Giving the cold shoulder in Canada’s warmest city.

Here’s another one for my ever-growing list of pet peeves: I get annoyed when fellow Canadians insist that not all of Canada is cold. Victoria may have Canada’s warmest winters, but… an average low of 3° C is hardly balmy. And it’s very wet. Try getting around the city soaked to the bone in 3° C weather and tell me that it’s a comfortable temperature.

Also, I spent two winters in Calgary and four in Montréal: Not as cold ≠ warm. I will fight you on this while wearing mitts and baffled down slippers.

Furthermore, Victorians have a nickname for June: Junuary. Some days so far this month have required a sweatshirt and pants, evidence that Victoria isn’t all that warm.

Ah, yes, welcome to squaremeat.com, where the hot topic is cold weather.

So far this month, anytime the sun’s still shining after my workday ends, I’ve gone for a ride. Here’s my latest accomplishment:

Is that? Could it be?

Yes, that is an 11-42T cassette and the GRX rear derailleur. If that doesn’t dazzle you, lemme try with an animated gif:

This is how I dance.

Now I won’t have to worry about blowing a gasket climbing steep hills with Ponyboy.

A FEW MOMENTS LATER…

Not bothering with a gif this time.

I transferred the Ultegra rear derailleur that served me well during those three months I had an 11-34T cassette on Ponyboy to my road bike, Sodapop. To my surprise, there is a noticeable difference in feel between the 5700 series 105 rear derailleur and this Ultegra R8000 rear derailleur. I’m glad this incidental upgrade happened!

If you’re thinking, “First the weather talk, now you’re over-hyping the acquisition of bike parts? The entertainment quality of squaremeat.com sure has gone downhill.”

So, here’s some drama: on Thursday, someone came into the store I work at and asked for me by name. When one of the other mechanics told me that a guy was looking for me, my first question was, “How old is he?” It’s not that I am ruthless in my avoidance of Boomers: I knew Dad was capable of paying me an unwanted surprise visit and wanted to avoid that.

It wasn’t a Boomer, so I emerged from the bike shop half expecting to be confronted by a young Jehovah’s Witness. Instead, it was someone who once worked under Dad. I didn’t recognize him right away as we’d only met two or three times, and I’d not interacted with him any of those times, nor was he wearing a mask back then. He was sent by Dad to “check up” on me.

Hmm.

I kept the interaction brief. I have no beef with this person. In all likelihood, my dad has shown him genuine kindness. If Dad is going around claiming that I cut him out of my life because I’m mentally ill, it would not surprise me. It’s also true: I am mentally unstable. It’s easy for an outsider to take Dad’s concern as genuine, but I’m not buying it. In the last few conversations I had with Dad, I requested that he stop telling everybody I was doing wonderfully. I asked him to stop insisting that I was happy; for the love of autonomy, stop telling me how to feel!

I opened up about my struggles, which he hasn’t gotten to witness firsthand in the twenty years since I left home. Did he listen? Did he show compassion? No, he started rambling about how Mom had it much worse, eg. “Your mom was molested.” He also pushed the same old narrative about how deaf people used to be unworthy of an education, a career, or a family. “You are very lucky, Laura!”

Those last few conversations I had with him were draining. I’d think, “I’m 36. I’ve been on my own for longer than I’ve lived under your roof. I’ve lived in three provinces and travelled extensively. I’ve loved and lost. I’ve since interacted with thousands of people and formed close relationships with many, hearing and deaf. And you still think you can manipulate me?” Whyeeeeeeee would I want to keep somebody like that in my life?

An encounter with a Jehovah’s Witness would have been preferable to one of Dad’s representatives. The next time someone comes to my workplace asking for me, the answer will be “No.”

“Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ into your heart?”

“No.”

“What about your dad?”

“Also no.”

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