Friday, October 15, 2004

In the Loupe, Chapter 5


Cinette and I have taken to hanging out all the time -- we're a couple of happening ladies. A funny outing was to a documentary screening, part of the multimedia library's exposition on the Indians who came to Guadeloupe 150 years ago. Cinette's a librarian and was helping them with it, and I thought it would be a good movie - oh, how wrong I was! Crazy movie, crazy, all fuzzy and 1968 - despite being from 2002 - with terrible historical re-enactments of courtroom dramas and such.

The exciting thing was that every single man had a moustache, no exceptions. Also exciting was that one of the actors was at the screening - a celebrity sighting! - to lead a stab-myself-in-the-eye boring post-screening discussion. But most exciting of all: he had hideous glasses in the movie, but really hideous, and now he has nice ones. I think he saw the film and said "what in HELL am I thinking?", booted it to LensCrafters and now looks quite handsome, something like Omar Sharif. It's nice to see when someone figures something out.

We also went together to a season-opening gala at the arts centre (called the Artchipel, for those Frenchies among you who enjoy a little pun) and the best part was Cinette's gorgeous sari, blue and green and silky, plus a fresh-picked rose in her hair. Needless to say, everyone whispered and pointed as we came in, some people even reaching out to touch the material. She was the belle of the ball (and I was her entourage - dammit!)

The concert itself... a bit bizarre-o. The tenor had a lovely voice, even nailing Nessun Dorma, but winked and pointed at the audience like he was Tom Jones. Not that I don't love a little Tom Jones in my life from time to time, but really now. A tenor. And the soprano was gorgeous and had fantastic stage presence and emotion, but a voice so shrill and flat it could burst entire glass buildings. Bay Street: gone. I didn't know what to do, part wincing and part hating myself for being a hideous snob. But then she would take that bad opera voice, see, and stick in on jazz, on Gershwin - what was she thinking?! The pianist was awesome, way too cool for the scene and clearly a jazz guy, between his flat-fingered playing and his on-stage sunglasses, and I wish him better gigs in the future.

I liked that the singers gave each other high fives on the way on and off stage. I also liked how, as the Phantom of the Opera, the tenor just stood there, smiling at the audience and saying "seeng, my angel; seeng, my angel of music" as if he were saying "yeah, I like red beans." The sad part was that after they sang "Tonight," I had a very sudden and very desperate urge to go to a large-scale musical, preferrably West Side Story. It didn't pan out.

On the mutt front, Ariana, Cinette's mom's dog, was lost, but now she's found. Not unlike Amazing Grace. (If she had been blind, now she'd see.) And so she's staying at Cinette's place. And, more importantly, she's the ugliest little thing you've ever seen - super friendly, but you don't want her touching you. After a good shampoo and haircut she still stinks and is eternally dirty; just as a pinetree never loses its needles, so Ariana never loses her filth. Thumbs up for perseverence, I guess.

Walking her around the neighbourhood is kind of embarrassing, as well as stressful, as all the local horse-size dogs rattle their chains and foam against the gate, filthy little dog flesh on their mind. I'm sorry to say it, but I wish them the best of luck.

Just for your big fat information, I finally saw the actual temperature and it's 36°c, over 40 with the humidity and with the sun. It's really brutal, and it will pass, and I wasn't exaggerating.

Mom's worried that I always sound boy-crazy, so I thought I should tell you that I'm not, I just joke. And if ever I was before, I'm certainly not after my dip into the Gwada dating scene: since all anyone does is hit on
you and ask for your number, I decided that a) I must really be hot stuff, and b) I should just go for it, see if I'm right to be suspicious.

Without going too much into detail, let it be known that treatment of women has a ways to go here. I'll take "I'm not a piece of fucking property, stop showing me off to all your friends" for 500, Alex. Even going to a soccer game, my favourite, was stressful and humiliating. The good news is that I found religion, as we all imagined would happen one day: just as I thought, standing in the sea with this nutbar, "oh my God - what am I doing here? Am I a total idiot?", a bolt of pain shot up my left leg, hip and arm. Stung by a jellyfish - hoo-ah! The burning welts kept me awake all night from the pain, but at least they zapped some sense into me: I realized that I didn't owe the guy anything, I didn't have to be nice, I didn't have to stay around so as no to hurt his feelings. I took the car (that's right, he had rented me a car, without asking me, so I could stay the week-end on our first date - nothing intense or creepy about that) (or about being introduced as his FUTURE WIFE!!!) and got the hell out of there, stopping at a fire station to make sure I wasn't dying and then pacing the night out through the pain. See? God came through. In the form of a viciously painful sea creature, but whatever.

Better than religion, I found Franck, who was waiting for the bus with me after I dropped off the rental: lives just up the street and is a good friend of Cinette's son. So far he's hooked me up with a guitar and a mattress - I can now sleep without futon boards digging into my back and hip through my towel-thin mattress - and has shown me the beautiful mountain-source hot water basins in the jungle-y wilderness. See? I learned >my lesson AND came out ahead: thank you God. Thank you India. Thank you providence.

And yes, thank you disillusionment.


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