My Week 114: 2 AM Eternal, Christmas Toys for Girls and Boys

Friday: 2 AM Eternal

I’ve had a lot on my mind recently and, as if my brain isn’t already like a jukebox most of the time, it’s been made even worse by thoughts that are stressing me and decisions that I currently have to make. As a result, I found myself wide awake at 2 am on Friday morning, with my head in full overdrive. What I normally do under these circumstances is try to distract myself, and since it was getting close to the weekend, I tried to focus on writing, and what this week’s post would be about. Then I just let my mind drift…

I like that so many people read my blog. I mean, I love writing it, but it’s nice that people read it. Isn’t it weird though, that my most popular post is still Week 9: Jehovah’s Witnesses? I wonder why. Is there a Jehovah network out there, and they’re all reading it with plans to descend on my house en masse one day? Or do people click on it, thinking it’s some kind of rant? Have MY Jehovahs read it? They asked me once what the web address of my blog was. Could they actually have remembered it and looked it up?! That would be embarrassing, them coming to the door every week, knowing that I know that they secretly want to steal my soul in a universal battle like Batman vs. Superman, and that the empty liquor bottles and Christmas decorations on the porch are my version of Kryptonite because apparently in this scenario, I’m Batman. Not sure why. But there may be an upside—if they ARE reading my blog, this would be a great time to tell them not to come before noon. I feel really self-conscious and weird when they come at 10 and I’m still in my pajamas. Last week, I saw them coming up the walk, and I screamed down to Ken, “The Jehovahs are coming! Hide!” Eventually, they left, and then I felt guilty, so if they are reading this, you need to come later in the day, kind of in between the time when I’m not wearing clothes and haven’t started drinking yet. So let’s say, 1:30 to 2:00 pm. It’s a small window, but I DO like your weird magazines…

Why is Harry Potter Puppet Pals in my head right now? Snape, Snape, Severus Snape ( Dumbledore!)

Imaginary Me: I really like your weird magazines, except for all the Bible stuff.
Imaginary JW: The Bible stuff is kind of the point, soon-to-be-convert.
Imaginary Me: You’ll never own my soul! Anyway, here’s a question. Why was the Bible written by a bunch of white guys when everything took place in the Middle East?
Imaginary JW: Why do you think they’re all white guys?
Imaginary Me: Well, they all have white guy names, except for the main character. Mark, John, Peter…I’ve never met a Middle Eastern guy called Luke.
Imaginary JW: The Bible was translated from Hebrew to English. Their names were originally less white.
Imaginary Me: You just googled that, didn’t you?
Imaginary JW: No, it’s something you remembered—this is YOUR imaginary conversation. Plus Google was invented by the devil. We only use Bing. It’s Jehovah’s True Search Engine.
Imaginary Me: OK, now you’ve gone too far. BING—I could NEVER get behind that.

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape (Dumbledore!) Ron, Ron, Ron Weasley…

…If what Google says is true (well, at least the imaginary Google in my head), then isn’t it the biggest irony of all that David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, has a Jewish first name? All those crazy anti-Semites out there, and most of them are named after Hebrew people. I wonder if they realize that. Although from the idiocy I’ve seen and read coming from the so-called “alt-right”, I highly doubt it…

Imaginary KKK rally

David Duke: All right, white guys—time to put on your silly hoods. Aaron, Adam, Ben—you guys are in charge of leading the chanting. Dan, Ethan, and Gabe—you can set the cross on fire.
All: Yeehaw! That’ll show those foreigners with their weird-ass names and strange, cultish behaviour.
David Duke: Look at me! Whee! I’m a wizard!

…the KKK confuses me. Are they supposed to be Christian? Cuz their leader is a male witch, and that sounds really magic-y to me. Plus, why do they burn crosses? These guys are just FULL of irony. Or stupidity. It’s hard to differentiate with the KKK…

Alt-right, Alt-right, Severus Snape (Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Harry Harry Potter)…

…I wonder if Kellie Leitch is a secret member of a white power group, or is she just trying to ride the Trump train? What exactly ARE Canadian values, anyway? And who gets to define them? I could do it. I’m great at running stuff…

Imaginary citizenship hearing

Judge: Do you promise not to EVER write stupid comments online? And to NEVER re-post articles without checking them out on Snopes.com first?
Immigrant: You betcha.
Judge: Will you line up in an orderly fashion, even on Black Friday, or when waiting to use the washroom at the Air Canada Centre?
Immigrant: Do I HAVE to go shopping on Black Friday?
Judge: Heck no. This is Canada.
Immigrant: Then, you betcha.
Judge: Will you be respectful and accepting of other people’s viewpoints, religions, and gender identities?
Immigrant: Obviously. That’s why I came here. Oh, do I have to care about other people’s marital relationships?
Judge: Absolutely not.
Immigrant: What a relief. Being all up in other people’s business is so tiring. And time-consuming. So, yes, I agree.
Judge: Cool. You’re in. Now go apologize to someone for something and pet a beaver.

…I could totally run this country.

Finally, I started to get sleepy. It was 4:10 in the morning, but I got a lot accomplished. And here for your viewing pleasure is a link to Harry Potter Puppet Pals, so it can be the soundtrack to YOUR insomnia too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx1XIm6q4r4

Saturday: Toy Sexism

Yesterday, I was out shopping at a local store that has a huge Christmas display of toys. As I wandered around, looking for something for my niece, I was really disturbed. I’ve written before about toys and sexism, but I’ve never seen anything quite as blatant as the stuff from a company called Play Go. These people are seriously trying to inculcate little girls into the worst kind of stereotyped gender roles. First, I saw “My Cleaning Set”. This is a kit with a broom, dustpan, mop and bucket. On the box is a little girl in a pink t-shirt happily holding the broom, because cleaning the house is the career goal of most women. But for the really ambitious gal, they also sell “My Cleaning Trolley”, which has a vacuum as well, and is portable enough to take your skills on the road. Everything on it is pink and light purple, which are obviously the colours of success. Next was “Let’s Cook—the Complete Kitchen Set”—38 pieces of pink kitchenware, featuring a little girl in a pink t-shirt and apron, wearing a chef’s hat. What’s wrong with this picture? Obviously the chef’s hat, cuz aren’t all chefs guys? This company should be ashamed to imply that girls can grow up to be chefs just like men. But the really interesting thing is that all of the little girls on the boxes seem to be members of different ethnic groups. So is Play Go trying to be diverse, or are they secretly being racist as well as sexist? But I’m not just targeting Play Go, because what really stood out for me was the Construction Set right next to the “girl toys”. It was made by Little Tikes, another well-known company, and it featured two little boys in green and navy t-shirts, happily building things. So now I get it—girls stay home and clean and cook, and boys build sh*t. I wish I’d known that BEFORE I went to all the trouble of going to university and having a professional career. Hell, I could have just stayed home and cleaned my house. Now, this is not to say that I don’t respect women who DO choose to stay at home, raise their children, and take care of their families, because I absolutely do, if that’s their choice. Ultimately, the goal of feminism wasn’t and shouldn’t be to force all women into the workforce—it was to give them the right to CHOOSE what they wanted to do with their lives without being attacked for it either way. But toy companies shouldn’t be influencing two-year-olds to make that choice based on pretty colours and “realistic vacuum sounds”. As I was looking in dismay at the toys, a woman with a little girl around the age of 3 came over. “Look!” said the little girl pointing at the cooking set. “I can make all the food for everyone!” I was really hoping the mom would say, “Or you can build a railroad like the kids on THIS box” but she just said, “You could!” Then the grandma came over, put a Santa hat on the little girl’s head and said, “Look at you! You’re SO pretty!” Sigh.

