Strolling home from the metro yesterday, I start seeing all these orange posters stapled to signposts and taped to walls. It turns out that a chiropractor is offering, between 4 and 9 pm this evening—get this—free x-rays. Now, this isn’t for people. Oh no, the chiropractor is offering to x-ray bags of candy, to make sure there are no pins, needles, syringes, safety razors, etc, hidden inside little Jean-Marc or Marie-Hélène’s bite-size Snickers. Nothing like gamma rays to go along with your stale taffy.
Talking with the no-longer-significant other on the weekend, I was asked how the dinner during the preceding week with my mother went and, more importantly, whether my mother had inquired after K. Thinking back on the evening, I replied in the affirmative. “Oh, and does your mother miss me?” K asked. Um, well, I can’t remember them saying anything along those lines, good or bad.
“So, K? Do your folks miss me?”
K replies, “Oh, they were devastated.” And then laughs uproariously, unable to stop.
And to think of all those holidays I dragged my sorry (but, yeah, geometrically perfect) ass over there.
I’m sitting at my desk, and am suddenly stricken with violent back pain, which slowly and painfully migrates to the left side of my body. I ask myself, my left arm is slightly numb, so am I having back spasms or a heart attack? Anyone else ever get this?
So, here at work, two fellows signed up to have their heads shaved today as part of a local radio station’s “Shave to Save” campaign, a fundraiser for breast-cancer research. Now, don’t get me wrong—the community has to pick up where the government has failed when it comes to funding research—but I can’t help but feel cynical when guys agree to have their hair cut off in order to show empathy with women living with the consequences of breast cancer. Hell, the guys’ hair is going to grow back with a few weeks and I’m sure they’re hoping it will grow in thicker.
The way I figure it, if folks really want to show they care and that they are willing to experience the pain and discomfort of cancer treatment, I strongly suggest they take heavy doses of medical poison—preferably the emetic kind—lose about 25% of their body mass, lose their hair permanently, become so weak that even getting up to go to the bathroom requires all the thought and strength they have, possibly lose a body part, empty out their bank account, radically change their diet, and so much more stuff that I hope to never undergo. Yeah, that would grab my attention and my admiration.
“When I first hit Yosemite in 1957, I was a mountain trooper from Colorado, as straight as a lodgepole sapling and celibate to boot. Fortunately, two derelicts then in garbage-can residence soon put me straighter with vicious amounts of Red Mountain wine. When not busy laying the groundwork for the Golden Age (that’s about all they were laying), it seemed to my neophyte eye they stayed drunk. Why not? Even many years later women were unknown to that distant world… The only thing down at Camp 4 in the Elder Days was dog shit and Tri-Delts surrounded by their betrailered parents, about as accessible as the Crab Nebula. So we had beatoff contests at the bivouac ledges, drenched our sleeping bags in semen, got drunk and indulged in towering fireside smut.” Mike Borghoff, to which I answer:
Friday night, coming home from work, stopped off at La Boîte Noire to renew my video membership and rent The Others, which is surprisingly good in a Sixth Sense sorta way (love the fact that Tom Cruise is executive producer). Headed up St-Denis where, on the corner of St-Joseph, is this amazing fruit & veggie market whose name escapes me. Pick up some greens to go with my chicken in peanut sauce. Oh hey, a container of mixed greens, pick it up. Finally stopped at another market near the corner of Laurier and St-Denis to pick up some brews. Knowing that I was making crêpes this weekend, I also picked up some eggs, meaning I needed some bacon for breakfast. Hmm, croissants would go with that also. Butter, I need butter. Milk for my café au lait. Heading to the cash, I notice that the store stocks tiny dressing containers at the salad bar, 0.15$ each. At the cash, I look around; there are about six women and two other men waiting to pay, each of us laden with single-serving dinners, either already prepared or quick and easy to cook. All tail-end baby boomers or gen-x’ers, embarassements and disappointments to our parents because of our singlehood. I calculate that at least five of us are owned by cats. I had never noticed before how many of us there were out there, either content with our status or desperately lonely, and that there are stores that cater to such folks.
