Strange Day

Today’s strange not only because it would have been my father’s 83th birthday and how I learned a year ago that September 16 is also Mexican Independence Day. It’s strange because…

— Imagine the pit in my stomach I felt when I read the headline, “7 dead in Mexican Independence Day blasts” on the CBC News website, knowing that Esposo was out and about last night. Turns out this incident happened in Morelia, but considering the recent widely reported criminal activity throughout Mexico, I can’t help wondering who would think of contacting me if something happened to him. And of course, by now I have contacts in Mexico that I could rely on. But I know that, in reverse, a few people here would know how to contact him.

— My brother is in town from Moncton but I haven’t heard from him yet. I expect he might just show up for supper, per our last stated plans. Still, it’s odd that he hasn’t contacted me.

— I noticed my mom was on the computer and showing as available in Skype quite late last night, so I messaged her. She didn’t respond, but that didn’t surprise me because I don’t think she’s terribly comfortable with messaging through Skype. However, this morning she sent us all (i.e., “the kids”) an e-mail announcing that one of our uncles (one of her brothers) passed away yesterday after a fairly lengthy illness. Plus, yesterday, a close friend of the family also fell ill suddenly. So, regardless of if my brother shows up tonight, a call home is in order.

Meanwhile, the economy is tanking, the current federal election has me worried that Canadians might be so foolish as to give Harper’s Conservatives the majority in Parliament they so desperately want, clients at work are asking the oddest questions, and despite being asked not to, I’m losing a bit of sleep these days trying to help Cleopatrick out of a bad situation. Plus, the passing of Hiker’s mother last week has come to my mind frequently even though I only met the woman once. I think that Esposo and the charge I’m getting from my Spanish classes are the few things that sustain me through all the negativity and sadness these days.

A Good Start

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…

When, All of a Sudden, Everything Goes Bonkers

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.

There is a bright side, though. All weekend, I’ve been basking in the memories of exactly one year ago — Labour Day weekend, when together we went on that magical day trip to Québec City from Montréal. A trip that changed our lives and, I guess, got us where we are today, struggles with technology and all……