toys1

toys2

toys3

Then later, in a strange twist of fate, Ken was reading Awake!, the Jehovah’s Witness magazine that the friendly local JWs had dropped off while I was shopping (Sorry, JWs–maybe next time). One of the articles was about “respect in marriages”. It featured an imaginary conversation between a husband and wife where the husband was expressing that he didn’t feel like his wife treated him with respect because she was always talking loudly, using exaggerated facial expressions, waving her hands around, and interrupting him.

Ken: Don’t you think this is really sexist? The wife is getting all the blame. There’s nothing here about what the husband does to make the wife feel disrespected. Then there’s a bit from the Bible about how women should treat their husbands with respect.
Me: Or MAYBE it’s reverse sexism. Maybe the Jehovahs are secretly sexist against men for being such big, f*cking babies. Like “Oh, poor me, my wife is mean to me.” Maybe the hidden message is “Grow the f*ck up, imaginary lame-ass guy”. You never know with the Jehovahs.
Ken: Well, all right then…
Me: Sorry, was I disrespecting you? Get over it. I love you.
Ken: Sigh. I love you too.

Poor Ken. I’m going to cook him a really awesome dinner tonight. Because THAT’S my choice.

My Week 113: Highway of Hell, Titus and I Watch the National Dog Show Again

Monday: I hate driving

I used to love driving. I got my licence when I was almost 17. It took me three tries, but you know what they say: “Nothing worth having isn’t worth working hard for.” Now, while this might imply that I wasn’t very good at it, the fact was that I was terrified of the driving examiner, a thin, red-haired, guy with spectacles and a pornstache, who never smiled. The first two times, I was so nervous that I forgot even the basics, like how to signal and maybe brake. But then my lovely mother came up with a plan—she told me we were going shopping and then she suddenly pulled into the licence office. I had no time to get worked up, and managed to pass the road test with flying colours. Also, the examiner had pretty much given up on my ever being able to parallel park, so he skipped that part. And if he’s out there, he’ll be gratified to know that I’ve NEVER, in almost 35 years, even attempted to parallel park. I’d rather abandon the car in a ditch and call a cab than try to squeeze in between two other cars. Apparently, new vehicles come with parallel parking technology, but I’d probably f*ck it up by screaming “Watch the back bumper! Jesus—you’re too far from the curb AGAIN!” just like my own driving instructor, an old guy hired by my high school who looked like Santa Claus but talked about his girlfriend in very graphic terms, used to do. In this day and age, Gary’s pervy sense of humour would have meant instant dismissal, but hey—it was the early 80s, a time when creepy older guys could say what they wanted and teenaged girls felt pressured to giggle nervously. (I thought we’d moved pass this point, but now Donald Trump is president-elect, so ladies, prepare your best teehees). Gary had one of those cars with an extra brake on the passenger side, and his favourite trick was to drive around alone, with his hand on the bottom of the wheel, his left foot on the accelerator and his right foot on the extra brake, freaking people out. He was the original driverless car. Among other things.

At any rate, there I was with my licence. Not really my freedom, since it would be years before I could afford my own car, but still. Over time, I’ve driven many vehicles—a Mercury Marquis, bigger than most small watercraft, a Cutlass Supreme, a Ford Temp (Ken’s first car), my own Honda Accord, then a succession of mini-vans until T was old enough to not require a car seat. When I turned 40, I got the best car in the world—a Saturn SC2 Coupe in bright yellow with black leather interior. It was an awesome car, and the best part was that it was made of plastic. Well, some sort of polymer anyway, which meant it would never rust. I loved that car—I had it for almost ten years until the fateful day that I was driving T and myself home from the cottage. Two kilometres from our exit on the 401, the double tanker truck driving beside me decided to change lanes—into OUR lane. He hit us, and proceeded to push us off the highway diagonally as we were both going around 100 km an hour (60 mph for my American friends). He ripped through my plastic side panel, and for a minute we were caught on his bumper. I still remember fighting the wheel so I wouldn’t get whipped around underneath him. When the car finally tore loose and I came to a skidding, sliding halt on the shoulder, I started to cry hysterically, T in the back seat patting my shoulder and trying to hug me. The truck driver stopped, and he got out and ran back. “I didn’t even see you!” he said. “Christ, this is the second time in the last two weeks this has happened to me!” I was like “What the f*ck! My car is bright yellow—how could you miss me!?”

He was charged with careless driving, but my car was a write-off and I was a wreck. For a little while anyway. It took some time before I was able to get back on a major highway, but I did it, a few panic attacks notwithstanding. Then I got, almost simultaneously, a new car and a new job. The car was amazing—a Chevy Sonic LTZ Turbo, black with red custom trim, black leather interior, and fully loaded. It was a show car, and had only been driven to and from malls and convention centres. The job was equally awesome, but it was in Toronto, which meant regular trips down the nefarious 401, the world’s “superhighway slash parking lot”. After a few months of tearing my hair out, trying to get home on a Friday night, or back into the city on a Sunday, driving in the STUPIDEST traffic known to human kind, I finally discovered the train. I’ve previously written about this, so I won’t bore you with the details but here is the top ten list of reasons why traffic might be suddenly stopped on the 401, which I wrote about in more detail in My Week 54: Back on the Train Gang:

10) It’s raining.
9) What a weird looking bird…
8) Is that a running shoe? Slow down!!
7) Look, an airplane. Coooool.
6) There’s an accident on the OTHER side of the road.
5) It’s windy.
4) That squirrel has devil eyes!
3) Are those cloud shadows on the road, or is it the beginning of the alien invasion?
2) A bus is on fire.
1) (And this is absolutely true). Radio announcer: Be careful out there today, folks. That sun is really shining brightly!

The 401 is the most aggravating piece of sh*t highway in the world. But I had managed to avoid it completely for almost the last year, until two weeks ago, when I had to work in Mississauga. I decided that I might as well just travel back and forth from home—it was almost the same distance as coming in from downtown TO, and the upside was that I could see Ken every night. But after the first week of leaving the house at 6:15 am and not knowing if I’d get to work either on time or alive, I was starting to have second thoughts. Until I was telling my manager about it, and she said, “Why don’t you just take the 407? The company will pay for it.” The 407? That blissful, privately-owned toll road that would help me bypass all the stupidity of the Hurontario to Trafalgar Road corridor, which is technically a 14-kilometre stretch but can take almost half an hour to get through, thanks to what the radio announcers call “volume”? Yes, THAT toll road.

