My Week 188: The Mystery of the Box of Porn on the Porch

Well, I’m finally back to normal routine, which means I can actually sleep in on the weekends. It’s amazing how those few extra hours can mean the difference between being alone in your car and having a screaming match with the nametag you’re wearing around your neck that got caught on your ear whilst you were trying to remove it, and staying calm when you get knocked out of HQ Trivia at question 4 because you don’t know ANYTHING about American geography. On Tuesday, I said to the nametag “Get off me, you stupid f*cking piece of sh*t!!”, but last night, knowing that I had an infinite number of hours to laze around in bed, I simply looked at my phone and quietly whispered, “Calling the lines on the periodic table ‘periods’ isn’t very f*cking creative.” Note that I’m no less sweary when I’m rested—I’m just more subdued about things.

Anyway, on Wednesday, Ken sent me a BBM (which is like a text message that very old people use with a Blackberry, and yes, I had to download a specific app onto my iPhone to receive them because Ken won’t text like an actual human being) which said, “There’s a box of books on our porch. Do you know anything about this?” After work I called him to find out more:

Me: What’s this about a box of books?
Ken: I came home and there was a cardboard box full of books on the porch.
Me: What kind of books? Can we put them in the little library?
Ken: I don’t think so. Some of them are kind of…adult.
Me: You mean, like, porn? Did someone leave a box of porn on our front porch?! Who would do that?!
Ken: Well, they’re kind of porn-ish. There’s one about 50 Shades of Grey from Christian Grey’s perspective.
Me: Putting aside the fact that somehow you know his name is Christian, what else is there?
Ken: There’s some pretty racy stuff…Also, I only know his name because I read the back of the book.
Me: Sure, honey.

Then he read me the synopsis of one of the other books, which is a ‘Harlequin Blaze’ novel: “For venture capitalist Adam Sutherland, attending Camp Winnehatchee’s reopening was a no-brainer. He’s even reuniting with former camp counsellors to chip in and help revive the camp. What he ISN’T expecting is to find a girl sleeping in his bunk. Or that the girl is none other than Julia McKee, who went from shy and awkward to scorching hot babe…Julia intends to show her bad-boy childhood crush just how to put the ‘wild’ back into the wilderness. And this time, he’ll be the one left wanting more…”

Me: OK, we definitely can’t put that in the little library. ‘Scorching hot babe’? That sounds super-cheesy, and kind of like a guy wrote it. What does it say about the author?
Ken: The bio says that the author is a woman who has written 65 books for Harlequin Blaze since 1993. Get this—“she enjoys music, theatre, and musical theatre.
Me: A woman of wide and varied interests.
Ken: Also, “She is active working with high school students in the performing arts and lives with her cat.”
Me: What? Does her school board know she writes porn? Do you think that “active working with high school students in the performing arts” is a euphemism? Is this where she gets her story ideas?! There is so much wrong about this…that poor cat.
Ken: Well, we can’t put any of these in the little library, that’s for sure.

No porn, please!

Let me explain about the little library. A couple of years ago, Ken and I wanted to do something for our community. We have no actual library, and on the weekends, the school library is closed. So we built a cupboard, mounted it on a pole, and stocked it full of children’s books so that the kids in our community would be able to find something to read on the weekends. It’s been very popular, and regularly, I can look out the window and see a family stop, peruse the shelves and pull out a book. In the past, people have donated books to the library, but they’ve always been children’s books, except for the one time someone gave us a box of Spanish textbooks, which we donated to Value Village. Everybody in town knows that it’s a CHILDREN’S library. So why would someone give us porn? (And believe me, I opened up a page, and it’s very explicit. Also, in order to write this post, I had to touch one of the books that someone else had read whilst ‘enjoying’ its graphicness, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, I realized after that there was someone’s blond hair sticking out from between a couple of pages, so I am now in full-blown handwashing mode). Is it someone who read My Week 181: 50 Shades of Eww and wants to keep that ball rolling? Do I need to put up a sign that says, “Donations are welcome—no porn, please.”? Or conversely, a sign that says, “My marriage is fine!” in case it’s someone who’s just trying to be helpful?

