February 22, 2008

Kisses are such glorious business that it seems a shame, perhaps, to allow scientists to get their grubby hands into the entrails of such a wonderful experience.

“Kissing,” said evolutionary psychologist Gordon G. Gallup of the University at Albany, State University of New York, last September in an interview with the BBC, “involves a very complicated exchange of information—olfactory information, tactile information and postural types of adjustments that may tap into underlying evolved and unconscious mechanisms that enable people to make determinations … about the degree to which they are genetically incompatible.”

… In the 1960s British zoologist and author Desmond Morris first proposed that kissing might have evolved from the practice in which primate mothers chewed food for their young and then fed them mouth-to-mouth, lips puckered. Chimpanzees feed in this manner, so our hominid ancestors probably did, too. Pressing outturned lips against lips may have then later developed as a way to comfort hungry children when food was scarce and, in time, to express love and affection in general.

So says (and so much more) a fascinating piece in Scientific American.

Me?  I just like the taste and the texture and the smell and the cuddling that goes along with the kissing.  It would be a far less wonderful space my lover and I inhabit if we didn’t kiss so much.  That much I do know.

Which Way Did They Go?

February 22, 2008

Which Way?

A Fragile Line

February 22, 2008

Having been brought up in England in the 50s and 60s, I have a deeply ingrained sense of what is right and wrong when faced with a queue or line. The queue is the physical embodiment of that civilized leveling principle — first come, first served. An orderly queue is not something one should mess with. In North America generally and Canada in particular, the orderly queue is a rare event, saved mainly for those lining up days in advance to buy concert tickets or an attractive condo. Even then, I suspect, orderliness and decorum is better at the front of the line than closer to the back.

I am acutely aware of the lack of queue etiquette here, traveling as I do by bus every day. A day didn’t go by without someone barging into the line or to the front of it without a single thought for those who had been waiting patiently. When challenged on their rudeness, most of them genuinely seem baffled that something else might have been expected of them. Now, it is worse.


The otherwise wonderful express 98 and 99 B-Line buses have three set of doors. Since Tuesday, the system has allowed riders to board through all three doors. No longer do you have to show your bus pass to the driver at the front (financial integrity is now maintained by the goons with guns otherwise known as the Transit Police). This is an improvement in convenience, certainly, but it has dealt a death blow to the fragile flower known as a bus queue.

In my youth, I am sure, riders would have worked out where the doors would be when the bus was at the stop and would form three lines corresponding with the entrances. Not here, oh no. Now, here, the crowd schmeers itself along the whole length of where the bus will be and, upon its arrival, the crowd rushes pell-mell for the doors. What a damn mess!