The next morning, a quiet Sunday, I tried the 407. I was hooked. This was MY road, the one I was always destined to drive. Of course, it WAS a Sunday—who knew what it would be like on a Monday morning during rush hour. Guess what? Exactly the same! I made it into work 15 minutes early, stress-free and with a smile on my face. The same thing happened on the way home—traffic moving steadily, lots of room to change lanes if necessary, no slowdowns because of interesting graffiti on the overpass…

But you know, once you’ve driven on a toll road, you get a little self-entitled. Just like parents who send their kids to private school and expect better grades because they’re paying for them, I also ended up one morning hitting the brakes for a minute and thinking, “What the f*ck is this?! I’m PAYING for this!” It’s amazing how quickly you get used to NOT sitting in a four lane parking lot, surrounded by transport trucks.

Well, the two weeks finally ended, and I was relieved to get home on Thursday night, and ditch the highway driving until the next time we’re working in Mississauga, which should be several months from now. Then I logged into the Via Rail site to buy my train ticket for Sunday—and everything was sold out. So one last trip down the highway to hell. But at least Ken’s driving.

Saturday: Titus and I watch the National Dog Show again.

Well, it’s that time of year, when frou frou dogs get to shake and shimmy their little selves down the catwalk (there’s some irony for you). Yes, it’s the National Dog Show, brought to you by Purina, the company who doesn’t believe feeding dogs antifreeze could possibly harm them. (Propylene glycol, according to Purina, is very safe to ingest. I wonder if any of their senior executives would care to sample it?) Anyway, the show itself is highly entertaining, as much for the strange remarks by the commentators, John O’Hurley and David Frei, as anything. We tuned in a little late, but just in time to see the Toy class:

Me: Titus, look. A Japanese Chin!
Titus: I didn’t know the Japanese had different chins from you guys.
Me: No, wake up. It’s a kind of dog.
Titus: Ugh. It looks like a bug.
Me: It’s name is Michael.
Titus: Sounds about right. “Michael”. Ha!
Me: What’s wrong with Michael?
Titus: Look it up on Urban Dogtionary.com. You’ll see.
Announcer 1: Up next is the Yorkshire Terrier, Bugsy Malone. Did you know that Yorkies were originally bred to guard factory workers’ lunches from rats?
Titus: What kind of self-respecting dog GUARDS lunches? I’d be all up in that sh*t. There’d be nothing left, let me tell you. Guarding lunches—bah.
Me: Yes, I think we all know better than to leave YOU in charge of food. God, look at this thing….
Announcer 1: And here we have the Pekingese, Chuck. Chuck is a little slow off the mark. Oh wait, there he goes—he’s really “scorching the earth” now, haha.
Announcer 2: You know, you could be walking this dog backwards for two years and never notice. Wow. He just won his class. Way to go, Chuck.

Then we went on to the sporting class, which seemed to be made up of a lot of setters, pointers, and spaniels.

Titus: Did he say Visla? Wasn’t that the all-girls’ school in Harry Potter? Wait—he just said “Cocker”! This gets better and better.
Me: Grow up!

Then the announcers started to fill in the dead air between announcing the dog’s breed and watching it parade around the ring with some pretty random sh*t:

The Irish Setter: She looks like the redhead who walked into the cocktail party. (Titus: He said “cocktail”. Snort).
The Weimeraner: This dog is the grey ghost. It’s like a ninja. I have one, and he just appears out of nowhere.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retreiver: This dog has a long name, and it’s the official dog of Nova Scotia. It has to be strong enough to carry a two pound duck.
The Chesapeake: Oily coat and webbed feet. An interesting dog. Waterproof.
The Springer Spaniel: This is by far the prettiest dog I’ve ever seen. His name is Timmy.
Miniature Poodle. This haircut is not whimsical. The miniature poodle is a gentleman’s hunting companion (Titus: Hunting for what? Aliens?).
Schipperke: Look at those nice, erect ears. (Titus: He said “erect”. Snort).
Lhasa Apso: Bred to be a guard dog in monasteries.
Tibetan Terrier: Also guarded monasteries. (Titus: Why were all these dogs in monasteries? Geez, live a little, why don’t you?)
The French Bulldog: Did you know Parisian streetwalkers used to use these dogs as icebreakers? You know, to start a “conversation” with a potential client…
The Border Collie: These dogs are incredibly intelligent. (Titus: Not intelligent enough to refuse to be in a dog show.) His name is Slick. (Titus: Well, at least he has a cool name.)

Finally, the show was done, and the overall winner was a Greyhound named Gia.

Titus: I think I’m in love.
Me: She looks a little too mature for you.
Titus: What?! Why?
Me: Really? From the guy who snickered every time the announcer said a word with “cock” in it? I thought you were going to fall off the bed when he said “erect ears”.
Titus: Guilty as charged. You know, you missed your chance with me. I could have been a show dog. Just look at these pearly whites.
Me: I’d have to rename you. How does Dick sound?
Titus: Absolutely awesome.

titus-teeth

 

My Week 112: It’s the Sh*t, I’m An Enabler

Wednesday: I consider recent movements

Today’s topic is something that we’re all very aware of. We do it every day. We were fascinated by it as children—in fact, some children like to make art with it. As adults, we examine it, consider it, pretend it never happened, or fixate on it, but we rarely discuss it. It goes by many names: dump, turd, doodie, dingleberry, fudgebunny, rosebud, or in my own family’s case, trump. Yes, I’m talking about poop. Admit it—we all, in our own way, are interested in this subject, at least our OWN subject. Most people really don’t care to think about other people’s sh*t—well, their LITERAL sh*t anyway. In fact, most people are FAR too interested in other people’s figurative sh*t for their own good, and are always happy to express their opinions on things that never concern them.

