Thursday, May 26, 2005

In the Loupe, Chapter 25

This is an exciting e-mail because it's on stolen time and free internet access. I'm at the school board building, having been taken out of school for the day to do some recordings of basic English. I assume it's of the "hello, how are you?" variety and I feel it's within my capablities, but there's something wrong with the microphone and it doesn't look like it's going to go through. So I'm sitting in a meeting with all the language teacher heads in Guadeloupe, English and Spanish, and while they argue and look at various documents and charts, I'm hanging out on the internet. There are eight computers in this room! I haven't seen any computers in Guadeloupe other than at the internet cafe - who knew there were all these resources?

My dengue passed through, ending with two days of the itchiest full-body itching of my life, and left me only with tired legs if I climb too much. Which is inevitable here, but it's probably good to force some strength back into the ol' tree trunks. The heat has become oppressive, in the 35-36 range every day and they don't count humidity, so that surely contributes to any exhaustion I might feel. But my tendency to take the heat personally is out of line; everybody's grumbly and hot and cries, "Gwada, ka fait chaud!" as sweat stains spread along their clothes. I'm not the only one who's suffering - maybe if I cried out a bit more I would get the bitterness out of my system. Express, don't repress.

But with the unrelenting mosquitoes and the heat and the kids being all haywire at school and this crazy moving rash that shows up on whatever parts of my body had clothes touching them that day (especially around edges, so you can imagine how much I'm enjoying where my - ahem - underclothes run against my skin), Guadeloupe is out of my system. It's been a great year, I had lots of good experiences, the memories will be rich, thank you Guadeloupe. Now get me out of this place.

On the other hand, I am now a family. It started in sadness, as Sprocket brought her dying kitten to me the other day as I was leaving for school and I did what I could (which was very little - mostly wrapped it in a towel and tried to drip milk into its mouth) and then had to go, and when I came back at lunch it was dead. I wasn't absolutely sure and brought it up to my landlady, who said - very dispassionately -"oh yeah, that's a dead kitten" and then, seeing my tears, looked at me like I had lost my mind. They're not very emotional about animals here, what with Let's-Slit-the-Throat-of-the-Family-Pig being a festive tradition every Christmas, so she didn't get my grief. Sprocket's baby, dead, and all she says is to throw it the hell into the ravine before the flies come.

However, after disposing of the body and trying to find an appropriate gesture but coming up with nothing - I did take "a moment" but was mostly thinking of getting rid of the dead-cat towel I had in my hands; it wasn't the most beautiful of memorial services - I was able to focus on the fact that Sprocket had brought me her second kitten as well, a little grey-white fuzz ball, who is bright-eyed and curious and just a happening little cat. I named her Chisel - I think I meant "Chizzle" but quickly realized that I'm in no position to toss around such a blatant hip-hop reference - and am spending all my time pulling her out from under the couch/sink/bed/dresser and putting her back outside because she is afraid of nothing (least of all me) and keeps charging into the house.

Sprocket made a little home for them behind the couch, as I knew would happen, so I'm worried about fur getting into the furniture and my resulting allergies. I made a cozy box for them to encourage living outside, even giving a speech about how I wished I could live in such a nice box, and Sprocket was nodding her head along with me and really seemed to internalize what I was saying. But it's too hot to leave the doors closed at night and they're inevitably behind the couch in the morning, my Life in a Box dream all but forgotten; it's going to be a slow learning curve. Which means that now I have to find a home for the lovely and bossy Sprocket, as well as for wee little Chisel, soft and pouncy and the cutest thing ever. I'm spreading the word among my students and we'll see if anything comes back.

As I write this, the teachers in the meeting are discussing the pros and cons of having assistants in the classroom, and they're mostly complaining about the bad ones and naming names. Isn't that wild? It's already inappopriate among themselves, but I'm here! I'm an assistant, I CAN HEAR YOU, stop being so unprofessional! Crazy. The things I'm hearing are pretty nutty, though, as almost all the assistants have missed class because they did a long week-end somewhere or because a friend was visiting or because they didn't feel like leaving the beach, and they never call or announce their absence or anything. They just don't show up! And they all do it! So I've been running around getting doctor's notes for dengue or dragging my flu-ridden self into class to be a responsible employee... I've been had! I could have stayed at the beach this whole time, rather than going to class to see my attitude girls suck their teeth at each other. Looks like I'm the sucker here.

