Saturday, November 29, 2003

My mom does coffee with the angel of death

All hail the "Supreme Pessimista!" Bow down to her, resistance is only met with a heavier arsenal. All attempts to protect oneself from the avalanche of depressing news will be thwarted by dismissive "mmm..."s and "yes, well as I was saying..."s and "so anyway..."s. Or worse, a defensive, "Well I just thought you should know!"

How can so many terrible things happen to people she knows over the course of a single week? How can my mom know it all? My mother, I've realized, is a dark humourist, my dark humour muse. I have a feeling a disproportionate number of entries in this journal will be about that. Please bear with me on that, I'm coping.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Instinct doesn't always translate well

I am a person who truly believes in first impressions. When I first meet you, I'll receive information processed subconsciously that will then cause a very discreet physical reaction. Every time I meet with you after this, I'll have that very same reaction. It's subtle, but it's powerful.

Sometimes this feeling comes as an unpleasant taste, other times as a shiver and most often ennui. We can call this "instinct."

If you're a creep, don't expect me to get into an elevator with you. Don't ask for my name. Don't ask why I won't tell you what it is. Don't expect me to make you dinner at my house. Don't ever touch me without explicit permission. In fact, I may never want to see you again. If it's really bad I won't want YOU to see ME again.

If you're wonderful, I might try to communicate your wonderfulness to you and soften the ol' eye contact, listen to your stories even if I am thinking I should really be doing my homework instead, and laugh at even your lamest jokes.

This sounds like a great, fool-proof system...but every system has its security issues. The kryptonite for "instinct" seems to be alcohol. Or more specifically: Ladies' Night. You see, in Quebec, Ladies' Night means that all women can drink as much as they want, for FREE. This usually makes the bars more popular with men than women. I assume this is not because women are easier after a sip or seven too much, but rather that their instinct is faulty, or absent.

If we've been drinking, my instinct departs for safer grounds and I find myself in the strangest of situations. The most recent of which involved having my neck unexpectedly bitten by a 20-something francophone Quebecois big-attitude wannabe-punk named "Rose" with a tattoo on his, well, on his entire torso and part of his face. How did I not see that coming?

I'll blame it on the language barrier.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Mental m@sturbation

The only thing cooler than getting an 'A' on a project that sucked up 2 weeks of time and resulted in eye strain, is getting an "indisputable A."


Thursday, October 16, 2003

Open letter to clean needle program developers

Handing out clean needles to intravenous drug users is a noble deed...but it simply isn't good enough when the rest of the system doesn't work to support a program like that. All sterilized-clean and no where to go! Sooooooo, we end up with a mess.

No really. A mess. On my doorstep.
Plastic hypodermic needle packages and cigarette butts. We usually find the used needle tossed not far from this tell-tale evidence.

The City of Montreal has been cracking down on crack houses and shooting galleries and it seems that these displaced junkies have migrated to my place. I have a feeling the city sent them here. Am I just paranoid? Or was there some seriously bad urban social planning in the works? You decide: The clean needle distribution van parks on my street.

With a more integrated program city officials, social workers and the police might choose a better location for the program. By 'better' I don't mean NIMBY.

Not-in-my-backyard arguments aren't effective because this sort of thing has to happen in SOMEONE's backyard. But...they could have chosen a location more than 50 feet from the community *playground*...dontcha think!?

Sheesh, sometimes I think the people running the city are on crack, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Wonky eye

It's so poetic that in the same week I find my first wrinkle, I also start losing my vision.

To be fair, it's a laugh line. It follows the curve of my smile and when I am old, it will tell my great nieces and nephews that I was a happy person.

While it might not really speak of my authentic experience as a child of the 80s, adolescent of the 90s and woman of the new will give them a warm feeling. Maybe by then I will hold sweet-old-lady status.

I do not, however, want anything to do with that status until I am age-d.

Here I am, spending hours in front of the computer obsessing over class assignments in an attempt to discover the perfect combination of key strokes. Breaking the code means an 'A'. An 'A' means publishable work in the PR world of education.

The trouble is, I got one. Now that my professor has decided I write publishable Public Relations pieces, I have to keep up the good work. "Keeping up the good work" is what someone has to do in order not to disappoint themselves. Keeping up, as I've discovered, is hard on a person.

To complete the major mid-term project before leaving last weekend for Ontario, (where I spent Canadian Thanksgiving with my delightfully-drunken extended family) I had to stare at the computer screen for hours.

I now have double-vision. I now have double-vision.

Hmm. Maybe NOW would be a good time to take a break from my computer.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Red eye

Worry not! I am still lurking about...and as soon as I have my projects, exams, assignments, oral presentations and houseguests under control...I'll be back. Well, to be honest I might have an alcohol binge after all that. But after THAT...I'll be back.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Mercury or something equally toxic

I remember in elementary school, there was always a certain nervous energy among the kids when we knew someone had smuggled a thermometer to school. We knew we weren't supposed to have them, and more than that, we knew if it broke we'd all get to go home.

To this day, I haven't a clue what happens when people are exposed to mercury. I took chemistry in high school AND university and never did I learn a fact as useful as this. I only learned to fear it.

When I was being checked for a fever it was my fear that stopped me from satisfying my urge to crunch a thermometer; from tempting the fundamental elements.

As an adult, a new concept and fear of Mercury has developed. I've received word from my astro-knowledgeable friend that the planet Mercury is in retrograde! Since the first word of this warning notified me that it was Mars in retreat, I will blindly accept this fear, as I fear broken thermometers. All I know, is that when either of these Mercuries are mentioned...there's T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

A warning I received about the current retrograde suggested that now is the worst possible time for communication. Our auras are all messed up from this Mercury-mush and it is prime time for miscommunications. I believe this to be true. The news coincided with passionate confessions, angry words, threats, tears, excommunications and a migraine. Be it Mars or Mercury or simply hormones to be held accountable, I fear this. Admittedly, I fear passionate confessions and angry words anyway, because should these concern a third party, the one with the ear is facing imminent excommunication.

Miscommunications and misunderstandings are so plentiful that I hereby vow not to express my opinion on any subject, to another breathing being, until a 'post-retrograde survivors' email lands in my mailbox. I cancelled internet accounts to discussion groups, and would probably cancel my phone and internet subscriptions were I not dependent on both for income and family ties...oh, and the precious few who are immune to planetary pulls.

I am so convinced of these effects of evil-mercury that I am certain you are misunderstanding this, right now. But my point is, we never really evolve, we just reassign our fears (and loves) to different subjects and objects. Despite our best efforts, it's the kid with the mercury thermometer who decides what happens next.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

I have to remember to buy coffee

If I don't remember to buy coffee, I'll miss out on that ritual excuse to take an hour in the morning to sort my thoughts. My worries become too involved with each other and when I miss my morning sort, they produce spore-like offspring that periodically infect portions of my day.

And I hate it when that happens.

