Sunday, March 21, 2010

Left Eye moves to a new neighbourhood

A new neighbourhood means a new community. And a community means a lot to an Inuk. After living all his life in quiet solitude in his community, he had moved to Ottawa, where a sense of community is hard to come by, because the people are disconnected from the people around them.

When he moved to his new apartment, when he had first moved to Ottawa, Left Eye promised he'd do what everyone does on TV when they live in the south. He drank beer from the tap, he ate food that he saw on TV, such as Subway and Mcdonald's and he jogged in the mornings. He even joined a gym a couple months later, which he came to regret later on because he just ended getting all these emails from the fitness establishment.

When Left eye started jogging, he got many stares from all the people he was supposed to be jogging with and he never knew why until two weeks later when a new qallunaaq friend told him why people stare at him. Apparently, there are protocols as to what to wear when running. His new friend asked him to visualize something: imagine a brown boy, running six in the morning with a windbreaker and hiking shoes and a pair of jeans, what does he look like he is doing? Left Eye had no idea, so he asked what does it mean? His Friend said that people in the south are paranoid of being robbed or being hurt by strangers and a brown boy wearing hiking shoes and jeans to go out jogging looks more like a criminal running away from something. His friend suggested that he stop wearing jeans and wear shorts instead or wear one of them tights that even men wear in Ottawa when they are exercising. So he wore shorts the next time.

The new neighbours where cautious when he would enter and once another tenant even asked him if he was lost. He said he wasn't and lives in the apartment and she gave him a look of surprise and seemed to ask the question: how can our landlord do this to us? He felt apprehensive when he walked to hallways and felt like people were looking through the peepholes on their doors just to make sure he wasn't loitering. He had eyes looking at him through out the hallways.

The neighbourhood had this store that sold Lebanese food. He wasn't even sure what a Lebanese was, he thought it was a dog at first until he started seeing people buying sandwiches and he knew then that they were people as he was and they had brown skin as he did but they all had beards, well, not the women. He went in and tried one of them sandwiches and he loved it instantly and he became a regular at the store. He became friends with the proprietor and they would talk about where they had come from. He told the store owner that he got his name from the war that was in Lebanon at the time and that got them even closer. He started getting free sandwiches every week. He loved his new neighbourhood.

He even bought a bike from a second hand store that he found in a city. He started biking but he didn't know where to bike or if he should go on the roads or sidewalks. Once a police officer scolded him for riding his bike on the sidewalks and asked him if he can't read. "what do you mean?" ask Left Eye.
Well, did you not see the sign that say, NO BIKE ON SIDEWALK?" asked the cop.
"Well, I'm sorry, I didn't know, I am new to the city."
"that is no excuse, make sure you know all the laws and regulations in this city." said the cop.
"okay, sorry, sir" said Left Eye

there was a park close by to his apartment and he went there frequently because it was the closest thing to nature that this city had to offer. He fed the geese but not the gulls or the squirrels, which he thought were gross. The gulls up in the Arctic eat a lot of garbage so he avoided them and the squirrels just looked like little weasels and was scared of them. His southern friends told him: here is this guy that can hunt and kill animals for a living and he can't take a little squirrel by his side. And they all laughed.


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