Saturday, September 25, 2010

Struck Dumb

I've taken a vow of silence. 

Not to get closer to god, but because if I speak I end up having coughing fits that turn my lungs inside out. Nasty allergies morphed this week into a nasty cold. Poor me, right? Not since that one time when I was twelve have I smoked a cigarette, but still I sound like a 90 year old with emphysema. 

No point in seeing a doctor. The same thing happened last year and I went and all he did was give me something to help me sleep. Which I never took anyway. I just have to wait it out with lozenges and endless pots of Cold Formula tea. And silence. But enough about my gummed up alveoli. 


Earlier this week I was getting my lunch in the break room at the office. It's up on the second floor and the window was open. Someone walked by on the sidewalk below, sending up an operatic chorus. I poked my head out to catch a glimpse of this passing Carmen but no one was there. 


The annual arboreal fireworks display has commenced. I know, it's such a cliché to get excited about leaves. I don't care.

I grew up on the west coast and so everything east of the wheat fields was "Back East" and made me think of knee socks, ivy creeping over brick and maple syrup. This time of year it's true. This time of year I can just about convince myself that I live on the set of a made-for-TV Halloween movie. It makes me forgive all my seasonal ailments. 


Adrien and I went for breakfast this morning. He brought a newspaper as I am mute. I wanted to write about how the loss of one sharpened all my other senses. But then I remembered that speech is not a sense. It feels like one. 

In the car I pulled out my notebook and asked him questions at a red light. 

"Is this a new cd?"


"It's all achy songs."

(Raised eyebrows.)

"A good ache."


Some of the music he listens to gives me a lovely, terrible ache. The kind of feeling that comes from having a hopeless a crush. It's nothing to do with the lyrics, most of which I don't even know. It's the music itself, the lowing melody. 

If Adrien's musical tastes could be distilled into one word, that word would be "catchy". 

If my musical tastes could be distilled into one word, that word would be "unsurprising". I wouldn't say that I have bad taste - who says that about themselves? - but I am not edgy. Still, Alissa convinced me to go out last month to see Juliette Lewis and that felt slightly edgy. Although that admission likely just proves my lack of edge.

Here is one of the songs from Adrien's mix:


Whenever we're out and I see a car pass by with BC plates my heart gives a little lurch of recognition. 


Je n'écris jamais en français. Pourquoi? Ma vie ici est bilingue. J'aimerais voir plus de films et livres qui sont bilingues. Je veux dire, un mélange. C'est comme ça ici, en réalité. Souvent les conversations sont un mélange. Des mots anglais répondent des mots français. Et l'invers. Des phrases moitier-moitier. Des accents, des anglicisms. 

Aujourd'hui j'ai vu un panneau pour A&W qui offrait: 
"1 oncle burger pour 3.00"
Ça fait bizarre. 

I never write in French. Why? My life here is that way. I'd love to see more films and books in both languages. Mixed together, I mean. It's like that here, in real life. Conversations are often a blend. English words answer French ones. And the other way around. Half and half sentences. Accents, Anglicisms. 

Today I saw an ad outside A&W that offered: 
"1 oncle burger pour 3.00"
Which sounds odd. 


On the way home today a car passed in the lane next to us, revving the motor. It was an ordinary sedan, newish maybe, but it didn't look sporty to me. Still, the motor gave a satisfyingly predatory grumble and the two dress-shirted men in the car gave war-cry whoops each time it did so. I looked over at them, wondering how much fun it can be to tease an engine in traffic. 

I forgot about them, though, when a bus whooshed past stirring up fallen leaves. A whirlwind of copper and gold. 

Somewhere above the woollen cloud cover some passing geese honked their solemn fair-well. I wanted to tell Adrien but also didn't want to cough. And my notebook was tucked away. So I'm telling you instead.


  1. J'ai aimee cette melange d'histoires, pleines de la vie extraordinaire. Et j'ai compris le paragraph en francais (mais je fait beaucoup des erreurs quand j'ecris. Au moins j'essaye, hein?). ;-)

  2. I like that you are not edgy. Your softness is still "cool."

  3. Jeannie ~ ah! un commentaire en français! C'est formidable, merci. Moi aussi je fais plein d'erreurs, c'est pour ça que je devrais pratiquer ; )

    Andie ~ thanks : )

  4. i love these seemingly haphazard journal entries that give me a glimpse into your life and who you are. i think your lack of believing you are edgy means you are edgier than you think :) i'm glad to have found your site.

  5. Hi Kitchu, thank you for your lovely comment and for linking to me in your sidebar - I think that's the first time I've discovered myself in someone's blogroll! I feel famous!
    ; )