At any rate, I have no idea who the books belonged to, but now, I’ll be walking around town on the lookout for a blond woman with a big smile on her face.

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My Week 187: Things I Say That No One Understands

I’m currently navigating myself through the 7 circles of hell, also known as Mississauga, and I think I’m at about 5 and a half, so I’ve moved on from wrathful to just damned sullen. Here’s a little something to make you giggle.

Wednesday: I have a lot of sayings that apparently no one else understands.

So a while ago, I was talking with some colleagues about the similarities between two pieces of writing that we were looking at. I happened to remark, “It’s probably just a coincidence—you know, a million monkeys and a million typewriters, right?” Everyone looked puzzled and a little confused, so I clarified—“If you give a million monkeys each a typewriter….?” In retrospect, this was NOT a clarification, and everyone continued to look at me with confusion. I tried again.

Me: If you give a million monkeys a million typewriters, eventually one of them will write the bible. You’ve heard that saying before, right?
Colleague: Why would a monkey write a bible?
Me: No, it’s a saying. It’s the idea that random events can happen if you have enough time—and monkeys. So eventually, after hammering away, one of the monkeys might just randomly hit the right keys to recreate the words in the bible…sorry, it’s just a saying. I’m not implying that the person who wrote this, or the bible, is a monkey…

At that point, I started to get panicky, because I want my colleagues to think that I’m at least a little bit mentally competent, and I was starting to sound kind of like a crazy monkey-lady, which is like a crazy cat-lady, but with monkeys. Obviously. Then it occurred to me that I have a lot of strange sayings that I expect other people to understand, but a lot of the time (I’ve come to realize) they DON’T.

Once when I was still teaching, I was discussing Hamlet with my students. It was the scene where Ophelia, Hamlet’s girlfriend, gives him back all the ‘remembrances’ he’s given her, under the direction of her father. Hamlet freaks out, tells her to get to a nunnery, and curses her out, even though he loves her. So I said, “That Hamlet—talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face, right?” The kids were like, “Why would Hamlet cut off his nose? What does that mean?” So I went into this lengthy explanation of how if you’re mad at your face and you cut off your own nose just to piss off your face (I didn’t say piss, of course, but something innocuous like ‘tick’), then all you’ve done is wreck your own face, because you’re mad at yourself, and now you’ve made yourself more unhappy—AND noseless. I said, “Come on—none of you have EVER heard that expression? No one’s parents or grandparents have EVER used that expression?” To which one student replied, “My grandparents aren’t that old.” Ouch. Wow, really? Because I’ve inherited a lot of my weird sayings from my family, over the course of many years. Here are a few of my favourites, and I’ll be honest—even I’m not sure exactly what they mean.

1) “If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans, there’d be no need for tinkers.”

I have, after many years, interpreted this to mean that if you go to the Lagostina store a lot, you put pot-repair people out of business. This saying has numerous applications because it sounds very charming and clever, and it makes people think twice before they wish they had more pots.

2)“If hell was in Yoker, you’d get over for a penny.”

Where the hell IS Yoker? Plus, I would think that going to hell wouldn’t cost a measly penny—it would cost your ETERNAL SOUL. That one, I don’t even begin to understand. My dad knows what it means, mostly because I think he made it up. Or one of his Scottish ancestors did, when he was drunk on Scotch at a bar in Yoker.

3) “You’re such a dog in the manger.”

This is a very unusual saying, and I don’t know where it comes from (Ken), but it refers to a dog that doesn’t really want to BE in the manger (which is like a cattle stall), but he stays in there only because he doesn’t want the cow to enjoy the manger. Ken grew up on a dairy farm, so I imagine this happened a lot, with people constantly chasing dogs out of cattle stalls and whatnot. In human terms, this would be like a person who has called dibs on the long spot on the sectional couch, then won’t give it up to someone else, even if they’re really uncomfortable after watching the first 5 episodes of “Stranger Things Season Two.” Of course, I would NEVER do that.

