Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rainy Easter Sunday

Today is Easter Sunday. The religious theme is lost upon us. Apart from having listened to ecclesiastical music this morning (which I do every Sunday morning anyway) the day is more remarkable for its ceaseless rain. The last time I pretended to care about Easter was about forty years ago when I was in Montreal on my own for a weekend holiday.  I can't recall exactly the stage of my career at the time but I do remember having purchased a Sony Walkman.

Walkman is a Sony brand tradename originally used for portable audio cassette players in the late 1970s. In the 2010s, it was used to market Sony's portable audio and video players as well as a line of former Sony Ericsson mobile phones. The original Walkman actually introduced a change in music listening habits by allowing people to carry recorded music with them and listen to music through lightweight headphones. Owners of the Walkman were able to take back their "lost" time, commuting for example, and turn it into a pleasurable experience, or add a soundtrack to their urban surroundings. It was the privatization and personalization offered by the Walkman that lead to its success.
The prototype was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka. Ibuka wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips, and presented the idea to Kihara. The original idea for a portable stereo is credited to Brazilian-German inventor Andreas Pavel. The first Walkman was marketed in 1979 in Japan, using the name Walkman.

The solo-jaunt to Montreal was clearly intended as some kind of compensatory indulgence. On March 1, 1978 I had just opened my own law practice. Perhaps I had lately had a good run of business and wanted to reward my latest endeavours. Today the very thought of plugging myself into a mini-sound system and effectively isolating myself from the world around me would be completely offensive (quite aside from the safety feature of eliminating the possibility of sound alerts from surrounding traffic in a chaotic city such as Montreal). Anyway apart from this little purchase of the Sony Walkman from one of those glossy gadget stores on St. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal, I had decided in my solitary ramblings to attend an Easter Sunday service at an Anglican Church which I suspect was close to Rue de la Montagne (the vicinity in which I normally perch). I say Anglican because I wouldn't have considered any other. I don't recall much about the attendance other than I went to the earliest possible seance, likely the 8:00 o'clock service which was so small that it was held in the choir stalls at the front of the church.
Thirty-eight years later it is Easter Sunday again. Though I am not alone this time I am at the moment the only one not snoozing in the mid-afternoon. The rain is delightful!  We've turned off the air conditioner.  The patio door is wide open (screen door closed of course) and the vertical blinds have been drawn back to afford a full view of Calibogue Sound, the palm trees, a corner of the pool and the verdant grass on the surrounding lawns.  It's very restful listening to the downpour. The rain is so heavy that it gives the appearance of a blanket of fog on the Sound. Occasionally I see people walking on the beach, seeingly intent upon proving themselves undefeated by a bit of dampness (or perhaps - what is more likely - expiating their guilt for the indulgence to follow as precedent to Easter Sunday dinner).  We haven't that alcoholic feature to characterize our Sunday evening or any other evening for that matter.  I haven't had a drop of alcohol for almost 2½ years and for both of us this entire winter sojourn has been distinguished by a noticeable lack of the stuff. Although from time to time we joke about getting both feet into a bottle of gin, it has never happened. It is strangely no longer part of our vernacular and as compelling as a forgotten piece of clothing.

By odd coincidence I was hit with three earthy emails today.  Each of them invited due consideration and equally worthy response. I welcomed the opportunity to respond to each of the emails not only because of the grittiness of each but also because it meant I could indulge my writing habit outside the norm of my usual "blog" custom.  Importantly each of the emails I received was about a sensitive subject which therefore warranted careful thought and analysis.  One of them for example led me to an examination of my relationship with my late father even though the original email was not remotely connected to paternity in general or my father in particular. I remember thinking how fortunate I am to have occasional correspondence with those who provoke such disconnected speculation. The second and third emails were decidedly personal accounts which prompted me to weigh in upon the subject which, in one case at least, I probably should not have done.  Not to worry, there was no harm done other than to ruffle some feathers, but it is a reminder that just because someone tells you something personal doesn't mean they are pining for your opinion. The other email of the more personal nature was an account of current and upcoming life changes, again not an empty topic but in this instance one upon which I believe I was able to opine without appearing to impose a mandate. It is unquestionably a mark of the times that I rejoice in being able to spend my time consumed by intellectual endeavours rather than anything else.  Granted bicycling - as pleased as I am to do it at my age - is petty competition for such an undertaking.

The rain continues relentlessly.  One can imagine the grass growing by the second as one watches! There are drenched figures wandering about in the rain.

No comments:

Post a Comment