It’s About Time …but Not Good Enough: Take 2

Just over a year ago, I wrote in this blog about how Canada is finally getting a U.S.-style “Do Not Call” registry, but bemoaned how it didn’t go far enough.

Well today, the lead story on the CBC News website is that Telemarketers face ‘do-not-call’ axe on Sept. 30. It turns out that Bell is the company that will be in charge of the list, which, due to my recent past experience with that company, doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence. What’s more, the CRTC has not changed the list of exemptions from last year.

Charities, political parties, polling firms, newspapers and companies that have done business with an individual over the past 18 months can continue to make unsolicited phone calls. Canadians who do not wish to receive such calls can ask at the time of a call to be removed from the organization’s list, or contact them ahead of time and request the same.

The CRTC’s list has been criticized for allowing too many exceptions.

Thankfully, that same article refers to a site called iOptOut. Set up by University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, “IOptOut takes advantage of this approach by allowing Canadians to create and manage a personal do-not-call list that begins where do-not-call legislation ends.” The approach in question explained in iOptOut is this:

By registering with iOptOut, you inform the organizations that you select listed in our database that you do not want them to call you. Under the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), these organizations would be required to respect your request. At the present time, iOptOut relies on PIPEDA, which overrides Bill C-37’s exemptions.

Need I tell you I immediately registered on iOptOut and intend to keep my profile up to date?

One Week Already

I find it hard to believe that a week ago at this time, I was somewhere over the United States on my way back to Montréal. That already I completed a full week back at work. And that as much as Esposo’s home in Mexico City is my home as well, I completely felt at home returning to Montréal after so many years of calling Halifax home.

Like I predicted, first I’m missing being with Esposo, but second I’m missing la comida mexicana. Fortunately, aside from the only slop I could find to eat at Newark, I haven’t swallowed back bland, overly processed crap since I’ve been back. But there’s a distinctive Mexican flavour that can’t easily be found here. I suspect it could be replicated for the most part here, mind you; it’s just a matter of doing some research in terms of both recipes and ingredients.

In Canada, we tend to think of Mexican food as very piquante, which of course it can be, but I think what I miss the most is its richness and diversity. However, although it can be very rich — as Esposo brought me to observe, many Mexicans are on the wrong side of their optimum weight as a result — I always return from Mexico a few pounds lighter. My theory is that my metabolism is receptive to the wholesomeness of the ingredients, which offsets the fattiness. “Du bon gras,” as Cleopatrick would say jokingly — good fat, although literally so in this case.

Several evenings this week, he and I went to the Village for a decaf and to see what’s happening down there — good and bad. On Thursday while sitting at the Second Cup, we witnessed a nasty fistfight featuring a slender, underaged, screaming hormonal babe/godzilla in a tight dress and an annoyed middle-aged fag. It wasn’t pretty. But shortly afterwards as we were heading to the car to come back home, I finally met Torn and his spouse in person, which was bound to happen. That makes him the second blogger I’ve met whom I didn’t previously know in person, the first one being Brian who will be attending a conference in Mexico City shortly and whom Esposo will be greeting at the airport.

Funny how people meet in this day and age. On my last full day in Mexico, Esposo and I met Rob and Shelley on the Turibus. Esposo struck up a conversation with the Isle of Wight couple as the bus manoeuvred through traffic gridlock during a tropical downpour, and invited them to continue our chat over drinks at home. The young duo is on a ’round-the-world trip that started nearly three months ago that will only end in April 2009. While meeting them in this way could be construed as quite traditional, we hope to keep track of their journey through Facebook and, who knows, meet again one day on their turf.

The stuff life is made of, I remind myself as day-to-day life continues in Mexico City and Montréal.

One Expensive Message!

Holy crap!

When I was caught to stay overnight at Newark, I desperately wanted to get a message to the roommate, Cleopatrick, so that he wouldn’t worry that anything bad happened. I discovered that yet another foible of my home phone line is that it does not accept collect calls. (I have to complain about that.) So, after trying different things, I managed to leave him a voice-mail message, paid on my credit card.

Cost: $17.73! Wowzah!!!

Then again, I had no choice, did I. At least all went well with my transactions while in Mexico. And I was able to connect to Skype while in Newark to let Esposo know what had happened.

Overnight Airport Stays

I’m sitting on the (fortunately clean) floor of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Yes, of course, the “Liberty” part was added post 9-11 because the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania that horrible day left from this airport.) The weather is perfect, so that’s not why I’m being held back here. It’s just that I didn’t make my connection to Montréal due to dumb luck.

That reminds me that I didn’t mention earlier that the same thing almost happened on my way to Mexico. Not that my flight leaving was horribly early; I just slept in nonetheless. The first thing I noticed as I glanced at the alarm clock was that it was 9:35 am or so and my flight was leaving exactly an hour later. Panic struck immediately as I dashed naked to the bathroom, resigning myself to the idea I would not shave nor shower before crossing the continent, if that was even going to happen …which I wasn’t convinced at that point. But luckily, I managed to get another flight with Continental and made my connection to Mexico City with plenty of time to spare. I guess that’s the plus side of having a five-hour stop between two international flights.

Today, however, the situation is reversed. Esposo and I were on top of it this morning, reaching Terminal 2 of Benito Juárez International with time to spare. Bag checked in, we even had time for some lunch together. But the problem was that once I landed in Newark (on time, I should mention), I got caught in a whirlwind of shitty luck. Although I had an hour an a half to make my connection once off the plane from Mexico City, and despite running to the customs area, I got caught in a long lineup that included passengers from a massive Air India jet. But what busted the tight schedule is that once I got in the line for a specific customs agent, the two young ladies in front of me — the first likely from a Caribbean nation and the second definitely from Mexico — each had an impossible story that took 10 minutes EACH for the agent to process. When I got up to his desk, he was done with me in 45 seconds since I was merely a Canadian transiting through …but it was too late. The damage was done.

By the time I found my baggage and hauled it from Terminal B to C, I was told there was no way my luggage would make it with me to Montréal tonight. However, if I ran like hell, I should be able to get on the flight. Except getting through security was, again, tediously slow and that finished me off. At 9:03 I reached the gate for my flight due to leave at 9:15 and there wasn’t a soul in sight at the gate boarding area, and the sign by the gate indicated “Boarding — On Time, 9:15.” I looked at the microphone for the PA system but thought twice, not wanting to get arrested anywhere, let alone the United States. I finally flagged down a Continental employee, but she confirmed I was shit out of luck.

The result? Continental booked me for the next flight out …tomorrow at 8:15 am, from Terminal A where I am now, and gave me a $12 food voucher. By 11:00 pm at the airport, though, not much is opened. In fact, all I could get is some Burger King, which I don’t particularly like, but the sandwich given to me on the plane was far, far away. So, long story short, I should be back in the Montréal abode around 11:00 tomorrow morning.

What is it with me returning from Mexico, huh? Last time I ended up spending the night at the Toronto airport due to a snow storm. This time, it’s a too-close connection that wasn’t THAT too-close except if you happen to run out of luck as I did tonight. It makes me wonder, though, if transiting through the States is worth it. Or, really, if I should conclude that an hour and 45 minutes between flights from Mexico to Canada via the USA, even with the same airline, is definitely not enough even though that option was given online when I purchased the ticket.

So, in the end, it will have taken me 26 hours door-to-door. Yay! I guess that’s the kind of thing a married guy just does to be with his husband. 🙂