To be honest, politicians, I have no idea what class I am anymore. All I know is I’m working part-time for minimum wage and it’s hard work and doesn’t yield much income.
But I guess my working days are more or less over and I’ll just have to figure out how to get my hands on a bit of money until I’m 67 now and can collect the old age pension.
Kind of grates to know that raising the age at which I can collect was arbitrary and unnecessary. But what are you going to do? That’s Conservative government for you – not for you.
I experienced an unfortunate incident at a meeting yesterday. A woman snapped at me, not totally out-of-the-blue, but it was still really harsh.
I’m confrontation averse in real life, almost phobic about it, so it’s traumatizing when someone snaps at me the way she did.
Anyway, being the Pollyanna Sunshine that I am I spent all day yesterday waiting for Deepak Chopra’s son’s documentary about him on TVO. It’s brilliant, in a way, summing up the paradox of the limelight-seeking guru/parent like no other documentary ever.
I was hoping for answers as to why I couldn’t shake off Ol’ Snappy.
This morning it came to me why.
I was trying to improve on the written quality of a product we would be taking back to a larger group that would be “for the ages” and also a reflection of, well, me.
Just kidding with that last part. (Total lie – that last part is everything.)
But I was really up against it because, as so often happens in working groups, the individual behind the initiative didn’t want input so much as she wanted to just do everything herself, and as so often happens in working groups in Ottawa, that person happened to be francophone.
Now, once again, her spoken English is a lot better than my spoken French. And I wouldn’t dream of writing a document for the ages in French, especially for a French audience.
Yet, she not only had no trouble attempting the reverse, she resented any attempts to help her out with it even when it was clear she didn’t know how to articulate a pertinent point in English, let alone get it right/write for the ages.
The thing is, I’m still at fault, and that’s what really grates, I guess, because it doesn’t matter, does it. If the other people in the working group, a couple of whom are also anglophones, didn’t see the need to improve on the quality of the document we were producing, why did I?
Because I’m a perfectionist in an imperfect world and I need to work on that whole “live and let live” thing.
But it also hit me – that was exactly my experience in the federal government – which I tried to fix. Except that, after a while, I was trying to fix it (by improving on the quality of its written documents) without getting caught, so upset did my non-anglophone colleagues get at any implication that they weren’t just fine at producing written documents in English.
And, of course, they were, because nobody reads government documents anyway. So it doesn’t matter and nobody cares, as I should have realized when my very smart real life friend and temporary co-worker said, when I complained to him about the quality of writing in the government, “Well, it just has to be okay. Don’t spend too much time on it.”
And he looked perplexed that I would spend any time at all trying to make sense of a document that was supposed to be a departmental guide for making regulations.
I mean, I would have argued with him about it but I was so surprised that someone whose intelligence I respect would hold that view that I just pretended to agree instead.
And since I’ll have an annual income this year in the four digits while he’ll have an annual income pretty close to six, I’d be smart to agree, wouldn’t I.
Still, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, isn’t it, so rather than be less than I am, professionally, I think I’ll just steer clear of professions that involve written English.
And stick to the fringes of groups.
I guess we won in women’s hockey, but who’s the competition other than the Americans – who were winning 2-0 for all but the last three minutes of the game?
But it gets you right here, doesn’t it, when CBC shows Canadians cheering in bars all across the country for our girls made good.
I dunno, there’s something desperate about us and hockey and winning that doesn’t exactly embiggen us, if you ask me. Kind of ironic, too, all the “ha ha” at Putin because Russia’s hockey team lost to Finland when Canadian NHLers only just beat Latvia.
Full disclosure: I kind of wanted Latvia to win, I’m so sick and tired of hockey, hockey, hockey.
Tim Hortons, too. The food all tastes the same, the donuts are no hell, and the coffee – enh.
And beer. Beer commercials are almost nausea-inducing for their flag-waving, aren’t they? Even when I drank I can’t imagine being so thirsty that I’d drink a Molsen’s.
I know, what kind of alcoholic am I, anyway?
A not very patriotic one, as it turns out.
Also Canadians. I’m sick and tired of us.
One of my friends on Facebook is an entrepreneur in the creative arts, a freelancer, cartoonist, handsome 33-year-old Texan. He does okay, too, very disciplined with his output, but also very attune to politics. I don’t know him outside of Facebook, he’s one of those friends of another friend I don’t know outside of Facebook, either, but that’s okay.
The only trouble I’ve had with internetters? Trolls living under bridges right here in Ottawa.
Anyway, he posted a story about an elderly climate scientist from England who was giving a follow-up “we’re still doomed, just maybe not as immediately as previously stated” interview to a “we’re doomed immediately” interview.
He’s British. And we all know how the British can speak a little too plainly at times. Whatever.The Arctic is melting, the oceans are warming, the effect of which will be exponential in terms of how awful things get faster than we could ever have imagined. Sure, California has always been sort of biblical in its floods, droughts, plagues, fires – soon it will get REAL biblical.
It’s the real why of Stephen Harper’s trip to Israel, but try telling any of our pundits that. He went to secure his spot for The Rapture, when he’ll be saved and Benjamin Netanyahu, well, who knows, maybe he’ll convert in time, maybe he won’t.
