Sunday, December 31, 2006

farewell to nova scotia

After the initial turmoil and culture shock of being home, things smoothed out. I spent a little time with a couple of friends that are still around but most of the time I spent at home with the family. Today I met my old roommate Roshan, from my third year of University. We've been in touch periodically but I haven't seen her in over five years. Nothing's changed except that neither of us smoke any more and we both have a regular paycheck. I don't even think we look any older than we did way back when we lived in the upper flat of the old victorian. I can't remember exactly what year it was, but I remember they read out OJ's verdict while I was walking home from campus. People in their cars shouted 'not guilty' and I walked faster so I could get back and turn on the television.

We talked for a long time over coffee and Roshan told me that she was home for the holidays and she'd heard that a couple of weeks ago, my ex-boyfriend Michael's father died. Michael told me his father was quite sick when I saw him in Vancouver. Never one to discuss feelings, I wasn't surprised that he didn't respond when I emailed him a few weeks ago to see how his father was doing. I knew there was a chance that meant he was sicker or had died, but I didn't want to push. I feel really bad for him. It happened right before Christmas, Somehow it seems like people die more often at this time of year. I guess I'll make a donation and email him when I'm back to see how he's doing.

We also talked about Tommy, my old friend that I bumped in to on the subway a while back. He's still sending me emails. Sometimes they make sense but other times they don't, in a way that I find frightening. The things he says...I don't know....he gives me a bad feeling. Roshan told me a couple of other things that just reinforce that I should trust my instinct on this one. I went so far as to warn my parents that Tommy's been a little odd and that they should keep a pleasant distance if they cross paths with him. Chances are I'm being more careful than I need to be, but I'd rather play it safe.

I met my father and his third wife for lunch yesterday, but I'll leave that can of worms for another day.

So this is pretty much it. I probably won't have time to say anything else here until 2007. I'm on the road again tomorrow [and by road I mean sky]. Farewell 2007. Farewell to the land of the trailer park boys.

Happy new year to all y'all.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Saddam is dead.
I don't believe in capital punishment.
Death is too easy.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


It's a little lonely here. With my sister living in London, one brother in Israel, and my other brother in the midst of a rocky engagement, it's mostly just me, my mother, and my stepfather.

"What are you doing?", My mother yells down the hall to my stepfather.

"I'm going to get the pillow from the spare room."

"Why? What's wrong with yours?"

"I don't know. I can't get comfortable with mine."

"Tell me again? What's wrong with your pillow", she asks louder.

He yells back, "Don't worry about it. I just can't get comfortable".

"All this time...", my mother says, her voice trailing off.

That's what it's like coming home. Circular conversations that seem to go nowhere, but spread like icebergs under the surface. I'm staying in a room down the hall that used to be my little brothers. He's usually home when I am, but this year he's far away and I miss him terribly. His room seemed cozy to me and so this is where I've been sleeping.

One minute we're laughing about something over dinner and then the next, my stepdad, trying to play the part of the benevolent yet authoritative husband for the company says to my mother, whose working in the kitchen,

"Come on Jordan". He beckons to her. "Come back to the table."

She stands in the kitchen. The guest's backs are to her but things at the table quiet down, waiting for her response. She puts down the serving bowl and the dish towel and looks up at him with a cold disgust.

"Don't you ever...".

She seems to remember who's in the room and doesn't finish the sentence.

"Don't tell me what to do", she says, this time a little lighter, in a way that the guests might think they'd mistaken her initial tone. The conversation picks back up again. I try to pretend that this is an ordinary interaction, chewing on a green bean for an unusual length of time.

Monday, December 25, 2006


We met at a small boutique hotel lounge. When I arrived it was very quiet inside with almost everyone else in the world either finishing up their Christmas shopping or staying away from the crowds. It's funny. I'm getting so much better at this dating thing. I'm barely nervous anymore. Still, I can never be late. I tried so hard to be strategically five minutes late in the hopes of coming off as nonchalant, but no, I was still a couple of minutes early. I sat down at a table with a decent view of the entrance and I read the drink menu.

Before he arrived I learned a few things, one of which is that a glass of scotch could run you anywhere from 12 to 90 dollars. A bottle of the good stuff was priced at $1800.00! Crazy. Scotch, whiskey, bourbon...I don't know the difference. All I know is they remind me of when I was a kid, how I hated the smell of adult drinks. I still do.

He must walk fast because I looked down for a split second and when I looked up again he was in front of me.

"Rachel? Are you Rachel?"

"Yes. Andy?" I stood up and took his hand. "Nice to meet you."

He kissed me on both cheeks. He was tall - over 6 feet to be sure. He had dark hair and chunky glasses. He was dressed nicely, a grey sweater over a button-down shirt. At first glance, you might guess he'd be a little awkward or maybe a bit geeky, but that dissapeared within the first moment of conversation. I say this like I was seeing him for the first time - and I should've been since it was a blind date, but I have a confession to make. When I first learned of this set-up, I googled him - I almost always do. Only a few hits came up and one of them was a flicker account. They were mostly his vacation photos. Of course I HAD to look at them. He wasn't actually in any of the first few pics (he had included people's names in the titles, which is how I finally figured out who he was). Every so often one would come up with him in it. As I went along, I kept going back and forth - he's not my type...maybe...he looks kind of cute there... I kept going like that for a while, absently scanning through the pics until several pages in, there was a photo of Andy with my old roommate Valerie! They were at some kind of a work function. I knew they worked in the same industry but it never occured to me that they could have worked together.

As soon as I saw Valerie's pic I had to talk to her, but I was at work and I can't get away with making long distance phone calls from my office. I called Lana, our other old roommate, who can call anywhere she wants from work and I had her three-way Valerie in London. Turns out she does know him, but not very well. She said he was always well dressed and sometimes came across as a bit "smooth". That surprised me because he looked kind of geeky in the pics. I wasn't sure what she meant, but I didn't press her. I guess I didn't want him to be ruined for me. If you push hard enough about anyone, you'll find something. I was happy to go with the first few neutral comments and take it from there. Maybe he was that trendy artsy geek kind of guy, I thought. In the end, what Valerie said was enough for me to give it a try and not too much so that I regretted agreeing to the date.

I like this guy. I had fun. Now I feel a bit guilty. Eventually it'll come up that we have Valerie in common, and I'd be lying if I pretend to be surprised about it. On the flip side I look like a big stalker if I tell him I looked at all of his flicker pics. On the other hand, it's like a blog in photos, and if you post them under your own name, how shocked can you be that someone would see them...? Lana thinks I should act surprised if it comes up and then maybe tell him the truth if there ends up being a 'down the road'. She thinks it could be cute someday. I think it would make me look, not so much cute, but like a comfortable liar. Ah well. I'm not going to obsess over it.

The best part of the date came hours later, well after we said goodnight. Because I was a bit messy (that's Australian for tipsy), I came right out and told him that I had a great time and I'd like to go out again. He agreed and then did this whole, 'too bad you're going away now...January is a crazy month for me...but call me when you get back and we'll make plans' thing. I thought, 'ok, that may have been a brush off.' I figured, oh well, if it is, it is. I met up with my friends and thought nothing more of it.

The next morning, when I woke up, there was a text message from Andy waiting for me from two in the morning.

"Hey Rachel. I was pleasantly suprised. I'm excited for number 2"

All I could think was, 'Number 2'??? Ha! He just said, 'number 2'!!! I can't believe it, 'number 2'??? I called Lana and Josh to tell them, not about the date so much as about how excited Andy is about a number 2. We all got a few good laughs.*

Anyway, once I got the adolescent jokes out of my system, I too let myself get a little excited for number 2.

*if you don't get the joke, consider yourself lucky.

PS Merry Christmas to anyone celebrating. I'm just so damn excited that Starbucks is open. Mmmm latte..delicious. Now I'm going to get my ass into running stuff, get out there, come home, finish packing, and head for the airport. Catch you from the coast.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

time on my hands

What's up with the accents that people in black and white movies (like Little Women) have? What are they? And did people back then really act that way - that really affected way? My guess is they didn't, so were they just more gullible back then? Why didn't audiences demand more realistic acting?

I've never had an appreciation for black and white movies. I've never had the patience for a film that didn't seem real to me, like black & white, westerns (unless it was little house on the prairie), sci fi, cartoons.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

bustling and slowing

The blogger world is so quiet. I didn't know even THAT would slow down so much this time of year. I guess since I spent last December in Australia I didn't really notice. Well, my holiday is over and I'm bored so I'll just post something, if for no other reason than to read it myself later.

I'm going to meet a new guy for a drink. A Saturday afternoon drink. I could use a drink. I could use a guy. I figured I have nothing to lose.

Later tonight, after I meet friends for dinner, we're going skating. Should be interesting on several counts. First I have to carry my skates in my gym bag on my date - not so cool. Second, I haven't been on skates in a number of years. And finally, since I haven't taken proper care of the skates, the blades appear to be covered in a faint layer of rust. I imagine that's not good. Ah well. I'm just going to go with it. I'm wild like that.

Harry is gone away on his trip with his friends - I won't see him until next year, and he's already booked a January holiday with the new girl, I accidentally wrote gurrrl, which reminds me of one of LX's regulars that I haven't seen around his blog in a while. I wonder where she went.

I'll write something later - if the date doesn't spark something, I have a few other things on the go.

Good luck with the last of the shopping and bustling.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ignoring the elephant

I came home and sat at the desk, opened my laptop, and stared at the screen seething.

That's it, I told myself. I have to get out there again and meet new people. There's no reason for me to still be here like this. Solitude was never in the plans.

