My Week 183: Things That Boggle The Mind

In the great scheme of things, there’s a lot that I don’t understand, and like most people, I try to make sense of the world in the best way I can. But this week, there are five particular things that are throwing me for a loop. Here they are in order of when I thought of them:

1) Why are there so many dental floss thongs?

People litter all the time. I don’t understand why because it’s usually not hard to find a garbage can or recycling bin, but I see people tossing coffee cups onto the sidewalk, spitting out gum, and generally just being trashjerks on a regular basis. But the one thing I REALLY don’t get is that I see those little things you use to hold dental floss all over the damn place. In the last three weeks, I’ve probably seen at least five of them on the ground, either on the sidewalk outside of the grocery store, in a parking lot next to my car—you name it, a plastic dental floss holder will be there. We went on a wine tour with my dad last weekend, and there was one lying on the ground outside the winery. Which begs the question— whatever happened to flossing your teeth in the privacy of your own home? Why are so many people flossing their f*cking teeth in public? Who the hell flosses their teeth before they drink wine?! And what could possibly possess someone to throw these things on the ground instead of finding a garbage can? And if you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a picture:

I’m a little confused as to what they’re actually called because I tried to google it, but I typed too fast, and apparently asked for “dental floos thing”, and for some reason Google thought I meant “dental floss thong” and gave me pictures of underwear, as well as a link to “Dental Floss Thong G-String Sexy Firm Bubble Butt Booty Dance”. I don’t understand that either. But now that I’ve told you about dental floss thongs, you will also be seeing these tiny pieces of mouth trash everywhere you go. Just wait.

2) Why am I cursed by the subway?

The subway hates me and I don’t understand why. I have subway incidents on a regular basis, and this week was no different. I had to go out to my brother’s because it was my nephew’s birthday, and that meant taking two different subway lines during rush hour to get there. I stood on the platform waiting, as train after train kept going straight through because they were so packed. Finally, one stopped and I got on board to travel two stations up to the next line. There was no room to move and I had my hands up under my chin. It was extremely claustrophobic and I was just barely keeping the panic from building by telling myself that there was only one more station to go when suddenly the train stopped dead, the power went off, and it stayed off for 15 minutes. The exact same thing happened to me a year ago to the day, when I was also going to my nephew’s birthday party, and just like last year, I had a full-blown panic attack, hyperventilated, and cried a little in front of about 100 people. The next day, I had to take the same train again, so I left work well before rush hour. This time, there was a man on the platform running back and forth, waving his arms and screaming, “F*ck you! F*cking subway! F*ck this!!” and I was like, “Ooh, what a coincidence—that’s exactly what I was saying to myself just yesterday.” Oddly enough, he was extremely well-dressed, which made it even more terrifying.

3) How can you think you lost your phone when you’re holding onto it?

I have done this on more than one occasion and this is a complete mystery to me. In fact, on Wednesday, I was in my office getting packed up to leave, and was completely freaked out because I couldn’t find my phone. I was turning around frantically and looking everywhere, wondering if I left it in the bathroom or something, when I realized it was IN MY HAND. And once, I was out shopping and I called K:

Me: Hey, I left you stuff for lunch.
K: OK, thanks.
Me: Hang on—oh sh*t, I can’t find my phone.
K: What phone?
Me: My cellphone.
K: You mean the cellphone you’re using to talk to me right now?
Me: Never mind. I found it.
K: Between your hand and your ear?
Me: Shut up.

Don’t tell me you’ve never done this, because you have. And if it wasn’t a cellphone, then it was your glasses. Or your keys, KEN.

4) Is it just me or is American politics incomprehensible?

I used to understand American politics but I don’t know if I do anymore, unless the following analogy is correct:

Watching American politics is like watching a hamster running really fast on one of those spinning wheels, but the wheel is spinning superfast, and then the hamster’s leg gets caught in the wheel, but the wheel keeps spinning and the hamster is being whipped around like crazy by the leg and its only choice is to die or chew its own leg off, but while its deciding, the f*cking wheel breaks and the hamster is crushed by the wheel, and no one is sure anymore whether the wheel is America and the hamster is politics or the hamster is politics and the wheel is America.

So if American politics is an extremely long, run-on sentence about a wheel murdering a hamster, then I nailed it. If not, then I don’t know what to tell you, and please feel free to add to this analogy.

5) Why are people so dumb?

I could mean this in just general terms, but in this case I’m talking specifically about people who are always banging the drum about free speech, and freedom of expression (as if you can’t say pretty much anything you want already, no matter how ridiculous it is, despite what the hysterical alt-right seems to think. Merry Christmas, by the way.). But those same people get super-pissed off when other people exercise THEIR right to free speech by protesting the other people who are saying the things that THEY want to say. You can’t have it both ways. Case in point. This past week, a sniveling grad student at a local university created a special club for people just like her who think that it’s hard being white. They invited another white power bandwagoneer to come and speak because it’s “their right to say unpopular things.” The topic of the event was “Ethnocide: Multiculturalism and European-Canadian Identity”, which sounds all fancy but it really just means “It’s sooo hard to be white because of all the non-white people.” Then they got mad when protesters came and–gasp–protested by USING WORDS. Now, I’m all for open and intellectual debate of ACTUAL issues, but come on. Racists are so boring and predictable—why bother debating someone who has nothing original to say on an indefensible position that’s based on nonsense? I mean, we live in a country where you’re ALLOWED to say stupid stuff, but don’t dress it up like it’s smart. If you want to make a name for yourself championing people’s right to be stupid, then become a lawyer and defend the idiots who throw their dental floss thongs on the ground.

 

My Week 169: Appointment to the Toy Bench, Napanee, Meeting Giggles

Appointment to the Toy Bench

This week, the internet was ablaze with outrage over Donald Trump’s latest appointee to be a district court judge. Anyone that the Human Dumpster Fire appoints to ANYTHING is typically underwhelmingly qualified to even be town dogcatcher, but Matthew Peterson was a spectacular example of a dude who shouldn’t be allowed to go to the corner store alone. What kind of judicial appointee has never taken a deposition by himself, let alone never actually tried a case? Say what you want about Justin Trudeau, but he just had to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice, and the guy he picked, after a lengthy consultation process, is an actual, highly experienced judge and NOT a guy who thinks “getting to bang a gavel would be fun and whatnot”. OK, Peterson didn’t actually say that, but he might as well have, since even HE didn’t seem clear about why he should be appointed. The guy is so dumb that he didn’t even have the courtesy to act embarrassed that he was so blatantly lacking any kind of courtroom experience. But it’s typical of what’s happening in the U.S. these days, and I won’t make my American friends feel any more sh*tty about it by pointing out the other horrors. Instead, I’ve created a scenario fit for the holiday season. It’s called “Appointment to the Toy Bench”.

Santa: I’m not sure what’s going on here. One of the elves retired, and I have to replace him, but I just got told that the American President is demanding that I take some chosen appointee.

Chief Elf: The American President? Why would Hillary Clinton do THAT?

Santa: No, not Hillary—it’s the loudmouth on the naughty list who lost the popular vote. He seems to think that he can run Toyland too…oh dang, here he comes.

Trump: Hello, Santa Claus. I hope you got the message about my appointment to the Toy Bench. I make all the best appointments. My appointments are so awesome—it’s a pretty wild scene.

Santa: Well, I got an email—it took a while to translate it from Russian, but if I understand it correctly, you’re trying to appoint an elf to replace Twinkles, who recently retired. I have to tell you though, we already HAVE a replacement. His name is Tiny.

Trump: You mean “Itty Bitty” Tiny? That guy’s a loser.

Santa: Why are you calling him “Itty Bitty”? He’s Tiny.

Trump: I know, right? I’m giving him one of my fun nicknames, like the way I call Hillary “Crooked” or Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”. I think I’m going to call you “Eskimo Boy”.

Santa: That’s extremely offensive, not only to me but to the Inuit peoples.

Trump: In your what? Stop stalling, Fat Man, and interview my appointee. His name is Frank and he’s a yuuge donor to my campaign.

Santa (under breath): Fine, if it will get you out of here, so I can get back to making toys. (out loud) Bring him in.

Frank: Yo.

Santa: Hello, Frank, is it? You seem a little large for an elf…

Frank: Elf? What the f*ck are you talking about?

Trump: Never mind his size. He’s a close personal friend who has never grabbed anyone’s…”toys” inappropriately and definitely does NOT need to hide out here until the stink wears off.

Santa: Sigh. OK Frank, tell me a little bit about your experience. How long have you been making toys?

Frank: I don’t make toys.

Santa: You’ve never made a toy?

Frank: No.

Santa: Do you—can you put the cigar out? This Pole has been non-smoking even since it turned out that my pipe was making the elves sick.

