WHOOOAAA. What a title.
What pages of a long-lost dictionary did THAT come from?
Chris, my accountant, has a foible for alliterations (that means that several sequential words start with the same letter), so in a recent e-mail he called me a Peripatetic Prussian. Alliterations are often used in literature because they do sound good in a strange way (Long-lost lovers pounding the pre-dawn pavement!). Some writers just use them to show off. Because they're difficult to create. One either has a large active vocabulary or must be willing to look up synonyms to exhaustion.
Anyhoo, I'm getting carried away (I wish, LOL, preferably to distant shores!), The Prussian was simply a way of saying German, even though this German is as far removed from Prussian mentality as is possible.
But for the next word even the size of my passive vocabulary didn't measure up. I had NO CLUE what Peripatetic meant. I had to look it up. 'One who constantly travels from place to place'. HOLY SHIT. There is a word for me and I didn't even know it existed !
But there is the pathetic part. ESPECIALLY pathetic if you know that Prussians are known for their obeying of rules and their almost military discipline. Definitely NOT me. And it gets even more pathetic.
I have been back in Vancouver for 10 days now and I can't wait to leave again. I can't stand this city and its people.
I walk down Robson street to get to Cafe Crepe and traffic is mad. The road is blocked further down for a special event. It's a parade. It's the ROGERS Santa Clause Parade. ????
Oh, Thank God, Santa has found a sponsor.
The pedestrian traffic on Robson today has added a third component. People with elf noses, and garish paper mache extremities have joined the usual mix of shoppers at the high-end stores here and the final component made up by the homeless and destitute. The view of seeing this man,wearing at least 3 pairs of trousers against the cold, tied with string at the knees to keep them from slipping, going trough the garbage bins while everyone else is either trying to buy the latest outfit or is overly excited to pay homage to the great Rogers via the secondary figure of Santa Clause is noticeably shifting something inside me. It's like that British TV series 'The Prisoner'. Everything is perfectly normal on the surface but EVERYTHING in your being SCREAMS that there is something FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG !
This is WRONG. I DO NOT BELONG HERE ! This CAN NOT BE REAL ! (o.k. so the homeless are the ONLY part of this that is real). But watching the happy elves and busy shoppers effortlessly flowing around the destitute as if they were located in some invisible fifth spatial dimension is UNREAL. The odd and almost funny thing is: Writing this a few hours later I can remember 3 THREE individual poor people, their faces, what they were doing, but NONE of the faces or actions of the other two groups.
Yesterday I watched a documentary about the retirement of Lufthansa's highest-ranking pilot. One of the things the retiree said in connection with the desire in his youth to become a pilot was
Live your dream but don't dream your life.
That's what Vancouver today feels like. The Matrix all over again. Sure, the ROGERS Santa Clause Parade is something to do or watch on an otherwise uneventful Sunday. But what does it mean? Personally, I'd rather be at Castro's funeral today. Who is Santa Claus? What does he represent? Besides SHOPPING, I mean. Are these people here today learning or experiencing something new (semi-relevant, I mean)? Or did they just find a way to pass the time?. Are they dreaming their lives?
I'm afraid it's even more than that. What more? you ask? THIS VIDEO of Patty Smith singing Bob Dylan at this year's Nobel Prize ceremony could give you a hint, google the lyrics !
My gut feeling is causing an anxiety attack and I have to get out of their badly. Of course, all the roads are plugged. I feel strangely like the Prisoner, insisting that I am NOT # 6. I know that I am a prisoner here, that this is NOT my world, but like in the original TV series, I don;'t really know where I belong. South-East Asia was an insight.
It's everywhere, starting with the morning news. Trudeau (Yes, the WIMP who let himself be bullied NOT to attend Castro's funeral) announces a PEACE mission. But in the same sentence he mentions Canadian troops on that mission. Cat Stevens once sang of a Peace Train, but I don't think he envisioned that to be an armored train. Double-Speak is here to stay because no-one seems to notice it anymore.
Given all that it should be no wonder that I want to get out of here badly. Easier said than done. When I arrived in Vancouver, I had ONE empty page in my passport for visas. Not anymore. The utterly brilliant Canadian immigration official put his small arrival stamp NOT anywhere on the number of half-empty pages, but smack in the middle of my LAST empty page. Thanks a LOT MORON! Why can immigration officers in Asia be bothered to leaf through the entire passport and place the departure stamp neatly next to the corresponding arrival stamp, and Canadians can't even be bothered to look for an empty page? Who knows?
But it's probably a symptom of the same disease that allows me to send an e-mail to a Vietnamese Visa service over there, have a reply within 5 minutes, and the signed Visa Approval Letter within 4 hours, whereas applying for a German Birth certificate has not yielded ANY response within 7 days. Infuriating is a term that only barely scratches the surface of what I feel like. It's like trying to walk through molasses.
WHY can an application for a Search of Canadian Citizenship Records be submitted ONLY by MAIL to a processing centre in Nova Scotia? The mail delivery alone will take 3 business days ! Oh, sorry, I just looked up Canada Post's Delivery Standards, and my letter would arrive on Business day 4 (FOUR), EXCLUDING the day of mailing,i.e. a letter from one end of the country to the next takes FIVE FUCKING business days or a whole week.
Now THAT is a joke. Do they still use ponies? Or have the fat union-employees negotiated a settlement that prevents them from touching more than 10 envelopes an hour?
If anyone is looking for ways how to 'make Canada great again', this is somewhere where they could start.
No pictures? NO, because the white page background works very well to exemplify the frozen white snow covering the roads and sidewalks of Vancouver.
I believe 'bleak' is the word that best summarizes my world right now, LOL.
Here is the latest piece of 'progress'. Last time I renewed my PR card, there was a form one could take to the bank and pay the fees. NOT anymore. NOW you HAVE to pay online. No problem really, but WHY do I have to REGISTER with immigration Canada first just to pay a fee? Fine, I register. e-mail and password.
NOW, they want me to give them the answers to 3 (THREE) of those 'name of my first pet' security questions. Remember, all I want to do here is pay a fee to have a document renewed.
Who comes up with this Bullshit? And who actually approves it? Isn't there a SINGLE person there who dares to shout out "We don't need to know the name of this man's first pet just to let him pay the fee!" ????
It's a good thing I'm not Abraham, because if I had to play his numbers game with God, I'd be haggling down to lower numbers too "What if I find only 30 righteous people in the city? Will you still destroy it?"
Yes, strange thought patterns, but at least I have figured out why anyone looking back deserves to be turned into a pillar of salt.