hells_half_acre: (meanwhile)

Last Sunday or so, the prompt over at Sunday Scribbles was "How I met my ____". I immediately thought of the time both Gabe and I answered this question when asked how we met each other.  Instead of posting it as soon as I thought of it though, I decided to wait until today. I've known Gabe for six years today.

How I met Gabriel by Alix

It was 3 years ago. I had decided to do my second year of university abroad. My school had a program called a Canadian Year in Freiburg, which was an exchange to Germany. I had been taking German for several years, and the opportunity to live in Europe was very appealing so I applied and got into the program.

The program works through 4 of Canada's major universities, so in total about 20 Canadian students from across Canada arrive in Freiburg each year on the program. All 20 of them (no matter if they are from Vancouver or Newfoundland) take the same flight over to Germany.

A couple of weeks before our flight, we started to exchange emails with the group - introducing ourselves before we met in person. I forget what my introduction email was like, but I remember Gabe's. Now, without disclosing his last name, I'll just say that his name is distinctive if you know popular TV culture. So, that caught my eye, as well as the fact that he frequently made typos. The email itself ranged from explaining how a lightening storm had fried his modem, to admitting that he knew we'd make fun of his name, to describing his physical appearance so we could recognize him at the airport. Needless to say, the email made me laugh, and I pictured someone who was far from ordinary. There were also other emails, a Bermudian girl that sounded strange, and a Quebecois, who I couldn't tell if they were a guy or a girl (damn french names :p)

So, the day came where we all arrived separately at Pearson airport in Toronto. It was September 9th, 2002. My sister, who lives right close to Toronto, came to the airport to say goodbye. She brought her 1 year old daughter and her newborn son along too. Now, my niece must have sensed that I was going somewhere, because she refused to let anyone carry her except me. So, there I was standing in line to check my bags, carrying a kid that kept pulling down the neckline of my shirt, while I could see the other students arriving behind me or waiting after being checked in.

I saw a student wearing a black hat walk by, and I knew that was the fellow named Gabe, because of the email he sent. He was talking to a very Scandinavian-looking guy. He didn't see me, but I immediately thought that he was much shorter than I had pictured, and also much more normal looking.

I lost sight of the other students for bit, and then I saw a friend of mine who was also doing the exchange, he was standing with Gabe and the other guy and he waved me over. (my sister held my place in line). So I went over, still carrying my niece, and my friend introduced me to Gabe and Lukas. We shook hands, but because my niece was getting restless, I couldn't stand there for long (plus she kept pulling down the neckline of my shirt and I was worried it would get embarrassing.) I explained that she was my niece, so they wouldn't think she was mine...and then I returned to my sister.

Now, it's important to explain that I have a very distinctive laugh, so when I laughed when we were introduced, Gabe thought I was nervous...he discovered soon after that I just always laugh like that.

So, after checking in, it was another hour or so before I went through the metal detectors after saying goodbye to my family. As I was going through, I saw a Gabe and another student behind me in line, so I waited until they passed through the metal detectors so we could walk to the departure gate together.

The other student quickly walked ahead of Gabe and I, so I soon found myself walking with only Gabe. Gabe told me it was his first time going to Europe. I said that I had been there once before, so if he had any questions, I might be able to help him out. Then for lack of anything better to say, I told him that this was going to be the longest time I had ever spent away from my family (since I couldn't come home for Christmas). Gabe put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you!"

How I met Alix by Gabe

It's interesting to see how Alix's saw her side of the story, especially since some things were similar for me.

Alix also has an interesting, unconventional name that might confuse others as to whether she was a guy or girl; but that was cleared early on when the group sent e-mails before leaving for Germany.

I also imagined Alix differently, more of a wild girl with coloured hair and loves to party. I was sure in for a surprise

When I arrived in Toronto, I was the very first to be there, so I ended up wandering around a lot waiting for the others. I wasn't very concerned because I wear a black bandanna under my black hat, which sort of looks like what Zorro wears (but mine isn't as wide). Thus, I expected others to spot it and act as a beacon to gather the others.

The first to meet me were these two tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed guys from Vancouver. Needless to say, I felt very short around them, but at least the group was getting together.

When more of them showed up, eventually one of them pointed out a group of the others waiting in line. That's when I saw Alix with a baby in her arms. When they were called over, we made quick introductions, and I actually tore my trench coat pocket when I tried to take my hand out too quickly to shake hands with Alix. I don't think anyone noticed, the airport was fairly noisy. Anyway, Alix looked so much quieter and serene than I had imagined, despite how nervous she seemed to me at the time. I assumed it was about the flight...it was, after all, the first year just after 9/11, and we were flying on 9/9...

Eventually, people who were leaving from Toronto (I had left from Moncton) said their goodbyes to their families and hopped into the security checks. Alix had waited for us and walked with us to our gate. I don't have much of a good memory, and don't remember what we talked about on the way, but I do remember when Alix was walking next to me and admitted that she hadn't been separated from her family for very long before. I already thought she looked pretty nervous, then saying something like that, I wanted to make her feel relieved. So, with a big smile and a light tone, I told her: "Don't worry, I'll take care of you!" Trying to be knightly, you know?

----

And that's how I met Gabe. I find a lot of people don't understand our friendship, but I assure you that I think I'd be a much worse person if Gabe wasn't around. He actually DOES take care of me -  mostly by keeping my head on my shoulders. At this point though, if someone doesn't understand our friendship, I don't think they ever will. They'll either have to take my word for it or just learn to keep their mouth shut. We're nothing if not loyal to the friendship.

