Monday, August 30, 2004

Just some random musings

It's been most of a week since I put anything new up here, so maybe I'll just throw in, if only so one day I can look back and remember what I did with this little chunk of my life. :)

Well, Thursday, the company had a BBQ and a little games competition. I was on a bocce team. Never played the game before in my life, and it showed. It's a little like curling; not a difficult concept to master, but a whole different matter when it comes to execution. I was also in a four-legged race (hang on, I'll explain), teamed with my boss and a co-worker. I was in the middle, and each of them was tied to one of my legs. Get it? Six legs acting as four. We came in second in our heat; not bad, I thought. Everyone got a prize. Names were drawn out of a bag, and when your name was called, you went up, picked a number, and that's what you got. I got a kerosene lamp, which was pretty cool. But while I was waiting for my turn, it started to rain, very lightly. Everyone was complaining, and I found myself getting a little antsy too. But then I thought, God, you know, there was a time not all that long ago when this would have been just about perfect to me. Standing in a field under a heavy sky while a warm breeze and warm rain misted down on me. There was a time I used to walk through puddles even with shoes on; now I tend to avoid them even in sandals. I just shake my head and wonder when the even the little pleasures of nature got to be like some hairy aunt's kiss to me.

Friday we all went out to fete a couple of guys who are leaving the company. One of them is a guy in my department; a Russian fellow a few years younger than me. I always wanted to talk to him about life back then but it just seemed too invasive. I happened to wind up sitting across from him at the restaurant and used a word a friend had translated for me a few years ago ("krolchika", a female rabbit) as my opening. Turns out that, yes, it was translated properly and not a dirty word or some other joke my friend had been playing on me all these years. But my co-worker sensed in me an interest in things Russian and he opened up. We talked about his life in Moscow, and how he remembered going down to the Russian White House during the coup attempt, and seeing the snipers on the roof tops... about being a lieutenant in the Russian Army while going through college... about how women in Russia are equals, but tend to follow the lead of the men, even these days, balanced by greater responsibility on the shoulders of the men who presume to lead. It was all really interesting, and now I'm sorry I waited till the guy was leaving to talk to him. But that's me all over. I must have gotten to be last-minute friends with a half-dozen people who've left the company over the years.

Saturday I went up to to another town with P-Doug and G to a huge used book store I found last week. I think P-Doug was impressed; he bought four or five books. I imagine he'll be back. The town was old, established; we drove around a little looking at the sights but G was impatient to eat (being diabetic) and at one point lost patience with it all. That effectively killed the nickel tour and shut down conversation for a while. I had the interesting sensation, in my mid-30s, of being a kid caught between squabbling parents. There are probably better ways to recapture one's youth, but I'll take anything I can get.:) After that, we headed west to a pub we used to frequent when I lived in the far west end of the city. I wanted the curry there... first place I ever had a curry. Naturally, they were out. In the course of it, we also visited the little crafts commune adjacent to the pub, where yuppie WASPs sell their art at (what I consider to be) pretentious prices. I'm not saying the stuff's not good, but four grand for a chunk of white marble that looks like something grandpa might have whittled out of a giant bar of soap? Gimme a break. Fourteen hundred for a watercolour? It's three bucks worth of paper and pigment. I'm happy for you that you think your time's worth five hundred dollars an hour, but don't be surprised when the stuff's not flying off the walls.

Saturday evening when I was by myself again, I got into an artistic mood myself and decided to blow words over the computer for a while. I was in a mindset to write free associating poetry, whichI really haven't done since university. I decided to just write, then sleep on them, and see if I still saw anything of value in the pieces in the morning. As it turns out, I did. I was pleasantly surprised. Of five poems, I only deleted three lines and changed less than half a dozen words, and corrected the spelling of three (not bad, considering I was typing with my eyes closed). All in all, I have to say I was pleased with the results. Note that in spite of that, I don't expect to stick someone to the tune of several grand for any of them. :)

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