Friday Night: I have insomnia for many reasons
I got home from Toronto on Friday night after a fairly non-eventful train ride. I was seated next to an elderly woman who immediately pulled out a book—always a good sign, because while I’m too kind to NOT talk to strangers on a train and often find them very interesting, I was tired and just wanted to do a little reading of my own. Also, the bar cart came by almost right away, and no one raised an eyebrow when I asked for TWO white wines. I always follow that up loudly and wearily with “It’s been one of those weeks” so that I won’t get judged by my fellow passengers for being some kind of middle-aged “Girl on the Train”—the fact of the matter is that normally the week is fine but I’m just extremely thirsty. The conductor never seems to care, but this time though, he chuckled and said, “Good idea—I won’t be back for a while.” So there I was, nestled into my reclining pleather seat, headphones on, book open, happily sipping away. Right before my station, I DID have a nice conversation with my seat partner, who was 76 and going to visit her twin sister for their birthday. Then Ken picked me up, we had Swiss Chalet take-out, watched a little TV, then went to bed. So you see, it should have been a great night for sleeping. But no.
I woke up at 2 am like a shot. I don’t know why. I had a headache and I was thirsty, so I went downstairs for a juicebox and some Advil (I’m sure right now you’re thinking “What the f*ck? This is the most boring sh*t I’ve ever read!” Just wait—it might get funnier). I got back into bed, and I lay there. And lay there. And lay there, getting more pissed off. Because every time I started to doze off, something would happen to wake me up again—Ken would snore and I’d have to hit him, Raven would start punching me in the back, Titus was having some kind of weird dream that made him twitch and snort, then it was raining and I felt compelled to get up and verify that fact for god knows what reason. Then the worst thing happened—suddenly, Titus jumped off the bed, went out into the hall, then FELL DOWN THE STAIRS. Under normal circumstances, he sounds like a herd of elephants going either up or down, but this time, the only way I can describe it is to say it sounded like a herd of elephants collapsing in a heap and then tumbling to the bottom. I screamed, “Titus!” and Ken, like the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland, said sleepily, “Titus went downstairs.” Then he closed his eyes and went back to sleep while I ran out of the room. I turned the lights on and there was Titus at the bottom of the stairs, blinking and looking a little dazed. I was like, “Oh my god—are you OK?!”
Titus: I’m fine. Nothing to see here…
Me: What the hell were you doing?
Titus: I was going downstairs. Duh. How much wine did you drink on the train, anyway?
Me: Why were you going downstairs?
Titus: I was bored.
Me: What do you mean, bored?! It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. Why weren’t you sleeping like a normal, human—I mean, a normal dog? Wait a minute—were you sneaking down to look for food?
Titus: I may or may not have been thinking about the French fry you may or may not have dropped on the floor…
Ken (from the bedroom): What are you guys doing?! You’re keeping me awake!
Well, Titus seemed fine and managed to jump back up on the bed quite agilely, so no harm done. Except that I was now WIDE awake, with no hope of sleep on the horizon. All I could do was lie there and think about all the things that week that had perplexed, baffled, and annoyed me. Because unlike most weeks, it actually WAS one of those weeks:
Sunday: I forgot to buy my train ticket back to Toronto until late Sunday afternoon, and by that time everything was sold out except Business class. I was initially mad, but then I thought , hey, it might be nice to upgrade just this once, even if it IS double the cost of a regular ticket. There must be perks, or why would anyone pay for it? Turns out, because they’re idiots. First, there’s no Business Class Lounge in the train station where I depart from, so take THAT off the list. There IS a large handicapped washroom, and a vending machine, but it’s still not very lounge-y (mostly because the toilet doesn’t flush properly and is always clogged toilet paper, and the vending machine only sells Coke). Second, Business Class is supposed to get Priority Boarding. When the train pulled in, I made my way up to the door of Car 1 with another older guy in a suit. We waited. The door to Car 3 opened and a female conductor got out. She yelled something at us, and gestured. The older guy said, “Just wait—sometimes it takes them a minute to open the Business Class door.” But the female conductor kept yelling and gesturing, so I finally said to him, “She works this train a lot—she’s not very nice, so I’d pay attention to her or she might just “forget” to bring the bar cart by.” And he said, “You’re right, she might—we better go down there.” At which point, we had to wait BEHIND all the other Economy Class riders before we got on board. Priority boarding, my ass. Third, the conductor for Car 1 was actually standing right next to the door when we finally made our way down the aisle to the end. And the luggage rack was a third the size of the regular racks. I said, “Where am I supposed to put my suitcase?” and he JUST SHRUGGED. And I was like, “Seriously. There’s no room here.” So he slowly reached up and moved a gym bag off the second level and said, “There you go.” I said, “I can’t lift this up that high” and he just looked at me. So I turned around, threw my stuff on my seat, and deadlifted my f*cking suitcase up, with him watching. In Economy Class, they ALWAYS help with luggage. It was like I was in Reverse World, where you pay more for sh*t but get less for your money. And even though he came by 4 times with the bar cart and offered to “top me up” every time, I still didn’t forgive him. So what exactly is the bonus of Business Class, you ask? Well, apparently you get dinner and free booze. So, essentially I paid an extra $45 for a $7 glass of wine, and food that I didn’t eat because it was 8:30 at night, and who the hell thinks, “I’d better hold off eating at a normal human time cuz I’ll be getting a yummy box of train food right before bed”? I’m buying my train tickets a week ahead from now on, just to be sure.