Saturday, I head down to the national book monopoly, and spend way too much coin on three tomes, which should keep me going for a week or two. Headed to Weir yesterday, a small town north of Morin Heights, snow bordering the roads. Turn off on a country road, and come face to face with megalithic antennas belonging to Téléglobe. It was a scene out of Hollywoood; huge parabolic antennas in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the forests’ fall colours, backed by huge granite cliffs. Walking along, found what seemed to be deer bones, sun- and time-bleached, at least a foot long. Coming back home last night—my first Sunday night in town in months—turn a corner to see the full moon just over the horizon, a mixture of pink and purple.
Walking to the metro this morning, I see the woman who hands out the free daily paper start running after two dogs, a beautiful Golden Retriever and a mid-size darker dog. Couldn’t understand what was happening, but the woman was nevertheless maintaining her regular cheerful contenance, so I thought she was simply playing with them. As I got closer, I realise that the golden is unleashed, adding more belief that the woman owns the dog. Closer still, and it becomes apparent that the darker dog is a Bernese mountain dog—-besides making a great sauce, that region is definitely a progenitor of beautiful canines—-in fact a seeing eye dog, and that is being jumped on and having its butt sniffed by the golden, all the while trying to guide its, um, mistress(?). Never saw that before.
I wonder if palace guards in London feel the same way when tourists try to make them smile.
“In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field. We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren’t expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper.”
Well, not really, they’ve blotted out the “naughty” parts.
Went to the Shawangunks on Friday night, seven of us, arriving at around midnight. As we were driving through the Adirondaks, the rain started and did not let up for the whole drive. We arrived at Camp Slime (yes, it’s really called Camp Slime, for good reason), trying to set up our tents in the dark. Within five minutes, everything was drenched: the tent, the sleeping foams, all our clothes and, worst of all, our sleeping bags.
Awoke on Saturday morning several hours before anyone else, the rain pounding. I’m kinda depressed, and don’t even feel like making coffee. Took a walk for a few hours and, because I am a rain god, was followed by clouds who wanted to be close to me (5 points to anyone who gets the allusion). Get back to Slime and, feeling lonely and hungry, start throwing branches and pine cones on my friends’ tents, hoping to wake them up. By now, the rain has shifted into fourth gear. My friends wake up and, like me, are depressed and lethargic. What to do, what to do? “Let’s just go into town and grab a greasy-spoon breakfast and American coffee, we can decide what we want to do after.”
Drive to New Paltz, eat breakfast and head over to a gear shop and salivate for several hours over their selection of clothes. Luckily, there’s a video room in back, so I plonk myself down in front of the tube. We leave, wondering how to spend the hours until we can go back to sleep in our wet sleeping bags. We have a choice, drive another hour to NYC, or hang out at the theatre. Hey, the vote for a US$4 movie is unanimous. It’s decided that we’ll see Red Dragon, which is pretty good—if watching utter crap on celluloid is your kind of thing. At least the theatre is dry, and we all take this opportunity to remove our boots and socks, which stink almost as bad as the movie. After the movie, we head over to a tavern, getting slightly tanked and playing 7-person darts (cricket). One guy at the bar would tell us our age by looking at our calves. All a bit surreal. Have supper at a really good Greek restaurant and head over to some friends of mine who live in town. Spend a few more hours there, delaying the inevitable, and then we all head back to camp. Awoken at around midnight and kept up for a few hours by acquaintances from Quebec City who, having waited out the rain for five days, have given up hope and gone on an alcohol and pot bender, coming back to camp absolutely tanked and obnoxious. The noise doesn’t end until someone, pushed beyond their patience, yells for them to “shut the fuck up.” Hey, it worked.
Awake Sunday to drizzle, but at least the rain has stopped. I’m told that the weather is supposed to be beautiful the next day. Discuss with partners, and we decide to wait it out. Walk along the cliffs, sending out vibes to the rock to dry up. Spend all of Sunday in this endeavour. That night, we’re back at camp, where we chow down on tofu curry that I had prepared beforehand. Oh, and we polish off a bottle of whiskey. True to form, I was the butt of the women’s humour. I usually give as good (or better) as I get, but I was so completely out-manned, the three other guys sitting off to the side, enjoying the show. Stumble off to bed, not wanting to sleep in the water again. Kept up all night by the cold and the wind.
Was it all worth it? Well, Monday morning, awake to beautiful blue skies, the changing colour of trees, and this, which I led yesterday in these same conditions. Oh, yes, it was worth it.