The panic started to rise.

Maybe it's too late. What if there's nothing left for me? I've been on the sidelines hiding from I don't even know what for so long, what if it's too late?

Sitting there, my running clothes suddenly felt too tight. I couldn't catch my breath and my head felt like it would explode. That's when I lost it, crying in deep gasps. In a fury I ripped off my top and threw it across the room. I rested my head in my arms on the desk. After a few minutes my breath evened out and my tears slowed. The anger was gone, leaving me half-naked and just plain sad. I wiped my face as I walked to the bathroom. I sat on the edge of the tub and ran myself a bath.


The next morning, in response to my main man JC's comment on my last post, I emailed him about how I might have just shaddup and done it, but that last night Harry and I went out for dinner and all he did was talk about this new girl. It wasn't like he even had anything to say. He did a lot of this:

[laughing quietly to himself out of nowhere]


"Oh, it's just that I remembered how last night after the show these guys, who are big fans of the band, kept Lisa company until I finished up my business and could leave."

[pause, waiting for something remotely interesting to come next]



And then later.

"It's funny", he laughed. "She's only 25 so she has so much more energy than I do."



Phew, I think to myself. Normally I'm all for the details. I might even say I'm detail-oriented, but I'm just not up for it.

"Like last night, we only got to sleep at like 4 AM and then she was up trying to fool around with me again before 7. I actually had to pretend I was sleeping, although that didn't last long."

I almost got up and left. Not only do I no longer want to say 'something' to him, I almost feel like I don't want to see him.

I've heard that when a person keeps saying someone's name, often with no real 'story' to tell, it means they must really be taken with them. He can't stop saying her name and I'm green with some kind of misguided envy. I'm a terrible friend. I think he likes her - a lot. That's great for him, but I'm in no mood.

Early in the conversation I tried to stay engaged.

"What does she look like?", I asked trying to imagine her, or them actually, so I could more actively follow along.

"Well, she's not as pretty as you."

"That's not nice to say", I shot back.

That only made me feel worse, but he didn't notice. He doesn't seem to notice anything. I'm not a good liar generally, but if you don't ask, I can pretend the elephant is not there better than anyone.

Like I said, I think I've had enough of him. There was a moment, but I think it's gone. And yet.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

cowbells and chainsaws

My lips are dry and I’m sitting in front of the computer, wanting to write something. I have no ideas, I figured I’d start and see what happens. Sometimes you just have to do something rather than wait for something to do. I could stand to take that little golden nugget into my personal and professional life as well.

I need to stop buying things for myself. I’ve recently purchased my first round of furniture that has yet to arrive. I still have to buy presents to bring home to my family. I'm thinking something small, and then I'll buy mosquito nets in their names from Spread The Net. Fighting malaria is a great cause.

So instead of shopping for others, I went to the used book store near me and bought myself three books of Richard Ford short stories and the Giller Prize winning book of short stories by Vincent Lam, an ER doc from Toronto, called Blood Letting and Other Miraculous Cures. He is my age, married with kids, a practicing physycian AND a giller prize winning author? Wtf? Anyway, I'm out of control with buying books. I haven’t even read much lately, which is unlike me, and may have something to do with the creative slump I seem to be having. That and the cement, but let’s not go there today.

Last night, instead of going to see Harry’s band, I saw White Cowbell Oklahoma (punk/southern/rock group). Great show! Originally I was supposed to go to Harry’s gig but his new girl was going to be there and frankly I don’t feel like meeting her. Doesn’t sound good, does it? I don't particularly like to admit to something that makes me look so bad, but if I can’t do it here than what’s the point of anonymity?

As you may or may not know, Harry and I met at a party and started off dating. He asked me out, I was seeing someone at the time, but he gave me his email address and took mine, saying he would let me know about his band's upcoming show. He emailed me several weeks later to see if I was single again and/or interesting in going to see his band. Coincidentally the email arrived as I was obsessing over the wording in the one I was going to send him. It seemed fated, but then after a little while it became apparent that we were too different and so it kind of melted into a friendship.

We’ve acknowledged that we get things out of the relationship – he once said that it's like being in a relationship without the sex. We’ve dated other people intermittently since but lately I’ve been seeing him differently. It’s subtle but I’ve noticed his kindness more and I’ve started to find him more fun now that I’ve gotten used to some of the differences. There is also more of an attraction there and it's got me to thinking about the missing piece of our 'relationship.' Another thing I've noticed is that he has more energy than I do. That’s something I am surprisingly comforted by. It reminds me of the way I used to feel working nights in the hospital. The darkness of night isn't so damn lonely and scary when I know there's a whole world of people living and working all night long like it was daytime. Well after I go to bed, I know Harry's still going and somehow that comforts me. In addition, he has an appreciation for creativity, and an open mind. He would be the first person I would tell about my blog if I were to ever tell anyone I know. I trust him to handle it. Handle me (althought I'm fairly certain I'd take this post out before I ever told him).

I first noticed something had changed when things with the Lawyer began to go downhill. I guess all of the negative characteristics of the lawyer highlighted the good things in Harry, I’m not sure that it isn’t just a case of loneliness, but the fact that there is nothing that I would like less than to go make nice with the new girl tells me something. So sadly, just in time for me to figure this all out, Harry met a new girl.

When Harry and I are together lately I've come close to making comments that might indicate, albeit indirectly, that something has changed in the way I see him, but I’ve been careful not to. I told my therapist I've decided to let his new thing play out, wait and see how I feel, and if it doesn’t work and the feelings are still there then maybe… How can I possibly be honest with things as they stand when I don’t even know if I really want him? My therapist suggested that’s not my problem.

"Maybe you should just go with however your feel in the moment."

He went on to remind me how Harry constantly mocked and imitated the lawyer when I was dating him.

“Rachel”, Harry would say to me in a deep, formal voice. “You and I are both of the same religious background and are similar in age. As you know, I drive a BMW and I am in a good position to be a provider. With all we have in common, I believe we should consider marriage and procreation to continue on our Jewish heritage.”

"Shuddup", I'd laugh and punch him in the shoulder.

I guess he's right. Harry wasn’t afraid to show me how he felt about me, and he wasn't all that subtle. Besides, they’ve only been dating 3 weeks. It's not like I'm jeopardizing a marriage. Yes, he’s probably right, and yet…

Friday, December 15, 2006

hop in, monkey

"Hop in, Monkey", he told an unseen child in the back seat of the car.

Tall with dark hair and a handsome face, his three words held me. All I could think was, I wish I could go back. Be that kid.

Maybe I was at one point, beyond the reach of my memory. It seems familiar somehow, but I can't bring it into any kind of focus.

I wish. I want. It's all I seem to do.

My father emailed me this morning.

"I would love to dialogue more with you; sometimes I feel that we could know each other so much better, but I realize this comes with time."

His words are so thick with cliche they're almost unrecognizeable.

With my Father things come in destructive, relentless waves and I'm angry. I have been since I can remember. Angry and sad. Sometimes I can't tell the difference. It's not that I'm mad that he left, or that he couldn't keep his promises, set an example for his kids, follow through with his plans, or be the adult. He can't help it. He's sick. I have no right to blame him. He did his best.

I guess I'm angry about the situation - that I've had to feel sorry for him and even as a small child, protect him. He does that to people. I don't think he knows he's doing it, but he plays on our sympathies, our guilt. I'm mad that I've spent so much time feeling guilty. I'm mad that I never got that father that my friends had and yet I still have to contend with his delusions that he raised me and that he can take credit for how well I've turned out.

I know someday, when he's dead, I'm going to feel terrible for all of this, but sadly that won't be much different from how I've always felt. I just wish I knew how to let it go.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

winning wars

Over the shoulder of a woman on the subway, I glanced at a practice test she was taking. The first question was:

"Why did the North win the civil war?"

The train doors opened. I looked up, watching people get on and people get off. When I looked back she'd turned to the answers. I expected a lengthy one but there was just one simple line:

"Because the South lacked supplies and soldiers."

I almost laughed out loud. You see, I guess I've always assumed that when it comes down to it, when something comes to fists, somehow the good prevails. The simplicity of the answer made me see how absurd my assumption was - childlike almost. If 'the good guys' pull through (and the very existence of the good guy is arguable), it's just a coincidence. When it comes to war, it has nothing to do with the moral goodness of your stance. It is simply a question of supplies and troops (and a little strategy).

How is it that I only figured this out at 32?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

alone at the table

You and I are at the table at the restaurant when the new girl calls you.

"I'm sorry. I've got to take this - you know, to make plans."

I listen to you ask polite questions about her week. I push my food around my plate. Take another bite.

"Sounds like you had a pretty good time. What time did you get home?"

He pauses, smiling, looking at me absently.

"Oh", he laughs. "So your cats were getting you back?"

'Cats', I mouthed at him, eyebrows raised. I couldn't help myself.

'Stop', he mouthed back in mock anger, shoving me lightly at the shoulder.

I smiled at our private joke but then realized he'd moved on with the conversation and I was alone at the table again.

I looked out the window at the families and their dogs and the Saturday afternoon traffic.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

harry and the vegan

I took Harry (aka the rockstar) to my yoga class the other day. It was his first time there and he was the only guy in the class. As we were leaving he told me about the blind date he was going on later in the evening. We strolled through the grocery store and talked about his plans.

"So, where are you taking the vegan?", I asked.


"Sounds good. What are you wearing?"

"I don't know. You know what I have, what should I wear?"

