Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Danielle de Metz

            On Tuesday I got caught up on my writing.
            It was a hot day and so I had my door open, which made it more likely that my next-door neighbour, Benji would engage me in conversation when he saw me inside my apartment. As he often does he ranted about immigrants, which I find ironic, sad and hilarious all at the same time, given that he himself is an immigrant. His complaints fit a pattern that I’ve observed ever since I started living among urban populations back when I was a teenager. Every generation of immigrants sees themselves as superior to the next. I’ve seen this among the Chinese, Indians and everyone else. Benji came from Guyana in the 70s, got a job as a printer and worked until he retired. He claims that new immigrants don’t understand work or how the system works in Canada. He also seems to resent the Tibetans, or at least the ones that come to the donut shop downstairs. He says they take up a table and stay there talking loudly all day.      He asserts that it’s because of people like those that the place is losing money.
            Benji also pointed out that the down and out people bring bedbugs into the restaurant and we’re just lucky that the pests haven’t gotten up here.
            In the afternoon I took a sweaty bike ride. On the Bloor Viaduct, the same old lady as the day before responded in exactly the same way when I warned her that I was passing: “Ring your bell!” and then she rang hers. I might be cranky too if I didn’t take a nap before riding. The thing is that the voice is a far better signalling device than a bell because it can be projected forward. The sound of a bell goes outward so that one can often make the mistake of thinking that a bike bell across the street is behind. Horns and whistles are also instruments that push their sound forward, so really, if one is shy with one’s voice, a bell should be the very last alternative.
            I didn’t feel like stopping to pee at the Firkin until I was half a block past it. I think my urge to urinate is sometimes psychological though, such as whenever I come home I almost always have to pee. It wasn’t so bad though as I rode up to Victoria Park Avenue and Valdane Drive, across to Harris Park Drive, down to where that turns into Edge Park Avenue and then to Pharmacy. So far Clairlea is not a very interesting neighbourhood. There’s nothing unique about it, with nothing but lower middle class houses.
            On the way back I stopped at Starbucks to use the washroom and wondered what form their implicit bias training day the day before had taken. Did they play trust and communication games or did they just have a Spike Lee movie marathon?
            Taxis are so annoying to follow on a street like Queen. They signal then turn off their signal, they swerve right then left, they stop and go without warning.
            That night I had a chicken breast and a potato with gravy and watched two episodes of Dobie Gillis. These two were a little more interesting than they’ve been lately.
            In the first, Dobie’s mother invites a French painter and his family to dinner because she wants to expose Dobie to culture. The man’s 17-year-old daughter, Yvette is a published poet and novelist, whose second novel is called “Love Is A Broken Gas Main”. “And you’re only 17!” declares Dobie’s mother, to which Yvette responds, “If one does not have it by the time one is 17 there can be little hope, can there?” She thinks Dobie is extremely boring and calls him a “species of a goat” but she falls in love with his father because she considers him to be a cruel savage and pursues him aggressively, literally chasing him around his grocery store. “It is a perfect love! All pain and no pleasure!”
            Yvette was played by French actor Danielle de Metz, who did mostly television work throughout the 60s and was nominated for an Emmy for a guest role on The Man From UNCLE.
            The second story was probably the most serious of the series so far. It was about high school dropouts. It starts with two leather jacketed drop-outs hanging around outside the school, who pick on Chatsworth Osborn, the rich kid but they are surprised when he uses judo to make short work of them. The main story is about a normally straight-A student named Paul who is in danger of dropping out because poverty has overwhelmed him. Their teacher asks Dobie to try to help him and so he plays matchmaker between Paul and a rich girl who’s always liked Paul. The promise of this relationship keeps Paul in school.

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