Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Clockwork Grapefruit

These are the signs of the approach of spring in Hades:

1. Dust and the taste of salt in your mouth. With neither snow nor glaciers to hold them down, the gravel, sand, and salt rise unimpeded into the air. This heralds...

2. The unbelievably loud roar of street cleaners mowing up and down the streets between midnight and 3 am. Even our double-glazed, airtight casement windows fail to hold out the din.

3. Chunky rivers dotted with motorboats of ice wranglers. We have special machines that roll out on the ice to begin breaking it up, but I missed them this year.

4. Cars, trucks, and buses brushing by pedestrians in frighteningly close proximity. After six months of being shielded from the road by glacial trenches and palisades of snow, one feels positively naked and exposed to traffic. Rear-view mirrors appear to whistle past one's ears.

5. Cardinals.

6. In a related development, a bird feeder that now needs refilling again after hanging unnibbled for more than a month. I don't know if the birds that were here in January found somewhere warm to hang out for February or simply got frozen to the trees. Either they or some new birds are now busily ripping through my seed supply.

7. The schoolyard is a vast expanse of glossy steel-coloured ice. On warmer days, this is very slick, and on even warmer days, it's a hazardous swamp with a lubricious and perilous bottom. Watch the ankle-biters sink shrieking from view.

8. The glaciers and piles of filthy discarded snow, resembling frozen tsunamis and other bad choices for surfing, are retreating centimetre by centimetre revealing perfectly preserved dog droppings and other delights.

9. Native Ottawans are now insisting on wearing open-toed shoes and sandals, despite - 11 Celsius temperatures. Because it's spring, dammit.

10. Blood-curdling screams from the bathroom to summon The Resident Fan Boy who has been doing his morning puttering in the kitchen.
 No, wait. That's not a sign of impending spring; that was me yesterday morning.

 This is because I glanced in the mirror while wrestling with my contact lenses and saw something like this:Since brain injury has been a bit of a theme at this house for the past six months, my immediate thoughts were: Omigod-omigod-omigod, I've having a stroke; there's cranial bleeding; my brain is leaking away; I don't want to spend the whole bloody day in emergency.... However, it seemed too much of a coincidence that I had just been to the ophthalmologist the day before and had those pupil-dilating eye drops. A quick google revealed a host of horrible things that could be happening to me, but also mentioned that anisocoria (a pretty name for the condition that makes you look somewhat like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange) is also a fairly common reaction to eyedrops. Mind you, I've never had this reaction before after many many years of taking my nearsighted eyeballs for a checkup, but I decided to hold off the panicked phone call until I'd taken younger daughter to school. If I'd really had my wits about me, I'd have only made up one eye to creep out the Rockcliffe mums, but my sense of humour was somewhat diminished that morning. When I got home, my pupils were nearly the same size and after an hour they were back to normal and I decided not to bother the doctor.

So the evening found me relatively panic-free, surveying a television schedule with little to offer. Thank God for the Turner Classic Movie channel. In between movies, they showed a delightful documentary of Chuck Jones remembering his childhood, illustrated with animated version of his rough drawings.

This got me to thinking of some of my favourite animated shorts. In my pre-mum days, I used to attend animation festivals regularly. I only had a faint recollection of one of my very favourites, in which two married animators took a soundtrack of their daughters talking and playing and transformed it into a luminous cartoon. And I found it! Here's "Windy Day" by John and Faith Hubley:
Another one I loved is one that seems to have vanished, a cartoon fantasy set to a 1930's recording of Fred Astaire singing "Puttin' on the Ritz" which is turned into a flight of fantasy with quite a bit of eroticism. I think it's from the early '80s. Let me know if you recognize it.

Finally, a delightful cartoon from then largely unknown Tim Burton: And yes, that is the glorious and classy Vincent Price himself narrating.

Now that my pupils are the same size, I don't feel quite like I would fit in perfectly with that last item. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to go out and get grazed by passing cars again...


JoeinVegas said...

Our snow does not last more than a few hours (and I love it that way). we're up over 25 all week, time for Spring here as well. Most of the tourists are in shorts getting sunburned already.

Persephone said...

Are you trying to make me cry, Joe? Are you?

Wendy said...

Okay, not to make you cry, but I don't get any snow either and it makes me MAD. When I was a kid we used to get snow, but rarely do now. (Nobody can tell ME that there's no significant climate change.) I have two kids and I hate that they don't get snow. Even if it was only one time per year I would be happy! I guess I will have to start taking them on "snow vacations" or something.

bonnie-ann black said...

the first day of spring here in NYC we had snow. not a lot, i grant you, but snow just the same.

and persephone, we have weirdly the same tastes in lazy television viewing -- i also watched the Chuck Jones shorts and the little doc about his career. i am also a huge fan of animation festivals and used to attend Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted festival every year. sadly, there don't seem to be nearly as many animation festivals. sometimes i try to talk maryann (i saw you commenting over on her site!) into going to the academy award nominated animation festivals but we never seem to make it.

my WV is "maliz"... is the sort of word one uses when spring has *officially* arrived, but the weather seems to have forgotten about it.