"Hmmm. Let me think. How 'bout that long sleeve black sweater you were wearing at Lee the other night?"

"I don't know. There's something about the neck on that shirt...I think it's too round. I like the neck to come all the way up", he explained, hand at the base of his throat.

I shrugged. "Well, I think you looked nice in it."

We finished shopping and headed toward the exit in silence. I thought back to the other night when we were arguing about how much money it takes to live comfortably and raise a family in the city. I barely remember how we got onto that, but it got really heated.


"Yeah", he answered, turning around on the escalator to face me.

"I'm sorry for getting so mad the other night. I feel bad about it."


During the argument, all I could think about was getting him to see my side. It must have gone on for a good twenty minutes. At one point his throat started getting scratchy and he looked tired suddenly. I stopped mid-sentence.

"What's wrong? Are you getting sick? You're voice..."

"Naw, I'm just tired from being out so late last night I guess.

I felt like I could cry.


"Awe, c'mon. I'm sorry too." He hugged me, there on the escalator. "That was sweet for you to say."

We got outside a minute later. The night was warm. It felt like Florida.

"Good luck on your date tonight. Let me know how it goes."

"Thanks", he smiled. He turned and walked west.

"You look handsome", I called after him.

He stopped and turned around, laughing, and then continued on toward home.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

how I will remember today

It is 6 years today since the death of my childhood friend from cystic fibrosis. He endured more than anyone should have. He was a brilliant musician and artist. And to think, he did it all in 25 years.

Today I was looking at new releases on apple and the best of Jane's Addiction was released this week. Of course I thought of you. You can bet I will listen to it today. I think of you often. I miss you.

Friday, December 01, 2006

on genetic advantages

Last year around this time I was dating a guy from Montreal. He was a well-dressed, intelligent, and successful professional, but there was something off. On one of the early dates he bragged about his 'genetic advantage', being only half Jewish, to which he attributed his substantial height and his "not-so-large nose". I wasn't sure how to respond to that one so I kind of laughed it off in one of those 'ha ha ha (shit I hope he's kidding)' laughs.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when guys I meet tell me they aren't 'typical jewish guys'. Often I respond by asking, 'what do you consider typical?' They have trouble answering that question - not because they don't know what they meant by it, but because verbalizing that in detail sounds terrible. It's much easier to insinuate and assume no one will call you on it. I get tired of arguing with people I hardly know when they say things like this but most of the time I feel a sense of obligation to point out how it really undermines themselves and other Jews. By saying you're not a 'typical' Jew, you insinuate that a typical Jew is a bad thing. Who needs anti-semites around when you can just rely on self-hatred?

For a variety of reasons in this case, I chose not to get into with him. Looking back I see it would have been a waste of my time because it became perfectly clear that he was cusioned in very snuggly by his own protective delusions. You see, not only did he have a rather large, witch-like pointy nose, I later discovered he also had webbed toes and a very small penis.*

In hindsight it makes perfect sense. Why else would you even think to brag about 'genetic advantage' unless you were compensating for something major (or in this case, not so major)?

*A small penis is not necessarily a deal-breaker unless combined with a lack of personality (and an overzealous urge to watch family guy episodes immediately after sex).

Monday, November 27, 2006

tired of temporary

Checking in on one of my regular reads, I came upon an unexpected goodbye post. My initial instinct was to join in with the audience, clamouring to come up with unique ways of saying, 'no, please stay', 'say it ain't so', but then I saw that there was nothing original left for me. Still, I wondered if I should just say something, anything, to weight the numbers for a return, but instead I closed the window.

Why just drop it like that? Why can't anything feel permanent? Why does it matter so much to me? When this blogger threw 'jump the shark' out there, I drew back like I'd touched something unexpectedly hot.

I too could say goodbye on this blog today. I thought about it for a moment, but not in any sort of real way. More like the way I tease myself sometimes while waiting for the subway with the idea that I could, at any given moment, decide to jump in front of the train. I mean, people do. It is physically possible. The only thing separating me from that is choice.

If I decided to end it - the blog I mean, maybe a couple people would say, 'ah c'mon...stick around'. At least one would say, 'it is what it is', or some variation of that. I guess I'm angry at how easily I could dissapear. You'd let me go that easy. Don't get me wrong - if I thought I couldn't get away, I wouldn't be able to breath. The existence of choice is what makes things bearable.

In life and in blogging, people make their exits for different reasons. Some people go for the drama. Others worry their time is running out and they want to beat it to the punch. I'm sure there are a million more reasons. I want guarantees. I want you to say, don't worry Rachel, I'm not going anywhere. You can count on me. At the very least I want to know you'll be around for a while - long enough for me to soften my shoulders, take my coat off, and relax.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

ground hog day

“Did you know that there are groundhogs in the city, just loose?”, I asked without looking up.

“No, I never really thought about it.”

That was me trying to make conversation on Friday afternoon. I've been in that office for too long. Somedays I find every conversation irritating. I wanted to avoid questions directed at me, like 'so what are you doing this weekend', so that's how I duck.

I saw a groundhog in a backyard in the middle of the city this summer. Here I thought they only came out on February 1st to tell us if winter would soon be over.

'No', she told me. She's never really thought about it. Surprise surprise. She's not a good mental match for me. I'm not talking intellect, cause she could probably out-statistically analyze me any day. I'm talking interpersonal relations. Everyone can't be everything for everyone at all times but sometimes it comes down to a friend as a kind of mirror. There are some who leave you seeing yourself in ways you can live with. Others leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Friday I had the bad taste.

I'm just waiting out the monotony. Waiting for inspiration. Waiting to make my move. I've let things stagnate. Too much sentimentality isn't a good thing. It's like my Ipod. I only have so much space and so If I don't turn over some music, try something new, someone new, I'll be left with a soundtrack of stale songs. It'll be 2020 and I'll still be listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

So this morning I used that analogy and took it literally. Sometimes you need to start with the most concrete approach. I went through my music and cleaned house. I took care of that business. It seemed like a good place to start.

I can't get enough Blue October. I also like Gwen Stefani's new release. I like almost anything she does. NO ONE else could get away with that yodeling shit. Jay-z's new CD? I'm undecided. Metric - love it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

close call

The rockstar shakes his head
Trying not to smile.
"Your quirky", he tells me.
"That's what I like about you."
The lawyer always looked confused
When I was
With a moment
A tree
A smell
A painting
An encounter
He was at a loss for words
If you can imagine that.
A lawyer at a loss for words.
Not irritated
Not inpatient
Just confused.
He had a subtle way of overlooking me
In the most important places.
I carried it for a while
But it's a lot to swallow, you know.
And it's heavy to hold on the tongue.
I was relieved
Instantly that night
When he left my apartment
Which begs the question
Why don't I listen
To my inner voice?
Maybe because the same voice
Tells me things like
Don't sit out alone
On the rooftop patio.
A killer might be waiting
To throw you over the edge.
Or the ever so popular
'Something's not right'
And the 'I've got a bad feeling about this'
'This' being just about anything.
And so in my case
Filtration is a challenge.
Pushing the voice aside
The doubt
The fear
The guilt
As I've had to learn to do
I tried to imagine
He was the one I was waiting for
And I just needed to look in the right place
In the right way
So I tried to get at him
Like a dentist with a drill.
But when I got down to the gums
I saw there was nothing.
All the while
Offering myself to him
In manageable portions.
I’m enough for a farmer’s field.
Lush earth
Silent at the surface
Teeming at the core.
In the end
I smiled and sat down next to him
As if to brush the conflict aside.
None of that matters anymore
I said without saying.
I topped up our glasses
Knowing his would still be there
When he left and
I placed the palm of my hand
On the back of his head.
As if to commemorate
The best
Of a narrow selection.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

persistent green

I walk through campus
Past students weighted down
With backpacks
Spectacled professors
And their brown leather briefcases
Everyone going where
They need to go.
It's November
And I know
If I could get some distance
From this place
From the autumn wind
The wet leaf smell
The brilliant reds and mustards
The boys playing rugby
On a persistent green field
Against a grey sky
If I could just get some distance
I know I could love it.
Maybe I already do.
Just then
I'm hit
With an image
Of me walking
With two small children
Maybe a girl and a boy.
"This is where Mommy went to school"
I am telling them
"And then worked for so many years.
See this?
This is where I walked every day.
It still looks exactly the same."

Friday, November 17, 2006

breaking news

Remember that wish I made in the last post to have a moment alone? Well, I guess you could say I'm officially one step closer.

New guy/lawyer - out of the picture.

from the islands with love

"I don't understand why you women here are so focused on what you eat. In my country men like their women big."

Coming from a frustrating doctor's appointment this afternoon I was in no mood when I walked into the lab for bloodwork. The woman taking my blood pressed her fingers along my forearm, searching for a good vein.

"A little bigger is beautiful", she continued, "like you".

Oh no she didn't.

"You're beautiful", she continued. "So beautiful, but your veins are invisible."

She was silent for a moment but I didn't look up. I couldn't. I imagine her face would have been set in concentration - focused on her task.

"Perfect", I said. "Just perfect". It was exactly what I didn't need to hear today.

She didn't seem to notice.

"Well, I can't SEE them, but they're here", she added. "I can feel them".

If only she was as skilled at sensing feelings.

I used to be a scrawny kid. I stayed thin through high school and university, but in my mid-twenties I put on some weight. I remember the days when I was 114 pounds and I thought I was fat. Now I'm 5 ft 6, 145 lbs and a size 10. Deep down I know I could stand to lose some weight but part of the reason why I was so thin before was because I didn't always eat. It's hard for me to figure out a way to limit myself safely. I try not to go back to that place in my mind. What I really want to do is carve my body like a fucking turkey, but that's never good. I guess I've had my head in the sand on this one so maybe I needed that. Thanks bahamian bee-otch.