I should point out that Sept 9th/10th, 2002, was also technically the first day I met Amy and Max (who were the strange Bermudian girl and the Quebecois guy), but they didn't make an impression on me until the days that followed - that first day they were just faces with names.

hells_half_acre: (gabe)
The buzzing of the damn fly woke me up. It had been stuck between the curtain and the window for days, buzzing incessantly in mid-mornings. I opened my eyes with a small moan to find Gabe kneeling by my legs, staring at the curtain like a cat ready to pounce.

"That fly is really annoying" he greeted. I smiled, made a noise of agreement, and closed my eyes again.

I love dreams like this, I thought. My dreams of Gabe have always very accurately reflected our friendship and for the past two years they have been filled with a (non-sexual) intimacy that remains impossible for me to describe to anyone. I had a flash of concern over my state of undress, but then realized that I was adequately covered by the blankets and Gabe was fully clothed and didn't seem at all disturbed by the situation. I realized Gabe even had his hat on, and wondered how long that trend in my dreams would continue. I haven't seen him wear that hat for almost three years, yet it makes a reappearance in every dream as though it were an extension of his body. I drifted off to sleep again, only to be disturbed by the soft noise of Gabe's fist hitting the window through the curtain and the buzzing of the fly.

Opening my eyes, I saw him with his arm stretched out over me, his fist still pressed against the curtain and window. I gave him a look of concern.

"I can get it" he replied, without being asked. "I thought I had it that time."

"Don't break my window" I said. Gabe responded by scowling at me in that special way that tells me I'm treating him like an idiot. Its effectiveness was not diminished by being a dream. I immediately felt horrible.

"Sorry" I muttered. I thought it best to close my eyes and go back to sleep before I said something else insulting. The idea of sleep was short-lived after a soft thud and a renewal of buzzing. Gabe was in the process of withdrawing his hand from the curtain, a small look of frustration crossing his face.

"Just leave it," I told him, "let's go back to sleep, eh?" I tried to reach for his arm to pull him away from the window, but he was sitting just out of my reach.

"You go back to sleep" he whispered apologetically, "though I don't know how you can with this fly in the window."

I sighed and closed my eyes again. A second later the buzzing woke me up once again. I looked to confirm that Gabe was still kneeling by my legs looking at the curtain. A fleeting thought informed me that one is technically not supposed to 'wake-up' to a dream.

"You better kill it," I commanded, "that fly is driving me crazy."

Gabe nodded as he bit back laughter.
hells_half_acre: (!!!!)


I've decided to declare this The Year of Being Lost - retroactively affective since June. This year I don't have to know what I'm doing or where I'm going. I don't have to have a plan. Most importantly, I don't have to feel bad about not knowing what the heck I want to do with my life. I have a whole year to figure out what continent I want to live on and what I want to be paid to do.

I find a lot of people seem to have clear notions in their head about what I should be doing. Sometimes I find it amusing and sometimes I find it annoying. It's amusing when they talk about it as if it's clearly what I want to do. When they seem to think that the only reason I'm not doing it is bad luck or a lack of self-confidence. It's weird that they have these notions in the head of who I am. A fun exercise in your life would be to get everyone you know to write you a character description of yourself. Some of my friends know me better than I do and some people only think they do. It's true though, that sometimes I lack self-confidence...I'll give them that, but it's never held me back. I personally think I'm an idiot, but I have a Masters degree, have always gotten top marks, and people tell me I'm intelligent all the time...not to mention the fact that the reason my dating life is so horrible is because it's very rare that I meet people who I can relate to on an intellectual level (among other things)...which, I think is part of the reason I liked university so much, there was always someone to talk to. And man, when I want to be confident, a steamroller couldn't put me down. I might feel like an idiot most of the time, but I'm amazingly awesome and that's INARGUABLE. But I digress...

Sometimes people's ideas about what I should be doing are annoying, because they are things I should be doing. They are things I can do.  They are things that most likely would not make me want to kill myself within a week. What's annoying about those ideas, boils down to the perfect German sentence "Ich habe keine Lust," which, simply put, means "I just don't feel like it." And I don't know why I don't feel like it. It's like knowing full well that you love Thai food, but after walking the five blocks to the Thai restaurant, you suddenly realise that you'd much prefer to have pizza tonight and that you just walked five blocks for nothing. A lot of the times it's the commitment. Well, 90% of the time it's the commitment.

Anyway, the point is, I don't have to solve these problems overnight. I don't have to have a dream or ambition or life plan. It's the year of being lost, baby! It's the year of buying Canadian Geographics and wondering whether or not you'll ever get up to the Mackenzie Delta in your life. It's like a year of living dangerously, only much less dangerous (except financially).  I have a year to experiment with different ideas, and not feel bad about it. I have a year before I can start giving myself a hard time again. I have a year before I do one of the things that I should be doing, even though I don't really feel like it.

And yes, eventually I will start writing short works of fiction and poetry again. I think that the problem is that at the moment, the only thing I feel I can speak with any authority on is myself...so the writing is a bit slow to come. I'm going to Toronto this weekend to visit my lovely sister and her family, then I'm busy with my birthday, but somewhere in there I'll write something I'm sure. That way I can stop these stupid long posts about myself, because I'm actually quite sick of talking about myself and quite frankly don't like releasing this much information - I just have nothing else to say, so it's this or nothing, and I'm trying to stick to the "post every week" rule.