At any rate, I realized lately that I may just be weirdly interested in poop. It started a while ago, when I was in the hospital after having major surgery. In the bathroom, there was a chart that had images of different kinds of poop on it, and descriptions of what each one meant. Like there was the “normal” poo that looked like a sleek log, then there was the bulky poo that looked like really long, dry cookie dough and was described as “a sausage shape with cracks in the surface”, which meant the person was somewhat dehydrated. (If you’re interested in more of this, just google “Bristol Stool Chart”—I know you’re saying out loud “No way”, but we both know you’ll secretly look at it). Then, a while ago, I saw a giant poo in the doorway of a defunct sushi restaurant down the street from my condo. Right away, I was like “Whoa! That’s the biggest poo I’ve ever seen! Also, its owner needs to drink more fluids.” Later, it was still there and I tried to point it out to a friend, but she was like “No! You need to stop. I do NOT want to see some homeless person’s poop.” I realize some people are just really uncomfortable with random feces, but this was like World Record stuff—it literally haunted my thoughts for days, and every time I passed the doorway, even though it was long gone, I pondered the size, and diet, of its owner. Then last week, the topic of my obsession with the doorway poo came up and my manager asked me what it was all about. I embarked on the merry tale, and how awesomely large the poo was, but we all know how terrible I am at oral storytelling, and I think most of the story was just me going, “Wow—it was just so—yeah—like this huge juggernaut—amazing”. Everyone laughed, but I realized that just maybe I should keep my fascination with poo to myself. At least while at work. But here—well, here, I have carte blanche to write about whatever the hell I want, and you can judge me, but you can’t argue with the fact that deep in your secret heart, you also think poo is, if not cool, at least interesting and informative. Seriously, nobody is watching as you nod and smile. Or when you look into the toilet in the morning to inspect your offering. The other day, I felt the urge, and afterwards I snuck a peek. My reaction? “Huh. Impressive!” Then I giggled a little, because I said it out loud, but no one else was in the bathroom to hear me. And please don’t try to tell me that you have never passed judgement on your own sacrifice to the porcelain god, because we all do it. We’ve all gone, “Holy hell! What did I eat yesterday?” or “Why doesn’t corn digest like regular normal food?”, “Alcohol sure does a number on my bowels”, or just “Good one!” I think the world would be a much happier place if we all discussed our poop on a regular basis—after all, no matter what colour, gender, or religion you are, it’s something we ALL have in common. Even the Queen enjoys a satisfying voiding of the royal bowels. Trump trumps. Obama boom booms. Trudeau pops out little smiley faces that sparkle. I was thinking last night about how best to use modern media to bring us all together via bodily waste and I came up with a TV show that would address the issue :

A beach scene. People in uniform milling around. A body lying on the sand. Camera pans to a large poo beneath a palm tree. Cut to Danny.

Danny: It’s not looking good, boss.
Horatio: Tell me what you’ve got, Dann-o.
Danny: Large male, judging by size. Probably a vegan, based on the amount of broccoli and self-righteousness smooth texture. Well-hydrated. Looks like the Number 2 Killer has struck again.
Horatio: (gazes sternly into distance). I’m making the Number 2 Killer my number one priority. He won’t get away with this shit again. Let’s roll.

Camera cuts away and credits roll to the sound of “Squeeze Box” by The Who. The title appears: CSI: Excremental.

I know, right? There’s also a twist on the new Sherlock Holmes drama which I call “Alimentary”. It’s the same basic premise as CSI: Excremental, but with more deductive reasoning:

Sherlock: I’ve come to the conclusion that our victim is indeed a beet farmer.
Watson: How could you possibly know that?
Sherlock: For God’s Sake, Watson—look at the colour of his scat. That slight pink tinge is a dead giveaway. Have I taught you nothing?!

So the next time you secretly poke through your dog’s crap with a stick to see if he ate some tinfoil, or jump with joy at your baby’s ginormous diaper dump, know that you’re not alone. Here’s a vintage cookie jar for you that looks just like the poo emoji.

poo-jar

Friday: I’m an enabler.

Me (spills wine on bedspread): Titus! Stop licking the covers!
Titus: But it’s so delicious. Spill some more.
Me: No!! OMG. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Titus: What do you mean? Wine is nice.
Me: You’re such a dick. I love you.
Titus: I know. Spill some more wine.
Me: Oh for god’s sake, here. Just lick it off my finger.
Raven: Just for the record, I dragged my butt across the carpet and sneezed on your pillow. Can I have some wine too?
Me: Sigh.

 

My Week 111: Another Magazine Christmas, The US Election True Colours

Monday: Another Magazine Christmas

Well, it’s that time of year again. No, not the time of year when stupid people vote for orange misogynists (see below), but the season when decorating magazines, with still over a month to go, start telling us how to organize our homes for Christmas. Last year, it was all about entertaining guests—this year it’s how to “Unwrap your signature holiday style”. I love it when anyone assumes that I actually HAVE a style to unwrap, like there’s a part of me just DYING to run into a forest and gather evergreen boughs and sh*t. The explanation under the headline was “If determining your home’s holiday look is your own personal nightmare before Christmas, fear not. We’re here to help.” Personal nightmare?! Aren’t we getting a little dramatic here? Because the nightmares I have focus on people dying, the house burning down, or nuclear war (let’s all pray that Trump knows the difference between “tweet” and “launch”), not so much whether people appreciate my decorating style. But the magazine thoughtfully provided a list of 10 questions to help me determine exactly how to discover my “festive style” by giving me four choices—A, B, C, or D, and then adding up the choices to correspond with a style. Here we go:

1) Which winter wreath would you hang?

I chose D, the “Feathery Evergreen”, except that I would forgo the peacock feathers and bow, and add twinkle lights. Now it looks just like the wreaths that Ken and I hang in our windows every year. We keep them in a closet under the stairs along with the twenty extension cords we need to make them light up.

2) Choose the prettiest gift wrap.

While “Snowflake Chic” and “Golden Glamour” were both very fetching, I myself am partial to “Last Year’s Leftovers” with a side of “”Scotch Tape and a Bit of Ribbon”.

3) What’s Your Must-Watch Christmas Movie?

I’d only seen one out of the 4 choices—“A Christmas Story”, which is so wonderfully random with the leg lamp and the pack of dogs that just randomly appear to wreak havoc. As for the other options, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is way too morbid, “A Muppet Christmas” is way too Muppet-y, and “Love Actually” doesn’t even have Christmas in the title, so who the f*ck cares? MY must-watch movie is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Not the live action film, which is ridiculously over the top, but the original animated classic, which I can recite almost verbatim, having watched it every year since I was old enough to remember. It’s tradition, and I don’t care if it messes up my style score.

4) Which candles will you set out this season?

While “a selection of unscented tea lights and votives in mercury glass containers” sounds quite glam, I’m gonna go with NONE, because as I previously mentioned, one of my personal nightmares is having the house burn down, and candles are tiny fires that aspire to be bigger ones, in my book. Don’t get me wrong—I HAVE candles. I never light them; I just dust them.

5) Which wallpaper would you use for an accent wall?

What? Now I’m putting up wallpaper?! Go to hell.

6) Select a pair of holiday pajamas

OK, this I can get behind. I’m going to pick…a “monogrammed crisp white button-down nightshirt and matching pants”? Nooo. “A long sleep tee featuring a flamingo donning a Santa hat”? Nooo. Ok, these choices are NOT appealing to me. I shall choose the reindeer patterned flannel pants I bought last summer on sale, accented with a Joe Fresh tank top in “used to be crisp white but then I washed it with a black hoodie and now it’s kind of grey and I wear it to bed”.

7) Your Christmas tree is…

Whichever one is closest to where we parked the car at the tree farm. Fortunately, the magazine’s option D is “An imperfect long-needled pine, chopped fresh from the forest”, so WINNING. Except for the long-needled part (we prefer blue spruce, even though trying to hang ornaments on it is like being tortured by having spikes driven under your nails). Also, by “chopped”, I’ll assume you mean “chain-sawed”. The best part of this question is the picture of a “life-like” tree that you can buy from Canadian Tire for $500. I can get a whole decade’s worth of real trees for that price, imperfect though they may be.

8) Pick an ornament.