4) “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

No they wouldn’t. From what I’ve seen of the local panhandlers in my neighbourhood, if wishes were horses, beggars would sell them for a hot meal and a warm bed. What would a panhandler do in downtown Toronto with a horse? First, they would have to feed their horses, and most of them don’t have enough money to feed themselves. This would most likely result in people sitting on sidewalks with signs that said, “Help me feed my horse.” Would you feel sorry for someone with a sign like that? My favourite homeless guy, who sits outside of Loblaws, has an adorable little terrier named Onyx, but he’s smart enough to keep a bag of dog treats next to his sleeping bag as a way to engage people. When someone says, “What a cute dog,” he asks if they would like to give Onyx a treat. Then people feel so sorry that Onyx is homeless too that they give him money to help feed the dog. And it works. Over the last 2 weeks, I must have given him at least 10 dollars, and one day he remarked that he had just run out of treats for Onyx, so I bought him a bag when I went into Loblaws. He was very grateful and blessed me, which was nice, all things considered. I can’t see that happening with a horse though. I definitely wouldn’t buy a bag of apples for a homeless guy’s horse. Even if he was my favourite panhandler like Francis (that’s not actually his name, but it’s what I call him in my head). I have a least favourite panhandler too—he’s the guy at the entrance to the Gardiner Expressway who has a sign with the Macdonald’s logo on it that says “Hungry and not lovin’ it”. While the sign is clever, he isn’t—he runs in and out of traffic with the sign and a coffee cup, banging on windows, and almost causing car crashes. A lot of panhandlers try to brand themselves with signs like “Can’t work, brain injury, please help”, or “Give a nickel for a kid in a pickle”, but Francis is more subtle—he doesn’t have a sign. He just sits wrapped in a sleeping bag, with a ball cap in front of him, and then he just smiles at everyone and says “hello” in a very pleasant way that makes you WANT to give him money. I’ll bet if he had one wish, it wouldn’t be for a horse, it would be for world peace, because that’s the kind of guy Francis is. I think.

5)“What you lose on the roundabout, you save on the swings.”

I love this saying. It basically means the same as “6 of one, half a dozen of the other”, so essentially, everything balances out. But it makes me think of carnivals, and that puts me in a festive mood. Of course, it could also refer to people with inner ear disorders, like Ken. Once, we went to a carnival in New Hamburg and I convinced him to go on the Tilt-A-Whirl. So we paid “for the roundabout”. Then he got so sick and dizzy that he couldn’t go on any more rides. I had to half-carry him home because he could barely walk. Except we didn’t really “save on the swings” because we had already bought tickets for some other rides, and ended up giving them away to random people because Ken was like, “Ooh, I felt like throwing up. Ooh, please take me home.” So technically, we lost on the roundabout AND the swings because Ken was a big baby. A big, nauseated baby.

I asked T what kind of sayings I use that he thinks are weird, and this was the conversation:
T: Well, you say f*ck a lot.
Me: That’s not a saying, that’s a swear word.
T: But I tell my friends, “Like my mom always says, ‘F*ck.”
Me: *laughs hysterically*

When he read this, he got upset and said I was making him sound like he talked with an English accent. I don’t know how that’s even possible, but I encourage all of you to imagine that he DID say all that with an English accent. And speaking of English accents, I leave you with this saying, in the immortal words of Oscar Wilde: “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying”.

My Week 186: Deathly Foods, Weird Signs

Currently, I’m working in a foreign land known as Mississauga, so I leave you with this–I hope you enjoy!:

Wednesday: I make a list of things that I’ve ingested that made me feel like I
was dying.

