Rich People's Problems
Why should I lie? This week there is nothing to write about, but you must already know that - you've been around the block this last week too. A friend from Nairobi told me once about a poll result that showed Kenyans like to complain the most of any other nationality. In Montreal, it seems all we have to complain about these days are, you know, rich people's problems (leaving the allo/bonjour debate aside, of course). Last weekend I rented a four-wheel drive beamer, gliding, practically, into the snowy Laurentian hill-mountains. Just me and a friend. The ride was so smooth we didn't even need music to transport us into a better, cooler world. I didn't think once about the packed, cracked bustle or die streets of Mexico City. Nor did my mind touch the communal wagon truck transportation I've bounced along in rural parts of Guatemala many times. Those were worlds away from my spacious seat-warming smooth-gear-shift-driving BMW (well, not mine... a rental...). Driving like that was nice - almost making driving seem like a really nice idea - maybe too nice. Rich people's problems.
It was mild, but snowing enough to powder the steep descents. The first run was a little shaky. A year of not snowboarding seems to have reprogrammed my body into a tense scarecrow; it does feel like one law year is equal to ten years in NLY's, so. The first ski lift we come upon is violent, scoops us up like dirt and drops us on the peak of another mini mountain. The guy on the other end of the chair lift mumbles something I assume is in French just before we hop off but even my francophone friend doesn't understand what he says until he has already zipped by us on the landing, cutting me off with my lanky snowboard as I tumble on my back. Why'd you cut me off like that dude? Rich people's problems.
But the rest of the night is splendour. Snow keeps coming and so does powder. Woohoo! Everyone's spirits are soaring. A kid dances like nobody's watching to the electronic music pumping out the outdoor speakers. Like I say, these mountains are not that impressive but they're pretty and clean and fun. Everyone is having fun. Let's face it, this is not a problem.
These mountains are not like the Congolese mountains. Not that I've ever been to the DRC, but I can't help but think about that country which has been shrouded in mystery for decades. At least to me, from over here. I know that my reluctance to buy new technology is linked to the war I've half-known about for some time but rarely hear about. A resource war, I've heard said. And I know that resource is code for minerals which is code for mountains. And I hear there are no mountains like the Congolese mountains.
The Blue Mountains. The Virunga Mountains, apparently home of the "critically endangered mountain gorilla" which is also being decimated by, among other things, war. People war or gorilla war? I can't imagine a war out here, in these mountains, where the most dangerous thing you're likely to come across is an overconfident skier or a tree. I can't picture that the things each one of us carries in our pockets on this peaceful hill, the things some people use to listen to music even as they barrel through maneuvering others, is linked to war in the mountains somewhere else. If I think about it too much it might become hard to make that upgrade to my cell phone I so seriously need. Rich people's problems.
Back on the Montreal highway we've skied into the night and now we're going to watch a movie: this is the life. The roads are clear and quiet. We eat some chicken (we're in Montreal so you know we love chicken), then decide on Black Panther. You must've heard by now but I'll say it again anyway: you've gotta see it. It makes me think about our world, the big world outside of my snow globe bubble; that world as well.
What about the lunatic to the south? What is happening with the UK and Russia? Maybe that's why I'm contemplating the DRC. If Wakanda exists, it can't be too far from there.
The next day I pick up the morning Metro from one of the city's living, breathing standing trees. A ten-year-old boy is missing. It's been over forty-eight hours or more. His parents say they are sorry, to come home. Where is he? A couple is sentenced after killing their friend, something about drugs. Why? The sun hides behind the clouds, everyone is hustling about: working, fighting against the machine that will chew them up and swallow them if they give it the chance. Well, almost everyone. Real people's problems.
You know what? I need a vacation. An all inclusive in the Dominican Republic, anyone?
Photo cred: Amy K in the Laurentians