Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Johnny Five is Alive! or 'In Between a Taco and a Warm Place'

I know some people are dying to hear the results of Johnny’s Introduction to Canada 101. I can confidently, laughably, boldly and certainly say she landed safely in Pearson Airport, Toronto on Sun, Dec 26 Central Eastern time. Yes, one might well have expected that she would be a bit later than one can expect but that wasn’t the case. No, actually, I’d say that she was simply later than I expected. No, that’s not it either: all planes seemed to be ridiculously late, and the crowds weren’t dispersing so I can tell you from experience it wasn’t a settling matter! I was worried.

Where could Johnny be? Were we just destined to fail after all our struggle booking arrangements for countless hotels and chasing after one evasive landlord after another? Surely things couldn’t just flop after she went to the trouble of buying thick underwear specifically to protect her from our cold climate? On the other hand, Murphy’s law would tend to suggest that yes, they could. If anything will happen that can, so won’t some things. Maybe everything had just gone wrong.

I started to really think the plane had already arrived and all the passengers were gone, judging from another man, fresh from London, who said he also came off flight 099 about a half hour ago and thought that everyone was off. Then suddenly, I saw a girl who looked completely flustered; the one heading straight for the door. Indeed, it was Johnny! I advanced fully certain it was her but yet with this question in mind: was it really her, all the way from Portugal??? Although I was wearing my bright red hoodie to get her to recognize me, it was I that ran after her and intercepted her before she got away. Even if I’ve only seen her in a photo or two before, my eye is keen to detail. It had her image nailed. We made contact then abruptly got the hell out of there.

Another thing that caught me off guard is that the Airport was a complete ZOO!!! There were late (and I mean like DAYS late) Jetsgo planes arriving, the terminal 3 (where I had to go to meet Johnny off a British Airlines flight) was totally full, traffic was a serious joke and all I could do was stand in confusion as onslaughts of people in all different direction milled around me mindlessly as I did to them, waiting, stressing, harboring ill doubts and actual fears of Stan Rogers-like catastrophic reoccurrences. There was just an inkling of a moment when I remember thinking something to the effect that the apocalypse couldn’t be more obviously presented, but then again, I’m getting used to coincidences not being my friend so why would I put faith in a flimsy system if I’d known it as less than all together? As a result of large groups of other cars that are faster than me, I had to go to terminal 2, bribe a cab driver to take me to terminal 3 and wait, wait, wait. Finally: breakthrough!

Johnny is getting used to things here. I think we will get along fine. If we don’t then she’ll just leave, simple as that. After all, there’s no use in hanging out with a guy named Barrett if he isn’t cool. There is a lot for her to enjoy here though. The first time she went outside she saw snow for the third or second time in her life. That’s incomprehensible for me to think but true. Amazing! She is very entertaining to watch because everything is so much different for her but for me, even though I’m used to living here, it’s refreshing not to take it for granted. For example, I will tell you a story about how she reacts to cold:

Remember in Loonie Toons, the way Coyote would run after Roadrunner, even beyond the ends of cliffs and then he would just hang in the air until, with mortification, he realized he was about to fall, then plummet to the ground? Well, the cold seemed to have a similar delayed effect on Johnny. She walked outside just happy to have some fresh air (well, as fresh as Toronto has to offer) and seemed fine for a few moments. Then the bite of the wind would pick up or the cold would just settle itself into her jeans and suddenly her jaw would drop. She would exhibit the look of shock from being assaulted by the temperature, utter ‘I can’t believe it’s and rush in for cover again.

It is very interesting meeting someone you’ve never actually met before but in a way it seems like we are just confirming something we’ve already known through the internet. The internet? Of all places! Well, what do you think you’re on right now? Don’t act like it’s such an alien concept.

The “Lioness” and I have been enjoying the best of second hand book stores and anticipating making a snow man at some point. She met my parents yesterday and marveled at how loud my sisters are with me. It’s good to have someone who’s from the outside. My father was really excited to meet a vet student because he’s a cattle farmer and likes to talk cows. For her part, she wants to see the old order Mennonites in our neighboring town, St. Jacobs, and maybe catch the birthing of a calf in real life. She tells me her anthropological observations of Canadian culture and it’s interesting to discuss them. We went to Taco Bell (Diem, I don’t know the other place you recommended, do we Canucks have it?) and also Wal-mart where, sitting on the store floor because as I never noticed, but where the hell ARE you supposed to try on boots in Wal-mart? She found boots that aided against falling and breaking one’s face on the ice. She walks confidently now and knows to expect the worst even though it’s starting to get more confidently but who doesn’t still hate the whole layering thing? It brings with it a whole can of problems and one is that it’s really hard to be comfortable.
Don't take my word for it, hear Lioness'

Unfortunately today, she came down with quite a fever. She felt cold but was actually very hot and needed to protect herself with multiple layers of covers. Her voice is weak and I think the combination of jet lag and the weather is just throwing her body for a bit of a loop. She says she’s getting better and is at this moment doing some resting-up but she wanted me to warn everyone that she may not be active in her blogging for a few more days. I’ll try to pick up the slack. Her “temperaturitis” is a problem that comes and goes but it’s never good to push the limits if extreme colds or hots make her vulnerable to sickness, so she’ll just be relaxing in her room, an unaesthetically pleasingly though adjustably floral decorated space that she seems satisfied with.

I will have more details and feedback about the wonderful visit of Lioness. As for myself, I feel as if I’m on a vacation at home because being in her presence is like sharing the experience of a tourist. I see my own native land through a bit of a different perspective, enriched by the wonder and novelty of a foreigner. I’m trying to pick up a Portuguese word here or there and enjoying the exercise of speaking some German with her, a woman who’s truly brilliant with languages (as I get a better sense of just how many books she’s read, I’m floored). As we get to know each other more as actual people I find that there’s not really much that separates us other than geography. The blogsphere is small when you really think about it. In it, I know that many read each other almost as a ritual though they may never have met one another. Let me tell you as someone who had doubts about it but realized that people are generally who they seem to be from one medium to the next, that the internet is really affecting people’s lives these days and that as J said, you CAN tell a lot about a person from reading their blog. Virtual communities realize themselves in actuality and vice-versa. It’s fun!

So…in the meantime, just know that she’s fine, don’t worry. I’ll continue to try to be a good host and as that's the end of the time we have for today, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you all a goodnight!

3 Comments:

Blogger Savtadotty said...

I loved hearing all the details. I must admit to feeling a bit happy that I wasn't at an airport this week (schadenfreude = better you than me!), but your description of the stress and tumult was almost the same as being there.

Make sure Johnny drinks plenty of hot tea and chicken soup for her cold. Happy New Year.

12:29 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

You probably don't have a Taco John's in Canada. I'm not sure where they are located. Other than Minnesota, I mean.

I'm glad you connected at the airport and have been having a good time. Book store! Yay!

Oh, Johnny, I hope you feel better. Being sick on a vacation is never fun.

8:24 AM  
Blogger squarepeg said...

Barrett, you sound like a wonderful, perfect host! Strange, how I do feel like J, and now you, are part of my extended family. That means caring about how you're doing. I hope she feels better soon -- I guess the cold's given her immune system's a bit of a shock. Have fun, you guys!

11:19 AM  

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