Meanwhile, a federal court judge has found the Environment Minister and the Fisheries and Oceans Minister of effectively guilty of breaking the law by not protecting (four specific) species at risk.
The thing is, Conservatives don’t care if the government is fined for breaking its own laws because it’s not their money at stake, it’s ours. Why would a group of politicians who want to weaken the regulatory powers of government care about costing it money. The less money the government has to enforce environmental laws, the easier it is for polluters to pollute with impunity.
And I pointed that out to my Facebook friend because too often Americans see Canadians as more benign then we are. We’re not benign. We’re responsible for developing the tarsands. And I suspect Obama will approve the pipeline because, sure, building a pipeline doesn’t technically increase greenhouse gas emissions, and Lac Megantic.
I pointed that out to him, too.
An accident waiting to happen (there are no accidents waiting to happen, just negligence) killed 1% of the population of a town in Canada in 2013 and the governing politicians responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry behind the slaughter of innocents are still there, not regulating and therefore not governing.
Meanwhile, they’re re-writing electoral legislation after having been caught committing electoral fraud. I mean, it doesn’t get much more blatant than having Pierre Poutine, er, Poilievre, lecturing everybody else on fairness, does it. I’d suggest an atomic wedgie but I’m sure the little bastard would have me audited so don’t, okay.
Do not give Pierre Poilievre an atomic wedgie, anybody.
Oh go ahead. What do I care if I’m audited? I don’t make any money to hide.
Also, I recalled to my handsome Texas stranger friend a woman from Texas, a farmer, who fought to prevent the pipeline from crossing her property. She lost, Americans having similar private property rights to Canadians, in that when our push comes to industry or government shove (military appropriation of an elderly man’s farm, anyone?) industry and government have the greater right to our private property than we do.
Which to me means that private property rights are kind of a crock, but whatever. She’s my hero for trying. A solid Texas libertarian, she is, too. Socialist little ol’ me’s kinda gal, as it turns out.
Then he posted about the nightmare of fracking in Texas and I posted about the nightmare of fracking on the prairie. (That was when I posted about Stephen Harper traveling to Israel to secure his position for The Rapture.)
What I’m really doing, I think, is unraveling myself from the patriotic fabric of Canada. I used to want the world to think well of us but now I want the world to know who we are.
And I can’t thank Rob Ford enough in that regard, because, whatever you think of him, and surely at this point it’s not much (have we heard yet about Jaclyn Dawe and whether she was found?) he’s got the world paying attention.
You know, Stephen Harper complained a while back about how some people just seem to want Canada to be one big national park (guilty as charged, Steve) which, if you decode that statement and the way it was made and in the context of his Party using the Canada Revenue Agency to harass environmentalists and obstruct them from protecting life on earth, you realize that Stephen Harper sees Canada as one big national mine.
And it irritates him as CEO of the company that cheated its way into power, which is the same to him as being fairly elected, that some Canadians, indeed some people who aren’t Canadian, think he’s got his mandate, such as it is, all wrong.
Anyway, in response to a story in the Huffington Post about the federal court judge calling out the Environment Minister and the Fisheries and Oceans Minister for not doing their jobs, I linked to it and tweeted the following:
Except Conservatives don’t care, they don’t pay the fines, we do. They just want the tarsands developed.
Then a fellow tweeter who has 54544 followers retweeted it and I almost had a heart attack but I also felt kind of, well, embiggened.
I was counseling one of my kids the other day about debt. She’s an academic success story now working retail and it’s payback time for student loans. I’m not upset about it because I’ve long since adjusted to the real cost of living, which for a lot of Canadian parents includes post-secondary educations for their children.
I’m not sure university shouldn’t be expensive, to be honest.
I’m also not sure it shouldn’t be free, though, so don’t go quoting me on what I think about mandatory post-secondary education.
Just kidding. I don’t think it should be mandatory, necessarily. Although I do think we may as well bring back grade thirteen here in Ontario. Be THAT province again.
Like a lot of her contemporaries, she’s happy living with one or the other of her parents. We’re the sibling society, not the “my roof my rules” society.
For me, back in the day, it was either university, and my mother was happy enough to support me through it, or a job. But moving out and away was not an option, although I can’t remember now if that was because I couldn’t live my life under her roof or if it was because she wasn’t about to let me try.
Our memories really aren’t trustworthy, are they. Even as I’m writing this I’m vaguely aware of an offer to live at home and go to Algoma not-quite-a-university-but-not-really-a-college-either.
My brother came up with that one. Funny how we’re so dismissive of local offerings at certain ages, eh? Instead I went to UofT and was so homesick I almost didn’t make it to Thanksgiving.
My brother is mostly responsible for my staying put, when he showed up at UofT from Queens for a conference and made fun of my local-to-the-Sault options, one of which I believed included working the counter at Mike’s Lunch, a job I never could have done even if it had been available.
I dunno about you, but a lot of my decisions in life have been made in avoidance of sibling mockery. And when I think back to all the music and tv I pretended not to like because it wouldn’t have passed the cool test of my older brother and sister, and later boyfriends, it makes me mad enough to go around now walking on sunshine.
Ah, now there’s a real positive for personal listening devices, not that I have on yet. I bet they cut down on a lot of resentment towards Rush.
