Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where's my Tilley hat?

I broke 40 years on earth last Sunday. This may come as somewhat of a shock to people following this blog. I talk a big game about being punk and all that but as cameraman Jon Wayne Brown says, "He's more like an aging lanky punk." I'm still a contrast to the stereotype of a Birdwatcher. But the way I've gone on this year you might peg me for 25 which would place me knocking up Rachel at 21 years of age. Not so strange a scenario for a C student from Oshawa and a girl born in Sudbury. Thankfully, that ain't at all how it went down.

Young me (before marriage). I don't know why I have no shirt on. 
I'm clearly drunk at this wedding.

Still, 40 isn't old. I'm only about half way to my forever dirt nap. If my dad is any indication of my gene-pool, I'm not even close to half way there. But anyone who's over 40 knows, shit gets a bit different; physically. Booze for one is a big one. I remember waking still drink and heading off to work with a smile on my face. And I'm not talking about when I was 18, this was a few years into my career. I could even do a meeting like that back then. At 30, it took a full 12 hours of face down (or in the toilet) recovery. At 40, it's shot up to about 48 hours recovery time. I shudder to think what it'll be like at 50. I guess maybe you aren't supposed to go out to rock shows and drink beer and whiskey until 3am. I just can't promise that isn't going to happen from time to time. My buddy Brad can still do it (he's a couple years older than I am) but his kids are grown and out of the house. Mine are like rats trying to bore a hole into your skull when you're hung over. My fix for that is this; drive to the pub so I can't drink. I'll never drink and drive. It's just so retarded a thing to do. So, I drive, get one pint of beer and free ginger- ale the rest of the night (at some pubs). Anyway, my point here is that I'm clearly aging.

On my honeymoon. Still no sign of aging.

It's as if gravity is getting stronger each year. It's harder to get up hills, stairs, out of bed. Anything up seems to suck just a bit more. Maybe I only notice this because I'm super observant of everything around me and of my own self. It's like I keep track of every change around me (except the decorating changes in my home; to be fair, Rachel changes things weekly). It's that sort of behaviour that makes me good at my job and a nightmare to be married to. For example, I can notice if my office chair has been sat in while I'm away from it at lunch. It's just not the way I left it. I also can't not tell Rachel she shouldn't have put her iPod through the washing machine. I know she knows this fact, probably even feels bad about the fact that we need to buy yet another iPod for her. But I won't be able to get on with life if I don't. So now, instead of telling her, I have a picture of her on my iPhone that I can open and tell, then it's over and done with.

Still looking relatively young in these. Last one's Cuba (hence cigar).
Never did get the Cuban Green Woodpecker.

What does all this mean? It means I'm getting older and I'm wondering if somewhere, there's a Tilley hat being stored in a box with my name on it. Will I become the stereotypical birder? Even if I did, my friends that look the part are not what you think. Richard is so witty and has such a sharp tongue that I'm often left thinking, did I just make that up in my mean old mind or did he say that? It's always the latter. Margaret is much more reserved but she's so crazy intelligent that I'm never not learning from her when we speak. So if I get the hat, the vest, the sensible shoes and the blue hair, bring it on because when I'm driving to the twitch, I'll still be listening to The Dead Kennedys, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death! Or something similar. I will however be listening to it quietly if I'm birding with Richard or Margaret (they aren't big DK fans). Secretly, I want the gray hair. I think I'd look better that way.

Then this happened...

...times two. Here comes aging.

Tomorrow, I'm going birding with Richard and Margaret in Algonquin park. It's the first time I've looked through bins since December 31st. I'll let you know how it goes.

Paul Riss
Punk Rock Big Year


  1. As one somewhat newly ensconced in his 50's, I can assure you that, as I'm sure you've surmised, the arc continues downward physically. Yet the reverse is true emotionally and intellectually. The Profound Cosmic Joke. No wonder people get crankier as they get older: they're RIGHT.

  2. A Years worth should be a Year's worth

  3. Amazing that I've had this up for over a year and neither myself nor anybody has noticed that. Thanks. I hope I have the file to still fix it.