Trump: You can’t say “Pole”. It’s a forbidden word. So is “polar”—it reminds too many people of dying bears. FAKE NEWS!!

Santa: Anyway, Frank—do you even like children?

Frank: No. Children are stupid.

Santa: Then why do you want to take this job?!

Frank: It’s a lifetime gig with full benefits. Plus, I hear the lady elves are smokin’.

Santa: Enough! I refuse to hire this naughty person. Tiny, the job is yours.

Tiny: Wheeee! Time to make some toys for girls and boys!

Trump (tweeting): “Eskimo Boy Santa REFUSES to hire Qualified Frank and gives an important post to Itty Bitty Tiny who is a FAILING loser. SAD!!! LOSER!!!

Santa: Sigh. Get out of here. And just so you know—all you’re getting in your stocking this year is coal!

Trump: Excellent! Coal is the new solar power.

Frank: I got the job, right?

Santa: Fake news.

So long, Frank!

Two Quick Stories:

1) A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to Napanee. Never mind where it is. Just know that it took me three hours to get there by train. When I finally arrived at 8 pm, everyone ran out of the train, got into their cars and left. I looked around. The train station itself was closed, the lights off. The parking lot was deserted. It was minus 10 degrees Celsius. I had the number of a local cab company so I called them. The dispatcher was really pissy, and when I told her I was going to the Hilton, she said, “Hampton. There’s no such thing as the Napanee Hilton,” and I was like, “OK, I guess I’m going to the Hampton.” She replied that the cab would be “at least 20 minutes”. I had no choice, so I said “Fine” but I was wondering exactly how big Napanee was if it took that long for a cab to come to the train station. In the meantime, I did what any normal person would do—I called Ken.

Me: It’s freezing and the train station is closed. I forgot my mittens.
Ken: You forgot your mittens?! What am I always telling you…
Me: It’s really windy and dark. There’s a bar across the street and it sounds dangerously rowdy.
Ken: Stand in the shadows where no one can see you.
Me: A) I’m not a vampire and B) I don’t want the cab to miss me. Just stay on the line.

At any rate, the cab finally showed up, a little over 20 minutes later. The driver, a jolly older fellow, got out and looked at me:

Driver: What are you doing? Why didn’t you go inside?!
Me: The station’s closed.
Driver: No, it’s not. Didn’t you read the sign on the door? You go in and the lights are on the left. You just have to remember to turn them off when you leave.
Me: It was too dark to read the sign on the door.
Driver: Well, you’ll know for next time.

The cab ride to the Hampton took under two minutes. He charged me 10 dollars. Napanee, everyone.

2) Over the last three weeks, I have been obliged to attend meetings where I watch a man fill in a very long flow chart. It can be super-suspenseful, because sometimes he has to move one of the boxes in the flow chart, and then we’re all like, “Where will he put it?! What will happen now?!” The other day, I looked up and realized that there was a sign on the door at the back of the room that said, “No Exit”, and I was like “Preach.” But sitting there in silence for hours on end has made me a little giddy, and on Thursday, I was in another meeting, and one of the directors said, referring to a new software app, “Touch this and then it happens” and I almost yelled out, “That’s what SHE said!” I mean, I actually had a moment where I seriously considered saying it and wondered if everyone else would laugh. But I didn’t say it—I just tried not to giggle uncontrollably. As one does.

Merry Christmas from your favourite elf.

My Week 135: Leo Causes a Rift in the Universe, the Maple Leafs Save the Galaxy, and Other Musings

Things that make me go Hmm….

Last week was a long week, what with me getting up at 5:00 am and battling traffic to get into the GTA every day, working until 5, and then battling traffic to get back home again. I thought to myself, “If I had to do this every day for the rest of my career, I would gouge out my own eyes. And go on disability because of the blindness.” That might sound dramatic, (like when I said the other day that I didn’t want to go to lunch in the rain because “I don’t dry well”), because if worse came to worst, I could just quit, but that’s how much I absolutely f*cking hate driving on the 401, which gets more and more absurd every year, with traffic slowing down randomly and creeping along simply because of “volume”, which is radio-traffic-report lingo for TOO MANY GOD-DAMN CARS ON THE ROAD. And believe me, I would take public transit, if there was any available to my off-site work location. I would ride a BURRO ON A DIRT ROAD to my work location if that was possible (and if it got me there by 7:30, but burros are notoriously tardy, so…)

At any rate, I had a LOT of time in the car to ponder the state of the increasingly bizarre world. And it IS bizarre. And becoming more so every day. Why is that, you ask? Well, let me tell you exactly why, based on a theory developed by me and my work partner L one day early last year (I can’t remember who exactly said which bit, but this was an approximation of the conversation we had one gloomy day after Donald Trump was gaining traction in the polls:

Me: The world is going crazy. It’s like living in “backwards land”.
L: I blame Leo.
Me: Leonardo DiCaprio? Why?
L: When he finally won the Oscar for Best Actor, it ripped a hole in the universe.
Me: You mean like, an anomaly that destroyed the fabric of time and space?
L: Yup. It opened a portal into another dimension.
Me: Which will allow Trump to win, because that’s what has happened in a parallel universe?
L: Exactly.
Me: But “The Revenant” WAS pretty good.
L: Not THAT good.

And while we both have maybe watched a little too much Dr. Who, the theory makes sense. After Leo got his Oscar, celebrities started dying, Brexit happened, and Trump became the President-elect. And that’s just a drop in the bizarro bucket. I googled “the strangest things that happened in 2016” and got like over a thousand hits. When I did the same for 2015, I got 5 hits, and then “Weird and Wonderful Things that Happened at the Zoo”.

So yeah, 2016 was an anomaly, and although, right now, 2017 is like “Hold my beer”, because it’s just as f-ed up frankly, I think we’ll be seeing a course correction soon. Right now, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the play-offs. The last time this happened was 2004, the year that the Mayans predicted the world would end. And it didn’t, because the Leafs made the play-offs and closed another time/space rift that occurred in 2003 after Roman Polanski won an Oscar for best director, subsequently allowing George W. Bush to win a second term (and apparently Meryl Streep gave Polanski a standing ovation—this is true because I checked with Snopes.com. And now I think Meryl Streep also has something to do with all of this, like she’s an interstellar, cross-universe traveller whose only job is to stir sh*t up like she did in 2003, and again at the 2017 Academy Awards where she slammed Donald Trump and started a war with North Korea. OK, that hasn’t happened YET, but who knows if it’s all part of her insidious plan?). Long story short, I am convinced that world events are simply the machinations of the dastardly Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences trying to mess with the space/time continuum. Luckily, we have the plucky heroes of Canada’s favourite hockey franchise, there to win the hearts and souls of the galaxy. They might never attain the Stanley Cup, but what’s that in the face of saving the universe?

Other Weird Things:

The Carlton Cinema audiences don’t understand drama:

The Carlton Cinema is very close to where I live in the city, but I have to stop going there, because the audiences are f*cking me up and making me think I don’t understand movies. A couple of years ago, my brother and I went to see a film there, purportedly a drama, but the audience kept laughing so hysterically that I got all stressed out. I asked my brother, who has a PhD, what was so funny, and he said, “I don’t know.” Then a while ago, within the same two week period, I saw both “Split” (M. Night Shyamalan’s film about a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder who kidnaps three girls), and “Get Out” (a psychological thriller by Jordan Peele). In both cases, the audience members at the Carlton laughed their asses off at every single scene, and I was soooo confused. Until last night, when I re-watched “Split” with Ken, K, and her girlfriend, and NO ONE LAUGHED, stupid Carlton Audience. You need to grow up.

When Doors Don’t Open:

Yesterday, Ken and I went out for Round Two of stool shopping (when I was finished writing this post, I asked Ken to read it and tell me if I needed to add anything, at which point he said, “A ‘stool’ joke. You really missed an opportunity for humour there.” OK, honey). At the third store, we approached the doors and they didn’t open. I stood there, completely befuddled and disoriented, until Ken said, “You need to pull the handle. Welcome back to the 1900s.” It was like the time the battery on my car fob died and I had no idea how to get into the car, until Ken reminded me that the key would still open the lock on the door. His timing was impeccable, because I was seriously considering just smashing the window in so that I wouldn’t be late to work.

As a side note, we didn’t find any stools AGAIN, which prompted me to say very loudly and angrily, “F*ck stool shopping. I have some fabric and a staple gun. Let’s just fix the ones we have.” Which we did, and I didn’t even need the fabric because once Ken repaired the broken seats, I got out-voted by everyone who thought the leather still looked really good. Even though I was like, “What do you want, this old leather, or this REALLY beautiful fabric?” and then I was accused of “being manipulative” and “trying to sway popular opinion with my adjectives.”

