William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

16. bookends of a week

Tuesday (August 13)

Grampy can sometimes become ambivalent about my being here. I kind of get it. I really wanted to come down here, so I became a self-appointed caretaker – my mother and uncles encouraged it, but Grampy only acquiesced. Last year, when Nanny was here, the atmosphere was totally different. Grampy even paid me on top of what I originally thought was more than fair. (Of course, there was a lot more to do.) This year, I think he'd pay me to leave! He offered to fill up my car. This is almost as lucrative, as my Cadillac takes a lot of premium fuel to top off. :-)

The thing of it is, though, we think he'd have ice cream and pastries for lunch and supper if we weren't paying attention – I've seen it happen when I've been late coming back to the house. He also needs help just knowing what day it is. He gets Meals on Wheels two days a week, and on those days he still asks me what's for supper. And then there was that douchebag in Liverpool who apparently nearly successfully pulled a refund scam on him – that could have cost him thousands! Somebody should be here – I'm not saying it should be me necessarily, most women and many men would perform this role better than I would – but somebody should be here. I bring you truth through repetition.

I need a place to work, so I've hijacked the dining room table. It typically rests undisturbed for weeks on end – people eat in the kitchen or eat in the TV room. So I have my computer on it, and I have my backpack and computer case on the chairs as if they're also sitting here with me. I also have my books and CDs in the area – I often read in the living room, and I often play my CDs on the stereo.

So he walks back through the living room towards the kitchen this morning and exclaims “What a mess.”

“What mess?” Even though I know full well what he means, I'm not taking it sitting down, but I try to do people the courtesy of giving them a chance to back off.

“This.” He indicates my belongings.

As pleasantly as possible, I say, “You have a den. I don't. I need a place to work.”

He turned again and went about his business.

It is his house. He's been saying that he's not pleased that he hasn't been consulted about what's going on in and around it. I don't know what to say to that. I want my little slice of sovereignty too, but in his view, I haven't really done anything to earn it.

Tomorrow the municipality is offering employment counselling out of the new administration building. I'll definitely be making an appearance, though I'm not looking for a job to start until after the Labour Day weekend. And there may well be nothing. And it's hardly worth driving to Antigonish every day in my gas-guzzler: though it may be in his car, he needs his own car for his daily jaunts down to the village, so that's out. And he often asks when I'm going back to Bedford, “because that's where you live, isn't it?”

I don't want to go back to Bedford/Halifax. I'm just another face in the crowd there. I'll never be accepted, except in small little pockets here and there – somebody's house, somebody's apartment. You can't hop on your bike and see what people are up to. If you're in a situation similar to mine, you hardly have any kin in town. (And, for my part, I have hardly any friends either.) How the fuck are we supposed to survive that way? We're letting the economy set us all adrift. Then we turn around and complain about the immigrant communities that outcompete us because – gee, whatdyerknow, the families cooperate. What a concept! Fuck this isolated nuclear family monogamy property paternal certainty horseshit. I want no fucking part of it, I want no part of the anonymity of the city, I like being able to leave things unlocked – the revolution starts in the country (with, ironically, all the knowledge and many of the tools of the city). Maybe you are homo sapiens urbanesis, but I am not.

Actually, maybe the city can do the same thing. I also think that we need places where people of different backgrounds can congregate. But I doubt that really living there is for me – I'm not of the city, and I'll always be imperfectly adapted. I may have to go back to the city, but I'll immediately start trying to get out again. But I won't know unless I try, and most of my life has been mere suburban farce – none of it truly rooted in the city.

Tuesday Night

I notice that while I was out, Grampy tried to disconnect my laptop. I'll have to talk to him about that. He might be under the impression that it's dangerous to leave it plugged in. We almost got into a row about this at the dinner table when Mom was here. My laptop's power brick only draws power (and therefore only gets hot) when it charges the laptop, and I leave it on a solid surface, not the tablecloth or anything like that. And there are other AC/DC adapters running in the house that we don't unplug, supplying power to things like the stair lift and the new satellite receiver. Instead of pointing it out as hypocrisy, I'll go for sharing a light of acceptability. (Nah, it's so minor it's not worth bringing up.)

