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25 February 2007

glorious youth & grumpy old men


The sight of carmelized maple syrup poured over snow instantly reminds me of February at Mill Pond: grabbing handfulls of the sticky, amber-coloured treat out of the snow and skating away gleefully. The taste today, at the Festival Montreal en Lumiere was exactly the same as maple candy of days past. All I was missing today, were the skates...and the fluorescent purple, pink and green snowsuit. Ah, those were the days.

Today didn't start off as well as I would have liked. The morning was bright, and I had big plans to make lasagne for Oscar night. I run to the store, to grab all the last minute ingredients, and realize I've forgotten to put my wallet back in my purse. Since our apartment keys are actually electronic cards, mine is in my forgotten wallet and I am stuck outside without a key. Brian can't get the door to unlock via buzz-engage, so I stand in the foyer, watching a man glare at me scornfully from inside the lobby. I wave to him, smile, and motion to ask if he could walk on the mat to engage the automatic door. He does so, but before I can open my mouth to thank him he snaps,

"Do you live here?"
"Yes I do, I just forgot my key in my wallet upstairs and--"
"You know that door is there for security, right? To keep people out."
"Well yes, and I appreciate that, because I live here. Listen, thanks for letting me in."
"Hah. Well, just so you know, I'm not your doorman!"
"Pardon me?"
"I shouldn't have let you in. If you live here, you should have your key. I'm not the doorman, you know!"
"Sir, no offense, but this is the first time I have ever forgotten my key, and I simply asked you a small favour."
"Hah. Whatever. I'm just saying it's not up to me to let you in."
"Yes and you've made that very clear."
"You might not even live here, and you shouldn't burden other people to open the door."
"Well, I'm sorry to have troubled you so greatly."
I walk over to the elevator and push the button.
"It's not an issue of a favour, it's an issue of security!"
"Are you kidding? I'm going to get my wallet so I can buy groceries!"
I'm still waiting for the elevator. It's moving slowly since only one is in service. This man refuses to drop it.
"Hah, you'll be there for a while. Only one elevator works."
"Yeah,I know. As I mentioned, I live here."
Ding. Finally the elevator arrives.

I get my wallet and my keys, and go back down. He's still sitting in the lobby, glaring at me once again. After I return with my groceries, it's the same special treatment. Both times I wave my key pointedly at him. The second time I shake my grocery bags. Immature? Maybe. The jerk left me no choice! Talk about security-obsessed times. Yes, there is evidence of this at the national level, but waves of security-related anxiety reveal themselves at the micro level as well. Was it the dark circles of sleep deprivation under my eyes that made me seem "threatening" to this man, or did I seem just too average to be trustworthy? After all, enemies and spies can be anywhere, n'est pas? Mini McCarthyism lives in shifty-eyed mizers like my friend in the lobby.

What happened to jolly old men, anyway? Not too long ago my friend Lindsay and I were eating sundaes at McDonalds and an old man threw a quarter at Lindsay and yelled,
"Why don't ya get yourself some new pants?!"
When she slid the quarter back down the counter to him, saying "No thanks," he threw it back at her, bellowing that he meant it, and that she better get some new jeans.
What happened to manners? Is age a priviledge to be disdainful to the young?

Maybe all the kindly old people are too busy lawn bowling or knitting to make it their mission to ruin peoples' days. Ever since I could write, I have always written down notes to myself in the future: A list of things grown-ups say and do that, in the eyes of kids, suck. I wrote/write them down in case I forget, as so many people seem to do as they age, how to connect with those younger than us.

For example:
1) Asking a niece/nephew, friend of the family's child, kid you babysit "So, how's school?" is pretty much the worst/most boring/annoying question to ask a kid. Kids go to school because they have to. They enjoy recess, playtime, the odd art or science project, and their friends. They do not know how to or care to respond when you ask them about "school."

2)Reminiscing about the glory days/hinting at a bleak future. Every single time an older adult has told me "Better enjoy this. These are the best years of your life." This phrase is depressing, vague, and almost always a sequeway into tales of their own youth. Also, a pre-teen who is at the height of her awkward stage does not want to hear that her hormone-dominated existence is the best life will offer her. This would not be fun.

3)Treating anyone younger than you as though they were of a different species. Kids, teens, and young adults all respond to being treated with respect. If you speak to them as though they are less intelligent than you, even if they are 4 years old, they will think you are a douche. If you respect them, they will love ya!

And on that note, off to bed for beauty sleep! Some photos from the festival:




Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Hey! one of my students when asked on tv what is fav class was said anglais, so there haha...then again he was primaire 1. Might just be a wierd gaspésien thing.