I recently encountered evidence of a dormant life, the lost possessions of a person who lived here more than five years ago. That person is me.
The window replacement crew needed a big work space for full access to the windows. I had to relocate two book shelves, some other furniture, and a mountain range of stacked documents and TAQ submissions. Every available living room surface had become part of my file system (use of the word “system” as a descriptor is highly inappropriate). This ton of stuff had to move somewhere else.
Dormant Life – Archaeological Discoveries
To create space for the window change, I ventured into areas of the household not touched, or utilized, in the years since the accident. The re-location process had the characteristics of an archaeological dig. As I browsed through the house, a variety of objects were unearthed. I encountered objects, articles, or things, untouched for five years. The following paragraphs list my discoveries.
Dormant Life 01 – Bicycles
Bicycle frames, and a vast assortment of bike parts, spares, bike clothing, shoes, and related objects. Before the accident, I commuted to work by bicycle on a daily basis. The distance varied depending on our location in Kanata. The one way distance was between 20 and 25 kilometres. Or miles. I cannot now remember.
Since the accident, I have attempted one single short bicycle trip. It was painful and unsafe. The muscles of my left arm have have atrophied and become very weak. It now hurts and is difficult to support my upper body weight on the handlebars. A lack of situational awareness contributed to my feeling unsafe. When operating a car, you travel in convoy with other vehicles moving at the same speed, and in the same direction, on a dedicated route with specific rules of conduct. On a bicycle you must deal with cats and dogs, squirrels, fallen branches, perambulators, pedestrians, lost Tour de France riders travelling at speed to catch the peloton, runners, joggers, more dogs, and the occasional cardboard box, broken pop bottle, hungry deer, or wild, wild turkey. All of this activity is crammed into one three foot strip of asphalt. There are rules of conduct. No one follows them. Especially the turkeys.
Given an operating environment which is manifestly unsafe, and my concern with taking a tumble and suffering another head hit, I abandoned cycling after this one trip. The prior daily commute to work mandated my having replacement parts on hand. Over the years, I accumulated a great many “spares” that I now need to sort, inventory, sell, or discard.
Dormant Life 02 – Books
Books, books, books. I have not read a book since the accident. Reading was once my major pleasure. On bad weather evenings, I retired early, taking a book and a steaming cup of hot chocolate to bed with me. If the book was an arresting one, I read through the night until the end papers were reached. Since the accident, books give me headache.
During the first year of the injury, I resorted to reading the comments section of the on-line Globe & Mail. I was unable to carry the thread of the main article and would become lost and confused after two sentences. The comments were typically no longer than two sentences. I was able to read the comments and comprehend them. After a year of reading only comments, I was able to read short articles of one or two paragraphs. I now have little difficulty in reading materials presented on screen. The last time I attempted to read a physical book, I had difficulties.
I must have over 100 linear feet of books. I don’t now know what to do with them. When I attempted to dispose of some via a second hand bookshop, I found that the booksellers I used to frequent have all closed. I need to figure out something.
Dormant Life 03 – Clothing
Clothes. Found lots of clothes that no longer fit. After the accident I went up in size from a 34/36 to a 40. Found lots of older clothes that I have not worn, and cannot wear. Bundled some shirts to donate to St Vincent de Paul. Also found brand new shirts in the right size which I have never worn. Do not understand this.
Dormant Life – 04 Cameras
I have not touched any camera gear since the accident. A point-and-shoot was used to document where the car was parked and to help find the route back to it during the first period of walk therapy. I am now amazed to discover all of the camera gear that I have, all of it presently unused. I should sell it.