Grampy gets Meals on Wheels on this night, so I went down the street and enjoyed the hamburger I was offered for setting up the computer at Beanie's Bistro. It was a scrumptious Mexican-style hamburger with guacamole. Then I went to Andy's and later we watched (from his collection, after we failed to get Netflix to work):

Memoirs of a Geisha: This probably should have been a Japanese film with Hollywood collaboration instead of a Hollywood film. Amuricans don't go for subtitles (and neither do some Canadians I know). At least Mel Gibson challenged this, having directed movies in Aramaic and Mayan. Spielberg produced this movie, no doubt wanting to make a Japanese Color Purple. j/k

With that out of the way, the movie is a decent character-driven story, with a few “holy shit” moments – delivered as slaps in the face you don't expect, yet make perfect sense. There's enough suspense to keep you on board.

But when it was over, I wondered what the point of it all was. I didn't feel like I learned anything new, except perhaps “Women can be vindictive.” There are some real burns in this movie. They're intense.

There's some beauty in this movie – the eyes of the protagonist (as a child) are something else, and there are a few shots of her done up (as an adult) that are beautiful, and there's a scene where she performs a dance by herself that is incredibly well put together. But all I was thinking about was how it was put together. It was too perfect. I didn't really care that much about her.

How historically accurate is this movie? I don't know, but I did just learn that they didn't cast many of the principal roles with Japanese actors – even the main character (as an adult) was portrayed by a Chinese actress. Well, I guess maybe it would take Hollywood to adapt what is essentially a Western novel, but, again, I would be more prepared to accept a Japanese production with Japanese actors speaking Japanese, unless I had reason to believe they'd hold back.

A rich and I suppose satisfying movie, but I could take it or leave it. It didn't need to have a framed narrative. It didn't need to be such a melodrama. I've seen enough of those to last a lifetime, thanks. 6.5


The day before I go. Got lots of stuff to take care of. I just got back from walking down to the municipal office. They really need steps or a path or something out the back so people can walk from there to the school and the recplex (and, also, the place where I live) without having to go all the way down to the highway and around the bend.

I was there for the promised career and job counselling being offered on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. Unfortunately, the personage offering said career and job counselling leaves at 2, and I got there around 3. Late bird, showered and rested and well-fed he may be, still misses worm I suppose. So I'll try again on the 28th, and that'll be in a way better because if an opportunity appeared I could say I'd be ready to start right away.

Grampy says he's really dizzy several times a day. I wonder if that's something that can be treated? I mentioned that he could go to the doctor about it, but he told me he perceived that if he went to the doctor they'd cart him off to Antigonish. If Nanny were here she might make him go. At least he seems to be keeping on top of his meds.

This evening over supper:

“So you're going to PEI, you're coming back for the [party], and then that's it, right?” He made a 'finished' signal with his hands.

“What do you mean?” Well, I knew full well what he meant.

“I'll have the house to myself again, right?”

“Well, um...”

“Your home is in Bedford! You don't live here!”

“Well, I wanted to stay here for Labour Day weekend because [there will be some wacky thing happening, details much later].”

“Well, I can't get into that. You've had your summer. And there's some things I have to do.”

“How does my presence impede you from doing what you have to do?”

The conversation fell apart at that point.

Wednesday Night

Went down to Andy's and had a good chat with Josh. It's great just to talk openly and fluidly for a while, one thing leading to another. I seldom have such great conversations.

I really want to stay down here. So I'm going to try to get at least a part-time job, and I'm going to write my little book.

Oblivion: This capsule review will be indelicate.

Tom Cruise stars in Oblivion, a movie about a human civilization forced to live in space but that still needs resources from Earth, specifically the story of the drone-repair technician and his communications officer at their lonely outpost. But there are Twists™.