Already today I awoke to a text message from a friend, which surely I took the wrong way. I felt patronized, frustrated. Thankfully, I was busy contemplating the method of my morning brew to immediately respond. Coffee made me wise enough to pause before responding. It was, as the French say, a veritable pause-café.

This morning, my coffee with vanilla soy has an aromatic, nostalgic quality. I recall walking along 8th Avenue one sunny morning, seeking out an ice cold regular coffee from the shameful, yet addictive coffee-provider: Starbucks. But, now is not the time to discuss Starbuck's ethics, besides, that's all that is really available near 42nd Street. It also reminds me of my recent visit to Halifax where I visited one of my hardiest best friends. She is an entirely different person than she was when we were in high school, but I like this version as much. Her house was filthy and chaotic. Her strange belongings were strewn all over the floor, but no apologies were made. She was in the process of moving. No explanation was given for the silver goblet or chains in her bedroom, or the pink bunny and hatchet pattern of her bed sheets. From her, I don't need one.

What worries me, is that her health is in question. We'll find out today if things will go from iffy to worse. I need to compartmentalize this or it will synergize with all my other worries. She's in a province away from mine, but I'm psychically in her presence. I can't wait for the call to tell me that I can stop being consumed by this nervous uncertainty.

Now that I have that thought sorted, I find myself with only two sips remaining in my tea cup of coffee. I hope it's enough to get me through the sorting of a letter I received from the tax office yesterday informing me that I have ten days to provide them with more than $5000. Now, I'm not sure who they think they are dealing with, but a full-time student needs a tad more time than that to come up with a chunk like this. So it goes.

Phew! There's still enough in the French press for another cup. I'm just not sure my stomach can handle it today.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Dating Jesus

There are several authors' works I live by. None of them include any critically acclaimed holy books. These books are too subtle. I applaud you if you have found a way to interpret them that satisfies your intellectual and spiritual needs, but I simply haven't the patience.

When I was a little girl, my mother sent me to Sunday School in my little black patent leather shoes. They clicked all the way down the street to the Baptist church where I would spend the following hour colouring pictures of Jesus. I don't remember actually attending any services, but I do remember when I reached a reasonable age to serve at church luncheons and sudden I was in high demand.

What I learned from these luncheons is that Nova Scotian Baptists eat cream cheese and maraschino cherry sandwiches. Baptists, I established after serving a second round, do not believe in eating crusts. Coming from a household that offered only homemade 100% whole wheat bread, this was heresy!

I was baptized Anglican, but I haven't a clue how that distinguishes me from Baptists. The church ladies were never that particular when they called on the youth to serve tea and finger-food.

When I reached junior high, it was no longer cool to serve at luncheons. The church ladies gave up on me after a year of calling my mother, and alluding to my voluntary excommunication. My mother was unable to pressure me into it; not even she wanted to attend these socials.

While in junior high, my best friend joined a Pentecostal youth group, prompted by her father and his sometimes questionable parenting tactics. They would help keep her on the right track, he thought. How could she refuse an opportunity like that? She begged me to attend. I avoided the youth group for weeks. My other best friend and I had just spent the entire summer trying to make her question her faith for kicks. How could I shame myself by hanging out with God's groupies?

Well, I did. I realized quickly it was an untapped social resource. It was fantastic! Here I was, meeting other kids, all older than me, all willing to take me under their wing. I was positive we could get one of them to buy us beer. I was wrong. They were true believers and never, ever drank; I thought that was fascinating. They were just like other kids, but more at peace somehow, exempt from some of the turmoil of the teenage years.

It took a while for me to realize they were stoners. Pot wasn't something I'd considered doing, but at the tender age of 15, it was certainly something I was curious about. The minister's son seemed to be the most corrupt of the group, so I set my sights on him, sure he would satiate my thirst for knowledge of the seedy underbelly of Christian youth groups. I sat next to him at every opportunity, my stream of daydreaming broken only by the nightly question: "Are you ready to accept Jesus into your heart?"

There I was, having lustful thoughts about the minister's son, wanting to have him tell me all about the illegal acts I'd heard he'd committed. The minister often alluded to these sins, and thanked the Lord he was able to free his son from such vices. Thank the Lord he has a hot son, I thought. That's all I ever thought at youth group. So, when they asked me the nightly question, I was pretty sure I wasn't ready.

Still so young, I was aware of my wild oats and fully intended to sow them. Not yet, I'd say, desperate to stave them off. As became routine, there would be a group frown and they'd move along to someone more pure of heart. One-by-one, everyone was "saved". Soon, I was the only bad seed chasing after the minister's spawn.

I should have known it couldn't go on like that, what with all my drool and fawning. I was expelled from the Garden of Eden that was the youth group, but not before my first real kiss---a long passionate, sloppy, gag-me-with-your-tongue-you-bad-boy-ex-con kiss. The unfortunate thing is that it occurred at 4 a.m., about an hour after my parents had notified the police that I was missing, and began searching the highway ditches, preparing themselves to be devastated. They found me, immediately post-kiss, sitting in the spawn's car at the government wharf.

It was all very romantic, but as with many religious epiphanies, persecution followed. I was upset that I'd scared my parents, but simultaneously thrilled by that hot first kiss. Being grounded isn't so bad when you have steamy daydream material.

Soon after that fiasco, I was taken aside at the weekly youth meeting, to a room where the youth leader had propped a large sheet of poster paper upon an easel. While he drew a cluster of exes he said, "This is the youth group." Then he drew a lone letter "x" on the opposite edge of the paper and said, "This is you. We don't want this to happen." He circled the cluster of exes and drew an arrow toward the one that represented me. "So, we're going to have to ask you to leave." That was it; they were scared I was leading people away from Jesus. I was the resident evil.

Friends stick together, though, so my two best left the group with me. We were just going to have to develop a new plan for meeting older guys, I thought. I was still hopeful, and later that summer, it just so happened there was a new candidate in town. I spotted him immediately. He was driving around with the minister's spawn, and I thought that made him seem all the more carnally desirable. The spawn stopped his car and chatted me up, introducing his friend.

This boy was a francophone angel sent from Quebec, who was staying at the minister's house to learn English. His accent made my knees weak. Over the course of the summer, he would become my first love. Each day was spent at the beach, often in silence. We held hands for hours, and melted into each other's gaze, sharing little dreams and compliments. We kissed but never anything more. It was so fulfilling, so perfect and pure, that nothing more was necessary. His name was Emmanuel.

Had I known him months earlier, I'd have been able to tell the leaders of the youth group that I would accept him into my heart readily. In fact, I would lay it on the table. I would be willing to break it in his honour.

As the end of August approached, this young Adonis prepared to return to his homeland. The day he left, I was crushed. CRUSHED, like only a first love can do, but, it ended bittersweetly. He left while I still worshiped him like a god, before either of us could screw it up.

