Thursday 23 January 2014

Why The World Needs Tree Day

I invented a holiday called Tree Day. Why? Here's an example: this is how a conversation went down in my house last night, between myself and one of those speech-recognition call answering systems.

ROBOT: Welcome to Telus. Please tell me what I can help you with!

JORDAN: Account balance. [Drowned out by puppy squeaking his new 17-squeaker Chinese dragon plushie: squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeak...]

ROBOT: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. How can I help you?

JORDAN: Account balance! [squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeak...]

ROBOT: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. How can I help you?

JORDAN: ACCOUNT BALANCE! [squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeak...]

ROBOT: Could you repeat that, please? I didn't catch it.

JORDAN: [to Corben] HEY! Shut UP! [to Robot]: BALANCE! [squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeak...]

ROBOT: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. How can I help you?

ALAN [doing dishes in the kitchen]: Why do I need to shut up and what do you want me to balance? [squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeaky-squeak-a-squeaky-squeak...]

JORDAN: Not you, Alan. Shut up.

ROBOT: I'm sorry, I didn't--

ALAN: Just tell me what you want me to balance!!!

ROBOT: I'm sorry, I didn't--

JORDAN: For Fuck's SAKE, not you, Alan! Corben! STOP SQUEAKING! Jesus fucking Christ! The two of you need to shuttup for like two sec--

ROBOT: Okay, I'm going to transfer you to an operator and see if she can help.

Yeah, so we're all going a bit crazy, stuck indoors during this particularly freezing cold winter, and today is Tree Day. What is Tree Day, you may ask? Tree Day is something I made up. Tree Day came to be when I realized that January is freakin' depressing, and we all need to remember that there's life after winter. Why January 23rd? Because that was the day I got my braces on, in grade four; and it was the day I got my braces off in grade eight. It just seems to be a good day most years. It's also about a month after Christmas, when everything just feels dark and sad and you've already worn holes your new Christmas socks.

I usually celebrate Tree Day by buying a plant. It reminds the senses that there are green things growing out there, somewhere. Thus the name, 'Tree Day': it was the thing I missed most by January 23, big lush green trees.

I also light some candles because they make the dark evenings feel so much less dark, and sometimes I get a treat. Maybe you'll have some ideas of your own? Share them if you're willing to.

Tree Day is a chance to have a quiet personal celebration, without the stress of family holidays. Give it a try. Buy yourself a little potted plant, light some candles, have a bath. Make a special dinner. Go on a date. Crawl under the blankets and watch a good movie. Go dancing. Tell winter that you're on to it: you know it's only temporary, and you know the secret weapons of vitamin D and steel drum music.

And don't worry if your plant dies. Mine usually do. If you're nervous, try a succulent; they're hard to kill and super cute. If you're really nervous, get a cactus: you can't even tell when they do kick off.

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