Life in Lethbridge – Happy as a chicken head
I must confess that having lived in big cities most of my life before retirement, the idea of moving to Lethbridge felt like a let-down. Compared to Tokyo or Toronto, Geneva or Montreal, Lethbridge seemed such a back-water. After ten years, however, it may not be a paradise, but it feels to me to be a very good place to be indeed. There is saying in Chinese, “It’s better to be a head of a chicken than a tail of a cow.” I feel like that. I was nobody, but here I can be somebody. A tail of a cow can be a great place to be; big, prestigious, and more valuable. A tail can perform important tasks, but you have to live with what comes out of the end of a body. The bigger the organizations, the more politics than substance. And you are often nobody in a big political scheme of things – just a cog. I got tired of it.
I am serious when I say, I became more cultured in Lethbridge. I had never attended as many concerts until I came to Lethbridge. My friends are performing with whom I can chat about it afterwards. He may not be Yo Yo Mah, but I have no sophisticated enough ears to hear the difference anyway. It is more important to hear music that makes me feel I am participating in the creative process that makes me content. I have never seen so many Contemporary Art until I came to Lethbridge. Again, they are my friends, and I got to know some of the creative processes and struggles. So I understand now what his or her art means as never before. I found that Lethbridge is well-known as an important centre for contemporary art in Canada. The political party I committed to has absolutely no hope of getting into power in Alberta. But my contribution counts and is visible and appreciated. Thus I don’t feel powerless. I am a head, or somewhere near the head , of a chicken. And I am happy. I am glad that I am not a tail of a big and powerful cow. At my age, I have no stomach for shit.
A small community allows one to be relevant, because one does not feel alone. There is a saying in Lesotho in Southern Africa, “A person is a person only amongst people. (Motho ke motho ka batho.)” How true!
July 12, 2010