Saturday November 22 , 2014

Category: Sooey Says

I Live Here

There’s an old guy I’ve talked to a couple of times on the bus. He goes to a McDonald’s near my place to meet up with another old guy who he says, “buys a ticket for the group”.

He’s talking about a lottery ticket. “It keeps us going”, he says. “We talk about what we’ll do with the money if we win.”

Then he laughs. “Probably nothing. We’re too old. Some of us can’t even make it to McDonald’s anymore.”

He gets around pretty good though because I’ve seen him on two different buses coming from different parts of downtown, just like me, to head into my neck of the woods.

The first time he sat near me and asked to see the cover of the book I was reading. It was a conversation opener. When it came time to get off the bus I asked him, “Do you know where to catch the bus to get home?”

I didn’t really believe him about meeting up with a friend at the McDonald’s near my place. I thought he was just lonely and getting off the bus because I was getting off the bus. And I was worried about him being in our not really suburban but not quite urban part of Ottawa late at night.

“Oh yes. I do this all the time. See? It’s right there. My friend is probably already there having a coffee. We’re waiting until we win to have more than just coffee.”

So I walked the other way but them turned after a bit to make sure he was headed towards the McDonald’s and not just standing there alone on the sidewalk sadly watching me walk home.

I was reading about a comedian (I think) in England who decided to go and see for himself a comedian billed as the rudest comedian working in England today.

Rude apparently means racist/sexist against everyone except people who look like him (although he’s almost 70 and dresses up in a clown suit to do his act). It sounded to me like he should have to be a lot funnier than he is for my taste, and the author of the piece was certainly the odd person out in the yobience.

That’s mine – yobience.

Interestingly, while all the out-sized bigotry was awkward, the mid-show realization of his privilege relative to the yobience, being the well-educated and well-employed son of hard-working immigrant parents, was even more so.

As I said, the rude comedian dresses in a clown suit and looks for all the world like an angry old pedophile (not the Jimmy Saville kind, the British MP kind) but the yobience laps it up.

Free at last, free at last, free at last, to be angry white men sharing a laugh over an impoverished existence thanks to (fill in the blank).

Nothing says long line of prosperity achieving genetics interrupted like sitting in a yobience laughing bitterly at people born with vaginas and/or darker skin tones.

Oh, and people attracted to same sex partners, of course.


I used to encounter that more often than I do now, privilege, but my circumstances have changed. And I don’t mean I encountered it in the same way as the author in the piece, either, because I didn’t. It was kind of a reverse of that, actually, because I was living in a bit of a bubble for a while, so well insulated from life out here that I lost any street smarts I’d managed to acquire living in various parts of downtown Toronto.

Oh, and growing up in the Sault, of course, during the 60s and 70s – before parenting was a verb.

I remember once having to track down a doctor to check out a sudden rash one of my kids developed. But it was his turn at a clinic in Vanier, which is a notoriously incorrigible part of Ottawa, and because I have a tendency to park as far from my destination as possible, we did quite tour before we made it to the clinic, which appeared to have a waiting room full of heroin addicts.

(No mere appearance, either. They WERE heroin addicts.)

“Ah, your first time in beautiful downtown Vanier”, the doctor joked.

But on our trek back to the car I noticed young women who looked more or less like me, too, out and about with their strollers, except that they were relaxed and appeared to be enjoying their lives and their day, they weren’t in an anxious panic to get home and safe, like I was.

They WERE home and safe, in beautiful downtown Vanier chock a block with heroin addicts.

When I left home, which is how I term it now, separating from my ex with whom I’d lived on and off for most of my adult life, I lived in a big, but not very nice, apartment downtown. It felt like quite a fall from grace at the time, and for a while there my kids were calling me the “Mayor of Crackhoville” (because we had a crack dealer on the first floor and therefore addicts buzzing at all hours of the day and night because crack addicts don’t have the same appreciation for who’s who and what’s what the rest of us do).

But in the course of that time I met a better class of person than myself living in even closer proximity to the dirtbag crack dealer our scumbag landlord (a millionaire who lives in the aforementioned Vanier, ironically) had let move in to our building because cash up front.

Of particular note was a man who lived next door to his dealership and while we were talking one day about the problem a couple of crack addicts showed up and he let them in before they could frantically buzz everyone else.

“It’s sad, isn’t it”, he said. “A hard and usually short life for people who get addicted to crack, the drug at the end of the addiction line.”

