Tuesday June 28 , 2016

Memmmmmories, Like the Wormmmmmholes of Our Mind…

Oh hey, you’ve been away, I guess.

Just kidding. It was me who was away, but I’m feeling kind of blah and don’t want to talk about it until I’m my usual less blah self again.

Except for this one thing. I was coming out of the grocery store where I’d just bought more cherries for my mother, whom I was visiting, when this woman came running out after me.

“Miss! Miss! Wait! Stop!”

So I stop and turn around and she says, “Soo?”

“Sooey, yes.”

“Sooey Says?”

“Yes.”

But I’m still not recognizing her.

“Stoorie.”

But I still have no idea and I have a really good memory.

“Stoorie Stays.”

And then, of course, I knew right away who she was. I just didn’t know how on earth she would recognize me, and even if she did that she’d care. She was a low key cool kid back in elementary school, reserved, but definitely cool.

She’d aged incredibly well, too. I don’t know about you but I always picture kids from elementary school probably looking like bloated gargoyles by now.

I don’t know why since everybody in the Sault ages incredibly well. It’s a fact, a Sault fact.

“You know how I recognized you right away? Your eyes. Oh my god, you look exactly the same. How did you do that? I’m not kidding. Anybody would recognize you.”

“Well I didn’t recognize you because you look amazing, like an entertainment show host or something.”

And she did, except without all the makeup (that I know they have to wear because tv and not because they like having goop all over their face).

I gave up makeup on this last job. We’ll see. I may take it up again. She had a bit of eye and lip action going on and she really did look amazing. You know, like blonds often do when they stop trying to recapture that blond of their babyhood and go for ash blond highlights instead.

Oh my Gord, bitchy gay hairdresser much, Sooey?

Also, redundant adjectives much, Sooey?

“I remember playing at your house. We had so much fun. Those were good times.”

Except, here’s the thing. Like I said, I have a very good memory and although I have no doubt she recognized me, I’m pretty sure she was mixing our good times up with some other kid because I know for a fact we never played together. I even checked it out later with my childhood neighbour, although not yet with his twin brother, and he had that, “oh… I think maybe once or twice she might have played… ”

“No way, Slooey. You’re just thinking she did now because she thinks she did. But she didn’t. I’d remember. She was part of the cool set and we weren’t.”

He didn’t disagree with this.

“Also, I reminded her of stuff, a boyfriend of hers who was the brother of my eventual friend, and she was stunned at my memory. She’d forgotten all about him. I even remembered the circumstances of when it came about and I wasn’t even there. I’d heard about it from another girl – eavesdropping, of course, on the cool kids – and tucked it away. And she thought we were in the same grade but we weren’t. We were in a split class and she was a grade ahead.”

Anyway, it was funny because until I realized much later that she may have remembered me from school but mixed me up with a cousin she actually did hang out with (socially), it changed my whole perception of how I may have looked to other kids in elementary school. And even after I realized that my perception was still changed because of the fact that she’d remembered me at all.

I said to my mother, “Well I was an above average student, for sure. So maybe I was more noticed than I thought I was.”

And she said, “Oh you were involved in lots of sports and clubs, too.”

Which was when I remembered a whole period of going straight to the Y from school with some cool kids, one of them the most popular girl from our split grade, but still no Stoorie. And she’d mentioned playing at my house anyway.

So we’ll hook up on Facebook once I go back on because why the fuck not. She’ll totally increase my social stock in the Sault if I ever move back there, which I’m thinking I might now, and we can always use a good looking glamour puss friend to increase our social media stock, too. Also, I smiled for about half an hour after the reunion. It was just plastered there on my face. Really, she made me feel so good about my childhood. Just by running after me to re-connect completely changed my perception of the past, which had evolved (devolved?) over the years into this idea that I was a lonely overachieving social dork pariah.

Not true at all, apparently, or Stoorie Stays wouldn’t have bothered.

