Wednesday, April 15, 2009

spring break

Halleluja, brothers and sisters of the dreaming universe, a long overdue spring break happened for teachers of Nunavik. After reaching burnout, I boarded an Air Inuit Dash 8 for Kuujjuaq and then transfered to a jet plane to Montreal.

On board the plane was party time, people looking forward to unwinding after the stress of work, a breather in the south, visit friends, restaurants, whatever you like. I didn't sleep for the first few days. The change from northern to southern world is a shock to the system. Sometimes I feel like an outsider, watching the world through a window, unable to connect to what's happening.

But there is a way to connect. Go to a crowded cafe; sit there and drink coffee. After a while it starts to soak in, people sitting around talking, reading, laughing, hanging out. Watch people line up along the platform as the subway train pulls up to the metro station. Some cafes no longer torture customers with background music. Natural sound is soothing, the melody of voices, footsteps, doors opening and closing, buzz of coffee machines, cash register. I remember the old days, back in the sixties, when it was normal to be in a public space without the bombardment of background music. Background music forces a person to talk louder. It puts my nerves on edge and nine times out of ten, it's not my taste in music.

Some cafes have four or five TVs featuring sports, weather, news, whatever. I sit back and watch the people, for example, a man in a faded brown leather jacket, cracks in the leather, iguana skin, elephant ass jacket and faded tight jeans, tall leather boots, long white hair, unshaven jaw. Circulation of people, in and out. Grizzled man, maybe forty, with eastern import bride, maybe twenty, pretty face, thin and small. He's happy when she leans over the table and gives him a kiss.

Soccer fans, eyes glued to TVs, glued eyes. Laughter, cheering, shouting, sports chatter, coffee cup commentators, woman laughing at every silly comment from her beau. Pseudo-mystical dread-lock man, channel aggression through eastern guru swami wise man trip. It's all in the hair, bandana, poncho and jeans, in the threads, a cartoon costume. The man ready to speak in a far away deep hollow voice at the Feast of the Last Soccer Game in Social Club. Another man with beard, scruffy silk scarf, offers himself to whoever will listen. I go pee and get dizzy from looking at psychedelic, chemical eyes, like grandmother's eyes in the mirror. The cowboy man looks small from a distance but big up close. He fades into light of the doorway, skeleton shadow, a man risen up like a snake from the dust.

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