One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live
It’s a rainy, sunny day. Twenty-four kilometres away from Venice, next to a horse farm and a power station, sitting in a little blue Sunfire (which has an “I ♥ Alberta Beef” sticker on the back), there I am — a most-of-the-time vegetarian eating the best god-damned chicken shawarma of my life.
It’s the perfect mix of spice, heat and the garlicky goodness that will keep people at least five metres away for the next little while. Good.
Just as the space I’m in is a juxtapositional jumble, it’s a beautiful-ugly world for me today.
I’ve just come from the 100th anniversary celebration of the Lebanese community’s arrival in Lac La Biche (for those who don’t know, Lac La Biche is a town/county/”hamlet” I cover northeast of Edmonton). It was exciting. It was glittering. There were sparkling dancers covered in gold and red fabrics, bottled art made of coloured sand. Delicious scents, tastes, sounds and sights.
Now I’m heading back to Athabasca, where I’m working on a series of interviews with a man who lived in a residential school for ten years. He tells me of the terror seen by his childlike eyes, of the evil within each human being. He was tortured both inside and outside of the school’s walls. His words make me cry myself to sleep — not because of the stories themselves, but because of the fact that people can do so much hurt to others with no regret, no pain. Nothing but smug righteousness.
So here I am. Working on a story about community that struggled to find a new home, while another was pulled out of theirs. I work on an article about the Jade Buddha’s world tour for universal peace, while one man struggles — almost impossibly — to find peace with himself, with others.
It’s too much for me to deal with right now. Just let me eat my shawarma. In peace. Please.