Archive for December 28th, 2007

December 28, 2007

Belonging

It is raining now in Toronto which, given the weather of late, is something I actually find somewhat comforting. I was walking back from a fairly fruitless expedition to Future Shop ( if their name is any indication forget Blade Runner, the future will be filled with disinterested store clerks and loud noise) when I got to musing about life in this part of the world. It used to be my life but now I can look at it from an outsider’s perspective. As I dodged ice patches on the sidewalk, and battled against a fierce cold wind in near darkness at 4:30pm I thought to myself the closest analogue to this is a freezer. The temperature is the same and it sees about as much light in a 24 hour period. I know I did it for a large part of my life but really i don;t see what sort of existence this is. The average person wakes up, turns up the thermostat, gets ready for work, warms the car up, gets in it and drives to work risking slipping and sliding to certain death on the 10 lane highways, works for a company that doesn;t give a hoot about them, heads to the mall to buy self-worth and then goes home to start the cycle again. As Bruce mentioned in his comment yesterday the human interaction and being regarded as a valuable person even by strangers is totally missing.

I am not quite sure why I am feeling this way this trip perhaps it is the Victor/Melanie fiasco, or maybe I am missing people I have become attached to or maybe it is just my mental state but the dreariness of it all is really getting to me. And it isn’t just winter as I can assure you if you dropped me in London or Paris right now i would be in a much cheerier state. I have trouble with a combination of awful weather and a society that runs almost entirely on materialism. I like to think there is a point to life…even if only to see what comes next…and here and now I am confronted with a society whose whole point seems to  be to amass things…great hordes of things. When I was at Future Shop to get my camera battery i went looking at the new iPods and the newest Macs and I thought ..how lovely…they are probably more feature rich than mine and certainly faster…but do I need to toss out the ones i have that are running fine…Nope! It is very easily to be caught up in the “latest and greatest” mindset here. When I get back home I know I will be working and using my remaining time to relax and spend time with the people I care about. Will a faster gadget enhance that experience in any way? The answer is clearly no.

I was also thinking of my patterns in Trinidad and imagining exactly what would be happening right now if I were back there and all the other players were in place. During the day I would have been at work screaming about the year in review and joking with Gis, Mel, Wong, Ria and Steve. I would undoubtedly talk to Peter Police three times on the phone, Omar at least twice, Alvie and Binky twice each, Robin once and Peter Sheppard once. I might even have thrown Astrid some shade on facebook. Then I would have gone home and started working  on cleaning up my Fodor’s chapters and, depending if Omar was popping in for a Wii match with or without Astrid in tow en route to a party, I might fix a small dinner. At which point I would make up Astrid’s room. At some point Peter Police would call to check in and then Binky would call from Sky Bar to find out how I was doing and I would fill him in on the latest developments. After that I might be convinced to go out with O & A or just stay home in my shorts on the chaise with the cascade night breeze keeping me cool. This is not earthshaking stuff I realize but it is very human stuff. I don’t just work I work at a company that i KNOW likes me and appreciates me, I don;t just make polite conversation with the crew we genuinely enjoy each other, when I talk to my friends these are not faux friends they are real friends and when I sign off with Binky I often say “Love ya Binks” and he always responds with “Love ya too Rocco” ( don’t ask..he invented it). We interact as people are supposed to. Oh sure, when I say “Love ya Alvie” or “Muz” depending on my mood there is a good chance he will respond with “Yeah, yeah…whatever” but that is part of the fun of knowing each other so well.

There is a truism in news that we usually call “First World always trumps Third World” meaning that given a choice of two headline stories one being 1,500 killed in Bangladesh floods or 4 killed in elevator accident in Manhattan…the elevator always wins.  I think it is true to say in my view right now…sometimes the Third World trumps the First World handily.

Think of it this way. If you are thrown outside wearing only your D&G underwear in Trinidad in January you might be a bit hot and possibly embarrassed ( depending on how you look in them) but if it were to happen to you here in Toronto..You Die!

Happy thoughts.

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December 28, 2007

Shiny Things

What a day. It started with the usual coffee and cigarettes and as I gradually regained consciousness it started to be filled with family drama. I don’t mind dealing with problems but when they have been going on for years, as is the case with my brother, my brain starts to shut down. I can only do so much and if after years of advice about his relationship he continues to put up with nonsense that would have had me using a few choice words and telling the other person to get the hell out of my house…then my sympathy evaporates. At that point it becomes co-dependency and the sickness and derangement applies to both parties, though not equally. I am amazed that I am the “normal” sibling…even my Mum now says she never expected that I would be the one she considers the sanest in the family. I may have my little dramas but I keep them away from my family and take measures to deal with them.

I had a bit of shopping to do so I ventured into downtown and the Eaton Centre. I now realize how much I hate crowds. Why is it that people tend to wander about aimlessly, stop suddenly while walking, turn for no reason whatsoever and hesitate while walking? It drives me to distraction. When I walk I know where I am going and I move like Alexander heading to war. Having to dodge rubes, mentally challenged people, suburbanites and tourists only raises my blood pressure. Am I the only person who plans a shopping trip with surgical precision ( no offense Kirby)? I found my attempt to get to Aldo Shoes ( how I love them), the Apple store, Buffalo ( by David Bitton), and Mexx stymied at every turn by fools who were apparently dosed with 20 mils of Valium.

At some point on the expedition I realized that the distorted world of the mall can cause the mind to switch into a strange mode of buying for gratification. Maybe it is the awful Canadian winters with their bleakness and grey vistas that makes indoor shopping so hypnotizing but I want you all to know I stoutly resisted. Even after playing with the iPod Touch in the Apple store and  surfing the net I did not plop down $329 for the pleasure. In Trinidad I only have WiFi at home and since I use my main computers there what really would be the point? Than being said I made sure to buy more memory for my Samsung D900 and I am not entirely convinced I do not need a new iPod Nano.

On the way home on the subway I looked at the people around me – all carefully not making eye contact – and i was reminded of my high school English teacher saying that North Americans were zombies following some strange predetermined path in their lives. He may have had a point. In Trinidad we look at each other, we talk, we ( so I hear) make dates and generally enjoy being human. In Toronto it is a rather different matter. I am not simply saying this because I was out on my own as I have been out with Trini friends in Toronto before and we noticed exactly the same thing. There are benefits to being in a polite society where things just work but right now I will pick my disorganized society where people talk about you and bad mouth you…but also care about you.

I am a bit depressed for several reasons. I haven’t made a dent in my shopping for friends and I will be missing several key friends when I return. Alvin and Binky are in London/Paris/Barcelona, and Omar is sailing in some crazy place in the Caribbean . Alvie and Binky have called checked on me a few times from London already and Omar has been extremely good and called me several times a day. Thankfully Robin, Peter 1, Naz, Peter II and Astrid will be in Trinidad when I return. I assume I will be immersed in work so maybe my ieTV family will distract me. I doubt it though…Muz and Binky and Omar are quite important in the great scheme of things.

Hopefully there will be no snow tomorrow and I can make a dent.

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