Saturday April 30 , 2016

That’s-just-how-it-is

Life can turn on a dime. That’s something my mother used to say. It can come down to free will that it does, but mostly it comes down to that’s-just-how-it-is. And the older I get the less daylight I see between free will and that’s-just-how-it-is.

It was well known to me that my mother was always referencing her widowhood, not our fatherlessness, but that’s-just-how-it-was, back in the day. Adults mattered. Kids didn’t. But we were a dime a dozen, weren’t we, a baby boom, and few of us fit for working in the fields, admit it. We watched tv every chance we got, hung out being useless teenagers.

Later I found myself trapped at a party in the middle of nowhere rolling joints for a couple of Hell’s Angels.

Don’t tell my mother. She was in Stratford that weekend and I was supposed to be at home looking for a job. Miraculously, I got a job mere minutes before her car turned in the driveway. Playground… guard?

Although the playground was in a high school gym. I’d get there on my bike and kids, little kids, would be waiting patiently for S. to arrive, too, and let us in. Then F. and N. would show up, and later N.’s groupies, teen girls who spent all summer trying to get his attention.

He was ridiculously good-looking. Alas, quite oblivious to the girls in ever decreasing amounts of clothing, regardless of the temperature. F., on the other hand, had the time of his life, trying to win them over.

It was a little bit Saturday Night Fever for me. West end. Very Italian. But it was the same for S. Later we ran into F. at the Vic and he snubbed us.

He, snubbed us. Oh my. No, F. You have your shirt undone to your waist and are wearing a gold chain around your neck and we’re pretty sure your hair is not naturally curly, not like that. You’ve got a perm.

Cripes, he’s lucky we didn’t both fuck him silly to show how no way does he snub us at the Vic.

I think S. got drunk one night and maybe she showed him a thing or two but she wouldn’t admit it to me even if she did.

There’s a letting go that has to happen, I think, somewhere along the way of life or we take on the free will of others and the that’s-just-how-it-is for ourselves and turn it into big old bag of guilt that we haul around in our innards while time changes everyone and everything around us.

Then one day, if we’re lucky, we realize, hey, time changed me, too, and why am I hauling around all this guilt? What the hell did I do that everybody else hasn’t done millennia before me that I think I’m so responsible for every goddamned thing that’s happened to everyone lucky enough to know me?

Ego, isn’t it. Guilty people have bigger than average egos. We should be on disability, not left to try harder so we can be better than everybody else trying hard out there.

Okay. That’s it. I am NOT making a special trip back to Venezuela to apologize to Ramon for advancing him airfare to come to Canada when he didn’t know any more than I did that he couldn’t fly one way. And also that his family needed a car.

My co-worker was part of the 60s scoop at the same time when I was getting perfect attendance in kindergarten in spite of a daily effort to get out of going to school. He honestly seems to have no idea but he’ll tell me stories of his early years and I go home traumatized with guilt on behalf of an entire country. And I hear him on the phone with his son and he’s so responsible it practically kills me.

I have periodic meltdowns with mine that move us forward. We’re getting there. And by we I really mean me because I want to be a person again.

Parenthood is tiresome after a while. There. I said it.

Seriously, who knew? Not me. Or, you know. Yeah. That’s right. I almost said that, too.

But yes, every day I tried to get out of going to school. I got a reputation as a hypochondriac, and I was, totally, but I also just really liked being at home. I had the afternoon shift at kindergarten and the twins next door had the morning shift and so I ended up going with T. up the street, who was sketchy at best.

I can still remember the two of us playing in our sandbox. This was before school age and we were making roads for my brother’s army trucks to travel on in the sand when T. decided to hit me in the temple with the stick we were using. The blood gushed down my face and I ran crying into the house where my grandmother was at the ready with that horrid stinking dishrag she kept handy at all times. She yelled at T. to go home and at me to stop crying and then she wiped off the blood and put a band-aid on my cut.

It looked worse than it was but I’ll never forget how nonchalant she was about my bloodied brains possibly gushing out of my head.

She was like that with Cindy’s kittens disappearing one by one down at the farm where she would go every summer, too. It killed us.

“Where’s Tommy?!”

“Oh that owl got him I guess.”