We wrote each other love letters for a full year, and then when he started dating someone else, he broke the news to me so gently I could only be happy for him. He always assured me I would have a special place in his heart. He set a precedent. Each and every potential boyfriend would be compared to this hot, young gift from god, chiseled in his own image. I knew how I wanted to be treated; I wanted to be a goddess. I lived by the guidelines he set for me as best I could. Jesus saved me from my adolescent soul, cured me of angst.

When I moved to Quebec for university four years later, he called and left a message on my answering machine. We were living in the same city. A lot changes in four years, though, and I didn't want to risk devaluing my memories. I never returned his call. I wanted to keep my faith just as it was.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

*Real* opportunity cost

My last entry was less of a whine about my current positions in life, and more of a comparative analogy to recent events that inspired me to step back and reconsider the feeling of vulnerability I know so many of us have.

I was not whining, I was feeling rather reassured.

Quite a few people I know these days, of all ages and locations, are faced with career, marriage and citizenship choices. They all know what they want: happiness, reasonable freedom and above all fulfillment. This translates loosely into: success. I am not talking about the American dream. As far as I can tell, the American dream has been appropriated by the media and it's less of a dream and more of a military mandate as of late, so I will just talk about something more new-agey. I am talking about how hard it is, once we know what we want, to develop the best way to get there. We feel as though, if we mess something major up along the way, the destination just won't quite be all we'd imagined if we find it at all. That scares the hell out of most of us, which is why we developed mottos like: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. We remind ourselves, that we have to enjoy the journey. We do *have* to enjoy the journey when we can, but I'm saying it's very OK to be scared sometimes.

I found myself walking along Rue St. Catherine, the shopping district, taking another unplanned day off work due to visitors from out of town. I was thinking of my opportunity cost. I felt I should have been working, or at least learning how to make video clips on my computer or something. Justifying my day off by thinking of it as an investment in my long term future proved effective, though. These were no run-of-the-mill visitors; these were potential in-laws. I plan to like my potential in-laws and have them like *me* dammit!! Since my plan seems to be working, I allowed myself to feel productive, and therefore, happy.

As we walked along in this bustling busy wave of shoppers, I noticed an unhappy little girl crossing the street with the pack of people we'd joined. She was on the heels of her mother, a cold looking woman in a business suit, and I felt sad for her. She looked as though her mother was very angry. The little girl was wringing her hands and her bottom lip trembled. The woman was so angry she didn't even look back to see if the little girl was ok.

My god, I thought, how can anyone be irresponsible enough to allow a child to walk through a crowd like this without holding her hand. The girl was in a slow run, keeping up with this woman. I was very concerned so I hurried my pace to keep up with them. At this point, I really looked at the dirty t-shirt the little girl was wearing, how her curls hadn't been brushed, that her sneakers were muddy and thought this prim and spotless mother and muddy sneaker-wearing daughter match was an unlikely pair. I fought through the crowd to get closer to the girl and asked her, "Are you lost?"

She nodded and took my hand. It almost broke my heart. It *did* upset my stomach.

I told her she was OK and I was going to help her. We walked nearer to the buildings and I became fearful that she would get lost in the crowd again. Someone had already lost her! She looked so vulnerable in this crowd, I wouldn't be able to bear knowing it happened to her again. I felt it was very important to tell her exactly what the game plan was for getting her back to her parents. We would go to a store and ask to use their phone, so we could call the police and tell them that she has lost her daddy. The police would call her daddy and tell him not to worry, they would get Sonia to him as soon as possible.

But, I wasn't thinking clearly. My boyfriend was with me and I had forgotten he had a cell phone. We could have called right there. In any case, he took care of the police report while I entertained this little girl. She was a darling 8 years old with a quivering lip that almost made me cry. Instead, I joked around with her, asked her questions about her dad, what she did that day and all the while I was thinking: I am still a stranger to her. I wanted nothing more than for her to know she was absolutely safe. This was more than I could ask.

We were instructed to bring her to a specific street corner where we would meet the police. It was a long 10 minutes of waiting once we got there, but this little girl was so brave. She had tears in her eyes, and looked as though if she started she wouldn't stop. Sonia held them back. I told her it was OK to feel scared, that it could happen to anyone, that her dad surely had already spoken with the police and that in a few minutes they would come. I think I talked too much, but it stopped her from crying.

The officer parked across the street and we waved him down. I introduced Sonia, and said in a light silly voice, "She's lost her daddy." The officer answered saying, "Well Sonia, we just *found* your daddy!" He thanked us, too, and I felt like gushing a "you're welcome." But, I feared if I started *I* might not stop. Besides, there was no one really to thank here, we all just did what was necessary.

At that age, kids often still have the impression that policemen are altruists, that their job is to help people...and I could see the relief in her face. Finally she felt completely safe. Midway through the crosswalk, she turned and yelled, "Thank you." My heart broke for the second time that day. I didn't want to let her go, I was still worried for her.

In the same way I have felt a major soft spot with doctors who have helped me or my family in a time of need, I loved this little girl immediately.

The event has taken me a while to get over. I was so relieved that *I* was the one to find her. It is scary enough having children walking with you on a busy street, knowing the frightening variety of people there...especially in that part of town, but thinking that she was ALONE just makes me ill. Now, I am not giving myself credit as the only person who would have helped her. There were so many other people around and they saw her, too. It just scared me that I was the first one to step in. The point, though, is that I did. I will never see her again, I will never meet her father...but for all three of us, it turned out OK.

It's OK to be scared, we just can't lose hope.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Redirecting the puddle perverts

Thanks to the cute little pink button of a counter I have at the bottom of this page, I not only see what sites referred people to my journal, but I can also see what words people searched for in Google and Yahoo that ultimately brought them here. I am noticing a pattern and in a 'potty humour' way, I find it entertaining.

By expressing my distaste for public urination in previous posts, I have inadvertently attracted people who like it. Now I don't mean to rain on your parade if that's how you got here...but I really think I should make it clear that although I have used the words: "girl, pissing, pee and little" they weren't all in the same sentence! Nor will I ever use those words in the same sentence, so I'll have to leave you unfulfilled.

How is it that even though high school is long over, I still attract all the wrong guys?

Sunday, June 29, 2003

What's good for the goose...

Sometimes I think I am too intuitive for my own good. Sometimes I'm not.

I am a very reasonable person except when I allow myself the privilege of the occassional irrational episode in the same way that I allow myself to polish off an entire bag of Miss Vickie's jalapeno chips. I gorge myself and then feel terrible afterward.

On the way home from the airport, having just dropped off my visiting sisters, my boyfriend insisted I drive the car. I really despise driving in Quebec because the drivers really are as bad as you may have heard. In addition to not using signal lights, driving far too fast and passing you on solid lines the department of highways gives us far too much credit as Quebecois drivers. On roads that would be fit for two lanes in any other province or state, there are three. The Decarie Interchange is so badly designed, in fact, that urban planning students are often sent to study it. This, explains the professor, is how you are not to do things.

