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.