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Ambivalent

“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” This was a little phrase my grandparents use to say to get a laugh at the coffee table. Nobody ever laughed, but they sure drank a lot of coffee in those days.

This week I had the rare moment of feeling two diametrically opposed emotions at precisely the same time. Tuesday morning was the time of this experience.

After shoveling about two and a half feet of snow on the driveway, I went back into the house. It was six in the morning and I had to prepare to teach my eight in the morning class at Sheridan College in Brampton. On Monday after teaching my classes at the Mississauga campus, I asked the administration when they would post the information about cancelling school on Tuesday morning. I was assured that any information would be posted at 6:00 a.m. on the Sheridan College website. I went to the website and there was no information posted.

I bundled up, grabbed my computer bag and off I went to school as there was not going to be a snow day. The roads were driveable in the same way the golf courses I drove past were playable. There was five feet of snow, on the fairways, but golfers will play if the course is open. My a.m. radio was tuned to 680 the all news station, hoping that the broadcasters would be more up to date than the website, so I could turn around go back home and binge watch Netflix all day. Suddenly a twinge of encouragement was shared over the airwaves. All schools in the Halton County area were cancelled. They went on to add that all busses in the Halton County area were cancelled, which seemed reasonable since the schools were closed. I am never quite sure when to use the word “alas” but this seemed like a perfect time.

Alas I was forced to continue driving because it looks like the institutions of higher learning were going to be open. With my windshield wipers on the blizzard setting I continued to drive to the college. Other dedicated employees populated the highways moving at 21 kilometers an hour because work is a life and death pursuit. The temperature was minus 23 but with the wind chill it feels like minus 30. This phrase translates well when attending family functions. These get togethers rarely last three hours, but it feels like an eternity.

My drive continued, as I was comforted by the fact that the students were going to be able to spend 4 hours with me and bask in the wisdom I would impart over that time. To be accurate, each class is only 1 hour and 45 minutes, but I often share a little more wisdom as the students rush out of class..

My cell phone was locked onto the internet where I would refresh the Sheridan College website. It was now 6:30 a.m. and it looked like education at the Brampton campus was not going to bend to extreme weather conditions. Because of cars in the ditch, and Ford 150 trucks who refuse to acknowledge weather conditions, the travel was getting a little dangerous.

For my international readers unfamiliar with the Canadian highway system, let me share some important safety information. When winter conditions make driving treacherous, snow ploughs, salt trucks and other safety vehicles are all over the highways, making the drive even more annoying. A 30-minute commute becomes a 90-minute commute, because the municipal governments are much more concerned about safety than the drivers on the road. I reached a key marker on my drive where three highways merge into one. It was a little before 7:00 a.m. and still no news about cancellations. Of course this triple merger was where vehicles had come to a complete stop as cars trying to merge had hit each other and those dedicated employees were now having long conversations with police vehicles and tow trucks.

I was two exits away from my cut off to the college. My sense of pride, and accomplishment was overwhelming, and it was precisely at this moment of satisfaction when the news station announced that all classes at Sheridan College were cancelled. I Can’t get no Satisfaction.

Feeling two emotions at the exact same time is offsetting and exhausting. From life experience I recognized I had felt this feeling before. It happened last year at a grocery store when I saw a guy from high school I hadn’t talked to in 30 years. I said hello and began a long reminiscent conversation. Three minutes into that conversation I suddenly realized why I had not talked to him in thirty years.

Words escape me, which is never a good thing when writing a blog. Now I knew the word I was struggling to express starts with “ambi” because my brain works with small increments of information. (For those who read “Bambi” not “Ambi” there, apologies for all the drastic emotions you just relived from your childhood). Was it ambidextrous? No but I would give my left arm to be ambidextrous. Was it Ambulance? No but I saw a few of them on my drive to work. Well off to the dictionary I go. I do not enjoy looking up things in the dictionary because I tend to learn things I will never use. It turns out “ambi” has latin roots meaning “both”. Well being a twin, you think I should have known that! My finger eventually slid down to the word I needed. Of course before that, I realized that my fingernails could use a good clipping, but that act of optional hygiene would have to wait. Ambivalent: Repelled and attracted at the same time”. That was the feeling I was feeling.

As a child, snow days were like Christmas. You waited, anticipated and when the local radio station announced that schools were closed you celebrated as your parents agonized over the news. I guess parents and children can share ambivalence simultaneously.

I was upset because I had driven for over an hour to demonstrate dedication to my work, but I also felt a sense of excitement and relief because I didn’t have to work. Although I felt the same euphoria as a child with this snow day announcement, I balanced that with my unmistakable maturity of an adult. My maturity level continues to hit epic heights as my natural effortless ability to get old and wise continues to grow.

While experiencing these mixed emotions, a love\ hate kind of feeling, I turned around and drove home. To add to this sense of euphoria I took the toll highway 407 home, because I knew the snow covering my license plate would make it very difficult for the cameras to charge me for the drive home. No ambivalence about that feeling of revenge on the toll highway.

If my story lacked ambition and seemed ambiguous, allow me to change the ambience with this week’s song.

Cue the Blong: I hope this song creates the proper ambience for your read.

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