I have to admit living in a somewhat cloistered reality. I work 9-10 hours a day, write columns and blogs and listen to podcasts/read stuff maybe 15-20 hours a week. Then I make a conscientious effort to spend quality time with my family. All this to say there is not much time just hanging out with folks in Tim Hortons, et. al.
I miss this aspect because that is where ideas are transmitted virally – person to person – in an impactful way. A few people read blogs, columns, news, etc. but ideas are really shaped in informal settings within trustworthy relationships – not preachers from on high or pundits from down below. I am not, however; limiting the broad influence of media, just that ultimately validation and verification comes over coffee and in the hockey rink on Saturday morning.
I was at a funeral on Thursday in the Miramichi and among the topics was the temporary shutdown of the mill in Doaktown. This is said to be temporary but everyone is skiddish after Blackville, UPM, etc. Of course, the funeral of my uncle is no time to get on a soapbox so I spend most of my time eating sandwiches and listening.
My 88 year old aunt cornered me at this event and intoned that she reads my column every week. Then, just as a broad grin emerged on my face, she told me “I have no idea what you are talking about” which turned the aforementioned grin into a puzzled look. Then, as a capper, she said “Are you saying you want me to pay to heat my house?”
She was obviously referring to my column on power rates. I mumbled something about “just trying to talk about ways to get jobs back in the ‘Chi” and then excused myself and gulped down some weak tea.
How do you have a conversation with an 88 year old about economic development?
As New Brunswick ages (we are now I think the third oldest population in Canada), people will be less inclined to think about the ‘future’.