(and yes, it is 3am when I'm posting this...my sleeping schedule is, in an understatement, a little off - again. The trip to Toronto should right it.)
hells_half_acre: (night)
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I dreamt that we traveled back and forth, across the country, between my place and yours, on highways with overpasses. We always seemed to travel in the dead of night. At first someone else was driving, but they fell asleep at the wheel. I pulled their hair while you stepped on the brake, and we pulled over and unlatched the van from the trailer hitch, climbed in and continued driving ourselves, leaving the other to their own devices. We stopped at a museum that had narrow mining passageways with a constant flow of water. It made the rocks slippery, and we slid through on our backs, laughing. We got back on the road, but when we got tired we stopped at my cottage for a rest. I slept on the couch and you slept on cushions on the floor. We watched the season premier of Avatar and the seventh Harry Potter movie on an old Sony tri-colour TV. We joked long into the night even though we had to rest up for the trip ahead. We knew that it would still be dark when we woke, that the night was never-ending, but neither of us questioned or spoke of it. You laughed as I slept and I slept well.
hells_half_acre: (!!!!)
Gabe and I were at the grocery store tonight surveying the choices of microwavable lasagnas. Both of us are in a rather dull mood these days, bored out of our skulls and slightly sick of our lives.

"I wish they made vegetable meat lasagnas" I said, "They make vegetarian lasagnas with vegetables and they make meat lasagnas with absolutely no vegetables, but they never make meat AND vegetable lasagnas."

"Yeah, they assume you are either a vegetarian or strictly a meat-lover" Gabe replied.

"Right, and there's nothing for those of us who like everything." I said. We picked out a meat lasagna and started walking towards the cashiers.

"The world isn't made for people like you and me, Alix," Gabe suddenly said, "People who like to go everywhere and eat everything."

"No" I replied.

Gabe laughed, "Man, I just made us sound like some sort of Godzilla movie-monster. GRRR EAT EVERYTHING!"
hells_half_acre: (cape spear)
Bonavista Lobster Traps


I find myself missing Newfoundland. It may be because I had more of a social life during my one year in Newfoundland than I have ever had, but I think it also has to do with geography. Newfoundland, to me, was endlessly fascinating. It seems around every corner there was something beautiful to look at, something intriguing to the eye, something that made you feel as though you were on a whole different planet - or at the very least in a different country than the rest of Canada (in the past you would have been!).

Newfoundland is full of rocks. I suppose a lot of people would not find that interesting - The Rock does not exactly evoke thoughts of beauty and intrigue. Newfoundland, however, is full of so many different kinds of rocks: Fields and fields, hills and hills, of small grey rocks of all different sizes, building blocks of red rock that trickle water into the sea, huge cliffs of steep stone that keep you far from the waves that crash against the abrupt shore. There are flat bits of Newfoundland too - flat bits that suddenly stop in front of ancient mountain chains and flat bits that make you feel alone in the world, but in a marvelously wonderful way. Newfoundland is a postcard in the winter. It only seems to snow in blizzards, but afterwards you are left with the winter world of your childhood dreams and warm temperatures to enjoy it all.

I've always prided myself on my appreciation for geographical beauty. Even places that other people don't find at all stunning, I've always been able to appreciate the hidden beauty of it all. The certain way things do or do not catch the eye is intriguing to me.

The more I travel though, the more I have to admit that I've begun to find Eastern and Southern Ontario (mostly Southern Ontario) amazingly dull. The flat farmer's fields that once caught my eye as a kid, now just seem not flat enough to be as interesting as the prairies and not hilly enough to be as beautiful as western New Brunswick.

Ontario can be beautiful though, but it has to do with weather. One of the reasons I'm missing Newfoundland so much is because it's horribly hot and muggy here. The heat is tangible and oppressive. I miss Newfoundland's constant ocean breeze. I miss the fact that it never got too hot in the summer and the winters never got cold. When I was in Newfoundland though, I missed the one thing Ontario has that Newfoundland doesn't: Thunderstorms.

There's nothing more beautiful than a good thunderstorm. The build up with days and days of oppressive heat, short tempers, and inescapable climate induced depression is almost worth it when a real thunderstorm breaks. I love the anticipation of it all - the increased wind, the dark clouds on the horizon, the sudden feeling like you should be running for cover. A good thunderstorm breaks the barometric pressure - in scientific terms I guess, anyway. What I mean is, a good thunderstorm makes you feel like you are flying - you can do anything and go anywhere. In the pauses between lightening and thunderclaps, the world belongs to you - it's horribly violent and unpredictable - but it's yours and you love it. In the rain green is greener and black is blacker and life is worth living.

When I complain of being bored, which I do quite often, people often tell me that it is considered a curse in China to wish someone an interesting life. I suppose they are trying to tell me that I should be thankful that life is boring, but I don't think they realise that I'm a thunderstorm on the inside - If life gets too boring, than I'm not doing my job.
hells_half_acre: (Piraten-Tochter)
Me

I've been at a loss as to what to write lately, so since the lovely Sherrie tagged me for a meme, I figured I might as well do it. I'm not going to tag anyone else though, mainly because I don't know eight people who have blogs. But if anyone on my friends list wants to steal it and claim that I tagged them, go ahead!

