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.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

so nice


Hi Rachel, it's Edie, Shoshanna's Aunt.

Oh, hi Edie, how are you?

I'm fine thanks. Listen, I'm calling to ask you if you'd be interested in a fix-up.


Yeah, let me tell you a little bit about this guy.


First of all, he's so so so so so so so so so so nice! So nice. So so so nice! I mean, he's the kind of guy that would be a real mensch. He would treat you like a queen, you know? SO nice.

Uh huh.

I met him at this conference last week so I don't really know him that well-

Last week?

Yeah, and at first I thought he was a snob, but then I realized he didn't talk much cause he's just really shy.


Yeah, in fact he's just painfully shy. I'll be honest with you, he's no ball of fire. He doesn't really have a whole lot of personality. He's not crazy fun-but he's really nice.

Is he cute at least?


[me laughing politely because I don't know Edie well enough to come through the phone and strangle her]

Ok, you know what? I'm not looking for Brad Pitt, but I AM looking for a cute guy, and it is ESSENTIAL that he come with a personality.

Yeah, but you know what I always said? Fuck it. Fuck it and go out for a drink!


Fuck that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

pebble beach

I pulled the car over on the side of the road. I turned off the engine and sat for a moment. After I got out, I dropped my keys into my bag and looked both ways before crossing the street. I stood at the top of the stairs, leading down into the thick forest. To the left there was a notice board with sets of keys and pairs of glasses pinned up - lost and found, meaningless to anyone but the owners. Next to that there was a sign that read, "Please refrain from touching the baby seals". The smell of fir trees hung thick in the air. The farther I got down the stairs, the darker and damper it was until I got close to the end. I could hear the sounds of kids playing and see the sun starting to penetrate the thick canopy. At the bottom I landed in sand. I removed my shoes and walked toward the water. To the left, off in the distance, there was a grouping of people and what looked like make-shift tents in a variety of colors and patterns. The beach was scattered with thick logs, all parallel with the horizon. A few were occupied with people leaning up against them. I picked up a couple of smooth stones from the sand, and held them lightly. I shook them around in my right hand. In the distance the mountains rose from the water, one layered against the next. I walked toward the shore and stood in the wet sand. I waited and let the waves come to me, the cold water a surprise. For some reason I always expect the Pacific to be warm.

Retreating back up the steps took about ten minutes and left me breathing heavy and my heart beating fast. As I got back to my car, I slid the pebbles into my purse.


That night Michael met me in the lobby of my hotel. The elevator door opened and there he stood, waiting patiently, hands in his pockets. He looked even better than he did ten years ago, when we were still so young. He wore a navy suit with a crisp white shirt and no tie. He was as tall as I remember. He smiled as I walked toward him, his head tilted slightly to the right.

"Michael - you look exactly the same", I said, nervously adjusting my purse.

"You look even better", he told me.

We embraced for a moment and then I pulled back to take him in - those lips, those smiling eyes I thought I would never see again. Even his hands - they were exactly the same. He walked me to his car and opened the door for me. He took me to a little place on the water. We spent the evening eating and drinking and filling in blanks - far fewer than I imagined.


The next morning I got up early to go for a walk in the park before my meetings. The girls made me promise to call 'right away' to tell them how dinner with Michael went. At first I couldn't bring myself to call anyone. When I got back from my walk I took a shower and had something to eat. I felt better and made a couple of calls. Before I told them how much fun I had with him, how easily we made each other laugh, and how good he looked, I told them what I knew they wanted to know most.

"Yes, he has a girlfriend."

"Oh", and then a pause.

"And it's not even new. It's been over a year, but it's fine."

I admit, it caught me off guard, but I recover well (at least on the surface). I was ok with it, but I was more worried about telling my friends because even though I assured them I had no expectations, I know they worry about me. They want good things for me and they probably think that I was just saying I had no expectations to save face and that this would do me in, but it didn't. It was just a twinge at the moment and a few mild aftershocks since. Mostly I've just marveled at how much we still like each other. I guess I always knew how I felt about him, but it came through in every way how much he still genuinely likes me. It felt good.

After I finished making my calls, I showered and got ready for my meeting. I took the skytrain and soaked in the landscape of the city as it swept past. Taking a drink from my bottle of water, I remembered the pebbles that were still in my purse. I had a sudden urge to swallow them, like pills. I imagined how they would feel in my mouth and how easy they would go down.

Monday, August 07, 2006

two cats

Yesterday Harry and I took his niece to an amusement park. I was looking forward to it, thinking it might fill a few of the voids that have recently become so obvious to me. This was the kind of place you would only go if you were with kids (preferably your own). I gotta tell you that I don't want to go back there again unless I actually have one or two of my own. The niece was adorable, don't get me wrong, but the place was so annoying that I don't want to have to do that again unless I'm with 'the' kid - MINE.

Then again, maybe it's not that. The niece was adorable, and one of the only things I did enjoy was watching the children have fun, like the little black kid in superhero undies running back and forth under the sprinklers of the water park. He was the epitome of happiness, sprinting, jumping in the water, all by himself - the picture of joy.

Maybe instead, it's that this summer I've been on the cusp of the kind of funk I would normally attribute to winter, so perhaps things look shittier from this angle.

Anyway, it didn't work for me. No voids were filled - not even for a moment. I kept wishing that the day would be over. When the neice begged to go on another ride, I wanted to say no so badly, which is unlike me. My patience were wearing thin.