The only other thing to tell is a non-thing: they're filming the sequels to "Pirates of the Caribbean" on Dominika, a neighbouring island that is 45 minutes and 70 euros away, and it's killing me! I can see the island from Franck's house - if I had binoculars I'd probably see Johnny Depp - what do I do? How can I go about my day as if everything's in order while ol' J.D. is just a stone's throw away? It's eating away at me! And I know lots of Dominikans here who keep jaunting over to vote or to see family or buy material for their crafty work and they come back saying oh sure, they're filming over by such-and-such area, there are film crews everywhere, my cousin's working for the catering company, I saw Keira Knightley... it's killing me. This is my Johnny chance and all I can do is sit on it. Please send ideas. I want to hang out with Johnny Depp. That is all I want. I don't think it's an unreasonable thing to ask.

Fancy computers or not, there's no air-conditioning in this building and we're on the fifth floor with the heat rising accordingly - Gwada, ka fait chaud! I'm dying here! My fingers are so swollen it's hard to type, and that is just going TOO far, Guadeloupe. If that's even your real name. Seriously. I'm not going to make it to July.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

In the Loupe, Chapter 24

Alright, here's a good one for you: Dengue Fever. Ha! Good times in Guadeloupe!

I definitely saw the little striped mosquito in the bathroom and I remembered I was supposed to avoid it, but it must have been far sneakier than I because halfway through Thursday afternoon I was nearly paralyzed with full-body pain. It took me over an hour to walk my 20-minute walk home and I collapsed on the bed feeling like I had been run over by a cement mixer.

The doctor confirmed dengue - which is called "la dingue" and which I associate, for whatever reason, with rabies and general wild-eyed-and-drooling behaviour, though this is fortunately not a state in which I find myself just yet - and said all I could really do was sleep, which is what I have done non-stop since Friday afternoon with the help of the painkillers she prescribed.

The best part about being house-ridden is that I got to listen to my neighbours' eight-hour barbecue on Sunday, especially as they had so thoughtfully arranged their chairs to be outside my bedroom door. The garden is only about eight hundred feet long, so it makes sense for them to specifically move the furniture from its regular place onto my patio. They must have realized that the best thing for a pounding dengue head-ache - apart from the crappy latin cd that some jerk across the valley blasts for hours every week-end, this time four times through, and the power-sawing of my security mechanism place across the street - is a drunk and raucous family shindig stationed outside my door. It makes me wonder: where would we be in this life without neighbours?

Franck has been very sweet throughout this ordeal, with back- and leg-rubs, house cleaning and the occasional pep-talk, not to mention dealing with fever-induced delusional behaviour, such as my being convinced (and terrified) my school principal was hiding in my closet or trying to leave the house in the middle of the night because I was just so hot and needed to find a river. Sunday he went above and beyond by carrying his grandma's extra tv all the way down from her house so I'd have something to do other than read all day. (That was before we discovered that I would actually sleep ALL the TIME.)

The problem is, I don't like tv. I like specific shows - I'm always up for a good dose of Seinfeld or Arrested Development - but not aimless tv, extra noise in the house for nothing. And tv here, at least on the four channels I can receive, is nothing if not aimless. There's always a weather girl somewhere, an obvious draw for certain audiences but not so much for me; there are two local channels, so I can watch people sitting around a café in Pointe-à-Pitre or I can hear the mayor talk some more about earthquakes; and there are American movies dubbed in French, which is something I just can't stand. I hear there's a BBC special on whales coming up, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I felt I should really watch something, though, the tv being so heavy and the walk from grandma's so far, so that Franck's suffering would not be in vain. I found local music videos and had fun for a while looking for common themes: about six were about someone coming back to life and a pretty girl weeping, and three or four were at poolside parties where a pretty girl got thrown in the water.

But then it just got lonely, because they're so bad that you need to make sarcastic comments and it isn't satisfying to make them to yourself. Every video has in common its 14-euro budget and the inevitable result of looking like a grade seven group project for Learning Through Media. The lip-synching is terrible and they often have girls in profile behind a sheet, singing back-up, while the sweaty man in a diamond-pattern cardigan looks into the camera and tries to seem sad.

What's worse is that watching it alone, sad and head-spinny and cooped up in my apartment, I started to lose my mind a little and those videos looked better and better. The final straw was when the guy died (he'd already come back to life a first time, but I guess it couldn't last) and the girl found the rose he had given her lying on his saxophone, and I said the words, "that was actually quite poetic." I haven't turned the tv on since.

