Montreal and I Declare a Truce

Thanks to Coble, a bunch of understanding gentlemen at the Hilton, and the fact that only three of the elevators here face the outdoors, I have been able to navigate the two blocks of Montreal necessary for me to do the stuff I need to do.

I wish I were out doing other exciting things, seeing sites, meeting friendly people with French accents, but I promised myself that, if I went up the one escalator I had to go up, I would get some ice cream, come back here and call it a day.  I don’t know what else to do, really.  The panic is not subsiding and, in fact, I’m struggling to do stuff I can normally do without thinking twice, such as getting in closed in elevators.

So, yeah, it’s stupid, but I just can’t get ahead of it, so I’m just going to take it easy.

Anyway, my Haitian cab driver.  He’d never heard the name “Betsy” before.  He said that, in Haiti, they have the name “Bethy” and the name “Betty” but he had never heard “Betsy” and thought he might keep it for his daughter, should he have one.

He wants to retire when he’s 50.  He has some land in Haiti and he wants to put up a condo on it and spend the summers in Montreal and the winters in Haiti.  He told me that he estimates that there are less than 100 Haitians in Nashville and claims he met them all when down there once.

Apparently, I will be spending the next three days standing next to a guy who looks just like the PC from the Mac vs. PC commercials.  It’s really all I can do not to pinch his cheeks.

In Common

I’m still laughing about this idea of public education being “communist.”–as if just speaking the word “communist” immediately should make folks recoil, like garlic to vampires.

Lee used a word the other day–“populism“–that he seems to also think has fallen out of favor.  Perhaps it has.

But I like it.  Isn’t it better to be on the side of the people, of common folks, than not?

Aren’t we better off to work together in small groups?

I don’t have a lot of faith in democracy on a scale this large, as you know.  I have a lot of hope in it.  I really and sincerely hope we can make it work, but it seems to me that it shares many of the same problems as communism, which is that it works on a small scale, when you are accountable to each other and the fuck-ups and the cheats can be found out and dealt with, and when people feel motivated to participate.

I mean, it sure enough is easy to vote when there are 150 people voting.  Hell yes, then, your vote can make a difference.

Sometimes, sure, it’s hard to see how your vote makes a difference now.

Which is a shame because now what we have is a kind of two-tiered system where a small group of people vote for people from an even smaller group to run things.  And who can be in either of those two groups is as closely regulated as it can be without being obvious.  Many folks who would be motivated to vote for real change have been removed from the pool by harsh drug laws.  The others have been convinced that their votes won’t count (or be counted) or don’t matter.

It’s a shame we buy into this stuff.

Ha, this post was going to be about parks and education and stuff that we hold in common and that is for the common good, but I got distracted.

More later.

I have to go get in the shower and then navigate the elevators.