Later, I was playing in the driveway by myself, using the stick, now weapon, to draw roads in the gravel for my brother’s army trucks to travel on, when I saw T.’s mother marching down the street with a teddy bear I’d left at her house days earlier. And as I sat there in the gravel she hurled the teddy bear at me from the sidewalk, her cigarette hanging off the side of her mouth, and told me to stay away from T., that I was no longer welcome in her house, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

And I remember feeling scared and guilty (I had probably said something to set T. off, who regularly recited “sticks and stones may break your bones but words will always hurt you” because he was a prodigy that way) but also, I don’t know, the way she didn’t actually come on our driveway but stood on the sidewalk, engaging with me, a four-year-old, and not my grandmother, I learned something about the thin line between free will and that’s-just-how-it-is, that what looks like free will isn’t necessarily, because life is very intricate.

Did a butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico mean that I wouldn’t score bowls of Cap’n Crunch anymore at T.’s house.

Maybe. T. could certainly make it seem likely.

But memory is a tricky thing, too, isn’t it. How often do we go back to the scene of it all and realize it doesn’t look anything like how we remember it.

Memory fairies, I blame the memory fairies. And butterfly wings.

At various times I resented my mother for never going to bat for me like that, she only ever left our house through the side door to get in her car and go somewhere adult, but that wasn’t really fair of me, either. She always took my side, she just never did anything about whatever perceived injustice against my person I was relaying to her.

And I can assure you, there was a litany of them. I can’t really remember her reaction that time, but she probably told me not to play with T. anymore and to stay away from T.’s mother, that T.’s older brother E. was a terrible bully and to stay away from him, too.

She couldn’t abide T. But she wasn’t really into kids. We were a world away from her world, even though she was a teacher, which we always found hilarious, her real kids.

It’s okay, don’t panic, as soon as she figured out she could, she got out of the classroom and into the library.

But before all that she would have had her own experiences with T.’s mother because she was just another homemaker on our street with kids the same ages as other homemakers and a husband who went to work all day.

And T.’s mother would have had her own experiences with mine. And my father, too, about whom in later years she would say to me, “He was a lovely man, but he couldn’t hammer a nail into a board”.

And she hugged me, as she would sometimes do, and although I didn’t trust it, because you never knew what was coming next with her, I welcomed it, being enveloped in all that simmering emotion and then released again into the land of reason.

Not hot/cold, warm/cool.

I was surprised to realize that of course she had known him, that she would have lived through the time with my parents when they had the diagnosis of terminal cancer, when life turned on that dime.

Many years later her life would turn on a dime when T.’s older brother E., who became a really nice kid, all the parents remarked on it, that when he got streamed into the technical high school it was like he’d been born again, this time as a really nice kid, was killed on the highway helping out a friend who had car trouble.

They were living down the line then, running a fishing lodge, living the life they’d probably been meant to live all that time they’d been in a war-time house up the street from ours, that wasn’t a war-time house, not in that sense, and it was so unfair that there was nothing for it but that’s just how it is.

 

Feminazis All ‘Round

Just kidding.

I don’t know where Michelle Rempel stands on the right of female citizens to terminate their own pregnancies. That’s pretty much my line in the sand. Either you support universally funded safe and legal access to abortion services or you’re not a Feminist.

Of course, I guess that makes Stephen Harper a Feminist, doesn’t it, because he supported universally funded safe and legal access to abortion services, didn’t he.

Hey, now there’s something I never thought to blog when he was prime minister, and yet, it’s true, isn’t it. He had every opportunity to re-criminalize abortion in Canada but he didn’t do it.

Meanwhile, he and his Conservative Party enacted all kinds of legislation that has since been struck down by the Supreme Court for being unjust in one way or another, so it’s not like he was shy about going for it.

Well, gosh. And there was Justin Trudeau jumping out in front of both him and Thomas Mulcair as if he was Feminist of the Year, announcing that candidates for the Liberal Party must be pro-choice or forget about getting the nomination unless you already had it in a re-run.

I was surprised that a political party leader would go out on that particular limb, but to his credit, he did. I wonder how true it ended up being.

And, you know, Stephen Harper never struck me as the kind of man who was okay with sexual harassment, either. I mean, he was clearly disturbed by the sexual harassment to death of Rehtaeh Parsons, wasn’t he, making a point of meeting with her parents and then using the opportunity it afforded to promote his view of victims’ rights.

I’m not criticizing him for that, although I don’t agree that victims have rights or should have rights, I’m just acknowledging that he believes they do and should, enough that he and his Conservative Party enacted a whole piece of legislation for victims of crime. And I think it’s fair to say that the impetus for that (very problematic) legislation has to do with redress for male violence, particularly, against society.