Anyway, I was thinking just now, If I could have a moment alone, without the lawyer, the rockstar, the girls at work, the students, my boss, my friends, my family... If I could have that moment alone I could probably get more writing done, but then it would be the summer all over again and I would be miserably prolific. What's worse?

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I'm waiting for my clothes to dry
With the television on mute.
I'm pale and tired.
The woman upstairs is moving furniture
And it leaves me on edge.
I should straighten things up
Around here
I say out loud
As I drop my t-shirt on the floor and
Step into the shower.
I think of the other night
Sitting with him on the couch
Watching him watch the news.
I wonder if I've lost my voice.
To prove to you that I haven't
I write this while I wait
For him to pick me up.
Maybe tonight
I'll drink more wine than I should
To prove to myself
That I'm still here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

wafer thin mint

I've been writing
But nothing seems ready.
Nothing seems quite right.
I cannot have another bite.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

happy bee

"Wow, look at you", I told her, crouching to her level. "What a great little bumble bee you are!"

She smiled, eyes wide.

"That's my Mama", she told me, breathing audibly with excitement, pointing toward the sidewalk where a woman stood smiling.

"That's my Mom", she corrected herself.

Her shoulders moved up and down, still breathing loudly.

"Her name's Sandra."

"Hi Sandra." I waived at the women.

"Ok Hannah, let's keep moving", her mother chucked. "Say thank you."

She stood a moment longer, breathing and grinning.

All I could think was, now THAT's happy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

holding helium

On most days
I can let myself out
In metered doses.
It's for your own good
But for example
I can’t make any promises
When I’ve been drinking.
I make no guarantees.
Last night
You're just lucky
I didn't have your number.
I stood there in the bar
With my friends
But alone
With the realization
That I can never go back
To a time when this would have been
My kind of fun.
A lonely thought.
And I know
You would have understood.

I'm lured in by your sweetness.
Your nooks and crannies
And you get it.
You get me.
Do you know the relief that brings?
But then like everything
Eventually does
You'll turn off
Like a light.

There's nothing to hold onto here
It's just a string
And a slow leak.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I went to his apartment and confessed. He paced. He punched the wall to the left of my head. I flinched but didn’t move. He called me a slut and a cunt. The tears streamed down my face.


I'd just started university. Jason had been living in an apartment with a friend of his and I was pretty sure they were dealing, but I could never get a straight answer. They had some kind of falling out and Jason had to get out fast. He found a room in a place with a couple of girls. I can't remember how he met them but there they lived, in a large but beat-up apartment with next to no furniture. I remember playing cards and smoking cigarettes cross-legged on the worn beige carpet.

The girls slept most of the day and went out at night. They were constantly being paged and were often picked up in souped up cars. Each was pretty in her own way, but rough around the edges. One was curvy and bleach blonde, the other, a brunette, was tall and thin. I suspected they were prostitutes but Jason denied it. Either way I kept them at arms length. I made sure I was always just nice enough to stay on their good side but off their radar, a skill that has always served me well. We got along fine.

Back then I was just beginning to take school seriously after barely making it into university. I was struggling to keep up in an intensive Shakespeare course I chose as an elective alongside the required first year classes like psychology, sociology, and philosophy. Jason wasn't in school, was doing a lot of drugs, and barely holding down a job. We fought a lot - we were on one minute and off the next. During one of those off periods I was at a party and went home with someone - a mutual friend of ours actually. It was my one and only one night stand, though I’d known the guy for years so I’m not really sure if that counts. I was pretty fucked up, but I can still remember all the way back to his house how I kept thinking, WHAT are you doing? Get out while you still can. But I knew it was too late. I knew what was expected and I let it happen.


A little while ago at the local used bookstore I asked for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The guy behind the counter looked at me for a moment and then focused on the computer screen, typing in the search.

" think it's a good one?", I asked, trying to fill in the silence.

"Did you like the movie?", he countered without looking up.

I don’t know why, but I told him I didn't.

"But a friend of mine recommended the book", I lied, "so I guess I'll give it a try".

I've never seen the movie.


I woke up about 5:30 the morning after, feeling like I was going to vomit. I stayed very still, trying to remember what had happened, taking inventory. I was naked and sore and I could hear him breathing behind me.


I inched away from him, peeling skin from skin. I got off the bed carefully and put my clothes on without making a sound.

Walking home, the sun shone and the sky was blue. I squinted against the sharpness. I passed the odd person jogging and prayed no one I knew would see me. I remember thinking that to these people, it was probably a beautiful fall morning. I ran my fingers through my hair and tried to look casual, willing myself not to throw up. I was trying to pass for someone on her way out rather than on her way home.


"You fucking slut."

He stood an arms length away, head down, hands gripping my shoulders. He stared at the carpet and squeezed. I tried not to wince, but it hurt.

"Rachel", he shook his head and exhaled. "Rachel".

He pulled me toward him and held my head to his chest.

"Don't you EVER-".

He stopped mid-sentence. I waited for the rest, but instead he held me closer. He pressed me up against the wall and lifted my skirt.

When he forgave me, I considered myself lucky.


Tonight, standing on the platform waiting for people to exit the train, a heavy set aboriginal man with long black hair stopped in front of a little boy of about four who was holding his mother's hand. Blocking people from getting on or off the train, the man held a white plastic bag out to the boy.

"Take it", he growled, slurring his words. "Come aaaahn. Take it."

The boy moved closer to his mother.

Next he said what I thought sounded like, "Fear and loathing, come aaahn".

He gave up, dropping his hand, and walked away.

Clearly I misheard. But come to think of it, through the thin plastic bag, it almost looked like it...but nah, that doesn't make sense.

I pushed through the crowd, onto the train. I reached into my bag, feeling around for it. I pulled out the book. The same three stripes of color: blue, yellow and black.

Ok, that's just weird.

I looked around the packed train car. People crowded together, people whispering to each other, people talking into cell phones, people pretending they're somewhere else.

Reptiles. Animals. We're a bunch of fucking animals.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Last night I stayed in, drinking a little vino tinto, catching up on phone calls, blahgs, tv shows, and home cooking. I just got back from a business trip and I have no idea where I'm going with this except that I should drink wine on an empty stomach more often. I felt great - maybe a little too good to be sitting there alone.

This morning I met Lana for breakfast. She ate for two while I kept her company drinking cafe con leche. Part way through I saw this guy a couple of tables away. I was glad that I had taken a few minutes before I left the apartment to put myself together on the one had, but at the same time I was relieved that I didn't really care. This seems to be the only way I'm ever sure I've done the right thing. It seems I almost never trust myself until later and then I know it was right when I feel it sink in. I think the only time that I haven't been sure is with Michael. I can't seem to let that one go entirely. Maybe I never will. In fact I called him when I was waiting for my connecting flight in Vancouver, just to say hi.

So it feels good that I know I made the right decision in bag-boy's case. There's also this new guy I talked about last week. A couple weeks ago, on that not-so-good second date, I saw it fade like a dying flower in fast forward. That was followed up with a date rivalling the first, a couple of days before I left.

On that second date, sipping saki, he asked me if I got attached to the children that I took care of in the ICU.

"Hmmm. Good question", I told him. "I love the kids - every single one of them, but attached? Well...let me put it this way, it wasn't hard for me when they were discharged - as long as I knew they were with their families and they were loved. The only time I had trouble was when they were in a bad situation, like the suspected shaken baby who came in with a severe head injury and detached retinas - classic signs. That one...that one was hard. I just wanted to take him home with me. Broke my heart. Then there was the little girl that was lit on fire by her grandmoth-"

I looked up and saw his face. I'd lost him.

"Never mind that stuff", I interrupted myself with a waive of the hand. "I think we need a saki refill."

Later I found myself telling him how I save my subway transfers.

"I'm attached to them somehow. They represent the passage of time - the content of my life."

I told him how maybe someday I'll use them for a mixed media piece. As soon as I started with that I knew I should stop, but for some reason I couldn't. I finished the story anyway. Who cares, I thought to myself. He'll find me out sooner or later.

Two days later he called and asked me out again. That time it was good, like the first time only better. And the chemistry? Also good...

The rockstar invited me out tonight to a fetish party. I have no idea what that would be like except that he said people wear leather and take a lot of drugs. I don't think I'm in the mood, but I got my leather chaps out just in case. Ha!

Monday, October 16, 2006

clumsy chopping

A bottle of wine and a few games of pool later, the new guy dropped me at home and I went upstairs to get ready for bed.

As I tried to get myself into a comfortable position in bed there was that familiar feeling. It's hard to explain...kind of like a subtle scratching in the walls, you aren't sure you even hear. My sleep had been so good lately I'd almost forgot there had ever been a problem and so at first, I was happy to pretend it was my imagination.

I looked at the clock for the last time at about 3:30 am. I got out of bed again, only this time I took an ativan even though I knew it might make getting up for work in the morning harder.

I must have fallen asleep soon after. I dreamt that an unlikely pair, a mother and her teenage daughter, came knocking at my apartment door. Through the safety chain I could see they each held an axe. They clumsily tried to chop at me through the crack in the door. They must have broken the chain, because the next thing I knew I was in the hallway with them. I managed to take the older woman's axe from her and threatened that if they didn't leave I would use it. They were determined to kill me and so I had no choice but to chop them each with the axe, again and again. With each swing I would tell them to leave. Finally, bloody and injured, the mother turned to the daughter and said:

"Fine then, let's go."