Rules: Each person posts the rules before their list, then they list 8 things about themselves. At the end of the post, that person tags and links to 8 other people; then visits those people’s sites and comments, letting them know that they have been tagged, and to come read the post, so they know what they have to do.

1. I love listening to Gabe play the piano - those sad melancholy tunes he's always making up as he goes along. I've listened to them in sunny windows overlooking a German street. I've listened to them staring out those same windows, looking at the grey clouds and the rain coming down in dribs and drabs, but never in dramatic downpours. I've listened to these sad melodies and thought about how wonderful my life truly is. How the world is just at my fingertips. How love is so close that I can breathe it in everyday, yet not so close that I can run my fingers along it. I'm happy that we have a piano for Gabe to play here.

2. I haven't written much in my journals lately. There isn't much going on. My life is boring. My life has been boring before, but now I suppose I am also uninspired. I'm uninspired about everything these days.

3. All of my important decisions in life have not been decisions. They could not have been made any other way. I suddenly get filled with these overwhelming urges to do a certain thing, and there's no option but to do them. I miss that feeling. I call it THE THING TO DO.

4. I can't lie, but I can omit, and my god, I'm an expert at omitting.

5. I don't see how it's possible for me to ever find a guy I could actually be happy with. I can't fathom it, because people like that don't really exist. It's not like I'm asking for too much, just someone who goes good with me. I think, sometimes, that I must not really exist either...like someone made a mistake along the way, because I'm all wrong for the world.

6. My favorite sense is touch. I love running my fingers along things while I walk. I love touching different textures. I like sandpaper and the soft hairs at the back of a person's head. When people ask me what makes me happy, or what I like to do the best, I always want to tell them "touching things" but I know they really mean "what career would make you happy" and "Is there anything you like to do that people might pay you for" so I say something like "writing" even though I'm a crap writer, because I can't even find the right words to describe the feeling of wooden fences being dragged under my fingers or the way the bedsheets feel on bare legs.

7. My earliest memory is a train trip when I was one and a half. Emily and Michael got to drink Coke and all Mum would get for me was apple juice. It's the story of my life. :P

8. Eight is my favorite number. Sherrie tagged me for this Pieces of Eight thing yesterday, and today I woke up to find 8 messages in my hotmail account and 8 messages in my yahoo account. Maybe it'll be a good day?
hells_half_acre: (night)
Spring '07 008


I finally made it up the mountain on Thursday. Unfortunately, it was the first cloudy day after a string of sunny days on which I should have gone. My pictures all turned out slightly hazy and monochromatic of course, but in an odd way I think it's fitting.

People keep telling me that it's easier to find a job if you have a job. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Everyone also tells me that I'll only find someone when I stop looking (then they complain that I don't go out enough, and how am I ever supposed to meet someone). It reminds me of Germany, where you need an address to get a student visa and you need a student visa to get an address.

Sometimes I feel like the working world is some sort of exclusive club. You need to be invited in before you can join. I'm not surprised really though - that's how I've felt about most every social institution or social group in the history of my life. Teenager-hood was something I was never invited into, not that I'm complaining, I honestly didn't want to belong back then. I'd have lost all self-respect. Oddly enough, university is one of the only places I've never felt out of place, at least not once I was passed first year. It's why I keep flip-flopping on the PhD thing. Whether for good reasons or not, I enjoy the slight elitism, I enjoy viewing society as if I'm not a member of it, I really enjoy going to random guest lectures and learning about things that I will never be able to use in "real-life" unless I want to alienate myself at social functions by being a know-it-all.

I feel kind of bad that it didn't work out in Montreal. When I was up on the mountain I looked at all those office buildings and wondered what goes on in them if there are no jobs available in the city. I pictured them all filled with call-centres and computer scientists, and every other profession that I've educated myself away from. We stood on the mountain and Gabe said that one of the buildings looked like a lemon juicer.

"That's where the Titans make their lemonade," he said, "on their way down the mountain."

"I think they'd probably make it before going up the mountain, that way they can have a little picnic at the top" I mused back. "I'm not sure I want to know where they get all the sugar though."

"It's that round building there. It has offices around the outside, but the inside is all filled with sugar."

"Ah," I said, "I wonder where they live."

"They come from the water" Gabe continued, "they live under the St. Lawrence"

"Where do they get the giant lemons? Do they have giant Titan greenhouses"

Gabe laughed as if I was being ridiculous.
hells_half_acre: (blurry)
Fog

Sometimes people think I'm intelligent, but to me my brain is a fog in the dark. There are thoughts, but I don't know what they are or what they mean. I can feel their shape, run my hands over them, but they are a complete mystery to me. I open my mouth and words come out, but I don't know where they come from...sometimes I say the wrong thing, sometimes I say the right thing, sometimes what I say has no meaning or point. Sometimes I know exactly what knowledge I need, but I can't get my hands around it. It's just out of reach. It's frustrating.

Sometimes people tell me I'm beautiful. Who am I to judge? I've never looked like myself. I've always had familiar strangers staring out at me from mirrors. Sometimes I forget that I'm female. The things that isolate me from society have never been due to gender or the way I look...maybe my supposed intelligence, maybe my humour...maybe the fact that I'm not that special at all really.