So that is what I was faced with while I quietly tended to my emotional hangover. By the time I reached the Ville-Marie Tunnel, I was not at all prepared to deal with it. It is a long curving three-lane tunnel with bright lights on the ceiling and upper walls, leaning brick on either side and I swear it goes on for 1km. After about 20 seconds, I started to go cross-eyed. My palms began to sweat and all I could think about was how easily, should my hands slip, could I ricochet off the adjacent wall and cause a major accident. Dont think about it! Just drive! I got myself so nervous obsessing over the bad design of the hazardous tunnel that it occurred to me, since an accident was inevitable, that maybe I should just get it overwith. Maybe I should just drive into the wall so I could stop being scared of it accidentally happening. This is also why I am frightened of heights. Once I get close to an edge, falling seems probable.
I am really glad I am not crazy. I could be dangerous.

In any case, I got us safely through the other end of the tunnel and arrived at home in need of a tall cold drink.

That night I met up with some of my best friends who traveled as far as England for this get together. My boyfriend expressed his disappointment in that we wouldn't be having any time alone together for a while yet. C'est la vie! The next installment of visitors had arrived and I intended to enjoy them. After far too many drinks on my balcony we decided to go to a popular seedy club in the gay village to dance the night away. Well, that was the intention anyway...but I already had a strange feeling about one of the girl's he'd invited over. She is an aspiring model I'd had issues with before. I know that he's gone for drinks with her alone, that he thinks she's hot, that he thinks she's funny. I'd met her before and immediately was relieved that she wasn't nearly as cute as I'd imagined. I thought that I would be comfortable around them...but something felt off.

As soon as we arrived, we met our first challenge. The club didn't allow people in with open-toed shoes; claiming it was too dangerous. Fortunately, faking the British accent she'd learned so well after living in London for 2 years, charmed the doorman enough to let her in "just this once." Once inside, my boyfriend who claimed to have missed me so much all week, began dancing with the model. Now, the club plays cheesy R&B and Sean Paul dancehall so the dancing that was going on involved humping each others asses and a lot of touching. I tried to ignore it. That sort of thing usually doesn't bother me at all. I am not a jealous person. I am secure in my relationship. I am reasonable. I was going crazy.

For about 45 minutes the dancing went on. For about 45 minutes I allowed myself an episode of irrationality.

At that point, I didn't want to talk to either of them. I felt shafted. I felt demoted. I was not my boyfriend's right hand man. He thought I was being unreasonable and became quite frustrated with me. I wanted to agree with him, but the figurative bag of chips wasn't yet empty.

When she tried to talk to me, she had intelligent things to say like, "Can you believe how cheap the drinks are!?" and "Are you having fun!?" To avoid saying anything I might regret, I opted to be monosyllabic and turn away. Finally I realized it might just be best for me to go to another floor of the club and concentrate of having a good time with my traveling friends. So I did, and she followed.

I was in full eye-rolling and growling/hissing mode. I felt like I was 16. It was almost as rejuvenating as it was frustrating. I just couldn't figure out why it was bothering me so much, though.

The night went on, we all went home and there was a little tension in the air. My boyfriend felt stifled and judged, I felt shafted and misunderstood.

It wasn't until I was talking to a friend of this butt-humping model that it was revealed to me that her intention was to inspire a threesome. She confided in this friend that she didn't think I was "into her."

Damn right I wasn't into her. Doesn't she know threesome inciting etiquette!? You are supposed approach the woman first. You have to make the woman feel special before you hump her boyfriend's ass. Not that I would have wanted to do that with her but at least there wouldn't have been all the weird tension.

In any case, that little revelation really helped us clear the air. I was right; I wasn't being unreasonable. She was trying to get into my boyfriend's pants. I just didn't realize she wanted to get into mine, too.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Slowly, but surely

Yes, I'm still around. The reason why I haven't written anything to prove it, is that there are a lot of other people around, too. My two sisters, both almost 15 years my senior just flew to Montreal to escape their small hometowns for a week. It would have been ideal if only they didn't nag and prod each other like they've been doing for the last 35 years.

We had a fun-filled week despite the sibling rivalry. When they first arrived, they were both on their best behaviour so we spent a bit of time enjoying the Montreal street festivals and sampling foods that simply aren't available in Nova Scotia's bologne country. We had Pho and souvlaki, Montreal smoked meat, vindaloo and naan, cocktails, microbrewed everything and Brazilan breakfast. It was delightful...but left me bloated and craving some grilled cheese sandwiches...or something equally bland.

It was so fun to have a houseful of people I love, but my live-in love was absent. I guess he was trying to give me space; some alone time with my sisters. Little did he realize that they were here to shed all responsibility and party down. He missed out on quite a bit, and I missed him.

Yesterday, in the heart of rush hour, we drove them to the airport. He did so begrudgingly because he wanted to go swimming with his friend instead, but I insisted he make a little sacrifice and show our guests some Maritime hospitality on their way home at least. Hospitality means being totally willing to inconvenience yourself and make light of it for the sake of your visitors. I became frustrated with him for not realizing this. Apparently in the suburbs of Ottawa where he was raised, this type of hospitality is not required when it comes to rush hour traffic.

Once we dropped them off, we drove to a mall in the area to enjoy the air conditioning and wait out the rest of the rush. He decided that I really need to learn how to drive to the airport. I do. I need to practice, but I had a raging emotional hangover from the recent departure of my beloved family, and I just wasn't in the mood...

(account of mild emotional breakdown to follow...)

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Spreading bad vibes, one inconsiderate act at a time

So, I am drying my hair in my 'salle de bain', I look out my window and see a stylishly dressed 25-year-old pissing outside. Recently, the technique of suggesting an alternative location to piss has been quite effective in getting them to go elsewhere. The drunks, surprisingly, are polite and apologetic for the most part. Dealing with stylishly dressed 25-year-olds is an entirely different matter. I called out of my little window: "There is a washroom at the cafe around the corner!" He looked around and located me, zipped and approached my window asking, "What?!" I repeated myself and he responded in the way only someone who recently emerged from adolescence could, "Well I wasn't AT the cafe, was I!?"

Well, he had me there. He certainly wasn't. He no longer had to pee either, so I acknowledged that there isn't much else I could do. He kept standing there, though, so I felt inclined to say something.

"It's illegal," I said.
"So call the police," he answered. Then he hurried from the park.

The problem with reporting public pissers is that they leave when they get the job done. Well, except for the drunks. But they are already "gone" in their own special way.

After this little interaction, I started brainstorming again. I reminded myself of my plan to take photos of these pissers. I reminded myself of my plan to arm myself with a "super soaker" filled with vinegar. I reminded myself of a poster campaign that could plant a seed a paranoia in the minds The Urinators. It would suggest that a violent man often hides in those same bushes and had been known to attack unsuspecting Urinators when the have their pants down. Or, perhaps I could just spread some disgusting concoction all over the grass, something not even Urinators would walk on. Then I reminded myself that this is a losing battle. No matter how hard I try to dissuade these men, they'll always be full of piss.