I got back into my apartment and it hit me how narrowly I had escaped being murdered. What if they come back? I ran to the phone to call 911. It took several attempts to dial out (as it does everytime I call 911 in my dreams). It started to ring and then I was on hold - FOREVER. The battery of the cordless phone was wearing out so I got my cell phone from my purse. I figured I'd dial this one too so I'd have a better chance of getting through, but I kept getting a system busy signal. The other phone died and I went to check the plug on the charger. It was a huge extenson plugged with hundreds of outlets and they all started to come out leaving me scrambling to try and fit them back in like a puzzle.

The alarm went off and I pressed snooze. The next ten minutes was the only good sleep I had all night.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

down with the leaves

The other day I went to keep a friend of mine company on an errand. We stepped into the elevator of a highrise office building.

"What floor?" I asked.


My heart jumped. I broke out in a sweat. The number caught me off guard. All I could think about were people trapped, hanging from windows, jumping to their deaths.

The elevator shook ever so slightly and my ears popped. I swallowed hard. When we got to the floor I pretended to listen while my friend made small talk with the receptionist.

A couple days later the news of the plane crashing into a building seemed surreal. Poor Yankee. The rest of the day was filled with rain and grey sky. Why has it rained more in the fall than it ever does in the spring? It's a big lie, those April showers. People should just tell it like it is. The rains come in October and November and the only purpose I can see is to rain down those leaves, those slippery dead leaves.

And so because of the dampness and the desperate fear, it was hard for me to be that fun girl, later that night, when the new guy pulled up in his sleek black car. Where our last date seemed perfect, I was unable to maintain the momentum (as if it was all up to me).

It feels like it is.

I've had enough. I'm sad and I'm tired and I'm lonely, and in case you haven't noticed, not in the productive way.

Look, I'm really trying here. I am.

Monday, October 09, 2006

blowing a super

I went to see The Trailer Park Boys last night, the Ivan Reitman film based on the television series. On the way into the theatre I slipped on a spilled drink and pretty much did the splits for the first time in my entire life. In the process I came down hard on my left knee.

"Are you ok?", I heard some guy asked. I didn't even look up.

"I'm fine, thanks."

I got up as fast as I could.

By the time we turned the corner, my friend and I were in hysterics. I immediately took my hat and coat off so that none of the MILLION people who watched me wipe out would recognize me if they saw me upstairs. At this point my knee was starting to THROB. I got some ice in a cup and took it into the theatre.

I grew up close to where the movie is set (in Nova Scotia). I feel a little nostalgic about the whole thing because in many ways it reminds me of home. For example, while I myself did not grow up in a place like that, a dealer from a trailer park that I went to highschool with taught me how to play pool - an invaluable skill that has impressed many a good-looking guy (if they weren't first immasculated by having theirs ass kicked by a girl). A friend of the dealer's also blew me my first super (if you don't know what that is than you probably shouldn't). The movie was very funny and had some cute inside nods - Gord Downie played a cop, there was some jailhouse shinny, and Bubbles woke up to his clock radio, singing along to the Vogue Optical commercial, which anyone from NS would know by heart. Of course the movie was over the top, but I liked it.

About 20 minutes in, the projector had a meltdown and the movie stopped. The room went black. The audience booed, threw out the odd f-bomb, and one guy called out "Marco!". Someone in my row who had a magnalite key chain projected his hand onto the screen, to the applause of the audience. He turned it off after a brief show and people yelled, "More! More!". He turned the light back on and gave us all the finger. A few minutes later an employee walked in and made an announcement in broken english.

"My apologies. Please bear with us-"

"Bear? What? There's a bear in here?", some guy yelled.

"Um, ah, um, we are looking into the problem."

After about ten minutes the movie came back on. Later, as we left the theatre, the employee and his colleague stood at the door and handed out movie vouchers. Among the comments I heard in reaction to the free movie:

"This rocks."
"Fuckin' A"
"Ahhh, choice!"
"Yeah, boy-eeeees"
"That's the shit!"

Gotta love the crowd.

Anyway, now I'm home icing and elevating a purple swollen knee. But it was worth it.

Actually, my attorney was with me when the whole thing happened. On the advise of my attorney, I'm going to go blow myself a super.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

low expectations

The thing about the Rockstar is that when we met, I'm pretty sure his expectations of me were low and that every grain of information he's gathered about me since is a pleasant surprise.

We met at a party. He saw a girl in heels, good jeans, long blonde hair, and nails nicely manicured, holding a glass of pinot noir. I could see it in his face early on - he jumped to the conclusion that there wasn’t a whole lot more to me.

Meeting the Rockstar has come at an interesting time in my life, where I can no longer live with being only what others expect. He asks a lot of questions and I've answered pretty honestly. For example, over time he's discovered that I write, and very vaguely, the kinds of things I write. He’s been to my place, seen my bookshelves, lined with everything from Lacan to Richler. I'm beginning to feel like a good book that he wants to read. Part of it is that he’s smart and creative and open, but I think it also has something to do with what I'm putting out there. I'm being myself.

He coaxed me out of my sick bay the other day for thai soup, which totally hit the spot. He brought up how a friend of his is trying to get published and how publishing his work is everything to him. When he asked me what I do with my 'stuff' I told him, "Nothing, really. I write more for myself”.

“That’s fine to a degree", he said "but I think that any form of art is meant to be shared.”

I shrugged, unsure of what to say to that. “I don’t know…”

"I have an idea for you!"


"You should start a blog.”

I tried not to look amused.

“You think?”

“Yeah, seriously, you should.”

I held my breath for a second while he talked about a friend of his who wrote a blog of her travels. Now would be a good time to throw it out there, I thought to myself.

“I’ll take that into consideration”, I told him instead, smiling.

I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It felt like it would change everything and fast. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

like this

In my dream I was somewhere on vacation with Carry, a controlling childhood friend. I told her I didn't feel like going along with her plans for the day and she yelled at me. I didn't back down. In fact, I yelled back - really told her how it would be. Then she completely lost it, told me it was over. Our friendship was done.

Crying, I left and called Josh for sympathy, only to my horror he told me he was done with me too. He said it was because I "get like this" too much and he had had enough.

I was inconsolable. No one could take it. No one could take me. Everything was gone and I was coming apart.

But then there was this man... We were in the shower and he was holding me, lathering my body in fresh smelling soap, his face resting on my shoulder, pressed into my neck.


When I woke up I thought of the boy on Oprah [accidentally typed opera] yesterday whose parents split up because they individually came to the conclusion that they were gay. Now they each have their own same sex partners and raise their children together. When asked if he had any advice for other people in similar situations, the boy said, "don’t be afraid to be yourself".

Sunday, October 01, 2006

lack of material

I've got nothing
But a cold.
The rockstar says it's cause I eat meat
Which annoys the shit out of me.

I've got nothing
But the word "cloying".
A good word
It's like girls with spaces between their teeth.

I've got nothing.
It's like I'm in the back seat of a car
On the last leg of a very long trip.
I can think of nothing but getting out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

too good

Killing time waiting for my spinning class to begin, I sat on the "courtesy couch" and looked at the phone. Who to call, who to call?

I dial Lana.


"Hi, this is Jared calling from Spadina Fitness", I say in the deepest man-voice I can muster. My voice is already kind of low and raspy so it isn't that much of a stretch.

"I would like to invite you to return to our club by offering you the low rate of $50 dollars a month."

Pause. "Um, no. I've moved."

Ha! She's playing along.

"You wouldn't come back for a deal that good?"


"Ok", I stifle a laugh. "How 'bout this - if you come back, we'll pay YOU $50 dollars a month."



"Oh, shit! Rachel!"

"Are you kidding me? You were falling for it? Who the fuck would PAY you to come to their gym?"

"But you sound like such a man. Holy shit! JUST like a man!"

"Ha, well that's what I was going for", I tell her, suddenly a little self-conscious about how easily, for a girl, I can pass as a guy. "I gotta go. Class is starting in a minute."

"Too funny. Wait! Matt! Matt!", I hear her yell. "Pick up the phone. You gotta hear how much Rachel sounded like a-"

"Yeah, no. Shows over. Gotta go."

Monday, September 25, 2006

anatomy of the throat

On the first three dates with the otolaryngologist
Rain threatened and
I came equipped with an umbrella.
On our third date
I accidentally left my umbrella at the restaurant.
We stood outside and kissed and
The rain held off
So I didn't even notice.

You can always find
An umbrella outside the tenor's door
At the slightest chance of rain.
Never fails.
Lately it's been hard to leave his office.
It took a long time but
He knows me.
Now there's nothing much left to hide there.
All of this makes leaving him
And his umbrella hard.
The other day on my way out
I stopped outside his door.
I never stop.
I pick up my bag
Say, "have a nice day"
Close his door
Walk across the waiting room
And directly down the stairs.
But the other day
After I shut his door
I paused
Reached out
And touched the handle
Of his umbrella

As I contemplate getting ready
For date number four
With the otolaryngologist
I find I lack motivation.
I sit on the couch
Still wet from running in the rain
With the rockstar
Who asked me to dinner.
"I have plans", I told him.
And wished I didn't.
Through my balcony doors
I see the rain is letting up.

