Tuesday, February 28, 2006



Today I think I will write a bit about living in Western Canada, because there are some things about it that are bugging me all the time. Well, it seems incredibly annoying how to the rest of Canada, everyone in our province is a right-wing fundamentalist Conservative, white male over the age of 21 who probably owns a pick-up truck and a couple of rottweilers. So do you guys want to know the truth..?

For one. Men only out number women in this province by a little bit. We also have people of different ethnicities and religions. There are liberals here too!! Although these people are not a majority, they still exist and I'm sure that they have voices worth hearing. The thing is. None of that really gets out to the country of Canada. I'm not sure if I can point fingers at the reason, there probably are a number of them. But whenever there is a representative from Alberta, they seem to fit the category I mentioned earlier. Now, I'm not saying that our "stereotypical Albertans" shouldn't be speaking, because they most definitely have and deserve that right. But I would love to here from someone who represents the Alberta that we don't here about often, the one where people have different opinions. So to all of you who have an opinion, a different opinion, an opinion worth valuing. My head would be turned, and I'm sure the rest of Canada would be interested to here you speak out as an Albertan.

Now. I guess that's not all that's bugging me. What really is Western Alienation?. I know we here about it on the news, in the debates and from our politicians but were our needs really being disregarded by the (previous) federal government? Do we not get enough representation? .. I'm sure every other province has something equally important to whine about, yet they don't constantly complain about seperation. I don't really see what we have to complain about that the rest of the world doesn't. If someone could give me some proof, some simple fact that Junior High Student could understand, I might reconsider re-writing this. But as an Albertan, I don't feel like the political climate in our province or the amount of attention we have received has changed a whole lot since Mr. Harper was elected (Maybe that's a good thing). Well, he's still got some more time to proove me wrong.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Memory Lane.

Today I went to visit my granny. She lives in one of those permanent care facilities. A hospice. I guess you could just call it "A Place To Die". It smells strongly of medication. Also, of bodily fluids and deodourizers. That is once you walk into the lobby. First you take the elevator and ooze disinfectant into your hands. Push the button to open the door, that is locked and coded from the inside so the residents can't get out. The code is 1-2-3. Three numbers. The first numbers you learn, those simple numbers. They are numbers the residents learnt first, and lost last. These are the numbers keeping them from the real world. It is not a jail. The walls are nicely painted. There is a television. The nurses are nice enough. You can leave accompanied by a family member.

When you enter the lobby, the smell hits you. That is accompanied by the people. The youngest 50, maybe. The oldest could be 80. You can't really tell thier age. Wheelchairs, walkers, stretchers, swollen feet. They shuffle. The one thing all of them have in common is thier speed. Everything is slow. They don't usually look at you. They don't really look at anything. The nurses welcome us with steady gazes. We aren't rare. But visiters are not frequent. The aura of the lobby, is depressing. No red walls or homely fires can stop it. The smell of the people, the looks of thier faces. It makes you think about life, about lack of it, about living. We walk down the hallway. It is ironically called "Memory Lane". There are no memories. The memories were lost with voices, thoughts. They do not have voices, no thoughts. Therefore they can't remember them. We stop at my granny's room. She shares it with a woman named Marjorie. Marjorie is beyond thought. She lies on her bed. She is not still. Her mouth moves open and closed, not rhythmically, but in spasms. Her feet bounce across the bed. She has blue eyes. They stare. Not at the ceiling, not at anything else. The radio is on.

Behind the curtain is my granny. Sometimes I wonder why she is there. Most of the times I know why she is there. My grandma has thoughts, and memories. She speaks. She may have dementia and memory loss, but her conversation is there. My mum and I think she's there because of her behaviour. She doesn't get along well with the nurses and residents, she treats them with curtness and hostility. For all that I am ashamed of, she's a sweet woman with a slightly sad life but good intentions. My mum likes when I am there, because she doesn't complain about being in "A Jail". After being there, I think I might empathize. She kisses me on the cheek. Dry, smooth, existent. The nurse enters. She looks different, but I like to think of her as the same nurse as last time. She is there to feed Marjorie. She sings as the last one does. Old love songs, sung by crooning men play. She sings a step ahead, not knowing all the words. She doesn't really sing cheerfully. She sings as the last one did. To forget about her tasks. She has a pretty good voice. Maybe once she dreamt of being a singer. Maybe she just started after she began caring for old people.

I will comb my granny's hair. Thin, like strands of silver. I wave the brush along, the little child inside of me is afraid it will all fall off. Ever so gently. A woman, can't be older then 75 (although I never know) enters the room. Usually they enter the room. Walk around. Then leave, a bit like ghosts. This time she half-hugs, half-shakes my mums hand. She mumbles something. I can't hear it. But it wouldn't matter, because it is not words. Somehow, this is her language. I mentioned earlier my granny was hard to get along with. "Who are you?" she whispers loudly. The woman does not know. She mumbles, and she leaves...