My Bluetooth Speaks Better Italian than Me:

The other day I needed to call a co-worker to tell her I was running late because of highway “volume”. I tried using her first name twice, but the Bluetooth Lady in my rental car just kept saying, “Do you mean ‘Margaret’? Do you mean ‘Marion”? (those are my aunts), and I was like NO!!! So I said my co-worker’s full name, but because her last name is Italian and the Bluetooth Lady was already struggling, I said it phonetically. And then the Bluetooth Lady said, “Do you mean _____?” and pronounced her last name with a perfect Italian accent, like she was schooling me or whatnot. And I was like “if you can figure this out, why did you have so much damn trouble with a perfectly easy to understand FIRST NAME and then claim you couldn’t understand my commands?!” She would fit right into the Carlton Cinema crowd.

Insects as Art and Neil Hedley:

This morning, Ken and I were watching the news (on CBC, because I no longer watch CTV since I got into a Twitter feud with a dude named Neil Hedley, who’s an announcer with some radio station called Zoom-a Radio, which I have never even heard of nor listened to, like most people, I imagine. The fact that CTV chooses someone like him with zero political knowledge and the thinnest skin possible makes me dismiss them as a serious news source. My Twitter feud with him started when Trump tried his initial Muslim ban. The news anchor asked Neil why he thought that Trump had only targeted 6 countries, to which Neil replied, “Maybe he knows something we don’t know. He’s the one who gets intelligence briefings.” So I tweeted to him that perhaps he had fanned the flames of racism by implying that the six countries were guilty of something more than NOT having oil or Trump Towers, and he just went off on me like the baby he apparently is. And he never did clarify what he meant, although he claimed I “missed his point”. Of course, the very next week, he made fun of Eastern Canadians by mocking them with a stereotyped accent but I left it alone on the grounds that he really is too stupid to bother with. People like that will never be self-reflective, only defensive. Kind of like what’s happening all around the world right now.) Anyway, Ken and I were watching CBC, and there was a story about a woman who has a new exhibit in an art gallery. Her “art” is pinning insects to the walls of said gallery in different patterns. Real insects. Dead insects. That she buys on Ebay. The art gallery owner was ecstatic and claimed that her exhibition was “perfect for Canada’s 150th birthday”. I said to Ken, “If I went to a graveyard and dug up a bunch of corpses, and laid them out in a Fibonacci sequence on the floor of the Art Gallery of Ontario, I could be famous too.” The Canadian Mint also put out a special $3 coin to celebrate our 150th. Not a coin worth $1.50, which might make SOME kind of sense, but no, three bucks. Except it costs $19.95 to buy one.  But if you think insects and nonsensical monetary denominations are yet another indicator of a world gone mad, just remember that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the REAL Guardians of the Galaxy, and one day they will save us all. Go Leafs Go.

My Week 126: February is Too Hot, Canadian Politics Are Getting Severely Abnormal

sun

Saturday: Global Warming

This morning, I had a hot bath, then I washed my hair with hot water. Then I started to dry my hair with a hot hair dryer (wait—it WILL get funnier). After about two minutes, I was sweating and unhappy. “WTF?!” I may have yelled to no one in particular. “Why am I so HOT?!” So I did what any normal person would do under these circumstances. I called Ken.

Me: Ken! I’m too hot!!
Ken (from other side of the house): Open your balcony door then!

So I took his advice and opened the door to the balcony off my bathroom. Why is there a balcony off my bathroom, you ask? Well, my house is over 100 years old, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my bathroom used to be something else, just like my kitchen used to be a bedroom, and my media room used to be an old woodshop with a giant cistern underneath it which I try NEVER to think about while I’m watching horror movies. Anyway, I opened the door, and a huge square of sunlight hit me, accompanied by a draft of warm air, making me feel even hotter, and more miserable. And while this wouldn’t be unusual during other months of the year, THIS IS F*CKING FEBRUARY. FEBRUARY—the month of winter doom in Ontario, where normally it’s 19 below instead of 19 above (for my American readers, that’s like plus 70 vs. minus a gazillion—I’m not great at math or exchange rates, obviously). So, to anyone who believes that global warming is a hoax perpetrated on us by the Chinese, let me assure you that there were no Chinese people in my bathroom, and that things are way too warm for February. I asked everyone yesterday on the way home from my mom’s birthday party what they thought about global warming:

Me: So what are our thoughts on global warming?
Ken: Do you mean “climate change”? Because technically–
K: Dad, are you mansplaining global warming to Mom?
My Mom: It’s extremely cold in England right now, so I don’t know about “warming”.
Ken: CLIMATE CHANGE. That’s why it’s called “climate change”.

At any rate, whatever you want to call it, this warm weather in February is a real problem. Yes, I know it’s lovely outside. Yes, the weather continues charming. However, it’s just not fair for a couple of reasons. I live in both the country AND the city at any given moment of the week, and warm weather this early is a real problem in both settings.

The country: I pulled into the driveway yesterday, and my lilac trees were budding. I actually yelled at them, “No, stop it! Next week, we’ll be back to minus 10, and those buds will die! Don’t be fooled by this crazy warm sh*t!” Warm weather in February only sets us all up for disappointment—let’s face it, there are still at least two more months of snow and ice before we get to the “real” spring and summer. The current temperature is just creating false hope, hope that we really don’t live in an area of the country where there are only two seasons (No, not “winter and construction”, like a lot of people will tell you): Summer, and the rest of the miserable year. The last thing I want is for all my trees and flowers to start budding and then have those buds killed by the next frost. Trees—they’re so gullible.

The city: You’d think a warm February would be glorious in the city, but no. First, it takes a slow thaw for all the garbage to disappear. Right now, all the melting snow is revealing a multitude of cigarette butts, food containers, and for some reason on my street corner, about 200 old lottery tickets. The street cleaning machines won’t be on the roads for at least two more months, so we’re stuck with sidestepping all the crap until at least April. But even worse is the detritus of the human bodily kind, which becomes more noticeable the hotter it gets:

Me: Oh my god, why does it smell like pee out here?!
M: Why WOULDN’T it smell like pee? This is downtown Toronto.
L: If it didn’t smell like pee, how would we know where we are? How would we find our way back to the office?
M: We’d totally lose our bearings. We’d be wandering around all afternoon, not sure where the office was.

And see, this is a conversation that I would normally have with my work partners in May or June, but it was just a few days ago. I should probably clarify though—it’s the subway station that regularly smells like urine and our office is right in front of the station entrance. So the smell of pee is to us as breadcrumbs are to Hansel and Gretel. Except no pigeon wants to eat THAT.

Long story short—I cannot rejoice over this weather. I feel like the polar bears must when they’re stuck on an iceberg that broke off and is floating in the middle of the Arctic Ocean—which is to say, completely disoriented, baffled, and hungry (because I never eat breakfast until I finish writing). And the weirdest thing is, I don’t even LIKE the cold. In fact, I HATE winter with a passion, but winter is an absolute necessity because I hate mosquitoes even more, and a mild winter results in way more mosquitoes than normal. So f*ck you, global warming and your impending plague of locusts. Me, I long for ice and snow until at least March Break.

Sunday: No, YOU’RE the weirdo.

