Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The porters I described in an earlier entry apparently are qualified to do glazing. I find this doubtful when they began the project of replacing the window in our office, which had cracked from a harsh gust, and I was especially dubious after they competed the work.

My foreboding was confirmed almost immediately as the three stood before the huge window staring, pointing at, and discussing the crooked crack that divided off a third of the glass. Two were discussing some finer point of glazing while the third feigned an interest while pulling a hammer from his belt and letting it slip from his hand onto the foot of his co-worker. His yelps were completely drowned out by the howling laughter of the other two.
Our building has a large base. It holds a large concourse and two-story foyer. The tower rises from the centre. Our floor is the floor directly above the foyer. It’s a horrible view. If they replaced the window by bricking up would not have made much of a difference to my work life. Yet, they did indeed replace it with a window. The window is about two by three metres. It takes all two of them with some effort to haul it about. They hold it by huge suction cups. The third leans against my desk and helps by making jokes. I am trying to get work done but it is difficult when in my peripheral vision is a workman’s ass holding down the paperwork I need. I decide a coffee break is in order. When I return they are gone. The window is fixed and all is well. Except. Except I notice that one of the porters is sitting cross-legged looking sulkily into the office. The other two walk in waving and smiling at their sad compatriot.

“What happened?” I asked still looking at the man outside.

“He was on the other side when we set window in place. We were half way through sealing it when we realized it. Us two were pissing ourselves for five minutes solid before we went and got security. Poor bastard has been out there with that sad face since. They fire engine is on its way now. They’re going to get him down like a wee kitten from a tree.” Both chuckle and wave again after they finished their tale.

Yesterday I noticed the window leaks but I think its best to endure that rather than take my chances with the porters.

Monday, June 27, 2005

It was one of those rare perfect moments. I have seen a handful of them. Sometimes it’s easy. Standing before the Sagrada Familia at dusk, the cathedral dressed in long sharp shadows and the rich red stone of the sculpted fa├žade humming in the low sunlight. How could one not recognize the flawlessness of that moment? Today was another one of those moments but it could have been easily missed had my mind distracted by the various concerns which everyday life gifts us. There was nothing obvious like an enormous modernist cathedral. It was just a perfect moment. I woke up early to return some library books. I dropped them off at a branch I had never been to. It was a gorgeous building. It had tall ceilings in which the sunlight shined. The morning air was fresh and full of the salt of the sea. Two tramps sat in front starting the day’s doing nothing with a can of MacEwan’s. They breathed smoke like two ancient and weary gods waiting to be forgotten. They spoke to each other in low grumbles with ever moving their lips. The city began to wake up. The traffic picked up. The bus stop queues lengthened. I recognize these things that happen every weekday but today was inexplicably different. I mused upon this as I walked when I saw before me a wedding party starting to gather in front of the Sikh temple. The men were dressed in sharp suits and fiery orange turbans. They sang and danced to a drum. The women filtered pass and entered the building. Each one in a solid coloured silk trimmed in brogue gold.

Friday, June 24, 2005

When I walk to the bus stop I move at a quick pace. My concentration is fully occupied with dodging dog shit, lurching drunks, and toddering old ladies. The other day as I made my jaunt. A chubby old man shriveled like a pale prune jumped into my path. He wore a child's cowboy costume complete with a tiny hat and plastic pistol. "Money for the whisky!" he yelled brandishing his weapon to which I replied with the squeal of a ten year old girl.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Since my bus journeys are rarely without entertainment I thought I would enter into this journal a report on the things I see on my commute.

The Bus Report

Someone has thrown old couch to the curb. A gaggle of tramps (I can't remember if tramps travel in gaggles or pods) are lounging comfortable upon the forgotten furniture watch the traffic like it was television.

You always see clothes strewned about this city. Personally, I would even go barefoot in this town lest I catch something nasty. So, the idea that people run around here bareassed is a complete suprise. An old man is carefully picking up each item of clothing and placing them upon the iron spikes of a fence. They look like impaled cotton blend turks.

School must be out. There is a rubbish bin on fire. The children dance around the blaze singing and abusing the fireman.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I have a problem. Every time I see people feeding squirrels in the park. I can't help hoping that they will ignore the peanuts and launch towards the person's face. The whole time I am in the park I stare with unrestrained expectation.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Some unseen soul painted "THIS IS HELL AND WE CANT GET OUT" on the wall of a derelict building which populate the neighborhood. Another person, maybe the same person with new found understanding, scratched out the 'T' of 'CANT'.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

When I get old I will grow a pencil thin moustache. That's pretty much the sum total of my life plans. I would also like to be above the law, but that takes money and I have neither the talent for making money nor the interest. That's the beauty and the horror of living in the 'West' (Although I think this phrase should include the wealthy nations of the pacific too. So, when I write the 'West' read it as‘everybody but those poor bastards in the middle and the south). It is pretty unlikely any decision I make in my daily life hinges on my survival. I won't ever starve. My children will most likely be fat, stupid, and successful too. The beauty is that without really trying I can live a contented life. All my essential and a few fabricated needs will be satisfied by the minimum amount of effort on my part. Survival is no longer really an issue but whether I should get the premium or try to make do with the standard cable package is. This of course is also the horror. We are removed from true living. The living that millennia have fine-tuned our genes to contend with. Don't get me wrong as an individual I much prefer the life of a neutered house cat to that of the starving stray. There’is a reason that my ancestors worked their collective asses off. Only fools would be nostalgic for being hungry, but that seems exactly what we are. We miss the struggle. That's why we fabricate all manner of ills and troubles for ourselves, but with only a moment of reflection these things quickly become ridiculous. I would prefer if I never had those moments of reflection. Then I could quite happy try to meet those fictitious struggles like‘I must get the purple Ipod!’or‘I must make junior manager. I could then face those things with the same tenacity as my ancient forbearers met the challenge of not getting killed or eaten. It's those times of reflection that usually catch me half way through my asinine battles and I think about the purposelessness of it all. I then take a nap and forget the whole endeavour, or upon awaking I approach my task with a much more reasonable aloofness.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I took this test. It supposedly measures your unconscious biases. There are several tests; one tests your preference for white faces to black, another tests your opinion of woman in the sciences versus liberal arts, and a bunch of others.
I think myself a pretty unbiased guy in practice. I was raised around racism and quickly figured out that it was nonsense. As a young child I remember having a sleep over at a friend's house whose family was from Mississippi. A news report came on about the commemoration of Dr. King. His mother started going on a gentile tirade about that 'troublemaker'. Even then, at my young age, I already knew this was ridiculous and this grown woman had things the wrong way around.
I took the test and it said I had a strong unconscious preference for white faces. I definitely felt a hit to my liberal credentials and I have a dozen reasons why the test is inaccurate. The funny thing is I am consciously bigoted, but my bigotry against more typically Aryan features.
Firstly, children with blue eyes scare me. They look evil. I am sure they feed on the blood of their sleeping parents during the night. I certainly moved to the wrong country in this regard as every pram occupant is a blue-eyed spawn. I've see them sniff the air like wolves sensing fresh blood in the air. When the parents aren't looking I usually give them a quick pop with my rolled up newspaper just to let them know I know they're evil. Their crying doesn't fool me. Crocodile tears. Crocodile tears.
Secondly, thin-lipped people can't be trusted. When you can't see any red. When their mouth is nothing but a quick fold of skin beneath their nose. Those people. Those people are thieves and liars, the lot of them. I can't help it. I know its wrong, but I can't help it. They give me the heebie-jeebies.

Oh yeah. And the Swiss. To hell with the Swiss.