‘Smoke Genie’ Grants Two Wishes

Shannon Kernaghan Legal-weed_Kraven-Cache_400 ‘Smoke Genie’ Grants Two Wishes Challenge Challenges Culture Health Lifestyle Memories Recreation Weed

It’s the late 1990s and I’m seated in a restaurant with two people. Before we’ve even ordered our meal, one says to me, “I hope you don’t mind if we smoke.” The other person smiles and reaches for her own cigarette pack.

By the time the appetizers arrive, my eyes are burning and my nose is plugged. I know that in less than an hour I’ll have a full-blown headache.

Now, if the two people were my friends, they’d be considerate enough to go outside, or I’d be brave enough to ask them not to smoke at the table. Since both are my employers, I say nothing. If only, I think, I live long enough to see smoking banned in restaurants.

To my surprise and delight, my wish is granted in the 2000s. Between the Smoke-Free Environment Act and the Tobacco Act, I don’t have to suffer the wrath of other people’s second hand smoke in a myriad public places. No more gasping over my glass of wine or arriving home in clothes that reek.

My wishing didn’t stop at cigarette smoke. Let’s be blunt: I’m not old enough to claim hippie status. Yet I am old enough to know that I’d be laughed out of a Pink Floyd-infused party with the prediction that pot will be legal in Canada by 2018.

No matter how clairvoyant (or high) the prognosticator, legalized marijuana was a dream until recently. It’s not that I smoke – see above allergies – it’s that I’m appalled at how people have been arrested for possession of a few joints.

If a criminal record isn’t enough, this black mark prevented people from crossing borders. They had no choice besides pony up money to apply for a legal pardon and be patient as the process takes years. If only, I think again, I live long enough to see pot decriminalized.

Again my wish is granted! But . . . is legal weed good or bad news for our communities?  I’ve read reams of logical argument and support. If I make one prediction, it’s that the jury will be out for a long while. Toggling the benefits of creating new opportunities in the marijuana market and the challenges of figuring out how to monitor drivers who toke (merely two of the issues), these early days will be interesting.

Until then, I’m happy to enjoy a smoke-free meal in public and to know that recreational pot smokers won’t be demonized and criminalized.

Thank you, Smoke Genie.

Audio music track
“Cumulus Nimbus”
by Quincas Moreira

Turkey Buzzard Trumps Light Sleeper

Shannon Kernaghan Turkey-Buzzard-4 Turkey Buzzard Trumps Light Sleeper Adventure Bikini Drinking Family Recreation Travel Tropical

I’m a big liar. Not true, I’m a liar of medium build. As recently as yesterday I told my neighbor a mistruth: ”Me? I’m a light sleeper. One creak and I’m wide awake.”

Turns out I’m not such a light sleeper. Instead, I’m a typical one with a husband who can snooze while garbage and recycling trucks rumble next to our open window. His ability to slumber through jack hammering and thunderstorms means I have no one to gauge my sleep patterns.

That changed when I took a trip to Cuba with my sister and we shared a hotel room. Days into our vacation, she awakened at dawn to grunts and flapping wings. From her bed she watched a turkey buzzard hop through our open balcony door. It was probably attracted to the bowl of over-ripe fruit we’d forgotten on our balcony table.

She rushed towards the window and chased it away, yelling “Shoo! Shoo!” which in any language means, “Leave, large buzzard, before you encounter my wrath!” The bird must have understood because it vamoosed.

She couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard either the noisy bird or her – I slept through the adventure.

That’s one.

The next afternoon I needed a quick booster nap before dinner. Two hours later I awoke to Linda – dressed and ready for the evening – standing next to my bed and repeating my name. She said her next plan was to check for a pulse.

Okay, that siesta I can blame on plenty of snorkeling and a strong rum-based drink during the afternoon.

That’s two.

For a third bit of non-clinical proof, Linda awoke another night to hear someone yelling “Raul, Raul,” half a dozen times and then whistling through his fingers. The man might have been standing under our balcony, based on his volume. I must take my sister’s word for this tale because I didn’t hear a thing.