It’s just that it all got kind of overshadowed by the finger pointing away from their own old stock Canadian backyard to the backyards of others, didn’t it. They were too often pretending that violence against women was something only men outside the white male Conservative fold perpetuated.

So I guess it’s good that Michelle Rempel has written a column about sexual harassment on the Hill, although Megan Leslie pointed all this stuff out back when Justin Trudeau was booting a couple of male members from the Liberal Party, which didn’t have a lot of members to spare, based on allegations of sexual assault from a couple of female members of the New Democratic Party, which did.

And if I recall correctly, there was nary a peep from the Conservative Party, but, you know, to be fair, that kind of struck me as a sound political policy of just keeping one’s head down while the bullets are flying.

Which brings me back to this deal that has been brokered by our government to supply a kingdom – a kingdom ffs – notorious for its violence against women, with weapons, and the increasingly bizarre assertions by Dion, Trudeau, and now Chystia Freeland, that it has nothing to do with them, that it’s all to do with the other guys.

And oh, Canada’s reputation. So mine and yours. You know, because it’s 2015.

 

 

 

Hey You, White Lady, Shut Up!

I mostly stay out of the racist sexism arguments on social media because they’re such minefields that it’s too easy to make a misstep and be blown up.

And then as you lay there in bloody bits of no longer humanness be pecked away at and regurgitated until you’re not even fuel for the aggrieved righteousness of others anymore.

I think it’s called intersectionality, but I’m so not involved that I don’t actually know for sure that it is. You know what I’m talking about, though, right?

So having blippity blabbed all the above I follow an Egyptian activist for women’s rights on Twitter and today she kind of took it on, the whole racist sexism thing, so I retweeted her comment with my own:

Conservative men always point fingers away from their own society violence against women to accuse other societies of worse.

I could have just left it at Conservatives but I’m deliberately snubbing Conservative women for being traitors to our gender because they’re such enabling suck-ups to their moronic halves.

Just kidding. As usual I made the tweet in a hurry and then it was retweeted a grabillion times so I couldn’t very well go back and make it better, could I.

Anyway, my point is it was retweeted by the Egyptian activist I follow and lots of people after her so it was very gratifying, you rock, Sooey Says!

I know, I know, but I love that it’s just a click of a button to be involved with someone who’s actually doing something about what a shit world this is for so many people because men are such dumbfuck shitheads that they think more rights for more people somehow equals fewer rights for them.

You said it, Barbie: “Math is hard.”

For men.

But wait, that wasn’t actually my point, the one back there, my point is that I realized I’d been holding back from getting involved in racist sexism (ok, ok, intersectionality) arguments because my experience has been of sexism, not racism, and so not racist sexism. And I know how annoyed I get when men weigh in with #notallmen distractions or #fatherknowsbest testimonials or #letmetellyouwhyyouarewrong lectures after I’ve commented about my experience living in a very sexist society.

And yes, racist, but that’s not my experience to speak to, not directly.

But still, for all that, we’re all people, aren’t we. So more rights for some of us, which means recognizing a sexist and racist imbalance, equals more rights for all of us. And since it’s a sure bet that women everywhere are second class citizens to men, well, I’ll let you do the math.

 

 

Working Woman

If I’m honest, and why write otherwise, I really enjoy my commute to work. It’s because I read on the bus. And there are so many good books on offer these days. I just finished one called “The Bees” and the entire time I was reading it I felt like I was in the hive. Now I’m reading a book called “In the Fold”.

I judged it by its cover and took it out of the library. Otherwise I’d still be there trying to decide which one of the thousands of great books I wanted to check out for this week’s read.

It takes me about a week of commuting to finish a book. And I’ve stopped doing crosswords at night in bed and read a different book than the one I’m reading on the commute. It’s funny, but I’ve never enjoyed reading as much as I do now.

A wild woman I met on one of the camping trips I took has a book out called “Heyday”. It’s on hold by several people now but I could have checked it out about a month ago. And Leah McLaren has one out that I’ll give a go.

My own efforts continue apace. One day, rabbit, one day. My problem is probably one you’ve noticed with my writing here, in that I have trouble picking a topic and sticking with it. I don’t know how common it is, the need to get it all out in one go, but it’s definitely not conducive to finishing whatever it is because there’s always more stuff one can drag in to go on about.

