January Grey notes

Perhaps if the sun were shining I'd find something better to do than write a note from Kingston on this early January day. This January day, early. Parenthetically, just to say that it is indeed early, at 8:30, but not as early as it was an hour ago, before I had breakfast. So. A grey morning, but mild.

We Canadians always deliver weather reports to each other by way of getting into any discussion. It's what I explained to my late husband as the "two stupid things rule." This rule permits any two people attempting to start up a conversation to begin with the weather or some equally insipid subject. "Miserable day, eh?" "Cold enough for you?" "How's things?" "How's the family?" Each of the participants in this attempted conversation is allowed to say two stupid things, and if nothing catches any interest or attention, may leave – no judgments assumed. My husband said learning that useful Canadian rule was more help to him than ten years of psychotherapy. The two stupid things rule, though undocumented, is a major feature of almost all inter-personal initiations.   ......

Adventures in Kingston have been a bit limited over the past several weeks, what with everyone scurrying about hither and yon with family holiday doings, but it is indeed settling into true winter. Which, incidentally, means that I am rapidly making my preparations to get-out-of-Dodge. I am lining up a bunch of lunch dates over the next few weeks, beginning with today, when I had a very fine neighbourhood lunch at Days on Front.

Which reminds me that, oh dear, I do bemoan the disappearance of the apostrophe. I know they took it out of all place names and street names, so that Day's Road is now Days Road, but it is clearly disappearing everywhere -- partly, perhaps, because of the inability of some people to use it properly. The apostrophe as an intellectual challenge! And we all know that the solution to ignorance is oblivion. This poor English language had a superb form to indicate possession, and that's all gone now... Part of the dumbing down of just about everything. You really must pardon my parenthetical musings. I don't seem to be able to get over them, and this seems at the very least an appropriate place to muse... here on my computer in the muzziness of morning.

Another piece of dumbing down I note in facebook messages (and text messsages, presumably) from Mexican friends, is the universal elimination of "qu" in which quiero has become kiero. And so, the language changes.

I remember when in, oh about 1958 or so, the cigarette brand Winston, began an advertising campaign with "Winston's taste good, like a cigarette should." Well, there was hell to pay! The newspapers were full of it, the grammatical error of the statement, the eroding of linguistic standards. "Like" was clearly incorrect, and that particular usage must not be allowed to be-foul our precious English language. And now? Do we ever even notice that use of "like"? Or has language evolved to include it. And so, even when I rage these days about the application of the verb "grow" to non-organic nouns, I know that battle has long been lost.