My Week 179: Keynotes, Plants Vs. Babies, and Dog Olympics

This past week, I went to an educational conference. Overall, it was pretty good, but there were a couple of things that stood out. First, the opening keynote speaker was a Canadian actress who is fairly well-known here as a TV personality. But she’d just written a book, so the conference organizers must have thought that she would have the appropriate gravitas for such an occasion. Apparently, no one vetted her speech ahead of time, and frankly, it was bizarre. I’ve never actually been to a conference of any kind where the keynote said “F*ck”, “pussy”, or “blowjob”, let alone had to sit through a 5 minute rant about Donald Trump, the relevance of which, at a conference for Canadian professionals at 8:30 in the morning seemed a tad out of place. But she DID come up with some creative new nicknames for the American president, aside from the “Pussy Grabber in Chief”, including “Cheeto Benito” and “Orangini Mussolini”. Then things got REALLY uncomfortable when she started referencing the “goddamned patriarchy”, the #MeToo movement, and how badly men oppress women, like the younger man she was dating who broke up with her because she was losing her eyesight. It was pretty intense—half the audience was guys, and I’m sure most of them were looking around like “I didn’t sign up for this, but if I walk out now, someone might lob a stiletto at me”. It really was the strangest experience, and had virtually nothing to do with the topic of the conference. Luckily, the luncheon keynote on the last day was Indigenous activist/broadcaster/author, Candy Palmater, who was incredibly inspiring, and didn’t reference either Trump OR blowjobs.

Second, there were a LOT of people at the conference, and while that might seem self-evident, the trouble was that many of them had no idea of either personal space or how to navigate any space at all. People would stop suddenly in the middle of hallways, stand in huddled groups in the centre of doorways, and walk like snowplows on the highway. If you know me at all, you are aware that I am just a titch OCD. And when I say “just a titch”, I’m understating it just a titch. And while I’m not sure what a “titch” actually is, it must be a real word because Spellcheck is not underlining it in that passive/aggressive way that Spellcheck has. Anyway, I don’t like being touched by strangers in the same way that other people don’t like being punched in the face, so in the line-up for lunch, I thought I was going to lose my sh*t, thanks to the number of people who bumped into me because space was so tight.

Third, while waiting for a session to start, I was stuck behind a woman who was the most melodramatic person I’ve ever eavesdropped on. She was freaking out about several things, including her new house (“It’s SOOO unfair that we have to put all our money into the house when we could be spending it on other things”), her hair (“I just don’t know what to DOOO! Should I let it grow or cut it short?!”), and finally, this gem:

Dramatic Lady: Babies are TERRIFYING!!
Sympathetic Companion: *makes soothing noises*
Dramatic Lady: I mean, I’m TERRIFIED of having a baby! It’s not a plant or a dog—it’s a CHILD! You give birth to it, and then you’re expected to TAKE CARE of it!! And NOBODY tells you how to DO THAT!!

I actually snickered out loud, but she was so caught up in her own hysteria that she didn’t hear me. But I was like, Seriously? Thank GOD babies aren’t plants, because I’ve killed so many plants over the years it’s not even funny. I even killed a cactus once (I overwatered it). But I did pretty OK with the baby I had. And if you can take care of a dog, you can take care of a baby—it’s not much different. Well, the underlying philosophy of love, nutrition, and hygiene is comparable. Also, we teach dogs to do tricks, and we do the same thing with our kids. Like teaching your dog how to give a high five isn’t technically much different from saying, “Oh look, Grandma—we taught the baby how to clap!” But the icing on the self-absorption cake was really when she finished with, “I just THANK GOD that my husband was in foster care for so many years. He’s diapered so many babies that he’s not worried about it AT ALL!” And then she got up, and I realized that she was pregnant. I wish I’d gotten her name so that I could send her a plant to practice on.

Luckily, I’m better with babies.

