Now, my British grandparents haven't always been the easiest people for me to get along with, and part of the great blow to me in my grandfather's recent death was being aware we weren't as close as other girls sometimes are to their grandfathers. No fault of his, or even I think my own; he welcomed me with open arms into his home and I went to see them in Yorkshire whenever it was at all practicable. Nonetheless, it seemed talking across the barrier of generations, countries, cultures, attitudes to the boiling of vegetables, ethnic feuds and the sea was a thing that didn't always come naturally to us, and then in the last year or so his mind turned more inwards to deal with his body and its demise. I was fortunate to have visited them last March, after my thesis defence and before he started preparing himself in earnest.
Since he died I've appreciated more and more the bits of me that come from him - a certain not-incompetency with money, the ability to coldly analyse out of a hot situation, an abstract spiritual faith based on love and rational optimism - and while I'm not so sure we'd be any better at being close today if he was still alive than we were a year ago, I am sure that as much as I loved him then, I'd be more understanding of him now. I miss him.
This is on my mind in a poignant but cheerful way today, because the days I used to go to England - in my plans to see him, in reality to bury him - were, with the agreement of my manager, sick days, since I didn't think I had any vacation time left. It turns out I do; and in the almighty fucking wisdom of the Canadian labour establishment I have to use them before the Christmas break instead of cashing them in or carrying them over to next year. So next weekend will be four days long and the weekend after that will be threepointfive.
Now, much as I'd prefer to carry the days over to next year, I'm not complaining; I need a couple of days off to get shit done and organized, and as you all know I'm not crazy about being at work in the first place. But what I am doing is asking myself what I should do with these days, that feel like a gift-from-beyond-the-grave from Grandad, when by any stretch of the imagination I only need one long weekend to get shit done. I feel just as I did back in university, when they still sent me money for Christmas and I resisted, generally successfully, the natural inclination to spend it on reefer instead of something clever like mutual funds or panties.
Maybe I should go home and see my parents. I'm going to see them for five or six days at Christmas but of course that will be all crazy with people and parties. Grandad would no doubt approve. Maybe I should go to Vancouver and see Elvis, who I've never gone to visit out there. Grandad would approve of that too, though not the massive deficit spending it would entail. Also Elvis works in flowers so he's retardedly busy in December. Maybe I should go to Montreal to see the Virgin and Miss T, or Mrs. R I suppose she is now, but in all honesty I neither want to go to Montreal without Figaro (who gets no time off) nor do I want to drop in on friends last minute (for it would be this Friday) at this time of year. Also Grandad would approve less. Especially of the Virgin.
So unless I have some bright fucking ideas or remember suddenly that what Grandad always wanted from life but never did was to find a cheapish flight to Costa Rica and smoke reefer in the jungle for a few days with that nice Roumanian girl I used to work with who moved there six or seven months ago, I think I'll go up north this weekend. Any other ideas?