So I guess what I’m saying is, always bother. Run after that person you may or may not recognize as your best friend ever from elementary school and say, “Hey! How are you?” like she really might have been your best friend ever back in elementary school. Because even if you might have that person mixed up with her cousin, she will still feel super chuffed about it.

I guess what I’m also saying is, not thrilled with memories of your childhood? Just make up new ones. After all, chances are you remember yourself in it all wrong anyway.

I’ll get to Brexit later, although to be honest it kind of pales in comparison to being recognized from elementary school by one of the cool kids, doesn’t it.

Or maybe that’s just me.

 

Too Late Apologies

I noticed this morning on Twitter that apparently Toronto’s police chief will be apologizing for his force’s bathhouse raids of ’81.

I knew a man who was caught up in those raids. His name, along with others, was published (by the Sun?), his life ruined, and that’s with a wife already in the know, a young daughter, friends.

He was a teacher. I met him when one of our MPPs hired him for a time. I don’t know what became of him but I hope it got better.

Toxic masculinity really is the bane of our existence, isn’t it.

 

Dear Commenter(s)

Turkish border guards are shooting Syrians trying to cross into their country, including children.

So children, they’re shooting children now. Picking them off like cardboard cutouts of Rachel Notley on an Alberta oilmen’s golf course.

If you can believe it – I couldn’t – it wasn’t even the lead story on The National last night. Imagine. A NATO country, an ally of ours in the ongoing senseless perpetration of violence in the Middle East, is shooting refugees fleeing it. And they’re doing it because the EU is paying them to do it. Indirectly, of course, but Turkey is being paid to keep Syrians out of Europe, and they don’t want any more in Turkey, so, in keeping with the country Turkey has become, they’re shooting children and their mothers at the border.

Murder for dollars.

So when I delete or don’t approve your comments, censor you, know that it’s because I think your comments are more than just wrong-headed, I think they’re violent, and I feel a responsibility towards other people to not add to the violence.

To paraphrase Bill Maher once again, it’s literally the least I can do.

And, you know, if you don’t like what I write here, just don’t read it.

 

Lisa Raitt’s Bubble in the Sky

So Lisa Raitt, who’s no dummy, but who apparently lives in a reality proof bubble in the sky, is concerned that Canadians aren’t saving enough for our retirements via RRSPs and TFSAs, and thinks we should do better.

Oh dear.

I don’t know about you but I’m already living off my private retirement savings, a good ten years earlier than I thought I would be, too.

No, fifteen years earlier than I thought I would be.

It’s how I’ve been able to afford not to be poor lo these past few years, which makes sense if you really stop and think about it, my strategic spending, because the longer I live well now, the longer I’ll have lived well, and the longer I’ll likely live.

Just give me a cup of tea and (half) a pot cookie and my netbook and I’ll be fine wherever I am.

My guy at the bank, who’s gone now because that’s how it is these days, and who knows my high flying friend because that’s how small the world is for Canadians who know about money and how to make/keep it, said in no uncertain terms, “Do not wait to collect CPP. Start cashing in as soon as you turn 60. Because the sooner you start collecting, the longer you’ll have collected. It only makes sense, dollars and cents.”

I’m lying. He didn’t say that last part. That’s my ex’s joke. “It only makes sense, dollars and cents.”

That’s why I divorced him.

Kidding!

It’s socio-economic math, really, straight out of “The Body Economic”, plus the nerve of ten men on unicycles, to live well in spite of not making much money. Or even any money. In fact, it was an internet freak who told me the key to life in middle age is living like you’re wealthy because, well, I forget why, and why doesn’t matter anyway because anybody who’s been following along even a bit knows our economy isn’t working for us so much as we’re working for it.

And that’s not how it should be! That’s just how one of those Desmarais brats said it should be!

So fuck that noise because what I know for certain, certain I tells ya,  is that ever since I stopped scrimping and saving for retirement I’ve enjoyed life more, had fewer health problems, and noticed other people treating me better than they did before when I was like a regular chump casting about madly for ways to save money I wasn’t making.