I can often succumb to peer pressure, when it’s about something that’s
supposed to be good for my health. For example, I haven’t eaten gluten (well,
except for the occasional juicy, wheat-y pizza) for almost two years because I
have arthritis and someone told me it was better for my joints. It was hard at
first—gluten-free baked goods, especially tortilla wraps, can taste a lot like
cardboard. Also, everything is made of rice. To be honest, I do feel better for
it, and I’ve found alternatives that are almost as good as the real thing. But the
other day at work, a colleague was extolling the virtues of Oil of Oregano as a
cure-all and preventive for almost everything known to humankind. It can cure
the common cold, prevent Montezuma’s Revenge, and apparently turn water
into wine. A bunch of us decided that, with super-busy days coming up, and it
still being flu season and all, we would troop down to the health food store en
masse to buy some of this miraculous elixir. Little did I know what I was in for.
I like oregano—I grow it in my garden, and I sprinkle it on pizzas, and use it to
season pork tenderloin, among other things. How bad could an oil made from
oregano be? The man at the health food store said it was a distilled oil and
could be “pretty strong”. Well, I have a hardy constitution—I’ve eaten haggis–
so what the hell? The directions said to put four drops under the tongue. I did
that. My immediate reaction was, “This isn’t so bad. I—OMFG!!” Then I
thought I was GOING TO DIE. My tongue went numb for about 20 seconds,
but then the sensation came back, and that was worse, because all I wanted
to do at that point was rip my own mouth out with my bare hands. Perhaps Oil
of Oregano was meant to build one’s character as well as one’s immune
system, you know, under that old adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you
stronger”? I had always previously thought of that as a metaphor for dealing
with nasty people, but if Oil of Oregano was a person, then it would be
SATAN. Then it occurred to me that I had been here before, doing that same
“Kill Me Now!” dance. So I decided to make a list of the top food type things
that I had ever ingested that made me also feel like I was dying.

Death by herb

1) Gorgonzola cheese. Once, Ken and I were overseas, and the person we
were staying with, a wonderful host and one of my favourite people, made us
dinner. It was gnocchi tossed in melted gorgonzola cheese. I loved gnocchi
and the whole thing looked fantastic. Then I took a bite. Some people claim
that they quite like gorgonzola—I call these people LIARS. Gorgonzola
cheese tastes like mold growing on sweaty socks—the black mold that
medical dramas always tell you will kill you. I didn’t know what to do because I
didn’t want to be offensive, so I choked down as much as I could stomach, then claimed that jet lag had made me too tired to eat. Jet lag is a good
excuse for just about anything, especially avoiding food you don’t want to eat.
The other really good excuse for that is “I just had those dilating drops put in
my eyes at the optometrist and I can’t see what’s on my plate.” I pulled that
one out as a child to avoid eating veal—don’t tell my mom.

2) Barium. Remember, this is about things I’ve “ingested”, not things I’ve
eaten. No one in their right mind would ever willingly want to EAT barium (OK,
you could say the same about gorgonzola cheese) but still, barium is like a
medical thing, not an actual food substance. If you ever have stomach
problems, you might have to go for a procedure called a barium swallow.
Notice that it’s not called “Olive Garden’s Lunch Special” because the
expectation is that you will NOT enjoy it—and no one is going to treat you like
family while this procedure is happening. Barium is a mineral or something,
and according to Wikipedia, “has a low toxicity”, which means it has more than
zero toxicity, so it’s only SLIGHTLY poisonous. But still, if you’ve ever had a
barium swallow, it feels like you’re being FULLY poisoned. I had to have this
procedure done once. The nurse handed me a gigantic glass of what looked
like pink chalk pureed with a little water. I looked at it dubiously, and she said,
“You have to drink the whole thing. Don’t worry—it’s Strawberry Flavour.”
Strawberry Flavour, my ass. Next time, flavour it with a little Drambuie—it’ll
still be death in a cup, but I’ll feel better about it. After I had choked and
gagged the whole thing down, and my eyes were tearing from the effort, it
suddenly occurred to me that I had no idea how my body was going to get the
stuff back out, and I had this horrible feeling that I would never be able to use
the bathroom again—that it would sit in my stomach like concrete for decades,
laughing at me.