He was an educated person with a job at a social services agency of some kind. One of those people who does good for a living.

Still, I told my Beau, who eventually moved in with me, making us a family of five every weekend, “I can’t go lower than this”.

Except that I could and I did because now I work retail and take public transit to and from home in an area a lot of downtown people would find sketchy, I’m sure. I share space every day with people otherwise known as social problems.

And I’m in AA with addicts of all shapes and sizes, including from the old ‘hood, suburban matrons who make no distinction between their lives and the lives of others in the group.

Because, of course, the group includes former crack addicts, there not being much daylight between a person who suffers from an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind with one drug and a person who suffers from the same with another.

And lower doesn’t mean what I thought it meant anyway because living the way I do now feels better, not worse, and when I look at the older people riding the bus at night now I realize I’ll be one of them soon enough and can have my own bit of fun forcing communication from strangers.

I won’t be in an anxious panic to get home because I’ll be home.

I live here.


Unambiguous Ambiguity

While we’re on the topic, the Globe had a spread in the Focus section last Saturday about a new campaign to raise sexual assault awareness by stepping up “no means no” to “yes means yes”.

Better yet, ECR – Enthusiastic Consent Required.

Cue the groans from all and sundry who pretend that nonsensical quips like “boys will be boys” trump the right of other citizens to go about our lives, not just free of sexual assault, but free from having to worry about it.

Fact: When my Beau goes out for a walk alone at night, he does it free from worry about being sexually assaulted. But no matter how hard I try to ignore years of official and non-official warnings that the very least I can do to protect myself from sexual assault is to not go out for a walk alone at night I can’t.

Rape is a crime of opportunity, don’t you know. She gave him the opportunity by (fill in the blank).

A pundit for the Calgary Herald, Susan Martinuk, recently wrote a column that blames Rinelle Harper and her parents for the sexual assault perpetrated against her that would have left her for dead except that she lived.

I wonder, is rape more often followed by murder or charges, do you think.

The insult is to everyone, of course, but so particular to Rinelle Harper and her parents that I had to check my computer clock to make sure it was 2014.

“I’m not blaming Rinelle Harper, but why was she out late, where were her parents and why did go off with two men?”

Of course, Michael Coren, now of Sun Media, once used the rape and murder of a little girl to proselytize for school uniforms, so I don’t know why I’m surprised when other Conservative pundits exhibit the moral code of their political leaders.

Have we ever had a Prime Minister capitalize on death due to sexual assault like Stephen Harper did in the tragic case of Rehtaeh Parsons? He used her bereaved parents to flog his shut-the-barn-door-after-the-horses-have-fled ideology and the Canadian media lapped it up like milk from a grass-fed cow.

Speaking of which, the grocery store near us now sells milk specifying on the carton that it comes from grass-fed cows.

Imagine being from a time before factory farms started force-cannibalizing their captive sentient products and wondering why the hell farmers were wasting money advertising the obvious.

Forget all the missing children (missing because they’ve been raped and murdered by men) advertisements, the milk is from grass-fed cows!

Milk that goes better with your shade grown organic fair trade coffee that tastes like justice!

Screw you, shareholders of companies that sell milk from the captive species birthed for human consumption and force fed cannibalism.

Another by the way, I was watching CBC’s The National the other night and I forget the story now but all of a sudden I found myself looking at sows in pens not big enough for them to turn around in and I swore off pork forever.

Fortunately, the maple bacon appetizers at the place in the market aren’t actually tasty enough to tempt me to compromise, either. In fact, they were kind of not tasty at all. Or maybe it’s just me being no fun.

“Every time we spend money we vote on what kind of world we want.” Anna Lappe, O Magazine.

Conservatives, I guess, believe that men are incorrigible savages.

Which begs the question as to why they give them tax cuts and not the rest of us who have to protect ourselves from them but I digress.

I know, I know, and women can’t be in charge because it would mean the end of fun.

Speaking of digressing, since we only have the word of Stephen Harper’s staff that he a) raised the issue of human rights with Chinese dictators, b) told Putin to get out of Ukraine when he shook his hand, I’m not sure whey the CBC would report either as if they actually happened.

Oh, and while I’m here, Stephen Harper will resign prior to Mike Duffy’s trial.

You heard it here first on Sooey Says.