Today's brand-new symptom: it looks like I dipped my palms into red dye. Isn't that weird? I mean, I'm new to the whole World of Dengue but I feel that Red-Dye-Hand is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. All I can do is assume that this is the normal progression of the fever, rather than the doctor, in her haste, having misdiagnosed a case of raging syphillus or the like.

Anyway, that's things as they stand. I'm going back to bed.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

In the Loupe, Chapter 23

Okay, the joke’s over. I think we can all agree that things have gotten out of hand: I’m lying on the couch, reading, when I feel a physical presence behind my head. Who is in my house? I ask myself. Unannounced drop-ins are common occurrence here – in fact, they are the only functioning drop-ins I have witnessed, as planned get-togethers invariably go bust – but surely not unannounced wandering into my living room? Can it have come to this?

Before I can further explore this bend in societal norms, I simultaneously smell and feel hot and unsavoury breath around my head and neck, clearly belonging to someone who has been eating over-ripe mangoes. Too terrified to turn and face my attacker, which I, absurdly, think is a bear – logic, of the “there are no bears in Guadeloupe” variety, always loses to gut-clenching panic, am I right? – I freeze and hope it will think I’m dead. An eternity passes, I’m still not moving, and I suddenly hear my heart popping out of my chest – except that it’s not my heart, but rather the clip-clop on my tile floor of the goat whose face is suddenly beside mine and who is reading over my shoulder. It’s a beautifully surreal moment, goatie and me, cheek to cheek, reading Cereus Blooms at Night, but then the magic is over as he makes a clumsy dive, revealing his true book-eating intentions. The spell being broken, I snap out of my paralysed state and chase him outside with a chair, then bring in the laundry I see him eyeing. Oh please oh please, let me not wake up in the night to a goat chewing on my mosquito net.

The good news is that Steve bought me a phone in Dominika, snazzy and functioning and small; the bad news is that he came back with it, so I’m back on the hook for piano lessons. His place is such a sauna, and I hate teaching piano so much (and am ready to kill whoever wrote “The Birdie,” the hideous beginner-level song that has been running through my nightmares for weeks) that I – and let’s admit it was inevitable – became slightly hysterical in our recent lesson. As the damn birdie got worse and worse with every run and a nine-second song was taking minutes to plough through, I started to play an accompaniment and told him he had to keep up. Wrong notes, so be it – let’s try to enjoy this crappy little waltz instead of dragging it along like a death march. I was merciless in my time-keeping and made him keep doing it until he finally started to find a flow to the song. (Those teachers among you who may be shocked my traumatizing methods, don’t worry: there is little to no pedagogy involved, but rather the time-old instinct of survival at all costs; it was Steve’s ego or my will to live, and I think I made the right sacrifice.)

When he made a nervous joke about my being like a metronome but mean, I said I showed no pity, just like the army. “Have you been in the army?” “No," I answered, "but I imagine it’s like this.” I should be modest here and say that, in hindsight, that’s not so funny, but in fact it still makes me laugh. Boot camp as a miserable piano lesson. Needless to say, I stomped that joke into the ground, calling him “soldier” more than was strictly necessary, making dorky comments about dropping down and giving me twenty – badly-worded and serving only to emphasize how out-of-touch I am with most things military – until I thought I was the funniest person on the planet and dreamt about how much I’ll make Letterman laugh when I’m on his show to promote my latest stand-up tour.

When Jeff said I have to do a good job teaching so that Steve will be ready to play at Jeff’s wedding next year and I said he was more than ready now, as long as the first dance is to the timeless classic “The Birdie,” I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. To be fair, they hadn’t even offered me a glass of water – I should have helped myself when I recognized the oncoming giddiness; should know better by now – so I was dehydrated and irritated in a 52-degree boiler room: a sure recipe for uncontrollable giggling over glaringly unfunny material. I thought I might have scared them off – was Steve eyeing his Bible, perhaps seeking comfort? – but apparently we’re on again on Monday. Are they un-faze-able? Maybe if I break something?

