Thu, 19 Oct 2006

I answered the phone the other night and it was Andrew, calling to arrange a game of Scrabble with me and Barb. The first thing he said was, “How long have you been at that number?”

“Why?” I said.

“I was just thinking that you’re the only person I know that I don’t have to look up their number before I call. Seems like you’ve been at that number forever.”

So I thought about it and it turns out that, excepting a few years in the nineties when I lived in Vancouver, I’ve been at the same number since my mom and I moved from Prince Albert to Saskatoon back in 1991. That’s a pretty amazing run. Fifteen years. Half my life.

Coincidentally, this month marks five years I’ve been in the same apartment. This is the longest time I’ve lived in one place since I was born. I was always being shuffled from one place to another when I was a kid.

So here I sit, with my fifteen-year-old phone number and my five-year-old apartment, and the truth is it’s highly probable I’ll still be here five or ten years from now. It’s funny that I’ve settled down so permanently. I always used to think of myself as a travellin’-light, any-way-the-wind-blows kind of guy. I’ve always been careful not to get bogged down with too many possessions. But it’s an illusion, really. The ability to pack up and move easily isn’t the same as having a reason to pack up and move.

The truth is, I’d like to move somewhere, ideally a bigger city with a nicer climate. But I don’t know where or why or how. So I continue to make the negative choice of sticking around for another year.

I’m good at negative choices. People have often expressed surprise that I’ve been able to go my entire adult life without taking a drink. But it’s easy. When someone says, “Do you want a drink, Michael?” I just say no. Same goes for cutting out meat. “Do you want a porkchop, Michael?” No, thanks.

I think if I ever had to protest something, my protest of choice would be the hunger strike. I’d make a great hunger striker. Self-denial is the one weapon in my arsenal.

When I try to make positive choices, like exercising regularly, I usually run out of motivation after a week or two. About the only way I can see myself getting in shape is if my car were to die on me. Then I’d have to walk everywhere. I’d probably never have the motivation to save up for another car. The only reason I own a car in the first place is because I inherited it, along with my phone number, when my mom moved away from Saskatoon five years ago.

Now that I think about it, if my mom hadn’t moved away, I’d probably still be living in her basement.

Hmm. I guess I really am an any-way-the-wind-blows kind of guy. I’m like one of those tumbleweeds that gets blown into a barbed-wire fence and sticks there forever. I should probably make an effort to unstick myself and get blown somewhere new, but I’m not sure where, or how, or why.

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