Also, I’m not really sure there’s going to be a future to save for, anyway. And we’ve got that new legislation that the Supreme Court will knock down as soon as they get a hold of it because it sucks, and once there’s no law on physician assisted suicide, as there shouldn’t be, I expect we’ll be able to just cash out, so to speak, when we’re cashed out.

Although I doubt I’ll be feeling cashed out any time soon after retirement because, Lisa Raitt’s concerns aside, I’ll be making more money then than I have in the years after being laid off by the government of which Lisa Raitt was once a member in good standing.

What, me worry?

 

Moments

Coming home from the dog walk, my blond companion sick as a dog from city hall air conditioning cranked to 11 because hey, it’s summer outside so let’s make like it’s winter inside, and a middle-aged woman in casual chic drives by in a sporty white convertible playing soft rock at a moderate volume.

I almost cried it was so perfect, and even though I’m more of a Texas fan, myself:

 

 

Just the Math, Ma’am

My last job gave me a new perspective on our criminal justice system and some really difficult to deal with problems involving our sister and brother humans.

I don’t have the answers, but neither does our criminal justice system, I can assure you.

I was too burdened with gear to read my book on the bus home from my last day – the book was by Louise Penny, coincidentally interviewed by Wendy Mesley on The National last night – so I took in the bus scene instead and wondered, as usual, what the hell it is our political leaders think they’re doing, exactly.

Ottawa is broken in so many places right now it is to laugh. I mean, the giant sinkhole bestride our commercial center a couple of weeks ago actually improved my commute home there at the end, although it added half an hour to my commute in to work. I didn’t have the type of job where it mattered, overly, although I was a temp and paid by the hour so I had to make it up at the end of the day.

My retail job before this office job, well, being late just wasn’t an option, so I had to judge the many failures in our public transit system accordingly, and give myself double the time it should have taken to get in to work.

But looking around the bus yesterday on my way home I saw a lot of riders for whom a bus pass looked to be quite a financial stretch. Even for someone like me, making $15.75/hour, 7.5 hours per day, 5 days per week for 5 months the public transit hit to my purse was significant. At $103.25/month it works out to $516.25.

Luckily I wasn’t sick a single day and only lost pay for snow days and holidays.

And, of course, the typical bailouts required for unemployed millennials that fall to the parent who blinks first, and that would be me, because of my inability to endure the suffering of others.

So yes, I expect to be hugely rewarded in the reasonably foreseeable future for my financial sacrifices today.

Just kidding. I’m happy to do it if it means the next relaunch is permanent.

Oh dear. Did I blog that out loud?

Anyway, if I’m not able to save any money now, and, in fact, am using up tomorrow’s savings to pay today’s bills, so middle-class, middle-aged me, university educated, office experienced, physically/mentally healthy, exceedingly thrifty, relatively connected, reasonably in the loop, unencumbered by dependents – in other words, very very very employable me – how do our political leaders expect us to pay our way in that reasonably foreseeable future?

I mean, you know, seriously – how?

 

Experienced Cupcaker

So that was harder than I thought it would be, the end of my contract and subsequent leave-taking today. It was hectic, too, because there was a cupcake contest and I’m so bejeezly competitive that I just had to enter it, even though I had a million and one things to fix in the government before I left it behind.

Just kidding. I fixed everything last week. Your cheques are in the mail.

But for the contest I made chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and they were rich and powerful but probably a little too much so to win. Still, I might. About a half hour before the contest I had the brilliant idea to slice the tops off the cupcakes and frost the bottom and then frost the top.

You know, like a double layer cake except a cupcake.

(I brought the frosting in a separate container from the cupcakes because I’m smarter than the time I brought already frosted cupcakes to work. On the bus.)

But as my student non-co-worker and I were setting up my section of the table, it was hard not to notice the all-out decorations of some of my competitors. (I did a hilarious write-up of my cupcakes that included the recipe but I forgot what pigs people are at these things and how they just grab and pay and don’t bother reading hilarious write-ups.)