Oh how I hate Rush, let me count the ways.
The other day at work one of my bosses expressed absolute shock that I think I lack confidence, so it’s not just our memories that aren’t trustworthy. Sometimes, we don’t present at all like we think we do, I guess. Everybody around her was staring at me, too, eyes wide, jaws dropped. Even customers, people I’d only just met, looked incredulous at the notion.
“Sooey, you have got to be kidding us. You? Lack confidence?”
And then she laughed.
So I told her, “Wow, I’m leaving everything to you in my Will because that’s the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me.”
I meant it, too, although I doubt my Will will have anything in it. My mother’s doesn’t, which is a real rip-off if you ask me, ol’ greedy guts mcgee. Her fortune’s gone to the company that runs all those seniors’ residences only politicians will be able to afford in future.
I’ve never used the expression “under my roof” with my kids.
Also, I live where I live now because I wanted to be able to accommodate any boomeranging young adults in need, like my youngest, who lives with us between launchings, as it were.
Reminder to divorcing parents: Don’t let a judge tell you what standard of living your kids deserve because his decision is based on a formula designed to bankrupt you for wasting the court’s time trying to prove that one of you is a better parent than the other.
Honestly, whatever happened to no-fault divorce?
It’s the new normal for kids to linger on living with one of the other of their parents, I think. Maybe they’re making up for lost time with either/or. Or maybe they just like having the choice of who to live with and who to visit and if and when.
My kids are more in touch with their grandparents, too, than kids of my generation were, I think. They visit them on their own, stay for weekends, weeks. It’s handy during flu epidemics because their grandmother seems to have smoked herself immune to flu viruses.
Players unfiltered, although she’s quit now, after decades of her husband pointing out to her how their friends quit.
“Went in coughin’, came out in a coffin.”
That’s an old CODCO joke, actually, from a House of Misery sketch.
I lived for CODCO back in the day. And a show called Inside the Line.
I was more in touch with my mother (widows demand it) than most of my contemporaries were with their parents, but once my Gram moved on to live with an aunt, much younger than my mother, I rarely saw her and only ever went to visit when my mother was visiting her, too, which was rarely.
Maybe it’s the other way around and we’re more in touch with our kids than they are with us.
Certainly we don’t want them to have to spend any money. Free room and board is standard for adult kids (I’ll drop the young, they’re adults, aren’t they). I even have vegetarian friends cooking meat for their adult kid carnivores.
I bake pineapple upside down cakes, lemon squares, brownies, cookies. And I give away batches of homemade granola whenever I can because I’m still trying to grow them right.
Wow, I just read that back and realized how kookoobananas this is. My granola includes chocolate covered popped quinoa and would probably wholesale at $10/bowl.
Don’t worry. I’m buying little bowls this week and hiding the old bowls until my son moves out. I saw him helping himself to a bowl of granola the other night and almost went into coronary arrest. It was like he was having a $30 snack before bedtime.
My bedtime – his is whenever, of course.
I’m conflicted about how we’re living, though, because I recognize myself as one of those notorious parents who doesn’t want her kids, anybody’s kids, to have to suffer through a lot of boring and stressful times, like I did, to get where I am today, which is further ahead personally, but farther behind professionally.
But I’ve always really liked making money and I have a hard time quitting. It’s awkward for everyone. Canadian employers are so passive aggressive about jobs that aren’t worth your time and effort, too.
There’s something about time and effort invested that hooks me. Of course, it took me years to quit my marriage, too, so it’s not just jobs that I find hard to quit. On the other hand, marriage is money, too, isn’t it. In fact, it would have been my idea to live together to save on rent in downtown Toronto, wouldn’t it have been.
When I look back on my time spent making money, I see a big clock, the minute hand barely moving.
Also, I’m wearing a tartan skirt, turtleneck, tights, and imitation doc martens.
I want life to be smooth sailing – for my kids, your kids, everybody’s kids – because – why not? Rich parents’ kids don’t have to waste their time and effort making money. When you’re born into it, you never have to worry about not having it because you cannot possible screw up being born into money in Canada. You can’t. You can go bankrupt, go to jail, go bankrupt AND go to jail, and you’ll still die rich and your children will die rich, too.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a governing politician complain about the productivity levels of rich people. But imagine how their productivity levels would go up if their money was taxed back and they had to work for their livings.
In my opinion, we don’t cite Andre Desmarais often enough for his pronouncement a couple of decades ago that Canadians, i.e. people who have to work to make money, need to work more, harder, longer to improve Canada’s productivity levels.
I don’t know what he does for a living and I don’t care but rest assured I pressed the mute button during all the coverage of his father’s funeral the other month, or year, or whenever it was that he shuffled off this mortal coil.
My goodness how Canadian media worships the rich, eh? If Paul Desmarais was so fucking good for us, why the hell am I making $10/hr in 2014 when I was making $12/hr in 1982? And while he was moving and shaking behind everyone from Trudeau to Harper, my mother went from being a homeowner to not being able to cover her rent.
What is it about money that crowds out critical thinking skills in this country?
Speaking of which, what was up with that big Catholic funeral for Vito Rizzuto, too, as if he wasn’t a murdering mobster? I mean, I’m curious – how did that square with the rest of the congregation? And what the hell did the priest say by way of praise? Did he just check his professional ethics at the door and waive his bill?
