Three Intimacies - Sex, Eating & ...Thursday, September 17, 2015
When my Rosemary and daughters Ale and Hilary arrived in Vancouver in our Mexican Beetle ( it was of a prescient colour, arctic blue, to events that would shock us in living in this northern new land) we moved immediately to a townhouse on Springer Avenue in Burnaby. It was close enough to Vancouver (not that much traffic at the time) and the same to Coquitlam’s Mallardville where our daughters would learn French.
There was a girl that lived in the compound called Moira. She was high-spirited. Our daughters would disappear to Moira’s house after school. At 6 Ale and Hilary would arrive back. In the beginning I asked why they had returned. Ale’s answer was, “Moira was about to have dinner.” I thought this strange as when Moira was in our house we always invited her to have supper with us.
I had also observed in the MacDonald’s on the corner of Boundary with Lougheed Highway that people eating (and in particular those doing so alone) would furtively look around as they ate hoping (I believed) that nobody was watching them do so.
In another occasion the young higher official of the Bank of Montreal, Willingdon and Hastings Branch, and his wife invited us one weekend for what was defined as “after dinner drinks.” This, to this Latino felt odd.
I came to the conclusion that while only a pervert would want to be watched having sex Canadians considered sex and eating as something very private and intimate. In my youth in Buenos Aires I had observed many couples in my neighbourhood practicing what the Brits call tremblers. They were oblivious to my prying eyes.
In the last few weeks as our house has been listed I have observed a third very private situation to be added to sex and eating (a corollary would be the embarrassment of having someone open your bathroom door while you are in that place where the King is always alone). This happens when people want to view your home (never a house, home sounds more intimate).
Your friendly real estate agent informs you of the fact through texting. A time is revealed and the agent is to arrive 15 minutes before. We are to turn on all the lights in the house. We have not eaten for hours before so that the kitchen will look immaculate. I refuse to shroud Pancho de Skeleton who in life-size casually sits in the dining room Windsor chair. Rosemary says that potential buyers might be superstitious. Our friendly real estate agent covers Pancho with a sheet. Rosemary instructs me to open up the baby grand piano. She says that potential buyers will be impressed. In my discomfort to all this I suggest I might go to a nearby London Drugs to buy an Atlantic Monthly, and a couple of Vogues to put on the living room coffee table.
|Lauren & Pancho|
We are whisked out of the house (not quite so gently). It seems that potential buyers are not to see what we might look like. The house we are selling seemingly is not occupied by anybody.
Routines like reading the NY Times in bed for breakfast are eliminated. I must scrub this or that.
So then eating, sex and selling a house must be done without being observed.
But then there is that other side of the coin. The house we have purchased (near Lens & Shutter on Broadway) had three nude paintings. One was in the living room. It must be of a local artist as the two female nudes are surrounded by exfoliating Arbutus. In the bedroom (imagine observing someone’s bedroom, almost as intimate as going to a party and looking into your guest’s medicine cabinets as per Franny and Zoeey) there were two more nudes. This is not your average Canadian home.
All I was able to get from that owners real estate agent was that his business was installing home fire sprinklers and that he was Hungarian.
All the above somehow brings to mind the story my pension mate in Mexico City when both of us were attending Mexico City College in 1963. He was a retired US Marine Corps colonel who had fought in Laos and in particular assisting the Montagnards as a military adviser. He told me that once in a patrol they went past a couple having sex in the jungle. While the man was busy at it she was munching on a fruit oblivious to him and to the passing soldiers.