Last week, Conservative Leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, the new queen of white nationalism, held a rally at a Christian college against a motion proposed in the House to strike a committee to look into Islamophobia and other forms of racism on the grounds that it’s “against Free Speech”. Not sure how she’s making that leap, but as she likes to boast, “I have 22 letters after my name. They’re all great letters, the best letters, in fact. I have all the important letters.” Actually, if you take away all the letters that don’t mean much, like the initials of the political party she’s a member of and whatnot, there aren’t that many. I myself would have MORE than 22 if I included not only my degrees and professional affiliations, but my Twitter handle, my official title of “Perpetual Ruler of the Ensuite Bathroom”, and my stripper name, which is Perky Cyrus (the name of my first pet and the street I lived on as a child—try it for yourself. It’s fun). Anyway, she introduced herself and then said, “It’s great to be in a room full of SEVERELY NORMAL people!” And I was like WTF, Lady? What is “SEVERELY NORMAL”? And yes, I have to keep typing it in cap-locks, because that’s how she said it—like it was all in capital letters, because the SEVERELY NORMAL don’t recognize how “special” they are unless you yell it at them. But before I go on to discuss what SEVERELY NORMAL is, I’d first like to say that Kellie Leitch is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of someone who is highly educated, but despite that, is as stupid as the people who think global warming is a hoax perpetrated on us by the Chinese. Oh, she’s cunning, I’ll give her that, but “cunning” and intelligent are not always bed-fellows. She’s cunning AF because, as a Member of the Canadian Parliament, she didn’t object when the exact same type of motion against Anti-Semitism was presented last year in the House. And she didn’t hold a rally for SEVERELY NORMAL people at a Christian College when the same type of motion regarding Islamophobia was passed by the House last October. But now that the leadership race for the Conservative party is heating up, suddenly she’s the poster girl for “Canadian Values”, and whining about free speech over a motion which she knows damn well is only to strike an exploratory committee? Well, unfortunately, she’s currently second in the polls behind Kevin O’Leary, that weird little wannabe Donald Trump (you might know him from the TV show Shark Tank), who lives in Boston and hawks blended wine on US shopping channels, and who believes that being rich is great because it makes poor people look up to him and become inspired to work harder, and that union leaders should be thrown in jail. That these two people are currently at the top of the polls for the leadership of a major political party should scare the sh*t out of the rest of us completely normal people, because Canada is supposed to have one of the most educated populations in the world, yet all those people who attend Leitch’s rallies, and espouse her brand of “Canadian Values” seem morbidly uninformed and earnestly believe her when she tells them that they are not “the fringe”. Um…Yes. You are. All I can say is this though: You can be SEVERELY NORMAL and believe Leitch’s appeals, which are to the lowest common denominator of hatred and mistrust, or you can be just be a regular Canadian who believes that no one should be discriminated against and that we’re all happier, healthier, and ABSOLUTELY normal when we start using our brains and stop listening to idiots who confuse SEVERELY NORMAL with “extremist white nationalism”. But you just know that her cunning plan was that the people who follow her are going to start embracing the term and start using it as their Twitter handles, like @BobSEVERELYNORMAL and wearing ball caps that say Make Canada Great Again. Me, I don’t want to be severely anything. I just want to be Canadian. But it’s all good—it’s not as if someone like her could EVER become the Prime Minister, right?  There’s been no other country where someone got elected by lying to people and using hateful rhetoric, right? No other candidate for the leadership of a country got to pull this sh*t while the other candidates just sat back and watched, and the media snickered while the ratings were high until suddenly it was too late, right? Oh, wait…

 

My Week 125: Trudeau Meets Trump, Trump’s Spice Girls, Celebrity Spouses

Thursday: Throw Back Thursday with a Twist

trudeau

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about an imaginary first meeting between our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the not-yet-elected US President, Donald Trump (My Week 64). Looking back on it, it’s kind of weird how accurate I was, but now Trump really IS President (who’d have guessed?), and Justin Trudeau really IS meeting with him on Monday. So I thought I would revise the previous post to catch up with events:

Donald: So what am I doing here again?
Aide: You’re meeting with Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada. He’s here to talk about the relationship between Canada and the US.
Justin: It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Trump.
Donald: So what, you’re like the King of the Arctic or something?
Justin (laughs gently): No, no, I’m the Prime Minister of Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia in terms of landmass. It’s the world’s most educated country, and it has more lakes than all the other countries in the world combined.
Donald: What the f*ck ARE you, a geography teacher or something?
Justin: Well, I do have a working knowledge of geography. For example, the Balkan States definitely exists. In fact, though, I used to be a drama teacher.
Donald: All actors are overrated, especially that Meryl Streep and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I don’t give a sh*t about the Balcanadians. Save the drama for your mama, pretty boy. Now, what exactly do you want?
Justin: Well, Canada is the US’s biggest trading partner, so I think it’s time that we discussed some issues relating to trade.
Donald: Well, I have a lot of issues–
Justin: Mm, yes, I’ve heard.
Donald: –but what I really want to do is bring American back to the Americans and dig it out of the hole that Muslim from Alaska put it in.
Justin (confused): Are you talking about President Obama? He’s not Muslim and he’s from Hawaii.
Donald: That’s what the Democrats would HAVE you believe. Anyway, I have a deal for you. It’s a great deal, because I’m the best at deals.
Justin (puzzled): What kind of deal?
Donald: I’ll agree to keep NAFTA the way it is if you agree to force all Canadian stores to sell my daughter’s clothes.
Justin: What?!
Donald: And my wife’s jewelry.
Justin: I don’t have the power to do that. Can we just talk about trade?
Donald: OK, FINE. Baby Spice!! Get in here. Bring the rest of the gang!
Justin: Why are you being so derogatory about your colleagues?!
Donald: Derogatory? What? Those are terms of affection. I decided to nickname my closest friends after the Spice Girls. Ah, here they are. Ok, Justine—
Justin: It’s Justin. I don’t want an “affectionate nickname” from you.
Donald: Anyway, this is Baby Spice…
Sean Spicer (whispers): The struggle is real.
Donald: And Scary Spice…
Steve Bannon: Your country is mostly white, right?
Donald: This, of course, is Posh Spice. She donated a LOT of money to my campaign, so naturally that qualifies her to be the Secretary of Education.
Betsy DeVos: Play dead.
Justin: I beg your pardon?
Betsy: For when the bears attack and you don’t have a gun. What, did you go to public school or something?
Donald: And meet your new Ambassador to Canada, Sporty Spice!
Sarah Palin: Yah, hi. I only tweet five words at a time.
Donald: And I, of course, am Old Spice. I’m on a boat!
Justin: Mon dieu! C’est incroyable.
Donald: Why are you talking Islam talk?!
Justin: I was speaking French. Canada is a bilingual country. Now can we just discuss trade? Can you tell me where you stand?
Donald: I’ll tell you what I want. What I really, really want.
Sean Spicer: So, tell us what you want. What you really, really want.
Steve Bannon: I wanna, I wanna—
Betsy DeVos: Really, really, really wanna–
Sarah Palin: Zig a zig. Yah.
Justin (rolls eyes): I feel like we’re not making much headway here. Why don’t I introduce you to some of MY colleagues? This is Harjit Sajjan, my Minister of National Defence.
Donald (sotto voce): You know he’s wearing a towel on his head, right?
Justin: That’s a turban, Mr. Trump—he’s a Sikh.
Donald: How did he get into my country?! I thought I banned him!
Justin: What?! NO. He’s a trusted member of my cabinet!
Donald: That’s what JFK said about Lee Harvey Oswald, and look how THAT turned out.
Justin: I don’t think JFK EVER said that, and I find your comments ludicrous and divisive.
Donald: Fine. But I’m still going to call that guy “Curry Spice”.
Justin: Your attitude is as ridiculous as your travel ban.
Donald: What’s ridiculous about it? It’s keeping out the bad hombres.
Justin: Aside from the fact that it’s racist, the countries you’ve banned haven’t committed any terrorist acts on US soil!
Donald: Well, I could hardly ban countries where I have hotels and whatnot. That would be a conflict of interest!
Justin: All right—I think we’ve all had enough. I’m going home.
Donald: Yes. Go back to that condemned row house you call an official residence. The Winter White House is better. It’s the best official residence. It’s a golf club for rich white people. I’d call it a metaphor for the state of US politics right now, if I actually knew what a metaphor was.
Justin: 24 Sussex Drive isn’t a “condemned row house”. It’s a historical monument. I lived there as a child.
Donald: Holy sh*t, you’ve been Prime Minister since you were a kid? Why the hell have I never heard of you until now?
Justin: No, no, that was when my father was elected Prime Minister. There were others in between. Remember the guy in the sweater vest?
Donald: It rings a bell, although I don’t remember his name. By the way, speaking of elections, I heard you’re taking some flak about changing voting.
Justin: Ah yes—my electoral reform promise. I just couldn’t get consensus, and it seemed silly to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on a referendum to decide an issue that really isn’t that imperative to many Canadians.
Donald: While I don’t understand your big words, I DO understand how to take attention away from your problem. Just do what I do. Tweet something crazy, and then pass the most outrageous executive order that Scary Spice can think of. Does your daughter have a clothing line? How do you feel about banning hockey?
Justin: Or I could just say I’m building a wall between Canada and the US.
Donald: Ooh, good one! That might just work!
Justin: Sigh. Let’s hope it does.

Later:

Harjit Sajjan: So, was it just me, or did you “really wanna” punch him in the face?
Justin: You have NO idea.