It didn't help that I was with the champion of the downtrodden. The guy who can't turn his back on the underdog (unless of course they're his own people, and then he's a complete self-hating jew). Which brings me to the cherry on the sundae of my Sunday. On the way home, we passed a series of flags for sale, hanging on a line outside of a store, including an Israeli flag.

"I'm surprised someone didn't rip it down or burn it yet", I said, pointing toward the flag.

Harry sighed, annoyed. "Why does every Jew think the world is out to get them?

"What??? Are you kidding me?"

The way he so 'Mel Gibsonly' referred to "the Jews", I just knew I couldn't debate this with him with a child in the back seat of the car. He went on to explain how the whole war was Israel's fault, which is where I promptly tuned out.

Earlier he also made fun of me for 'keeping such a close eye on his niece' while she played in the water park.

"Don't tell me you weren't watching her..."

"No, she's fine! Where'd you grow up, south central LA? It's not like someones going to come into the park and just take her."

And I tuned out.

I left feeling empty and dirty, somehow, like I was a trying to fit myself into the wrong spot. Everything feels wrong right now and everytime I think I have the answer or I have it together, I slip. Maybe I wasn't meant to have it together. Harry isn't going to be the answer, not that I really thought he was, but sometimes I start to hope, thinking 'When Harry met Sally' kinds of shit. Maybe I need to make peace with all of this. Maybe I need to just buy the two fucking cats and be done with it.

Nah. Not really.

Friday, August 04, 2006

kicking up dirt

I went out around 9 PM to meet Lana. Yes, Lana, of kleenex-up-the-sleeve fame. She had a book for me and I some topical anesthetic cream for her, for making bikini waxing slightly more bearable. We met at a local Starbucks and bought a couple of drinks 'to go' so we could walk around the hood. There was still a hot wind leftover from the day, but with the sun down it no longer felt oppressive. Lana stopped, mid-conversation, in front of a bench outside a french bistro.

"You wanna sit?"

"Yeah, sure."

We continued to discuss how Evan (our old roommate and good friend) never wants to leave the house anymore, ever since he moved to the 'burbs.

"He spends all his free time perfecting that little patch of grass", I laughed.

It must be some animalistic instinct, I thought to myself. Like how dogs kick up dirt after they do their business.

There was a lull in the conversation. I watched people in the restaurant talking with their hands, drinking wine, laughing.

The air felt heavy suddenly and there was a flash of lightning off in the distance.

"I have something to show you", Lana said, while she searched in her purse. She pulled out a card and she handed it to me.

The card read, "Fetal Assessment Centre".

I looked at her, confused. It took me a moment to understand.

Inside was her baby-to-be's first photo - 11 weeks gestation.


And there we have it - my three best friends.


All due within two weeks of each other.

A fourth friend had a baby yesterday.

A fifth is still trying.

A sixth and a seventh are each getting married this month.

Of course I wish all of my friends happiness. I wish the whole world happiness too. And peace and love and health. But I can barely get out of bed lately. I just don't know what to do. Literally. I feel like this is a test. Or maybe a cruel joke.

I give to charity, I do volunteer work, I've cared for very sick children, and I've been there for every one of my friends in any of their times of need. So why? Why not me? Why would the most basic human functions evade me? I know everyone says, if you stop looking for it, it will come, but until I turned 30 I never looked for it. Ever! I just knew one day it would happen, but it hasn't, and I don't want to continue living this little life of mine the way it is - as a good little nurse, doing all the right things, never irresponsible, making sure to eat right, exercise, look nice, don't smoke, be polite, don't sleep around too much, don't drink too much, don't ruffle feathers too much. Just go through the fucking motions every day, waiting.

It's too much.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

tits for days

I have friends who can't seem to get pregnant, no matter how hard they try. I have friends who have never even been able to get a regular period. Me? Mine are like clockwork. I can even tell you exactly when I'm ovulating (not that you're asking). But that's one of the problems. No one's asking. Still, my hormones are relentless.

I was on my way out with Lana yesterday, waiting for the elevator.

"My tits are killing me", I complained, hands to my chest.

"Time of the month?"

"Not for another two weeks. I swear, it's like as I get older, my body's voice gets louder and louder. Let me tell you something, I don't need any convincing."

We get onto the elevator.

"You know", I continue, "I never thought it would be this way. It's just so fucking dissapointing. My body is ready, I'm ready. It just wasn't supposed to be like-" I can't finish the sentence.

"I need a fucking kleenex."

Lana pulls one out of her sleeve, like Rocky and Bullwinkle. I let that pass without so much as a roll of my eyes - not even a snide, 'how old are you'-remark.

"Thanks", I sniffle.

I allow myself a moment, and then I move on. I try not to be embarrassed at my outburst, the blatant admission of unhappiness, my display of weakness. It's exhausting to keep pulling myself out of it, but as my mother used to say when I would complain about things like getting older, 'the alternative isn't good'. I guess she's right.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

my rocket

In bed with my eyes closed for what seemed like hours, I was on the brink of sleep. Someone dragged something across the floor above me. Out in the hall someone else threw their garbage down the shute.

'I'm at their mercy', I thought. 'Awake.'

'Maybe if you didn't eat all that chocolate...', I scolded myself. 'Or maybe if you took that pill.'

I saw my workday at the end of this road called night, getting closer. The last thing I remember is wondering if we were in the thick of the summer. There was an urgency there - is it more than half over, or is it still just the middle?

The next night, as I drifted off, in my half-dream state, thoughts floated by soft as cloud. Out of nowhere I saw a rocket coming at me, head on, slicing through the sky. I was instantly awake, listening to the air conditioner buckling and creaking under the weight of the edematous summer.