The feeling that was left with me was absolute frustration. I was actually shaking. I wanted to follow him and take his picture and find out where he lives, and piss on his doorstep. I did make a mental note of his face. I like to think we'll cross paths again. When we do, I am hoping he'll make a pass at me, at which point I will mention that I have already seen him with his pants down, and I wasn't very impressed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003


Having lived in Montreal for six years and holding a bilingual high school diploma after completing several long years of immersion you'd think I'd be fluent by now. Maybe we can liken it to the same phenomenon that has illiterates graduating from universities. There's always a way.

I actually knew more French before I moved from my anglophone province. At least there, I was forced to speak French with my teachers in order to pass my chemistry and math classes. Oh yes, I can talk about math in French and am royally lost when it comes to deciphering any chemistry in English (though to be fair, chemistry baffles me in any language). The university I attended in Quebec catered to the anglo population, and after six years of studying "grammaire" and "verbes" and "sexes" in high school, I was more than happy to shun my second language and concentrate on Spanish instead. I continued with the trend of half-assed studying, so I now succeed in confusing people in two languages other than English. Does that count as trilingual?

I thought moving to Vancouver would lift the burden of for my mostly unilingual self, until I saw that Cantonese was an asset. Thinking French is undoubtedly easier, I drove thousands of miles back to it. Today, however, really demonstrated what I've gotten myself into, and how much left there is to learn. I am afraid I can't just brush up on my French. I have a heckuva lot to learn. Does my Nova Scotian dialect count as a second language? "Eh, you gowanna uptah dah wahrft fer a smook is ya? Ayma comin with. I'll be rate oahva. Aya latah." Surely it counts.

My afternoon was spent planting flowers in front of my building in this mixed language neighborhood I call home. It just so happens that my friend and neighbour is actually trilingual, the kind of trilingual I would like to be. The kind that doesn't confuse people. In fact, she can carry a friendly conversation with almost anyone, and she can tell people not to "faire pee-pee" in the park regardless of their mother tongue. I am hugely impressed with this power. Next to her, I am rendered impotent, flacid when it comes to multilingual intercourse.

Now the annoying part is that I understand most of what people say in French, but I can't respond in a way that will make them want to stay and talk to me. While we planted our flowers, passers-by who live in the neighborhood would stop to comment on our admirable efforts to beautify the urban landscape. People apologized for their enormous dogs running through the newly planted flowers. Elderly women educated us on the names and needs of the flowers we'd chosen. All I did was listen and smile. My friend was able to actually speak easily with them, so I turned on my lazy-language mode and let her do all the talking. This, is precisely how I've managed living here over the past six years. You just have to know the right people.

I was getting cozy with this idea until I went grocery shopping a few hours later. A very, very overweight and very, very short exclusively French-speaking woman commented on my having chosen butter instead of margarine. She suggested that margarine was better for me and then asked me if I would mind getting her a tub of it from the top shelf because she wasn't able to reach it. I listened, smiled, passed her the margarine and expected to continue my shopping. The woman had other plans for me.

Perhaps she felt she had to justify her choice of spread. Perhaps she was crazy. She stepped closer to me and told me that I can eat butter if I want because I am obviously active, but that she prefers to watch TV so she must choose the healthier option. I smiled. Her husband is very good-looking. I know this because she told me several times, (each of which I smiled regardless of the statement's apparent irrelevancy). I don't know if I would trust her taste in men though, considering that her taste in clothes left her looking like a Polish grandmother. It was also at this point that I realized she was missing several of her teeth. Immediately afterward, I began to suspect that the teeth in question were actually floating around in her mouth, the partial plate having become dislodged. You can imagine what this did for her pronunciation.

The rest of the story became a sort of "Choose Your Own Adventure", as I could only understand half of what she was saying and had obviously missed some important details. What was disturbing for me was not only her spittle, but the fact that what I was understanding was the sort of story you ethically must report to the police.

Apparently, her husband has a new girlfriend. I smiled because she smiled. She was supposedly very pretty and the woman didn't mind that he has this girlfriend. She's seventeen and he's about fifty. I didn't smile. What was really crazy, suggested the lady, was that she got pregnant and didn't even tell him! I'm not so sure that's really the craziest part, though. She became more animated and began talking louder and with more spittle and I completely missed the next thing she said, so, feeling the need to clarify the situation I said, "pardon?" and was completely ignored. She began talking faster and faster; her tongue working full-time to keep the dislodged teeth in her mouth.

Then, she said something about an affair and a fourteen-year-old.

Now, the conversation might have been completely misunderstood by me, but when I asked for clarification she wouldn't acknowledge that I'd spoken. She simply continued to spew out this crazy story and I didn't know what to do. I was scared she was talking about what I thought she was talking about, so I did what a person is supposed to do when faced with a mammal that's frothing at the mouth. I backed away slowly.

As I increased the space between us, she over-compensated by talking louder. Step-by-backward-step I rounded the corner of the aisle, slipping out of her view. Only when she could no longer see me did she pause in her story and call out, "OK, bye-bye." She stayed there between the margarine and butter, surely awaiting her next victim. I think the "I-can't-reach-the-margarine" routine was a trap.

I rushed to the cash, afraid she'd decide to follow. While nervously pushing my goods through the checkout, I thought about how if I could only speak French fluently I would be able to cut off conversations more quickly. I mean, I can't just run away from francophones, even if they're nuts. I have to tell them I am going to first.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Educational games

I love playing games. I learned most of my math skills while sitting on my Dad's lap during cribbage games as a little girl. When I was old enough to remember all the rules, I got to play against him. It was my chance to prove myself to him, I had to be able to not only count my own points, but to double check his...just in case he tested me, to see if I was playing *seriously*. I am 25 now, and just last year he finally did it. I had been nervously checking his points for 15 years before the time had come. He takes his time.

Games are obviously associated with good times, but there are very special memories attached to them for me. I played different games with different people. My grandmother taught me how to play Rummy. This always seemed a little out of character for her as the pacifist, naturalist sage she was, but then again, over the years a lot about my grandmother surprised me. I enjoyed every tidbit. Scrabble was always a big event at her house. I would try my best to get as many points as possible, but being the most highly educated person in our family (both formally and informally), it was just understood that no one would ever beat her. When I started winning, it was very distressing.

My mother's side of the family is Polish and proud of it (in a very self-deprecating fashion). It was always hard for me to understand their penchant for Polish jokes, but I suppose the older third generation Canadian, I'm really quite removed from all that (except for what my family subjects me to). Most of my extended family lives a 25-hour drive from where I grew up, so when we all get together, it's a very special event. They're all very witty and cheerful and all-in-all the gatherings are refreshing reunions where alcoholism is thinly veiled under the guise of "Polish tradition". We're talking about people who'll drink Cæsers for breakfast because they're healthy. Na zdrowie!

This ubiquitous alcoholism makes for entertaining game playing. Usually we play cards for money. Any game will do really, as long as it's for money. I have fond memories of being very young and winning my first bowl full of dimes. I proudly hoarded my loot for a day or two and then lost it all playing Thirty-one. One rule that applies to all card games is: no mercy for anyone over the age of five. I think it was a valuable learning experience.

