Down and Out in Ottawa

So I was feeling very anxious the other night, just a generalized anxiety that may have to do with a birthday bash we’re planning for my mother, but then I read an article about people who are living through the effects of climate change in an uncaring universe.

It certainly puts material life in perspective, reading about people who have either lost everything and moved on or will spend the rest of their lives fighting for compensation that will never come.

Good luck with all that, as Seinfeld would say.

But I’m anxious, too, about regular weather now because we don’t seem to be keeping up with it, do we. A regular snowfall can throw public transit so off schedule that it does make working for a living a bit of a mug’s game, doesn’t it.

I give myself at least an hour to get to work, even though it should only take 20 minutes. I know, I know, it’s worse where you live.

We recently rented a car to drive from Ottawa to Toronto for a wedding and it took eight hours, including one hour stopped completely on the TransCanada.

Also, as much as I’m chuffed about my minimum wage part-time job, my feet are becoming a problem and I’m a little concerned that I shouldn’t keep doing it. And the general direction the store is going is to put more pressure on staff to sell more product to justify being paid at all.

Really, do we need to hear from business federations, etc, that raising the minimum wage to $11 in Ontario will yadda yadda blah blah blah?

No, no we do not. Just shut the fuck up, please, business bots. If it was legal to not pay workers at all, you wouldn’t pay workers at all. In fact, it sometimes is and you don’t. So there. Now go back to beating up babies or whatever you do when you aren’t on tv whining about having to pay your co-citizens or temporary foreign workers for their valuable time and effort which they expend in order to keep you in the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed.

But speaking of the TransCanada, it’s not surprising to hear that a pipeline explosion in northern Alberta went unreported and covered up, is it. What’s surprising is that the story followed several minutes of Olympic wankery on the National last night.

Imagine. The whole thing was sloughed off as an administrative error. An employee who left failed to pass on the file.

Right. And the dog ate my homework.

But back to Olympic fever on CBC. I mean, I get it, I used to be a huge fan of the Olympics. But I was a kid. It’s been a long time since I got excited about elite athletes winning gold medals.

More to the point, why are we even there? What does a country in the clutch of a white supremacist cabal have to do to get a boycott these days?

Speaking of cabals, why do sentient beings vote for Pierre Poilievre? He is who he appears to be, people! Honestly, every time he comes on the television news to lecture who? exactly? about democracy, my skin practically crawls off my bones.

Doug Ford is complaining that “everything’s always anonymous” with regard to Robyn Dolittle’s book about the Ford family, “Crazy Town”. Alas, it’s also always true, isn’t it, and Toronto is certainly paying the price of bad governance by gangsters.

I wonder if he’ll be Premier of Ontario or Prime Minister of Canada one day?

Really, I meant this to be a more upbeat entry, but I guess I’m not feeling it. I have a cold, the second one in a short period of time after not being sick at all when I was unemployed. Like I said, working is a bit of a mug’s game, isn’t it.

I always think of that Metric song lyric, “buy that car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for that car” – and a horrible co-tenant back in the day who complained to the landlord when our apartments had no heat because the boiler was broken – again, “I’m not working to pay bills!”

Except that I am. I am working to pay bills. And I ignore a lot of subtle pressure at work to buy the products we sell that I’m not paid enough to afford. The thrift shop is my friend and my money goes towards groceries because no matter how little I make, I’m still a foodie.

Increasingly a vegetarian foodie, too, although I describe myself as an omnivore, still.

Anyway, I made contact with Justin Trudeau’s office to get a birthday greeting for my mother, who will be ninety. She wouldn’t want one from Stephen Harper or even the Governor General because she’s a lifelong member of the Liberal Party and has had a tough enough time living in the seniors’ residence with all those old Cons.

She once introduced PET at the microphone at a campaign stop in the Sault and I included that anecdote in my email request. Fingers crossed it happens in time but he seems to have a pretty good staff. Hope he pays them well because I got a call back within an hour of my request.

I notice pundits and politicos claiming that this latest reduction in public services, one that affects veterans, is the straw that will break yadda yadda blah blah blah.

But it won’t be.

When Conservative politicians say they’re going to run government like a business, they mean a fraudulent one.


  1. Anyone working retail should spend a ton of dough on good shoes. BTW, I agree, we’re all fucked. Even the 1%, eventually.

  2. Definitely take care of your feet, Sooey. I worked in retail to put myself through uni and was vain enough to wear heels even during double shifts – it took me a couple of years for my feet to feel healthy again and I was a young woman. As for the pressure tactics to sell more, including pushing employees to purchase their stuff (we used to have a discount system with bonus on that discount based on top sales), it sucks especially when they refuse to compensate their staff with a decent wage.

    I really hope JT gets a birthday greeting out to your mom. That would be such a great surprise.

  3. Sooey,
    Your essays always bring a smile to my face, even when the content is distressing. That means, of course, I am not normal. However, it it s something you probably can relate to. I am, just dropping in, to just say, “Thank you.” for all your writings. You do Canada proud.

  4. Yup, Beijing – JT is on it. Super responsive staff he has. I used to wear crazy shoes, too. (And fishnet stockings and mini skirts….) Totally wrecked my feet. Anyway, the university girls are good to work with because they don’t give a shit. One of my daughters who has seen me at work was outraged. “You looked so dressy!” Of course, when she visits me at home I’m usually in my housecoat because I’ve turned into my mother and keep the temperature so low that I need to wear it…