3) Deep-fried squid. Deep-fried squid actually tastes really good. I had it once
at a restaurant where we were having a “sampling” menu. I love sampling
menus, because you can try something, and if you hate it, you don’t have to
eat any more of it. So I tried the deep-fried squid, (one little piece because it
was a French restaurant where I guess they expect you to smoke so many
Galois that you aren’t hungry enough for full portions), which came with spicy
peanut sauce. Squid is delicious. It is also, as I found out later, a member of
the mollusk family, and I’m severely allergic to shellfish. After about 20
minutes, my lips started to swell, and on the ride home, I was feeling dizzy
and out of breath. By the next morning, I was extremely ill and the inside of
my mouth felt like someone had taken a flamethrower to it. I had no idea what
was going on, but Ken did some research, and we discovered that there was
a good reason why I felt like I was dying–because I just might have, ha ha.
Thank God for tasting menus with very small portions.

4) Eggs that are not scrambled. Eggs are interesting. Essentially, they’re
imaginary chickens. I can never understand how people who say they’re
vegetarian can eat eggs, but some people do on the premise that “they were
never fertilized”. But aren’t they still animal protein? Anyway, I love scrambled
eggs and omelets, basically anything where the white of the egg and the
yellow part are mixed together so you can’t taste either of them separately.
Together, they are a heavenly component of the “All Day Breakfast”, one of
my favourite meals. Separately, they are like death on a plate. The white part
tastes like the sulphurous fires of hell (in other words, like eating flatulence),
and the yellow part is—well, I don’t know because I’ve never tried the yellow
part because its simple appearance is enough to put me off. That liquid-y,
slimy thing that some people love to “dip their toast in”. Why the HELL would
you dip your toast in a liquid baby chicken? So gross.

5) Extremely sour candies. Isn’t that an oxymoron? What is it with people and
extremely sour things? The other day, I was in a store and on the candy
display were bags of “Extreme Sour Gummi Bears”. The “i” in gummi was in
the shape of a lightning bolt, and the slogan was “Try to eat more than one”.
The gummi bears on the bag had FANGS. Where is the pleasure here?
Candy is supposed to be a treat, a reward for doing something good, like
using the potty. Can you imagine how long kids would be in diapers for if you
gave them rewards that made them scream in agony? Depends-Nation.
Candy is not supposed to be scary. A couple of months ago, some of our
summer students brought in ‘extreme sour candy’ and challenged me to try
one. They were all grimacing and gagging, but I have more “mature” taste
buds, so I accepted the challenge. Let me tell you, there is no taste in nature
like an extreme sour watermelon candy. Within 10 seconds, my extremities
went numb and I could no longer feel my face, either inside or out. Very
casually though, I plucked it out of my mouth and gently put it in the garbage
can. Never let them see you sweat. Or swear.

Friday: Weird signs that I’ve seen (NOT of an apocalyptic nature).

Yesterday, I was in the Bay, and I had to use the ladies’ room. As I was
leaving, I noticed a sign on the door that read, “All criminal activity in this
bathroom is closely monitored.” I stared at it for a minute or two, trying to
figure out exactly what it meant. First, what KIND of activity are we talking
about here? The only people I’ve EVER seen in that bathroom are elderly
ladies. I mean, the Bay is not exactly Forever 21. Could there be a gang of old
toughs who frequently gather in said bathroom to fence their stolen Hudson’s
Bay blankets and Estee Lauder cosmetics? And what does “closely
monitored” mean? Are there security guards looking at hidden cameras
whose reaction to every criminal transaction is “Huh. Take a look at that.
Interesting. We’d better keep monitoring this. CLOSELY.” Then I was
reminded about another interesting sign that Ken and I had seen the other
day. It was one of those mobile signs at the side of the road, and it read,
“Jesus said, ‘The only way to my Father is through me.’ My first reaction was
this:

Me: Did you see that sign? I don’t believe Jesus said that.
Ken: Whuh? Why not?
Me: Well, don’t you think it sounds a little violent? I never think of Jesus like
that. You’ve read the Bible. Did Jesus really say that?
Ken: I don’t remember.
Me: No. From what I know about Jesus, he would have said something more
like, “It would be really nice and just super if you could let me help you find
your way to my Father”. Something non-aggressive, you know. That sign
makes it seem like there’s going to be a bar fight, and Jesus is all like, “Hold
my beer! You’ll have to get through me to get to HIM!” Like Liam Neeson or
The Rock or something.
Ken: OK…

