Thursday, November 17, 2005

My buddy Chris

"The news at 5:28" or "an existentialist on hazmat"

So i am sitting in Bridgeheads on Elgin st, my favourite Ottawa cafe, feeling very cosmopolitan and trendy indeed. So i decided to update you all, because really, what else do cosmopolitan people do but sit in cafes and blog all day? The only problem i really have right now is that i feel that if i were really to play the part i should be writing about Kierkegaard and Hegel or death to commercialisation of fair trade or death cab for cutie's new single at least - this is all a little difficult for me because i have yet to actually read Kierkegaard, Hegel makes my eyeballs (and brain for that matter) hurt and i really only like ONE of death cab's songs...and as for fair trade, well i am proudly behind it. Hence, the sitting in Bridgeheads, fair-trade coffee central.

Thus, i will screw the philosophical interests for something a bit for bourgeoisie- what happened in my day. But fear not, this has been an exciting day- always is in our nation's capital.

I finished work today around 1pm, so when i came out of my office and went down the elevator the doors opened to the lobby and a strange sight indeed. I stepped out onto the marble floor of our lobby to be greeted by being engulfed in a swarm of emergency responders. Our lobby was occupied by about the entire Ottawa fire dept. and a good 7/8ths of the Ottawa PD. i kid you not. i look to the left and there is one cop sitting on a overturned bucket and four other officers and firefighters are assisting him in putting on a hazmat suit (i mean the full meal-deal thing that they wear in movies like "Back draft" or those IBM bunny-suits). There are oxygen tanks everywhere and all the diplomats are milling around deciding where to go for lunch. I ask nice-looking gent who seemed to be involved.

"um, pardon me, but do you know exactly what is going on?"
"Oh they have a suspicious package on the 17th floor, its got some hazardous substance we think."
oh you think hm?
I informed him that our office had yet to be informed of the situation. He looked surprised, but didnt really move to do anything about it. He said they were evacuating floors as they felt was needed.
oh you are, are you? well thats a relief isnt it?
"Its not a bomb" he says. As if that should assuage my fears. "But if you want to tell your office, its always good for them to know."
So back in the elevator i go. Upon arriving back at the office and informing Annie and Julia of the situation, do they opt to leave the building.
"Well if its not going to blow up and its on the 17th floor, then that’s ok. but weird that they didn't tell us... oh hey here is that file you wanted." back to the desks they went.

First, let me back up and fill you in on some office history. I work in a building that has about 89,000 embassies. Ok, only about 25 or so, but still, its alot. So we think things like this come up because of them- although we dont have any of the really troublesome ones, it’s all no-namer LDCs like Belarus or the Philippines. Haiti is on my floor, the Republic of Ireland is on the 6th and Guatemala is on the 10th. So who is on 17, i would like to know!

Anyways last wednesday we were in a meeting when our building supervisor came and delivered a notice of a bomb threat. Now what do you think the course of action was within my office? yes we sat and continued our meeting. They had, after all, noted down that the threat was originally received about an hour before they gave us notice. If they had time to go and sit down and draft up such a nice letter, it obviously wasn’t a very pressing threat.

And now to the weather, Tracy what do you have for us? Thank you Jim, its currently snowing in Ottawa. WHAT A DELIGHT! Ahem, back to you Jim.

In other news, i love people watching. There is a dearly attractive young man across the cafe from me, whom i have been hoping is British- because he looks so very British, i mean the whole grey pinstripe tailored suit with a pink and blue striped tie. the whole Chris Martin lean face and close-cropped hair. Delightful i tell you! But i fear that what little i can hear over the blasting Brazilian jazz and my own itunes is sadly, not British...but wait, maybe a hint? This is why i come here.
Last time i sat in Bridgeheads there was a guy who was pulling off the Carson Mills Blazer-and-sweatshirt-with-jeans look better than Carson -or even Lloyd Arnett, after whom Carson modelled himself- ever could. He sat and cradled this tiny laptop in the crook of his knee which was casually crossed over the other. The scruffy beard let me know that he was definitely blogging about Kierkegaard and Hegel. It’s for things like this that i come to bridgehead.

I also appreciate that the Brazilian jazz has turned to Etta James. I am pretty sure its a rule from the CRTC that you have to play not canadian content in cafes, but as much of "at last" as possible. Soak up the ambiance. Take another swig of your four dollar caramel brittle latte and comfort yourself that the Peruvian finca owner who produced the coffee beans got a good deal out of it.

And that, my friends, is all the news that you need to know.