The junior-high and high-school contracts finished on April 30th, so there was a Saturday afternoon garden party for all the assistants which I had no interest in attending. The assistantship co-ordinator (and I use the term loosely) woke me that morning with a bullying phone call, I absolutely must come, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (what, to hang out with Jamie from Missouri? You’re so right – let met come to your party. Let me die happy), so I ended up meeting the ride she arranged for me and being taken to some government building in Gosier. When I got there they were in the middle of the speeches, every second one by the I-know-everything-about-everywhere-in-the-world guy from our October meetings. Every time he introduced a speaker, he turned it into an eight-to-ten-minute opportunity to tell us about his having been to Boston or his daughter studying in London. I guess he forgot that most of the guests were French and half the assistants are Spanish. And as for those who understood his English rambling, people who are from England aren’t impressed that you’ve been to London – neither are the rest of us, for that matter. Shut up, already.

Then it got downright weird, as they called us up one at a time for our diplomas, apparently confusing a paid teaching job with high school graduation, and insisted each person make a speech. A speech! The first few were so bewildered that they actually thanked people and said they loved Guadeloupe. By the fourth or fifth graduate, though, the snarky undertones started in, made worse by buddy’s insistence on commenting on each person’s hometown. (“You’re from Philadelphia? Tell them about the bell.” “Um, there’s a bell.” “And?” “And, I’ve seen it.”)

I used my moment of power (there was a microphone involved) to try and find a home for Sprocket – no takers, the heartless bastards – and couldn’t think of any significant Bryan Adams lyrics, so Canada was not fairly represented. For that I apologize. Mostly I felt stressed out, because after so many speeches upon arrival about our being our countries’ ambassadors and having our nations’ reputations on our shoulders (don’t worry, Canada ol’ pal, I was charming and demure without exception and kept a whole lotta peace; your name is unsullied in fair Guadeloupe), this set of speeches was all about going home as ambassadors of Guadeloupe, spreading the word that there’s more to this island than just palm trees and beaches. (I thought of aiming a psssst or a “nice ass!” in his direction but remembered that I am a Canadian ambassador and Canadians aren’t supposed to be sarcastic.) Can’t I just hang out? Do I have to be everybody’s ambassador?

The best part of the afternoon was discovering that I was considered the mystery assistant this year. Having not hung out with any of the cliques, I was suddenly assumed to be aloof, adult, even – if I may – cool. (I ask that you refrain from comment at this juncture.) Information somehow gets around so that people approached me to ask about my “Reggae Man” boyfriend, my scary boat ride to Les Saintes, my turn in a Carnaval parade, my throwing up last week-end. (Never figured out why – dehydration our best guess – but puked up the entire contents of my stomach and ruined Bronwyn’s last night here.) (Sorry again, Bron.) How did they know the details of my life? Why did they care?

Meanwhile, everything I said came out funny, every story was bang on; I had them eating out of my hand. And so I discovered, after years of trying to master poise and self-control in public (with little success), that the key to seeming aloof is just this: actually be aloof. See, I couldn’t care less what this group of people thinks or doesn’t think of me; I don’t know them, I’m sure they’re really nice, I’m not looking for a “this was totally the best year of my life!” group of friends. Conversation? I’ll take it or leave it. And the effect: they can’t get enough of me! I’ve achieved detachment! This is only valid as long as I feel no commitment, of course. My geeky enthusiasm and over-eagerness will do doubt resurface sooner or later, my lack of poise will return. But let me tell you, that Saturday afternoon in Gosier, Gwyneth had nothing on me.

Oh, and Sprocket had babies! Two of them! She was elusive for a while but then showed me shyly where they were curled up in the garden. I felt like a grandmother; it was the most important moment of my life. I told her how proud I was and we had a good cry together, and now I feed her three or four times a day, as my landlady told me I should. I don’t give her milk because I know a female isn’t supposed to drink another mammal’s milk, I assume even more when she’s nursing. Any other thoughts? Advice? How long do I have to wait to touch the kittens? (If she brings them in the house I’ll have to move them out.)

Cross your fingers for me, because my gas tank ran out and I haven’t been able to co-ordinate a ride to the gas station to replace it, so I haven’t been able to cook (again, I use the term loosely) for a week. I’m feeling generally malnourished, possibly from living off of bread, coconut and the mangoes I get to before the goats, so let’s think gas-stove thoughts in my direction; I could use a nice hot plate of peas and cous cous.


Monday, May 2, 2005

In the Loupe, Chapter 22

Well, let's just be frank: these mango trees are KILLING me! I don't know how long the flowering-pollenny part of the year lasts, but I'm ready to tear my itchy face off. The upside, though, as there is always an upside, is that in taking a walk to escape my mango-surrounded home the other evening, I sat down on a set of stairs near the bus stop and, while contemplating The Beauty of a Full Moon, was taken for a prositute.