When I think of Gabe, I feel as though I could reach out and grasp his soul. Feel its shape in the dark fog and know it to be him. When I think of other people, I feel the same, perhaps I would not know them...but their soul shapes in the dark would be something I could run my hands over, and perhaps there would be something I hadn't felt before, but it would be them. When I think of myself, there is no shape, no image, no concrete thing. I am the fog itself. Intangible but all encompassing, blind to the shapes I'm hiding in the dark. I'm the only person I know who often forgets that they exist.

Once Gabe and I played a game of "how well do you know your friend." There was a question: How often does your friend think people talk about them?

Gabe answered on my behalf with "more than I like" but I had choosen "more than I think"...I told him, "I don't mind when people talk about me. I'm just surprised that they do." I don't really exist to myself, so how can I exist to other people? - I'm not here, this isn't happening.

Sometimes I can be everything to everyone. I've spent most of my life perfecting the ability. It's not lying. It's all true. I'm just surprised that sometimes when I push things, they fall over.
hells_half_acre: (Montreal)
There's a woman in the office building across the alley from me who is always at work. At least, it seems as though she is always at work. Every time I look over, there she is. Her back to me, sitting at her computer. I find myself wondering if she likes her job. She was there on Saturday. She's there long after Gabe leaves for work at night. She looks to be about my age, or possibly early thirties. She's got black hair, and from the back she looks like an older asian woman. Yesterday she was wearing a very fashionable hat, and looked quite nice. Sometimes I wonder what she has in her life besides work. Is there a boyfriend or a family somewhere that keeps hearing excuses.

"I'm sorry, I've got to go into work. There's a deadline coming up."

"I'll be working late all this week, you'll be alright for dinner won't you? It's only temporary, I promise."

Maybe she used to have a boyfriend of a family, but they are gone now because she worked too much. Maybe she never had anyone to begin with, and all she has is her work. She's got stock piles of money that she has no use for. She buys fashionable hats and expensive coffee beans, she saves up for a retirement that she'll spend alone. Again, I wonder if she enjoys her job, and then I wonder what it is she does, because maybe it's something I should do. I don't enjoy anything that people pay you to do.

*    *   *    *

Gabe and I are extremely annoying together sometimes. We both have too many thoughts in our heads, and yet simple conversations are beyond us.

The other day we were in a restaurant talking, while dozens of other conversations from other tables filled the small space. Gabe smiled at me and said,

"I like how we both hear well enough that we can talk to each other under sound, but yet we never pay attention so we miss what the other person says anyway."

At the time I liked his phrasing of "under sound" so much, that I didn't really pay any mind to the rest of the sentence. I just smiled and agreed, while I thought about the words "under sound" and how marvelous they were.

Jump ahead to yesterday, while we were playing videogames.

"I'm going to go kill Guan Ping" I said.

"*mumble* kill Guan Ping,"  Gabe said a minute later.

"What did you just say?"

"I asked if you were going to kill Guan Ping," he responded, "For goodness sake, from now on I'm just going to say 'hey' until I'm sure I have your attention."

"I just told you I was going to kill Guan Ping. That's why I was confused, plus I missed the first part of the sentence so I wasn't sure if you were saying YOU were going to kill Guan Ping or asking if I was."

"If you said you were going to kill Guan Ping, you must not have said it out loud, because I didn't hear anything."

"Oh, I said it out loud. I think it's me that's going to have to start saying 'hey' until I'm sure I have your attention."

"Fine"

It's no wonder the guy used to think he was going deaf, how can you possibly miss a whole sentence, I thought. Bastard. I was paying attention, he was just mumbling. I was probably mumbling too, but it's not like my mumbles were inaudible, I definitely said something out loud.

"Hey" Gabe said, and I waited for him to continue, wondering what the heck injustice he was hey-ing about. I looked at his portion of the game screen and saw nothing amiss. Then I remembered,

"Yeah?"

"The south gate is closed. If you have to leave the castle, you'll have to use the north gate."

"Ok, thanks."

*   *    *   *
 
Last Thursday Gabe's Chinese tandem came over. He helps the guy with English, and the guy helps him with Chinese. It makes Gabe happy, but it means that I've got to find stuff to do in my room on Thursdays. The first time he came over, he bought a bag of chinese snacks. The following exchange proved how distracted Gabe was:

"Hey Alix, do you want some Egg Sachima?" Gabe called from the other room.

"What are they called?" I answered, wondering if the words "Alix, do you want" and "egg" had really just left his lips in the same sentence. He knows better than anyone that I'm allergic to eggs.

"Egg Sachima, here!" and suddenly there was a package thrown into my room. Yup, it looked like some sort of egg thing.

"Thanks" I yelled back, the sarcasm lost on him.

Last Thursday though, he surprised me by being the opposite. I was sitting at my computer, trying to find stuff to do while I listened to Gabe and the chinese guy play videogames. I reached for something on my desk and accidentally knocked by glasses onto the floor. They made an extremely small "tink" sound, and I muttered "shit" under my breath (causing it to mainly sound like "sh").

"ARE YOU ALRIGHT?!" Gabe suddenly yelled from the other room.

"Wha? Yeah, I just knocked my glasses on the floor. Everything is fine." I responded, wondering how on earth he heard anything over the video game.

"Ok!"

A few minutes later, I sneezed...quietly as usual.

"GESUNDHEIT!"

"?....danke"

hells_half_acre: (Mount Carleton)
Turns out the date on the advert had been wrong for the documentary. It had played on Monday, not today, and we missed it. "So...Valentines Day Dynasty Warriors?" Gabe asked, as we walked back across the street to our apartment. It was obvious I was pretty disappointed, even when I agreed to Dynasty Warriors.