I hear that in Poland, when a guest arrives the house bottle of vodka is brought out and consecutive shots are poured for everyone present until the bottle is emptied. And then the drinking begins. That's just the toast. Again, na zdrowie!

But now that I am grown and living in a province sandwiched between my immediate and extended family, there seems to be a shortage of people willing to play card games with me. No one wants to lose their money, and no one wants to put up with the heckling involved in a rowdy game. Every now and then I can convince my boyfriend to play Shithead with me. While there is no betting involved, the amount of possible heckling makes up for it. But more often than not, I am left to play my own games. Today I developed a new one.

My home is positioned in one of those city areas where men sense a quiet corner and immediately get the urge to mark their territory. This drives my neighbor crazy and several times she's called the police to ward off the extremely common species we've come to call: The Urinators. There are different kinds: a) the high rollers who will whip down their drawers in the middle of the park because they just don't give a damn b) the elderly c) raving drunkards who've already been warned.

Today, I witnessed a "C" type approaching the quiet corner. He looked over his shoulder to see if anyone was behind him. He looked toward my neighbor's house to see if she was watching. He took the pre-pee stance (legs apart and ready to unzip)...and at precisely this moment I banged on my window really loudly. I saw him panic and try to determine where the noise was coming from. Then he ran away. He was gone for a full hour before he came back to the park to pass out.

One point for me, zero for The Urinators.
I'm in the lead.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Let's get physical, physical!

I've recently learned how to go to the gym. All my life I have avoided physical activity, going so far as to be a real pain in the ass about it in elementary school. My poor teachers must've cursed my parents for telling me not to let adults make me do anything I didn't want to do. I reinterpreted that lesson to work in my favour during Phys Ed. When forced to play soccer at the tender age of nine, I protested by running away from the ball. I'm not sure if I was upset because I was picked last for the team, or if the team picked me last because of that. In any case, I found the whole matter to be entirely unfair. Again, I pity the underpaid teachers.

I did try intramural soccer once more in high school, but I snapped my wrist during the first game and ended up in a cast, forbidden to play again by my doctor. I would have a cast for 8 weeks...and it was exactly 8 weeks until the prom. I took that as a sign from the PE powers that be. I wouldn't tempt them again.

While growing up, I was told over and over (by chubby people and chubby people's mothers) that I was "too skinny." By the time I reached junior high, I developed a complex. I started eating twice as much and most of that would be just before bedtime, partly in fear that I'd accidentally burn some calories if I stayed awake and partly to taunt my metabolically challenged friends. I was convinced that if I could just gain a little weight, my breasts would grow. I was wrong. I'm still playing for the A-Team.

I did reach a whomping 125 lbs. My all-time high. And when I got there, I realized I didn't want to be there. Now it's not that I think 125 lbs is a lot...but it looks weird when it is only on your belly and you *still* have skinny arms and legs. I didn't want to be a chicken lady. I just wanted some boobs.

In any case, at some point during university, I decided that maybe...since boobs aren't in the stars for me, I might as well get other cooler body stuff, like muscles!!! Then I realized that would involved physical activity. I thought maybe I could start slow...maybe I would join a contemporary dance class. I thought that was a great idea! It wasn't.

After the first class of "freeing my body" and "letting it speak" and "being a tree" and "walking without bones" I felt too degraded to go on. If *that* was what physical activity was all about I wanted none of it! I decided the muscle idea could get nice and comfy on the back burner.

A few *years* later a combination of things motivated me to actually commit to "training", but mostly it was instinctive know, survival of the fittest. Buying the $600 membership was the clamp on the dumbell. But after weeks of doing 50 minutes of cardio and an hour of weights...I still find that my self perception is totally screwy. It all depends on my mood. I have no idea what I *really* look like. I don't even own a scale...and after visiting someone who *does* own a scale, I'm happy not to. I learned something about myself by stepping on it several times in a 24 hour period: I weigh 115 lbs pre-buffet and 120 lbs post-buffet. I am not joking. No really.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Raight out (of character)

To say it in my native Maritime dialect, last night I "got raight out uff 'er". This translates into: ripped, wasted and trashed. Not just one of those states of being, all of them together. So, it's something like being inebriated to the power of three. It's been a long time since I've allowed this to happen. Since Halloween to be specific, when I met a fellow Maritimer at a house party in Vancouver and practiced this self-defeating ritual. While I am certain it poisons my body, it has a way of clearing my mind. It's as though all the stress is expelled in one enormous obnoxious outburst. Be warned my friends, such an outburst can last for hours and it might not be pretty.

I bought two tickets to a rock show and I was really looking forward to going. All week I had been feeling pretty serious and cynical. It was a bit of a hangover from the war that I really needed to get out of my system. I also hadn't been spending any quality time with my live-in buddy, so I thought a Saturday night on the town together might do the trick. As the sun started to go down we wandered to a restaurant that opens out onto the sidewalk so we could enjoy the last bit of the almost-as-nice-as-summer day. We opted for the moules et frites (a popular combo here) and an ostrich burger with jalapeno sauce. It was delicious, but sitting in the hot sun, the beer was better. We started out with imported beer but soon moved on to a local beer which really can hold its own anyway. The salty and spicy and exotic food made us thirsty; we needed to be refreshed. You see then, how innocently it all started.

We realized that the doors were opening for the show and we still had a fifteen minute walk ahead of us, so we paid our bill and giddily started off in pursuit of entertainment. When we arrived, however, I realized I had grossly overestimated the popularity of the bands. There wouldn't be a line up, in fact the door man joked with us that people like to be fashionably late. There we were unfashionably eager. We decided maybe instead of waiting inside the venue with the estimated 10 other Unfashionables, that we'd go grab a drink at a local watering hole known as Fouf. This is actually more of a punk venue after dark, and recently Vanilla Ice made an appearance there.

It just so happens that it was also Happy Hour, or as we say in Quebec "le 5 à 7". It wasn't my fault bottles of Boréale were only $2. We felt it was our duty to stock up before we reached the concert venue where the drinks would surely cost at least twice that! We thought this was being responsible. An hour passed and the show was supposedly starting, so we giggled our way back to Club Soda. I had forgotten it was an all ages show and upon seeing the youngsters, became nostalgic about gigs I attended while in high school. We'd sit on the floor in front of the stage and wait for the no-talent bands to emerge and scream into the microphones and eventually spit on the crowd (us) so we could feel "rock 'n' roll".

We casually sipped another drink and waited for the bands to appear. Once the first band appeared, I began hoping that each would be better than the last. Now, I understand we are all influenced and inspired by others, but for each song they played, I could name either a U2, Blind Melon or Doors version to match. It didn't help that there were only about 25 people in the audience. The next band was met with a larger crowd. People started filling the empty spaces and soon there were people dancing. The Tangiers, being young, pretty and bouncy, livened things up in such a way that made me feel bad for the previous band. It didn't help that the lead singer left to mope in the doorway to men's washroom.

