Sunday, June 03, 2007

OK, so I buried the lead in this one – sue me.

It’s Saturday, and I am once again hurtling down the bicycle path on my rollerblades, cruising along by the river in my usual near suicidal out-of-control fashion, arms flailing, people leaping out of my way iPod ear buds firmly screwed into my ears, pumping out the kind of motivational music I tend to think of as road trip music – ZZ Top, CCR, Rolling Stones, BB King, that sort of thing.
I spent the morning at yard sales looking for more useless junk to clutter up the garage, when I saw a cd, and not just any cd. No, this was Family Style by the Vaughan Brothers from 1990. The minute I get home, and before I headed out on my rollerblades I loaded it up on my iPod. The album includes the song Tick Tock, one of my absolute favourites.
So as I swing onto the path, past the soccer games and the long line of parked minivans, I have Tick Tock blaring in my head… remember?

“Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people, time's tickin' awayRemember thatTick tock, tick tock, tick tock people, time's tickin' away”

Still sends a shiver up my spine.

“One night while sleeping in my bed I had a beautiful dreamThat all the people of the world got together on the same wavelength,and began helping one anotherNow in this dream, universal love was the theme of the dayPeace and understanding and it happened this way.”

Well, we didn’t do so well with that, we Babyboomers, did we? We had great ideas about bringing peace and understanding to the people of the world and of helping others. But other things got in the way, didn’t they? The paradigm changed, as so many of us loved to say… What became important was not so much peace in the world as gated neighbourhoods, lots of technology, and SUV’s to ferry the kids to the mall. We got derailed, and things have gone from bad to worse.

“The sick, the hungry, had smiles on their faces,the tired and the homeless had family all aroundThe streets and the cities were all beautiful places,and the walls came tumblin' down.”

Well, not so much – what we did was put up a lot of walls, physical and otherwise, rather than tearing them down – and don’t throw the Berlin Wall at me – that was just good economics.

And the environment? We were going to do something about that too… All those environmental movements and the organic food co-ops and the local produce farmers’ markets were all started in the 1960, for the love of monkeys! These movements are more than 40 years old!! And we still insist on having fresh fruit in our grocery stores in January, and damn the environmental costs of shipping it half way around the world so it can get to our tables in a perfectly ripe, spotless condition.

“I had a vision of blue skies from sea to shining sea,all the trees in the forest stood strong and tall againEverything was clean and pretty and safe for you and me,the worst of enemies became the best of friends.”

It’s embarrassing, isn’t it? And we’re all patting ourselves on our backs for changing light bulbs and “recycling” plastic shopping back by using them to pick up our dog’s poop… future generations will be so grateful.

“Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people, time's tickin' awayRemember thatTick tock, tick tock, tick tock people, time's tickin' away”

But, as I ricochet under the overpass and narrowly miss a couple of bicyclists and a tree, I wonder if there is any chance our kids will do better. Although we failed miserably in our own promises and pious proclamations, perhaps we did at least plant a seed with our kids that the time has come to do better. It’s too late to stop the coming damage, but if our kids will do even half of what we said we were going to do, there may be some hope still for a better world for their children.

“People of the world all had it together,had it together for the boys and the girlsChildren of the world look forward to a future.”

Then I remember a picture and story in a recent edition if the Toronto Star. The photograph shows my son in a small crowd at a farmer’s market, one Canada’s first two certified local farmers’ markets dedicated to selling locally grown produce only, and not reselling food from around the world in the guise of being locally grown. Seeing my son there, obviously keen on being part of this vitally important concept gives me some hope that maybe the promise of the future will be better in the hands of his generation than it was in mine.

“Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people, time's tickin' awayRemember thatTick tock, tick tock, tick tock people, time's tickin' away”

I land in the grass… safe and only a little bruised… happy that this patch of natural green hasn’t been paved over yet – the pavement really bites.

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