Or did he charge extra?
When I look back on my life, which I do a lot because I used to be a real daydreamer and now I’ve pretty much fulfilled them, minus being a rich and famous movie star, a daydream Vanna White squashed when she said you have to have a big head to make it even on the little screen, my time spent making money is a lot like my time spent in grade school.
Like I said in paragraph a zillion, there’s a big clock, I’m watching the minute hand, and I barely see it move. Sentenced to school, sentenced to work, sentenced to spending my time making money.
So now I have a job that barely pays anything – I used to think $10/hour was probably enough to live on, but now that I make $10/hour I know that it isn’t – and I like it okay but it’s physically demanding and not likely to last because the private equity firm that owns the business has no connection to it. Quality suffers, customers drift away, eventually it will close. And certainly jobs are more available than ever before, in that dime a dozen way, and I have a house that I wouldn’t be able to get now (thank you, screaming nutcase on the third floor of my old apartment building, for giving me the push I needed) that will accommodate boomerangers (and others) in need.
But if our economic system is predicated on my kids and your kids keeping their noses to the same grindstone that I did and that my mother’s generation did, well, as the mobsters say, fuhgeddaboudit.
Because it ain’t happening and it ain’t gonna happen. Fool us once, powers that be, shame on you, fool us twice, shame on us.
But fool our kids?!
Fuck you. Fuhgeddaboudit. Nobody fools our kids.
One of the most culturally interesting experiences I’ve had came on a weekend camping trip with a group of Wild Women a couple of summers ago. It was late in the evening and we were sitting on the deck outside the sauna (they do real camping trips, too, this one is like summer camp for grownups) playing a word game. Suddenly I realized how inside the conversation was and I blurted out, “Hey, wait a minute… am I the only straight person here?”
And in spite of many assurances that, “no, no, no”, I wasn’t, yes, yes, yes, I was.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that and not that I cared, except in that I realized how much I get off on being the exception to the rule.
And not that I’ll likely ever convince them that I am indeed the exception to the rule in Wild Women. Even my “Why the hell would I have sex with men if I wanted to have sex with women?” didn’t seem to convince anybody. And yet, why the hell would I have sex with men if I wanted to have sex with women?!
Seriously, lesbians should know better, shouldn’t they? Now, I’ve pretended to be a lesbian to get out of dancing with men, which I realize post-Ellen (Degeneres) is absurd, but I became very self-conscious about dancing in public after the first time I did it and my friend jokingly suggested I sit at another table.
She had a reputation of the cool cucumber variety.
One night, when she caught me saying, “I don’t want to dance but you’re welcome to join us”, she blew a gasket, “So that’s why every time I come back from the washroom there are a bunch of nerds sitting here!”
I felt bad for the nerds, but not so bad that I wasn’t relieved to see the backs of their nerd heads when she told them to, “Beat it!”
So I took to claiming I was a lesbian, instead.
I dunno. It was the 80s.
Also, if I was a lesbian it would have gotten me out of a lot of time wasted having sex with men when I could have been sleeping.
Sleep loss is cumulative, too.
Hey now, there’s a good excuse to get out of an extended family reunion some day: “Sorry, no can do. I’m catching up on the sleep I lost when I was having sex with a different man every night of the week back in the 80s.”
What can I say? It was how I punctuated an engagement back in the day, failing to grasp that having sex with him was not the best way to get a fella to move along.
Too often the man assumed that having sex would lead to a relationship, which eventually, of course, it did, and three kids and twenty years later I finally got him to move along.
(Just kidding. You’re never free and clear of anyone in this life so just roll over and go limp and try to stay out of court.)
A while ago, though, I remember being disappointed by an article about Ellen Page dating different men. I’m Facebook friends with a reporter/writer of the entertainment variety and I think I must have clicked on a sidebar article in the Daily Mirror.
Full disclosure: I have spent days trapped in a Daily Mirror sidebar.
By the way, Stella from Coronation Street is quite the cougar.
Anyway, I was disappointed because I thought Ellen Page was gay and it was a weird letdown to read an article that tried to give every impression that she wasn’t. Not that I’d given much thought to it, beyond a casual assumption that she was gay, based on nothing, really, but, yeah, disappointed was how I felt.
But then today on Facebook (where I seem to get all my news, these days) I saw the video of her coming out speech to a human rights organization, something to do with LGBT rights, that was really almost a mea culpa of sorts, as she makes reference to her “lie of omission”, which is, like, wow, way to person up, Ellen Page.
I don’t know why, but I get a vicarious thrill when a person comes out in the same way that I get a vicarious thrill when someone quits their job. Or moves. Or stands up for themselves. It’s something to do with freedom, I guess, because I’m a very rule bound person, a rule follower, don’t break the rules. My ex used to tease me about it, “don’t screw up or it’ll end up on your permanent record”.
Please tell me that if he’d known how paralyzed with indecision I am for fear of screwing up he wouldn’t have teased me about marking up my permanent record.
But don’t tell him about the hundreds of men in the 80s.
Just kidding. I left off still in the double digits and dating back to ’77.
