Monday, December 26, 2005

The Demographic Shift - 84

Okay, so I have been at home for precisely two days now. I think I have done Christmas and very shortly (tomorrow morning) I will return to my real life. To be fair it was great and I really did enjoy it. Seriously, I think I might do this again. Maybe next year or something...

Okay, there were some quirks. These are too be expected. For instance parts of the family are getting crazier by the year, I swear to god. For Christmas 2005 for instance my mother, sister, boyfriend and some cousins sat up to 4am singing songs. I kid you not. Who knew there were so many songs to sing. They were all singing merrily away, you it was some holiday. In case you're wondering. No singing did i partake in. Not even the Rod Stewart singalong. Please don't ask, just know that Rod is big in our house.

On the present front I finally got just what I wanted. This never happens to me. Usually I get something close, but miles apart. Like that year I wanted that sweater and, sure, I got a sweater, but it had a diamond pattern on the front, which included the colours red and yellow. Did Santa not get my letter?

But anyway, apparently, and you'll like this, there is a trick to getting just what you want. It's genius, but yet so simple and cunning that it is a strategy that would never in this lifetime be employed by a Bond villain. It's just too damn straight forward.

This is exactly what happened with my sister and I. No more pain, no more schlepping around the stores hoping in a hope beyond hope kind of way that I might accidentally stumble over the perfect present (I only ever stumble over small children who are running interference for their cunning parents), which really doesn't exist outside of TV advertising where people are all outfitted with perfect presents that are brilliantly gift wrapped. No to ensure the perfect present you do this.

"Gord what do you want for Christmas?"
"Well there are few books that I want to get, now you mention it."
"I could get them for you if you like."
"Really, you could get them for me? Is that allowed?"
"What you mean under the Christmas Present Buying Charter? - the CPBC? Which I guess must also be the initials of the Communist Party of British Columbia."
"Gord, I don't think the Canadians ever had Communism."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I think they're all Liberals and Conservatives. All of them. Oh and French."
"And the French?"
"Just French - with Canadian icing, but anyway, the CPBC."
"Mmm, not sure, but you know what? I think it's such a good idea that no one would really mind. It's like a minor misdemeanour."
"It is, isn't it? If you could get them that would be perfect."
"No problem, I'm going shopping. I'll hit Borders anyway....So what do you want?"
"Mmm, there was this top I saw...thinking about it, I could get that as well. To save you the trouble."
"Actually that would be very cool what with my tendency to self implode in clothes stores in a state of sweaty confusion bought on by useless assistants and in ability to navigate the rack scrummage."
"I'm worried though."
"You're worried, by what?"
"Well aren't we sidestepping Christmas by merely buying presents for ourselves, but pretending they are actually from other people?"
"Yes, but the other people are you and me...and we are actually buying what we would want to receive."
"So you're saying that really we are just cutting out the middle man from the whole Christmas shopping project and instead initiating a simplified, stripped down lean gift buying operation that involves less time and energy?"
"That's it exactly, you know, if someone from Mckinsey & Company were to describe it."
"Oh a Mckinsey Christmas, what an idea."
"Yeah...I'm not sure we should tell anyone else though."
"No, I think you're right, they might get the wrong idea."
"What that you mean it's not very Christmassy?"
"Precisely. It would ruin the whole ambiance."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Demographic Shift - 83

So anyway, as it is the season of goodwill to all men, which I always think is meant in a gender neutral sense, inclusive of both men and women, so I guess that includes ex-girlfriends, however misguided that might be, I found myself the other night, as you do, not quite overflowing with goodwill, but accepting an invitation to go out with an ex, which is weird, as if going out with non-ex girlfriends isn't trouble enough, but like I said, it's Christmas and the goodwill is flowing,

 Posted by Picasa

or maybe that's just the cigarettes and alcohol, whatever, you get my drift, and besides it was a Monday, although to be honest that wasn't the reason I went, which was really because she had a spare ticket to see Hard Fi, who have in Stars of CCTV produced the album of the year, with outstanding anthemic singles such as

 Posted by Picasa

Cash Machine and Hard to Beat, a band I really wanted to see, so I went, sort of figuring how bad could it be, or at least I had a one-in-three chance of it not being that bad, as I kind of think when it comes to meeting up with exes it plays out in one of only a limited number of ways, you either find yourself dizzily attracted to them again, remember really how awful they are and wonder how the two of you connected, or maybe you remember you actually didn't connect, or of course it's just kind of okay and pleasant, but of course, taking my recent success rate into account, this night was always going to end only one way, and you know I don't mean back at theirs, which was how it went, and really I wouldn't have minded being back at theirs, I know - what an admission, but I think at least along the way I got to listen to some cool music, even if I did have to listen to her talk about her love for the Stones and Roxy Music, which is weird, but glossing over that, and deriding some of my favourite bands as bedwetters, which I think is harsh - Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub

