Greg Duncan

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Do You Tempo?

Two visual cues signal the imminent arrival of winter in the off island area. Flocks of Canada geese fly over on their mass migration south and then suddenly, flocks of temporary car shelters appear. For some years now Tempos have become seasonal fixtures on our winter landscape. To Tempo or not to Tempo, that is the question.

Personally, I don’t like them and I think they are as ugly as…. well, a Tempo. Regardless, I am aware of their practicality and do not blame Tempo lovers for their affinity for these blights on the landscape. I feel the same about our big blue recycling bins too so don’t take it personally. Both plastic behemoths serve a real benefit to society it seems. At least Tempos in most cases are white and blend in once the snow arrives. Municipalities acknowledge their ugliness too and have designated certain seasonal dates and regulations for their installation. However, it seems many residents ignore these rules. Or, they plead ignorance once fined. Futile.

You can buy them and you can rent them, but you can’t hide them is the mantra. Which begs the question. Where do all these Tempos go once winter is over? Most owners install them because, you guessed it, they do not own a garage. I suspect these shelters take shelter under decks and in basements during their summer hibernation. Ironic, I think.

I wonder what famous landscape artists like Andrew Jackson or other members of the Group of Seven would think of Tempos. Would they paint them into winter scenes, or ignore them completely? Imagine if you will, one of Jackson’s winter paintings dotted with white Tempos. It wouldn’t happen and a simple Google image search for Houses St. Urbain supports my theory. Do you see any?

Go outside and take a moment to survey the landscape on your street. Are Tempos a visual blight on the neighborhood and destroy your view, or do you think that my opinion is misguided and ridiculous? Are they a necessary evil?

I’ll take this opportunity to apologize for my little doggies that seem to view Tempos as perfect structures for daily leg-lifting exercises. They just can’t help it and despite me having told them that trees are more appropriate, they insist.

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