The Olympics

Titus (leaping onto the bed): Watcha watching?
Me: The Olympics.
Titus: Oh yeah, we have those too.
Me: You mean, like agility trials or something?
Titus: Ha! No—agility trials are like the Commonwealth Games of the canine world. No, I mean Dog Olympics.
Me: What are some of the events?
Titus: Well, there’s the Barking—
Me: Dogs bark all the time. How is THAT an Olympic event?
Titus: People WALK all the time, but you still have medals for it. Besides, there’s a real technique to barking. You’re judged on volume, pitch, and sustained howling. There was a huge scandal last year when the Borzois were caught doping with Vick’s VapoDrops.
Me: Wow. OK, what are some other events?
Titus: Well, there’s Staying Upright on Ice, Find the Toy, The Butt-Sniffing Challenge, and my favourite, Moguls.
Me: Dogs can ski?!
Titus: Well, technically it’s just dogs falling down hills. But it’s fun to watch.
Me: Are there any team events?
Titus: There’s the Steeplechase. I wouldn’t want to be THAT cat. Oh, and there’s Curling, but the rocks are made out of Milkbones so the games don’t last long.
Me: That’s an improvement. High five! Ow—you hit me in the face.
Titus: Sorry. You should have taught me to clap.

Getting psyched for Barking.



24 thoughts on “My Week 179: Keynotes, Plants Vs. Babies, and Dog Olympics

  1. Titus and Caleb are cross-the-border besties–he and I have had similar conversations, I’m pretty sure. I don’t know that his syntax is quite so highly developed as Titus’ though. I really need to work on that, being a speech path and all. “Know your audience” is rule number one when public speaking, isn’t it? I mean I’m down with calling out Chee-to Benito because he’s insane, unfit, and myriad other words with negative prefixes at their start, but I wouldn’t stand up in front of a targeted group of professionals with my off-topic message. It’s why I have my blog.

    “I don’t like being touched by strangers in the same way that other people don’t like being punched in the face” is a genius observation and analogy. A coworker of mine shares that sentiment, and I’m thinking you and she can talk for hours. From a distance. Obviously.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree–if it had been a comedy club, it would have probably gone over a little better. I wish we could introduce Titus and Caleb–I’m sure they would get along well and excel at the Butt-Sniffing Challenge!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. I am so tired of the Trump shit, bitch slap that whiner! It was the ” tired pantsuit” or the “politically in-correct muti-billionaire ” It was a no-win situation. Lesser of two evils, and both evil!

    I too have struck people for touching me. It’s like I have a ‘tick’ touch = slap! I try to control it! Maybe I should talk this over with Titus. ;)Kim

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I went to a tarantula conference thing a few years ago (probably a story for another time…) and they had roach races. They had these huge hissing roaches and they released them in the middle of a large circle and the first one to make it out of the circle won.

    At the time, I was pretty sure it shold be an Olympic sport of some kind. Or at least something I can gamble on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is fun: your pondering the word “titch” sent me to the OED which has one definition of the word referring to a small person, from “Little Tich, stage name of Harry Relph, English music hall comedian and dancer (1867–1928), whose performances played on his unusually short stature”, but another that says it’s “Representing a regional and colloquial pronunciation of touch”.
    Even though I’m never going to refer to a small person as “titch” I like the first definition better even if Little Tich didn’t know how to spell “Ralph” correctly.
    Anyway I appreciate that Titus understands agility is a serious sport. I know several dogs who’ve earned their Masters Agility Championship–also known as a MACH, maybe because that’s the speed required to earn one. And I’d definitely like him to serve as a commentator on the Canine Olympics. He’d be much more polite than certain Canadian TV personalities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the etymology lesson! And yes, Titus has tremendous respect for agility athletes–he’s to clumsy himself to ever do it, although he would LOVE to be a commentator–he’s promised to never say anything offcolour:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My week went almost exactly like yours, except for the keynote speaker part, the drama queen bit, and the Olympics, which I missed entirely. In other words, I had a good conversation with a dog.

    I don’t have a problem with people calling out Donald Trump on the inane things he does, like tweet ridiculous statements or breath, but there is a time and place and method for everything. The orange-skin thing always bothered me, for example. I’m sure there are some very enlightened and valuable members of society with orange skin.

    “Cheeto Benito” is pretty funny, though. 😂

    It’s also funny how the word “blowjob” gets a full spell-out, twice, but the f-word still gets an asterisk. We may be bloggers, dammit, but we’ve got standards!

    In closing, I want to tell you that dogs with headphones beat cats with grumpy faces any day of the week, and twice on Sundays. On that note, see you next Sunday where our weeks will have the same inexplicable parallels, though they will undoubtedly be absolutely nothing alike. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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