 Posted by Picasa

are understated if not exactly cool - and I am sure no wetter of beds, and really, was it necessarily again to go into the whole 'When Harry Met Sally' thing, who knows, but I still think it is a good movie, see I'm not the kind of guy to back out on something, and if liking this causes her to say, unjustly I should add, that I have no taste in film, well I think that's really kind of harsh, I mean I like 'Godfather I' & 'II' as much as the next guy, and Woody Allen - as we're talking New York

 Posted by Picasa

- but have a soft spot for Harry Met Sally as well, as I like jokes about airports and Ethiopian food, poor taste I know, but in the context of the film is funny, which doesn't help as I again try to make the case with the ex, who says my taste in film is as poor as my taste in music, how can I not like the Stones, which I think is pretty easy really, as I am no Stones fan, or Roxy Music fan, for that matter, and anyway, to cut a long story short, it was great to catch up, or at least see the band, and not feel bad about not offering to pay her for the ticket, I know, so much for seasonal goodwill, but really she had tried just about everyone before she called me, so it really was fair enough, and she never mentioned it, and she is the kind of girl who would, mention it that is, if she really wanted to, which she didn't, so we just had a final drink and when it came to saying good night, and tellingly, heading in opposite directions, despite going the same way home, me taking the Tube, and her the No 10,

 Posted by Picasa

I think we were both relieved, her about going out with Mr Sloppy taste in music and movies, and me for seeing Ms Insensitive Stones and 'Scarface' fan, who wouldn't put 'Before Sunrise' on her top ten films, or even top 20, but hey, it's Christmas and really it's great to catch-up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Demographic Shift - 82

Susan has been berating me for my failure on both religious and parenting fronts, which is harsh as strictly speaking I'm neither religious nor a parent. Some people, I tell you.

I should explain. Sometime ago my friends had a really bad idea and asked me if I would be godfather to their second child. I really wanted to say no, that there were other more worthy candidates out there who could provide better, you know, guidance or possibly bigger cheques.

I also wanted to quote the Sarah Connor character from 'Terminator 1':

"Come on. Do I look like the mother of the future? I mean, am I tough, organised? I can't even balance my chequebook."

 Posted by PicasaM16 not chequing skills

While not exactly a mother of the future, I do have balancing issues. Of course, I never actually said this. I just smiled and said that something along the lines of "I would be honoured" or "that's fantastic", which was pretty much the same thing I said years earlier when I took up the best man gig for Marcus.

When really I was thinking, oh boy, I hate public speaking and really surely there are better-suited persons who are in fact wittier and more amusing. Of course, I never said that I said…yeah well you get the picture.

While I was a success at being a best man, leaving them laughing out loud even with a couple of anti imperialist American jokes thrown in (you had to be there, just suffice to say the speech had the groom in the role of El Presidente), which even the Americans present seemed to enjoy. Obviously today, ten years or so later the jokes would have no anti imperialist tag, but more of a go war theme. Times are, as Bob said, are a changing.

Anyway, I digress; I'm pretty good at the one gig thing. Pretty much like I am good at the one date thing. It's just as an interconnected series of events where I get into trouble.

I think you could say that being a godfather is really one of those interconnected things. It's different not a one gig thing.

"I can't believe you forgot his birthday," Susan says working herself into an oddly stropy state.
"I didn't exactly forget," I tell her.

This is true, I didn't 'actually' forget.

"Gord, you remembered it was his birthday in November."
"Yeah, I know, that's what I mean, see I remembered."
"No, remembering would be thinking in August it's your godson's birthday, better get card and present organised swiftly. Forgetting on the other hand would be thinking in November that really it must be your godson's birthday shortly."

See what I mean? I didn't actually, like totally, forget. A couple of week's ago I convinced myself that it was my godson's birthday and it was. Except that bit related to August 16 and not November 16.

"What's a couple of months between godfather and godson?"
"Gord it's not like you do much more to fulfil your obligation. This is meant to be a trial run of your parenting skills."
"A trial run? Are you kidding? No one mentioned anything about a trial run. Besides I always remember Christmas."
"Gord, everyone remembers Christmas even the Mormons."
"I know, it's bad. It's funny as I always thought I was better organised."
"Gord, you don't even know, when your mother's birthday is."

Damn this is also true. I'm a bad son/godfather/other stuff.

"I wish I hadn't told you that."
"Gord you tell me that every year as you panic."
"True, but in my defence, I do know when you birthday is. Come on, I have to get cadre points for that."
"Mmm, true, you always remember, which is sweet. What did you say you were getting me?"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Demographic Shift - 81

I was sitting on the tube thinking about Eminem and how after a messy divorce and legal battle he's getting back together with his ex wife and wondering if I could possibly dig up an ex-girlfriend who would be dumb enough to out with me again just so I don't have to go on anymore dates.

