On September 8th, 2007 I once again enjoyed a special exhibit of world class art at Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada, this time courtesy of French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (and the good folks at Sun Life Financial*), though glancing at the ticket stub I initially thought I had gone on August the 9th.
Back in 2011 a Canadian Member of Parliament recognized the confusion inherent in writing something like 08/09/07 and introduced a bill to standardize date writing in this country of ours, a bill that was considered frivolous by his peers and one that failed to pass. And while his suggested format of YYYY/MM/DD runs counter to my preferred method of MM/DD/YY** (how very American of me***) I would happily change my ways if we all signed up to the same standard.
And though I won’t even get started on “bi-weekly” (was there ever a time-indicative phrase that failed so miserably at indicating time?), for your benefit I will make the effort to explain a vaguarity not everyone knows about: Did you know that moving something “back an hour” means opposite things to different people? Mmmm-hmmm, some people actually think that moving something “back” means it will happen sooner than originally scheduled? (These are probably the same freaks who insist on pronouncing the “c” in the word “scheduled”.) Yep. And you know, when it was explained to me I was taken aback. “Which way do you go if you move “back” in time?” he asked, against which my argument opposing the whole daylight savings issue seemed rather weak.
(That might explain why your boss was mad at you that time.)
So what if I told you that our bi-weekly meetings scheduled to begin on 08/09/07 were to be moved up by a week? At that point it would be best to just stay home and weep under a blanket. I mean, I know that time is just a human construct but I didn’t know we were all allowed to build our own calendars (with deference to Julius and Augustus Caesar**** of course)!
Anyway, respect to Daryl Kramp (C-Prince Edward-Hastings) for trying to get us all on the same page-a-day and phooey to the rest of the MPs for being too afraid to take a stand.
Anyway…to Renoir: Of course Renoir is most famous for his portraits, an oeuvre that presents the femmes of old Paree as wispy, dreamlike, cotton candy constructs of sunny romance but I guess the Sun Life Co. didn’t feel like shelling out for the good stuff, instead cobbling together a bunch of his lesser known landscapes. Similar to how Renoir’s portraits often included landscapes behind the featured subjects, his landscapes were often permeated with tiny people sitting around looking all wispy, so it was sort of like looking at the more famous works from far away.
And while witnessing a collection of Renoir landscapes is sort of like viewing an exhibit of Dr. Seuss sculptures or, say, photography by Jimmy Page (both of which I’ve experienced), the peripheral tends to inform the focus. It’s like seeing an artist’s work from a different direction. Like, backwards, for example.
*It’s unfortunate that such exhibits require the benevolence of a major corporation, their tax lawyers and PR crew, but the price of art being what it is balanced against the willingness of average Joe’s to shell out hard earned money on tickets neccessitates such sponsorship. Meet the new boss…
**In this case, the numerologist in me was overjoyed at cataloging this entry as 090807.
***If 9/11 had happened in the UK they would have called it 11/9.
****I wonder if you knew that it’s because of those two egomaniacs that SEPTember, OCTOber, NOVember, and DECember ceased being the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th months.