By the time the Constantines took to the stage, the crowd was ready to party, dancing and screaming and pushing each other and taking their clothes off, as it should be. I really didn't think they could be topped. Well, not at a $15 show anyway. Then came Trans Am.

Now you see how I totally forgot about the drinking? And I got all excited about the music? Well that is what happened there, too. Except I was still drinking because I was thirsty. I just wasn't noticing that I was. My date, who can't handle alcohol at the best of times, was buying me the beer. He bought so much that I often had two bottles in my hand, eager to give them away to any taker. Well, it just so happens that he was pacing his intake according to the amount I was consuming. Since I seemed to be drinking it all, he figured he must be in the clear. It became apparent that I would have to chaperone him when he started buying drinks for his sworn enemy (a friend and flirt). When he is nice to this guy, I know I'm going to have my hands full.

The night went on until it exhausted itself, to the psychotic joy of the audience, and me.

While I was saying good-bye to a friend, she suggested I take my date home. "Why?" I asked, thinking the answer would be: "Because he is wasted." Instead she simply said, because he just did a cartwheel and now he's laying on the floor. "Oh..."

When I finally got him to leave, I thought maybe it would be fun to visit the transsexual bar across the street, Cafe Cléopatre. My date was a little nervous about it, but I insisted, it would be fun. We arrived just as the stage performance ended and the MC wished us all a good night. Perhaps we should have taken the hint. We didn't. Instead, the disco ball lights started up and some men-to-women who were in the show came back out to dance. I, of course, got up on stage to dance with them. Only today did I question whether or not the show was over, or if I might have made myself a part of the encore.

At some point, walking back to our neighbourhood, I started talking about how I would like to take self defense lessons. Somehow this lead to my date saying: "Punch me." Lacking any rational thought, especially forethought, I punched my date in the arm. It reminded me of living with my sisters, just a cheap jab, to hear the other person say, "Ow!" But I don't think he expected me to hit him that hard, or maybe I didn't know how hard I was jabbing. In any case, he retaliated with a jab to mine. So I retaliated. So he retaliated again. And so on. Somewhere in all the laughter and cheap shots I decided to do a sideways elbow jab. I didn't really direct it. I didn't plan it. I didn't actually think about it, but I got him good. It was at that point my date vomited.

I would have apologized, but I was pretty sure he would have vomited anyway. Right? In its truest sense, this is what "raight out uff 'er" means. The beauty of the occasional "raight out uff 'er" night in traditional Maritime style is that you can still be friends in the morning.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Trust me

My parents always told me I shouldn't trust people who can't look me in the eye. This came along with other useful tips like: "Never trust someone with a weak/cold/clammy or complicated handshake" and "Never trust someone who has to tell you you can trust them." You'd think there were trust issues when I was growing up, but we all trusted each other so much in my house, that even as a teenager I didn't bother to hide my diary. I didn't even question how my sister might know of the secret-illegal things I'd done. I thought maybe we were just really *close* and we'd developed some sort of sisterly ESP.

I've kept diaries ever since I ran out of metaphors for teen-angst poetry, so I have excellent documentation of the most embarassing period of my life. I love rereading entries describing break-ups, make-outs and substance abuse. I am appalled by my terrible handwriting. I am fascinated I survived those years and amused by every painful second of them.

I made the mistake of thinking it would amuse my friends, too. I decided to make my diary (given to me by my older, drug-using, fast driving, cigarette smoking, son-of-a-lawyer boyfriend) recounting my sweet sixteenth year, public. I placed it on the coffee table and made it known that everyone was welcome to read it. I had even returned torn out 'pages-of-shame' to their rightful place inside the book again. I couldn't wait to sit around and joke about the person I was. I thought it would be hilarious for my ex-boyfriend to read about how madly in love I claimed to be. I thought my best friend would laugh when she read how I really felt when she kissed my boyfriend during a mononucleosis outbreak in our high school. Not so.

The book was left untouched in my presence and they eventually asked me to put it away because it was making them uncomfortable. I suppose we are always tied so intimately to our past that, in other people's eyes, it's hard for them to recognize that we've undergone complete cerebral overhauls. I simply am not capable of doing or saying or thinking most of the things I'd written about almost a decade earlier. It then occurred to me that maybe when people can't look you straight in the eye, it's because they don't trust you.

This all came to mind when my ex-boyfriend, the one that provided much of the drama in the diary in question, emailed me asking if he could spend the night at my house on his way through the city. I mentioned it to my current live-in love and we supposed we wouldn't mind. I said, "Well it won't be that bad. It's not like he'd steal anything from us or anything." As the words left my mouth, I began questioning whether he really might, if only just for kicks.

We'll see if I'll be able to look him in the eye when he gets here. I might have to keep my eyes on my stuff instead.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

The big thaw

At first, I was pleased to find out my new home was near a park. They are welcome outdoor meeting places after eight months of harsh Canadian winter. Being a young and fashionable city, at the first sign of thaw, we venture from our homes to splurge on a new spring outfit to show-off in these parks when the many cafe terraces are already packed. All winter we fantasize about buying beer from our local depanneur (corner store) and stylishly lounging in the sun on the baby sprouts of grass. We ignore the stench of the thawing winter collection of canine feces the dog-owners left behind because they didn't want to trudge through the snow to collect it. That is a serious lack of forethought on their part, and another reason Montrealers welcome the cleansing spring thunder showers.

Eight months is a long time, though. It is long enough to forget what else the community parks attract. Not only are we a fashionable city, we are a kind city. We love to feed the pigeons. We love pigeons so much, in fact, that we like to feed them our leftover dinners. It is through this charitable act that I have discovered pigeons will eat anything but okra. Personally I despise okra, so this is enough proof for me to claim okra is an anomaly of nature. Surely, it would be left decaying on the park grounds if the unleashed dogs wouldn't finish it off.

I like dogs because I like animals, but I don't especially like them. They are the only animal that has ever tried to bite, chase and mate with me. I had forgotten that all the local residents bring their dogs to these parks for their exercise. Now I am not a species-ist. I know they need to run and feel free, but if an owner knows the animal is inclined to attack strangers, perhaps they should take a moment from their cell phone conversation to hold the dog back before it jumps on someone. Once a stranger's dog bares its teeth at me and puts my calf in its mouth...I get a little nervous. What irks me, is that the owner of the dog then gets angry when I motion to yell and swat it. How am I supposed to know the dog wasn't just tasting me before the official sinking-in-of-the-teeth? How am I supposed to know when the owner will finally hang up and help me? Apparently the dog learned its manners from its master.

Unfortunately, the pigeons and the dogs are the easiest animals to deal with in the parks as our little part of the world thaws. We also have a healthy population of drunkards. I don't mind drunkards in the same way I don't mind strange dogs: we can live in harmony if neither tries to bite me.