Watching this movie is like being subjected to L. Ron Hubbard giving you a hand job while he is telling you to like it. You like british lady's accent? Shower scene? Watch my movie! Buy my books! You like beautiful Russian woman? Watch my movie! Buy my books! Now I destroy God! Now you have new God, died for you! I mind-rape you with the fundamental Christian idea until you want to puke! And you like it, you snot-nosed little punk! Buy the movie! Buy my books!

Yet I watched. Andrea Riseborough is in this. I write this like I know all about her, but this was really my first time being exposed to her. And her voice. I stayed in this movie just for her and the sound of her voice. I fell in movie-love with her. It's a joke to me now, but it was pretty intense at the time. I realized it was possible to love a woman with the basis being the sound of her voice. On the other hand, she said “Our job is not to remember, remember?” and I actually wondered if she knew it was recursive when she was saying it. Was she directed to say it in such a flat fashion?

Morgan Freeman's in this. His voice has the reputation that it can convince you of anything. So then they put Morgan Freeman in it, because we know he has that reputation. And he convinces us, because he has a reputation. We don't understand a word he says, but boy howdy, we're convinced.

After they got him, though, they didn't have much left over for Morgan's deputy. They needed a devil's advocate with a heart of gold like Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode I, but they apparently couldn't afford Ewan McGregor. I mean, Jack the Giant Slayer got Ewan McGregor. In my view, that makes Jack the Giant Slayer the better movie.

“Exciting!” “A thrill ride!” No doubt some reviewer wrote those things; this is that type of movie. “Grabs hold and never lets go!” “Tom Cruise is our Saviour new action movie star!”

“That was so good, seeing that robot. You love this movie. Say it for me! Say it for me, bitch!” Sorry, that was LRH writing.

Andy figured out the whole movie far in advance. I still haven't figured it out, but I want a sexy partner like Cruise has. In the movie specifically, I mean. 4.5

Jackass 3.5: This movie's best feature is its soundtrack. The pratfalls that unfold in front of you are vivified splendidly with the music punctuating each thump, whack, bonk, thud, and crash. My favourite tracks include the French song in the intro, “Too Fat to Fly”, and, last but first, “If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough”. That's a universal truth if I've ever heard one.

The funniest parts are at the beginning, where you're going “How can you be laughing at this? Wait, how can I be laughing at this?” This is really hearty laughter, too. It's all slapstick violence without the deleterious effects of aggression. It takes a disused superhighway to our HA-HA center, and suddenly your sides hurt. When I was watching, I thought, "It's 'Jackass' because you have to be one to enjoy it," but really, what's a little violence among friends?

Sometimes it goes on a little too long. Some gags / stunts are better than others. There's quite a bit of filler. If this movie were condensed to fit in under an hour, it could be a physical masterpiece. Andy said “We're not going to rate this movie,” but I'm a jerk so here it is anyway. 6

I got back around 4am to find a terse note from Grampy to the effect that I had to clean out my room because it would be occupied by someone before I got back from PEI. Effity eff eff. So I spent some hours in the basement with the washer and dryer going, cleaning the bed sheets as well as my own clothes, while I dozed in fits and starts on the nearby couch. At some point I ran the dishwasher and later I unloaded it, and when the laundry was finally dry I re-made the bed with the just-washed bed sheets (Rummage through the closet trying to find other sheets that fit? No thanks!). Somehow I still got on the road just after 9am.

I made it to the boat in plenty of time, but it was delayed anyway. I left a text-to-voice message with Aunt Shirley in Souris. After the boat came and began unloading, I took up my belongings, locked the car, and went down to the dock.

Saturday (August 24)

Yeah, we're skipping a bit. I'm back on the basement couch in Sherbrooke again. I slept here last night too even though I didn't have to (it was only Grampy and I in the house) because otherwise I'd have to be changing / cleaning sheets again and for one night it hardly seems worth it. Despite the note Grampy had left, no one else had stayed here.

How was PEI? Well, one cousin got married and another got a new kidney. Auspicious times for everyone. It was great to see everybody. I consciously refrained from writing anything down. I missed having my own laptop and my car. A week is a little long to leave it parked on the other side, and I don't think I'll be doing so for that long again.