Friday: We discuss our celebrity spouses

It’s an unwritten rule (or maybe it’s written down somewhere, like in the Bible or People Magazine) that it’s perfectly acceptable for a married woman or man to have a celebrity husband/wife. AND a celebrity boyfriend/girlfriend. Isn’t that like extra cheating, you ask? You’re already married, then you get to have a pretend husband, then you pretend-cheat on BOTH of them with a pretend boyfriend?! Well, yes. But it’s OK, because it’s not like I’m EVER going to meet Idris Elba (husband) or Benedict Cumberbatch (boyfriend). My celebrity husband used to be Johnny Depp, but then he got all alcohol-y and started doing only movies where he was dressed all weird and sh*t. I could have made my peace with Captain Jack Sparrow and his “young Keith Richards” vibe, but that Mad Hatter? Yuck. Could the guy possibly do a movie where he’s NOT dressed in a stylized costume? Coincidently, I just now, while Googling Johnny Depp’s Imdb page to see if he’s done anything normal lately, read an article in the Guardian by a woman who also claimed that Johnny Depp was her celebrity boyfriend, and I was appalled. Not only was Johnny cheating on me with her, she knew a LOT more about him than I did, and her reasons for breaking up with him were a lot more compelling than my “he makes stupid movies now” excuse. Also, I learned that he spends $30, 000 a month on wine. And I totally don’t get that, because I drink a lot of wine, and even in a particularly souse-y month, I never spend more than around $135 (which is what a couple of cases costs at Wine Kitz, where Dad and I “make” our own by ordering it and then putting it in bottles after 4 weeks). So how much wine are you DRINKING, Johnny Depp?!

Anyway, then I got concerned that maybe Johnny was cheating on ME with a lot of other ladies out there, so I researched “Johnny Depp is my celebrity husband” and sure enough, he was being puh-lenty unfaithful. Then I saw a link for a Playbuzz quiz that said it could tell me who my REAL celebrity boyfriend was, so I took it. There were only 5 questions, one of which was “Blonde or Brunette”? So the field was pretty open, apparently. After I answered “Brunette”, the little swirly thing swirled and then it came up with Zac Efron. No, Playbuzz—just NO. If anything, Zac Efron would be my celebrity CHILD. And that would be cool, but don’t tell K. “Won’t she see it here?” you ask. No, dear Reader, because the one person who DOESN’T read my posts is my own actual daughter. So maybe I DO need a celebrity child. I’ll bet Zac would read everything I wrote and say, “Hey Pretend-Mom, you are SO funny!”

So the other day at lunch, a bunch of us from work were discussing upcoming movies and other things, and I said I was totally pumped to see The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King’s novels and starring Idris Elba, so like two of my absolute favourite things all rolled into one. And then one of the women said, “Oh Idris Elba—he’s my celebrity husband.” And I was like, “No. NO. He’s MY celebrity husband! He’s been mine since I saw him in Luther.” Then another woman countered with, “No, he’s mine. He’s been MY celebrity husband since The Office.” I was immediately chagrined because I didn’t know that Idris Elba had even been on The Office, but I immediately offered to throw down with either of them. Then I took it back, because they’re both really nice people, and I still have Benedict Cumberbatch all to myself. ISN’T THAT RIGHT, LADIES?

Then I was telling Ken all about this, and he was like, “Am I allowed to have a celebrity wife?” I told him of course he was.

Me: Who would be your celebrity wife then?
Ken: Ummm. I don’t know.
Me: You can pick anyone. Who’s a movie star that you really like?
Ken: I can’t think of anyone.
Me: What about that woman who was in the movie we saw last night?
Ken: No. Oh wait—I’m going to say Nicole Karkic.
Me: Who the hell is Nicole Karkic?
Ken: She’s on The Weather Channel. She’s smart and she really knows her weather.
Me: You can’t pick someone from The Weather Channel!
Ken: Why not? You said I could pick anyone. There’s also that meteorologist on CTV News—she’s very reliable.
Me: OK, then…

I guess I should consider myself lucky to be married to a man who appreciates a woman who’s climate-savvy, instead of being all about her physical looks. Me, I also appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch’s…intelligence.

My Week 122: Racists Are Stupid

Friday: Racists are stupid.

So I’m probably not telling you something you don’t already know about racists with THAT title. I just wanted to reaffirm it for all of us. Oh, I’m sure there are some of them who claim to have high IQs, but still, they’re stupid in the ways that matter. On Friday night, Ken and I were watching TV and a show called “Marketplace” came on. It’s kind of an investigative news show, and it’s on CBC not Fox “News”, so you know it’s totally legit, because the CBC never lies. I think that’s actually their motto or something. Anyway, the show hired actors to portray white supremacist/neo-nazi types (by the way, spellcheck just told me to capitalize the “n” on nazi but I’m not going to, because nazis don’t deserve capitals. Then spellcheck tried to autocorrect the “n”, and now I’m worried about you, spellcheck.) They had fake T-shirts printed which said things like “White Power”, “White Pride World Wide”, and “Make Canada Great Again”, then they went to three places to see how many Canadians would buy them. First, they went to Alliston, Ontario, the home riding of current Progressive Conservative Leadership candidate and alt-right queen, Kellie Leitch. She’s the one who wants to screen immigrants, refugees, and visitors to Canada to make sure they have “Canadian Values”, values which, as evidenced by Marketplace, many Canadians don’t have themselves. Several people in Alliston bought the shirts, and Marketplace tried to interview them afterwards, without much success, except for one woman who said, “If you want to come here to support Canada, then support Canada—live our way. You know, if you’re not happy with it, keep it to yourself, celebrate your own way but don’t change who we are or what we stand for.” And Ken and I were like “Huh? Who is she talking about?” And this is why racists are stupid. The first thing I did when she said that was look up “Are immigrants to Canada happy?” According to a recent study by Statistics Canada, of the 43 immigrant groups who’ve come here, only 3 said they weren’t as happy as they were back home. One, Columbia was discounted, because they weren’t really happy in Columbia either. The other two were New Zealand and The Netherlands. So, is this who she’s referring to? Does she think wind turbines are the insidious Dutch way of trying to convert us to their crazy windmill religion? Or does she believe that New Zealanders want us to start speaking their own weird language (which is English, but maybe she thinks it SOUNDS foreign)? I jest, of course—you and I both know that, although she didn’t say it, she meant non-white people.

Another intellectual giant explained his purchase in this way: “Different races are trying to change our way of life that’s been going on for hundreds of years”. HUNDREDS. Canada has only been around since 1867, so is he talking about the Neanderthal way of life? I could understand this logic if he was a member of the First Nations, but no, he was just a stupid person. This whole idea of “Our way of life/don’t change who we are” is, again, alt-right propaganda. It usually rears its ugly head around Christmas, where social media is full of memes like, “If I say Merry Christmas, how many people aren’t afraid to say it back?” The answer is NO ONE. It’s CANADA. The Southeast Asian guy who owns the gas station on the corner of my small town had free coffee for all his customers on Christmas Day. The Muslims in the International Language School I used to run gave us Christmas cards before the holidays. No one is trying to change your way of life, scared white lady. Except maybe the atheists. After Christianity, which makes up 67% of Canadian religious affiliation, the next largest, and growing affiliation, is non-belief at almost 25%. All those other religions you’re so worried about make up 7.2 % of Canada’s population.

The second woman who bought a shirt said this gem: I am anti-immigration. I believe that we have to worry more about ourselves. Close the border completely. Don’t let anyone in. It’s MY opinion.

When the reporter questioned her further, she said she had nothing against non-white people; in fact, she “has a lot of coloured friends”. Somehow, I doubt that, just like I doubt her ability to get herself dressed in the morning without a little help. As I always say, her level of stupidity is so deep that I would get the bends trying to come up from it. I don’t know how long she’s been in Canada, but she should be happy that people didn’t have that attitude when HER ancestors came here. Could you imagine what Canada would look like today if the founding fathers had said, “OK, we’re good. No one else gets to come in”? We’d be a nation of 30 blind guys with no hands and tiny penises. Also, there would be no Tim Horton’s. Again, do your research, silly girl. Canada has a declining birth rate. Without immigrants, we will have no skilled workforce within 25 years. If you really want to close the border, you better start having lots of babies. But this is the thing that Kellie Leitch won’t tell you: Canada already has a very stringent screening process for immigrants, starting with “Find out if you’re eligible to immigrate to Canada”, which I just tried to fill in and pretty much failed because it kept telling me to fill in a particular field, which I did, but it kept saying to do it again and again until I gave up. So guess what, Canada? This 37-year-old single dude from Azerbaijan will NOT be immigrating any time soon. (I’m not sure where Azerbaijan is—it was just the last country that started with A and it sounded cool).

I was watching SNL last night, and the host, Aziz Ansari, referred to the new phenomenon, the “kkk lite”, people who don’t dress in creepy costumes but who hold the same kind of attitudes. Except until now, they just pretended NOT to be racist. Now, they feel empowered to buy racist T-shirts in public, and say “It’s MY opinion,” like they have the right to be morons. I was on Twitter yesterday, and I saw Richard Spencer, a self-proclaimed “white nationalist” or “kkk lite” guy, get punched in the face while he was being interviewed by reporters. First, why the hell is ANYONE interviewing this douche-canoe? Why does anyone care what the little weasel thinks? Second, he looked really hurt, not physically but like EMOTIONALLY, after he got cold-cocked, like he wanted to cry because he couldn’t believe it had happened. Personally, I can’t believe it doesn’t happen more OFTEN. And the fact that he didn’t believe he deserved to be punched in the face for being a racist twat tells you how stupid he is.