Monday: I watched the US Election debate. I don’t know why people hate Hillary Clinton so much. I’m from Canada, and from here, she seems pretty OK. Unlike her opponent, Donald Trump, who is quite frankly, the most stupid person I’ve ever seen on television, and if he wins the election, American has just turned itself into a giant clown car with Trump at the wheel. And that put me in mind of those rival car commercials—Matthew McConaughey for Lincoln and Kit Harrington for Infiniti, where they both drive around and Matthew says profoundly strange things which lack context, and Kit recites William Blake poems. I imagined Donald Trump in his clown car with America in the back and he was like, “Ok you guys, shut up. Shut Up! Now, listen to me. “Mary had a little lamb— No, wait, what am I saying, it was a HUGE lamb. It was the hugest lamb ever, like I can’t even tell you how bigly that lamb was, it was so huge. I always have the biggest lambs and the greatest too, because I’m going to make lambs great again. And my lamb has the whitest fleece, you wouldn’t believe how white its fleece is, and it’s white because I’m smart, like the smartest person in American, smarter even than those guys on Jeopardy, like I could win Jeopardy forever, and always get Final Jeopardy, because my lamb is the best lamb. And if you say anything mean about my lamb, I will wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and tweet about how fat you are.” Yes, America, this could be your next Commander in Chief. Just pray he hits “Tweet” and not “Launch”.
Tuesday: I was watching The Voice. I love the singing, and the way the coaches banter and tease each other. However, on Tuesday, during one such witty exchange with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton pointed at his jeans and jean jacket and referred to it as a “Canadian tuxedo”. And I was like “WTF Blake?!” I have never in my life heard that expression, and it doesn’t even make sense. I live in a small town, and also the biggest city in Canada, and I can count on one hand the last time I saw a guy wearing a jean jacket ANYWHERE, let alone to a fancy occasion. The Canadian tuxedo is like every other ACTUAL tuxedo, except that it comes with thermal underwear, a bib for when they serve the poutine, and a special pocket for your loonies and toonies. If you’re going to perpetuate stereotypes about Canadians, Blake Shelton, make sure you get them right.
Wednesday: I really wanted to go for a swim, but I still can’t because I just got a new tattoo (and had an old one redone) so I can’t put them in water for too long. I was bemoaning the fact that I was missing the exercise, and my co-worker said, “How long is the pool?” I only do the breaststroke, and I couldn’t think of any other way to describe it other than to say “It’s about 9 strokes of the breast.” And now swimming sounds kind of dirty, or kinky, and maybe I should just use the treadmill.
Thursday: I went to Loblaw’s and saw Old John on the way. I asked him if he wanted anything, and he asked for a loaf of white bread and some Cheez Whiz. I was only in the grocery store for literally 10 minutes, and when I came out, he was gone. This has happened before, but the last time it was orange juice, and I could drink it myself. But now I had ten dollars’ worth of gluten and cheese glue, and what the hell was I going to do with THAT? And could I find another homeless guy to give it to? No! The one night I have a veritable feast for someone, they’ve all decided to find another street to panhandle on. Talk about inconsiderate. I finally found someone the next morning outside the drug store, all wrapped up in a sleeping bag, so I gently set it down next to him, because I didn’t want him to wake up and be like “Cheez Whiz? Um, no thanks.” And of course, now I’m worried about Old John, because the last time he disappeared, he was in the hospital. He better show up next week, and when he does, I’m buying him some bread and Cheez Whiz and he can damn well eat it. I’m not mad at HIM, of course. I’m mad at the company that charges $6.99 for a jar of something that tastes like sh*t, and he loves it but he can’t afford it. And on the other side of the coin, Casa Loma, one of Toronto’s big tourist attractions, has been turned into a Hallowe’en House of Horrors at a cost of 1.5 million dollars. 1.5 million dollars for Hallowe’en, when there are people who can’t afford bread and slimey cheese. Trick or treat.
Friday: We’ve been making powerpoints for the last three weeks to train people with. I hate powerpoint, but by now, I’m the f*cking Queen of powerpoint, having made so many that my desktop is a slideshow nightmare. By Friday, we were getting a little giddy about what we were doing, putting in random pieces of clip art, colouring our fonts in weird colours, and just getting all crazy in the way that secret agency workers often do. You know you’ve had enough when this is the conversation:
L: We need to take out that pencil guy graphic.
Me: But he’s cute and happy. He reminds me of the Microsoft paperclip, but not quite so smug and patronizing, you know?
L: Look at his pencil tip. It’s not appropriate.
Me: It DOES look kind of dirty, the way it’s down between his legs. Who would design something like that? Children use this program!
L: Pedo pencil needs to go.
Me: I agree. There must be a non-sexual pencil out there somewhere.
So there you have it. And remember, I didn’t say it WOULD get funnier; I said it MIGHT get funnier. And now I’m going back to bed with a glass of wine.