For many people, particularly single seniors who are not wealthy, the celebration of the New Year, after the festive Christmas season, signals the beginning of a debilitating three and a half months of dreary winter, an interminable letdown of mammoth proportion.
Those who aren't rich enough to go down south to spend the winter in Florida, are relegated to spend their time in front of the television with trips to the local mall representing their only major interaction with other people.
For these people, it is without a doubt the most depressing time of the year. This is particularly true in the small towns across the province that offer few free programs or public facilities for seniors.
My job takes me to malls all across the province and I get to observe shopping centre life on an ongoing basis. Come mid-January the malls empty as consumers face the stark reality of the approaching credit card bills after a month of shopping excess and tone down their purchases to the bare necessities of groceries.
For the next three months the malls are taken over by bored seniors, who use the food fair as a playground, a place to gather, interact and generally kill time in a convivial and friendly atmosphere.
The shopping Centres may not be the Facebook of the seniors, but they are the chatrooms.
Food fairs are choked with nicely dressed seniors, passing the time with friends or perhaps flirting with the opposite sex, nursing a coffee for hours on end, much to the consternation and chagrin of merchants.
There was a time when "NO LOITERING" signs were meant to keep annoying teenagers away from business areas. Now the signs target seniors, who are admonished not to use the mall facilities as a social gathering spot.
It's a bit sad and humiliating to see signs like the one below.
Let's hope that April speeds its way here!!