Why do things like this happen? This 1972 song by the late Joe Dassin was playing on the radio when I was driving him to the airport yesterday morning…
Et l’on sait trop bien que tôt ou tard
Demain peut-être ou même ce soir
On va se dire que tout n’est pas perdu
De ce roman inachevé, on va se faire un conte de fées
Mais on a passé l’âge, on n’y croirait plus
On va descendre ensemble si tu veux
Et quand elle va nous voir passer
La patronne du café
Va encore nous dire “Salut les amoureux”
And we well know that sooner or later
Tomorrow perhaps or even tonight
We’ll tell each other that all’s not lost
Of this unfinished novel, we’ll make for ourselves a fairy tale
But we’ve passed that age, we wouldn’t believe it.
We’re going to go down together if you want
And when she’ll see us go by
The café owner
will again say to us, “Hi there, love birds”
Given I started this blog in late 2002, it’s probably not too far-fetched, considering how things moves fast on the Web, to start this entry with a long, long time ago…
A long, long time ago,I started this blog after considerable hesitation. I worried about many things, not least of which wondering if I had anything really worth putting “out there” for anyone and everyone to read. But further up my list of concerns was hearing about and reading for myself blogs that put so much out there that their writers were exposing themselves and making themselves vulnerable in so many ways, including personally and professionally. Today, with social networking sites like Facebook, it seems like many people, confident with these sites’ privacy settings, have set aside such concerns. However, I remember well, small business owner as I was back then, feeling the need to suppress so much at the risk of disclosing stuff that would cause much malaise between my clients and me.
Today, as I mark my 44th birthday, these concerns have arisen again but for entirely different reasons. I will certainly write again, but here? I’m not so sure. It wouldn’t be fair if, at the same time, I wish to remain wide-opened and candid. Moreover, I think my motives for writing would be suspect. And quickly old and boring.
Right now, I can’t help recalling again, as I did in my very first blog entry, the closing paragraph of Margaret Laurence’s A Jest of God:
Where I’m going, anything may happen. Nothing may happen… I will be light and straight as any feather. The wind will bear me and I will drift and settle, and drift and settle. . . . God’s mercy on reluctant jesters. God’s grace on fools. God’s pity on God.
A week for now at this time, I will have been in Moncton for almost two days. Indeed, my entire family will be heading to the hometown to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday. It won’t be a surprise; we announced our visit to her several weeks ago and she’s really looking forward to it. What she doesn’t know, however, is the schedule of activities we have planned. So, all this to say that I’ll be taking a plane around suppertime next Friday and returning to Montréal early Monday morning for a very long commute to work.
Of course, my mother’s newest son-in-law will be the only family member unable to attend the gathering. However, it’s clear that she — and everyone in the family, in fact — now see Esposo as being part of the family. The last time I spoke to her, she insisted that I tell him that she bought a new fall jacket that goes perfectly with the scarf he gave her in February (which, by the way, had belonged to his beloved abuela), and that she had worn it to mass that day. She was also wearing as we were speaking the silver medallion of Our Lady of Guadelupe he gave her at the same time. Although he hadn’t met her yet, he really knew her number!
The day I return from Moncton is also the day of my final exam for Level 2 Spanish. Yes, we’re ending Level 2 already! Once I finish this posting, I’ll be heading for the shower and then hitting the books for the rest of the day because I won’t have much time to study in the days leading up to the exam.
I have to admit that, while the course is still going well, I am finding it gruelling. Six hours of classes per week plus homework on top of a full-time job and everything else life dishes my way is a lot. At one point last week, I wondered to myself if I should slow down the pace to three hours per week, but I think I’ll forge ahead until the end of December and only consider slowing down in January if, looking back at four months of study, I find that it’s really been too much too quickly and that I’m not learning as well as I could if I relieved a bit of the pressure.
Speaking of the end of December, in an attempt to be responsible during these uncertain economic times (among other good reasons), Esposo and I decided I won’t be going to Mexico for the holidays. As a result, my mom will be spending a day in Montréal when she transits through here on her way to my sister’s in the Ottawa area, which will allow her to see the new digs and to go visit her sister in Longueuil. As for me, I’ll go to Ottawa for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. With all the overtime I did at work in August and early September, I expect I’ll be able to take the Christmas/New Year’s period off, as it is traditionally a slower time of year anyway.
Astonishingly, by the end of October, it will have been seven months already since I moved to Montréal……
I went to my first Spanish class tonight and, let me tell you, I’m really encouraged.
Granted, the teacher, Teresa, who’s originally from Chile, has clearly been teaching beginners’ Spanish for a long time, as she speaks very slowly and clearly and as much with her hands as with her mouth. But! I’d say I understood 98 percent of everything she said, which tells me my few weeks of immersion in Mexico, as well as what Esposo has taught me, have not fallen on deaf ears. Also I’m very relieved that Teresa is from Chile, for even though the accent and some expressions are not like in Mexico, they’re a lot closer than if the favoured ones were those from Spain.
Three hours twice a week is going to be intense, but I felt great tonight on my way home on the métro. ¡Sí, puedo! I already knew simple little words others in class didn’t know, like arroz, because I’ve eaten out so much in Mexico. So, I do have a good head start and maybe I’m not as tone-deaf to Spanish as I feared…
Talk about a bunch of stupid situations converging!
I was in the Village with my laptop with the bright idea of calling Esposo from there since this is the last weekend that Ste-Cat is closed off to traffic. Well, the first thing I gauged incorrectly is that you can’t sit on a street-side patio at night with a laptop and expect the video to be much more than a black screen.
So, I went inside the café, where not only was the light better but also I could connect the power rather than rely on the battery. But then, the wireless connection was really bad. Our call dropped several times until we decided to simply use the chat feature. Except, after a while, it crapped out, too! After three undeliverable messages — I was really pissed off with technology at that point since we were having an important conversation — I sent him a quick e-mail (if I could) just to tell him that I would be dashing back home immediately even though he might have stepped out by the time I got back. It took a while, but eventually the e-mail went through.
I walked back to the car, from where I realized that, of course, the Tunnel Ville-Marie was closed even though it wasn’t an hour earlier when I drove to the Village. Traffic along Boulevard René-Lévesque, as a result, was tediously slow. But then it got better once I made it to Peel to come uptown, although I hit just about every red light on the way. Figures!
I parked the car on the street in front of the building to go faster, dashed upstairs, made a quick stop in the washroom, and just as I plugged the headset into the home computer …RRRRRIIIIINNNNGGG!!! The fire alarm went off in the building! For a while it would go off fairly often for nothing at my old digs in Halifax, but where I never heard it go off here, I didn’t think it wise to ignore it. So, I zapped Esposo a quick chat message through Skype and downstairs I went. And, indeed, once in the hallway, I smelled and eventually saw smoke coming from the basement.
Fortunately, it wasn’t anything serious. In fact, it was under control by the time the firefighters came. So we quickly got the “all clear” to come back in. But at this point, do you think Skype would let me connect to Esposo’s landline? Of course not! So, I zapped him another e-mail. And only once I finished that was I able to reach him on his landline.
A freakin’ comedy, I tell ya! Esposo and I are, unfortunately, accustomed to the pitfalls of technology, but they’re still particularly annoying when in the middle of an important conversation. And because we’re used to technology screwing up, I figured he would assume that’s what was happening (again!) and I wasn’t turning deliberately silent on him. But it’s in moments like this that it hits just how hard our current situation can be.