I happened to be in a newsroom in Montreal this week, for a meeting that ended up being pushed back because the mayor had just been arrested on corruption charges (following in a not so proud tradition of Montreal mayors) and all hands were on deck arranging coverage. So there I sat, in the middle of the action, watching the journalistic hive in full buzz.
While waiting for the meeting, I spent some time connecting with friends and colleagues in Istanbul via social media. The Turkish press have been suppressing news of police violence against demonstrators protesting government moves to restrict their freedoms. I have been passing on eye witness reports, so the story will be heard and my friends will know they are not alone.
When my plane touched down back in Toronto I found myself on a Park n Fly bus with what I thought were a crowd of rowdies returning from holiday. It turns out they were a wedding party that went south for a fairy tale celebration and, after getting entangled in a bar fight at a local disco, ended up in a Dominican jail. Finally home in Canada they were drunk with relief. Reporters crowded around our bus, flashes going off in every direction.
It was surreal. I was reminded of Solomon Gursky from the Mordecai Richler novel, mysteriously appearing in the background of photographs of significant moments in history. Which is a nice Montreal reference. But I didn’t think my friends would get it so when I told the story I said I felt like Forrest Gump instead. Then I counted backwards in my head to see if that reference timed out on relevance. But my friends seemed to remember and laughed so that was all right.
Three morals in this story,
1. I’ve had an interesting week.
2. To fully appreciate the story it would help to be well versed in 20th century classic Canadian fiction. But a nodding acquaintance with Academy Award winning Hollywood films of the past 20 years will do in a pinch.
3. Aging makes it harder to connect because there are fewer and fewer people who share the same cultural references. If you are given to obscure literary and mythological references like I am, you can easily find yourself all alone with your thoughts.
Yours with creativity and imagination,