Then I was reminded of my favourite sign from a few years ago, outside a
church, which said, “Take Jesus on vacation with you”. Ken and I were
planning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge with T, and I went into this reverie about
what would happen if you literally COULD take Jesus on vacation with you to
the waterpark. Would you have to stop him from trying to baptize the kids in
the wave pool? Would all the water in the park automatically become Holy
Water? Would he get annoyed if strangers kept splashing him? Would he be
like, “OK, I’ll go down the waterslide as long as I don’t get my hair wet?
(Because that’s what I always say.) Would he multi-task, and deliver a quick
sermon while he was on the white water raft with a bunch of other people? At
the end of the day, I could picture him in a lounge chair, surrounded by small
children, telling them parables until it was time for Pizza Hut and Pay-Per-
View. At any rate, it would be a hell of a lot better than taking Satan on
vacation to the waterpark with you. He’d be “that guy”, you know, the one who
wears the super-tight Speedo, always does the cannonballs into the pool, gets
everyone in a 20 foot radius soaking wet, and laughs like he thinks he’s so
cool. He’d hog the Jacuzzi, make all the water boil, then force everyone to
take Oil of Oregano. No wonder Satan never gets asked to go on vacation.

My Week 185: Good for the Soul, The Titus Challenge

Mindfulness

Last week, we had a staff meeting and the powers that be brought in a guest speaker. We’ve had these before, always on the same topic: how to relax and be stress-free. What does it say about a job when your superiors continually think you should all calm the f*ck down? Personally, I don’t find the job particularly stressful, considering that in a previous life, I was responsible for overseeing the wellbeing and antics of over 90 teenagers a day, and regularly brought home hours upon hours of work that had to be completed on the weekend. Also, I now work with really nice colleagues who never harass me by text message or call my house late at night to yell at me. At any rate, regardless of the comparatively little stress I struggle under in the workplace, we’ve had a succession of “mindfulness” speakers. The last one told us that “anxiety is a choice” and that if we simply opted to get out of bed each day with a positive attitude, we could live anxiety-free lives, and I was like, Damn! If I had only known that YEARS ago, imagine how different my life would be?! All I have to do is CHOOSE not to worry incessantly about whether I just said something dumb, or whether my hands are clean for the fifth time in one hour, or whether my cat secretly is plotting against me (she is—I just asked her and she admitted it), and my life would be perfect. Ironically, this particular speaker then got really angry when people started leaving the room, and insisted that we were not allowed to look at our phones during her presentation, and I so badly wanted to say, “Why don’t you just CHOOSE to let that not bother you?”

The speaker this past week was much better, mostly because she used comedy to disguise her oversimplifications, and everyone loves a good laugh, am I right? The first thing we had to do was identify 3 things that we did in the past week to help us relax, write them down, and then share them with our table. I put “Wrote, Drank, Watched America’s Next Top Model” because I am nothing if not honest, and also I didn’t think anyone would believe me if I put Yoga, Meditation, Listened to a Podcast on the Benefits of Kale—they all know me too well. Interestingly, when it came time to share, everyone at my table had a variation of Drank, which either says a lot about the times we’re living in, or that I’m a bad influence on my team. But the best part was her Stress-Wheel, which was divided into sections that we needed to give attention to. My favourite was Soul, which I’m assuming was a metaphor rather than an ACTUAL soul, because I don’t think God would be too impressed if you landed at the pearly gates and you were like, “OK, I killed a few people, but I ATE KALE.” The list of things she proposed to help soothe the soul is as follows:

1) Yoga

OK, what the f*ck is with the obsession with yoga? I just googled Yoga Poses and they all look incredibly painful and not relaxing at all. She made us do a yoga pose which involve standing on one leg—how the hell am I supposed to relax when I’m freaking out about falling over in front of 100 people?

