadly Dozen’ documentary about the 12 deadliest creatures in Australia. And it caused the dream to fizzle considerably. At least for eighty percent of our family.)
And then one day, as I sat at a traffic light on Sarcee Trail, waiting to turn onto Bow Trail, I saw two people on bikes. Hardly extraordinary. Except they were wearing layers of clothes and had packs of camping gear strapped to their bikes. They were obviously travelling.
‘Ugh, I know what I don’t want to do before I die,’ I mused, ‘I don’t want to do some kind of bike trip where I ride around with all my stuff and sleep under the stars.’
And, just like that, the unbucket list was born.
Turns out I have no problem at all with coming up with things I don’t want to do before I die.
1. I don’t want to bike long distances with all my travel gear strapped to my bike.
A week or so later, during a visit to Edworthy Park, where we stood by the post-flood, still-swollen and fast-moving Bow River, I added another non-item to my non-list.
2. I don’t want to swim in a river.
I mean, maybe there’s a lazy, un-moving, non-brown, river out there without slimy bits in its water. But either way, I’m cool if the only swimming I do (and let’s be honest I don’t even like to swim all that much) is in a boring, overly chlorinated pool.
An adventurous person I am not, and I am completely fine with that. I find life dramatic and frightening enough without having to throw myself out of a plane or pay money that could be otherwise used for pastries or lattes to sit on a rollercoaster and feel like I’m going to vomit. During my last year of high school, our senior class took a trip to King’s Island and one of my classmates convinced me to go on that wooden rollercoaster, The Beast, and I thought I was going to die. When my feet hit terra firma, I walked directly to the nearest fudge stall where I bought three people’s worth of fudge and spent the rest of my time at the amusement park walking around and eating boiled sugar.
Which, come to think of it, is pretty much my favorite thing in all the world. (Also, I sound like I’m about to hit the big 7-5 instead of the big 4-0. Actually, didn’t George Bush Sr. jump out of a plane on his 85th birthday……)
3. I don’t want to jump out of a plane
4. I don’t want to go on a rollercoaster (again)
Have you heard of binge-watching? It’s this awesome pastime – courtesy of Netflix et al – where people watch multiple episodes of shows back to back instead of the much more abstemious once a week, as people did back in the early 2000s. The professor and I struggle with binge watching. Really though, we were binge watching way before it was fashionable – back in the early 2000s…..multiple episodes of that show where people kept getting kidnapped (yes, 24, I’m talking to you)….going to bed at 3 or 4am (because we didn’t have children who were going to wake up at 7.)
So earlier this week the professor, faced with a sudden viewing void since Breaking Bad ended, insisted we try Homeland. You know that show that everyone and their mother insists they’re addicted to? We’d tried it once before but I just couldn’t get on board with the post 9-11, war on terror drama.
So for the last week or so we’ve been watching episodes of Homeland late at night, and I’ve made a [halfhearted] attempt to care about Sergeant Brody and Carrie and Saul and I’ve tried to speak of Abu Nazir without rolling my eyes (okay, not really) but I can’t. During one of the scenes where Carrie or maybe someone else entirely is speaking Arabic, the professor looked up. ‘There’s one for the unbucket list: learning Arabic.’ True dat – it sounds super complicated and who wants to invest that kind of time?! Since I have this China phobia, I added Chinese to the list, too. And, while I was at it, Homeland.
5. Learn Arabic. Or Chinese.
6. Watch any [more] episodes of Homeland.