Imaginary conversation with the kkk lite.

Me: Why are you dressed like a cheap-ass ghost? You know Hallowe’en isn’t until October, right?
kkk guy: I’m not a ghost. I’m a wizard. A grand wizard.
Me: Whoa there, Hogwarts. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. You haven’t done any magic yet. Can you turn lead into gold? Where’s your wand? Is it hiding under your Ikea bed sheet?
kkk guy: Ergh. Immigrants are taking all the good jobs.
Me: What? You can’t even do a card trick. You’re a sh*tty wizard–an immigrant could do YOUR job better.
kkk guy: Please don’t punch me.

But it’s not all bad. For every racist who bought a T-shirt, whether it was in Alliston, downtown Toronto, or Barrie, Ontario, there were plenty of other people who confronted the actors to tell them they were offensive, called the police, or yelled at them to f*ck off with their racism because “This is Canada.” Let’s hope so. But what I really want to know is this: if Kelly Leitch, through some bizarre set of Trumpian circumstances, does become the Prime Minister of Canada, will she also deport people who don’t adhere to the values of tolerance, freedom of religion, and equality like the idiots on Marketplace? Now, THAT would be smart.

(Just for the record, I compiled all the information above by researching it on something called “the internet”. I wish people would use it more often, before they say stupid things like, “Immigrants are taking all the good jobs”, or Kevin O’Leary will Make Canada Great Again.” It’s already great, thanks.)

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! 

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.

 

My Week 107: Justin Who?

Sunday: Shocked by a hairdresser

I realize that when you read the above title, you might be worried that a) I was getting a haircut and the hairdresser, ignoring the warning labels, simultaneously stuck the hairdryer in the sink whilst grabbing my arm, thus giving both of us a nasty jolt or b) that the haircut went out of control and I ended up with a mohawk. Neither is true—my hair looks pretty much like it always does, and not like a troll doll OR Johnny Rotten. Here’s what actually happened:

The back of my hair was looking a little scruffy. I keep it cut fairly close to the back of my neck, and I don’t like seeing little wisps sticking out the side. It was getting too long though, so I called my usual awesome hairdresser, Emily, but she’s SO good that you have to book her well in advance. Normally, she can fit me in for a neck trim, but she was jammed with appointments. So I said to her, “Is it OK if I just go to one of those First Choice places?” because why WOULDN’T I ask permission from my hairdresser to go somewhere else? I know a lot of you totally get that. She was very understanding, so off I went to the local plaza.

When I pulled up, things looked pretty quiet. There were a couple of guys getting clippered, and I thought I might have to wait for a while, but then another woman, whose nametag read “Cathy” (well, it actually didn’t, but I don’t want to use her real name) came out of the back. She took my name and led me to her chair. I explained what I wanted. She said, “No problem , hun,” and started spraying water on me. Then she stopped and looked perplexed. “I guess I need my scissors,” she said, looking around. I said nothing, because I’ve learned that, given enough time, most people can figure things like that out for themselves. In truth, I saw a pair of scissors in her Barbicide container, but I just REALLY wanted to know how long it would take her. “Oh, there they are!” she laughed, 36.6 seconds later.

barbicide

She started snipping away, and seemed to be doing a passable job. Behind us, a man was getting a buzzcut and chatting with HIS stylist, whom he seemed to know. “Where are you going after?” she asked him.

“Downtown for the kegtapping,” he said. “Justin’s going to be there.”

“Cool,” she replied. “I wish I could go, but I have more appointments this afternoon.”

“I wish I could go,” I said to MY hairdresser. “I’d love to see Justin.”

“Justin who?” she answered.

I was a little taken aback, because it had been on the local news, but I said, “Justin Trudeau. He’s in town to ceremoniously “tap the keg” for Oktoberfest.”

“Oh,” she said. “I don’t know who that is. Is he famous or something?”

“Um,” I paused. “He’s the Prime Minister.”

“What, like OUR Prime Minister? Sorry, I don’t really follow politics.” Then she laughed. Not in a “just kidding” way, but in a slightly embarrassed kind of way.

“Who does, right?” I answered. “But he’s no Donald Trump, I can tell you that.”

At which point, she says, “I know! That guy’s crazy!! Did you hear what he did yesterday?”

So I was shocked, as I said at the beginning. But then I thought it made sense for two reasons. First, she “doesn’t follow politics” and what’s happening with the Trump campaign isn’t really politics—it’s a circus side show. Last week, I referred to Trump’s clown car, but then I saw on TV that he actually has a train. It’s called the “Trump Train” and the conductors are woman in pink shirts who yell, “Choo Choo, Trump Train, Choo Choo Trump Train.” They might think it’s cute, but they’re really setting themselves up for “derailing” jokes. Personally, I’d rather ride Via Business Class, and you know how I feel about THAT. Second, Canadians are blessed with a political leader in Trudeau who is and has been scandal-free, so no wonder he’s not more prevalent in the news. Because from what I’ve seen, the only way to catch the attention of the Canadian media these days is to say outrageous things and look like a Cheeto. So no wonder my poor hairdresser had no clue who Justin is—he’s actually focused on policy, both domestic and foreign, which doesn’t get him ANY traction with the media here, or anywhere else. On the other hand, our national affiliates are absolutely obsessed with Trump, reporting on his every ridiculous move, his most recent stupid statement. This morning, for example, he’s claiming the election is rigged, and that Hillary was on drugs during the last debate. “OMG,” everyone says, and rolls their eyes. “What will he do next?!” (That’s in Canada. Down in the States, half the population is screaming, “We knew it!! Hillary’s a dope fiend!!). At any rate, I’m happy that our Justin, like all truly competent politicians, keeps quietly plugging away, or tapping away, as the case may be. And I’ll bet HIS hairdresser knows who he is.

(Just for the record, this is a criticism of the Canadian media, NOT the hairdressing profession. In fact, my regular stylist, Emily (which IS her real name and you should totally go to her), is 22 years old, owns her own business, and is extremely well-informed about world issues. She’s also very well-read, and likes to discuss books while she’s wrapping my hair in foil.)

Friday: Fire Drill fun

On Thursday, I was in the elevator and two guys got on. “Don’t forget about the fire drill tomorrow,” one of them said to the other.

“Oh,” I said. “Is it in the morning or afternoon?”

“Afternoon,” he answered. “Stay close to your coat—it’s supposed to be chilly.”

So that was a great heads-up, except that I almost immediately forgot about it until the next afternoon, when suddenly, the fire alarm went off. Everyone looked around nonchalantly, but then an announcement came over the PA system: “A fire alarm has been activated on Parking Level 2. The fire department has been dispatched. Exit the building immediately.” Then people started to get a little panicky. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I heard two guys talking about a drill yesterday in the elevator. I’m sure the announcement is just a trick or something.” But that didn’t seem to make people feel better, and then everyone started walking quickly towards the exit. Notice that I said “exit” singular, and not “exits” plural. Because, even though my office is in an 18-story building, there’s only ONE way out. Down the stairs. Along with EVERYONE ELSE who works in the building. And after meandering slowly down numerous double flights of stairs in a huge crowd of people I didn’t know, I commented to my co-worker, “This is crazy. If there was a real fire, we’d all be in serious trouble.” She replied, “Why the hell didn’t I change out of these heels?” which was a completely legit question, since our secret agency meeting place was on a side street two city blocks away. I suppose that’s in an attempt to disguise our identities, you know, like we’re just a group of tourists who happened to stop for a chat behind Loblaw’s. Nothing to see here; just move along. Ignore the man carrying the encrypted laptop. But then things got a little worrisome. Not because of the fire—at this point it became very clear that it was, in fact, a drill—but because there was no sign of any firetrucks. A ripple of dissatisfaction ran through the crowd.

“Where are the firefighters? We were promised firefighters!”

“If I had to walk down 15 flights of stairs, there should at least be firefighters!”

“What’s going on? Does anyone hear sirens?”

“This is ridiculous! You can’t just lie about calling the fire department! It’s not fair!”

And this wasn’t just the women. Men like firetrucks too, you know. But after a little while, we were all distracted by our Head of Human Resources, a very dapper guy who was now wearing not only his suit and tie, but a rather bold red ballcap with the words, “Fire Marshall” on it. We flocked to him to have our names checked off (to ensure none of us had perished in the fake fire?) and went back to the building. The elevators were back in service. 4 elevators for an eighteen-story building. It took a little while, but we finally all squeezed on at the ground floor, cheering and laughing. Then the elevator suddenly stopped at the sixth floor. We were all puzzled until the doors opened:

“Marcel!!” we all cheered. There was Marcel, one of our French co-workers, with a huge grin on his face. “I t’ought ze best t’ing would be to go up ze stairs partway. And ‘ere you are!”  With that, we welcomed him aboard and went back to work.