But back to “yes means yes”. It’s easy to scoff if you think you don’t have any skin in the game, which scoffers so often think they don’t, but to my mind “yes means yes” puts even more of the onus on young women, which is maybe where the onus for consensual sexual activity has to be, until “boys will be boys” is finally kicked to the curb by a smarter generation of human, and men become men and women become people.

Now I’m going to skip ahead, though, and make it even harder because there was a conversation in the Globe piece that got me t’inkin’. One of the interviewees was questioning her behaviour in the light of day re a friends with benefits situation in which she’d had sex she didn’t really want to have.

Before you get your dander up, she was doing what a lot of young women do and have done since forever, long before date rape, or even marital rape, was a twinkle in the justice system’s eye, and realizing that, no, she didn’t want to have sex. And she’s not blaming the other party to it, she’s blaming herself.

That’s what fair leapt off the page at me, as someone once put it, and brings me to up the ante in the discussion because we’re not being entirely fair to young women if we don’t complicate matters further for them.

Ready? Here it is. Now, hang on to your bonnets and grab hold of your knickers because it’s a doozy:

It’s okay to have had sex you weren’t that into having so stop beating yourself up about it. And it’s okay to do it again, too. And this is going to sound outrageously politically incorrect but I promise you it isn’t at all. In fact, it’s actually very empowering and good to know because even while I’m typing this I’m looking back and thinking (in quotation marks, as I do) “Well there. That was nice of me.”

Because sometimes, that’s all it is, so don’t let everybody turn it into another big bad that you have to worry about doing or not doing and just let it be.

And always remember, no wait, never forget – just because Conservatives believe that men are savages doesn’t make it true. In fact, Conservatives are well known to be liars, cheats, and thieves, so you can be quite sure that men are not, in fact, savages at all, but quite capable of being as civilized as women.

Otherwise, we really should be the ones getting the tax cuts.




Jingoism, Crank It Up To 11

Okay, at this point, Franck Gervais dressing up in soldier drag to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies this year isn’t news, the Canadian media’s reaction to it is news.

It’s also bullying, a kind of unconscionable hounding of a private citizen that should be called out.

So consider yourselves called out, Canadian media.

Anyway, count me out of this jingo circus where we all support the effin’ troops so hard we drive their groupies to suicide.

When did the word soldier become interchangeable with the word hero?

One of my daughters works in an office. The other day she told me, just in passing, about a staff member off with post traumatic stress syndrome.

And my heart started racing.

“Okay, if he shows up unexpectedly I want you to suddenly have an urgent matter to attend to outside the office.”

“Mom! I can’t do that! I’m reception!”

“Yeah, well. You’re not getting danger pay so screw it.”


Then she said she shouldn’t have told me because now I’ll just worry which is true because I will. This is nuts, what we’re doing, pretending we can train young men to become killers, call them heroes for donning a uniform, then turn them loose into civilian society as if nothing has changed.

Stephen Harper, who has been called out – how many times now? – for playing soldier (wearing the apparently sacred uniform and even firing off the apparently holy weaponry for which I doubt he is licensed) is doing so well in the polls now for coming across as Captain Security in a Crisis (that’s right, Canadian kids, you don’t stand a chance against a nut with a gun, so head to the nearest closet and hope the bullets don’t penetrate the door ala Oscar Pistorius vs Reeva Steenkamp) that the Hard To Watch panel on CBC’S The National last night discussed whether or not he’d break his own law and call a snap election.

It’s funny because the panel consists of people I theoretically shouldn’t be inclined to agree with except that I practically always do, resistance not being futile but reality not being something one should deny.

Two out of three panelists agree the optics would be insurmountable and so he won’t. But the third argued that after the first day of campaigning (I’d argue that thanks to the “new” Conservative Party, campaigning is all we get by way of government now, but that’s a given, I guess) breaking its own law would be yesterday’s news.

Heart racing, stomach churning. Grr. Yup. Brain agreeing with her.

By the way, the American military has an awesome new recruitment strategy targeting kids now. Indeed, they’re using video games and whatnot to get ‘em while they’re young, hooked on America’s military industrial complex, er, playground.

Have fun! Join the army! Kill people! Die a hero! Next!

It’s ironic to me that the great death cult south of the border is calling out ISIS for being a death cult, but there I go, refusing to recognize Islam as THE MENACE TO SOCIETY!

But is it just me or has the incoherent violence being perpetrated by ISIS in the Middle East resulted in the Canadian government (led by a Prime Minister who may dress up in soldier drag but who at least has the good sense to hide in a closet while real gun violence plays itself out in the corridors of his Parliament) making equally incoherent declarations of war on behalf of we the people who will be left to pay for it.

