Monday, 4 July 2022

Guess before I finish this song

For a good chunk of the day, I've had an ear-worm from Sesame Street: "One of these things is not like the other..."

The good news is that so far, younger daughter and I have tested negative for COVID today.  We took the tests for the first time, guided by elder daughter from England via Skype -- who's had COVID twice, and sometimes tests on a daily basis.

The Resident Fan Boy, who had been feeling off-colour for two days, and hadn't told me, was waiting for me when I returned from doing Demeter's laundry this morning.  He was promptly banished to the master bedroom, in order to self-isolate, and cancel this week's upcoming surgical procedure.

Younger daughter and I will continue to test throughout the week, and say a few prayers.

You can too, if you're that way inclined...

Sunday, 3 July 2022

I'm sorry, I don't have a queue

There are a lot of things I don't understand.  Tennis is one of them.

I once had a friend "kidnap" me to a tennis court.  Minutes later, we climbed back in his car.

"You're right, you can't play tennis."  I'd been telling him that for years.

What I know about tennis could be written on a scrap of paper.  In large letters.  I do know that if the Resident Fan Boy is watching it on television and the court is red and dusty, it's the French Open, and that if they're playing on grass, it's Wimbledon. Also that there is a long-standing (pun not intended, but applicable) ritual of waiting in line for same-day tickets at Wimbledon.  It's called the Queue.  Not sure of the reason for the capitalisation; they also capitalise "the Grounds".  Maybe to make it more hallowed?

Anyway, I awoke before 6 am to a string of texts from elder daughter, who had evidently braved the Queue with her flatmate (said flat is in South Wimbledon) and was now seated near the edge of Court 1, behind the umpire (referee? judge? I don't know nothin' about tennis.). I had to look up what Court 1 was, and worked out which game she was watching.  (Maria vs Ostapenko - never heard of either). 

Tatjana Maria - perhaps you've heard of her

I mentioned this to the Resident Fan Boy, who leapt out of bed and ran his bath.  As I dressed, I tuned in the game -- and totally failed to understand what was going on, except that the crowd seemed riveted.  When it was evident that someone had won -- Tatjana Maria -- I sat down and suddenly glimpsed my daughter for an entranced instant.  Texted "Saw you!", and the RFB's identical text appeared a split second after mine, as he watched in the living room.  

I'm in the coffee shop now, and the RFB just saw elder daughter again.  In slow motion.

Ain't technology something?

Still clueless about tennis, but it's all about love, for me. (Pun intended.)

Saturday, 2 July 2022

A matter of gravity

There's an odd role-poly young woman who's been showing up at the coffee-house periodically.

She drags her wheelie-bag everywhere, as she fetches things:  her coffee, her breakfast, her napkins.  Back and forth, the wheels rumbling behind her.

Today, she approaches me to ask if I'll make sure that "nobody touches" her things while she's in the washroom, a few steps away.  I guess pulling the thing to the toilet crosses some sort of line.

"If they try, I'll body-tackle them," I assure her gravely.

She accepts this with equal gravity. 

Friday, 1 July 2022

Degrees of hesitation


So I'm sitting at the secretary desk in the bedroom, when I hear the familiar popping and cracking that means either New Year's Eve or Canada Day. 

It's Canada Day this time, and I leap up and leave the apartment, taking the stairs three flights up to the roof. Three neighbours are already there, one tucked up in a blanket on a collapsible chair. 

Which promptly collapses. 
She's not hurt.

Over the western horizon hangs a pale gold crescent moon.  Below are a line of ancient trees, which effectively block our view of the fireworks.

Damn inconvenient trees.  Providing us with oxygen, but depriving us of the show.

Some fireworks are high enough for us to see the curved brilliant edges, and we can make out the outlines of the enormous domes of red and white exploding light through the branches.

The neighbours chat and comment, as I think about these past three pandemic Canada Days:  the muted non-holiday of the early pandemic as we realised this was for the long haul; the muted non-holiday of last year, when the discovery of hundreds of graves in the schoolyards of the old residential schools had everyone abandoning the traditional wearing of red-and-white for the orange teeshirts of indigenous solidarity.

This year, there seems to be a degree of hesitation about how to dress for our national holiday.  The staff in the local coffee-shop, along with most other restaurants, have opted for the orange, while groups of families with small children have hauled out the Canadian flag teeshirts and wave miniature flags, as they make their way home from the festival at Ship's Point, hosted this year by the Lekwungen Peoples:  Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

We've quietly hung out our flag again this year, worrying, just a little bit, if this will be seen as supporting the truckers, and their organisers, who seem to have co-opted the maple leaf for their own furious and defiant ends.

To the west, a final powerful fire-flower.  The Resident Fan Boy appears, two seconds too late, having just figured out where I was.

I invite him to enjoy the crescent moon.  It's really damn lovely.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Start the evening show

And May is gone.

So is 1992.  I was rather preoccupied that year, and missed this gem from XTC.  It sounds like the end of a love affair, but was apparently a disagreement with a record company.

Still, it's bouncy and pop-py, and I rather love it.

I put on a fake smile 
And start the evening show 
The public is laughing 
I guess by now they know 
So climb from your high horse 
And pull this freak show down 
Dear Madam Barnum 
I resign as clown
 
You said I was the master of all I surveyed 
But now I'm sweeping up 
The last in line in your circus parade 

Children are clapping 
As I fall to the floor 
My heart torn and broken 
And they just scream for more 
If I'm not the sole fool 
Who pulls his trousers down 
Then dear Madam Barnum 
I resign as clown 

You tread the high wire 
Between truth and lies 
Your safety net just walked out 
Much to your surprise 
Strike up the band, love 
And let the show begin 
For this is the last time 
I'm painting on a grin

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Dropping the mask (write of passage number fifty-three)

As is my coffee house ritual, I whipped out three paper napkins out of the dispenser with a flourish, en route to picking my carefully spaced spot to await my order.