This might seem inconsequential or anti-climactic, but I tell this story to illustrate a point. That, given the state of some parts of the world right now, I am always grateful when the worst DOESN’T happen, when it’s a drill and not a tragedy, when the door opens and it’s a friend, when I get to spend time with people who see the humour in things, and when “another day at the office” is a good day. Even if there weren’t any firefighters.

My Week 97: Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Casual Conversations

olympic ringsFriday: The Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Ken and I, like many people, love the Olympics. Well, we kind of have to, because during the Olympics there’s absolutely nothing else to watch on TV, aside from reruns of Big Bang Theory and Murdoch Mysteries. Last night, of course, was the Opening Ceremonies, and I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but Canadian TV stations were doing a countdown all day, and interviewing athletes, their parents, officials, politicians, and anyone else with a remote connection to the Games, including the guy who designed the Vancouver Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The commentator asked him if he was secretly hoping that the Rio Ceremonies wouldn’t be quite as good as the ones he designed, but he was very gracious, saying, “Of course not—all these ceremonies are different and special in their own way.” I don’t know about you, but after watching the Rio Opening Ceremonies, I was like “I don’t know about special, but it was certainly different.” Half of that was Rio’s fault, but the other half sits squarely on the shoulders of the Canadian commentators—between them all, it was like watching “End of Days” narrated by two of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. I’ve never seen so much doom and gloom at what’s supposed to be a joyous celebration before. Let me run it down for you:

The Canadian broadcast started with a video about the Games—I don’t know who made it, but I think the person could use a few lessons on “tone”. It began with the juxtaposition between the shiny Olympic facility and the gravely impoverished people who live just “steps away”. Cut to pictures of small children half-clothed and playing in the dirt. It was like a World Vision commercial—I almost expected a 1-800 number and Sarah McLaughlin singing “In the Arms of an Angel” in the background. Apparently, Brazil’s economy is tanking, they are rife with crime and conflict, and their environment is a disaster, according to this introduction, which then attempted to end on a “cheery note” with the idea that the Olympic Games is a source of hope for all Brazilians. I was like, “I sure as hell hope so, since they just threw what little money they apparently had left on this thing. They better win a sh*tload of medals because that will for sure make up for the lack of housing, food, and clean water.” It was the most depressing start to an Olympic Ceremony I’ve ever seen, but Ken and I were hopeful that once the festivities got started, things would improve. Things didn’t.

It began with people dressed as giant tinfoil bags.

Me: Why are they dressed in tinfoil tents?
Ken: Maybe it’s all they could afford.
Me: Maybe it represents all the garbage in the water. Is that a giant crab puppet?
Ken: Spider? Not sure. I think the commentator called this scene “Peace for the Earth”.
Me: Oh. That’s nice.

But the “nice” didn’t last long. Indigenous people arrived and started dancing and creating traditional tribal huts out of long bungee type cords (I’d heard earlier in the day from someone involved in the ceremonies that they were long rubber bands from an underwear factory) when suddenly the commentator announced (a little too enthusiastically I thought), “And here we have the European Invasion!” Menacing looking sailors on giant ships appeared—apparently that was the Portuguese coming to Brazil. The Indigenous people let go of their underwear bands and the camera panned to the other end of the arena, where giant hamster wheels had appeared, followed by a train of people wearing heavy blocks on their feet. “And of course, the Europeans brought slaves with them!” announced the commentator excitedly. “Many Brazilian cultures were first brought here against their will!” Things were getting frightening at this point, and I was feeling too sad to keep watching. But then the Japanese appeared. In complete contrast to the rest of the group, they were wearing white robes, and dancing while carrying red and white flags. And they were smiling. “Brazil has the second largest Japanese population in the world outside of Japan!” the commentator informed us. I guess they were the only cultural group not brought there against their will, judging by the fact that they didn’t look terrified. (The Japanese Women’s Rugby Team was still smiling today, even though they got their asses handed to them by Canada, in a 45-0 game. I’ve never seen a team so happy to just be on the field. It was absolutely heart-warming and completely in keeping with the Olympic spirit). Anyway, things got crazy at that point. I was jotting down notes on my phone, which I think will best convey my utter confusion at this point:

Parkour dancers building a wall. Is that a plane? Did it really just fly out of the stadium? Ken’s asleep. Wait, it was only a video. Brazil’s “second most favourite song”? What’s the first? Why is Gisele Bundchen here? Isn’t she German? Check Google. No, she’s Brazilian. She’s walking a loooong way. Still not there yet. God, that girl can stomp a catwalk, even at her age. Wow, she’s STILL walking.

Cutaway from Gisele to dubstep and twerking. The commentators are quiet—maybe they’re not sure what to say. Cut to commercial. Damn you Proctor and Gamble, making me cry with your Olympic mom commercials. Multi-coloured Chewbaccas and Tickle Me Elmos. 1500 dancers. More commercials featuring Morgan Freeman.  Finally, a video—it’s an indictment of global warming. Ironic, coming from a country whose water is so disgusting that the plants the kids are carrying would die if you watered them with it.

Then, just as suddenly as it began, it all stopped. The announcement came: Greece!

The parade of nations had begun. Now, this was the part that should have been the most joyous, and it would have been, except the Canadian announcers kept trying to fill airspace with random facts about each country. And in keeping with the overall tone of the evening, the facts were mostly random, bizarre, or depressing. Here are some highlights of the things we learned:

Albania: “They had a wrestler thrown out during the last Olympics for using the same steroids as disgraced Canadian runner Ben Johnson.”
Argentina: “The Argentinians are not very popular in Brazil, you know.”
Benin: “Apparently, they’re the unhappiest people in the world.”
Bermuda:  “You know, they ALWAYS wear shorts.”
Bosnia: “I hear their Olympic Stadium is still lying in ruins.”
Bulgaria: “Their entire weightlifting team has been banned for doping!”
Burundi: “Looks like they’ve run out of bicycles.”
Canada: “Ooh, here’s Canada!”
Qatar: We got nothing about Qatar because the commentators were still talking about Canada.
China: “The only time they lost a diving medal was to Canada. HAHAHA!”
Comoros: “As an island nation, they’re particularly worried about the rising seas.”
South Korea: “They’re here in their special anti-Zika uniforms. Good thinking.”
Croatia: “Wow, they LOVE their water polo.”
Denmark: “She’s only the third woman in Danish history to carry the flag. They tried to stop her from coming but she appealed.”
Dominica: “They’ve never won a medal. They have two athletes here, so only two chances this time!”
Egypt: “Remember the scandal in 2012 when they got caught wearing fake Nike uniforms?”
Micronesia: “That’s one tiny country.”
Estonia: “They have blonde triplet marathoners. You can’t miss them!”
Fiji: “He started playing rugby using a coconut. You can’t write this stuff!”
The Gs were ignored while one commentator went off on a rant about the irony of the Environmental theme when Rio was “plagued by pollution.”

Iran: “You don’t often hear funny stories about Iran, but here’s one…”
Iraq: “All 22 athletes are men. Gender equity, anyone?”
Liberia: “The terrible Ebola crisis…”
Libya: “Never won a medal.”
Nepal: “One team member lived in a tent for a month.”
North Korea: “The mysterious North Koreans. Did you know they say that Kim Jong Un bowled a 300 in his very first game? They claim he’d never bowled before.”
Russia: “Systematic doping. I’ll bet they’re the cleanest team in Rio now.”
Syria: “Dreadful, bloody conflict…”
Solomon Islands:  “They have a lot of sailors. Ron MacLean has a boat. Do you think he ever takes Don Cherry sailing?”
Tonga: “Look at their flagbearer. He’s all oiled up. He looks hot. Or he’s a show-off.”
Turkmenistan: “80% of the country is covered in desert.”
Turkey: “THEY won’t be hosting the games any time soon.”
And finally Brazil: “They’ve never been off the podium for beach volleyball!”

Next, it was time for the speeches. Unfortunately, The Big Bang Theory was on, and at that point, god, I needed a laugh, so we switched channels. I know that the Opening Ceremonies is a time for a country to showcase itself to the world, and I guess Brazil has more problems than some people, myself included, were really aware of. Hopefully, an expose of the economic and environmental conditions that exist there will lead to some kind of action. And speaking of action, the games are now in progress, and it’s already apparent that the doom and gloom of the kick-off is already overshadowed by the quality of the athletics and the character of the athletes, which is always the point anyway. And I’m sure the Closing Ceremonies will be a little more uplifting—after all, Brazil is guaranteed a medal for beach volleyball.

olympic rings

Thursday: Conversations

Ken: Did you hear the latest? People are upset that Justin Trudeau was taking pictures with his shirt off.
Me: Wasn’t he out jogging in the forest when someone asked him to pose with them?
Ken: I know right? Someone said, “Oh, his father would NEVER have posed shirtless.” But I just googled it and found like 4 shots of Pierre Elliot Trudeau without a shirt on WHILE he was Prime Minister.
Me: I’m confused. If it’s OK for Melania, why isn’t it OK for Justin? The shaming must stop. Besides, Putin did it first. On a horse.

