Sunday, June 3, 2012

In Sickness and In Health

I really have to wonder about the capriciousness of the fates at times. I often question just who is in charge in this life of mine. I had a big show to set up and attend this weekend in the neighbouring town from this remote local...Port Alberni for those of you who know this place. It was booked some time ago for me to display for a month in the Clock Tower Gallery and I was looking forward to it. I had arranged to stay at a friend's family's cabin on their farm and on Thursday, I drove the 1.5 hr trip to there with the van packed to the gills. Unloaded and got the show all set at the Gallery  and then went to find the cabin which was wa-a-a-ay out in the boonies on a road not labelled on any map. I did find it after a call to the original friend who gave me directions over the phone. May I mention that the farm was an original homestead and only been there since whitemen first came to this part of the world. Apparently not the road name though.
OK. Got there and introduced myself to the owner and first thing he says to me is :"What time are you leaving tomorrow".....I was a bit nonplussed as I had told his wife that I'd be there for 3 nights. "Yeeks", methinks, "I've made a bad impression and he wants me out already" - Well, turns out he was asking because they were going to be slaughtering lambs the next day and he thought it might not be a good idea for me to hang around for that. 
Now I'm pretty used to the idea of the food chain - farming is in my heritage and I've spent time on ranches and farmsteads and know the whole 'you kill what you eat' thing but I gotta say to be there while lambs are meeting the end is not my idea of good things to experience. So I told him I'd be away fairly early for the day. I had a day to kill before the show anyhow. Friday morning I woke up feeling a bit scratchy-throated and somewhat snuffly but put it aside. I putzed around the town trying to find an old typewriter for my son's birthday (he collects them) and generally wasting time. Meanwhile, I'm getting progressively worse feeling and start thinking that I'm going to have to resort to drugs because I still have to make it for the reception later in the evening on Saturday. By late afternoon I'm feeling dismal. I decide to go back to the cabin and sleep - cures all things - but when I get there I find out the 'slaughter' is just about to happen. I'm feeling so awful by this time I don't care; I mean just how bad can it be - I'm going to pop a pill or two and go to bed. 
Folks, if someone ever recommends that you not be around for something, may I suggest you take that advice to heart.
Picture, if you will, this artist with the weeping eyes/running nose and gale force sneezing, feebly lying on a couch and listening to the sound of lambs being shot then dragged to a chopper to have their heads removed. And it's not a gun with bullets, it's a 'bolt' gun - this is supposedly more humane to have a bolt shot through the brain...although what the sheep thinks hasn't been documented. I did not witness any of the proceeding but was listening to it. And it became rather 'Felini-like' with the bawling sheep and the scrabbling animals and then a 'bolt-shot' and then the guillotine meanwhile I'm sneezing and blowing my nose and wiping my eyes. 
Truly surreal. 
Upshot (oh, pun so NOT intended) of all this was I was even worse Sat morning and had to phone the Gallery and bow out of being at my reception. I feel abysmal for that. 
But that's the way it goes I guess. 
I'm telling you I could just about agree to being put out of this misery by the same method. 

The picture is a pen and ink sketch titled "Sick Woman in Bed" by Rembrandt @ 1640. I look just like that. 

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