Something was different, but it eluded me for several seconds. The barista was  embellishing my morning mocha with an attempted heart - it looked like a persimmon - when it hit me, and I blurted:  "You have a cream and sugar station again!"

No more clinging to the door frame at a safe distance while the staff pour out the sugar and cream under customer supervision. 

At least for now.

From my accustomed seat, I took a quick visual poll to see who's still wearing masks, aside from the baristas.  Much like when British Columbia attempted to relax restrictions last summer, it's a sexual divide: the women approach the counter en masque; the men stride up bare-faced.

At present, we BC residents are moving into a strange limbo:  face-masks are "encouraged", but no longer required, and each institution has noted this on social media.  The library, for example, has added a plea to patrons that they not harass anyone choosing to wear a mask.  The latest trucker nonsense has left scars, though I'm not sure many truckers frequent the library, judging from their spelling and grasp of recent European history.

Buses are also going into "masks recommended" mode.  A few weeks ago, I ran into trouble when face coverings were still mandatory on transit.

I found myself juggling my umbrella and drug store purchases, as I stepped into the teeming rain outside the only medical lab at which I could get an appointment, some kilometres from my home. After a suffocating half-hour waiting to have some blood taken, I removed my mask to gulp in the moist, rain-scrubbed air.

Having scuttled across the crosswalk, it was only when the bus drew up to the stop that I realised my mask wasn't in my pocket.  Frantically searching as others boarded, I appealed to the driver:  "I must have dropped it somewhere!"  Seeing him hesitate, I added:  "I'm triple-vaccinated..."

Somewhere further in, I heard someone offer:  "I've got a scarf..."

The driver allowed me to board, and I found a recess in which to huddle and cling, still obsessively checking my pockets, while an older woman, standing with her shopping cart while the oblivious university and middle-school students sat, spoke soothingly to me.  I must have looked a little crazed.

The bus driver suddenly appeared at my side, holding out a plastic baggie of disposable masks.  I thanked him profusely, and feet aching, found my way to a seat.  I gazed out at the rain, and thought miserably of my pretty cloth mask, abandoned and trodden upon, somewhere on the soggy pavement.

A week later, and I would have been allowed on the bus without question.  

Now, I read that the World Health Organisation is saying we're still in the middle of the pandemic.

Yesterday, I ordered three more pretty facemarks, one in the same design of my lost and lamented one. It's cold comfort, but best not to get too comfortable anyway.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Acres of Gwlad

As I was heading for the door early in the morning, the Resident Fan Boy scuffled over in his slippers and night robe to give me a peck and wish me "Happy St David's Day", before launching into song:

"Clams! Cl-a-a-a-a-ams!"

I eyed him for a baffled moment.

"Do you mean 'Gwlad'?"

Here's the anthem, with the chorus he was attempting, in a more toned-down (and linguistically correct) version:

Monday, 28 February 2022

Kept me afraid and cold

 Well, it's been a hell of a month.

February, once more, has maanaged to be the longest month, while being the shortest month. 

 I haven't quite summoned up the courage to weigh in on world events, nor the personal loss resulting from said events and my enraged response to them. 

Maybe later. 

 In the meantime, I was listening to one of my playlists while getting ready for the day and striving for some grace to shield myself, when this song came up. Is someone trying to tell me something? 

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Don't make waves

I woke up Saturday morning to a Facebook post from an Alberta cousin, with a link to the BC government's tsunami alert page.

We've had these before.  Not a lot, but you don't need a lot.  You just need one. Like earthquakes, I've slept through some of them.

This was a "tsunami advisory" (as opposed to a warning), so we were being advised to stay away from beaches, and, if in the water, to get out.

I decided to get out of bed, reasoning that it was at least a good idea to be dressed.

I had finished my morning routine at about 8:55, and the waves were scheduled to reach Tofino, a village on the west coast of Vancouver Island, which, unlike Victoria, has absolutely nothing blocking it from the Pacific Ocean.  (We can't even see the Pacific Ocean from Victoria, just Washington State.)

Being a denizen of the early twenty-first century, I checked Twitter, and found links to a number of Tofino web-cams.  What I saw were calm, misty beaches.  I watched in fascination as a lone dog-walker strolled the sand.  Behind him, an ominous white band had formed on the horizon.

Within five minutes, the waves arrived, white, angry, and rather eerie with little wind blowing.  Tofino happened to be at low tide, but it didn't look like low tide.  Clusters of people appeared, standing at the inner edge of the beach, and holding phones aloft.  I checked other web-cams and saw similar scenes:  people bundled up against the morning chill, clutching coffees and chatting, sometimes to each other, sometimes to their phones.  I took grim pleasure in watching one couple, in matching yellow slickers, suddenly having to scramble over the driftwoods and rocks, when a wave rolled rapidly towards them.

No one swept out to sea.  In Tofino, anyway.  

I now find myself waiting for the inevitable reports of horror from the other side of the Pacific.  Tonga has been out of communication with the world for nearly 48 hours.

Friday, 31 December 2021

Take that Omicron away

 Standing on the edge of the new year and fighting the sense of vertigo, I wonder about my sanity.

Am I the only person, for instance, who peruses the headlines about Omicron and hears Paul Simon singing in their head?

"Omicro-o-n/ Makes me mask like a mummer/ Brings lock-down into a third summer/ Make me think all the world is falling ill/ Oh yeah/ I'll get a Pfi-i-izer booster...." 

My daughters think I'm deranged.

See you next year.