"Do you want to punch the next person who comes out of the elevator?" Gabe asked, and then punching nothing with a comically angry look on his face, shouted "IT'S BECAUSE OF YOU THERE'S NO SLAVERY!"

Well, it's hard not to be happy after that. Later, Gabe left for work.

"Good luck!" I said.

"Good luck? What the...?" Gabe looked at me like I was insane.

"I'm running out of things to say to you when you leave for work. I thought I'd give that one a try." I replied.

"Well, don't use it again."

About five minutes after he left, I heard the elevator again, and he walked back in.

"What manner of superpower is this!?" He said, dumping a handful of hershey's kisses in my hands, "You've replaced my access card with candy!" After routing through a pair of pants in his room for his access card, he headed out the door, "Good luck!" he yelled over his shoulder.

Yup, even without documentaries on slavery, I can't complain about my Valentines day.

Waiting

Feb. 8th, 2007 02:27 pm
hells_half_acre: (Ireland in March)
Due to my boring life, I've decided to type up a piece I wrote in a notebook in March 2003. It's a little trip down memory lane for me. I've cleaned it up a bit, but not too much. Enjoy:

They sat on a bench at the front of the bus station in Clonmel. Their failed attempt to go to Kilkenny had led them here. She felt bad about it, but he really didn't care it seemed. They sat and waited. They had just missed the 11:45 bus back to Limerick, so they were to wait until 13:45.

He read a book he had bought in town. She didn't feel much like reading, disappointed she had not found a suitable book of poetry. She always craved poetry in Ireland.

"I love this," he said, "sitting and reading in the sun." She felt better. He did seem happy, despite the half-wasted day.

He looked good in his black hat and light blue dress shirt. She wanted to tell him so, but didn't. He wasn't good at taking compliments. He didn't take them and rarely gave them.

He sat there reading and ignored her writing beside him. This wasn't something normal for them. Though they were used to spending day and night together, they never went on trips. He never went on trips at all. Most of the time they never left her room and spent all day playing games on her computer. She was happy he had decided to visit Ireland with her.

"What the...?" she muttered, as her favorite pen ran out of ink.

"Already?" he said, glancing up from his book. "You filled that up, what? last week?"

"Yeah, when it exploded" she replied in thought.

"Was it that one?" he asked.

"The see-through one, but I thought..." she trailed off as she glanced down at the empty cartridge. She put the pen away, not bothering to finish her sentence - he had already turned back to his book.

She lifted her head and watched the traffic go by. An old man to her left caught her eye.

"You're a writer, uh?" he said in a think Irish accent. She nodded, though it was not true. She set the notebook on the bench between them, rose, and entered the shop.

Glancing through the selection of drinks she saw one called Clearly Tipperary. A smile came onto her face as she remembered the old Clearly Canadian drinks back home. She bought some and she knew that when she showed it to him he would also be happy, because he always liked the same stuff she did. She took it to the counter and smiled at the salesman.

"Did you find the buses to Kilkenny?" he asked, knowing her from earlier that day.

"Yes, but none were running. We've decided to turn back towards Limerick, but we just missed that bus as well, so we'll wait for the next one."

"It just isn't your day, is it?" he replied, smiling. She laughed,

"No, having a bit of bad luck it seems."

She returned to the bench outside and showed her friend what she had bought. She had been right. He smiled and left to purchase one himself. While he was gone she watched the traffic again and saw a bus to Waterford arrive, it's passengers strolling up the hill towards town. He returned and picked back up his book. Smiling to her, he took a sip from his own drink.

She closed her eyes and let herself feel the warm sun on her face and arms, while the cold breeze messed her hair. It was their last day in Ireland. She probably would never be able to come back. This was her last day to enjoy a country she loved. Like most she loved, it was incapable of loving her back, but she was nothing if not forgiving. After all, it was just a bit of bad luck.
hells_half_acre: (Default)
Tonight we made pizza. I handed Gabe the veggies to cut and then rinsed off the sharp knife for him. I turned to give it to him and noticed he had placed the red pepper back in front of me. I didn't so much wonder why, as just filed the information into the back of my brain as I reached over the counter with the knife.

'Wash the pepper' surfaced in my mind, and I grabbed it and turned back to the sink.

"Perceptive" Gabe complimented, I could hear the smile.

"It took me a minute" I replied honestly, handing him the pepper once again.

"I like how we don't need to actually say things to each other anymore" he said.

"Yeah, it's kind of nice." I spread the onions and cheese over the pizza while he chopped.

"Now pay attention, because I'm going to offend you," Gabe announced, coming to my side with the plate of pepper pieces. (And I guess it says something about us right there, because that phrase didn't seem at all strange to me). "Now, this piece, you may notice, is too big for the pizza." He pointed with the knife to a whole half of the pepper. "So, I don't think you should put it on there." He then moved the knife over to point at the core of seeds and membrane "This piece is going to go in the garbage, so I don't want you to put it on either. But these little pieces here, THOSE can go on the pizza."

I gave him a flat look that I knew had already twisted itself up into a smirk despite my attempts for it not to. I reached for the small pieces as Gabe rotated the bits for the garbage away from my outstretched hand saying "careful!"

