Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Return to Canada

Claire and I are home from Paris and our cat Lola is slowly forgiving us. She growled at me a bit yesterday, but was on my lap for a few hours today, purring happily. So, hopefully things are back to normal.

The first thing I noticed upon returning to Canada is how wide open and isolating it is. J.G. Ballard talked once about the oceanic loneliness of North America. The buildings all seem so far away from each other and the roads are endless rivers of black asphalt. No wonder people get so fat and isolated here- you have to drive to get anywhere, and in most places you can't exactly walk a block to the cafe to sit with the locals and drink.

I also noticed how many more teenagers there are wandering around here. Where do the French put them? I almost never saw them in France. Sometimes, you'd see little kids with their parents in the park. But, rarely the teens. Maybe I was just doing adult things. That was different- it's almost impossible to find things to do here where teenagers aren't around. Bowling, movies, bookstores, libraries... where do you go to be an adult around other adults? (Aside from porno-swingers clubs)

Speaking of which, the little kids behind us on the plane were monsters, and their parents would do nothing to stop them, proving once and for all that the French can be lousy tourists too. The three little boys waged war in the seats behind us, while the little girl screamed and pulled on Claire's hair. Meanwhile, the lady next to us had an infant, so I had an airline crib in my lap for the seven-hour flight and the other four kids running around and screaming. Ugh!

Yes, yes, I know, children are our greatest natural resource. So when do we start mining them for uranium? So you think your kid is a miracle? Well, let's see if he can fly! He's a precious angel? Well, a few more kicks to my seat and he will be.

Why don't airlines have flights that children aren't allowed on? I mean, I would pay at least $100 extra per ticket to fly to France without children aboard. Maybe even $200. And I'm guessing that I'm not alone. They could make a fortune here. Is there some sort of civil rights issue here? Would someone sue? This seems like such an obvious solution to an irritating problem. I mean, alternately, parents could start spanking their kids. But, that's not happening any time soon. So, why not have 18 and over flights?


The Pagan Temple said...

Nice to know I'm not the only one who hasn't bought into the mystical worship of the child cult that seems to have engulfed the rest ofthe civilized world.

Jen P. said...

Welcome back! It's much too hot here, though. In Toronto, that is. Ugh.

Rufus said...

Yeah, it's pretty hot, isn't it? The cat won't even go outside for more than about five minutes. I'm pretty used to it after two months in a country without air conditioning, but last night the family was all talking about how unusually hot it is. When I went out walking in the park, I was pretty much on my own and went through about half a gallon of water. It's pretty tough. I imagine Toronto is hell to get through, since it's much more crowded anyway. Good luck! And drink lots of water!

Rufus said...

I think child worship was bad during the Victorian era, and then lightened up a bit, and then got terrible again after the 60s with their cult of youth. Baby boomers really think that childhood is the greatest part of life, or it should be, and that age and experience are, conversely, relatively worthless. For those of us who look forward to being older and wiser, it's really hard to find places to go in North America that haven't been basically surrendered to teenagers. For example, it's almost impossible to go watch a movie with adults anymore (unless it's Hot Nurses Sexcapades IV or something), and our local library is pretty much an unofficial daycare center now. I like kids, but I'd really love more social settings for adults, aside from strip clubs or whatever.

sock puppet said...

I travel a lot for work... while awaiting departure I instinctually search my vicinity for babies and children. I’ve definitely got bad travel Karma, as I’m prone to having my seat kicked, being drooled on, being tripped over, and the like.

When I share my misadventures with co-workers (it’s a standing joke now), there’s a colleague who always tells me that it won’t bother me as much when I have a child of my own.

I beg to differ.

Furthermore, my partner has two children. While we only see them during their school vacations, my time with them has not ‘cured’ me of expecting parents to parent, or expecting some semblance of manners from children old enough to know better.

Rufus said...

Yeah, I've gotten that too. I've met parents who are just so in awe of their kids that they let them run wild, and they're always the ones that tell me that I'll appreciate kids more when I have them. Sure, but that doesn't mean I won't spank them when they act like brats. Besides, I've heard that when you do have kids and you raise them to be well-behaved, you actually hate the lousy parents more.