Archive for September, 2006
I Need a Drink
I have too much stuff. And I’m not even a pack rat. I just keep too much of what should be dumped. It wouldn’t be a problem, except it weighs on my mind. AND the stuff I have prevents me from buying new stuff – stuff I need. Even a blind straight decorator could tell me, “Your stuff isn’t working for you.” If there even is such a thing as a straight decorator…
So I need to do a purge, but I’m reluctant to do one because I don’t yet have what I need to replace the purged stuff. Oh – and I’m pathologically frugal. I hoard money. It’s terrible. I actually have the money to go out and furnish my entire apartment to perfection, but I just can’t allow myself to do it. I’d rather have a stash of money just in case I wake up one morning and decide I’m never going to work again. (And why I think that is even a remote possibility, I have no idea. Even when I temped after university I worked constantly, having to force myself to block off one week of holidays in the summer and one week of holidays at Christmas. And even then, I wasn’t actually going anywhere I’d need money. I was heading home to visit my mother in the Sault. Staying in her house, eating her food, even “borrowing” money to head down to the bar a couple of times during the visit.)
So, I will probably always work in some way or another. Why do I think I need to hoard for a day when I don’t have this ridiculous work ethic that is so clearly bred in the bone that I’d have to have a brain damaging stroke to think differently. …Gawd… Funny, but up until I typed that last sentence, a brain damaging stroke was my worst nightmare…
In any case, I work because I work, I hoard because…? It wouldn’t be so crazy if stuff THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME wasn’t preventing me from taking up a rewarding hobby – like painting, or writing, or even triathaloning.
But it is. Because everytime I think about taking up one of the above rewarding hobbies, the burdensome thought of all my stupid stuff crowds out any initiative I might have to actually pick up a paintbrush. And then the realization that I need to spend some money to get the stuff that I really need – so I can purge the stuff I don’t – completely overwhelms my initiative and I think instead, “Maybe I’ll just have a drink.”
It’s true. My stuff is causing me to drink. I bet you’ve never heard THAT one before – but it’s true. My stuff is causing me to drink.
Gee, who could have guessed that the tragedy so many of us witnessed in real time on live TV five years ago would morph into the annual mawkish hawkish rightwing whorefest that it is now?
Yeah. Even then, eh… Well, such is life in America, I suppose. But I’m pretty naive, as even a television psychic could tell you, and never would have expected 9/11 to become… this… well… see above. I was in shock that day but now that I look back on it, older and wiser, or, at least, older – if the bloody thing happened all over again tomorrow I’d be more likely to react in the manner of the two old neighbourhood guys I ran into later in the afternoon of that day – when I was finally able to tear myself away from the TV long enough to allow the dog to do his business. I was still holding mine in.
“Isn’t it awful?” I said, stopping to converse a little about the horrible events replaying over and over in my mind even as I stood there safe on a suburban sidewalk in Ottawa. “Oh. Yes. Terrible.” said the one old guy – the other old guy “Tsk Tsk”ing his agreement. Then an awkward pause while I waited for one of them to say something… more. “So, it could be slugs. We had that problem last year in our back garden. Never a problem out front. Just in the back garden.”
I was stunned. “Well, I guess we’d better be moving along, here. The poor dog has been wanting to get out for a couple of hours, but I’ve just been paralyzed watching TV. You know, the attacks, the jumping, the awful stuff that just, like, happened…” They both looked at me, quizzically. Then, almost imperceptibly, registered remembrance and nodding sadly – or, at least… nodding a goodbye in my direction, they resumed the gardening conversation.
I get it now. They were both around 70 years old then. One was a retired RCMP officer, the other a retired civil servant (whose daughter had been involved in forensic work involving the mass murders in Bosnia). It was tragic for somebody, sure. Just not them. Not on a bright sunny fall day in suburban Ottawa with a looming gardening disaster taking place in the backyard. And they weren’t so naive that they were about to be sucked into some crazy big tragedy far beyond their control by watching endless CNN tape of planes hitting towers, people jumping to their deaths, awfulness over and over and over – either. Slugs were destroying a once thriving backyard garden.
There is tragedy.
And then there is gardening.
And for these two old guys (one of whom once told me in the strictest of confidence, “Joe Clark is the illegitimate son of John Diefenbacher”, whereupon I immediately told an editor friend of mine at the Ottawa Citizen in the even stricter of confidence, “Joe Clark is the illegitimate son of John Diefenbacher, who then called a friend of his at Reuters – not in any kind of confidence at all, except in the absolute confidence that he would spread it far and wide, “Joe Clark is the illegitimate son of John Diefenbacher”, whereupon two days later my mother while watching a morning news program would phone me at home to say, “I was just watching a morning news program when I heard a guest exclaim to the host out of nowhere, “I’m having trouble concentrating on your question – I’ve just heard that Joe Clark is the illegitimate son of John Diefenbacher”, adding “and you know, honey, just look at the jowls – it’s got to be true”) gardening tragedies trump terrorist attacks. And since they don’t get much worse for us here in North America than 9/11, I guess you could safely say that gardening tragedies trump terrorist attacks 100% of the time.
I’m not a gardener, but I know when I’m being manipulated and my reaction was swift and merciless when I came to my senses some two or three days later. (Around the time my friend, who ran a home daycare, received a call from her insurance company advising her that her rates would be going up – DUE TO 9/11). Off went CNN, my subscription to the Ottawa Citizen (a terrible rightwing propaganda rag taken over by Conrad Black’s boys who remained on the editorial board even after the Canwest takeover – Canwest being even further to the right than our now disgraced Lord Black) was cancelled, and I started voting NDP.
That, dear readers, is how I remember 9/11.