One of the choices is a felt ketchup bottle. It’s thirteen dollars. I can’t even. Personally, I only use vintage glass ornaments from the early twentieth century, and none of them are shaped like fast food.

9) Choose a Christmas card to send out.

I would do that if I could ever remember to actually send out Christmas cards in time for them to get to people. So while I love the “Paisley Reindeer Card” ($7, Hallmark. Yes, for ONE card), I usually end up buying a box of whatever’s left at the local convenience store, and taking them with me when we visit family. Nothing says “love” like hand-delivery, am I right?

10) How do you usually spend Christmas Eve?

None of the options seemed quite right, so I made up my own. Being with my family, enjoying good food and drink, listening to beautiful music, laughing and hugging, and being grateful that the house isn’t on fire.

When I tallied up my score, I’d gone rogue too many times to establish a Christmas style. I wasn’t “Formal Elegant”, “Colourful Eclectic”, “Fresh Contemporary”, OR “Rustic Country”. And I’m good with that, because all of these trappings of consumerism are not what Christmas is about anyway. To quote the Grinch:

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!”

“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”

“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

grinch

Tuesday: The US Election Colours

On Tuesday, I watched the US election, as so many people did. I had already predicted that Trump would win about two weeks before the big night. How did I know, you ask? Well, I have a terrible habit of reading the comments section of articles, and the hatred and stupidity out there is palpable. You couldn’t even post a picture of a kitten riding on a baby giraffe without a Trump supporter yelling “That giraffe is taking away jobs from Americans”, or “That kitten is too cozy with big government and should be shot!” The blind refusal on the part of Trump supporters to accept the reality of his incompetence, their disdain of logic and truth, and their ability to excuse ANYTHING he did in their quest for change is what brought this about. The bread and circuses of Trump’s act was just the right blend of the exploitation of fear (I’m gonna build a wall to keep the rapists out) and abstract concepts that his followers parrot, but don’t understand (“She is a career politician and part of the political class, which means that she is likely to perpetuate the croniest, clientist, State-capitalist status quo.” That’s an actual quote from some guy on an article about Hillary Clinton. You can just hear all the Trumpers yelling “Yes!! Lock her up!!” even though I doubt that most of them know what it means or whether it’s relevant to her ability to govern).

Anyway, early in September, after my True Colours training, I actually analyzed both candidates based on what I perceived as their colours. I didn’t post it then, and It’s probably moot now, but here it is, just for fun. By the way, it was before all the p*ssy-grabbing::

“Friday: I use True Colours to analyze the US election

On Friday night, I was watching the news and the breaking story was that Hillary Clinton had said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters were a “basket full of deplorables” due to their violence, racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia. She didn’t say ALL of them, just half. And Trump’s campaign organizers got up in arms and claimed that she had insulted millions of Americans whose ONLY fault was that they hated blacks, Muslims, gays, uppity women, and most people in general. But now that I’m an expert in True Colours, I did an extensive analysis of the situation, which is to say that I looked in my binder. Here’s what I see from up here in Canada:

Hillary Clinton is a Green. She’s not super-warm and fuzzy on the exterior, and she’s driven by logic, facts, and a disdain for irrational behaviour and incompetence. When she says “Half of Trump supporters”, she’s accurate. You can disagree all you want, but all you have to do is look at the comments section of ANY article about the election or anything else Trump-related for that matter, to realize that many of the millions of people who support Trump have a tenuous understanding of reality. Not ALL of them—just half. Maybe a little more than half. Or, to quote Trump, “a lot”. I think what she really wanted to say though was “a basket full of crazy”, but being a Green, she was conscious that “crazy” is insensitive. See, people think that Greens often appear unemotional, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Greens see the big picture, and they care about THAT as much as anything else. As a fellow Green, I can tell you that I hate racism in any form, not because I’m all sad about it and sh*t, but because it doesn’t make ANY logical sense to look down on an entire race of people because their skin has more melanin in it, or because they believe in one God or five gods or no god at all. If we all treated each other equally, the world would have more peace than war. That’s the big picture, and Greens can see it.

Donald Trump, as far as I can tell, is an Orange (in more ways than one), and apologies to all the great Oranges out there. But Trump is impulsive, dramatic, pays too much attention to performance versus product, hates structure and responsibility and is super-sensitive to criticism (little hands, anyone?). Unfortunately, he, and many of his followers, don’t possess any of the really positive Orange qualities, like courage, generosity, optimism, and good humour. When Clinton pointed out what we all already know about MANY of Trump’s supporters, their reaction was typical and predictable and simply proved her right: “What is that b*tch talking about?! How dare she criticize us? I’m going to post mean comments about her on the internet. And I’m going to call her Crooked Hillary because Trump told me to.” Trump’s supporters are just like him in the way they approach everything, including their general hatred of the world that is not theirs and the fear that giving to others will take something away from THEM. Actually, I think there has to be a new colour for people like them, people who mock others when they’re suffering, people who want to put up a wall instead of build a bridge. George Orwell, one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, said this about a wall: “The first thing that we demand of a wall is that it shall stand up. If it stands up, it is a good wall, and the question of what purpose is serves is separable from that. And yet even the best wall in the world deserves to be pulled down if it surrounds a concentration camp.”

At any rate, whatever Clinton’s flaws are, and let’s dispense with the false equivalencies here, because nothing she’s done is ANYWHERE NEAR the crap Trump has pulled over the last 60 years (I’m giving him credit for the first ten), I’d much rather have a Green at the helm—they’re less likely to start wars or meantweet about overweight people—but I’m sure worried that people will buy into Trump and his bullshit. Maybe that should be the new colour for Trump and his ilk—Brown.”

There you have it. It’s over now, and if change was what people wanted, they certainly got it. But I doubt that it’s going to be in the way they thought. Only time will tell.

 

My Week 110: America Sees a Psychiatrist, Synergy

Saturday: America visits a psychiatrist

Receptionist: The doctor will see you now.
America: Great, thanks. And it’s ABOUT TIME! I mean—oh Jeez…

Dr.: Good Morning, America. This is a surprise—I haven’t seen you since…hmm…your drug issues in the 60s?

America: No, we touched base in the early 2000s, but things have been pretty good otherwise, until now. Sigh.

Dr.: Then what brings you here? You seem really overwhelmed.

America: I am. I feel completely out of control, and I need help.

Dr.: Well, let’s start by reviewing your history. Ran away from home because of “irreconcilable differences”—are you still not talking to Mom?

America: We get together once in a while, mostly when the neighbours are rowdy and she needs some help, but I try to keep her at arms length. She can be very controlling.

Dr.: Well, I know how much you hate to be told what to do. Continuing on—a troubled youth with a lot of internal struggle, the “experimental years”, problems with money, an explosive temper—but I thought you’d matured in the last few years. Well, at least the last eight. You were finally starting to get the respect that you felt you’d always deserved. What’s happened to make you so full of angst?

America: Maybe it’s just stress from always being in the public eye, I don’t know, but over the last year, I’ve just been feeling torn apart inside, like I have two minds or something.