We are going to the atrium for supper.
The atrium is a room, full of tropical plants. It has a high ceiling made of glass. Inside a cage are little yellow and blue birds. You can hear thier chirps perfectly. I sip my Apple flavoured tea, savouring the aura of this room. Supper is over. We visit the birds. They look delicate, fluttering around thier cage. Chirping things we can't hear. They are trapped. My granny likes them a lot. Up the endless elevators, back to Memory Lane.

We are back in the lobby. We move down the hallway, into grandma's room. She doesn't want to be here. She wants to visit outside. I'm not sure she will ever visit with any of these people, but she doesn't know that. Or maybe she just has hope. We go to the lobby. We take a tour of the tables, try to find someone to talk with. My granny is determined. No one speaks. We leave to the room again. She is still determined, so we turn once again. I need to leave. I can't stand it here anymore. The woman at the table on the end, alone has her head on the plastic surface. Face down. I asked my mother if she was okay. She is fine. She does this. And after a while, she will lift her head and scream. Babble and scream. The language no one can hear. Her head goes down again. After a while, my grandma say, in an ancient voice "I want to go home". I'm not sure what home is, but wherever it is, I'm sure it is beautiful. We drop grandma off at a table, I need to get home. The people clutch at each other, grab things, and look off into nothing as we leave. I don't think I looked back. We leave for our home. Our lives.

I think about it a lot. Living life. Living it to the fullest. You see those peoples blank stares, and wonder what they are thinking, if anything. I would be dreaming of my life before this lobby, and these people and the smell. Where feelings were coherent and we were free, and loved. Life is precious. Take care of yourself. Do things you want to do. Pick the best path, and never forget to look back. Don't take things for granted. You don't want to end up in that room.

Strombo and Studio Lights.

I wrote this a bit earlier on, and decided to publish it for this blog:

Well. This was probably more important to my friend Melissa than I, but wow, that was one memorable afternoon. So it was Melissa, Josh, Samara and I. Melissa had been planning this for a while, ever since it was mentioned that The Hour was coming.

So, for you guys who don't know it, "The Hour" is a show on CBC newsworld, hosted by Mr. George Stroumboulopoulos. George guides us through current events, explores interesting ideas and interviews some people worth interviewing. If you don't know and think it's boring. Watch it. Tomorrow night. CBC Newsworld. Maybe you'll understand. So, I've been watching it (semi-religiously) every night from Monday to Thursday. It's a great outlet to the outside world and the very important things that are happening, much more interesting for me than reading the paper, or another news medium.

Now, I guess I'll move us back to the reason that I'm typing, and therefore avoiding my homework (Or is avoiding homework the reason I am typing?). Our names were on the list, and February 7th we were ready to go. So we walked to my house, had some rice krispies and mineral water (that's what you get at my house). We arrived at the university around 4. A biiit early. So we waited around the foodcourt, staring at those menacing, imposing University Students. When the line started, we were at the front. So we found ourselves near the doors of the MacEwan ballroom. We get a glimpse of George as he walks by us and waves. So now we are in the middle row, second from the bottom. We're listening to george talking about the show. Soon it will start. Well, if you watched the show that day you would know what it was about. You might have even seen me in the audience with a goofy expression on my face, following the camera. It was a great experience to witness live television, especially such a great show. So after George is answering our questions. I asked him about the Clash, more specifically London Calling (the shirt I was wearing at the time). Gee, I could have asked him about something a little more deep, more mature but I was itching to know.. what was his favourite song off London Calling? Well, the title song. C'mon the bass line is revolutionary. Soon Melissa will be asking him about his punk shirts, that bury his poor cats. The question period is over.

George is gonna talk to us downstairs. So, being "ambitiously pushy" I decide to follow him down the stairs. I think I was second in line for autographs, along with our gang of 13 year olds. I was the first of us to talk to George. We chatted about London Calling "Spanish Bombs, Rudie Can't Fail, Clampdown are all great songs". The Beatles "their later stuff was much better". I'm pretty sure he thought that my"le groovy pamplemousse" picture was pretty weird. Hey, you can't expect me to draw normal things when I'm bored in french. So he signed on my Beatles notebook, the page with George Harrison "the most talented one". Then there was the picture. Well, I don't usually like to have the goofy, open toothed smile in my pictures. But, I guess a retarded looking face (as Melissa described it) shows how incredibly happy I was. You see, George is George. Exactly the same as on-air, and he's just a cool, down-to-earth kind of dude. He's not a larger then life celebrity, or an intellectual know-it-all. He's someone who's real, and he's truly cool. I think it was a fabulous experience to meet and talk to a person like that. So, thank you very much George for that opportunity. Well that was about the end of that night. I introduced Melissa, who in my words was "a huge fan" (it's true!!), she got her awesome picture, an autograph and a hug. We chatted (Yeah, I can use that word, folks) with George for a bit about school. And it was time to leave. I don't know if anyone wanted to leave, but it's only fair to let the other people meet such a great person. Overall, it was just that memorable night we all dreamt of.

This blog sort of thing.

I'm going to expect myself to take a long time to understand this.
But apparently blogging is all the rage.

So I'll figure it out along the road.
For now, I have a novel study to complete.

Sweet homework here I come.