Today I did a thing I’ve never done before and asked for more work to do. Normally what I do is beaver away until I’ve whittled the work down to nothing and then just keep a low profile until the job ends or we all die or something. It’s weird. Other people don’t do that, they say things like, “Oh I have to be busy or I can’t stand it.”

Today I realized I’m one of those people, I just had no idea I was one of those people. I thought I was one of those people who liked having nothing to do at work. But I’m totally not. And when I said “I need more work to do” I kind of couldn’t believe it was coming out of my mouth but there it was.

It was incredibly liberating. I had no idea. And now everyone’s been tasked with thinking up work for me to do over the weekend. Oh, and when I said “I need more work to do” the fellow who sits sort of across the hall from me and sees me all day said “Why didn’t you say something? I have tons of stuff I can give you.”

People felt really bad that I’d been suffering in silent boredom. They’d feel even worse if they knew what a bustling bee I am at home, cooking, cleaning, decorating, undecorating, redecorating. I mean, the reason I like my commute so much is because I have no excuse not to read.

Which brings me back to “The Bees” and telling my boss today that “I need more work to do”, six words I never thought I’d say in the workplace. (At home I never run out of work to do and I’m never bored. I even put off sleep to work.)

I realized after dinner, which was a solid effort at Caribbean takeout style rotis, a little labour intensive after a day at the office but well worth it, that “The Bees” must have gotten to me, the collective effort to keep the hive healthy, and the satisfaction Flora derives from taking on work she wasn’t born to do, especially foraging, which takes her out of the hive and into the world beyond.

Whether it’s the effect of “The Bees” or not I feel less apart, more a part these days.

And work. Bring it. More please.

I can’t imagine now why I didn’t speak up forty years ago.

 

 

Taxi!

Uber is driving us cheaply and efficiently to the bottom of the money pit, isn’t it. But the taxi industry is a racket and increasingly unaffordable to anybody without a business account.

This trading plates business they’re up to their eyeballs in sure seems like speculation to me.

I have a smart phone, too, just not the app for Uber. It’s not my thing, Uber. I’m kind of creeped out by it. Certainly the company seems to be run by oily operators.

Our local CBC news interviewed a driver for Uber who figures he makes $8/hr once everything is factored in, so almost $4 less than what he’d make selling high end ladieswear at the mall.

I’m not often out somewhere at night that I don’t have a ride home or can’t take the bus. If we’re both out we do a bit of a calculation and sometimes it’s worth it to take a cab. We’ve been known to walk vast distances, too.

We like it.

I used to take a taxi to the airport when I was going to the Sault to visit my mom, but the last time I took the bus instead.

If you add the flight from Ottawa to Toronto and then from Toronto to the Sault, which is the way the planes fly, the bus trip from my house to the airport took almost the same length of time.

That’s how stupid it all is.

And now a whole lot of people who can’t take public transit for whatever reason, and who don’t have a smart phone for whatever other reason, will be dependent on the failing taxi industry.

Of course, lots of people own their own cars and don’t much care one way or another about any of this, but I honestly don’t know how young people with their part-time minimum wage jobs and student debt can afford their own cars.

Ah, they’re driving their parents’ cars, aren’t they.

Oh well, I’m sure it all makes sense to somebody.

 

Extra! Extra Read Allah Boot It!

There’s a lot of outrage on Twitter about a story that appeared in and then was disappeared from the Halifax Chroonicle.

Its real journalists are currently on strike.

In the original story, “Missy” (I know of a “Missy” out east, her mother was briefly a friend of mine, back in the day) went to the management noozeshounds staffing the noozepaper with reports of bullying by new immigrants of the local kids.

The school didn’t do anything about it so she went to the Halifax Chroonicle.

According to “Missy”, the bullies, Syrian refugees, were pushing and shoving local born children, and shouting at them, “Muslims rule the world!”

Oh. Okay. Maybe don’t let the Irvings hear about it. They’re very competitive.

Also in New Brunswick, not Nova Scotia, but who cares, it’s “Muslims rool! Christians drool!” anyway.

And stay away from local parties, too, because the boys down that way will get you drunk and then film you being gang raped and send the video direct to social media so that the local girls can torture you to death over it.

The school won’t do anything about it, either, because schools just aren’t very good at dealing with bullying, even in civilized places like Toronto, which is bigger than the Irvings and  New Brunswick and Nova Scotia combined.