“Come on!” she said. ”How could you sleep through all that noise?”

Now she’s worried about me. “What if your home smoke alarm goes off, will you even hear it?”

Apparently my dozing is not so delicate. Maybe I awaken in the night for different reasons, like weird dreams triggered by eating shrimp and spicy cocktail sauce before going to bed. Maybe my own snuffling or bladder disturbs me. Perhaps it’s my inside world I should be blaming, not the outside.

As of today, I promise to stop the denial. “My name is Shannon and I have a reality problem. I’m not the light sleeper I’ve been telling everyone,” will be the beginning of my 12-step program.

After all, traveling sisters and turkey buzzards never lie.

WHAT DISTURBS YOUR SLEEP?

*Note* Music backing track in audio version Et Voila by Chris Haugen

Married to Bear Grylls? Build Up Your Muscles

Shannon Kernaghan Bear-Ghylles-400-1 Married to Bear Grylls? Build Up Your Muscles Adventure Challenge Recreation Relationship RV Travel

The British adventurer from Running Wild with Bear Grylls has some nifty one-liners: “Life is an adventure – live it” and “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing.”

Okay. I was ready to welcome adventure, to gain something. I was about to go camping.

My inaugural day could best be described by a “hangry” interpretive dance. Since you can’t see me dance, simple words must suffice.

First I e-mailed my sister to let her know that Paul and I bought a truck tent and planned to enjoy evenings cuddled around a camp fire, communing with nature. “It’ll be an adventure,” I wrote, “discovering how much I enjoy this, or how much I need a hotel room. Can’t say until I try, but I’m game. Wish me luck.”

Her reply wasn’t heartening: “I can’t be objective because I haven’t camped for so long, and my experiences were pretty primitive. Maybe it’s the teenage drunken mosquito-filled nights of camping I remember! No sleep, someone always vomiting and someone always burned by the fire. Hangover mornings. Good times.”

Fast forward a week. I emailed my sis again: “On Saturday we took the new tent to a secluded place for a dry run. When I say secluded, I’m talking no Golden Arches and no bathroom, only the far off engines of ATVers also communing with nature.

“Other campers had been there before, based on the meat poles for hunting, fire pits and log stump chairs. But the place was too quiet, not even a bird call. M Night Shyamalan movies looped in my brain.

“The temp was 32 degrees, the sky overcast and the wind gusted non-stop. Did I mention it was snowing?

“Our new truck tent? The assembly advertised a ten-minute set up in the box of our truck. It took an hour. One of the poles was too long and didn’t fit, no matter how we struggled. I envisioned the pole snapping and flying like a javelin, and one of us losing an eye.

“On to our romantic fire. The smoke plume followed me, no matter where I sat. There was no cuddling. I was too busy playing musical stumps and blowing my nose. I’d feel Paul’s glare  every time I bailed to warm up in the truck, preferring a reclining leather chair to a hard stump.

“By noon I was starving because we didn’t bring any food. Why? Paul said we wouldn’t stay long enough to worry about meals. I foolishly believed him. And luckily I have strong thighs and decent balance. Men have it easy when nature calls in the woods.

“By the way, did you enjoy your hotel suite in New York last weekend? Wanna change places and commune with nature? . . . Still there?

“Paul grew sullen when I complained of being cold, hungry and smoke-choked. Good times.

“Tent dismantling took considerably less time – we jammed it into the carry bag. Nothing ever fits its carry bag after the first use.

“Returned home in the afternoon, thawed in a hot tub and downed a glass of something strong. So what’s new with you?”

Will I ever head out again with Paul and a tent? For sure. When the thermometer hits the mid-70s and when the cooler is packed with enough food to feed Bear Grylls. Or a Grizzly bear.

Scratch the Grizzly comment. Who needs to worry about fighting off wildlife? I’ll be happy if my thighs hold out.

Did I mention good times?


Audio story music
“Vacation Uke”
by Albis