So would I be a crybaby if I said that I wasn’t having a wonderful time in Montréal?
At the end of three weeks, I only received internet as of about 36 hours ago, leaving me feeling way behind on keeping up with people, places, and events. The DSL was supposed to be installed over a week ago, but that came to an abrupt halt when the technician couldn’t get into the locked service closet with the telephony crap. On the upside, I’m not with Bell, Vidéotron, or Rogers (well, TekSavvy uses the Bell backbone, but when I call them, I get, “Hey, how can I help,” without the long ID process and the reading from script in Chennai pattern for which Bell are so infamous). But on the downside, I had all but dropped off the face of the planet whilst in intarnats darkness. It has made for some isolated feelings in the new flat.
I want a cat, even though my lease says “No cats.” And yet, my super has at least one cat, as does the poor sod below me in the garden-level bachelor who has heard me drop so much shit whilst unpacking and setting up shit late at night. I’ve become the nightmare upstairs neighbour everyone dreads having.
My knee is still healing from a one-person bike accident which went down the day after I arrived here. I seem to have gouged something out of it, and it’s possible I may have lightly fractured just underneath the kneecap. I destroyed the front rim, too. Sort of impressive, really, since it’s the same rim I’ve used for three years through multiple seasons, accidents, and the like. The knee injury isn’t enough to impede walking or cycling, but there is no way to kneel without feeling pain, even all these weeks later. Whee.
I know nobody, but that’s usually par for the course when one is new in a new city. Of course, being on the outside of a cultural milieu literally surrounding me is rather tough, as I have so far found the fallback — anglophone Montréalers — to be an antique, slightly revanchist and stuffy lot. They are socially and linguistically stuck in 1977 when Bill 101 spanked their arrogance into submission and “exile”. It’s like walking into a time machine. Anglo Montréalers, who are definitely a linguistic minority in Montréal, don’t seem much like the rest of English-speaking Canadians elsewhere. Anglophones from elsewhere, though, including other parts of the country, are not really so stodgy. Aside from linguistic oddities, I’m still trying to put my finger on what’s so “antique” about them. I’m wondering if it’s not some kind of imagined victimhood status. Yeah, I shouldn’t generalize, but I am.
Meanwhile, I’m in a school (the grad school within the university, that is) of high disorganization, poor articulation of focus, and an advisor who is biting off way more than he can chew in his own workload (making him particularly unavailable in his entire oversight of three students from a cohort of 23). My CIC replacement permit still has not been issued, so I’m technically not even supposed to be in classes, much less holding a university ID card.
My cohort, with a noted exception here and there, are about as exciting as unseasoned, flash-frozen tilapia, and one or two really do not do a thing for me (one acts like a former Dallas or Houston cheerleader, the perky, smiling-while-backstabbing kind). There seems to be only a few trustafarians in the lot (I anticipated there’d be more), but the homogeneity of the cohort is rather unnerving. I’m practically dark compared to the median ethnic makeup of the lot. My Torontonian eyes aren’t used to this.
And my life experiences? Alien to all there. These people, largely speaking, have led fairly typical lives. Only one has struck me as someone who grasps what it means to be on the outside looking in as a big honkin’ queer, but he’s a self-professed brown-noser and gratingly does so with our advisor. And only one has any idea what I’m thinking as both a Torontonian and a UofT alumna, as she went to convocation the year before I did and was, interestingly, in the same course from 2007-08 in which I wrote that impossibly hard, 25-page paper on the Vic Day ’96 murders. Incidentally, she, like me, has been doubting her commitment to Sparkle Motion from practically day one. And considering what the school has already done to her before I even arrived, I can’t say I blame her annoyance.
And the curriculum? It’s not at all that interesting, clear, or really all that new to me. Basically, as a professional education, they’re training us to be certified-compliant lemmings and basically presenting things as an unlearning-and-re-education process. I came here to learn something interesting, engaging, and useful, dammit — not something rote and intended to steal from the spirit of making the city a better place.
Hrm. Yeah, this is a mess. And now it’s time for me to stop whining and to start sucking it up by doing a bunch of stuff that could not bore me more. I do want to work in planning, but if all this constitutes is being trained to be a yesman-yeswoman-yessir-comingsir-and-being-forced-into-early-retirement* lackey — a milquetoast lemming — then forget it. Any one of you who knows me also knows that this homegirl just don’t play like that. I want to invoke change, not be a pencil-pushing-rubber-stamper-to-make-the-CIP-and-politicians-happy. Maybe I screwed up on this.
On the amusing side of this whingefest, my MP is now none other than Msr. Yeux Bleus, Gilles Duceppe. I didn’t plan that at all. I go from the wife of guy who resembles a trashy car salesman-who-can’t-sell-a-car-with-that-’stache (Olivia Chow) to the federal-level leader of the Bloc Québécois, aka the political sovereigntist movement representing Québec. Somehow, I think this is sort of funny. “Un nouveau pays pour le monde” indeed.
At least I have a great view of a city park. And the bagels always taste warm and great, as does the viande fumée.
Piss christ, I’m homesick.
* not quite what you were expecting, no?