On my way down the sunny street yesterday, two especially drunken drunkards began 'meowing' at me. Meowing? OK, I endured the barking and howling of Puerto Rican guys in NYC, the hissing in Italy, the marriage proposals in Cuba, the honking in rural Canada and the ass-grabbing in night clubs, but meowing? Did they make that up themselves?

I told them not to be rude and they told me not to be shy. I think we were having a miscommunication.

I arrived at my friend's house in time to witness her afternoon drunkard experience. I had encountered the same drunkard earlier on that day. He was alone on a park bench angrily screaming, "Ma mère! Ma mère!" I think his 'mère' really messed him up. In any case, my friend had just asked him not to pee on the grass next to her house and he seemed willing to defend his right to pee in public to the death. He came at her, arms raised as though he was already choking her and so she promptly retreated and called the police. They arrived in record time and ran him off down the street with a warning. He paused and stared at me, raised a finger and turned to see if the police were still watching. They were, he left, and peace was returned to the quartier. I might be nervous that he had made note of my face for future reference if he wasn't such an inebriated raving lunatic.

But, the pigeons, the dogs, the raving drunkards, they aren't the only seasonal nuisance. Exams are ending. The frat boys are celebrating. Hold onto your hats ladies, and don't walk alone at night.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

The resurrection

Jesus appeared on my doorstep a few days ago. Elvis sent him. Actually it was Elvis Furniture, a major used appliance store in the notoriously tacky east end of Montreal. My dryer had stopped drying my clothes and so I called the store to send a repairman. They cautioned me that it would be a "petit immigré qui s'appelle Jesus." Translation: a little immigrant named Jesus. The way he said it, I could only assume that he was keeping with the theme of persecution.

In any case, Jesus rang my doorbell and if he hadn't had a paper with the word "Elvis" on it, I wouldn't have let him in. He looked like he had been brought back from the dead. His hair was matted in such a way that he had four enormous, unintentional dreadlocks. He face was smudged with grease and head-to-toe of his barely-five-foot stature was covered in a brown powdery substance. Had he just emerged from the fabled cave?

In any case, I greeted him as I would anyone who had arrived to help me. He approached my ailing appliance with familiarity and said assuredly, "there is nothing wrong with this dryer."

"What do you mean? It doesn't work!" I said, convinced it was an evil plot from Elvis headquarters to avoid honouring the King's guarantee. But, he simply laid his hands on it, turned the dial and pressed the start button. Lo and behold, I heard a great rumble of another dry cycle beginning. In days like these, God has to get a word in when he can. Those of us who aren't especially religious benefit from lots of little miracles if we choose to believe in them.

The real theme of Easter has always creeped me out a little bit, but now I see that resurrection can truly be something beautiful. If Jesus can fix my problems that easily, count me in!

Now what about the rest of the world?

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Dress to kill

Those were the instructions on an invitation I received for a fashion mag launch party. How the hell did that phrase come about? Who am I supposed to kill? Isn't there enough death and destruction these days?

Dress to kill. That is hard to do when you've recently emigrated from Vancouver where you dress to survive. If only it was a polar fleece/gortex theme party; I'd be a hit!

I noticed, however, that some of our young and hip have residents really are dressing to kill. They adorn themselves with camouflage accessories and nouveaux cargo pants. There is even a window display, in downtown Montreal, that flaunts exclusively army-inspired couture. Talk about capitalizing on the misfortunes of others! There are also anti-war placards among the mannequins...I suppose to make it obvious that the reference is ironic. Somehow the spin doctors have figured out how to market camouflage clothing as a stand for peace. The Whitehouse should hire these people; they are geniuses.

I discovered this shop when I was on my mission to find my murderously hot ensemble.

I chose things I would never normally wear. I thought that was appropriate seeing as I would never normally want to kill people either. But the shoes...the shoes are truly a weapon. They are so pointy, in fact, that I am quite sure they would be confiscated in airport security.

Tonight I am dressing to kill, for peace.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Quiz me, I dare you!

Word History: The term (quizzer) first recorded in 1782, meant “an odd or eccentric person.” From the noun in this sense came a verb meaning “to make sport or fun of” and “to regard mockingly.”

But this quiz is certainly worth checking out.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Impotence and sensitivity

Yes, I have done it again! Since the war started, I have managed to get myself told off twice. Not a hardship comparable to anything that is happening in the Middle East right now, but still, I am on a roll!

What I'm not exactly sure about is why many Americans take my anti-excessive-force stance so *personally*. Perhaps it is just another difference in the upbringing of an American, as opposed to a Canadian? When the government here in Canada screws up, the public collectively sneers, "There, you went and did it again...nice job goofs!" In the last few weeks I have been getting a sense that in the USA, the collective moan is "Look what you got us into now...well since we're here anyway, let's make lemonade."

Now, before I get myself told off again, I should clarify: I love lemonade. It's refreshing, simple. It reminds me of my first real experience with capitalism.

When the war was born, people were willing to talk about it. They would share information about what they saw on tv. They would express opinions and ask questions. Now it is a bastard child. The parents are arguing over who is responsible for it. One parent feels unloved by the other. The issues are clouded by emotion, and NO ONE is talking about the war anymore. Instead, we are talking about who offended who by saying what about whatever. And we are all tired.

The result from my last mention of news articles pertaining to the war, in hopes of hearing other opinions or getting another perspective got me a reaction which included the following terms: "rubbing our faces in it" and "arrogant".

Is this how individuals in America feel? Is it a guilt complex? Do they feel like there *is* something they could do and aren't doing? How can I be rubbing anyone's face in it? I am not in charge of anything. I am just another an American (but not one). I think maybe my right to speak out about it has been usurped...seeing as I'm Canadian...and I am *still* talking about it. This is what I mean when I say, "I think people want me to shut up now."

It has also been clarified for me that protesting is futile and maybe we should try to see the humour in it all. Am I missing something? Or am I being arrogant again?

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Breasts got in the way of my blossoming writing career

I haven't written anything for more than 'a long time'. Considering that my parents still think I was a Journalism major, that's pretty bad. It's strange then, that what finally prompted me to get off my rocker and set up a blog was pure frustration with what I've been reading in the media these days.

I joined my university weekly publication once and did a commentary on the content of men's magazines. It was my aim to call to attention the uninformed claims they make about women, and how to get them to 'put out'. None of the suggestions they offered their readers would ever work 'in the field'. To add a little humour, I actually measured the amount of breast-space there was. I concluded, that based on the rate of distribution for one year, if I were to cut out all the photos of breasts and tape them together end to end...I would be able to create a breast chain that would wrap around the equator. Tits sell and they have a lot of tits. That's all I was thinking.

To my horror, hours before being sent to print, the Psycho-Feminist-Extremist editor added this conclusion: "Magazines like this encourage date rape."

I told her off, quit the paper and so my disenchantment with the 'Press' began.

It's been a long time since I have written anything public. It feels good to get myself even a little motivated.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Here it goes...

I know a lot of people these days who wish I would just shut up. This is what I think of that.