Dr.: Interesting. Let’s explore that. What are these minds like?

America: Well, one part of me is pretty reasonable. I feel kind of emotionally distant, but I still want good things for other people and when I’m in THAT frame of mind, I come across as competent and articulate. I DO have a terrible time keeping track of what computer I’m sending emails from…

Dr.: Emails? That should be the least of your worries right now. What else?

America: When I’m in the OTHER frame of mind, I get insanely angry about ridiculous things, I lie, I yell, I’m filled with hate for other people and I want to simultaneously burn things to the ground and build giant walls. I’m like your drunk uncle, only instead of sitting in a lawn chair and slurring, “I love you guys,” I want to just grab someone by the p—

Dr.: Take it easy there! You’re right; this IS a problem. You know, building walls around your feelings is NEVER a solution. You need to talk things out. Have you discussed this with any of your friends?

America: Not really—it’s too embarrassing, and frankly, a little terrifying. I know they’re all worried though. I hear them talking about me, and I try not to care, but it hurts. And then the other side of my mind takes over and all I can think is F*ck them! I’m better AND smarter than all of them put together, and one day I’ll nuke them all!

Dr.: You know your friends care about you. Wanting to nuke them is just a defense mechanism because you’re afraid of being abandoned. But the people who really love and admire you would never do that. You just have to pull yourself together.

America: I’m trying, but I have to be honest—I feel like I could really do some damage to myself. Like in a couple of days, if I don’t get restore a sense of balance and rationality, this internal conflict is going to result in very serious self-harm and I’m scared!!

Dr.: Ok, slow down and just breathe deeply. Deep, cleansing breaths. Think about all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished. Civil rights, great literature, music, space travel, the way you always help out your friends when they’re having problems, the Roomba—let’s focus on THAT, and try to rid your mind of those other, negative thoughts. Come on, America—you’re strong. You can do it! For the next 72 hours, every time you want to act like an a*hole, I want you to take a deep breath and say, “I’m better than this. I’m already great, and I have nothing to prove. People like me just the way I am. I don’t need to be a dick.” Stay OFF social media, drink some chamomile tea, and come back tomorrow for another session. We’ll get through this together.

America: Thanks, Dr. Lincoln. I’m feeling a little better. See you tomorrow.

Receptionist: I’ve scheduled America in for tomorrow as requested. Do you really think therapy will help bring those two minds together, Dr. Lincoln?
Dr.: Not sure. I’ve seen this kind of situation before.  Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better–it might take 4 years and some heavy duty drugs to solve this one. Either that, or an international intervention. Get hold of Justin Trudeau and Angela Merkel for me—I want them on standby, just in case.

*Best of luck on Tuesday, America.

chaise3316blk2

Saturday: Synergy

Ken and I have been married so long that sometimes we don’t have actual conversations. We just KNOW.

Me: That.
Ken: Yes.
Me: I know, right?
Ken: Uh huh.

Last night, we were driving home, and we passed a sh*tload of pylons:

Me: What?
Ken: Couldn’t get a building permit.
Me: Parking lot then.
Ken: Mmm.
Me: That fire.
Ken: Yeah.

The one thing we DON’T have synergy with, though, is music. Especially when we’re driving, and Ken has control of the radio.

Me: What IS that? Is that a documentary? Like, on the radio? NO.
Ken: She’s an author. It’s interesting.
Me: She’s crying because she got divorced and her mom won’t forgive her. Her mom needs to be more supportive and you need to find something else to listen to…OK, I’m not 60—try again…this sounds like elevator music…Disco is DEAD, Ken…not COUNTRY!…put on Virgin Radio…you just switched the channel from one commercial to another…go back—that was Nirvana…yes, I know you hate that Calvin Harris song, but I like it—don’t be so judgemental.

We usually just end up compromising on the Comedy Channel:

Ken: Is that?
Me: Yeah. I love him.
Ken: That one joke.
Me: I know, right?

Synergy.

 

My Week 109: Hallowe’en Histrionics, Trump’s Alphabet, Plants to Kill

Thursday: Hallowe’en Histrionics

The things that people get all “up in arms” about these days is starting to astonish me. The most recent, down below our southern border (does that sound a little innuendo-y? Maybe it’s because so much of what is happening in the States has to do with sex and a lot of hot air) is about emails. People are all like “Oh My God. Emails. How dare anyone use their own private secure server to send emails?” Me, I worry, because I send work emails from home sometimes, and a lot of what I do is confidential, so if Wikileaks (which sounds like some kind of STD, honestly—like, “Have you been experiencing any Wikileakage from your private area?”) ever hacked my email, they might well expose the fact that I told someone they needed to add a semi-colon and maybe a “direct quotation to spice things up a little”. The same kind of astonishing stuff that’s in Hillary Clinton’s emails. Of course, “confidential” is not quite the same as “classified”, and as Donald Trump pointed out, “Hillary wasn’t smart enough to know that the C stood for classified”. Which tells us one more really important thing—that Donald Trump knows SOME of the letters of the alphabet. Not all of them, mind you, and of course in HIS alphabet book, the letter C stands for something quite different.

Reporter: Mr. Trump, can you recite the alphabet for us?
Trump: The alphabet is a great alphabet. I can recite the alphabet like you wouldn’t believe and it’s going to be great. “A” is for “A lot”, “B” is for “Bigly”, “C” is for—
Reporter: Wait! Is “C” almost the same as what “P” is for?
Trump: You know it! Grab them by the c—
Reporter: Back to you, Bob!

At any rate, the false equivalency of emails versus sexual assault is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the Facebook post that happened to appear on my newsfeed on Thursday, ONLY because my brother had commented on it. It came from a woman he knows who was railing on about how unfair it was that her kids weren’t allowed to wear Hallowe’en costumes to school. Seriously. With everything else that’s going on in the world, THIS is what you choose to complain about? How unfair it is that your kids can’t dress like robots or sexy nurses or whatnot and this is, like, depriving them somehow? Did the school say they weren’t allowed to also dress up at home and go get candy from their neighbours? Of course not. My brother, who has a PhD, made some sort of sensible comment about my nephew’s school, where they can wear orange T-shirts and have a parade or something. I don’t have a PhD, so I simply commented “Pubic School? HAHA!” because she’d spelled “public school” wrong, and it made me laugh more than the ludicrous nature of the post itself. But then I deleted my comment on the grounds that people HATE it when you point out their spelling mistakes even more than when you point out that their arguments are absurd. But here is why the WHOLE THING is absurd, for anyone who still thinks that schools suck for not letting kids dress up for Hallowe’en:

1) Hallowe’en was originally a festival celebrated by the pre-Christian Celts, so yes, a very small group of people in a very small area of the world. The Celts believed that November 1st was the beginning of the new year, and that on New Year’s Eve, October 31st, the veil between our world and the spirit world was at its most thin. The spirits of our loved ones could enter our plane, but so could demons. To ward them off, the Celts disguised themselves to avoid being harassed by evil spirits. Walmart was not involved back then, but mass marketing has turned this simple festival into a multi-million dollar extravaganza which apparently, some people, even if they aren’t of Celtic descent, feel entitled to.