"Wait, before you go away, I need to explain something to you," I said seriously. "Now, what you should do with that piece there is put it some sort of plastic wrap and place it in the fridge, because we can save it for later. But this piece here isn't edible and should go in the garbage."

Gabe has always been better than me at the flat looks, but neither of us are very good at holding off smiles. We might not need to say things to each other anymore, but that's hardly going to stop us.
hells_half_acre: (l'interpide)

The toilet is broken.

Remember when life was about fast cars and beautiful women, getting drunk on a saturday night and staying that way until next tuesday. When we used to take off to foreign locations on a moments notice, sit on the beach, chat up the locals, overthrow the crime boss with enough time left over to paint the town red with the bastard sons of millionaires and concubines. Remember the time we stayed up all night crouched below the dock, waiting with daggers for the prince's yacht to come back to port, only to find out he had been drowned at sea...how we laughed as we tucked our disguises back into the bottom of our bags. Remember the time you had finally had enough of my constant teasing, and threw me down in the long grass, tearing off my clothes as I laughed at finally finding the limit of your resolve...

No, neither do I.

In the end, it always just comes back to broken toilets and trying to find things to do on the internet to keep myself entertained.

(posted based on Sherrie's love for this piece of writing)

hells_half_acre: (Montreal)
All the cupboards and closets in our apartment are heated. The kitchen cupboards have the hotwater for upstairs running through them. We keep the dishes by the pipes and eat on warmed plates like in fancy restaraunts. We keep the food in the portion of the cupboards furthest away from the pipes and hope for the best.

I haven't been able to figure out what keeps the other cupboards and closets heated. It might be the hot water pipes for the bathroom that keep the pantry toasty. We now keep the potatos in a box under the table. I can only figure that the elevators heat my bedroom closet. It's nice to put on warm clothes, but I have to wonder if elevators ordinarily generate so much excess heat.

I'm not complaining. I like our having my clothes and plates warm. My desk is by the window, and as I write this I've got cold air washing over my feet. This afternoon I sat here with the curtains open and the sun shining brightly into the room. I wasn't cold then at all.

I'm worried about global warming though. It seems winter can't get started and it's already January. I'm starting to wonder if this is what it'll be like now. Instead of winter, we'll have November for five months. It snowed for five minutes this afternoon, just before the sun came out and made sure there was no trace of it left behind. It was the first time I had seen it snowing since Christmas eve in Ottawa.

Sometimes I imagine this winter as a car that won't start. You can hear the engine trying, but it just can't turn over. I've had a lot of experience with engines freezing up in winter, it just seems slightly ironic that the same thing could happen to winter itself.

Mainly, I'm worried about global warming because, if it's November in January, what will it be in July. It might very well be Arizona.
hells_half_acre: (Sherrie's Bday)
Gabe and walked down to the supermarket to get me a frozen pizza tonight. As we waited for the elevator our neighbour Julie's voice could be heard from inside her apartment.

"Bu hui ba!" we heard. Gabe smiled, and translated for me.

"You hear that a lot. It means 'Impossible' or 'It can not be' or sometimes 'I won't do it!" We got into the elevator, "Sometimes I would tell stories and exaggerate, and they would take it really seriously, and then suddenly realise what I was doing and then that's when they'd say 'bu hui ba!'"

We exited the building and began to walk the five minutes to the supermarket. He pointed out all the shops he had discovered, and said the names outloud. I rolled them over silently on my tongue, trying to remember the sound of the french. In the supermarket, we only spoke German. His German has been improving. He gets an average of 5 German calls a day where he works. My German is horrid, but I don't want to lose it, so I told him to speak it to me occasionally.

While we waited in line, we read the pizza box in french. Cuites sur Pierre, bon pour vous et si bon ....goût.

"It'll be fun teaching you french" Gabe said, "You should learn chinese too."

"Bu hui ba" I said.

*Thoreau
hells_half_acre: (Thoughtful)
There are dumb things you do when you are a kid, and I'll be the first to admit that accepting that challenge was one of them. After all, seeing who could float down the rapids the farthest isn't really much of a competition. All you have to do is wait until the other guy freaks out and stands up, and then you've won. You just have to keep your cool for one more foot. Fight your instinct to get out for one second longer than the other guy. I knew all this, so when Patrick smiled at me and said "Let's see who can go furthest," I accepted. We let the current pull us over the long smooth rock we had been sitting on. At the bottom Patrick stood up, and looked over at me.

I thrust my foot towards the bottom of the river to stop myself, but felt the rocks slip by as my foot was pulled violently from them by the current of the rapids. Behind me I could here Jane laughing.

I grasped futilely at rocks with my hands, staring back at my friends. Many stood with eyes wide and mouths agape as they watched me be carried away. I could see the deep water fast approaching. I'd be lost if I couldn't get out by then. But Jane was laughing, so I took that to mean it wasn't as bad as it looked, even as I felt the rocks slice open the skin on my hands, knees, and feet.

Finally I managed to get a foot wedged in a sturdy hold, and I pulled my body up and out of the water. I was shaking, trembling from adrenaline, but I didn't want to bring attention to what I suddenly understood had been stupidity. So, I smiled, and made my way over to the bank. My shaking legs barely held me as I climbed out of the water. Jane, or another friend, came over and asked if I was ok. I replied, "Of course" as in, 'why wouldn't I be? I didn't just get pulled down the rapids.' My knees, feet, and hands were covered in little bleeding cuts from the rocks.

