Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Today is one of those days where I have the urge to lay down some words here, but I don't know what, and insomnia's been killing my will to shine, so this is just going to be one of those ones where I feel my way from one end to the other and see what happens.
Shanan, Drew, the Palinode, and I went to a cultural festival of sorts, Mosaic, with pavilions spread all over Regina to represent certain ethnic groups. They usually have a stage with dancers dancing their folk dances and a food line and some stuff for sale that relates to the culture in question.
The festival depressed me, or at least the pavilions that paid homage to their cultural pasts rather than their presents did. It was depressing.
This will not be a popular view here, but so be it.
I looked at the costumes and the food and the dancing meant to depict where earlier generations had come from and I wondered what point of history each thing referenced. Those folk dances were plucked out of when? A 50-year period just prior to immigration, maybe? It made me wonder what I was watching. Maybe Italian women still dance around with baskets and wave tea towels around in a celebration of pre-electric domesticity, but I doubt it.
It was kind of sad. It felt like we were trying to make up culture out of the few pieces we could transport out of family stories and pictures from some 1960s travel guide. That's not culture, though. We were pointing at clumsy collages of objects and actions that don't exist anymore outside nostalgia. It felt awkward and hamfisted.
Maybe if I still drank, I would have been more amenable to the experience.
There were things I liked, though. The Poltava Ukrainian pavilion had these incredible perogies. They were so good that I can still relive the experience of their texture and flavour in my mouth just by imagining them.
The Indian pavilion was filled with fantastic food, the cutest kids jumping in candy-coloured outfits, gregarious dancing, and mango ice cream with mango sauce:
But I couldn't enjoy myself beyond that.
The other pavilions were loud, the entertainment was by and large jarring and/or weird, and it was barely worth the food to fight throngs of bored-looking people with very little to do other than drink or gaze non-commitally at the stage.
It's easy to be misanthropic, but it's not very interesting.
I can say that 95% of the people I was sandwiched between at various pavilions seemed to be largely unaware, slow-moving, sweaty, disengaged and bored, but I am sure that I looked the same way to them.
I am sure my jaw hung slack as I retreated up into my own head. I moved no more quickly than the next person ahead of me, and that person no more quickly than the one ahead of them. None of us were immune to the heat. We chewed and we gazed and we drank.
We were all caught up in the same conditions.
The drunk people we ran into seemed to be having a pretty good time singing on the buses and joking with newfound friends, but I don't think I'm cut out for this kind of thing anymore. Back in the days when I drank alcohol, I could dope myself into a bright little sphere of excitement that blinkered me to anything outside of my bubble, but, sober, I just felt like I was being herded from one building to another where I felt compelled by self-preservation to seek out the least insufferable thing in the room.
I don't have the patience to call that fun anymore.