Anyway, I think Ellen Page is a very cool human being, brave, smart, beautiful, and her coming out will do more for human rights than any number of demonstrations, protests, boycotts ever could, and free a lot of other people from living their own lies of omission.
I dunno, maybe it’s just rocking the boat that gives me vicarious thrills, but, whatever it is, I gotta admit – I’m feeling it.
Full disclosure: The idea below was stolen from my companion on the dog walk this afternoon.
No, not my dog, my other companion on the dog walk.
By now it should be clear even to the Opposition that the Conservative Party doesn’t play by the rules. In fact, it clearly, obviously, cheats. Or, at least, cheated. And, of course, now that it’s re-written the rules, having cheated is having won fair and square.
Really, I’m not clear on why it felt the need to re-write the rules, since it got away with cheating, anyway.
Meanwhile, in order to prove what underhanded dirty little shits they are, the underhanded dirty little shits in the PMO, who are indistinguishable from the underhanded dirty little shits in EthicalOil.org, have clearly, obviously, instructed the Canada Revenue Agency to strip search several environmental groups.
And no, forget about it, we all know that the PMO and EthicalOil.org and Tarsands Inc. are one in the same. It doesn’t matter. As Jeffery Simpson pointed out, we live under a Benevolent Dictatorship, or rather, lived – now we just live under a Dictatorship.
So here’s what you do, environmental groups: you re-incorporate as political parties, form cooperative partnerships with the Greens, or better yet, the NDP, whatever, go it alone, who cares, just leave behind the hassle of being charities and start enjoying the largess of being political parties.
Sort of like the Fraser Institute and the Manning Centre except, well, they can cheat because they’re Conservatives. You can’t because you’re not Conservatives. Also, they’re all about destroying the world, while you’re all about saving it, so I guarantee you’ll sign up more members that they could ever dream of getting audited by the CRA.
Get it? Well? Do ya? Hunh?
So c’mon – get smart – steal my idea like I did – and re-incorporate.
I guarantee you the Conservative Party will not have seen this one coming!
It’s all good again back at the old grindstone, style met comfort in the end, as you were, Sooey sales onward, although probably not upward.
An acquaintance from my public service days dropped in en route and we got a little up-to-date.
She confessed that her favourite job ever was a stint in retail, a chain store that sells books and starts with “C”.
No, not Chapters.
Just kidding. Chapters.
I keep saying that I never would have guessed I’d be re-inventing myself in retail sales, but who knows? And after digging in my heels, so to speak, over the whole style issue, I found myself enjoying punching it up and looking like a fashionista on the floor.
Sewing isn’t logical from a savings point of view, but I can feel the pull to Rockland Textiles. It’s the fabric store in Ottawa that real fashionistas haunt.
Funny that sewing used to be for the budget-conscious, eh? Now it makes no economic sense at all to sew.
So, the budget. You know, I’m surprised that people still don’t seem to get it, that this isn’t a real government in the sense that Harper, Flaherty, Poilievre (who I think is either Pierre Poutine or knows who is) are interested in governing.
They’re not. To paraphrase Olivia Chow, they get their kicks playing politics with people’s lives, all the while helping themselves to our money to get themselves re-elected.
And so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc. And since we know this, mostly through leaks I’m sure they’re themselves responsible for, it strikes me as a waste of time to keep going on about it.
They’re cheats, they’re frauds – get over it.
Who is Pierre Poutine? Why don’t we have a name yet? Because the Conservative Party, whose leader is the Prime Minister, is standing in the way of us finding out, that’s why. And we know this. It’s the only reason. The Conservative Party knows who Pierre Poutine is.
Meanwhile, we have to suffer through Pierre Poilievre, who addresses Canadians in the same offensive manner as he goads opposition MPs in the House, pretending that the Fair Elections Act (even the name is goading, isn’t it?) – which the Conservatives rammed through Parliament (no doubt as a result of Andrew Prescott being granted immunity for his robocalls testimony) – is for us.
Did you know that Pierre Poilievre used to run a robocall business?
I know, what’s in the water in Nepean?
Anyway, there was nothing in the budget that had anything at all to do with me. And I’m not sure why the media goes on and on about this whole budget balancing act when Paul Martin supposedly did it and, well, what difference did it make in your life?
I wrote a column for the Ottawa Citizen back in the day, asking for my piece of the surplus when we had it, because, well, I don’t know about you but I’ve spent my entire life being told by governing politicians that we should tighten our belts.
We’re like Charlie Brown and they’re Lucy with the football.
Lucky for me I’m not the living large type, I guess.
Anyway, now that I work in the private sector, shouldn’t Conservative politicians be catering to me? Aren’t I their raison d’etre? Me, the hardworking taxpayer? I barely use any public services, either, save for transit.
And here in Ottawa we pay the most expensive fares in the world, so I don’t know how much of a public service OC Transpo is, really.
I hardly ever even go to the doctor (knock on wood that I don’t have cancer) I’m so frugal with taxpayer dollars.
Also, she moved, and I’m not sure where her office is now. In the meantime, I eat right, get plenty of exercise. Don’t drink, smoke, do drugs.
Yeah, alright, I’ll go about that foot thing.
Get off my back! I don’t like bad news! And what I don’t know can’t kill me!
I’m that hardworking taxpayer Conservatives claim as their base and yet there was nothing in that budget for me.
