(james benedict brown) on the road

Same old same old

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 5 July, 2006

It’s Wednesday lunchtime, and I have climbed up and out of a deep pit filled with numbers and percentages and product codes… last night I dreamt of thousands of jars of pickled onions and pickled gherkins, each one the responce to hours of frantic ‘synergising’ the day before. I left work yesterday with little Microsoft Excel cells burnt into my eyes, feeling giddy and suddenly very sweaty as I waited for the bus under ominous rainclouds. I hate air conditioning systems not just for the horrendous waste of energy that they entail (cars are not the environmental enemy, artificially ventilated buildings are) but for the way in which they can seduce and change you. During the eight hours I day I spend at work, my body acclimatises that so that when I step outside into the real atmosphere I feel suddenly drained and sticky.

Monday evening was the same, and I was glad to be on the bus and on my way home. But at my first interchange, the métro station Radisson, my flight from the office was halted. The diminutive turnstile gates that politely control access to the métro were locked shut (compare them with the Guantanamo Bay style armoured floor-to-ceiling devices in the New York subway and consider what they reflect about fare dodging in the two cities). Although I didn’t find out until much later, a young man had given up, and thrown himself in front of a train at Préfontaine station, a few stops down the line. It’s what the métro staff would call a 154-04.

Later that night I was woken by a tremendous thunder storm; the kind that sneaks up on you, rumbling placidly so as to fool you into thinking that it’s 50km away, before suddenly exploding directly over your head. It made me jump upright in bed… most of the cats had already scarpered (Ben being the most nervous when storms approach – she’s already hidden herself away by the time the first distant rumble is heard). The rain fell so densely that looking from my window I could barely see the door of the kitchen that opens onto the balcony next to my room. Unable to sleep for the noise, I considered that at least I wouldn’t have to water the plants the next morning. These nocturnal thunderstorms are strange occurances: they wake me up and interupt my dreams, but when morning comes it sometimes feels as if they themselves were part of my dreams. I have to check for standing water in the empty plant pots outside to confirm that I didn’t imagine them in the drowsy early hours of the morning.

These storms are a matter of routine now… for several days we have had hot hot days that have built up until intense thunder storms break the temperature and the humidity in the evenings. Last Friday morning’s moving day adventure with Laura, Anna and Mélisse was made much easier by a breakfast time thunder storm that dropped the temperature by 5 degrees just as we started to move heavy furniture. The same happened yesterday evening, only a few hours earlier, dumping hundreds of thousands of litres of water on Montréal just before we went to see an outdoor event at the Jazz Festival. At first we were afraid the show would be spoilt by the rain – in the end it was blissfully cool and dry for us to watch a line up of singers and musicians cover some of Paul Simon’s greatest hits. By the time Elvis Costello climbed onto the open air stage at Place des Arts, both the unpleasant sweaty feeling all over my body and the little spreadsheet squares in my eyes had worn away.

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  1. ulli said, on 6 July, 2006 at 09:06

    Oh dear. I hope the little tomato plants didn’t get killed by the rain?

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