2) Hallowe’en is one of many strange days that mass commerce has co-opted. Others include the feast day of St. Patrick, the feast day of St. Valentine, and the day designated as the birth of Jesus. Let’s start with St. Patrick’s Day. Would you want your children to go to school dressed as leprechauns and drink beer on March 17th? Why not? St. Patrick’s Day, or at least his feast day, has been around almost as long as All Hallows Eve—why not make schools responsible for THAT too? And what about Valentine’s Day? A lot of schools don’t allow Valentine ’s Day parties and such, and I agree because St. Valentine was BEHEADED for secretly performing marriages, something which Hallmark fails to mention. If you really want a traditional Valentine’s Day party, it wouldn’t involve cards with puppies who have hearts for eyes, or pink Jello shooters. It would be more about sadness and death. Just saying. And Christmas? Christmas is just great. Shut up about Christmas. There are presents and twinkly lights, which I think Jesus would approve of, although I also don’t think it should be celebrated in schools (See reasons 3 and 4). But it seems these days that stores move directly from Christmas to Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day to Canada Day (why not—it’s celebratable) to Hallowe’en, then we start the circle of life all over again. Next, they’ll be trying to figure out how to make money from Remembrance Day. Candy poppies, chocolate crosses, and decorating the lawn with tanks perhaps?

3) Hallowe’en is f*cking expensive. This is the main reason that schools have stopped allowing Hallowe’en parties, among other things. And I say this directly to the moronic woman who also posted a comment on Facebook decrying the “immigrants who have ruined it for everyone.” I can’t even respond to that because it’s at a level so far below rational thought that you’d get the bends when you came up from it. Immigrants have NOT ruined Hallowe’en. What “ruined” Hallowe’en, and other festivals, was the expectation that people should spend extraordinary amounts of money on costumes and candy and decorations. A lot of people simply can’t afford those things when they’re trying to put food on the table and pay the rent. It’s really hard on kids to NOT be able to participate in things at school. This is the same rationale that rightly stopped many schools from having Valentine’s Day parties, because buying Valentine’s Day cards or bringing cupcakes for the whole class is also expensive and absolutely not necessary. Kids have it hard enough without having to feel sh*tty that they can’t afford a cool costume or treats for the class. I just saw an ad from IKEA that said “Make yourself a last minute Hallowe’en ghost costume with one of our sheet sets. Only $49.99!” Even I can’t afford to ruin a $50 sheet set by cutting eye holes in it. Enough said.

4) Newsflash: You can celebrate whatever the hell you want in the privacy of your own home but stop expecting schools to embrace your sh*t. When I was a kid, I don’t remember EVER wearing a costume to school, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t go out trick or treating that night. And my mom reminded me that the worst thing about Valentine’s Day, which WAS observed in schools for many years, was being the kid who DIDN’T get any Valentine cards. Not that SHE didn’t—she was so sweet that EVERYONE gave her cards, I’m sure. But if you’re the kind of person who says, “My child’s popular so I don’t have to care about all those other kids”, then maybe you’re the reason why schools had to start sending home lists of ALL the kids in the class so that no one would feel left out.

Now don’t get me wrong—I love Hallowe’en, and I usually dress up to greet the little trick or treaters that come to our door in the evening. And as I said, just because it doesn’t belong in schools doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate it if we want to. Worship bacon and eggs—I don’t care, so long as you’re not hurting anyone else or expecting the school to celebrate “All Day Breakfast Day!!”, although that WOULD be awesome. Hallowe’en is great because it allows people to break out of their shells and be the superhero or sexy firefighter they’ve always longed to be. Everybody’s getting in on the act now, even pets. I know a lot of people who are buying costumes for their cats or dogs, so I asked Titus how he felt about it:

Me: Do you want me to buy a Hallowe’en costume for you this year?
Titus: What the hell is Hallowe’en?
Me: You know—when kids come to the door and we give them candy.
Titus: Candy? You mean “sparkly kitty treats”?
Me: Disgusting. And for the last time, stay away from the litter box. No, I mean ACTUAL candy. The sugar kind.
Titus: Also acceptable. So what kind of costume were you thinking about?
Me: I could buy you a troll wig and you could be “Dog-ald Trump”.
Titus: The other dogs would think I was an idiot. Try again.
Me: I have a construction helmet and a reflective vest around here somewhere. You could be a construction worker.
Titus: You mean a SEXY construction worker.
Me: Maybe we should stick to something simple. How about just wearing a cape and a witch hat?
Titus: You mean a SEXY cape and a—
Me: Stop it! It’s not about being sexy.
Titus: I can’t help it. It’s in my nature. Check me out…
Me: Oh god—what IS that? Sexy ghost?.
Raven: Sweet Jesus, I’m living with a porn star.
Titus: You know it, baby.

titus-ghost

Friday: I get a new fern

If you’ve been following this site for a while, you’ll know I love plants, but I’m terrible at taking care of them. Still, my intentions are good, and it’s not my fault if they don’t ask for things like water or light. Communication is the key to a healthy existence after all, and plants can be strangely quiet and sulky. At any rate, my favourite plant is the fern, which for some reason, I always call a “willow” in my head. Last week, my aunt posted a picture of a willow, which is to say “fern”, on Facebook last week that she found in the brush yard of her town. A brush yard, for those of you who are wondering, is what we call the place where you can drop off your branches, leaves, and other garden trimmings to be mulched by the township. Anyway, she found this beautiful fern that someone had just thrown away and wondered if anyone wanted it. I immediately posted “Me!! Me!!” which caused Ken to post, “Don’t! You know she’ll just kill it!” And that’s nonsense, Ken, because I will love it and care for it. Then my aunt dropped it off at my house, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s huge, like f*ckiing prehistoric, like it came straight outta Jurassic Park and a diplodocus should be nibbling on it. We all just stared at it for a while, trying to decide where to put it.

Me: It’s bigger than it looked in the picture…
Ken: If you kill this one, it would be like mass murder.
Me: I won’t kill it! I don’t think I CAN kill it. It’s bigger than the both of us. This fern would survive the zombie apocalypse.
Ken: Or a nuclear winter. I’m putting it in the dining room.
Me: OK, but you can’t forget to water it.
Ken: Me? You’re the one who wanted it. You take care of it.
Me: FINE, KEN. DON’T HELP.

But because everyone was riding me about how I “kill plants” and whatnot, I took a picture of my new fern and another fern I had that I was trying to bring back to life, and I posted them on Facebook with the caption “OMG! What happened? It was fine an hour ago!” My aunt replied, “That better be a joke unless Titus ate it, which is entirely possible.” And now I know what to do whenever I kill a plant. Just blame the dog. The sexy, ghostly dog.

