Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weighty Tombs

I've been reading "A Fine Balance" for quite some time now. I had mentioned to Justine a few months back that I was interested in reading it, so she filed away the info and happened to come across a copy of it at a used bookstore. It's a wonderful edition - hardcover, musty, covered in plastic, much like a library book. It's big and heavy and just the way a book should be, weighty, epic and worn. I love carrying it around with me - its immense presence makes a statement, emasculating all the 200 page paperbacks tucked into the bookshelf. It screams, "Look at me! I'm big! It will take you a really long time to get through me! Only the true of heart can hack it!"
As a side note, I recently had a party which, like any good party, got out of hand. Some random people I didn't know came to the party. I, of course, welcomed them into my home knowing nothing other than their first names. I gave them beer. I gave them a deck of cards, an ashtray and a seat at the table. I don't remember their names. Two of them started giving me shit for leaving my book out. They said I left it out to show people that I read big books, that I'm an intellectual show off who never reads big books but who wants people to believe I read big books.
I get where they're coming from because I know some people like that. But I'm not actually one of them. And I wasn't offended, either, namely because I was amused by their audacity and the fact that I had consumed about 3 bottles of Hungarias by that point.
But I digress.
I like savouring a story. When I was 16 I had to read "Gone with the Wind" during the summer and no one was more excited for my journey into Margaret Mitchell's world than my father. He dusted off his old copy - the same solid 5 kilo tomb I'm leafing through now. He told me to take my time, to get to know the characters, to take in the history, the suffering and the beauty. It took me just under 2 months of methodical reading and I just loved it. He was right.
I find myself going through the same process with AFB. These people, this time, the culture, have been part of my world and I am in hurry to breeze through my time with them.
I can see my father clearly with one of his library books. Pyjamas, bathrobe, slippers made from some sort of endangered animal, library book in hand. He would read in bed with his nightcap, usually something foul like Metaxa (to this day I believe my father is the only person on earth who ever drank that stuff) and slowly take in the story.
I think I'll do the same.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I had forgotten how much I adore Natalie Merchant so I've spent most of today listening to her. The is one by far my favourite. I've included the lyrics to really hammer home the emotional angst of this tune. Take a look at my body Look at my hands There's so much here That I don't understand Your face saving promises Whispered like prayers I don't need them I don't need them I've been treated so wrong I've been treated so long As if I'm becoming untouchable Contempt loves the silence It thrives in the dark With fine winding tendrils That strangle the heart They say that promises Sweeten the blow But I don't need them No, I don't need them I've been treated so wrong I've been treated so long As if I'm becoming untouchable I'm a slow dying flower Frost killing hour The sweet turning sour And untouchable O, I need The darkness The sweetness The sadness The weakness I need this I need A lullaby A kiss goodnight Angel sweet Love of my life O, I need this Do you remember the way That you touched me before All the trembling sweetness I loved and adored? Your face saving promises Whispered like prayers I don't need them No, I don't need them O, I need The darkness The sweetness The sadness The weakness I need this I need A lullaby A kiss goodnight The angel sweet Love of my life I need this Is it dark enough? Can you see me? Do you want me? Can you reach me? Or I'm leaving You better shut your mouth Hold your breath Kiss me now you'll catch my death O, I mean it

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hey Brother!

For my Jeffy, the REAL Buster Bluth.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I tell you. The United States has got the market cornered on garbage that passes for food. Bacon wrapped corn dogs with mayonnaise? Check. Sausage stuffed cornbread with gravy? Yessir. Deep fried lard with cracklins? You betcha.
The part of me that respects food and my body is repulsed by this America. The Hilary that worked in fine dining and takes pride in cooking balanced, local and sustainable nutrient-rich foods is better than these people.
There's another Hilary.
There's the Hilary who wants to drown herself in a vat of gravy - the same Hilary who wants to shoot down the interstate firing rounds out the window of her Suburban. Oh yes. That Hilary wants to go to Nascar this weekend, wants to bleach her hair, pack on 200 pounds and start breeding smell hounds.
I took that Hilary to lunch today. Foaming at the mouth while sweating, she and I pulled into the Sonic drive In this afternoon. I had some time to kill and after buying up some sausage and biscuits at the local Wal Mart, it was time to get to the real crux of the matter (i.e. how disgusting can I possibly be at one sitting?). For those of you who have never heard of Sonic, it is an American drive In reminiscent of the ones seen in movies like Dazed and Confused.
Check it out:
You park your car in a spot that has its own menu and intercom system and after staring at the bevy of choices offered up, you push a little button, holler out your order and wait until it is delivered by a pimply faced kid on roller blades. I wanted salad and poached fish - but Hilary was having none of it. So instead I ordered her a chili cheese wrap with Fritos. C'est quoi?, I'm sure you're wondering. Well. You start out with a flour tortilla, pour on some chili, pour on some cheese and finish the whole thing off with a handful of Fritos BBQ corn chips. Son of a dirty delicious bitch...I also threw in an order of jalapeno poppers with buttermilk ranch dressing for good measure.
Now she's all tired and dim witted and will only watch "Paul Blart, Mall Cop." I may need to get out of here.....she's pretty damn persuasive.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Levels of Lameness