I sucked up pretty cravenly to the judges and left a sign with a sad face on it saying it was my last day, but now I realize that was extra stupid, not extra smart, because the winner is announced Monday and why would they choose someone who won’t even be there?

Grr. Also, scoring was divided into three components – taste, style, and I’m not sure what the other third was, and my cupcakes looked like something Susannah Moodie might have brought to a church potluck, while other cupcakes looked like they were made for a themed Beverly Hills birthday party, the theme being Exotic Cupcakes.

Cripes, I was venturing out of my culinary box with maple sugar sprinkled atop the buttercream frosting (made with salted butter, icing sugar and vanilla – the salted butter being a perfect contrast to the sweet icing sugar) because I’m a firm believer in not junking up food with fads.

Anyway, I bought back six of the dozen because I could tell that a lot of my phony baloney competitors had used mixes and mine were made from scratch, and also people are moronic when it comes to junked up cupcakes.

Seriously, though, it’s a cupcake contest. Who the hell would use a mix for the cupcakes?

Well, everybody, that’s who. Some slatterns even used frosting out of a can.

?!

Fortunately, another non-co-worker has discerning taste and she bought and ate one of my cupcakes. She’d just come back from a Weight Watchers meeting, too, which struck me a bit like going from an AA meeting to a bar – for a tray of shooters – but whatever, you’re your own cupcake control board, lady. When I checked in on her in her cubicle she was kind of splayed in her chair looking like she might go into a cupcake coma.

“They’re a little dense. I think I’d better just sit here and stare for a while. Water. I need water. Get me water.”

And so I did and when I came back she was right where I’d left her.

“I didn’t taste them myself. Are they good, though?”

“I can’t talk right now, not about the cupcakes. Come back in an hour.”

Anyway, I brought them home again, on the bus, and I can’t even begin to tell you how insane public transit is in Ottawa right now, what with Bank Street closed off for Glow Fest, and put them in the fridge.

At about 7:30, my blond companion and I each ate one. And as good as they are I have to admit they’re a little on the rich side and I kind of feel now like I ate an entire cake about 40 minutes ago, so I probably won’t win the contest.

I dunno. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to add them to my resume, either.

 

Paid Work/Cyber Life Balance

Moving right along…

I had my going away lunch yesterday, Japanese food, and seriously – who knew?

Well, Japanese people,  I guess, but it was so good. If I had lots of money I’d hire a chef to cook me Japanese food every day for lunch until I shuffle off this real mortal coil, and not the cyber one, as my favourite haters will notice I haven’t done.

“We can’t quit you, Sooey!”

As you would know if you read my blog carefully, like they do, and don’t just skim it looking for gardening tool references like CSIS probably does, I’m sort of a half-arsed vegetarian (also teetotaler because alcohol is dead to me now, just not necessary pot, although I haven’t had any beyond the cookie I told you about earlier) so I ordered the vegetarian bento box.

Oh, did I say half-arsed vegetarian? I meant omnivore extraordinaire.

I like to sample vegetarianism from the professionals.

Anyway, it was kind of a weird lunch because nobody at it was actually on my team, my team and I having fallen into an awkward situation whereby I ended up not really working with them until so late in my contract that they were kind of huffy about it.

I did point out to the manager that I’m just a half-priced temp from an agency and I don’t really care what the hell I do as long as I get paid, but she was all like, oh never mind, I’m sure you’re happy working for the team that isn’t paying you, by all means, carry on, don’t let the team that is get in your way.

So I did but then I’d check back with her, okay, so I’m doing this now with them, is that alright or do you need me to do something for you, or…

Oh you go right ahead and do that for them, we’re swamped but don’t let that bother you, we’ll just keep paying for your contract while they don’t.

Okay, as long as you’re sure.

Oh I’m sure alright.

It’s not that my team doesn’t like me, either, because they do, but by the time my goodbye lunch rolled around it just seemed silly to do a social thing when we hadn’t really done a work thing so the two other teams I’ve been working with sent me off.

