Monthly Archives: September 2005

Walk With Loo

Thumbnail: Statue looking up

Thumbnail: Night building

Thumbnail: War memorial

Three pic­tures.

There’s so much to say, but noth­ing comes out. I think I’m still in shock. When I think that things have passed, this hap­pens. Complete ambiva­lence has turned to incon­clu­sive­ness. All I know is that I’m still a suck­er for those two lit­tle words. There’s solace in the hope that oth­er things will work out, that they would­n’t have hap­pened, had things not end­ed up like this. Now all that’s left is clut­ter of ques­tions.

Karma makes me ask who I’ve wronged so great­ly to deserve this. At the same time, it’s an open-end­ed answer that does­n’t give me what I’m look­ing for, or make me feel any bet­ter.

And what do I do now, when all I have left are mem­o­ries that may fade like old pho­tographs sit­ting in the sun?

I'm Seeing Louise Tomorrow

We haven’t spo­ken in months.

I still think about her, but isn’t that how it usu­al­ly goes? You think about the last girl­friend until the next one comes along, ad infini­tum.

Sometimes I think about the oppor­tu­ni­ties I’ve missed with her. Never hav­ing a chance to attend one of her par­ties, a mys­te­ri­ous, eso­teric rit­u­al that both fright­ened and excit­ed me when­ev­er I heard about it. Never get­ting to use the beau­ti­ful rope she bought before she left for the final, extend­ed break. Never being able to leave her bound and blind­fold­ed in her own clos­et, the secret lit­tle fan­ta­sy we both shared. All the things that I took my time with, think­ing I’d have a chance even­tu­al­ly, expect­ing the rela­tion­ship to work.

But even­tu­al­ly nev­er came.

Sometimes I have to remind myself how much she hurt me. On some days it’s eas­i­er than oth­ers. How much I changed and grew and was brave for her, only to have her con­stant­ly put me down. I tried my best, did the most I could, but it was nev­er enough. Her com­plete lack of faith was more than dis­cour­ag­ing, it was insult­ing.

Yet she was the girl­friend I respect­ed the most, the only one I could talk to about any­thing with­out being afraid of los­ing her in sub­ject mat­ter. The girl­friend who taught me the most, who played an inte­gral part in giv­ing me the sense of strength and respon­si­bil­i­ty I feel today. I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out if it was all worth it, whether I’d learn these thing even­tu­al­ly, or whether the expe­ri­ence was unique. I sus­pect I’ll find out in time.

It’s sup­posed to be sun­ny tomor­row. The begin­ning of fall, car­ry­ing the tran­si­tion­al tem­per­a­tures of sum­mer, is always pleas­ant­ly cool. We’ll be strolling along the stores and restau­rants of Elgin, and I’ll be tak­ing my video cam­era in hopes of get­ting some footage of the sand­bag angels at the Confederation Park.

Jeff The Stylist

So what are the plans for tonight?”, he asks me, wet­ting my hair in the wash­basin before work­ing the sham­poo into my scalp.

Nothing much. My flat­mate has a friend over from back home, so we’ll prob­a­bly head out lat­er. Maybe the Honest Lawyer.”

It was a com­plete lie. Trolley was telling me about being at the Lawyer the night before, so it was the first thing that came to mind. Kate’s here, sure enough, but there were no plans.

Even though we share the same name, we live in dif­fer­ent worlds. Jeff looks like he’s been carved out of mar­ble, shoul­ders exag­ger­at­ed­ly broad with a stiff­ened super­hero gait. His facial hair is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly gruff but hand­some, always trimmed in way that shows he takes care of his appear­ance. The styl­ist who always has some form of colour in his hair, whether it’s spikes or high­lights or chunks, and looks like he could pass for any­thing between 20 to 30.

Once, after walk­ing me over to the hydraulic chair, one of the slim­mer ones that are found in salons instead of bar­ber­shops, we start­ed to dis­cuss the lack of decent met­al bands from Canada. I told him that I was look­ing for more Breach Of Trust songs online (Jeff has the two first albums), which prompt­ed him to ask, “You have a com­put­er?”, with­out a sin­gle pause of the sheers.

The ques­tion left me dumb­found­ed. It took me a few moments to real­ize that not every­one has a com­put­er, my bias com­ing from the fact that my friends all have one, being a grad­u­ate of comp sci. Almost every­one I know is also in an eco­nom­ic class to be able to afford such a lux­u­ry, with a lifestyle to actu­al­ly have a use for one.

Last time, he told me about run­ning out of dis­pos­able dish­es, not own­ing more than a pair of plates he received as a tip once, and a tea stained mug, both of which have fall­en into desue­tude. “I’ve nev­er liked to do the dish­es”, he flat­ly stat­ed.

In a reac­tionary man­ner, I asked him, “You don’t have a dish­wash­er?”, regret­ting the words the moment they came out of my mouth. “Oh god no”, was his insou­ciant reply, as if he’d have no use for it, even if he had one. As soon as I asked, I real­ized the insen­si­tiv­i­ty of my ques­tion, that not every­one would want a dish­wash­er, as strange as it seemed at the time. I’m at a point where I’d have a hard time liv­ing with­out one now, and an even hard­er time bring­ing a girl home, cook­ing a meal, and serv­ing it to her on paper plates. A dish­wash­er has become a neces­si­ty for me, sim­ply based on lifestyle, much like a com­put­er. Sometimes it seems like I spend my life on my com­put­er, and Jeff’s a per­son who lives com­plete­ly with­out one. If I told him I did­n’t have a car, I’m sure he would find it just as strange.