 

 

big-fern

dead-fern

My Week 108: I Get Flashed, I Hate You Facebook

Thursday: I get flashed by a street person

Isn’t that a great hook for this entry? You’d almost think that was the worst thing that happened to me on Thursday, but wait, no it wasn’t. The week was already having issues—the night before, I’d gone to the liquor store after work and bought wine for the rest of the team, which was exhausting (I must be exhausted right now, because I spelled “liquor” wrong three times according to the squiggly red line, and if anyone knows how to spell liquor, it’s ME). I bought the wine, and the guy at the cash register offered to “make the bags fancy” for me (no, that’s got nothing to do with being flashed, although it DOES sound like something a flasher would say). He folded them origami-style then stapled them so the tops looked like little fans—this took a while, much to the dismay of the people behind me in line who were looking very impatient and also thirsty. I took all four bottles to work, and sneakily placed them onto people’s desks for a nice surprise in the morning. Then, on my way back to my condo, I realized that I’d forgotten one person, an important person, and the only option was to go back to the liquor store, but if you understand anxiety at all, you’ll know I couldn’t go back to the SAME liquor store and be like “Hi, I need you to make this one more bag fancy while everyone waits and now you’re probably worried that I have some kind of fancy bag fetish that you are enabling (wow, that sounds even more flasher-y) and I should just go to the other liquor store, etc.” Which is what I did. But then I was worried that the fifth bag would look shabby, and I was trying to remember how the guy folded it and whatnot, and how I could buy a stapler, or at least do something pretty with scotch tape and cotton balls. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m somewhat a disaster at anything requiring a lot of manual dexterity, and if I could have just shoved the wine into a gift bag with some crinkly tissue paper, which is what I do at Christmas, everything would have been fine. Except that the wine was already IN the bag, and I had no tissue paper. So I said to the guy at the checkout, “Any chance you can make a fancy top for this bag?” I wasn’t holding out much hope because, and I don’t want to sound like I’m stereotyping here, but the guy at the OTHER store was Asian, and origami is Asian, and the guy at this store was a middle-aged white guy who looked like he also just shoved gifts into bags with crumply tissue paper (THAT’S the stereotype, by the way—NOT the Asians and origami thing, which is just a coincidence). Sure enough, he said, “No, I’m no good at that kind of thing (stereotype proven), but Nancy can do it for you.” He pointed at the other cashier, and she said, “Sure, hon, I can make your bag fancy.” It was great, because she made it just like the other guy, and now all the bags looked the same, and no one would feel left out because their bag had snowflakes made out of Q-tips taped to the top instead of an origami fan. But then I had to go all the way back to the office to put the last bag in place. By the time I got back to my condo, I was ready to collapse, let me tell you. Even though my building, the two liquor stores, and my office are all within the same one block radius, it was still an arduous journey.

The next morning, everyone was hella pleased to find a bottle of wine miraculously appear on their desks, and I don’t want to brag, but that makes me a kind of saviour if I remember the Bible correctly. But then the merriment stopped, because this was the day that we were rolling out the pilot project we’d been working on for two years. And it rolled out, all right. Then it immediately rolled back in. We were devastated, having been promised by our secondary vendor that “It’s going to be great. Greater than great. It’s going to be so great you won’t even believe how great it is.” Apparently, this company was owned by Donald Trump, so in retrospect, that fact that it crashed and burned should not have been a surprise. At least it didn’t grab anyone’s private bits on the way down.

Anyhow, we were feeling pretty gloomy, but it was the middle of the work day, so no one could drink their wine. Instead, we decided to go to the diner up the street for lunch, where we could get some “comfort food”. I ordered the most Canadian comfort food of them all, poutine, and my two co-workers ordered nachos, all day breakfast (which is the best thing ever invented), grilled cheese, and so on. When my poutine came, I was shocked—it was more poutine than any reasonable human person could, or should, ever eat. I said to the waiter, “You guys might want to rethink your portion sizes—I would have paid 8.99 for less than half of this, and I couldn’t have even eaten half. There are poor, homeless people right outside your door, and I feel terrible just throwing away this much food.” Yes, I actually said that to him, which will turn out to be both prescient and ironic shortly. Well, you can’t take poutine with you because it gets too soggy and won’t reheat well, so I left it behind. We were heading back to the office, and I was still kind of railing about the waste and poor people having to eat out of dumpsters, when we passed the alley between the diner and the next building.

“All of the hungry people on the street here, and I just—ahhhhhhgggg!!!!” I shrieked.

“What?! What’s wrong??!!” my co-workers responded, but all I could do was point into the alley and yell “Penis! Penis!!” which of course made them look too at the homeless guy whose pants were around his thighs, struggling to pull them up. We walked away quickly, eyes averted. “I only got a crotch shot,” said one, “but it was bad enough.”

“I got the whole thing,” I said. “As if today wasn’t already awful. It’s like the perfect metaphor for my relationship with the universe right now.”

When I told my parents about the incident, my mom gasped. “Did you call the police?”

“No,” I said. “It’s not like he was waving it around on purpose or anything. It was no big deal. Literally.”

And that’s the long and short of the flasher story, the story of my fancy bags and his not-so-fancy ones.

trenchcoat-flasher

Tuesday: I hate you, Facebook

The other day, it occurred to me that if I was applying for a job and a potential employer looked at my Facebook page, there might be a problem. Not because I post racist memes or porn or anything—in fact, if you look at my page, it’s mostly funny stuff as well as animal videos. But I DO make my blog public on my Facebook site, and I’ve been doing that for years, and while my blog is pretty PG 13, there is the rather liberal use of the F word among other epithets, as well as some pretty irreverent humour. So what would be easier? Changing the status of every single individual post from the last almost three years, or changing my Facebook name to something not immediately identifiable as me? Ah, silly, stupid me.

I had just been reading the most ridiculous page that Facebook was asking me to “like”, about something called “Intermittent Fasting” which is when, every once in a while, you don’t eat for a few days. According to the page, it’s supposed to be “good for your body and soul”. There was even a calendar with a countdown to the word “Fasting” complete with an excited little exclamation mark and a happy face. Are you f*cking kidding me? What kind of first world crap is this? You know, people all over the world participate in “Intermittent Fasting” but they call it “Not having enough food to eat sometimes.” And I don’t think it makes either their bodies OR their souls feel any better to know that people in North America do it BY CHOICE. FOR FUN.

Anyway, I was all distracted by this, and toying around with changing my name EXACTLY so that I could write about this in a swear-y, irreverent way without potential employers being like “We don’t want her—she’s against Intermittent Fasting and likes too many kittens”. So I decided to try a variation of my name and it sounded OK, then Facebook was like “Review your changes”, so I clicked on the button. When the screen came up, I realized that I’d spelled my own name wrong. This happens to me quite frequently because my full name is really long and has a lot of consonants and vowels in it. No worries—I’d just go back and edit it…

And then I was like “What? WHAT?! F-CK YOU FACEBOOK!” because Facebook was like “You can’t change it back, sucker—you have to wait 60 days, because we’re just random like that.” I cursed the internet so hard that I think I might have been responsible for the DDOS on Friday. But then it occurred to me that now, the only people who can find me are people who actually know me, or dyslexics. Thanks, Facebook. But you still suck.