Tuesday: I pledge my allegiance to the Queen
So, as you know, I took a new job in the big city, working for a government agency. On Tuesday, I started the job, but had to meet first with my Human Resources contact to fill in a lot of paperwork. We were filling in the usual forms—contact information, computer log-ins, keys, and other stuff, when she said, “Oh—because we’re a government agency, and you’re technically a public servant, you have to take an oath of allegiance. She said this kind of matter-of-factly, like I took oaths every day. (This is the beginning of me going off on a very long tangent, so sit back and enjoy, y’all.) Actually, I DID just take an oath recently, because in December, I fought a traffic ticket. I got nailed by a red light camera going through an intersection on the red light. BUT, to be fair, I was only going 40 km/hour, and didn’t think it was right that I had to pay almost $400 for NOT running a red light—I just didn’t see it, which I know is a lousy excuse, but I felt like someone needed to know that I am NOT a red-light runner. So I went to traffic court, where they give you the option of swearing to tell the truth with either your hand on a bible, or just saying it VERY SINCERELY without the bible. I opted for the latter, since I don’t think that anyone’s god particularly cares whether or not I lie in traffic court. Plus, they had a picture of my SUV and my licence plate actually IN the intersection where the light is clearly red, so there would be no point in lying anyway, since I was caught dead to rights. What could I possibly say? “Your Honour, this picture is obviously photoshopped. Your James Bond-ish hightech team is super-clever, but that’s not my truck.”? Long story short, they cut my fine in half, and I was indeed very sincere. It turns out I didn’t even need to be apologetic, because before I got to say anything, the court officer immediately announced, “We’re reducing your fine to $150.” I feel like he kind of stole my thunder, but then I was like “Cool. Thanks.”
Anyway, so there I was, wondering what kind of oath she was talking about. Was it an oath where I promised not to look at porn or run an online dating service on my work computer? Because I have no problem with that kind of oath, since I have no interest in doing either, and can’t imagine the kind of person who WOULD think this is OK to do at work. But wait—it was NOT that kind of oath. It was a pledge of allegiance to the Queen. Not a cool queen, like Guinevere or Latifah, or even the band Queen (by the way, I just googled Disney Queens and one of the search hits was “Why Drag Queens are better role models than Disney Queens”. I am DEFINITELY going back to read that one later.) No, it was THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Actually, I had a choice—I could either pledge my allegiance to the Queen and all her heirs in the eyes of god, or I could just pledge my allegiance to old Lizzy herself. So I chose the latter, again on the premise that I don’t believe that anyone’s god particularly cares about my relationship with an aging monarch. But the pledge was very vague, and I don’t know what the ramifications of all this are. What exactly are my responsibilities? Do I fly to England if she commands my presence as one of her loyal subjects? Will she pay for the flight, or is that just one of the expenses that go along with being one of her servants? If she gets in a Facebook fight with the Queen of Jordan, do I have to post nice things about her in her defence? Or worse, post mean things about the Queen of Jordan (who seems like a kind of cool queen herself)? Babysit the grandkids? Walk the Corgis? So I guess the next time she`s having trouble picking out a hat for the Queen`s Ball or whatever, I might have to be there to help out. I mean, I took an OATH.
Wednesday: I get TV, in a very weird way.
Having moved to an apartment in Toronto, where I have to live during the week for work, I’ve had to do a variety of things I’ve never done before, or at least haven’t done for about 20 years. One of those things is getting internet and cable. In my building, there was a sign for a company that installs both, so I called the number. The guy who answered seemed really nice, and said that yes, he could come by on Monday night between 6 and 9 pm to put in the internet. That seemed kind of late, but he had business cards, so I figured he must be legit. Sure enough, on Monday night, he texted me to say that he would be over after 8:30. And he was. And he and his friend installed my internet. They were both REALLY young. Like “just out of high school” young. He was having trouble with the installation, because his pants, which were cinched around his upper thighs with a belt, kept sliding down when he bent over. He seemed used to it though (it’s a fashion statement I’ve NEVER understood) and just kept hiking them up nonchalantly. At any rate, they were done pretty quickly and I finally had the internet. I decided then to order a TV box thing that would give me access to most stations, and the guy said sure, that he would order it, and it would be couriered to my building. Then they packed up. I said, “Don’t I have to pay you or something?”, but they said no, I would get a bill eventually.
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, he texted me to say that he had the TV box, and he could bring it to my apartment that evening. I said Fine, and I waited. And waited. About 8:45 pm, he texted me this: “Heading over as soon as the raptors are done”. Then a few minutes later, “Brutal performance by the raps, there in 20”. About half an hour later, he showed up with the TV box, still fuming about the Raptors losing their basketball game, but very nice and professional despite the fact that he was still wearing his low-rider pants. He installed the box in no time, and was gone. Again, I didn’t have to pay anything. The next day, I was telling a colleague at work who’s been living in Toronto for a while about the whole experience and how unusually laid back it seemed to me things were in Toronto compared to where I live. “There’s no way a service guy would ever come after 6 o’clock where I’m from, or text me to tell me about the Raptors. Boy, people do things differently in Toronto.” She responded by giving me a weird look: “Do you really think that a service installer TEXTING you about a basketball team and then coming to your apartment after 9:30 at night is normal? That’s not normal ANYWHERE, even in Toronto. Are you sure it’s a legitimate company?!” It left me feeling a little naïve, but I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately. All I know is that I have working internet and cable, and I haven’t had to pay for anything. Yet.