I love a free lunch because I like to have my cake and eat it too. My not manager, who made a little speech and complained on my behalf to my team that wasn’t there that I hadn’t been used to my full advantage, paid for it. Another non-team member invited me to her farm later, although I think it’s to harvest her haul, and two non-team members implored me to join Facebook again so I could 1) see her play, and 2) take her yoga class.

The student said she didn’t know what she would have done without me, although it’s more the other way around because she was so helpful with all the technological fuckery necessary to know in an office these days.

People: Excel is for math. Word is for text. Please create accordingly.

But as someone who doesn’t do anything much I have to ask of people who do, doesn’t anybody just go to work and home again and call that a big day anymore?

All this to say that it might be Twitter that has to go for me and Facebook that has to make a return because Facebook is useful for keeping in touch with people I actually know and Twitter really is shouting one liners out into cyber space (thanks Neil McDonald).

And, of course, blogging, which is my hobby, stays. Sorry, eh, but I realized the other day that, yup, this is my hobby. The key is to stay away from stuff that REAL pundits are writing about because that only adds to the binary noise that is anything political on the internet.

The joke’s on the internet anyway because my Conservative friend and I can create that binary noise in his car on an errand to Canadian Tire, which, by the way, sold the ammo to the joyriding teenager who shot and killed Nicholas Battersby (for fun) while he walked down an Ottawa street.

Oh dear. Now I’ve gone and mentioned the guns. Never mind. Carry on. Two more days of paid work. I’ll miss it but I’m like The Littlest Hobo now and it’s time for traveling on.

And there’s always Facebook for keeping in touch.

 

 

The End of Religion – *Updated

Oh boy. I can tell you from the unpublished comments to “Tomato/Tomato” that the ethnicity and religion of the latest mass murderer in the United States most definitely does matter.

In fact, it’s everything.

Arab.

Muslim.

But it’s not the shooter my unpublished commenters are angry at, it’s me. It’s you. It’s Obama. And they aren’t shy about expressing it, either. In fact, they’re quite threatening.

I’m a traitor to my tribe, don’t you know.

They have their man in Donald Trump and they are bitter and angry and full to the brim of hate for people who aren’t white like them.

Even more so for anyone who is and gets in their way.

This is their 2016.

White.

Christian.

I know I’ve said this before, but this really is my last blog post that will have anything to do with politics (which is all religion is now). It may even be time to shuffle off this cyber coil. We’ll see. Take care out there today.

And remember, love is better than hate and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

*Or maybe never mind all that about last political blog posts and being such a fucking scaredy beeyatch. Check this out, haters: http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/toxic-masculinity-the-stanford-rapist-and-the-orlando-shooter-are-two-sides-of-the-same-bent-coin/

Cripes, my cycles are getting shorter every minute. What was that? Five minutes I was gone?

So remember, never take yourself seriously. Or me. Off to work. Third last day. Lunch out with the gang.

 

Tomato/Tomato

Why does the name of the religion cited by a psychotic homophobe as the reason for his murderous rampage even matter?

And how would deporting and banning people associated with the name of the religion stop these sorts of mass murders in the United States?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to ban at least some of the automatic weapons used to perpetrate them, make a loud point of calling out any and all misogyny and homophobia, and offer refuge here in our part of the world to LGBTQ people from anywhere and everywhere else in the world where they may not be welcome at all?

After all, misogyny and homophobia kill even more people elsewhere in the world than they do here in our part of it. Here, at least, people have a chance at living life as we are without our governments murdering us for not being a certain and very specific type of heterosexual male.

Although I guess we take our chances with the odd psychotic young citizen who may have an arsenal of weaponry to use against whoever he feels threatened by.

Just figure out how it can be done and then do it. Maybe tie in saving people’s lives with our trade deals. Weapons for the people they’ll be used against. I don’t know. Something. Anything.

But if you still support Donald Trump consider yourself off my Christmas list.