Thursday, June 24, 2004

Questions and Answers

Tonight, my summer roommate Alex and I bonded over asian cuisine, broken hearts and a buried friend. I always knew we had potential.

We have an assignment in Computer-Assisted Reporting class where we have to interview a classmate via email, and they interview us right back. I just replied to Gaelle's 10 questions, and it was so stream-of-consciousness and uncensored that I feel compelled to copy and paste it here. (Warning: it's long.)

> 1. What are the differences between the place you were born and the
> city you live in now?

Scarborough is your typical suburban hell, with cookie-cutter
bungalows, strip malls, power fields, donut shops and countless
violent crimes and teen pregnancies because there's nothing else for
the youth to do. Montreal, on the other hand, is this beautiful,
diverse, bohemian utopia. Montrealers strike me as being very
passionate people. Not to get all new-agey on you, but this city exudes a very strong energy, and I feel like I could feed on it for the rest of my life. Maybe I'm still in a honeymoon period, butI like it here. Very much.

> 2. What are all the reasons that you choose to live in Montreal,
> whether they are for Montreal or against elsewhere?

I knew that I wanted to study journalism in a major urban centre, but
I wanted to steer clear of Toronto for two reasons:

a) My parents live there (Scarborough is technically part of the
Greater Toronto Area) and although we usually get along fine, they
drive me a bit crazy after a while. Rent in T dot is so high that it
would make no sense at all for me to move out on my own and
b) My four years spent in Kingston doing my undergrad were the four
best years of my life. I fell in love with that city, and I wanted to
opportunity to start fresh and fall in love with another one.

Having visited Montreal a few times, I knew it was a place that I
would enjoy living. Plus, I have a couple of good friends from my
undergrad who now attend McGill, so I knew that I would have a smooth
transition because they'd be around come September. I love the thought
of a fresh start, but going to a strange city full of strangers would
be scary. It's nice to have that social safety buffer.

> 3. What do you spend most of your time doing?

I spent most of my time sleeping. That is followed closely by reading,
writing and daydreaming.

> 4. How does it relate to your sense of belonging on this big, crowded
> planet?

How does question 3 relate, you mean? Okay. Well, most people need
sleep. And reading is the best method for humans to communicate ideas
with other humans - fuck the internet. And I garner a bit of a sense
of self-worth whenever I write something. At the risk of sounding
pompous, I feel like I'm giving something back to the world. Just a
little piece of myself. It's validating. Once something is in the
public domain, you never know how many people will come into contact
with it. I mean, it never ceases to amaze me that.....okay, I'm going
off on a bit of a tangent here, but this morning I was singing this
Aimee Mann song to myself. "You Could Make a Killing" or something
like that. It's really beautiful. It was vaguely popular two or three
years ago. (I think it appeared on the soundtrack to that movie
"Magnolia".) Now mostly forgotten by the masses. But it just suddenly
APPEARED in my head, and I wonder if Ms. Mann or really any musician
or artist or writer or poet realizes that their stuff is OUT there,
that people are still being affected/moved by it years and years later.
Even after they think it's been forgotten by everyone but themselves.
I find that really incredible. I hope I write something worthy of
being remembered by someone, somewhere, sometime in the future. Not
necessarily 500 years from now. I know nothing I write will resonate
like that. But...maybe some boy in the year 2023 will find some poem
or short story or article I wrote in a book or somewhere on the
internet and maybe he will think, "Neat."

> 5. What are the elements of your life that make you feel most free?

Writing is the most freeing thing I can imagine. I also like playing on swings.

> 6. What are the elements of your life that make you feel most comitted?

I'm not sure I understand this question, but I'll try. I feel very
committed to myself. Let me explain. My grandparents, all four of
them, had pretty shitty lives. They lived through poverty and World
War II and subsequent civil war and worked really hard and
managed to come to Canada to make a life for themselves and for their
children. And, subsequently, for their children's children. Being me.
They suffered so much, just so I could have things handed to me on a
platter. I have literally been denied nothing. I've realized that
living the best life I can live, and making the most of the
opportunities I have is the best way to repay my grandparents for the
enormous sacrifices they made for us. So I'm committed to making a
good, meaningful life for myself and being proud of the decisions I make.

> 7. Tell me the childhood anecdote you least like being the subject of,
> whether it's your mum, or a friend who likes telling it.

Oh man. Gaelle, you absolute bitch! Okay. Fine. My mom is very fond
of telling this embarrassing anecdote of me as a kid. We were having
dinner one night, and were eating chicken drumsticks or something. And
I asked my parents, "How do they grow the bones inside of chicken?" I
had no idea I was eating an animal. So they explained to me what we
were eating. And then I said my somewhat-famous line, "You mean THIS THAT chicken??" and I pointed to our budgie. My parents
find this traumatizing event in my life really really funny. I didn't
eat chicken for years afterwards. Which is funny, because chicken is
really the only meat I eat now.

> 8. Why do you choose to inhabit your home (whether it's a messy little
> appartment just for you or a spic and span mansion with a hundred
> roommates) the way that you do?

I find comfort in messes. I also like my living space to reflect my
personality. I'm currently subletting a room from my friend, so it's
all her stuff and all of her artwork, so I'm feeling vaguely
transient. I can't wait for September so I can put up band posters and
postcards of trashy pulp novel covers and say "This is MY space."

> 9. What is the nightmare that pisses you off most?

When I was a kid - like maybe 5 or 6 - I had this recurring nightmare
where I'm sitting on my mom's shoulders. And we're running through the
playground of my elementary school and we're both laughing and
laughing. And suddenly she hands me off to this witch (literally, a
witch. Green face, pointy hat, the works.) and I'm suddenly riding on
HER shoulders, and the witch is cackling. And my mom is still
laughing, and running in the opposite direction. And I start to cry
and jump off the witch and run towards my mom. I finally catch her,
but the second I get back on my mom's shoulders, she turns into the
witch and I can see my mom running away again. I would always wake up
crying. It pissed me off because I couldn't believe my mom would do
that to me. Even though it wasn't real, I remember being mad at her in
real life. I can't remember ever telling her about the nightmare,
though. Holy childhood abandonment issues, Batman!

> 10. What in the world makes you feel most tired, other than a lack of
> sleep?

Making new friends. It's exhausting.

Okay, I'm not going to read this over because I'm pretty sure I'll
censor myself or get really embarrassed and re-write it. And...SEND!

(Now playing: "You Could Make a Killing", Aimee Mann)


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