Wearing my favourite pants
Dark grey cords
I leave my umbrella on the chair outside the kitchen
And walk out the door.
I sit at a table facing him
And I drink wine like medicine.
The room buzzes
On the way out of the bathroom we meet in the hall.
I pull him toward me.
Out of nowhere
I'm happy.
On the way up the stairs
He notices my charm bracelet.
I stop and turn to show him
The peace sign and what I think
Is a charm in the shape of the state of texas.
I love that -
A peace sign
And the state of texas.
But he's distracted
Looking past to see if anyone is trying to get by.
"Just keep going", he tells me
All business.
And then
Everything comes into focus again.

Friday, September 22, 2006

onlookers laughed politely

It only took one hour
Eighteen minutes.
The first day was surreal
In the way days are
When you start early in one place
And end up somewhere very different.
A girl sobbed in the car rental line-up
But no one at avis could save her.
In the hotel lobby
Of charming floral patterns and sunlight yellow walls
A man spoke into one of those cell phones
That works like a walkie-talkie
[what a weird name, walkie talkie]
Talking about the secret service.
It sounded serious.
“This is war”
He said.

I had proximity
To one of my imaginary friends.
Only it turns out he's not imaginary.
He's probably not far away, I thought.
I imagined him at his desk
Writing about the invincibility of hate.
I was tempted to pick up the phone and call him
But I was tied to my boss
Doing what my boss wants
Going where my boss goes
Which almost always involved
Stopping at chico's
Even if I could
What would I say?
"Hi, it's Rachel"
Even though that's not true?
Would I ask him to go out, maybe for a coffee or a drink?
‘Definitely drink', I can almost hear him say.
The brakes kept coming on
It's like looking down from an airplane.
All is perfect
And clean
“Nice from far
But far from nice”,
My Mother always says.
Lest you forget
Those clogged pores
Fine lines
Land mines.
I get the sense that he is who he is
With anyone and everyone
Even when he's full of shit.
I respect that.

The trees are tall and lush here.
People you don't even know
Smile at you for no reason
Which might get annoying after a while
But might not.
At the drugstore
I had the guy behind the counter
Repeat his sentence three times.
I still didn't understand him
But pretended to.
He talked about Steve Irwin
The Crocodile Hunter.
Something about innocent animals.
He pointed to a space on the floor in front of the cash register.
"If deh was a horse up in he-ah
Folks, eh never leave it be
Pokin' and proddin'.
All it want
Is to be left by it's own."

I managed to break away from my boss
For a few minutes
Just after a thunderstorm let up.
I threw my runners and Ipod on
And set out among the red brick buildings.
The students moved
In continuous streams.
I admired the architecture,
The vegetation,
And the street names,
Like "Ransom”.
A pick-up truck took the corner in front of me
Aiming deliberately for a massive puddle.
Soaked me good.
Nice, right?
In all fairness
Onlookers laughed politely.
Welcome to North Carolina.

In the end
I called.
Passed my own test.
While there was no time
For that drink
I still wanted to hear his voice.
Turns out
He's very intimidating.
Frightening even
With his new yawk/tar heel/romanian-blend accent.
He sounds adorable
Don't you sunshine?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

kiss of death

What started off as a faint neutral smell became more pungent as the night wore on. I guess everyone has a smell, but his was loud. It wasn’t a universally bad smell but nevertheless, difficult to ignore. That was just one bad sign. The first came early, in the planning phase. I was having coffee on a patio with Josh that morning:

"What's on for your date tonight", Josh asked, lighting a cigarette.

I waived away the smoke, "We're going for mexican and then playing pool." - It was my turn to make plans.

"What?", he laughed. "Mexican??? For a date? I hope you're bringing your Beano", he giggled.

"Yeah, ok. Very funny", I looked around to see if anyone was listening. "I don't really care anyway", I said, turning back. "I'm pretty sure this is it. Finito. Adios"

"Ok, so let it be known", he pretended to tell everyone around us, "if Rachel invites you for mexican, particularly if she doesn't go easy on the re-fried beans, consider it a kiss of death."

"That's right."

So you can see, I started the night with a great attitude. Besides his smell, I also found his sense of humour, which if peppered strategically through the conversation could have been cute, was instead a burden. After I insisted I pay for dinner [he paid for the first two] we went to play pool. Generally I can be a bad sport, but this time I was happy he was kicking my ass - less guilt. I even threw in a couple of 'fucks' and 'shits' for good measure, which can work on a second level. How attractive is a bad sport with a mouth like a truck driver? Heh? See how my mind works?

As he pulled up to my apartment at the end of the evening, my seatbelt was already off. Before he knew what was coming, I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, thanked him for kicking my ass, and burped (by accident – I know, very classy, yet incidentally not the least bit embarrassing for me given my state of mind). I opened the door and got out, leaving him looking confused. I felt nothing but relief. It couldn't have been a cleaner break, I thought to myself, smiling as I unlocked my front door.


But with sleep came turmoil. I dreamt I told him I didn't want to go out again and he became unreasonable, following me around, trying to talk me out of the way I felt. He followed me to the airport where I was catching a flight to Vancouver. In my dreams he worked in the IT department at my office, and I knew he would always be monitoring me from afar, looking for ways to make me pay. I kept thinking, isn't there an expression for this situation - a lesson to be learned? Something like 'never eat where you shit'?

In the same dream, I arrived in Vancouver where I saw my ex-boyfriend Michael. Instantly in his presence, I melted. He was everything I was looking for. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me. Then he left to get something from his car and that’s when I realized in my haste to escape my bad date, I forgot to pack. I had grabbed the suitcase I had partially unpacked from my last trip, which contained only the un-essentials. I had forgotten all of the important things. The sinking feeling that never seems to evade me washed in and stood facing the happy, melting me, hands on hips in opposition. I awoke before I could tell which feeling would prevail.* I lay in bed with my eyes closed, consciously loosening my clenching jaw, mechanically separating fact from dream.


Looking in the mirror, I twisted my wet hair and clipped it at the top of my head. On my forearm, I could see the faint remnants of a burn I incurred while talking to this guy on the phone for the first time a number of weeks ago. As we talked, I grilled, and I didn't let on when I accidentally pressed my arm up against the barbecue. It sizzled under the heat. Later it blistered and I thought the scar would never go away, yet here we are just a few weeks later, and it's almost gone.


I never expected he'd call after that mexican excursion and I was relieved when I didn't hear from him in a few days.

But then, several days later I received an email:

"hey rachel
not sure if you're still away or not
thought i'd say hi...
i got the impression saturday that we both weren't too sure if we
were clicking or not... but i've been thinking about it and i don't
often persue things beyond a second date so there must be something
anyway - let me know what you think."

With an unusual lack of hesitation I replied:

"I don't think we were clicking. I think we had fun initially, which is probably what brought us to a third date, but I don't think that there was a connection. It was good to meet you though, and I wish you the best."

Happy, melting me: 1
Sinking feeling: 0

Sunday, September 17, 2006

it doesn't take much

Had fun this weekend. To show for it I have an ionic hair dryer, a new pantsuit, a shirt in a perfect blue to complement my fair skin and blue eyes, and a hangover. Fun, not necessarily because anything was so special, but because I wanted to do all of the things I did. It was my agenda. There was even some unexpexted flirting with an old friend at a party I went to last night. Strange when you see someone you've always known and out of nowhere your dynamic has changed. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but it was there nonetheless and it was fun.

On Friday I went to see my therapist for the first time in a few weeks. He was on vacation for a while and then I was. I told him the story of the 'gay handshake' and he almost pissed his pants. Honestly, if I could just find a guy who thinks I'm as funny as he does, without an hourly rate, I'd be set.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

dry eyed and satisfied

Just went to see The Last Kiss. Alison picked me up outside of my therapist's office and we drove to my place. We killed some time writing songs on garage band and then met Shoshana for dinner. We haven't spent an evening with Shoshana that hasn't been wedding-related in almost a year so it was refreshing.

As the credits rolled I looked over at the girls and they were both crying. All I could think was, did I miss something? I checked my pulse - could I have blacked out at some key moment? It was sweet and sad and pathetic and funny and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so for a girl who cries at her desk almost daily over nothing in particular, it was a bit weird that I was dry-eyed. Is my heart turning to stone, I worried? Am I growing bitter?

We walked toward the parking lot.

"I didn't even cry at my wedding and I can't seem to stop crying now", Shoshana said, wiping the tears from her eyes.

"I know. I could cry myself to sleep", Alison added.

"Oh come on. Get a hold of yourselves!"

They both looked at me surprised. I shrugged.

They turned back to each other.

"It does seem impossible that people could be together for 30 years, happy", Shoshana sighed.

"I know, but it happens. It happens all the time". She seemed to be trying to convince herself more than anything.

And then it made sense. I thought of the time I flew home to visit my parents. I drove with them to visit my grandmother on the southern tip of the province. On the road, everything my stepfather did made my mother angry. They argued so much my chest was permanently tight. We stopped at this beatuiful white sand beach on the way home. My stepfather sat on a bench outside the snack bar while my mother and I took off our shoes and walked along the waters edge. The salt air and the sound of the waves were no match for the animosity in that car. I wanted things to be happy for once. I wanted to convince my mother not to hate him - to dig deep and find some love in her heart. I confronted her, I scolded her for her lack of patience. I pushed and prodded. Once the tears trickled down her cheeks I knew I had gone too far.

"You don't want to know, so don't ask", she told me. I remember she looked so old at that moment.

So I know that things can be bad and I know why people pretend not to see it. People fall apart. People fall out of love. People might stay together, but 'happy' is relative. I know no other way, but they don't understand. Either their parents were good liars, they're good pretenders, or they're the exception to the rule.