2) Walk somewhere different

I live in downtown Toronto. I walk somewhere “different” simply by stepping out my front door, and it’s not relaxing in the slightest when a large man wearing a pink mini-kilt demands that you look at his ass.

3) Don’t use a watch

If I get rid of all the things that tell me what time it is, then how will I know what time it is?! Yes, I know that time is a human construct, but if it’s not a watch, or a cellphone, it’s the sun in the sky telling me to go home. Also, I’m a grown-up, dammit—how will I know that it’s 5 o’clock SOMEWHERE if I don’t have a clue what time it is? Then I’ll be daydrinking and most likely get in trouble at work.

4) Unplug from human vacuums

This would be a great premise for a horror film about a mad scientist who turns people into vacuums, and then sends them out, like a cross between zombies and vampires, into the world to feast on the unsuspecting public who are innocently wandering around aimlessly without watches in strange neighbourhoods looking for kale chips, and every time they stop to do a yoga pose, the human vacuum attacks! And the only way to stop them is to unplug the mad scientist’s human vacuum machine, which is like a cross between an electro-shock machine, a Roomba factory, and a very large E-Z Bake Oven. (Yes, I know she meant people who suck you dry emotionally, but this is way more fun.)

5) Have a Screen Free Day

We all looked at each other and said, “Does she even know where we work?” I myself have 3 computer screens in my office, and I use all of them. And if I had a screen free day, then I would miss America’s Next Top Model, and there goes any relaxation I might get. Oh well, there’s always the drink.

The Titus Challenge

Titus: I hear you’ve stopped eating pork. You realize that means bacon too, right?
Me: Sigh. I know. It’s breaking my heart, but I saw a video recently of a pig solving a puzzle. Pigs are smarter than dogs, you know. I wouldn’t eat a dog, so how can I eat a pig?
Titus: Pigs are NOT smarter than dogs. For example, when was the last time you saw a pig who responded to commands based on Harry Potter spells?
Me: I’m sure there are pigs out there who could do that. Besides, you have a pretty sloppy Leviosa, so let’s not get carried away.
Titus: It’s Levi-OH-sa, not Levio-SA.
Me: Look at this video. She’s trained this pig to do 17 different tricks.
Titus: Damn. He gives a great high five.
Me: I know, right?
Titus: But does the Avada Kedavera spell render him seemingly dead?
Me: Dead? Like for a fraction of a second before you jump back up and try to snatch the Corn Pop out of my hand?
Titus: Dead, jumping in the air, whatever. No bacon? Now that’s harsh. OK, find me a pig that can do Leviosa better than me, and I might consider it.
Me: Challenge accepted. Accio the wine bottle, will you?
Titus: Is it 5 o’clock somewhere ALREADY?!
Me: I dunno—I’m not wearing a watch.

My Week 184: A Can-Do Attitude, or Simply In The Can

On Thursday night, I was waiting for Ken to call. I’d come home early on the train for the Easter long weekend, and we needed to get some groceries due to all the stores being closed on Friday. Finally the phone rang:

Me: All I need is pie shells, baby spinach, and strawberries. I’ve got the rest covered.
Ken: OK. I need to get chocolate chips.
Me: Why?
Ken: I have to make cookies for the Heritage Society bake sale.
Me: Fine, but don’t buy the ones from Nestle.
Ken: OK.
Me (pause): Don’t you want to know why?
Ken: Oh. OK, why?
Me: Because of the whole water thing. Buy Chipits. They’re made by Hersheys.
Ken: OK.

And then I realized that Ken has adopted a “Can-Do” attitude. The “Can-Do” attitude is currently de rigeur in some circles right now, and it’s when you agree with something because disagreeing is either 1) too troublesome 2) no one would listen to you anyway, or 3) you simply don’t give a f*ck. I think in the case above, Ken was agreeing because of any one of those reasons, but I suspect it was number 1, since he knows how I get when I have a “bee in my bonnet”. Also, where the hell did the saying “bee in your bonnet” come from? Because I’ve always taken it to mean that you get really fixated on something and can’t let it go, whereas in reality, if I REALLY had a bee in my bonnet or whatever headgear I happened to be sporting, I would be freaking out, flailing madly, and completely unable to concentrate on anything but getting the bee out of my…oh wait, I get it now.

