Monday: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
After three weeks of working off site, I finally returned to the office on Monday. My secret agency is located right in the heart of downtown, and wow, it was sure good to be back. I hadn’t had anyone ask me for money, scream uncontrollably, or yell at me about Jesus for a while. Wait—before you get the wrong idea, I’m NOT talking about work (well, at least not my current job) because no one at work EVER yells. It’s literally the most civilized place of employment on the planet, and it’s great to walk in and have people so pleased to see you. It’s just that I live in a very “unstable” neighbourhood. But still, it’s MY neighbourhood, and you get used to all the zany things that happen on a daily basis. And by “zany” , I mean weird, frightening, and often disgusting. But not always—there ARE some nice things that I actually like about the area. So here are some of the crazy things that happened this week:
Monday: I had to get groceries. I have two choices—a Metro or Loblaws. They are equidistant from my condo, and the decision regarding which one to go to usually rests on the number and type of homeless people on the way there, and how much money I have in my purse. On Monday, there was a scary guy on the Metro corner who was yelling and pulling down his jeans, and I had no intention of being there when he decided that his boxer shorts were equally uncomfortable. So I headed the other way, towards panhandlers I knew were harmless. I always ask them if they want something from the grocery store, and it’s usually a cup of coffee or lasagna from the hot lunch counter, but I think they’ve all figured out that I’m an easy mark, because John wanted a loaf of bread and a tub of margarine, and Mike wanted a jar of Nescafe Expresso, which he assured me was “on sale for half-price”. Apparently, the coffee at the Food Bank is crappy, and he was craving something a little better to go with the Rice Krispie square that someone had given him. But hey—who am I to begrudge them life’s little pleasures? At least they keep their pants on.
Tuesday: My work partner L and I decided to go to Tim Horton’s to scout out some lunch. We are both a little obsessive about Tim’s Cream of Potato and Bacon soup, which is hardly ever on the menu, but it’s quite possibly the BEST F*CKING SOUP EVER INVENTED, so we live in hope. We hit the doorway, and scared the bejeezus out of some poor lady as we both yelled in unison, “The soup!! YES!!!!” and started fistpumping and highfiving each other maniacally. That’s right. Two grown women high fiving over soup. And then we had to say to the poor lady, who was looking around like a terrorist attack was impending, “Oh no—it’s OK—it’s just the soup.” But universal karma got me on the way out. I went to hold open the door for an elderly woman, who had simultaneously hit the Handicapped button with her cane. Instead of thanking me, she looked at me and snarled, “IT’S OPEN!” Crazy old bat—no soup for you!
Wednesday: On my street, there are a couple of empty storefronts, which is weird because it’s such a busy neighbourhood that you’d think people would be dying to open businesses there. At any rate, the doorways of said storefronts are the nocturnal havens of numerous street people, who have no apparent problem sleeping in them and using them as bathrooms. I’m relatively used to the urine and occasional vomit, but on Wednesday morning, I passed the doorway of a former Sushi Express, and right in the middle of it was the biggest poop I’d ever seen. Obviously not a dog poop. Unless the dog was that three-headed thing from Harry Potter. But instead of being grossed out, I was intrigued. Like, how big was the guy who put it there, and how long had he been holding it in? I kept thinking about it all morning, and at lunch, my work partner and I walked down to Loblaw’s.
Me: Do you see that doorway over there?
Me: There’s the largest bowel movement I’ve ever seen in my life in that doorway.
L: Why are you telling me this? Stop.
Me: No really—it’s gigantic. You wouldn’t believe it.
L: Eww. Really, you need to stop.
Me: Sigh. OK. (whispering) But it was soooo big.
I’m lucky I work with such tolerant people. But it would have been really nice if she’d actually wanted to see it, just to confirm that it was indeed the largest poop in the world.
Thursday: There’s always a LOT of construction downtown, and right across the street from the office, they’ve been excavating a hole for a new condo building for the last year. Towards the end of the day, I wandered down the aisle, and happened to notice that the excavating seemed to be finished, and that suddenly, a big-ass crane was in the hole. I happened to remark on the presence of the crane, and my life suddenly turned into a Monty Python sketch (please imagine that the rest of the people in the following conversation are extremely excited and have thick French accents. Because they are and they do.)
Me: Wow that is one huge crane!
Male Colleague 1 (rushing to the window): I know! It was not there last week, and suddenly now it is ‘ere!
Male Colleague 2: ‘Ow do they get it to the place? They must travel in the night!
Female Colleague: My brother, ‘e drives the crane truck. They bring the pieces in lying flat so they don’t ‘it the ‘ydro wires. Then they put it up, one piece at a time!
Male Colleague 3: My cousin, ‘e was killed by a crane. It was missing a safety pin, and it fell onto ‘im. ‘E was crushed.
Everyone (suddenly deflated): Oh…
There’s nothing like a sad crane story to ruin the party, folks.
Friday: If you send an email to the people on your team, make sure that you proofread it first so that it says “Sick Day” and not “Dick Day”. Because if it says “Dick Day”, the entire office will know, and be in good-natured hysterics most of the morning. No, surprisingly, it wasn’t me.
Saturday: Why I deserve a present for “not dying”.
In a little over a month, I will be having a fairly major surgery. It’s not elective, and I can’t back out of it. I am absolutely terrified, mostly because of the general anesthetic. I love how the doctor will say, “Count down from 100, and by the time you reach 95, you’ll be asleep”, because it’s not SLEEPING at all. Sleeping is where you have awesome dreams. Anesthetic is where you have no idea if you died or not. Just ask Michael Jackson. The only reason I know that I’m not dead every night is because I have very vivid weird dreams. The other night, for example, I had this bizarre dream where I was teaching math to a group of kids:
Me: And that’s how you figure out “less than” versus “greater than”.
Student: Why is that important?
Me: Because it’s the foundation for all other mathematics. Like algebra.
Student: What’s algebra?
Me: Algebra is when you have to find a solution to an equation that has a missing variable.
Student: What does THAT mean?
Me: Algebra is like being a detective, but instead of solving crimes, you’re solving for “x”.
Then I woke up in a cold sweat and yelled, “Is that right? How the F*CK do I even know that? What the hell is a missing variable?!” Because if you know me at all, you know that I know virtually nothing about math, having failed miserably at it in high school. But apparently, my subconscious remembers something about it, while I was passing notes and rolling my eyes. So anyway, anesthetic. I told Ken that I was scared of dying, and he told me I was being stupid, that I wasn’t going to die, and I was like “HOW DO YOU KNOW, KEN?! I MIGHT!”
Ken: You’re not going to die. I’ll tell you what—we’ll make a bet. If you don’t die, you owe me $50.
Me: I have a better idea. If I don’t die, you buy me a really nice present.
Ken: Seriously? You think you deserve a present for “not dying”?
Fuck yes, I do. And here’s my argument. There are women out there who get presents for having a baby. It’s called a “push present”. If a woman can get a gift for squeezing out a kid, why can’t I have one for not letting the Grim Reaper take me to the promised land? I’ve HAD a baby—it’s not that hard. Unlike NOT DYING. Ok, I admit that I’ve been able to “not die” for the last 18, 413 days, which honestly, is a feat unto itself when you think about it, but I’ve come close a few times and got fuck-all for it. So I think I’m owed at this point. And I have to tell you, there’s no better motivator for NOT going towards the light than a different, glittery, diamond-y kind of light. Or Cream of Potato and Bacon soup. It’s the gesture that counts.