A Toronto Star columnist asked why Conservatives hate us so much, and I replied in a tweet: because we keep getting in the way of their transfer of public wealth into private pockets.
It was annoying, seeing one of those Canadian Federation of Business assholes smiling on the news about a budget that just makes us lesser than we were as a society, yay-ing that very fact, haha-ing a swipe at public servants because private sector workers have less, and I thought, why DO private sector workers have less, asshole?
How is it that these assholes continue to get away with cheering on politicians who reduce public services and then invade the private lives and bank accounts of Canadian citizens on the basis that they’re public servants – or were public servants – and a big plastic hand doesn’t reach out from behind the camera and slap them up the sides of their pointy little heads until they increase wages and benefits for private sector workers?
Or just hours. Increase hours. And stop hiring temporary foreign workers. Or at least lobby the government on their behalf so they can become permanent Canadian citizens.
We all know, or should, that money was stolen from public services, from taxpayers, so that Conservative politicians could pretend to us a year from now that they cleaned up the fiscal mess (they made, but never mind) and so we should vote for them again because… ?
I mean, I’m not better off thanks to the Harper government. Are you better off? Do you know anybody who’s better off? Certainly the weather hasn’t improved any since his Conservative Party cheated its way into power.
If I was confused by public servants who voted Conservative, I’ve got to say, I’m really confused by private sector workers who do.
Although, you know, it’s always possible that Canadians are just a very stupid people.
Meanwhile, whatever happened to Pierre Poutine? Do you suppose s/he was a temporary foreign worker, too?
Inquiring minds want to know.
It’s a pun. I’ve been following the public re-hashing of Mia Farrow’s allegation against Woody Allen back in the day that he molested their daughter, Dylan.
As I say increasingly often these days, two things can be true at once. And, of course, what I mean by that is, lots of things can be true at once.
It’s none of my business, in spite of Mia Farrow, and I don’t have any particular insight into the matter, but I believe she coached their daughter into saying she was molested by her father, and over time Dylan came to believe it so much that she wrote a letter to the New York Times several years later saying it all over again.
But I could be wrong. Certainly Woody Allen is off-putting and weird and miscasts himself in his movies, and his relationship with Soon-yi, whether she’s his adopted daughter (he says she isn’t) or not, scores pretty high on the yuck-o-meter, given that he may as well be a thousand years older than she is, so much older than she is he anyway.
Way to make yourself even more off-putting, Woody.
Some girls, though, are born middle-aged, aren’t they. My best friend growing up was mature beyond her years. I mean, it was ridiculous. She was more mature at ten years old than I am now. I’m serious. She was younger than ten when she wrote “Fuck God” in the Bible during Sunday School. I was completely FREAKED OUT and she was like, “Don’t worry. God isn’t real.”
When I found out from my mother a few decades later that according to her mother, whom she met up with at a social function, she had acquired an auto-immune disease, I’m embarrassed to say that what immediately sprang to mind was that “Fuck God” she wrote in the Bible.
I don’t mean she was bratty, she wasn’t, she was just her own person, a fatalist, when I was still worrying about leaving Smokey, my stuffed dog, home alone with my Gram while I was at school.
I read somewhere online that Mia Farrow had a rule for the nannies to ensure that Woody Allen was never alone with Dylan, too.
Now, when you read that you might think, “Ooh, she was concerned way back then that he might molest their adopted daughter.”
Except that you’d be wrong to think that because it’s common for mothers these days to have such a rule when we’re in non-traditional relationships with men who aren’t the biological fathers of our children.
I’ve read articles. It’s recommended. Better safe than sorry. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Trust. No. Man. Because. All. Men. Are. Potential. Molesters. Of. Your. Children.
Sometimes, though, and depending on the age of your children, of course, it’s really more to protect everyone from a possible false accusation that, once made, cannot be unmade.
There. I’ve said it. False accusers exist. Get over it.
When my ex and I first moved to Ottawa our real estate agent asked, “So would you consider hiring a teenaged boy to babysit your children?”
I thought he was asking on behalf of a nephew so I replied, carefully, “Oh. Well. If we ever went out. I guess?”
“No! Sooey, never ever never ever never ever let a teenaged boy babysit your children! Boys are perverts! Trust me! I was a boy! We’re perverted!”
And it turned out he had a niece looking for a babysitting gig but by the time we went out somewhere we’d lost touch and I had new friends with daughters of babysitting age.
Now don’t comment as if I agree with my former real estate agent because I don’t, but he did say that and, well, I never hired a teenaged boy to babysit my children because, well, I’m highly impressionable.
I also wouldn’t hire anyone named Alice.
The power of suggestion will be the death of me yet.
The thing is, I was a girl. And I went through phases, as girls do. And some of those phases that I went through, and I can only speak for myself, although I’m speaking for all girls, included shameless attention-seeking. Nothing so dramatic as a sexual assault accusation – but – there but for the grace of (fill in the blank) go I.
Because, like I’m trying to say here, once an accusation that has everybody immediately looking for a pitchfork has been made, it’s a tricky matter for a girl to unmake it.
My grade eight teacher did twelve years in prison because he wouldn’t admit to or show remorse for the fact that he molested at least 16 girls who were willing to testify against him even a couple of decades after the crimes were perpetrated (there were more victims but they didn’t all want to testify).