And I’m not even talking about financially, since our tax dollars are probably better wasted on incoherent bombing campaigns as exploring for minerals to exploit in the Arctic.

Oh, didn’t you hear? The Minister of the Environment, the weakest link of our anti-government government that more Canadians than do, don’t want, but whatever, is using our money, public money, to save mining companies the expense.

Which should beg the question as to who’s collecting her public pay cheque for protecting our environment, but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the Access to Information request that may or may not bring forth an answer to it.

The Canadian Family Circus, another go ’round the yard with Stephen.


Crazy People Ain’t Got No Reason

As I said in the comments, I thought not giving a rat’s ass would make the job easier, but it’s made it harder instead.

Who knew I was such a professional?

Also, my hips are hurting now, which is so old lady even I can’t believe it.

Please tell me I don’t look like one of our customers.

The manager is stalking me around the store because she can see that my sales technique has shifted into neutral.

I didn’t actually have a sales technique before, I just have one of those engaging personalities that doesn’t frighten reluctant shoppers (like myself) out of the store.

But I work lame now with my bubble leaking and leaving a puddle of disappointment on the cold hard floor that tires my back and hurts my feet.

It’s funny how differently we all interpret the same world, eh?

Her boss used to show up once a month seemingly to terrorize shoppers into buying now to terrorize us into selling too.

Shoppers leave the store and staff quit and it’s all very demoralizing but I guess it must work or why would she do it?

She claims to love her job and I hate mine so she must be right.

Still, passively aggressive is no way to go through life, so I should probably write it out. I already have three friends promising to buy a copy of my book fictionalizing (maybe/maybe not) my year in retail.

I told them, “Yay! Three thousand dollars!”

A friend is trying to deal with a friend who (I’m pretty sure) suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, speaking of interpreting the same world differently.

It’s kind of ass backwards to say that the person with paranoid schizophrenia suffers from it, though, isn’t it. It’s more like friends and family suffer from it.

From where I sit, there’s no help for it, either, because the person in the psychotic state (if that’s what it is) can’t be reasoned with and yet that’s what reasonable people try to do, reason with crazy.

I’m listening to him describe what’s happening and it takes me back and I’ve carried so much guilt around because of it that I just want to scream, “He was crazy and no one would admit it!”

Admit him, more like. My gawd that would have saved everybody a lot of hassle. Especially me.

Yeah, I know, I know, all about Sooey.

The real danger of mental illness is how reluctant friends and family are to acknowledge it to the person/people stuck living around it. Because that’s what we do, we live around it. Our lives become insignificant while the crazy person’s life looms larger and larger and larger until it’s all there is.

The crazy person shouldn’t be in charge but that’s what ends up happening and that’s what ruins lives. The people who aren’t crazy (yes, that’s me, because I count myself as sane, thank you very much, haters) get caught up in the swirling vortex of psychosis because we’re told all our lives to “be reasonable”.

So much wasted reason, I can’t tell you.

It only takes one crazy to cancel out any number of reasons.

Hear me now, listen to me later, but somewhere out there, maybe even in here, an entire country is being held hostage by just one crazy person.

You know it.

Old timey days.

I remember looking out the window after he left the house. He so in the right. The doctor even told him I was a slut, although what that had to do with his behaviour wasn’t really clear, not even to me, the slut.

Even his walk was different, strutting up the street, so full of himself, beyond grand, and it was a momentary relief but then I wondered, “Where’s he going?”

Did me being a slut drive him crazy?

He never ever went for walks. Anyone else looking on would have sworn for all the world that he had a destination, but I knew he didn’t. It was also when I knew he was not himself. And I was lucky for even that visual clue that I could so easily have missed had I not been looking out the window.

And, you know, I didn’t look out the window much in those days because I had to watch my back.

There. I said it. I had to watch my back. Slut doesn’t cancel crazy. And there was the threat to take us both out in a car crash. I didn’t imagine it. He said it.

Why else would I have been afraid to be alone in a car with him, without our kids?

Nobody has the right to terrorize another person like that, right? So why do we let them do it? It is our fault, isn’t it, that part, the letting them do it part, the sticking by them while they do it part.

I tried to get help and none came because I wasn’t asking for it from the right people. When the pastoral care center told me to get out of the house I did.