Even though I worry I'm losing my innocence, I couldn't help but feel a little proud.

Look at me, I thought. Dry-eyed and for the moment, [relatively] satisfied.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

stuck on obstetrics

I'd been studying for the US nursing board exams and I was doing so well keeping up with it...until lately. I stopped partway through obstetrics. I guess I got busy with the weddings and my own personal misery. I'm just plain stuck in general, but lately everything seems to hinge on obstetrics. I was on my way to Costco with Lana, one of my three pregnant friends, and I told her about my dream.

"Last night I dreamt I was pregnant".

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, although I wasn't showing much yet. It was like I was as far along as you are, but somehow it was time to have the baby, so I ran a warm bath and I got in. It was like a big bathtub - jacuzzi-sized."

"You were going to have an under-water birth?", Lana asked laughing.

She changed lanes, cutting off a a range rover. They honked at her but she didn't seem to notice.

"I don't know. I guess", I continued. "You were there and Shoshi. There were a few other people too but I don't think I could see their faces. Anyway, you guys were all sitting around the edge of the tub. There were no contractions, at least none that I could feel so I was confused. I asked you guys, 'Do I just try and push or do I wait until I feel like it?' No one could answer my questions. I started to worry that, what if it wasn't my time and I had brought you guys all there for nothing. I didn't know what to do. Should I play along? Push even though I wasn't really in labour? I thought maybe if I push hard enough, it would start."

"What happened?"

"I don't know - I guess I woke up."

"Too funny. I had a dream last night about my old Uncle Leo. He was outside my house, sitting in the drivers seat of a school bus. Everyone was coming up to me and saying, 'Do something! You gotta get your Uncle Leo off the bus.' He's been dead for years - I barely even knew him. I wonder why I'd be dreaming about him?"

It was my turn to laugh. "Poor Uncle Leo."


When I was eight or nine, reading 'Are You There G-d it's Me Margaret' for the fifth time, I dreamt I jumped up and down really hard and I got my period. It was so real and I wanted my period so badly that when I woke up, I decided to try it. With my eyes barely open and a bad case of bed head, I stood in the center of my bedroom, between the twin beds. I jumped, but even before I started, I knew it wasn't going to work. For a moment or two I pretended not to know, but I knew.

"Whats going on up there?!?!" My Mother yelled from the kitchen.

"Nothing! I tripped, that's all."

"Well cut it out!"

Monday, September 11, 2006

in memory

Before September 11, 2001, I'd never even heard of Al Qaeda. Now it's a household word. Five years later fear still abounds. Today I road my bike to work to avoid the subway. I knew nothing was going to happen, but still...

911 was not what taught me fear. I grew up to it, like music. It was passed down to me. Even though on the surface my family never talked about fear and they did everything they could to give me the life they didn't have, somehow it came through implicitly. For example, I knew that being Jewish meant that there are always going to be people who wish you didn't exist, just as I knew that being vulnerable in any way meant someone, somewhere would find a way to take advantage of you. These people don't care about the quality of your personality, the size of your heart, or any of the good things you do.

Even though I know this to be true, whenever I think back to 911, the raw shock and horror washes back with an intensity that always surprises me. No matter how much I was constructed on a foundation that expects this kind of hate, I think the innocence of the subjects, the almost 3000 people who died that day, trumps everything else I understand.

May this kind of abject hate never happen again.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

ikea unit

This is hysterical. My friend pointed this out to me yesterday on the first page of the ikea catalogue. Check out the dog's unit. That doesn't even LOOK like a dog unit. Whatever it is, it certainly left Ikea Canada scrambling to come up with an explanation.

a joke

I’m tired.
Last night I couldn’t sleep
Hot and then cold.
When the alarm sounded
It felt like a joke.

I’m full.
Pockets balloon out at the sides
But never too big.
Tie them off when they’re still small
Or I won’t find my way back
Unable to cover my tracks.
It is essential to keep up with the appearance
Of emptiness.

Friday, September 08, 2006

reading in

The day started off on a bad note. I didn't fall asleep the night before until 4AM and my alarm went off at 6AM. After getting in and out of bed, reading, watching tv, writing, reading, punching myself in the head, and watching more tv, I resorted to trying a variety of these annoying little exercises. The last thing I recall was wiggling my toes up and down, twelve times. I'll stop short of saying it did the trick, but coincidence or not, I slept.

My boss met me at my house in the morning to exchange paperwork - never something I look forward to in starting my day, but this one was particularly bad because she was on the warpath and I was conveniently located. The drama lasted through the day, involving myself and a couple of other colleagues and a series of crazy emails and phonecalls from the boss. When the day was finally over I left to go for dinner with a few friends from work. The four of us left the restaurant walking north. Two of the girls turned off at College and I walked the rest of the way toward Bloor Street with the other girl. We watched people as we debriefed.

"The thing is, she was just LOOKING for something today. I could see it coming from a- girl or guy?", I asked, just in time for her to catch a glimpse of a very tall person with a great body but a masculine face in a sexy dress and heals coming our way.

"Guy, for sure."

It's the adam's apple that always gives it away.

"Yeah, but implants or stuffing?"

"I don't know..."

"Hard to tell..."

"Anyway, I just knew it the second I saw her face this morning."


"And I actually...Wow!"

"Is she wearing a plant green velour romper?"

"Yes. Yes she is."

This continued on for several blocks at which point my friend said goodbye and was waiting to cross the street. I stood with her and waited for a break in the traffic. We were facing the church of scientology, a building I've seen a million times, but until now had never actually looked beyond the sign at the building itself. It was quite tall. Many of the windows were cranked open, some with billowing dreary curtains, others bare. My friend crossed the street and I was about to continue on to the subway when I heard the voice of a man with a thick Indian accent."

"What is going on here?"

I turned around to find a small balding man, holding a tim horton's coffee cup, looking at me with pale green eyes. I looked back with a raised eyebrow, waiting.

"May I ask you, what exactly are you looking at?", he asked. Taking a step back and shading his eyes from the sun, he joined me in looking up."

"The building. I'm just noticing all the windows are open", I told him, trying to keep it short with the hopes he'd move on.

"No, no. It's not that. There are no coincidences. You must be looking at this building at this very moment for a reason."

My heart picked up for a split second, but then I figured there's probably just something wrong with him. Dementia? Mental illness? I exhaled and turned to leave.

"Ok, ok. Just wait a minute", the man pleaded one hand outstretched.

"Sorry, I have to go."

"No, no, just wait one minute please!", he pleaded. "Sometimes it is warm outside and people with no air conditiong need...what do you call this... air...air...?", he made a circular motion with his left hand.


"Yes! Air exchange. Come on - let's sit down and talk about this-" He gestured to a bench.

Now I was sure he was crazy, which was at once a relief and a dissapointment.

"I have to go. My boyfriend is waiting for me", I lied - not exactly sure why.

He became more insistent, emphasizing each syllable with a hand in the air, "No, no! Just a minute."

"Bye", I said turning and walking away.

"No! just a minute!", I heard him call after me.

A man walking in front of me stopped and turned back to see what was going on. I didn't look back. I just kept walking at an even pace.

When I got home I absently scanned through blogs the way I pick at my cuticles. I found a new one by following a comment on a site I read regularly. I looked through the profile and the photos, the order of which were all mixed up - tourist pics of hollywood interspersed with old childhood photos, pictures of a woman with staples in her skull, clearly recovering from some kind of brain surgery, more hollywood etc... It was too much. I bookmarked it so that I could give it a fair chance another day when I didn't feel so overstimulated, responsible, worn out. Besides, no matter how attentive I am, it's all going to come to an end, we're all going to die someday, and we're all going to be happy sometimes and sad others. Nothing I do or do not do will change any of these fundamental facts of life.

And that's just it - no hidden message is going to spare us, so why do I keep looking?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

above the waist

He's kind of cute, but also looks a little like a younger Jewish Stephen Harper. He's smart, and he's also a gentlemen. He's definately a little nerdy, redeemed occasionally by something unexpected, leaving me thinking, 'Ok, maybe there is something to this guy.' But most of the time it was more like, 'maybe not.'

On our way to the restaurant he got pulled over for cutting off the po po. Seriously. He almost got in an accident with a police car. After the honking and slamming on of breaks, they turned on their lights, pulled alongside the car and told him how many things he did wrong and how much it could have cost him if they didn't let it go. They let it go. All this in the first 2 minutes. The rest of the night didn't come close.

On the way home, we were talking about his sister-in-law having a baby. He insinuated he thought the process was a little gross.

"Have you ever seen a delivery?" I asked.

"Yes", he answered. "I've delivered babies."

"Oh ok, then you know. Isn't it amazing?"

"Well, the first one was, but the second one was a little gross."


"Well, let me put it this way - in med school, I made it a general rule to keep it above the waist."

"Oh really", I laughed."Keep it above the waist? How's that rule play out in your real life?"


Yeah....maybe not.

Monday, September 04, 2006

my bad

I can be pretty absent-minded at times. I find it difficult to remember names and details of acquaintance's lives. This weekend's been particularly bad in that regard. Maybe it's the double header wedding, maybe it's that I've been so blah lately, I don't know. What I do know is that I said something incredibly stupid and embarrassing. While there were a lot of near misses - situations where I said something mildly stupid, forgot something I should have been able to recall in a conversation, mixed up details, it got much much worse.