My beard was a great conversation piece. One cousin, upon hearing that I said this, said it was time to start a new conversation. Everybody had an opinion. (Among strangers that voice theirs it's been overwhelmingly positive, though I suppose only friends and relatives have the freedom to come up and say they don't like it.)

I heard that when my cousin Mary and her husband Brian were leaving (and I'd already gone), their 4-year-old son Christian asked "Where is William?" Brian said "You like William," and Christian smiled and said, "He has a moustache!”

On the ferry ride back, I realized I left my cell charger in Souris. It was a bit out of sight, and it wasn't where I usually plug my phone in, so I forgot to pack it. (I'll be getting it in the mail sometime next week.) Getting out of the parking lot at the ferry terminal, there was almost an incident. The lines on the access road to the parking lot and general wharf (as opposed to the ferry boarding lanes that start at the end of the highway) are faded almost to invisibility. So there's a large car (a Chrysler 300) stopped at the end of it, hugging the right side. I notice there's a lane's worth of room between it and what's left of the yellow lines. I'm going left, and I assume this car is going right (I don't think it was signalling to go left, and it was hugging the right side). I stop at the line, to the left of this car.

And then it's like we both tried to go left at the same time. WTF? And on top of that, the woman in the car flips out at me. I try to gesture that there were two lanes (and imply that she was in the wrong one, so I didn't know she was going left). She doesn't get it. So I back the car up to slot in behind her, she turns left, then I turn left. Fortunately she didn't go all the way to Pictou, so I was able to forget about her after a while.

I couldn't find any free air in Pictou. I guess you have to go to Clare or Sherbrooke for that! So I paid $1 to top off my tires, which I do before any long trip, because mine only semi-reliably hold air. And then in New Glasgow I went all the way up East River Road into the town, and it had neither a Superstore nor Tim Horton's (that I could see - there it is, back of a parking lot, no sign out front)! I found a CIBC machine downtown (I was looking for a Superstore for its PC Financial machine – either works for me) and I then backtracked two exits to find the Tim Horton's / Wendy's outlet. Then, getting back in the car with my iced latte, I discover the blower switch has worn out. So no fan for me, despite many hot miles ahead. The car is presently at Sherbrooke Garage with the hope that this situation can be fixed.

Grampy wants to get to Cape Breton sooner rather than later so he can see his niece's special friend, a gentleman by all accounts, but who is presently in very poor health. It's being suggested that I go with him. I just kind of hope it isn't over Wednesday (I'd have to wait another 14 days to see the employment counselor! j/k) or next Friday (book club) or the upcoming Labour Day weekend ([the wacky thing I mentioned earlier]). If it isn't over Tuesday, I can help Alex and his friends bring in Robert's wood.

The night before last, I was at Andy's, and we spoke with a French family. The father was in IT, so that was a fertile conversation topic. Last night, Uncle Cliff, Evan, and my mother came down, and we had a nice gathering up at the cottage after dinner. Later I saw the moon over the lake with Uncle Cliff and Evan.

I got to drive Mom's truck this morning! She asked, “Can you drive a standard?” and after I said something like, “Yes, but I'm inexperienced” and topped it off with some begging, I was allowed to go into the village by myself with it. Only stalled once. I'm sure I wouldn't have won any awards for grace or smoothness, but I got the job done.

At the garage I found out that the car wasn't looked at yesterday, probably wouldn't be looked at today, and would be seen “first of next week”. Um, so why did you let me book an appointment for Friday at 3, then? You know, so I can have my car until you're ready for it.

Elise's friend had her baby, a boy. I don't think they'll be at the Lodge today, but who knows. Elise and Andy will be, so it's getting to be time to have a shower and lunch and hop on my bike and see what's up.

I took the truck out again to see if anything was happening at Andy's (and to use the internet). I've stalled three times so far on this run. But I'm getting smoother! Maybe.
Tags: sherbrooke 2013

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