From conspiracy theories to the Change

Dear Uma: You know I am not one to be overly fond of conspiracy theories, nor am I quick to buy into paranoia, but I am in danger these days of having to consider some pretty wild stuff.

Dear Uma:

You know I am not one to be overly fond of conspiracy theories, nor am I quick to buy into paranoia, but I am in danger these days of having to consider some pretty wild stuff.

CBC has a program called The Fifth Estate that is investigative journalism at its best; considered, adult, calm and thus achieving a level of believability that is not often found in such programming, at least by me, critical thinker that I am.

Damn, because the one we watched last night was very scary, being about airplane and airport safety and all the many issues around them.

I have been happy to adopt without question the somewhat smug notion that by choosing to live in Canada and become a Canadian I have avoided a lot of the issues that plague other countries. Canada is a calm and dignified country with a healthy economy and a government devoted to the safety and well-being of its citizens. Sure there are the inevitable glitches, but the above portrait is what the world sees and which we are happy to present.

The corruption revealed in the program on aviation regulations and the upholding of those regulations is truly frightening, and more so is what has happened to those inside the government who try to tell the truth about that corruption.

The fellow on last night’s program leaked documents in the form of a jump drive but he will not come forth. He says the RCMP would be “all over him,” and his life would be destroyed. He asked the interviewer not to contact him again.

When the interviewer was (finally) able to talk to the government minister in charge, she was assured he already knew of this whistle-blower and all was well.

Watching this show a day after Don Taylor’s letter was distributed to all the mail boxes in town was too much for my easily fired imagination. Suddenly the picture Taylor paints seems entirely plausible.

It is not a surprise to think about government and business in bed together; the image is rather pornographic to most of us and we try to avoid thinking about it. So long as there is food and an undemanding TV show to eat in front of and no great big worries like plague or famine or nuclear war, we’re OK; we’ll keep chugging along, saying nothing.

The saying nothing is the most important thing, and boy! do we say nothing. We have all seen what happens to those who exercise their vocal cords in expressing fear and outrage, especially if they can actually back up their words with proof.

The result is a population living in a fog of mistrust and fear; in other words, the people are easy to manipulate.

Our municipal election has given me some hope for this community. We have an all-new council and a new mayor – indicative of a town populace united in a desire for major change. There seems to be at least a couple of people among those elected who seem willing to speak out about local issues beyond daycare and dog-barking. Now we have to wait and see if and how the new broom will sweep any differently than the old.

Meanwhile, in a sustained effort to stay on the sunny side of the street, I have been fortunate in coming across some lovely absurdities to keep me smiling through the sometimes darkness of the Change.

A favourite was the TV screen full of adorable green frogs; one no sooner said “awwww” than they began to leap out of the picture, one at a time. Oh oh, clearly an environmental message; we all know now how the planet’s frog population is disappearing and this indicates the end of warts as well as life as we know it.

Then the caption “The Final Countdown” and I feel my heart turn to lead and my breathing become shallow as I brace myself for another gloom-and-doom message.

But no! the last caption reads “The Future is Friendly” and we realize this communication is coming from Telus.

How is the future going to be friendly if the frogs disappear? Or is it only the cute green frogs that will leave? Maybe they aren’t vanishing entirely but only going to a happier place, provided by Telus.

In the same afternoon, perusing information on menopause, I discover that there is a general sort of memory loss to come with the Change. We are not to confuse this with Alzheimer’s and to ensure we do not, a simple test is the matter of car keys. If you cannot find your car keys every now and then, this is Change-related. If you find your car keys and cannot remember what they are for, see your doctor.

As to the annoying and oft-embarrassing loss of words such as the names of relatives and friends, the titles of books, music or movies, and one’s PIN number, it is comforting to know that while we may lose our nouns, we do not lose our verbs.

I am trying to prepare Pete for menopause (mine) by educating him, sharing my growing knowledge. He is proving to be incredibly resistant; he simply does not want to know anything about my Change beyond whether or not I will grow a moustache and/or become a lesbian.

Obviously, he has had some input on this matter from somewhere or someone. The moustache is a possibility according to my sources, but nowhere can I find reference to the likelihood of becoming a lesbian.

I tell him this and I am glad to see that little wrinkle leave his forehead; I am sorry to bring it back by sharing that there is much more chance of menopausal women running away with the pool boy, or their tennis instructor. Luckily, we don’t have a pool and I don’t play tennis.

Watson Lake is a good town to be menopausal: no swimming pools or tennis courts.

Have you considered, Uma, that your, uh … firmness about Jason and Sarah might be menopausal stubbornness? Resistance to change?

I was thinking, too, that perhaps your recent interest in things religious may be hormonal.

These are not suggestions being made in the spirit of retaliation to your remarks to me about my Change making me overly dramatic, overly sensitive, and ‘goofy,’ OK? I can take criticism from a trusted friend, no matter how harsh or hurtful it may be. I believe in our friendship and the love therein even when you are being judgmental and mean.

We will weather the storm of menopause together, maintaining a will to understand and support one another’s paths through the wilderness, no matter how they deviate.

Actually, we ought to be regarding this metamorphosis in our lives as a challenge to our relationship, a test, if you will. We seem to be approaching it so differently that the geographical space between us may be a good thing until we are through this and out the other side.



Heather Bennett is a writer

who lives in Watson Lake.

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