I saw someone I hadn't seen in a long time. We knew each other as kids and several years ago he came out that he was gay (which I heard through friends of friends). More recently I heard he's in a serious relationship and so I was debating whether and how I might ask him about it, just as I would ask any straight acquaintance about a new boyfriend/girlfriend. I was speaking with a common friend when he came over to say hi. It was one of those awkward moments where I was about to give him a hug and he reached his hand out to me. We had a rather weak half-handshake and before I even had a chance to think about it I said something to the effect of, "Enough with the gay handshake, give me a hug." As soon as it came out of my mouth, all I could think was what the fuck did I just say?

As a kid I can remember using 'gay' as an adjective to mean stupid or uncool, but back then I never really thought about what it meant. Now I never use that word in that way (or so I thought).

I could tell he'd heard what I'd said. I think I tried to reverse the damage with something along the lines of, 'It's so nice to see you that a handshake seems so impersonal." He said something to the effect of, 'don't worry, I know you meant it in the nicest possible way".

Horrible! We moved on, talking about jobs, travelling, etc... I thought if I could just keep the conversation flowing, my blunder might be washed away. Of course it wasn't - at least not in my mind.

At first I couldn't stop thinking about what I'd said and how he probably thinks I'm a bigot. By the next day I forced myself to let it go. While I won't pretend I'm perfect, I'm not a bad person either. It reminds me of when I was a nursing student and I had a patient with a glass eye. One day he couldn't find his watch. When I walked in I could see he'd removed his eye and he was holding it in one hand. He asked me to let him know if I found a watch and I said:

"No problem. I'll keep an eye out for it." I almost died.

But this most recent one was worse, even though I don't think it came from a very different place. What I said was stupid, plain and simple. I just hope that my brain sharpen's up a little, cause that really sucked.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

everything's perfect from far away

I look down and smile.
Back to the prairies again and it feels comfortable
Like home.
I see perfect patches
I take it all in from the oval window
And it occurs to me that I’ve never actually set foot in the prairies
How perfect it is from here.
It seems to last forever
Yet I'm keenly aware that the rocky mountains will soon appear
Then the pacific
Then the ground.
The cars and houses will grow.
The trees will reach up and out.
My stomach lurches and I smile again
This time for love
For dreams
I’m ready.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

my summer of discontent

The summer of 2006
July 29th to be exact
One month before my thirty-second birthday.
I stood waiting
For the streetcar
Listening to two young girls
Talk about
What someone said
To someone
About something.

As I recall it was hot out that afternoon.
It felt like I was standing next to a bus
And I thought,
All year I’ve been waiting for the heat
Happiness resting just under the soil
Ready to come through with a little sun.
And to think
I've wasted the whole summer
Waiting for something to happen
For the weekends that would come up empty
For the next celebratory event
That had little to do with me.
Where I played the filler
With nothing in it
To fill me.

The remainder of the summer
Has plodded along.
Its' heaviness made changing course
And I won't feel bad
That I have
Ruminated and
Lost sleep
While bad things are happening
Around the world,
Because if I have learned nothing else
I can at least tell you,
On the eve of my 32nd birthday,
That while I care about everything
I can not carry everything.

flat as a bored

I wait all year long for the summer, wishing away the cold and the snow, but this summer my friends are with their husbands and their families. They're at cottages or going to summer barbecues with other couples, or they've moved to the suburbs and I just don't feel like taking the subway and two buses to go and hang out on their patios, staring at the pale vinyl siding of the next door neighbor's house, sipping diet coke, and chatting about the real estate market.

Now it's almost over. I swear, I'm moving to MIAMI.

I try my best to take advantage of the weather. I go for runs, ride my bike, walk the streets, shop, sit on a patio and drink coffee and read the paper. I can and I do all of this alone (and sometimes with the rockstar), but what I really crave is to go spend the day at the beach with friends. Even better, I secretly wish that someone (preferably an attractive guy) who knows their way around a forest would 'force' me into a weekend of camping. Oh, how I do not like to rough it, yet there is something sexy about roughing it with someone sexy, you dig? Even taking a day trip to the wine region or picking fucking berries. Can you believe it? Picking berries? My mother used to force us to do that shit. Can you believe that now I would CHOOSE to do that with something...ANYTHING?

Like I said, Everything bores me right now. I'm bored.

A few years back I had to go to a head and neck surgeon for an enlarged lymph node in my neck. My family doc seemed concerned and got me in to see the specialist quickly. I sat in the exam room waiting, trying not to think of the worst-case scenario. In walked this little man with enough attitude to fill the room. He palpated my neck thoroughly, stepped aside and nodded to the first resident who repeated the process, and then a second and third. He wrinked his brow and appeared to be mulling over his findings.

"Well Ms. Gold...I'm underwhelmed."

I waited for him to continue. Is that good or bad, I wondered, barely breathing.

"I'm definately not overwhelmed." he looked toward his residents, with a sly grin. "You know, I'm not even whelmed". This was followed by some polite laughter by his residents.

"Does that mean it's fine?"

"Yep. See you in 3 months."

He turned and walked out, his cape-ish lab coat trailing after him, leaving his residents in his dust. They followed, one giving me a meek smile and a wave on the way out.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this summer has been a little like my enlarged lymph node.

Speaking of 'underwhelmed', have you ever listend to the song by the same name by Sloan? I highly reccommend it. Go ahead, if you haven't already, listen to it and get back to me.

PS: re the line, "She told me to loosen up on the way to the LC", LC is what we Nova Scotians call the liquor store ("liquor commission [LC] of NS").

Friday, August 25, 2006


I didn't sleep again - at all. I called in sick and I feel bad about it cause I never call in sick. My Aussie friend would probably call me a 'soft cock', but I couldn't face a day like that again. Finally, around 9:30 AM I fell into a fitful sleep.

I dreamt I rented one car and the rental company had mistakenly delivered a second car - a beige (?) ferrari. I had to return the cars and I decided to do that one at a time, as if driving two at once was an option. I turned the ferrari on with the automatic starter and it began to roll toward the back of the driveway - barrier-free access to a massive canyon. I grabbed onto the back spoiler and managed to stop the rolling for a moment, but then the spoiler tore off and the car went over the edge.

I had to call the car rental place and come clean about what I did. In the dream Shoshanna's father owned the rental company and so I had to explain myself first to the car rental agent, then Shoshanna, and then her father. The bulk of the dream was me explaining and apologizing, over and over and over.

After that I dreamt of a mouse the size of a small dog, with shaggy sand colored hair. It was vicious. It climbed up my leg, and I held it away from me with a hand to the head, the way I used to hold my sister away when she was pretending to try to bite me - palm to forehead while she snapped her jaw open and closed. Back then I would laugh so hard I would lose all of my strength, just barely able to to hold on.

That was what it was like with the mouse, only I wasn't laughing. I was weak with fear. I knew I had to break the mouse's neck. It was my only chance. I heard the neck snap and the mouse went slack. I carried the body down a hallway looking for a place to dispose of it. It occured to me that the body felt warmer than it should. I know how 'dead' feels, and this wasn't it. There I was holding it in my hand, fear rushing back in, replacing the sickening relief that came with the breaking of it's neck. Suddenly the mouse urinated in a large stream and I woke up sweating.


Anyway, hair and nails done, bags packed, I've got places to go. My vacation. Or should I say "vacation" (each of those quotation marks a wedding - Shoshanna's and my longest childhood friend's).

Farewell my friends. If all goes well (with both the flight and my emotional well-being), I'll be checking in - at least I'll be reading you and maybe even posting something of my own.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

and I do

I wish I could have held onto those days
A little longer
When I shared the headphones
Of my sony sports walkman
Treading carefully through a pasture
In my boarding school blue
Listening to Led Zepplin
The sun just barely
Taking the bite out
Of a late March afternoon.
I'm the same person.
It's not me that's different.
Maybe I should be.
I feel like I should be.
Well I'm not
Lately I've been filed down
Even my Ipod is fucking with me
Or I'm just too lazy to make a new playlist.
Have you ever found yourself
Feeling as bad as this
Listening to Beyonce
Without enough left in you
To press 'next'?
Back then at least I had the sense to listen
to 'Comfortably Numb'.
I'd rather be comfortable in cliche
Than this.
This just feels sick.

Monday, August 21, 2006

lesson from my mother

"Let me tell you something I’ve learned. Everybody’s fucking stupid. I know it with many of the people I've known, some of them doctors, some of them lawyers, when it comes down to it they’re all fucking stupid. I guess what I’ve learned is that I could have probably done all the things that they do. In fact I could probably have done them better, if only I understood that earlier. If there was one thing I would like you to know early in life rather than too late, it’s that."

I love that my little yoga loving, pilates practicing mama said this. It reminds me of one of my favourite poems:

the higher you climb
the greater the pressure.

those who manage to
that the distance
betweeen the
top and the

and those who
this secret:
there isn't



The first time I read this I took it to mean that when you reach the top you realize that there is no real difference between where you are and where you were. The differences are in the imaginations of the those who look up, and perpetuated by those at 'the top'. It takes a certain kind of person, I think, to go along too easily with the illusion in the face of feeling like an imposter.

Now that I read it again, I see I may have read this entirely wrong... I'm not sure... Anyway, if that's the case, I think I like my interpretation better. And my mother's.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

on fish with feelings

I rode my bike across town
To sit with a friend
Who was on bed rest
Waiting for her life
To unfold
To take hold.
The city was quiet that weekend.
No races
No soccer
No festivals.
Just the hot moist air.
The news
And the rising oil prices.
On this side of the world
There seemed to be
A moment of silence
A lull.
But under my sternum
There was this burning.
Maybe there was something wrong
Or like Kurt Cobain said,
Something in the way.