8.22.2008

freedom and fortune, together at last


cohen has gone to hang out with his grandma until monday morning, and now, sitting here in my perfectly quiet house, i am filled with the sort of euphoria that one experiences in their younger years as they are getting ready to go to a party. a party that their parents don't know about. the night filled with possibility. it is crazy really. only one child! for the whole weekend! i have already started making lists of all the things i can do now that i only have one small and relatively docile human in my charge. crafts! baking! sleeping! photography! sleeping! reading! sleeping! of that list i suspect i will dive headfirst into all three sleeping, and likely get absolutely nothing else done, because that is how it works, you wait forever to have time to yourself and then when it comes you feel so happy to have it that you decide to absolutely nothing, because really, when else can you do that? then on monday when he comes back and the house is filled with chaos again i will wish i had squandered my time differently. maybe writing this out here and now will make me reconsider the doing nothing. maybe i am completely underestimating the smaller humans insatiable need for attention and love, oh, and her complete disregard for naps. any way we slice it though i will have less noise around here for a couple of days and for three mornings in a row i won't have to get up early and concoct some sort of nutritious breakfast. victory!

it goes without saying though that by tomorrow afternoon i will be desperately missing him and by monday morning i will be so excited to see him again that my joy might actually freak him out, but that is parenting for you.

in other news, marko and i have decided that the chinese are going to take over the world. i could site several examples of why this is so, none of which have anything to do with the olympics, but i have one specific one in mind. friday is our recycling day, well this week anyway, i can't be sure about next as it seems to fluctuate often, making it impossible to keep up unless one looks at the online schedule daily to figure it all out. we don't have a car and we drink our fair share of bottled and canned beverages, so we have a lot of returnables each week. the thought of saving them all up in the basement and then dragging them all on foot to the return it place makes my head spin, so we take them to the alley and allow whoever wants them to help themselves. we are in the minority by far for our neighbourhood. most of the people around here are new immigrants from china, the philippines, and india, with the former making up the bulk of my particular corner of the hood. most of the shops around here cater to these cultures and as such it is quite a rich tapestry of commerce, significantly different from the neighbourhood we came from. back there, at the corner of drunk and homeless, it would be a junkie that would be taking the bottles from the bin, dreaming of his next fix and smelling like a years worth of sweat. around here it is something all together different. it is the lady across the alley, who by all accounts owns that house, and the seemingly poor couple with their baby that live at the end of the block. there is also the man on the bike who roams around looking for bottles and cans, he isn't homeless or drunk, just willing and industrious. in every instance these people are chinese, and i am certain they think i am crazy for putting out my bottles for anyone to take. last night when i put mine out they were all there anxiously waiting to take them away. i was surprised at first to see them. i had seen each of them help themselves on other occasions, but to all be there at once, it was shocking, like a neighbourhood event, "oh it is seven o'clock the night before the recycling gets picked up, i bet that wasteful couple with the noisy child are putting their cans out any minute now, i better get over there". they each nodded at me and smiled and then, seconds after i put the bin down, proceeded to divvy up the bottles amongst themselves. the lady from across the alley had a plastic bag with her, the man a bin on his bike, and the couple put them in the bottom of their stroller. each of them had a huge grin. i don't blame them. last week i forgot to take the recycling out and so i had twice the amount this week, a large haul to be sure. for a moment i felt glad, glad to be rid of the bottles and glad to have helped them somehow, but only for a moment, and then i just felt mournful of my lazy and wasteful western ways, the truth of which is hard to hide.

i told marko about it and he said "see, this is what i mean, the chinese are going to take over the world, they just get it in a way that we in the western world don't". i am not sure, i suspect that the chinese can be just as wasteful as the rest of us everywhere else on earth. maybe it is the immigrant experience that makes them more aware. whatever it is, there is something to be learned from them, the ones who wait in the shadows for me to bring out my bucket full of nickels. i'm still pretty sure i won't be taking back my own bottles anytime soon though.

3 comments:

Klay said...

I love the description of your two days off. Somehow when everything seems possible the only and best choice ends up doing nothing. I've been doing a lot of that lately and with limited good reason. I hope it fulfills you in way that makes you feel accomplished - it should.
I also love the description of the people waiting for your recycling. I wish that people in my neighborhood could see that. I'm sure they would be like "hey you can't take that, it's mine." There just aren't any incentives here to be industrious like that. The closest we come is having an entire Russian community take over the newspaper delivery market. No kids on bikes throwing papers and waving. It's families in minivans up at 4:30 everyday throwing the paper at your door. There must be some kind of "I'm too good/educated/skilled for that" mentality about certain things the westerners. Perhaps it's the the jobs that require less language and more action that draws them in. Anyway, good post!

Trish said...

not having a car is the opposite of wasteful - we managed without one until two years ago and now it'd be very very easy to return our bottles and cans.

cheesefairy said...

I hope you enjoyed your vacation.

I used to return bottles & cans for busfare but when I didn't need to anymore, I always put them out in the alley for the dumpster divers in the west end.