That's right, my good people, I was mistaken for a whore.

And I really don't get it, since I was sitting across from brightly-lit fancy-pants Cora supermarket, rather than in drugs-and-sex alley, and wearing a childish red sundress with white polka dots that goes past my knees, flip flops and no make-up. And looking dreamily at the moon.

The part which unsettles me most (after the whole "he thought I was a hooker" thing) is that when he said "you're not...?" I just said "no," super casually, like it happened all the time. Do you know what time the bus comes? No, sorry. Do you sell your body for money? Nope. See? Not much difference.

On the animal front, this place is party. Java's recovered beautifully from both poison and urinary infection, so thank you for your concern.

I never told you about Sprocket (subconsciously named after Toad the Wet?), a very pretty little grey and white homeless cat who hung around my door for scraps. What began as fish left-overs and the occasional bowl of milk has progressed into my buying large quantities of cat food and feeling guilty if I'm not home by early evening. She has to stay outside because of my allergy, and the sadness is that she's love-starved but I can't cuddle her. I pet her sometimes if I'm on my way into a shower, but that just sets her up for later disappointment, since she doesn't understand why it's on-again, off-again. (My mom spoiled her rotten with daily loving, so I think our poor Sprocket has been in withdrawal since March.)

She's obviously not allowed in the house, but, again obviously, couldn't care less about my crazy rules. Her daring little runs through the house have progressed into flagrant system abuse, so now I have to block off the living room at night (and loose significant cross-breeze to my bedroom) so I don't wake up to find her curled on a couch or chair, and close all the closets (thus enclosing the humidity and its moldy potential) because she nestles into the corner. Having her generally around is okay, you see, but once fur gets into clothes and furniture, then you have a real problem.

(Those of you who are attentive readers are by now saying, "Stupid Kathryn! It's not the mango trees, it's Sprocket!" and I thank you for looking out for me. It's not the same allergy, though, doesn't feel the same; when I get too close to her for too long, I definitely react, and it's not the same as the pollen one. Different kind of itchiness, more eyes and throat and less constant sneezing. Plus, she was around way before the mango hell started.)

Anyway, I think Sprocket is pregnant. She keeps sneaking in to build nests, having settled on under the cellar stairs, in the couch (between back cushion and frame) and in my closet on my backpack. I'm torn because if she's going to have babies, I want her to have a warm and clean place to do it. But it just can't be in my futon, you know what I'm saying? I have to be very vigilant in my supervision and scold severely when I find her somewhere, even tapping her on the nose and breaking my heart and hers, but it doesn't seem to do much good. Hopefully she'll choose the stairs, far from me but safe nonetheless.

How can you tell when a cat's pregnant? I'm watching for signs of emotional instability or strange food cravings – she's getting a round tummy but that's largely because she was homeless and scrawny and has since become a healthy and plumper little Sprocket. Normal growth or about to drop a litter in my bedroom closet? Hard to say. What will I do if she has kittens? Seriously?

And then there are the goats. They wander around outside my doors and I didn't understand where they were coming from, but I found out from my furious landlady that people living up the hill park their goats in the chicken coops of the abandoned house that backs onto ours. The goats have chewed through the wiring, as goats will do, and taken to roaming around the garden and munching. They come for the mangoes but can't contain themselves among so many potted plants – they eat everything.

I chase them away for show, to gain points with my landlady, but actually I quite like having them around, all floppy-eared and hostile. Though I initially hated it, I've grown unreasonably fond of their crazy yelling. They don't baa-aa, see (Raffi was wrong!), but rather scream. It sounds like a child screaming "MEHH!" - if that child has a crazy goat voice, of course.

I also enjoy how they run away as I chase them with my broom, screaming like their limbs are being torn off but still stopping to munch along the way. MEH! MEH! ME-- hey look, a rosebush. Munch, munch, mun-- MEH! MEHHHHH! They also scratch their rumps against the mango tree, and occasionally heat-butt each other, so they are altogether a satisfying bunch of goats.

The unusual creature situation lately is that there's something going on among the iguanas. For those of you unsure what to picture, they're bigger and cooler lizards: they're various greens and have mohawks and extendable necks, are usually one or two feet long plus long, sneaky tails. My favourite is as they walk: whichever two legs they're not using (opposite front and back) go straight up in the air sideways. You know the Dolorian from Back to the Future? how the door opens straight up? It's like that. In fact, I don't understand how they advance at all, since their legs don't move forward; they must rotate slightly while they're up, which is why they have to really hustle if they want to move quickly. And since they're terrified of people, when you see them they're generally running like hell, which means their up-and-down legs flap around in seeming hysteria and the iguanas always look a bit frantic, a bit out of control, their legs on the verge of just popping right off. Kind of like muppets. It's the best.