Ken: I think I know that woman. She’s a retired principal. I think I was at a workshop with her.
Me: I thought she must be a stockbroker, what with the aviator sunglasses and the Bluetooth earpiece. Does anybody else even use those things anymore? At any rate, that’s a gorgeous Mustang convertible she’s driving.
Ken: Wouldn’t you love a car like that?
Me: No way. It’s, like, unseemly at my age.
Ken: Why?
Me: It’s OK for a teenager. If you’re a teenage boy and you drive a car like that, everyone’s like “Wow—good for you! You’ve hit the big time!” If you’re an older woman, you’re just showing off. It’s ostentatious.
Ken: But you have a sporty car.
Me: It’s a Chevy. No one is ever like, “Oh my god, look at that Chevy hatchback!” Yes, it’s cute and sporty, but it doesn’t scream “I have more money than brains.”
Ken: It’s still a nice car.
Me: Convertibles make your hair messy as f*ck.
Ken: Jealous much?
Me: Sigh. Yeah.

Me: I don’t know how to finish my blog.
K: How about “See ya, nerds!”
Me: Right. I’ll be sure to try that.

See ya, nerds:-)

 

My Week 96: A Salty Mystery, Ikea Cultural Kitchens

Thursday: Life’s little mysteries

I’ve certainly had my share of mysterious events throughout my life, and if you come here regularly, you’ll have heard about the inexplicable presence of long, blonde hairs in my condo, the strange case of the missing earring back, or the sudden appearance of a deer’s jawbone in my backyard. But what happened on Thursday night tops it all. And that’s not just a bloggy clickbait to get you to keep reading—it was truly the most random thing imaginable, and I’ve yet to find an explanation, either plausible or implausible, to account for it. Here’s the scene:

Ken and I were watching the Democratic National Convention. No, that’s not the weird thing. I mean, yes, it’s a little weird how I’ve been watching both conventions obsessively, since I’m Canadian. But I just find American politics fascinating in the same way that some people can’t seem to look away from a car crash. And right now, American politics is as close to a train wreck as you could possibly get. I can’t even write about Donald Trump anymore, because nothing I invent even comes close to the sh*t he actually says. I recently re-read some of my previous posts about Trump—the wall (Week 49), his first meeting with Justin Trudeau (Week 64), his conversations with other five-year-olds (Week 88)—and they all seem extremely, nay frighteningly, realistic. Aside from my imagining of Kanye West as his VP pick, I might as well be channeling him directly. On the other side of the aisle is Hillary Clinton, who I know virtually nothing about. Well, except for the bizarre nicknames that Trump has for her, like “Crooked Hillary”, which isn’t even particularly creative. Although I think if he went with something more sophisticated and alliterative, like “Heinous Hillary”, none of his supporters would know what he meant, since the vast majority of them look utterly baffled when he says anything other than “wall” or “muslim,” or “Constitution”. So after watching the gong show that was the RNC, I really wanted to see what the Democrats would be like in comparison. The DNC was certainly more upbeat—nary a hint of an appearance by the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse—but the reporters all kept talking about how Hillary needed to be seen as more human, which I thought was strange, given that Trump is simply a caricature and compared to him, my fish is more human. (There Mishima—I gave you an honourable mention. Now you can stop whining about how I talk more about the dog and cat than I do about you.)

I believe it was partway through Katy Perry’s performance on Thursday night when I first ran my fingers through my hair. You know, the way people do when they’re relaxing, and maybe a little bored, waiting for something interesting to happen, like a Bernie Sanders supporter disrupting the performance by running across the stage naked, a la the streaking fad of the 70s. But something felt weird—on my head, that is. It felt like there were grains of sand in my hair. I pulled one out, and looked at it closely. It was clear and crystalline. I put it in my mouth, bit down on it and realized it wasn’t sand. It was SALT. I had salt in my hair. A LOT of grains of salt. I turned to Ken:

Me: WTF?! I have salt in my hair!
Ken: How did you get salt in your hair?
Me: You tell ME!
Ken: Were you shaking the salt shaker really vigorously at dinner? Maybe some of the salt flew up in the air, and landed in your hair.
Me: I think you and K would have noticed if I was using a salt shaker like I was playing the maracas. This is insane. How could I get this much salt in my hair?

At this point, I actually Googled “salt in hair” to see if there was some rare, little-known disease that might cause one’s body to spontaneously produce salt crystals. All I got was “using Epsom salts as a hair rinse to prevent dandruff”. Which I had definitely NOT done. My only choice was to bend over and shake all the salt out of my hair. It was so distracting that I only paid half-attention to Hillary Clinton’s speech. From what I could tell as I was upside-down, she seemed to have better and more specific plans for America than Trump, from whose platform I could only discern that “things are gonna be SO good”. And despite the criticism of the guy on PBS who kept trying to mansplain to the two female PBS anchors that Hillary’s speech was flat, I thought she came off as VERY human. I, on the other hand, seemed to have turned into Lot’s wife.

The next day at lunch, I was still freaked out by what had happened, and I decided that maybe K had played a joke on me.

Me: I have to ask you a really weird question. I swear I’m being serious.
K (suspiciously): Um, OK. What?
Me: Last night at dinner, did you shake salt into my hair when I wasn’t looking? Like, as a joke?
K: (laughing hysterically): What?! Did I do what?!
Me: Don’t laugh! I found a sh*tload of salt in my hair last night and I don’t know where it came from.
K: How did you know it was salt?
Me: I tasted it.
K: What?! Why would you TASTE it?!
Me: BECAUSE I NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT IT WAS!
K: What if it was poison?!
Me: Why would anyone sprinkle poisonous salt in my hair? Just be honest. Did you sneak up behind me and do it?
K: No, Mom. I did not put salt in your hair.

I still have no idea where all that salt came from. I’m going to file this under Life’s Little Mysteries, along with the blonde hair in my condo, the missing earring back, the deer jawbone, and how Donald Trump became the Republican candidate for president.

salt

Friday: Ikea Cultural Kitchens

Currently, there’s a commercial playing non-stop on TV here for Ikea Kitchens. In the commercial, a large Italian family has gotten together for dinner. Everyone is running around to the strains of “Mezza Voce”, trying to prepare the meal. Suddenly, a tiny grandmother dressed all in black appears, and tastes the spaghetti sauce. The music abruptly stops, as she yells “Tutti Fuore!” which means “Everyone Out!”, and the whole family scatters in fear as the music swells up and resumes. I guess they were making sh*tty spaghetti sauce or something, and she’s going to fix it with her magical Italian grandma powers. I don’t know a lot about Italian culture, but their grandmas seem pretty scary, according to Ikea, which seems to be doing a lot of heavy stereotyping in the commercial. And then I wondered how Ikea would portray other cultures in the kitchen, like, say, my own cultural backgrounds of English and Scottish…

A large Scottish family has gotten together for dinner. Everyone is having a wee dram, and sword-dancing to the strains of bagpipe music. Suddenly, a stocky grandmother dressed in the clan tartan appears. She peers into the oven. The bagpipes stop abruptly—well, they kind of just die off, like the last gasps of a large farm animal—as she announces, “The haggis is no done yet!” and slams shuts the oven door. Everyone sighs and there are mutters of “Thank God”, and “Pour me another dram, Jimmy.” Someone hands the grandma a tumbler of Scotch. She tosses it back, and the bagpipes resume, like a large farm animal which has been suddenly been revived.

A large English family has gotten together for dinner. Everyone is enjoying a nice cup of tea whilst singing “God Save the Queen” acapella. Suddenly, a bespectacled grandmother appears, wearing a cardigan and slippers. She peers into the oven. Everyone keeps singing until the song is finished, because you never leave the Queen hanging. Then they look expectantly at the grandmother, who says. “Dear me, the roast isn’t quite gray enough yet. And I believe those potatoes need to boil for at least another half an hour.” The family nods in agreement and there are calls of “Very well, then,” and “Cheerio”. Someone mutters, “Couldn’t we just order an Indian take-out?” The grandmother looks stern and pours herself a small glass of sherry, as the group begins to sing “Jerusalem.”

Ikea: Swedish for common sense. And stereotypes.