Ever since my mother died I've made it a point to visit my aunt and uncle in Tennessee. Their only daughter Ashley died when she was 36 leaving them childless - the death of my parents left me an orphan. A bond was formed. The first year I came my aunt showed me how easy it was to quilt something, so we did. We also went to Wal-Mart and had a terribly American style white trash background photo taken just for kicks. The camp value was off the charts.
This year marks my fourth trip down. I think it's important to make this trip, to spend time with my family. The only thing is.....I'm super lame here. Like unreasonably lame. Take, for example, my day. After sleeping a hefty 10 hours I rose and retired to the couch where I played sudoku for a good half an hour. I then cut and sewed some material for this year's quilt - up until my back started to ache, at which point I sat down for more sudoku. I had lunch. Then more cutting and sewing. My back started hurting again so I took a nap. More sudoku. We listened to the radio all day - some easy listening station from Crossville. All the stars came out - Jewel, Celine, Hootie, Lionel, Phil. The works. But - the worst part....I enjoyed most of it. Fuck me. Maybe it was the cardigan I was wearing, maybe it was the material gliding through my fingers into the sewing machine, maybe it was the lack of anything foreign or illegal coursing through my veins. But something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
We left for dinner at the "restaurant" at 5:45. AJ and UB live in a retirement community in Pleasant Hill called Uplands. Understandably, everyone here is old. As we arrived, the road crew from Cocoon was finishing the early bird special. It wasn't even 6.
Tomorrow will be filled with more sewing. Then dinner at 5:30 at Jim Flynn's house. He promised me beer and whiskey. He and I are now BFF.
And on a hilarious note, I heard a commercial on the radio that went something like this:
"Get your Valentine something special this year. Come down to Crossville Pawn and Guns and show her you care."
Well. Personally, nothing says I love you like a used .45 - or perhaps a widow's wedding ring.
All I know is this: after all this "clean living" I'm going to have to take some drastic steps. Upon my return to Montreal I will require the following to undo all the good:
  • tickets to a heavy metal concert
  • 1 case of Jameson
  • a pile of cocaine
  • a carton of cigarettes
  • 1 ounce of weed
  • anonymous sex, preferably with someone diseased
Until then, think of me, living it up in the Bible Belt, uttering phrases such as "goodness gracious" and "my word". And doing so with a southern accent. I just can't help myself.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A First

An extraordinary thing happened today. I got on an airplane, took off into the sky and was not afraid. Those of you who know me well can attest to the fact that I don't enjoy flying. In fact, I have been known to break out into anxiety attacks while on board. Not to be confused with the time I passed out and woke up with an oxygen mask on my face - but that's a whole other story. As I was drifting off into a fitful sleep last night, I was troubled by the moths of anxiety stirring in my guts. I was afraid to get on that plane, afraid to die in what would certainly be a fiery ball of death. Surely my plane would go down, I'd die alone, afraid and alone. crazy talk. And crazy I am not.
So I did a bunch of deep breathing and tried to push out my fear. I replaced it with a love of experiencing life rather than hiding from it. It's too touchy-feely to get into, the kind of stuff that makes most of my friends roll their eyes at me. But it worked. And as a result, I was able to actually enjoy the process. Instead of being afraid all the time I was able to see things as they were. Here's some fun stuff that happened today:
  • somewhere between Montreal and Washington I flew over a pack of trees shaped like the state of Texas
  • on my way to the airport at 6:45 this morning the last of the full moon was hanging off the edge of the city. full, bleeding amber into the quickly fading night.
  • while waiting in line for customs i overheard 2 men discussing their recent athletic shoe purchases. one wanted to know why the other insisted on shopping in the junior men's department. they were both around 35.
  • when I got off the plane in Knoxville it was 22 degrees.
  • i ate a dirty but amazingly delicious burrito 5 hours ago. I'm still full.
  • a framed picture of me and my uncle is sitting on the mantle. i didn't put it there :)
  • i'm piecing together a work of art for a dear one.
  • being here makes me feel like i'm part of a lineage, a history whose blood and story includes my own.
  • UB and I can sit for hours without speaking. he looks like my mom - sometimes it makes my heart stop.
I am looking forward to regaling you with more tales on this very, very PG adventure. Rest assured that my soul is being fed exactly what it needed.