 Posted by PicasaThese tracks look kind of familiar

Maybe that's exactly what Eminem was thinking? You know some variation of that at least. He'll probably let us know about it sometime down the line if he doesn't go through with his threat to retire.

To be honest I hadn't planned to be thinking about Eminem I had actually be reading Cormac McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian', but then a kid sat down next with Eminem pouring out of his ears. I obviously thought firstly about asking him to turn it down and secondly about just punching him, but rejected both approaches on the basis that the first was a waste of time and the second was, of course, illegal and thus bad.

 Posted by Picasa

So the mind wanders, prompted by music I was thinking that how its familiarity that we often ending up going back to with a "well it was kind of bad at the end, but good at the start, lets give it another go" kind of way.

It's not just Eminem, everybody knows someone who has gone back or thought of going back to an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend. And really it's not all that surprising, because unlike meeting new people, which can be a thoroughly taxing and testing process, you already know that at one time or another you were happy with your ex.

Okay, so that happiness later led to unhappiness, for one or both of you, but after a while, and in retrospect, it becomes easier to focus on the good rather than the bad, which makes getting back together again a reasonable proposition.

I was thinking a similar thing when I went on a date earlier in the week. It was the part of the date where I had already stopped paying attention. I know, bad, but I had at least, already entered the moment where really I kind of wanted to go home, but couldn't quite bring myself to say. My date and I were in unvoiced disagreement about this as she had just ordered a bottle of red wine and was swiftly drinking it (note to self must learn to drink red wine faster).

I'm not sure why she did this as I already had the strongest impression that we weren't getting on, which was odd as on paper at least we had lots in common, you know, in a liking the same movies, books, general cultural stuff and maybe even music.

Okay, I'm just kidding about the last one, about the music. As I know that like most men, women largely (there are exceptions) have zero taste in music and mostly their record collections are in fact made up of stuff from previous boyfriends that they have absorbed and really they are not going to thank me for making them listen to endless hours of Ryan Adams or Elliot Smith, which is a shame, but seems to be true.

It was about then when I started thinking about exes. Not just randomly thinking about exes mind, but partly prompted by a girl on the other side of the bar who looked strikingly like a girl I once went out with.

"You're staring," my date goes.

She was right, I was, worse had been caught staring.

"Yeah, no, errr, it's just that girl looks really like someone I once went out with."
"Maybe she'll take you back," she said with a grin that said there was no chance of this happening.

I just smiled at this point and asked her something about her job while thinking really we should have been getting on much better as on paper we had absolutely loads in common much more for instance than the girl on the other side of the room or the person she looked like. We had nothing in common, but went out for ages on the basis of that without too much trouble.

That kind of struck me as weird as for a long time I always thought the 'in common' thing was important and kind of made sense. In the past this has led to successive long conversations about lists of top ten favourite movies. Although I realise on the list front that men are usually more obsessive about these kinds of things than women and possibly some of the time (okay more than some) women are simply indulging men when it comes to lists about movies (or lists about anything for that matter).

On paper unlike the ex, Rachel (dates name) was ideal. She was quite attractive, she worked in the media, 'Before Sunrise' was one of her all time favourite movies. We had both recently seen 'Me and You and Everyone We Know' and 'The Constant Gardener' and liked them a lot. What could possibly go wrong (you know other than the stuff that usually goes wrong)?

There was other stuff as well except there wasn't and I was sitting there thinking, that no amount of shared appreciation of Richard Linklater movies was really going to save this and really when it came down to liking the same things, be they movies books or records, probably doesn't count for anything like half as much as the importance I've placed on it.

What I really wanted to do was ring the ex and ask her if she could remember anything we talked about. I'm pretty sure the conversation would go like this.

"Hey, it's Gordon.
"Yeah me, bit of a blast from the past, right?"
"You could say that. You do know that I'm married don't you?"
"You know, I heard that. Oh no, that wasn't it, you told me."
"That's right, I take it your not married?"
"Not quite."
"Not quite?"
"Well no, not even slightly."
"If there was someone who was going to get slightly married I'm sure that would be you."
"You might have a point, anyway, what I wanted to ask you was can you remember any of the stuff we used to talk about?"
"You mean when we went out?"
"That's a weird question."
"I know."
"You're not making a list are you?"
"A list?"
"Yeah, I seem to remember you made lists of everything. We would have long conversations about top ten movies, which would stretch into top 20 or top 30 as really there were so many good movies you couldn't restrict it to just ten. Same with music."
"You know now you mention it, that sounds familiar. Thanks."
"My pleasure."
"I should go."
"I guess you should."