But, as I said, you don't see many: scurrying away from you, always nervous and brief. The one that came into my room that time clearly didn't know I was there, since I was lying so still, Sleeping Beauty-like. (That's right, I said Sleeping Beauty-like – you got a problem with that? Tough guy?) He was also distracted by the bajillions of juicy mosquitoes living in my room, juicy from sucking my blood without pity, of course.

What's crazy is that this last week, they're everywhere. Walking home after being a hooker, for example, I saw dozens of them in a construction site. Dozens! I think over a hundred. Just streaming over the dirt hills and going who-knows-where. The full moon? A storm coming? Either way, I took it as an omen. (And nothing's happened, so it was a crappy omen.)

But then at school there were three iguanas wandering around the schoolyard; two of them walked into classrooms and scared the bejeezus out of the kids, which I know because I heard twenty-five students next-door yell "Waaa-ha-haaAAAA!" as they jumped on their desks. There are iguanas crossing the street as much as goats and cows – and that's saying something – and one of my students saw one in Cora. An iguana in an air-conditioned supermarket full of people? Something fishy is in the air.

Franck says it's just because we have entered the Season of Extreme and Insufferable Heat, and while I can't argue with that – ho-HO! Can I ever not argue with that! - I think there's something more. Those sneaky little guys are hanging around people for a reason; call me crazy, but the iguanas are planning a coup.

I went back to see the Carnaval group's rehearsal, having discovered that a lunch lady from one of my schools is the cool counter-bass I'd only seen from behind. She recognized Bronwyn on our way out (said she figured the short one in front was me) and she told me that they may not be allowed in Caribana because a Martinique group wreaked havoc last year and now the organizers are iffy. Which is obviously unfair, as they're different groups from different islands and you can't cut the largest Caribbean island out of Caribana, can you? (The largest of the small ones, that is. Ahem.)

Regardless of this developping drama, I had a great time at their very happening rehearsal. Man, I love those Carnaval drums! They're in a warehouse and I sat just outside and down on the step, where it was cooler, so was at eye-level with the phenomenal calves of the group.

Then, suddenly, through the backs of knees and rear quarters, were the most beautiful legs I've ever seen. The dancers stand facing the group, either there for the singing or just for moral support, since there are only three of them (out of usually thirty or forty) and they don't dance so much as step from side to side.

They're all lovely, as young carnival group dancers are wont to be, but this one in the middle – I've never seen such flawless side-to-siding or such shapely legs. It was riveting; it was mesmerizing. I couldn't tear myself away from her perpetual motion – this was the Girl From Ipanema in the flesh.

As the initial fascination wore off, it turned to bitter, bitter jealousy. Looking down at my own – ahem – not perfect legs, I cursed the Girl From Ipanema and her impossible beauty. It's just her low-rise fake-faded Levis, I grumbled sourly to myself. But I knew it wasn't, and in the end I decided the only solution was to fall in love with her, that I may admire her from afar, pure and chaste, with no resentment to interfere.

And so I have: I've fallen in love with the Girl From Ipanema. I must see her again – I must! But tonight – tonight seems so far away. And Franck will be here, so do I bring him along? Isn't that a bit counter-productive? (I gave him a chance to sway my heart but he just doesn't move like the GFI. Nothing to be done.)

And so, in waiting, I pine.


p.s. Walking home in the heat a few weeks ago, delirous and irritated after my terrible grade fours, the local men hissed their standard psssst and I fancied I looked like the Girl From Ipanema with my sultry, seductively swaying hips. Looking at my shadow in front of me, however, I realized I looked like a big dork, staggering in the heat and favouring one side because of my heavy bag, and I started to sing a more appropriate version of the song. It gave Bronwyn and me a good laugh, so in light of the real GFI of Basse-Terre, tall, tan, young and, yes, lovely, I share my adjusted version of this Brazilian classic:

Short and stout and not too ugly,
The Girl From Mississauga goes walking,
And when she passes,
Each man she passes goes psssst.

When she moves she's like a dredyl,
Tips back and forth like a rocking cradle,
And yet, she passes
And all the men still go psssst.