I walked over to where our teacher had been sitting on a rock by the shore. I sat down next to her, and she fished out her band-aids. She may have chastised me for almost dying, but I wasn't listening. I sat and tried to pretend that I wasn't shaking. It hadn't been that serious a situation after all, Jane had laughed the whole way through. Of course, years later I discovered that Jane's natural reaction to being terrified was to laugh uncontrollably.

I don't remember what our teacher or friends said to me after I got out of the water, but I remember Patrick. Patrick stood ankle deep in the water ahead of me. His reddish hair and freckles standing out in the sun. He caught my eye and picked up a stick, and searched the river bed for a suitable rock. Turning slightly away from me, he looked out across the river. He spoke clearly,

"It's the bottom of the ninth. The bases are loaded. There are already two outs. The game is tied. Patrick steps up to bat. It's all come down to this moment." I smiled. I was the catcher. Patrick tossed the stone into the air, and swung.

"Strike one!" He declared, and announced the second pitch..."Strike two!" and again,

"Oh! I can't belief it! The ref has suddenly gone blind! We'll have to do that third pitch again, it doesn't count!" Patrick looked back at me as he spoke, "What a weird thing to happen!"

"Strange things happen all the time" I said, grinning.

Tom called for Patrick, wanting him to come further down the river. Patrick yelled back, "No, man! I'm doing something," and then added in a mumble to me, "It's the bottom of the ninth, and the bases are loaded, I can't just leave." The stone was tossed into the air again,

"Stri- oh! I can't believe it! The second ref has also gone blind!"

"What are the odds?" I replied laughing. I placed another band-aid over a cut on my knee, and squinted into the sun to look at the imaginary baseball field. In a serious voice, Patrick began again,

"Ok, a new ref has been called in. He has absolutely no vision problems. It's the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded, there are two outs, the game is tied and there is one pitch left. It's all up to Patrick" He tossed the stone, and whack! It flew all of two feet in front of him, splashing into the water.

"And he hits it clear out of the park!" Patrick whooped, and immediately cupped his hand around his mouth to simulate the cheering crowd. I laughed, "Patrick's team wins!"

Smiling, Patrick bent over the river and began pulling out more stones. I watched, curious as he stacked stones into a little tower until they had just broken the surface of the water. He balanced a larger stone on top of the others, and looked back out over the surface of the river. He held his stick at a downward angle.

"It's the eighteenth hole..." he trailed off, and furrowed his brow in thought, and began again with a smile. "It's the eighteenth hole, bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded..."

We laughed, and he won the baseball game with a hole in one.

I still have tiny scars on my knees and feet, but not all scars are caused by bad memories, comfort can be given indirectly, and not all apologies have to be spoken.

A Laugh

Sep. 10th, 2006 02:48 pm
hells_half_acre: (Default)
"If that guy goes straight, I'll turn right here. If he turns right, then I'll go straight," Gabe said. I turned my attention back to the road ahead and realised our slow speed was due to a very large truck in front of us. The truck continued on past the right turn, and Gabe signaled.

Pulling a face, Gabe flipped the truck off, and then made a sound-effect for screeching tires as he pantomimed taking the turn much faster than he actually was. Immediately he plastered on an innocently bright smile, looked past me out the side window, and waved.
"Hi Grandma!"

I whipped my head around to follow his gaze, and sure enough, there was his grandmother's house. I burst out laughing, and Gabe smiled with a proud sort of mischief.
hells_half_acre: (l'interpide)
I remember when we drove home from the mountain. You put on the classical music station. Grandiose scores played by large orchestras filled the cab of the old pickup truck. The night lay thick with clouds, while wind and distant thunder announced itself over the music.

We saw the train coming long before we got to the tracks. You smiled at my mischievously. You asked in your look just as much as your words. I looked at the train in judgment, and returned the smile. "Go for it," I said. And the music swelled and you stepped on the gas, and we tore down the road towards the railway crossing. It was a slow train, and we made it over with time to spare, but we laughed like we had cheated. It was the laugh that only foolishness can free.

The music calmed and you commented on what a perfect soundtrack it had been. So we continued. The music would swell as we went over hills, and you'd say "oh no, we'll die on the other side!" or "We're going to hit a moose!" or "Anything could be around that next corner!!" and I would clench my jaw, and gasp, and clutch the dashboard or the door handle, or grip the seat. When we went over the hill or around the corner while the music calmed we would sigh in relief, as if playing our emotions to an unseen audience.

We sped to your house, and you shut off the engine, and along with it the radio. You turned to me, smiled that mischievous smile, and said,

"Quick! Into the house! The storms almost here!" And then you jumped out your door, and I was suddenly desperate to follow. We slammed the doors and ran to the house as if it could all end in a heartbeat. We threw open the kitchen door and tumbled in, laughing on our self-made adrenaline high.

"There you are!" your father said, "I was thinking I would have to go out looking for you. Where have you been?" and we responded,

"We were listening to classical music."
hells_half_acre: (oberreid)
We laughed brightly. It had been days since I had arrived, but our smiles from the train platform had yet to leave our faces. We walked along the sun-heated cobblestone, leaping back and forth over the small man-made streams that ran along each road. We danced our way through the crowds, your arms swinging gladly. Every few meters you'd reach and pull me into the shade of some overhang, the darkness of a small alcove, and whisper stories to me.

We were friends with secrets, conspiring together.

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