And, you know, in Canada we take the view that the victim must have asked for it in some way if she’s a she and the bully’s a a he, or even a gang of hes, so good luck with all that, “Missy”, if that even is your real nickname.

 

 

Bravawkward

I think that’s the word for what the NDP has just been through, maybe all of us, with Tom Mulcair, who, if I’m not mistaken, is still the leader of the NDP, in spite of having lost the vote to continue on and delivering a gracious blurb conceding same.

Or did he just appoint himself interim leader?

I wasn’t really paying very close attention, to be honest. I’m just going by what I read on Twitter.

You know what would be totally bravawkward? If he ran to be leader of the NDP after his time as its interim leader, if that’s what he is now, is up.

He is one bravawkward dude.

But, you know, the NDP can hardly complain. Voters left of the Liberal Party can complain, but not the NDP.

And it’s not the fault of the Liberal Party that JT caught everybody’s attention when he promised to legalize marijuana, told anti-choice wannabe candidates that they need not apply, and promised to stimulate our economy and upgrade our infrastructure – both – and to hell with deficit handwringers and pantytwisters.

It’s the fault of the Liberal Party that it won’t cancel that completely illegitimate deal the former Harper government brokered for General Dynamics to sell armed tanks to Saudi torturers and murderers. And it’s the fault of the Liberal Party that it’s going to sign on to another crooked trade deal. And it’s the fault of the Liberal Party that Bill C-51 hasn’t been scrapped.

I’m sure there will be plenty more to come but right now lots of us are just relieved that the nastiest fuckers ever to be in government are no longer running it into the ground.

And on that note, I say we build a pipeline, all hardworking and taxpaying in our yellow hard hats and steel-toed boots, if only to stop our politicians from going on and interminably on about how we need to build a pipeline.

Then, when it’s all done, blow that sucker up and build another one, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

Bravawkward, pass it on.

 

Belgium We Hardly Know Ye – Updated

Back in the day we had a real estate agent who was Belgian. He’d come here to Canada as a child, with his parents and sister.

We don’t hear much from our Belgian immigrants, do we.

Anyway, he was a fun guy, still is, I’m sure, and would joke to me about being a redneck because he knew I’d worked for Bob Rae (when he was the leader of the ONDP like Andrea Horvath is now).

“See?” he’d say pulling the collar of his shirt. “Redneck, baby. Nobody tells W.C. when to get up in the morning.”

My ex and I thought that was hilarious, his third person references to himself, and would imitate him for years after that when we were taking a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” attitude with our kids.

(In a slightly related note I read an article this morning about how totally ass backwards our concept of mindfulness is according to how ancient Chinese philosophers practiced it (of course). Also, now I don’t have to read “The Path”, which is a whole book about how we should be acting outward, not looking inward, if we want to actually change ourselves. Who knew? Well, apparently, ancient Chinese philosophers.)

Anyway, he was boycotting Quebec because he was incensed by separatism. No, not just separatism, the fact that French has any particular status at all in Canada, not to mention equal status to English as the other of our two official languages. He thought it pointlessly divisive.

He was Flemish.

There was a terrible story in the news several years ago about a men’s club operating in Belgium. Little girls were being abducted, and, as it turned out, kept in a literal dungeon, brought out for parties during which they sexually abused and tortured by club members.

When the operator of the dungeon was picked up, and I can’t remember if he was arrested in connection with missing girls or some other crime, and jailed, the girls starved to death because they were locked in the dungeon and he had the key. It was a couple of weeks before they were found, all dead.

I remember one mother expressing hope that her teenaged daughter had been a comfort to the younger girls at the end.

It was while being escorted to prison from court that he was shot by a police officer. Speculation at the time was that the murder was a hit. The men’s club was rumoured to involve too many powerful men, including Belgian royalty, to risk him naming any names, so they had him taken out from inside.

Our real estate agent had alluded to a divide in Belgium between the Flemish and the French, but he wasn’t mad at Quebec and French as an official language here because he was Flemish, he was mad that we couldn’t see how toxic it can get, because the divide here is nothing compared to the divide in Belgium.

I would read about the divide, too, when this awful story was in the news because a couple of the girls, eight years old, were French Belgian. The father of one was interviewed a lot, the heartbreaking photo of his daughter always attached to the story, and he spoke to the prejudice against the French underclass of Belgium, which was a majority, by the Flemish.

