Saturday afternoon at the park

There is a term in the practice of law called a “legal fiction“. A common (though inaccurate) example is the “reasonable man“, a creation used particularly in negligence cases in order to establish what a reasonable person in the position of the defendant would do in the circumstances. It is meant to distinguish an objective test from a subjective test.  A more accurate description of a legal fiction is for example, if a person renounces a legacy (which is a gift by Will) that person will be deemed (presumed) to have predeceased the testator (the one who makes the Will) for the purposes of distributing the estate. The presumption effectively creates a fact which though false is used by the court for convenience. A more recognizable legal fiction is the concept of a corporation which is presumed by the court to be a legal person though clearly it is not.

Thus, the fiction that a corporation is, for many purposes, a person separate from its members is equivalent to saying that, for those purposes, the law deals with the group as a unit, disregarding for the moment the group’s individual members as such.

My personal application of fiction is a process of cleansing and revitalization somewhat akin to the papist ceremony of confession and absolution though without pointing blame. Mine is a more realistic accusation of impurity based not upon anything as remote as original sin but aligned with the natural trajectory of evolution and decline. In order to overcome that particular – and sadly inevitable – descent I have convinced myself that by operation of such fundamental processes as washing and the more deliberate intention of abandonment I am capable of starting afresh.  The business of washing is naturally quite common and perfectly acceptable.  The other matter of abandonment is less popular and certainly more critical.

The term abandonment (implying as it does betrayal) is rather harsh – though it is not unheard of for that reason alone.  A less offensive interpretation might be one equated with ejection for misuse or neglect. The latter expression is the one I prefer even though I have been known to jilt an erstwhile acquaintance if upon careful consideration there appears to be no hope of recovery.

Starting anew by the operation of “out with the old, in with the new” is not entirely painless. Like downsizing it requires first the resolution to do so, then the strength to get on with it. The curious – and partially unfortunate – aspect of this adventure is that it can in the end amount to a distinction without a difference; that is, in spite of the putative change, nothing changes at all.  It may – and it usually does – entail the expiry of time before one recognizes that it is a circular procedure.  What once was abandoned simply reappears in a moderately different form.  Such is the vigour of humanity that we seldom alter our habitual or congenital prescriptions.

It was upon a similar project of disguise that early this morning I sought to launch myself. Not uncommonly the campaign was the intended end of one drama and the beginning of another. After having undertaken a moderately taxing series of events to redeem myself from the albatross at hand, I was summarily stopped in my tracks. I had some hesitancy about the removal of contaminants but it wasn’t until I was challenged on the point that I reconsidered. The conflict was not initially embraced but thankfully I allowed the proposition to wash over me. Seemingly there comes a juncture in life when alteration is beyond the scope. It may be that the greater amendment is the acceptance of immutability.

Whatever the reason – whether one fiction or another – I felt reinvigorated! My binary inclination conveniently permitted me to sustain both expressions without the demonstrable alteration of one or the other. This no doubt is the greater success!

Thus energized we proceeded to fulfill our alternative model of exercise by driving to the Old Town Hall then walking along the River across the bridge and back along the Ottawa Valley Trail.

The outing was magnificent!  As much as I despise walking it nonetheless did me some good.  The fresh air was enlivening.  The sky was clear and blue. And because it was so cold today there was little traffic either on the roads or in the grocery store where I subsequently went to collect a few provisions. While there I chatted at some length with Steve Rochon who has been associated with the store and its predecessors under both Gord Pike and Johnnie Erskine as far back as 1976. Steve is now gleefully absorbed in the possibility of retirement as he approaches his 65th birthday in March.

When I departed the grocery store parking lot I headed directly to the car wash.  My afternoon music was Lucia Popp singing Beethoven’s Fidelio, Op. 72; and, Vanessa Lee singing Ivor Novello’s Greatest Songs among them Glamorous Night and Waltz of My Heart. Talk about fictions!