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My Love-Hate Relationship with the Pearson International Airport

1 Sep

There’s a line Hugh Grant’s character in Love Actually recites while considering Heathrow International Airport in London. He says:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.”

And this is very much the way I’ve always felt about airports. They’re usually the only places in the city where people of all different races, tribes, and religions congregate to welcome home loved ones. Sometimes it’s only been a couple weeks, sometimes there are tearful reunions, put on display for a world of perfect strangers to see. No one ever rolls their eyes in disgust of their emotion. No one is ever unhappy to see someone again after an absence. Most everyone in the arrivals section of the airport is happy, excited, waiting for someone whom they’ve been waiting for… and it’s always a beautiful feeling when the waiting is over.

But it’s funny how much a tone can change on such a short escalator ride; for at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, those departing are transported skyward, and the ascent is flavoured too much like a voyage to heaven. Friends and family wait in line as their loved ones check into their flights early. Overpriced coffee shops are often dotted with tearful goodbyes, or promises of seeing one another soon – some of which will never be fulfilled.

Goodbyes are often so hard, and coming from someone who has had so many of them this year, I can tell you that there is a sickly sweetness in the melancholy of goodbye; whether it be forever, or for only a few months. Even if for a moment, there’s a period of time afterwards where you’re left with the feeling that although someone is gone, they’re still with you, and that in itself is such a beautiful feeling.

So you see, there’s really nothing to hate about the airport, even though it might seem like there is at the time. People coming, people going, friends returning, and loved ones leaving – all of it such a rich tapestry of emotion housed in marvels of engineering and architecture.

Truly humanity at it’s finest.

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On Death, Jackasses, and Cruelty, and How All Could Have Been Easily Avoided.

25 Jun

For those of you who know me well, you’ll know that I do not find myself above the low-brow humour of toilet jokes, raunchy humour, or bad comedy movies. In fact, the ‘flopping-dick’ scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall goes down in history as one of the few times I laughed so hard that pee came out.

One of the other times can be claimed by this man:

Ryan Dunn.

Now, seeing as this blog of mine is hardly timely enough to be a news blog, it’s safe to say that you already know that this poor soul had a very poor lapse of judgement and decided that he was going to drive his Italian sports car home after having a few too many drinks. He died in the wee hours on a Monday morning, killing himself and his passenger instantaneously. I’m not here to judge him, since I know that poor lapses in judgement happen to the very best of us. In fact, all of the drinkers I know have admitted to having driven after what was probably one too many drinks. That being said, whenever I mention the death of Ryan Dunn, I find myself kind of appalled by what people have been saying.

It hasn’t been rare for me to hear things like: “What a fucking moron!” or, “Well, didn’t see that one coming”. Often we’re all a victim of our poor judgement, and rarely are we subjected to the amount of hate that this man received after losing his life. I found it pretty deplorable, and to be quite honest, I think regardless as to how Ryan Dunn died, he deserves a tonne of credit.

Love it or hate it, the Jackass franchise of television shows and movies, devoted themselves to entertaining a world full of misfit kids, who couldn’t always find humour in the lukewarm comedy of today’s sitcoms and rom-com movies. I myself don’t think I ever laughed during a single episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” or god forbid one of the newer additions like “The New Adventures of Old Christine”. We of the MTV generation (namely the Gen Y’ers and the younger Gen X’ers) found grit and diabolical substance in the Jackass franchise, and we became a generation of Jackasses. Somehow our lives began to revolve solely around humour… and growing up in the kind of world that we did, it’s not hard to see why.

Ryan Dunn and the rest of the Jackass guys were little rays of brainless sunshine lighting up the tame and unadventurous worlds of young people everywhere.

To everyone who scoffs, and says good riddance to the life of Ryan Dunn, I ask that you consider the fact that this was a man, who although vulgar, had a wife that he was desperately in love with, did his best to make his friends laugh, and took his job entertaining people very seriously, so in the end, can you say he was that much different than you?

Everyone makes poor choices, and my mother always used to tell me, “Chantalle, we make a choice, and we either reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of that choice”. Well… Mr. Dunn, you made a choice, and we have to suffer with the consequences, but you were one hell of a funny dude, and I hope with time, everyone comes to realize that you were loved, and that we’re all the same.

If you feel yourself so inclined, please donate to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

New Look, New Ideas, New Life into a Fairly Old Blog

12 Jun

As some of you know, I’ve had this blog for a pretty long time. Probably going on about a year, and aside from my occasional travel posts, I’ve never done very much with it, seeing as I never felt as though I had a very eventful life.

Well, as some of you might have been able to tell, that’s changing.

My close friends and family have been keeping tabs on me, and have been pushing me to stay creative as I carve out a new life for myself. Some of you might know that after my mother passed, I quit the job I had been working on and off for nearly ten years. I emerged feeling a little like Brooks Hatlen from The Shawshank Redemption. I felt defined by the job I had, and needed to reclaim my identity.

Road Trips are wonderful things. While I will probably never tell another living soul about some of the conversations I had with my inner self on that trip, I will say that it really brought me back to life, and helped me to reconnect with the kind of person I’ve become. I like the person I’ve become, and there’s a lot more to me than travel and adventures.

So! the face of this blog (if you haven’t already noticed), has changed quite a bit. The name and layout have changed, but its content will too. I plan on including a lot more of my interests and personal experience in this blog, and who knows, I might even dabble a little bit in video blogging.

In the near future, I hope that you’ll take a look at the book, movie, and comic book reviews I’ll be writing, along with travel/adventure updates, personal improvement updates, and general points of interest. It’s my hope that over the next couple months, I can really get the ball rolling on this thing.

Thanks for your patience. Hopefully I’ll have some great stuff up very soon.

Living Tangarine Vs. The Infinite Sadness

8 Feb
Some of you might know, and some of you might not know. Regardless, it saddens me to report that my mother passed away 16 days ago after being diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer all of 10 weeks ago. Her illness was very sudden and very breif, and has left my family shaken and frail, but we are not broken.

I’ve never had to deal with death before, and certainly not the death of someone in my immediate family. It doesn’t seem fair that it should have to be someone so close to me as my own mother, but so it goes. I think it’s important to understand that there is very little certainty in life, and even less that we can control. Pancreatic cancer appears to strike randomly, and the death of my mother is no one’s fault, not hers, not the doctors, not “God”, not anybody.

Just over a week ago, I stood up in front of her closest friends and business aquaintences and shared some of the wisdom my mother had imparted on me. Public speaking does make me a little shakey, but I managed to convey myself with grace and nerves of steel. What I wasn’t prepared for was what would come afterward. My immune system plummeted, and I rapidly contracted a very bad cold. Everyone in my family had taken to shuffling slowly around the house, without a destination, eyes glazed over, like zombies in some suburbia nightmare landscape.

I can’t say the same for everyone who greives, but for me, the sadness faded into an off colour version of itself. Even now, memories of my mother laying in bed, sick with jaundice, have begun fading from my memory. Instead I’ve begun to remember laughing with her in the car, her crash sense of humour, and the way she thought her hair looked good when she tied it up into a high ponytail (which made her look like Pebbles Flintstone).

Greif and death is a funny thing. Yes, we are sad. Not for them, but rather for ourselves. My mother’s ordeal was terrible, but it’s over now. I can’t go back in time to fix the problem, all I can do is control how I react to this situation. I know in my heart that my mother would frown upon the idea of me huddled in a corner weeping over lost time, or feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I plan to stand tall, and begin taking steps to assure that I live the life she would have wanted for me, which is a full one, to say the very least.

Sylvie Hyndman
February 8th, 1963 – January 23rd, 2011