It was a star­tling real­iza­tion. I don’t know many peo­ple with­out a col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty degree, with­out a long-term career or fam­i­ly plan. I don’t know any­one still liv­ing the bach­e­lor life, hap­py to go out every night, and eat off dis­pos­able dish­es. Jeff seems like a great guy, reserved until he feels out his clients, but friend­ly. I don’t know any­one like him, although I’m sure that there are many just like him.

And every time he cuts my hair, at the start of every appoint­ment dur­ing the rit­u­al wash­ing, he asks about my plans for the night. Usually I tell him the truth. Nothing. It’s a week­night, and I just worked a full day. That’s when he lets me know about his own plans, which gen­er­al­ly con­sist of going out and drink­ing in some form or anoth­er.

But that day, I lied. It was a Saturday, and who does­n’t have plans on a Saturday night? I only feel guilty about it now, after being able to under­stand where he’s com­ing from. It’s only fair that I’m as hon­est with him as he is with me.

Even if we do live two total­ly dif­fer­ent lives. Even if he may not under­stand.

Oh, The Humanity

Although not in any nar­ra­tive Herbert Morrison sense.

I had a dif­fer­ent entry half-writ­ten, but the dark­ness was debil­i­tat­ing. All I want­ed was a sec­ond sun; it felt like a case of SAD because the night was mak­ing me both anx­ious and uneasy. It’s noth­ing close to a pan­ic attack, but it was bad enough that I felt com­pelled to called Pat to help talk me out of it. He’s one of the only peo­ple I can count on 24/7, and just talk­ing to him for an hour helps me fig­ure out more about the world than three months of writ­ing here. I know my eye­s’ll feel like lead weights tomor­row for stay­ing up this late, but I need to get this entry down before I lose it. Hopefully, know­ing that it’s Friday will be enough to keep me alive through the day.

Self-improve­ment has dri­ven me for most of my life, a nev­er-end­ing goal that’s guid­ed me through my actions and beliefs. This is usu­al­ly based on com­par­i­son, since improve­ment is always rel­a­tive. Those who can accom­plish what I have dif­fi­cul­ty doing always have my respect, and give me some­thing to work towards.

Before I com­plain about get­ting six hours of sleep the pre­vi­ous night, I think of Navy SEALs who get four hours total dur­ing Hell Week, a five day under­wa­ter train­ing exer­cise dur­ing the first phase of the BUD/S. That’s when I real­ize that I should be able to sur­vive an extra hour of work with­out much dif­fi­cul­ty. When I feel like throw­ing my hands in the air after work­ing on an ad for four hours, blind­ed by the depth with which I’ve star­ing at the mate­r­i­al, I think of my boss who can work through count­less inter­rup­tions and dis­trac­tions. That’s when I real­ize that I should keep at my work, because per­se­ver­ance will almost always yield results.

If I can sur­vive it, any­thing can make me stronger.

But as I dis­cov­ered tonight, every­one has their weak­ness­es. Even Pat. He’s always seemed as sol­id as a rock, com­plete­ly unfal­ter­ing, but he admit­ted that there are also moments of weak­ness, how­ev­er brief. Times when he can’t get any work done because some­thing is both­er­ing him that he can’t let go. Times when he just does­n’t feel like going out or social­iz­ing. To find this out about Pat, was to dis­cov­er that the most cheer­ful, friend­ly, con­fi­dent, and men­tal­ly strong per­son I know has his off days. Even the hard­est work­ing, most pro­duc­tive per­son I know occa­sion­al­ly falls vic­tim to a case of the Mondays or the 9–5 grind. There must be some sem­blance of bal­ance, in how much to push one­self, and how much to accept.

To strive for per­fec­tion is fine, but to lose sleep over imper­fec­tion is fool­ish.

Being a dom­i­nant, respon­si­ble for anoth­er per­son, means that one should be sol­id as often as pos­si­ble, but even this extreme case should allow for some lee­way. This does­n’t mean that I won’t try as hard in my attempt at dom­i­nance, but know­ing this cer­tain­ly makes the approach, and even self-improve­ment in gen­er­al, much eas­i­er.

Some may say that it’s a fal­la­cy to com­pare one­self to oth­er peo­ple. After all, every­one has dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties and tol­er­ance lev­els, and it’s no fault to born bet­ter at some things than oth­ers.

But even then, every­body’s human.

Keeping Myself Occupied Has Been Easy

Some things fall in my lap, oth­ers I active­ly seek out. It’s keep­ing track of every­thing that’s get­ting dif­fi­cult.

Too busy to think. Too busy to write.

I have to remind myself that that’s what I want­ed.

And here I am, turn­ing over in my head the idea of moon­light­ing at a home­ly used book store that’s a five minute walk from my house. Stuck to the glass door is a notice for part-time help dur­ing the week­end, that I pass by every time I go gro­cery shop­ping. I walked in there once and bought a Penguin Classics copy of The Odyssey for $1.45, because I lost my old copy from high school long ago. I’ve always want­ed to work at a cof­fee shop, but gave up on that idea after apply­ing to one a few years ago and find­ing out that my résumé end­ed up in the garbage, was picked out because of a good word put in by a friend, and prompt­ly placed back in the garbage again. In hind­sight, I’m glad I was­n’t hired because I would have quit before the train­ing was over. It was only some­thing to hold me over until I could find some­thing with a bet­ter career that’s more in line with my edu­ca­tion, which is exact­ly what I found two weeks lat­er. A book­store seems like a good alter­na­tive.

Aaron and Shirley are both encour­ag­ing me to go for it. The for­mer thinks that it’ll be a good change from the reg­u­lar 9–5 that I do, and a job that I can use to relax. The lat­ter is telling me it’ll be fun, and that she’ll pur­sue her own dream job as a wait­ress (moon­light­ing as well) if I apply to this one.

I’m still con­sid­er­ing.