Tuesday, July 12, 2005

In the Loupe, Chapter 31

Alright, Guadeloupe is upping the ante. I fly out Thursday morning at 7:30, which means I had to talk Franck's friend Hervé into driving me to Point-à-Pitre at 5:00 in the morning, and the whole scene was looking pretty stressful to begin with. Early morning, long drive, saying good-bye to Franck in the cat litter-smelling airport... there was never anything to look forward to in the first place.

Today we heard an explanation on the radio for the wild heat and unruly storms of late; there's a hurricane heading this way. Now, obviously, anything I say from here on in sounds selfish, as I'm mostly concerned about keeping my own butt covered, but it's a bit lame that the hurricane is supposed to hit Wednesday night. They've been wrong before, and some people are talking about the week-end instead, but I feel like getting a hurricane the night before I'm supposed to leave is a bit much. Not only because of having to deal with a hurricane because I booked a flight 24 hours too late, but also because how am I going to get home? And if the thing misses Guadeloupe, it might be heading towards Puerto Rico, in which case I still can't go anywhere. Obviously, what I am hoping is for the hurricane to miss all the islands. Or if it has to hit, the least possible damage to everybody involved. But after that noble wish, let's hope that my flight isn't screwed up and I don't have to hang around in Guadeloupe - and in a hurricane - for a week.

On the non-natural-disaster front, I met a friend of Hervé's one afternoon, the famous "Laurent" I had heard so much about. (Undoubtedly you have too; this guy's on FIRE.) He came to drop off a futon for Hervé, who was really psyched about adding it to his old futon and making the ultimate "L" couch. As it happens, you can't sit at the connecting point because there are pointy springs poking you in the bum, so it's a bust, and now Hervé has another big couch in a small living room for nothing.

Laurent is rumoured to be a wicked good guitar player, which is always fun, and he's also in aquaculture. This means that he's raising some kind of shelled creature to use in medicine - the shiny part of the shell, from what I understood - I wasn't really listening; aquaculture doesn't do it for me - because it has a special property that can help fight against osteoporosis. If it works, you realize, and the funding comes through, I know the osteoporosis guy. Glass of milk? None for me, thanks. I've got Laurent.

I liked that he had long wavy hair and kept his sunglasses on all the time, like a movie star. And SPEAKING of movie stars, Hervé asked me who Laurent reminded me of. He's kind of a Jeff Bridges-Tom Cruise amalgam, but that wasn't the right answer. Nick Nolte? Kevin Bacon? Hervé says, "how about Leonardo Di Caprio?" which is obviously not happening, but the thing is that our Laurent was Leo's stand-in for "The Man in the Iron Mask."

Fun, you may think, to hang around with ol' Leonardo for fifty days in a French castle - well, I see your Leonardo and I raise you: John Malkovich! Jeremy Irons! GABRIEL BYRNE!!! "Is he as beautiful in real life as in his movies?" I gushed, like he was my favourite Teen Magazine idol. Really now, Kathryn. I guess Gabriel just has that effect.

But it gets even better. For as well as being a guitarist, aquaculturist, futon-bearer, Gabriel Byrne's best friend and the unlikely cameraman for the "making of" video of a terrible Hollywood movie - they let him do the making of! - Laurent is an astrologer. You heard me, a reader of the stars. I must admit upfront that I am highly skeptical about most things astrology-related, tending to believe that if we're different from each other it's because we're different people, not because I was born on an ending moon and you have water associated with your month.

(A wild coincidence: I met, at the age of fifteen, a new classmate who turned out to be born on the same day in the same hospital - Mount Sinai in Toronto, in case you want to add a bit of reverence to your University Avenue experience - our mothers were maternity ward roommates. We therefore have exactly the same astrological birth map, including our precise location on the earth at the time. And yet - and yet - we are completely, even fundamentally, different from each other. See?)

For all my naysaying, however, having an astrologer run through your personal zodiac stats is the best. Based on my birthday and year, after a bunch of adding and dividing that ended up with the numbers three and sixteen, I am kind, determined, balanced and social. I am creative and sensual, diplomatic and feisty. I accept a challenge but have no need to one-up my fellow human. I am even-tempered and understanding, I am discerning and thoughtful, I relate well to children, I am expressive and gentle. I am extremely emotional and take things quickly to heart.

I am deep. I am passionate.

I am Scorpio.

Obviously the list is hit-and-miss (balanced? challenge-accepting?!) and our having spent an afternoon together made the objectiveness of his findings a little fishy. He often used examples from my life - teaching camp this summer? that's because you're a Scorpio and you relate well to children - which made it feel more like a personality assessment than anything else, but I totally lapped it up. Who doesn't want a near-stranger to tell you you're every good quality in the stars? I don't imagine he would get many clients if he said, "you're whiny and unmotivated, you're vain and jealous, you have a wicked temper and you hold a grudge. You're selfish and immature, you have no will power, you offend people wherever you go and your body odour is unbearable. There are no trips in your immediate future, you will come into no money and you haven't a single lucky number. You will die alone."

He did say I was "gourmande" (which I would translate as sweet-toothed, or just someone who enjoys food) - as if it takes a psychic to figure that one out - but he put a little spin on it and it turned out to prove my sensuality and my lust for life. (Nice one, Laurent.) He predicted a life change in the fall (after I told him we're going to France in September) and told me karma is on my side and I've got good things coming my way. (Like hurricanes.) I asked him if this interminable cut on my arm will ever heal, but he said the stars don't decide that kind of thing. (Ah, but they do, Laurent; you just didn't remember that three and sixteen also indicate an obsessive-compulsive tendency to pick at scabs.)

Overall, I was quite satisfied with the afternoon. I found out all sorts of reasons why I'm an excellent person, I got a semi-clean futon to sit on when I'm baby-sitting (I can't even describe Hervé's couch; just thinking about it makes my throat close up) and my buddy Laurent said he'll put in a good word for me with big Gabriel. My life is falling into place. I guess this is the last update, so thanks for following along.

Oh, that crazy Guadeloupe -- good times, good times.
Now get me out of here.


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