The search for his missing daughter, the reaction by official Flemish society, he said, was a reflection of how denigrated the French are in Belgium.

It was just awful, all of it, and I remember walking over to the playground to pick up my kids after school and one of the other mothers saying, “Ok, I get that men can be perverse, pedophilia, but torture, why do men torture children? How can they have special clubs where they get together to torture children?”

Anyway, I was reminded of all this last week when I came across an article by Lysiane Gagnon about the problem now with Islamic extremism finding a home in Belgium: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article29425530.ece

It’s worth a read.

Update: I just remembered  a tragedy occurring during our time spent gallivanting about Ottawa with our real estate agent (he really was fun, referring to Ottawa as LaLaLand, gossiping about local celebrities). His teenaged niece was killed in a car crash. When he got back from the funeral he told us about what a great kid she’d been, how she was so accomplished but really modest about it, that life could just turn on a dime, couldn’t it, one minute someone is alive, the next they’re gone.

You’d think there’s enough death in life that we could stop murdering each other, eh?

 

Live Free Or Die (of regret and guilt and shame and despair)

We got together with friends last night. She’s from one of my previous lives and we had a rocky time of it there for a while but we’re back, baby.

Time is just the ticket, isn’t it. It levels us out.

Her partner is French (Canadian), acquired in this latest incarnation of her existence on the planet, and we have to be on our toes around him because he’s always working. And when we’re in his space he’s working us. That’s just the way he operates. He’s an operator.

It’s fun. He used to alarm me but I’ve calmed down quite a bit and now I understand he’s just living life.

I have a hard time with live and let live. I always think I live a better way, in spite of the obvious.

Stop laughing.

So last night he says, “But what if something special happened, a really cool thing, like you won the lottery and it was us four here like this and I brought out a bottle of champagne and popped the cork and poured everybody a glass. You wouldn’t have a sip? Why not? It’s just a sip. It’s not like you’re going to grab the bottle and drink what’s left. There wouldn’t even be any left. I’ve poured it all into our glasses. What, you’re going to grab our glasses and drink our champagne? Tabernac!”

Okay, he didn’t say “tabernac!” although he is a lot like how I imagine Black Jacques Chirac to be.

“No, I argued back”, already sounding like the Anglo oppressor know-it-all pursed lipped prissy face, “I wouldn’t”.

“C’mon, not even a sip? Why not? What’s the harm? It’s a celebration!”

“No, it’s the principle of it. I’ve made a commitment to not drink because-”

“Don’t say it’s a disease. It’s not a disease. Look, you’re not drinking now and we’re all drinking.”

And my friend cuts in because after I didn’t drink for a dozen years or so we were together at “one cent’s” apartment and she said, “You’re not an alcoholic. Just have a glass of wine with us. There’s nothing else for you to drink.”

And I did. And they finished off another bottle and I thought, “Whoa. And I though I had a drinking problem”.

We joked about it the next day. Me just having a glass of wine, them having a couple of bottles. But in my brain the switch that had been turned off was turned on and in no time at all I was trying to control my drinking.

Because that’s really it for me and the phrase that resonates is “allergy of the body, obsession of the mind”.

And she says to him, “Leave her alone. It doesn’t agree with her.” And to us, “He doesn’t understand the concept. He doesn’t think it’s real.”

But I get what he means. And while this discussion was happening my friend brought out key lime pie that was from the grocery store because she’s not a dessert person. I had brought cookies, though, and they were from a bakery because they’re even better than homemade (total lie, I just didn’t have eggs to make my oatmeal butterscotch chip cookies) and so after eating a piece of pie I had some of a cookie.

They’re big.

And all of a sudden I realized I had eaten too much, that I hadn’t been paying attention, I was excited about the get together but also keeping on my toes with my friend’s partner, and now I was too full. And I could feel that I was starting to panic about it and in my mind I went back to when I was a kid and my mother was out and my grandmother had made us chocolate milkshakes after supper. We were watching Star Trek, my brother and sister and I, my other sister being out with friends, as usual, and I realized I was too full. And I was completely panicked about it and bugging my brother like crazy, “Will I feel better soon? Will this go away? What should I do?” And he was really good and brotherly and kept saying “Calm down. Yeah. You had too much milkshake. Just don’t eat or drink anything for a while. You’ll be fine.” Never once taking his eyes off Star Trek, which I couldn’t help but notice, but whatever.

