Tuesday, January 10, 2012


As promised I am going to cast of the leaden burden of chronology and write posts as memories spring to my mind as I fear otherwise I may lose them again, and frankly I think the world has a right to know the majority of my thoughts.

Soon I shall share with you details of my Greyhound experience, but before the main event I would like to take a moment to talk about English students. I have only been back in classes for 6 days, but it hasn't been much of a start I have to say. I already have novels coming out of my eyeballs and more essays than limbs to write. The brief for my renaissance class is pretty detailed though, so I'm sure it'll be no problem to write : "12-14 page essay or two 6-7 essays on "a theme". You know the drill."
I am afraid I don't know the drill too well. Especially when the class seems not to be about theme at all but about how different stories have travelled Asia and Europe and become the fairy tales we know and love today. Interesting for 5 minutes, but 3 months might be pushing a bit.

Anyway, yes. English students. I first started thinking about them when on the plane from Fort Lauderdale to Ottawa. Someone on the plane was pretty sick apparently so they did the call over the speakers "If there is a doctor/paramedic on board can you please push your call button." As 3 or 4 hands dinged their buttons, I felt an immense sense of jealousy. I should probably have felt more concerned for the person who may have been in some kind of life threatening situation, but after 8 hours in Fort Lauderdale airport I wasn't feeling too much love for my fellow man. Anyway, it depressed me that as an English student, and after having graduated as an English student that I will never be called up to serve my duty for my useful skills.
"Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, there are terrorists on board and they will only agree to save us if someone is able to identify the meter of this poem."

It took me a while to come to terms with this, but in the end I did. I realise that to many my degree may seem a little useless, but I enjoy what it offers while realising that it is unlikely to save any lives. Some people in my classes seem to not have come to this realisation yet. They put their hands up to answer and sigh as if they are doing everyone a service by giving their view on the symbolism of the piece of fluff in chapter 27. Of course people should be allowed to answer questions, but what is the point in being arrogant about subjective matters? It is lovely that you think that the fluff represents the incestuous desires of hermit crabs, but there is no need to roll your eyes as you wait for us to realise your genius and fall down at your knees and beg to here more of your endless genius. Stop it. Start your sentence with 'I think' and not 'Well obviously'. The law is that if you start a sentence with 'Well obviously..' you are going to make a fool of yourself, and you shouldn't break the law.

Anyway, that was just a little side-note. I wrote to talk a little bit about the glitzy,glamorous world of the Greyhound bus. For the most part they have been pretty reasonable and the Ottawa bus station has free-wifi and disgusting overpriced sandwiches which are vile, but at least consistently so.
During the Christmas Break I also got to experience Toronto bus station. While I was looking forward to seeing the city itself, I think it would be an understatement to say this was the part of my trip that I was looking forward to the most.
In my various trips there - yeah I went there a couple of times, but you really need a good few visits to really get the full experience. One of the highlights was a family of Amish people who were there. I assume there were a family, otherwise there were just 6 women who had all turned up in navy blue milk-maid dresses - cringe!

Anyway, they were just the tip of the iceberg of colourful characters hanging around Toronto bus station. A highlight was a man who had missed his bus to Ottawa as it had left 5 minutes before it was supposed to as the clocks in the terminal were displaying the wrong the time. He was pretty angry, which is understandable, but it was the Canadian nature of his anger that impressed me. In England it would have been "fuck", "shit", "wankers" and many more expletives, but this man:
"This is a real nuisance."
"I'm not very happy at all with you guys."
It happened over the course of quite a few minutes, and he did it all in the accent of my favourite animated moose:
This accent is pretty much what I came to Canada for so I am fairly content.

Another fellow we met was a homeless man. With a swollen eye and a heart full of cheer. He came around asking for change so that he could buy a ticket. We gave him a few bits of change and expected him to be on his merry way, but despite his poor living conditions he was still a man of perception with an appetite for intrigue. He recognised our accents as English and told us that he was hoping to pass by London on his way to Amsterdam. Judging by the 68 cents he held in his hand, I felt that this trip wasn't going to be occurring any time soon. He did let us in on some top-secret information though, as he had it on good authority that the Queen, yes the Queen, had said that she thought "London should give marijuana coffee shops a go." I have to admit that while in Miami that I missed the Queen's speech, but I'm pretty sure the necessity of getting more drugs into the capital city wasn't too high on her to do list this year. But he was another Canadian that I admired for his sheer spirit and alcohol fuelled delusion.

I was less appreciative of the woman on the bus itself. Who, having arrived late, spent 90% of the journey complaining about having not got a very good seat on the bus.
"We got the sardine seats."
"We're in this together guys at the back."
"They should give us discounted seats."
No. No they shouldn't. If you want a better seat, you should arrive at the designated time.
I wanted to rip her ticket out of her hand and go give it to the homeless man. He may have been slightly scary and bloodshot in the eyes, but at least he had the cheerful attitude that only hope and alcohol fuelled delusion can bring.

Anyways. This is all irrelevant to everybody else, but most people don't really care too much about what other people are thinking or doing. When you attentively listen to someone else's long story, you are probably just waiting for that moment where you vaguely relate so that you can subtly turn the conversation around to something you feel like talking about. But you know, at least I gave you guys some to procrastinate over?

And in one month today (baaaa) Charles comes to Canada so you will get another well deserved break from the ramblings of a globe-trotting recluse.

Katharine. x

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