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 me 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 Tempo (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: 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 continually appear out of nowhere 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.