I think the green dancing lady aliens were on that episode.

Anyway, instead of pretending I wasn’t in distress, because I was, I told them about it. I said, “This is how it is for me. Is it mental? Is it physical? Does it matter? You eat too much and you’re uncomfortable but you know that in a little while you won’t be and you continue to enjoy your life. I eat too much and I go into a spiral of regret and guilt and shame and despair.”

And my friend is laughing because she knows this is true but also what’s coming because he says, “Hey yeah, how come you’re so thin? You’re too thin. You need to eat more that’s your problem. You don’t eat enough so then when you eat a normal amount it’s too much.”

Really, if I hadn’t been having the nearest thing to a panic attack since I quit drinking almost four years ago I would have laughed, too.

Anyway, I get it, what my friend’s partner means, where he’s coming from, and just in case you’re wondering, I follow the latest science delving into the relationship between brains and behaviour, genes and environment, and I get it, too. I’m increasingly a person who trusts in the science, as opposed to the testimonials.

So here’s the thing, my friend vaporizes medicinal marijuana, her partner smokes a joint, my partner partakes, and of course I don’t because it conflicts (in my mind) with my commitment to our most famous cult of abstemiousness, AA. But I also know and know of more than a couple of alcoholics who no longer drink but who smoke pot.

And, you know, it’s occurred to me that I’m really on the fence about smoking pot, but not for any reason that has to do with pot, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, while I’m on the fence, because this is about AA, isn’t it, that’s my drift, a co-worker is going to teach me how to meditate, meditation being a recommended practice in AA, actually, so good.

Free will is a tricky one for me, because I want to exercise it, which is in conflict with powerlessness, isn’t it, but I don’t want to experience any more regret and guilt and shame and despair, either.

Added: Feel free to weigh in, offer advice, etc.

 

This Life, That Is Mine

Yet another person told me I should do stand up comedy last night when I was on a bit of a roll.

I can’t imagine, though.

No wait, I can, I can imagine hecklers taking over my routine and being funnier and me dropping the mic and fleeing for home where I would curl up in the fetal position and wait to die an unfunny death.

Worse, a funny one.

I’ve had a few hecklers. One’s sitting right here beside me while I type this. And he’s just trying to save the joke.

So I unapproved a commenter here because I realized I was in violation of my own standards by allowing his commentary. It’s not personal, and I’m not delicate of sensibilities (total lie), but enough already.

I can’t believe now that I called someone else out for allowing his commentary and then allowed him to comment here.

Oh my Gord, inconsistent much, Sooey? Well no, actually. I get all the racist sexist commentary I need from my Conservative friend.

I’ve been reading the comments (I know, I know, “Never read the comments!”) on CBC’s website and I can’t for the life of me figure out what its point is in allowing them. It’s crank world down there. Every crank in Canada is on there blathering his/her crankery. Not only does it not add anything, it takes away everything.

It creates negative space.

They hate Trudeau, our perfectly crommulent Prime Minister. But I guess that’s natural. He’s the anti-Harper. We did it, they’re doing it. There’s no rut like a comfortable rut.

I find ignoring him works for me. Just, do your job, Sunshine.

I heard a guy give a talk recently, a younger guy relative to my old age, which I delight in now, having even stopped wearing makeup to work (the “I give up” look) and I found his words very inspiring. They were essentially to let go of shame (yes, hecklers, I have shitloads, so do you, it’s why you heckle) and live your own life.

Whoa, buddy. Easy. Part one, okay, we’re all shameful, but part two, cripes, I need the rest of my life just to read through the instructions to living it.

Yesterday I found ten dollars on the floor at the cash. I was buying a cookie bigger’n my head. And I stood there saying to the cashier, “I found this ten dollar bill on the floor”. So she took it and told another worker bee to “Put this in the lost and found”.

I said to a co-worker later, “If you go to the bakery right now and say you lost a ten dollar bill you could buy five of these cookies and give them all to me.”

I was seriously annoyed with myself for being honest. We Ottawans are currently suffering from a low pressure system that is making us extra dull. Headachy, too. Send cookies.

Anyway, “My Book! My Book!” is evolving. It may never be done but I enjoy working on it.

It’s all just process, isn’t it. Living and learning to live a life of one’s own.

So enjoy yours today because it’s better than the alternative and let’s meet back here tomorrow.