It’s October seventh, two in the afternoon, and it’s unusually quiet out there in Real Estate Land. It’s as if everyone left for Spain and I wasn’t invited. Or as if the world just decided that I’m not a realtor after all. The phone this week might as well be a block of toffee in my pocket. I don’t like this forced pause. It reminds me that I’m not in control; it doesn’t matter how hard I work, the business can dry up. And that’s not good.
It happens to every realtor I know. The cliché is that you’re only as successful/good/solvent as your last deal. But this is a more persistent sort of quietness, and yup, it keeps me up nights.
I’m pretty sure admitting to this slack period isn’t good for business either. Its a complete collapse that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if I write a few more pieces like this. Yesterday I wondered,Is it because of the bit I wrote on the refugee crisis? Or the one on the abortion protestors? The unkind words, maybe, that I’ve committed to print about the asshole manager at Budget Truck Rental, or the jerks at Kingston VW? Have I just become too damn contrary? I suppose if that’s the case I’ll just have to live with the consequences.
I’m being dramatic. Things will turn around. Won’t they?
But anyway, while it’s quiet let me draw your attention to a couple of other things going on out there in the world.
First of all, and like many others, I suspect, I’ve spent a bit more time than I should last couple of days plugging restaurant names into the Health Unit’s reporting website. Here’s the link. You’ll find out which Kingston spots have failed inspections, and the reasons for those failures. It’s quite amazing how few restaurants get a clean bill of health (take a bow Wok-In!).
A friend suggested that the inspections themselves might be flawed, rather than the restaurants, given how many of our “best” dining spots haven’t made the grade. He mused that it’s mostly the “non-processed foods” spots which are failing the test. And I’m with him in as far as the checklists are probably geared toward evaluation of more institutional settings, those rich with flat surfaces and seamless floors. But that can’t be the whole story, can it? Lots of my favourite spots need to buy themselves a thermometer or two, by the look of it.
I’ve been reading Rachel Cusk’s novel The Bradshaw Variations for the last week or so. Wonderful book, it really is. I’ve been closing the office door when I shouldn’t, and stealing twenty minutes whenever I can. She’s been likened to Virginia Woolf more than once, and I appreciate that, I understand it, but there’s some of Don DeLillo’s concision and epigrammatic, ultra-modern stylishness and intellect here too (though I suspect she’d have no time for him). At any moment a sentence is likely to arrive that perfectly sums up the world. She’s a new favourite and I’ll be working through the back catalogue.
Coincidentally, Cusk was just shortlisted for the Giller and the GG here in Canada. I had no idea she’s Canadian. In England she gets a lot of press (not nearly all of it favourable) and I just assumed, you know. She said herself, in a 2010 interview for Elle: "I was born in Canada, but we left when I was a small baby and moved to L.A. We stayed there until I was eight, then we moved to a village in Suffolk in England. And I went to boarding school, and then I went to university, and that was that. As much as I'd love to be a Canadian female novelist, that's a token piece of nationality, really."
The impressive Kingston writer Helen Humphreys is also shortlisted for the GG, by the way. Fingers crossed.
There’s a new album just out: New Bermuda, by the wonderful noise band, Deafheaven. I’ve been looking for excuses to take a drive because there’s no way Sam will put up with this stuff in the house. It’s a relentlessly fast and always exhilarating music. There are apparently all sorts of debates (on forums I have no interest researching) about whether Deafheaven are a metal band. And while I think you could cut away small sections of this stuff and come to that conclusion, taken as a whole it’s more than that, this is an elemental sound, one that speaks to some part of me way beyond the place where I can just appreciate the simple or complex arrangement of notes. These are bone-deep, often horrifying songs that have me holding my breath for long moments; they seem somehow like a map of the incomprehensible electrical storms in a person’s head, a translation of everything I know but can’t express. Which makes no sense at all. But the point is, this is an important band, I reckon, worth paying attention to, even if you only do it once.