Anyway, this whole “Can-Do” attitude thing is everywhere. At work, we’re constantly being told to have one, even when it doesn’t make sense.

Guy: Hey, how about this crazy idea?!
Me: No, that won’t work because of—
Guy: Where’s your Can-Do attitude?!
Me: I’m just being realisti—
Guy: CAN-DO!!!
Me: OK. Whatevs.

So that’s a great example of reason 2. And a while ago, I was at the Landlord Tenant Board Office, filing a complaint. I was illegally evicted from my condo last year, and I also filed a lawsuit, so I can’t really get into a lot of details right now. But suffice it to say that the dude at the LTB was extremely patronizing and strange, prompting me to react under reason number 3.

LTB Dude: Come here. You’ve put the wrong postal code on this page. I can’t change it for you—I can only tell you about it.
Me: OK. Can I change it myself?
LTB Dude: Yes.
Me: Can I use your pen?
LTB Guy: Yes.
Me: OK. I fixed it.
LTB Guy: I’m only here to take your submission. I can’t comment on anything that I’ve read.
Me: OK.
LTB Guy: If you have any questions about the contents, I can’t answer them.
Me: OK.
LTB Guy: So you have to make sure that everything that you want to send to people is in here, because I can’t tell you if it’s not.
Me: OK.
LTB Guy: So you have to make sure it gets to them.
Me: OK.
LTB Guy: (stares).
Me: I have a lawyer. I’m sure it’s all fine.
LTB Guy: Well, maybe your lawyer should—
Me: O.K.!

Can-Do, baby. Not a single f*ck given.

But there ARE times when I’m a real Can-Do-er, an adventurer, willing to try something new and different. The other night, I was having dinner with my cousin, a really cool guy that I see about once a year. We were at a restaurant I’d never been to before and when we’d finished eating, I excused myself to go to the ladies room. I walked into the stall (there were only two, so I chose the one that seemed the most ghost-free), but the toilet looked very strange. I stared at it for a second, then the lid started to go up. ALL BY ITSELF. I had a moment of panic where I thought I had made a fatal, haunted mistake, but then I realized that the toilet had these warm, glowing blue and red lights. It was a ROBOT TOILET. I hesitated for a second, but I really had to go, so I sat down. There was what seemed to be a control bar on the wall next to the toilet, and I didn’t have my reading glasses on, but in a completely devil-may-care moment, I decided to push one of the buttons. Suddenly, I was being sprayed by jets of warm water. It was delightful. The problem, however, was that it was completely body temperature and after a minute or two, I couldn’t tell anymore whether the “water” was coming from me or the toilet and it seemed like I had been sitting there for a lot longer than necessary. I had no idea how to stop it, so I tried standing up in the hope that the spray was motion-sensored like the lid or something, but it wasn’t, and the higher I got, the higher the jets got, and I didn’t want to get soaked so I sat back down. Then I started pushing the other buttons on the wall-mounted bar. Apparently, the first one controlled the water pressure and the water was now more like a geyser than a gentle fountain. The next one controlled the position of the spray, and I had now gone from front to back—it was incredibly aggressive and somewhat “invasive” and I was starting to worry that I would never get out of the stall in one piece. Another one made the toilet seat heat up. The last button played classical music, because why the f*ck not? So there I was, on a hot toilet seat, my nether regions being blasted by jets of tepid water to the strains of Tchaikovsky when I finally found the “off” button. After I’d dried off, I came out of the bathroom laughing hysterically, so much so that I could barely explain to my cousin what had happened.

Me: OH MY GOD. That was the best toilet I’ve ever sat on!
Cousin: OK.
Me: I totally need one for my house!
Cousin: O.K.

Come to me, my love…