Learning Curves

  • Because I’ve been so busy with work in the recent weeks, my good intentions of learning some basic notions of Spanish have gone out the window for the most part. I say “for the most part” because I did occasionally look up a few words and read a few basic online lessons on conjugating the very important verb ser and memorizing possessive adjectives. However, in the last week or so, El Poema has taken on the role of drill-master; in fact, after tonight’s session, he has even given me some homework! He understands that the best approach for me is grammatical; there’s no use in throwing a lot of vocabulary my way if I don’t first grasp the mechanics of the language.
  • What’s more, the Queen of Sheba‘s daughter, Ms. R, who majored in Spanish at university, has offered to tutor me as well. She’s invited me over for dinner at her new abode on Friday night, although I doubt that occasion will double as my first tutoring session with her. But I’m looking forward to working on my Spanish with her, as she’s coming at it from the perspective of someone who, at one time, had to start from scratch. While I doubt I’ll be able to hold much of a conversation by Christmas, at least I’ll be able to grasp little bits here and there, and I’ll learn some more while I’m in Mexico. For as Ms. R said to me on the phone last night, Spanish speakers, particularly Latin Americans, are extremely generous towards those who express a genuine desire to learn the language — in terms of teaching as well as tolerating bad, bad grammar from someone who’s at least trying.
  • As I mentioned in an earlier post, some positive shifts are afoot at my day job, although I can’t be specific about them just yet. But I’m already having to learn new things there, too, and I’m loving it. There’s more and more variety and, yes, more and more responsibility, but that motivates me because [a] there’s never a dull moment and [b] just when things start getting routine, another new routine comes along and the job becomes new again. At least, that’s how a “glass half full” kind of guy like me tends to look at it.
  • Being in a relationship that is SO long-distance requires some learning, too. I’ve done the “long-distance thing” before, but not so far and not with someone who has inhabited my being as profoundly as El Poema. A lot of the learning revolves around acquiring flexibility so that we can think ahead generally but not get bogged down with details that are too time-specific. And that can be hard when the urgent desire to be physically together becomes overwhelming emotionally. Yet — perhaps paradoxically — we’ve individually come to realize that we each need a lot of personal space, so we’ve learned that not communicating for a few days in a row is not a statement on how we feel about each other. It’s just that the communication sometimes only reminds us too much of the distance, which on some days makes us sadder than on other days.

On Thursday, it will be exactly two years since the evening Ex Friend came to visit me with some KFC and who, upon hearing about my plight at the time, encouraged me to apply for what has turned out to be my day job. Two years, and almost nothing is as it was back then. So far, my 40s are turning into my blessed decade.

For indeed, two years ago, if a friend had asked me, “Are you happy?” I might have answered “Yes,” but with much hesitance and a whole bunch of qualifiers. But two years later, I wouldn’t flinch and answer with a resounding “Yes!” For even though everything is not perfect, life is pretty damn sweet right now, and my happiness is both visible and audible these days. So, each and every day in the last while, I thank destiny for the bounty it has graced upon me: a bounty of learning about so much, including myself; a bounty that not only inspires so many hopes and dreams, but that provides the means of achieving those hopes and dreams; a bounty that is so large that one would have to be an unspeakable ingrate not to be deeply grateful for having received it.

The Deal

Su chilis— Listen,” I tell El Poema while on Skype last night. “You better make sure you have plenty of really strong coffee when I get there. I can’t function without coffee in the morning.”
— What about some Nescafé?” he replied to get me going.
— Yuck! None of that shit! Or I’ll have to hit you or something.”
— So it has to be really dark?”
— Yep. The darker, the better.”
— No problem,” he said as he poured some chili sauce on popcorn he’d just made. “You’ll just have to keep me fully supplied with chili when I’m in Montréal.”
— ¡Claro! It’s a deal, babe. It’s a deal.”

Do You Have a Bad Memory También?

For the first time in a long, long time, I actually took two consecutive days off. I know I should have worked yesterday, but I also know that the rest and time away from the computer will pay off in the end.

One of the things I did was rent and watch a few movies. But there’s one thing that really bugs me about myself: unlike most people I know, I have a really bad memory when it comes to movies and books. Sometimes it’s as minor as forgetting details of a film, but other times it’s as major as not remembering having seen the movie at all. I’ll start watching a movie and then do a double-take: “Wait a minute… I’ve already SEEN this!” And in addition to feeling stupid, I feel I’ve ripped myself off.

Per El Poema’s recommendation, yesterday I rented Et Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too). As it turns out, though, I hadn’t seen the entire movie. But about two-thirds into it, I recognized certain scenes. And I definitely recognized the closing scene. I think the movie may have aired on CBC Late Night a while back and I only caught the last third. So I guess this isn’t a classic case of me forgetting a movie I’ve seen.

As for the movie itself, of course I recommend you should watch it, and I’d say that even if it weren’t a Mexican production, biased as I am these days about Mexico. I won’t give any spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen it yet; however, I will say this: Doesn’t the voiceover narrative remind you that in Jean-Pierre Jeunet-directed films like Amélie and A Very Long Engagement?

Next on my movie list is Amores perros, which one reviewer at imdb writes, “is by far the best film I have ever seen come out of Mexico (far better and more complex than the comparably immature Y Tu Mamá También).”

Just Five More Months

Autumn 2007 in Nova ScotiaI only have five months left in Halifax. How incredible is that?! Given I’ve lived here almost all my adult life, just about everybody has come to associate me to this little seaport city. But that, of course, is on the verge of changing.

As a result, I find myself looking at the place differently. No, not with regrets. Not even nostalgia. Just differently. Like, “This is my 22nd but last autumn in Halifax.” So, yesterday I took advantage of the gorgeous weather on one of my rare days off to take these pictures of fall in Nova Scotia, including some in my soon-to-be-former neighbourhood.

Yes, only five more months. But the short time that remains does raise a dilemma as far as Dr. Snake Oil Salesman, the asshole who’s unfortunately my upstairs neighbour. Clearly, the landlord’s office never sent him a notice as I thought it would a few months back. And now, in addition to the music, he has taken to walking like a fucking elephant. What is it about some people who think that just because they’re not wearing shoes, they can stomp as heavily as they want while walking on a hardwood floor? Honestly! There are times when I can actually feel the vibrations!

So the dilemma is: grin and bear it, it’s only five more months; or, it’s five more months, so I have nothing to lose by declaring all-out war so that, maybe, I can get a little bit of peace in that time. The former would be the rational thing to do, but the latter might feel so damn good! What’s more, since the super and the landlord know I’m moving, they’re probably not going to be inclined to do anything for me …unless, of course, they choose to do something for the sake of the next tenant. But I doubt it. That would be proactive, and they’re a 100-percent reactive bunch.

And just as I was typing that paragraph, the asshole just turned his damn music up. Pig fucker!

Good Things Remaining Silent

It’s really been eating at me that I can’t yet publicly say what’s been happening to me lately at my day job, but it’s been really good. It all started just over two weeks ago, and then something unrelated happened on Thursday which is only pointing to better things to come.

I guess there’s one thing I can say without revealing anything I shouldn’t herein. The last contract I signed was to take my employment to 31 December. Well, I now know for a fact I’ll be going beyond that date, and that’s a good thing.