The 1,763-Day Weekend
Part 10 — Slowing Growing a Pair
By this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Maurice, I didn’t realize you’re such a spinless asshole.” Trust me, however, when I tell you that the thought did cross my mind and I was never so happy to get back home after a vacation. In fact, after this trip came the first time I seriously started saying to myself — and believing it — “Face it, this is never going to work out. It’s only getting worse, not better.”
It’s also at that time that I started to doubt that he was serious about immigrating to Canada because, you see, I thought I was beginning to detect a pattern in his outbursts, albeit an erratic one. Quite simply, when he would level an accusation at me, he was often projecting back his failings at me. It was quite unreasonable on his part to accuse me, who had completed four levels of Spanish in six months at the Y on top of keeping up with a demanding job, of not being serious about learning Spanish and trying to do as the Mexicans while in Mexico. So, that had me thinking that in fact HE wasn’t really looking forward to coming to Canada and was harbouring the hope that it wouldn’t be too long before I’d emigrate to Mexico — hence his impatience with the pace at which I was learning Spanish.
The facts were pretty simple to grasp, though. I had the well-paying job and I had to keep it to sustain us. Already in 18 months, I had paid for four return Canada/Mexico trips (three for me and one for him), not to mention part of his return trip in September 2007 (less than a month after we met) when he’d fucked up his ticket change and the airline expected him to fly out of Toronto instead of Montréal. What’s more, I was preparing to pay for his June trip to Canada which we deliberately booked for much less than six months so not to arouse suspicions at Canadian Customs but with intentions of changing his return date to December once he’d made it safely into Canada. Also during that time, I had paid all the trips for both of us within Mexico.
I’m not — and I wasn’t — complaining about the money I was spending, for I was spending it willingly. Rather, it was simply a fact that my turn to emigrate to Mexico, which I was perfectly opened to, had to wait until I could speak Spanish fluently enough to land a job capable of sustaining the international jet-setting nature of our relationship. But even my mother confided to me that she had an uneasy feeling that NowEx wanted my emigration to Mexico to occur much sooner than later. I assured her that practical logic would prevail, and in my mind I knew it had to because I knew NowEx would be terribly unhappy if we were forced to live as church mice.
So coming back to his immigrating to Canada: in order to put our best foot forward in the immigration process despite falling into the “Family Class” since we were legally married, NowEx had to finish his undergraduate degree. He only had his honours thesis to complete, but not only did he seem stalled and inert about it, he also forbade me to ever bring up the topic. Yet I knew that if he didn’t want to get stuck working in a factory packing bras or in a call centre once he got his PR papers, he had to complete that damn degree and not lie about having one. I mean, I’ve heard of Ph.D ABD (all but dissertation), but who’s ever heard of a BA ABHT (all but honours thesis)? Might as well just say “high school” under “Highest Grade Completed” and accept the bra-packing job among those illegal workers.
I realize now that his bullshit about the degree, coupled with the sense of impending marriage failure that the Vallarta fiasco raised, prompted not only my Skype semi-revolt but also my own form of inertia, specifically about starting the application process for his PR status. By this point, I had figured out he couldn’t even organize a wet dream as I had to tell him how to use our joint credit card — which I of course cancelled about three weeks after he left Trudeau in August ’09 — to reserve tickets with a regional airline within Mexico. Therefore, Dog help us when the time would come to submit our application for his PR status through the Canadian embassy in Mexico City!
Little did I know that more evidence of his lack of basic organizational skills was yet to come…
The H1N1 epidemic hit a few weeks after Vallerta, and it hit Mexico City particularly hard — or so we think, for the health officials in Mexico sent out mixed signals by, on the one hand, denying that most of the deaths were H1N1-related while, on the other hand, shutting down the City for more than a week and urging people to wear masks if they went out. I monitored the rapidly evolving situation as best I could, thinking about the feasibility of getting NowEx’s ass on the next plane to Montréal, many weeks before we’d initially planned. But the shutdown of the city soon made it obvious to me that no Mexican would be allowed to fly into Canada. I know — he confirmed it later — that, during one of our Skype conversations, NowEx wanted me to be his knight in shining armour who would rescue him from his virus-infested city, but I also knew that it would never be allowed to happen. Frustrated, dejected and crying, he hung up on me.
Instead, we eventually settled on a plan whereby I would ship masks and supplies to prevent contagion. I even managed to raise money at work, pledging to match all donations dollar for dollar. Thus I raised more than $500, but feared that shipping would probably swallow nearly half of that amount. (It did.) Twice I drove to a warehouse somewhere in the semi-industrial east end of Montréal — the second time for nothing — to obtain the loot and have it shipped. And it wasn’t just any loot: it was the best money could buy and the only believed capable of fending off the minuscule virus.
Mexico had lifted duties on emergency medical supplies but, Mexican bureaucracy being what it is and NowEx’s utter uselessness at dealing with anything remotely official also being what it is, he received the supplies just as the crisis was ebbing. I was furious with myself: NowEx had (again) told me to jump and I had asked him how high. For indeed, even as I was executing the plan, I had the feeling that I had plied to his histrionics. And to add insult to injury, he claimed that the filters for the mask I shipped especially for him either hadn’t been shipped by the warehouse or had been lifted by Mexican customs, and he urged me to go back to the warehouse to figure out if it was the former.
Of course, they had definitely shipped everything. A few days later, Oops! NowEx found them. In a classic case of not recognizing something even if it bit him in the ass, he hadn’t known that these things were the infamous filters.
The more I’m writing, the more I’m thinking, “Fuck that yet-to-be-invented ‘Sucker for Punishment’ award.” If NowEx could be histrionic all he wanted, I can indulge in a bit of it as well.