30 November, 2011

the one about the way we do it and the way they do it and the way it ought to be done

i love canada. it is a country that is law-abiding, peaceful, calm and its citizens tend to follow rules and obey signs. all this i like, because it is a reflection of my own obsessive-compulsive, orderly personality*. i always wear a seatbelt and will refuse to drive if you don't put one on. i am that person who will never trespass if there is a "no trespassing" sign. it makes me physically uncomfortable to even stand too close to one much to the amusement and chagrin of certain friends and family.

i love mexico. it is a country that is vibrant, loud, chaotic and its citizens seemingly take their life in their hands every day when they ride in the backs of trucks careening down cobblestone streets or let their children walk to and from school unsupervised or eat food cooked by some guy on the street using his hands (!).

the sidewalks of puerto vallarta, usually patchy, often 1-2 feet above street level, typically narrow and wonky, are a desecration of a thousand and one canadian laws, bylaws and occupational health and safety codes. in north america, a sidewalk like that would simply not be built**. or, if built, it would quickly become embroiled multiple personal injury lawsuits. after all, it is simply an accident waiting to happen. so why do i love it? i love it because in mexico, there is an assumption that we in canada and the US have long since forgotten - the assumption that the citizens have that most precious of unlegislatable commodities called common sense. americans fall and sue. canadians fall and write angry letters to the municipality. mexicans look where they walk, see a potentially unsafe sidewalk and act accordingly.

what i also love in mexico, sadly missing from most canadian and american cities, is a real sense of community. in the evenings, whole families bring out plastic chairs and sit around tiny restaurants, kids run around playing with their friends, parents take their little ones for walks on the oceanside promenade - what a difference from the sterile deserted suburbia where every house is a equipped with every electronic device money can buy to ensure that their children never ever go out to play. we live isolated lives, reaching out to friends and family occasionally and sporadically; they live as an integral part of their neighbourhood, extended family and circle of friends.

as nice as it was to come back to the quiet of our life here in canada, i feel like there's something missing - that street-level engagement with the rest of the human race. and granted, our 6-7 months of ridiculously unreasonable winter has a lot to do with it, there are ways we could get around it: we have malls, pedways, libraries and public spaces, but sadly even there we are most often walking around in our own little bubbles, and, even more sadly, what we're typically doing is shopping, and the acquisition of unnecessary items is not exactly the most social activity out there, now is it?

*my wine-drinking personality is a bit of loophole that we will not discuss, however, let it be known that even drunkedy drunk i will obey most rules of orderly conduct (although i have been known to fall down and spill stuff, but, again, we will not discuss this)

**with the notable exception of new orleans. and other places where poor people live. because who cares about the poor?

29 November, 2011

a horse is a horse, of course, of course

we just spent a glorious week in puerto vallarta and seemed to have hit a time of many parades. one night as we left our favourite watering place* we saw that the boardwalk had again been set up for a parade. we turned to the friendly bouncer to find out what was going on. obviously his english wasn't perfect:

mr. monkey: what's going on here tonight?
bouncer: parade of dancing horse.
mr. monkey (to me): awesome! it's a parade of dancing whores!
moi: look! there's one! (there was a young woman in an excessively short skirt and equally excessively high heels looking on with a bored look on her even more excessively made-up face)

sadly it was horses. twice as sadly, really, because i think mexican dancing whores would have been totally awesome and because i hate it when animals are made to do stupid things.

*delicious and boozy margaritas for a buck - what's not to like?

10 November, 2011

must be the moon

you know, i really ought to do the nomoblogomofo or whatever it's called, because i seem to be posting once a month and i tend to do well with deadlines, even self imposed ones. perhaps next november, then. if i live, that is.

tonight, mr. monkey and i were coming home from a pizza dinner, it was a lovely mild* moonlit night and my mind was... well, not sure really, but not here. not here at all.

we walked along a major downtown street, the traffic still fairly heavy and i decided to cross. i looked at the ground and lo, saw two stripes indicating a pedestrian crossing. and so i started to cross, feeling all warm and fuzzy thinking how lovely it was to live here where people are so very polite and (almost) always stop for pedestrians** and thus i made it almost halfway across the street before being yanked back by mr. monkey who grabbed my hood and yelled, "what the hell?!" or something suchlike. turns out that along with the lovely painted crosswalk lines, there were also traffic lights. which were most distinctly not in my favour. right there and then i became one of those annoying people who cross wherever and whenever they feel like. thing is, usually they're scruffy street people high on glue or mouthwash.

now, boys and girls, i know that in large metropolitan areas like manhattan and chicago, people cross when they reach critical mass, and traffic lights have very little to do with it. we're not like that here. in fact, after living in chicago i found it charmingly quaint, this standing around and waiting for a crosswalk light to change when there wasn't a single car around. but for the most part, i'm all law-abiding and shit. except today. today, i took my life in my hands and stepped out into the chasm and the city let me live.

i have no idea what happened and why but i'll blame the moon.

*by our sub-arctic standards that is, all you europeans out there would have frozen your buns off, but we's made of sterner stuff. also, we're fucking mad to live here.

**they most certainly did not in chicago. even at a crosswalk. festooned with large fluorescent "YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS" signs. and flashing lights. nope. not even a little bit.

05 November, 2011

i don't gots the skillz

you know, sometimes i really wish i could see better through binoculars. like right now, for instance. there's  a couple making out in the building across the back alley from us and everything i see is blurry. damn!

update: went to mr. monkey to complain and he came and sharpened the focus for me. sadly, they seem to be doing more talking than getting it on. come on, people! life is short! can your conversation be that good?

epilogue: when they really got busy, they turned off the lights. selfish bastards!

me, only better(er)

how can you not lose respect for yourself when it's almost 1am and you've just spent the last three hours watching back episodes of cougar town*, haven't had a drop of wine** and suddenly find yourself thinking that your life would have surely been so much better if you had only decided to grow your bangs out sooner.

because yes, my life is so much more awesome now that i've grown out my bangs. oh yes. whereas i used to be a wreck, now i am strong. whereas i used to fall apart under the tiniest bit of stress, now i am a rock and cruise right through all the vicissitudes that life chooses to drop in my way***. whereas i knew not who i was and where i was heading, now i have a firm sense of both self and direction. all because i no longer have to worry about my bangs. oh yes.

um, not really. but wouldn't it be nice?

this, if i choose to take it as such, is a little lesson that i ought to internalise and apply to my dreams of the brilliant magical future i will inhabit once i have lost those annoying 20lbs. oh yes, then i will really be somebody!

um, not really. but wouldn't it be nice?

*LOVE that show. really. it's my crack.
**well, just half a glass, much earlier on but then i lost my will to live open another bottle.
*** a cruising sort of rock. surely there is such a thing!