His attacks increased in severity over the years, too, as he was transferred from school to school after being accused or, I’m sorry to say, getting caught in the act by an adult in authority, the principal.
See, it wasn’t that no one believed the victims/accusers, it was just that no one cared enough about them to do anything about it beyond transferring the perpetrator to another school.
And sometimes not even going to that much trouble.
And that’s a fact of life that I can’t help but wonder we’re over-compensating for today, pretending that victims weren’t believed back then and that’s why nothing came of their accusations, when the sad fact is that everyone knew they were telling the truth, it was just that their truth didn’t matter.
I wasn’t a victim, although someone gave my name to the police, who then called me to inquire about events. I was quite a time convincing the officer, too, but I have a very good memory and was able to give him a couple more names of likely victims. Finally I said, “Look, he was too smart to molest a kid like me. Or maybe I wasn’t his type of kid. But I would have made a federal case out of it and he would have known that I would.”
And I told him, too, about girls trying to get him to tackle them on the beach in their bikinis during our grade eight graduation party, which he was more than happy to do, the boys standing about sullenly knowing it wasn’t right that they had to compete for girls with a man in his 30s or 40s.
It’s entirely possible that some of his victims didn’t even realize they were victims until, I don’t know, maybe they saw an episode of Oprah that twigged something and they realized, “Hey – that was wrong!”
Sigh. I know this all sounds terrible and maybe I’m not articulating it well, but parenting wasn’t a word back in the day, was it, and some of the kids I went to school with would have been better off being raised by wolves.
My own mother was quite surprised to hear of my grade eight teacher’s arrest when I distinctly recall telling her about the principal catching him in the act of molesting a girl in grade six AT THE TIME THAT IT HAPPENED!
Later, when I was in high school, everyone knew about one of the teachers necking with a student on the way home from a field trip, too. On the bus. Necking. I knew the girl. I knew the teacher. Sure it was wrong, just, more for everybody else later than it was for them then.
Am I the only middle-aged person who remembers it being like that?
Meanwhile, can you imagine the reaction by every Tom, Dick, and Harry if a high school teacher necked openly with a girl on the way home from a field trip today, in the year of our Lord, 2014?
You know what I’m sayin’? Like, let me just put it this way, it’s like everything that had the same neglect then, suddenly has the same concern now.
Grr. Or something. I know what I want to say even if you don’t. Ugh. Sorry. It’s this damn cold. It’s like I have Alzheimer’s.
But that’s not really what this entry is about (Woody Allen and whether or not he molested Dylan) because this entry is about Mia Farrow and my decision that, after everything I’ve read about her and by her, well, I won’t let Mia Farrow get within a kilometer radius of me, my Beau, my children, their friends, their parents, my friends, your friends, and so on and so forth and more of the same, etc etc.
I don’t know if Woody Allen is guilty or not.
But Mia Farrow as sure as hell is.
Okay. Bear with me. The last couple of shifts at work put into perspective the physical stress of working minimum wage retail for twelve to fifteen random hours per week (which makes working a second job tricky) but yesterday may have been the other shoe dropping.
Yes, shoes. Houston, we have a problem.
(I also continue to mention the actual number of hours I work because I need more of them but I don’t think I could – or even should – be on my feet more than I already am. And I have no idea how I could work a second job when the schedule for the one I have is like a moveable feast for anorexics.)
Anyway, yesterday, right before the start of my shift, I found a great pair of really good shoes, on sale (but still $100), that fit, not just my bill, but the bill for style and comfort.
Very chic they are, too, if I do think so myself.
Alas, the head cheese thinks otherwise (her thinking included a lecture and offer to take me shopping – impossible given her schedule and the fact that I can’t leave the store during my shift – to “elevate” my style) and so now today will include a a shoe returning adventure – in spite of a “no return on sale items” warning on the receipt.
I don’t want to buy anything I can’t wear to work, although the shoes are the real deal, so if I can’t return them it won’t be the end of my world.
The thing is, though, the thing that has stuck in my craw such that, well, you know, is that even if it was about the shoes, which of course it isn’t, she’s wrong. She’s wrong about what constitutes an “elevated” style, particularly amongst our customers.
Now, I may not always dress like it, but I’m my mother’s daughter, and my mother knows style and the shoes are exactly what I should be wearing at work. Not an approximation, even, which was why I was so excited to buy them. Like I said in paragraph four, they fit the bill exactly, all systems go, boxes checked off, yahoo!
I’m so right about this that, well, yeah, right, okay, it’s not about the shoes.
Customers are attracted to my style, and not just the one I adopted via the thrift shop for my new job, which is one reason why I’m so good at selling merchandise that, old-timers confide, has deteriorated significantly in quality now that the company is owned by a private equity firm.
Regular priced merchandise is a tough sell, a really tough sell, and managers can deny it all they want but I’m on the floor and all that’s selling is on sale.
Anyway, the other thing is that I arrived to my shift at the end of the head cheese’s shift, at which time she called out one of the university girls who works there (so fun, the university girls, and smart enough to know better than to take a minimum wage retail job seriously) for a different style infraction (and how she could pick just one is beyond me), and people were just such a disappointment to her in general, well, if I hadn’t brought attention to the shoes I might not have got a no on wearing them to work and all would be much as it was, physically demanding work for not enough money, but, yeah, okay, we’re good for now.
