Lost & Found – A Tsunami of Self-Pity

So, let’s see. In the last little while, thanks to surrealistically violent wind and rainstorms, the basement in our family home has flooded twice. The floods have incapacitated the furnace and resulted in seemingly endless hours of work continuing into the wee hours of the morning in ankle-deep water with sponges, buckets, and a faulty submersible sump pump. We have been without power for forty-eight hours, huddled under blankets, and around candles in the dark while eating cold miso soup and mandarin oranges for dinner.

In addition to the floods, a tree limb has committed a violent act of break-and-enter through our kitchen window. A half-dead crow has fallen through our open chimney. I have been drenched, not once but twice, by a miniature tsunami of filthy rainwater thrown in my direction by city buses (one of which I was running to the nearest bus stop in a futile effort to try and catch it). We have a boil water advisory in effect indefinitely. Our normally pristine tap water has the colour, smell, and probably the taste, of stale mop water. Our backyard, which is about as flat and perfectly landscaped as the Oregon dunes, is so filled with pools of rainwater that it looks like a gloomy scene from England’s Yorkshire moors in the dingy half-light of midday. (I’m half expecting the eerie wail of a demon hound dog to pierce the night). That’s a long list of experiences, I know, but not half as long as the past week has seemed to me. Don’t misunderstand. I love the rainy season in Vancouver. It’s just that, well, it’s been a bit much this particular year. It’s enough to make me wish the winter-to-come had been and gone already, except I’m starting to worry that we’re actually living in the “end times,” and I’d better not be wishing the dwindling and precious days, weeks and months to pass too quickly.

I know that some of you will likely be thinking, “what a wimp.” Well, you’re right. After all, there are plenty of people throughout the world who would love to have the sort of feather-bed soft vexations that I’ve had to deal with. I know this to be true. But, at the same time, it just feels soooo good to bitch and complain. In fact, it’s incredibly satisfying to feel sorry for myself. When it comes right down to it, there just is nothing quite so fulfilling as a decent wallow in some really high-quality self-pity. It’s a special sort of treat, like a good, long pampering session for my inner-martyr at a world-class emotional spa.

Of course, this is nothing new to me. The fact is, dear reader, I probably couldn’t get through a twenty-four hour period without immersing myself in some form of blatant emotional weakness. For instance, I may at any time be seized by a fit of uncontrollable envy over the most ridiculous thing. I may be walking down the street, for example, and see a man carrying a particularly elegant-looking umbrella, whilst at the same instant I am looking like a drowned rat and shaking my fist at a bus that’s pulling away at top speed. At such a time, there is a very good chance that my one-sixteenth part Scottish Presbyterian ancestor will raise his bushy-eyebrowed head and exclaim something along the lines of “Ach, why’s tha’ man ha’ soomthin’ Ah doon ha’? I’s no fair, Ah tell ye.” (Rough translation: “There’s no justice in the world.”) On another day, I may just as easily be visited by lust, avarice, greed, peevishness … you name it.

So, I suppose the disguised blessing of the current autumn flooding in Vancouver is the fact it gives me a good opportunity, and perhaps even gets me half-way towards a justification for, a good old-fashioned belly-aching snivel or two. Let the good times roll!