But I was in my nightie, standing in the schoolyard across the street, my kids in bed in the house with him, and I couldn’t see the future so I gave up and went back inside.

Do not, do not, do not involve the police.

Because, of course, I was guilty, too, wasn’t I, being a slut, living with one foot out the door, hoping someone sane would happen by and trip.

And then he did.

Later, when I told him I’m guilty, he said, “We’re all guilty.”

And I dumped a shitload of it right there on Elgin Street it was such a surprise to hear the truth.

Alas, not before some of it managed to go to my hips, I guess.

But I’m lucky. I was telling one of my AA friends about the situation at work and she said to read a certain chapter in the Big Book and then pray for  prosperity for whoever is causing me distress and if I can’t do that then pray for the willingness to pray for prosperity for whoever is causing me distress. And, of course, we laughed about the leap from passive aggression and maybe taking legal action to prayers for willingness. I mean REALLY laughed. Like doubled over laughing.

Seriously. I’m laughing right now just typing this. That’s why your screen is shaking.

But don’t listen to me, take my advice instead. Involve the police. Involve lawyers. Involve everybody. Leave. Quit. Get out. Get away.

Scream for help over the shushes of friends and family.

Always remember, no wait, never forget: Professionals get paid to deal with crazy.

Only sluts do it for free.


It’s the Water, Stupid

I know I’ve asked this before, but why is everyone and her Uncle Tom so mad at Kim Kardashian just because she has a big butt?

Geez Louise, people. Get lives, eh.

As an internet celebrity, I can say that.

But you’ll be pleased to hear that I had a brain fart today that could make me tens of dollars in the real world.

That’s right, I’m going to write a book about my year in retail!

I know, eh? Brilliant much, Sooey?

Finally, a topic with parameters as opposed to the infinite circles within circles in the life and lives of Sooey Says.

By the way, that’s Ms. Says to you, haters.

But enough about me, what do you think of me? Do go on…

Anyway, speaking of retail, it’s getting pretty ugly in the justice department so I’m not sure how much longer I can put out before I need to up my rates to a category unheard of except at Harry Rosen where they make commission.

No, seriously. Shop at Harry Rosen. You won’t have any money left in your wallet after you do but you’ll be as well dressed as the person who sold you your suit.

And I don’t know if you’ve heard or not but every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

Jerks. Of course we know how to use our legs! It’s not our fault that most of us have to wear high heels to feel the power that height naturally bestows upon a body in this sexist ol’ world. Slouch not, girls, but rather pretend an invisible string is hanging from above to hold your head erect, shoulders down and relaxed, and ruin your feet from wearing high heels because the money you’ll make is worth it.

That tip about the string comes from a former government colleague who had a devil of a time getting a security pass because she’s Russian. And army. I told her to give up and go back to where she came from but she couldn’t because her sons would have been conscripted if she had, and life in Canada had made them too soft for such a fate.

Speaking of armies, it’s like Remembrance Day is all year now, isn’t it. Yesterday a woman came into the store still wearing her poppy. She glared at everyone and then left. I don’t know if her glaring and our lack of poppies were connected but it felt like maybe they were. I didn’t work Remembrance Day itself, which was nice. I would have looked down on people shopping on our holiest of holidays.

I’m fickle that way.

Also, don’t you hate how Stephen Harper makes Remembrance Day all about him every fucking year?

Christmas music has started playing in the store and it’s enough to make you want to remove your ears. There’s one particularly annoying song, “SAAAnta Claus is coming to town, SAAAnta Claus is coming to town, Santa Claus is coMING to to-ow-ow-own!”

It’s either a young Justin Bieber or an old Michael Jackson. Hard to tell but I can’t imagine why anyone who isn’t either a child or a pedophile would want to listen to it.

I am neither, thanks for asking, so move along fellas.

Speaking of which, that’s a lot of male MPs around children, isn’t it.

Just kidding, just kidding. I’m sure if there were pedophile MPs on Parliament Hill the Canadian media would have reported on it.

Madonna sings a cutesy Christmas song, too, that makes you hate her for being such a corporate sellout. From “Get Into the Groove” to “Santa, Baby”.

You suck, Madonna!

But I’m hoping that by landing a probe on a comet the nerds will finally prove that Jesus Christ is just a made up character in a made up story but Mother Earth is real, baby!

Ironic to think that money, which is as made up as the bible, is more valuable to democratically elected governments than the water we spend grabillions of dollars trying to find out in space, though, isn’t it.