So the real problem is that the incident is reminiscent of being a kid when my mother would say no to something and that was it.
Like I said, merchandise only moves when it’s reduced – significantly – in price, and the old customer base is dropping off and not being replaced. A new sheriff’s in town and there’s no loyalty to the brand because the brand doesn’t deserve it.
Meanwhile, the system we’ve moved to now requires managers to justify employee hours based on sales and if it was difficult to man the barricades before it’s even more difficult to man them now and it’s only a matter of time.
Still, I’m willing to compromise where I can and I’ll see about returning the shoes today in hopes of matching a style to which I doubt I will ever become accustomed, but not without an unexpected awareness of how not unlike the public service the private sector is in Canada these days.
So, moving forward, as they say at meetings when there’s no point in saying anything, I think I’ll take my cue from the university girls, not to mention the private equity firm that owns the company, and stop giving a shit.
It’s only a matter of time, I give it a year, before the whole enterprise disappears down the rabbit hole. And it won’t have anything to do with our “elevated” style of footwear and everything to do what our politicians refer to as “the economy” being nothing but smoke and mirrors.
I read a short piece by Aaron Sorkin this morning about he and Philip Seymour Hoffman discussing life as recovering addicts. Apparently PSH said that at least if one of them dies of their addiction to heroin other lives will be saved when addicts give it up.
I’m in AA myself, as I’ve blogged before, something my Conservative friend found initially very alarming, that I would be so public about being an alcoholic. He worried that employers would toss my resume in the garbage if they knew that I was in AA, a view I think is wildly out-of-date, although I could be wrong.
I really don’t care, I guess. I’d hardly be a blogger if I did, now would I.
Also, I don’t have AA on my resume.
I do notice, though, that the subject often makes people squeamish, which is the why of AA for me and a lot of other members.
Heh – I just thought of that Groucho Marx line about not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member.
It’s mostly just a huge relief to me that I don’t drink anymore (or smoke pot) and my nearest and dearest gets it because I don’t have the panic/anxiety attacks that polluting my body (because that’s what it felt like to me) would bring on, usually in the wee hours of the morning.
But a lot of my friends and family are uncomfortable with the word alcoholic. And even more uncomfortable with the idea of AA (it’s the higher power thing, isn’t it).
It could just be that I’m often with them in the same context I was when I was drinking and alcohol is still very much a part of the social gathering except that I don’t drink anymore.
Can’t. Shouldn’t. Won’t.
It’s awkward. But you’d be amazed at how alcohol is a part of most any social gathering these days. Or maybe you wouldn’t. Certainly everyone in AA will admit to a social attendance record that reflects whether or not alcohol was on the menu.
Last fall, when I got together with my Wild Women friends for a reunion in Toronto, I arrived late to the restaurant (conflicting directions from the incredible liars who inhabit Queen St W). They immediately ordered another bottle of wine so I blurted out before I’d even said hello, “No! I’m in AA!”
Much to my shock, because this is how seldom it happens, the most hilarious of my Wild Women friends, the one who nicknamed me “Ralph” (because of the elegant Ralph Lauren pajamas that I wore at a weekend camp-out when everyone else wore… whatever) exclaimed, “Good for you! That’s great! Glad to hear it! Kudos to Ralph!”
I know it sounds crazy in this day and age that she’s the only one of my friends and family who literally cheered at the news that I’d finally gone to AA but she is. I had to fight back tears I was so gratified by it.
Also, they didn’t order another bottle.
We talk a good game about mental illness, and getting rid of the stigma, but alcohol and drugs are so often both cause and effect that to isolate mental illness from addiction strikes me as, well, kind of telling in terms of where the real stigmas lies.
I didn’t drink every day. I didn’t get drunk every time I drank. I didn’t have to drink in the sense that I was physically addicted. It was always a choice to have another drink. The thing is, too often I erred on the side of crazy, crazy being having another drink when I’d had more than enough a few drinks ago.
And I made that same mistake over and over and over, the very definition of crazy, a word I’m reclaiming as politically correct, by the way, in spite of knowing what the result would be.
Because of knowing what the result would be? I mean, it has to be asked – just how crazy are addicts?
I didn’t actually quit because of hangovers, as some people do. I quit because I didn’t want to drink anymore, because I didn’t want to get drunk ever again, because I’m not, as it turns out, crazy.
Aaron Sorkin also says in the article that PSH wasn’t depressed, as is being alleged, he was addicted to heroin. Heroin, he says, killed PSH.
Except that normal people (I’m bringing back normal, too) in middle-age don’t overdose on heroin and normal people in middle-age don’t pass out drunk on someone’s back lawn. A using addict is crazy just like a drinking alcoholic is crazy. I know that because when I stopped, enough of the crazy stopped, too, that I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy – alcohol made me crazy.
Anyway, it’s awkward, I know, and maybe that’s all it is when it comes to alcoholism, but I just thought I’d put it out there since I’m not shy about it, that it feels really good to be cheered on for going to AA.
Because for me, not drinking and not being crazy definitely go hand in hand.
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.
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