26 July 2009

Getting away from it all...

... or going to it?

It figures that the first weekend after I blogged about how much I love living in Toronto I wound up in cottage country. For the uninitiated, that's what Torontonians call anywhere with lots of summer/weekend homes that's anywhere up to about a half-day's drive away.

The idea was to be on retreat, relax, get away from all the stressors in our lives.

I should have known better.

What you expect from a cottage depends on where you live the rest of the time. When I was a little girl, one of my uncles had a cottage because he liked to fish. I think that's the last cottage that ever made any sense to me. We would load up the car, drive there, and go out on the lake. We would catch fish and roast marshmallows, and learn how to lash sticks together. There was a purpose, one that could only be satisfied in cottage country.

Also, we lived in the country anyhow. It made sense to go somewhere that offered different living options so as to get to do something new.

Now I live in the Beach. I'm about ten kilometres east of downtown Toronto, in an area that started off as farmland, morphed into an amusement park, and now is one of the "neighbourhoods" that are like villages within the greater city. If I want urban convenience, I walk down Queen St. and can easily find grocery shops, clothing shops, pubs, bakeries. If I want nature and tranquility, I ride my bike to Tommy Thompson park, or just walk five minutes down to the lakeshore. Wild rabbits live in the parkland by the water. Beachers get slammed for being smug a lot, but it really is a well-balanced place — if balance is what you want.

The longer I've had balance, the longer I've not wanted to do without it. When I lived away from Toronto, I resented trips to cottages because it was taking precious vacation time and keeping me away from my TO. I wasn't getting away from anything — I was just going from isolated to even more isolated.

Now I simply don't have anything to get away from. I love where I live. I'll go visit other places because I love to travel and want to see more of the world, but going to a cottage doesn't count for that. I've seen what the Ontario countryside looks like. I've lived there, and it's still only an hour away from where I am now. If I miss hills and apple orchards, I just have to take a day trip, not plan an expedition.

There remains, however, something un-Canadian, unacceptable, in disliking going to cottages. Yet for the life of me I can't figure out the appeal of driving several hours just to do what you were going to do at home anyhow. Except I didn't get to do even that well, plus I now have several loads of laundry to do before the start of an especially strenuous week at work.

All I can think about is how much I'm looking forward to next weekend. At home.

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