Monday, July 30, 2007

spring is here

The kitchen floor felt dirty under my feet
Standing at the sink waiting for the toast to pop.
I put down my coffee and went to the hall closet for the dustpan.
I crouched down on the floor to sweep.
There, along with some crumbs
Were two tiny black metal springs.
I live alone.
No one else has been here for days.
For the life of me
I could not imagine
Where they came from
These springs.
But then I couldn't help but wonder
If they weren't from me somehow;
Any way you look at it
It's evidence
That I'm losing it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

never ask a question...

I'm starting to question the relationships in my life. There's one girlfriend of mine at the front of that line. We have known each other for years. We always moved in distinct but parallel circles growing up on the east coast, only developing a relationship when she moved to Toronto a few years after I did. We saw each other a few times when she was new to the city but she was in a relationship. She has always been the kind of girl who focuses all of her energy on one thing, and for her, preferably it is a man. That relationship did not last and we saw each other at a mutual friend's poolside barbeque a few summers ago and we started to spend time together.

We had very little in common outside of hometown, religion, and that our parents are good friends. At one point we started meeting for coffee, drinks, or even just hanging out in the evenings after work and watching television. The whole time I knew that we were filling in space for each other. There was almost this sense that I should be careful at how close I let us get. Like what my Mother would say when she used to take me along to William Ashley's:

"Don't touch anything. If you break it you buy it."

She is one of those people who demands a great deal of attention, whether she is saying her father has cancer or that she can not decide what color to put on her walls. It really makes no difference. Designed to give people what they need, I often find myself obliging, but I am exhausted when I leave her and always hungry for something, like we had gone out for dinner but there had been nothing to eat.

She is married now and she is always full steam ahead. I fulfilled my duties as her maid of honor, even though anyone who really knows me knows how I despise weddings. Especially elaborate, typical weddings. Of course that did not get factored into the equation when she was making selections, and it certainly did not sensor her grandiose ideas and expectations of the bridal party.

Right now her focus is on making a baby and it is all she thinks and talks about. I no longer want to be involved at this level. I want my own life. Only when they are mine will small details like this matter to me.

When she has things on her plate I never hear from her. When she is bored or in the mood to vent about something and there is no one else around, she hunts me down, literally. She phones, she shows up in my neighborhood, at work, she even waits outside my therapist's office.

Tonight she came by to borrow something she needed, of course right away. So it did not matter that I was cooking and that I was about to sit down to eat. She would not know. She did not ask. I guess it's just Rachel, alone, I imagine she thinks. She can't possibly WANT to be alone.

She called from the car. At first I offered to run it down to her and she accepted, but then she said something that made me realize she was in the car with her husband. With someone else in the care she would not have to park, yet she accepted my offer to come down to her without a word. I was sitting down to eat at the time and so I thought, why should I bring this to HER? I'm doing her a favour. She can come up. So thinking I was being very clever I called her on her cell and asked her to come up to my apartment. I told her I wanted to show her the new lamp I bought.

She came up, talked about how bad her week was. The cat is sick, her husband's parents are coming to visit, along with her grandmother, and then asked me, as an afterthought, how mine was. I lied and then directed her attention to my lamp.

I could immediately tell by the look on her face that she did not like it. She doe not try to cover anything up. I wished I had not asked.

"It's not really my taste."

"Ok, but it's not for your house", I said a little too harshly. I wondered if she even noticed. I softened my voice, trying to come across casual.

"Try not to think of it for your house", I prompted, my patience thin. "Given the style of the furniture in the room, objectively, what do you think?"

"I think it looks like something my Bubbi would have in her apartment. It's too ornate. Too grandma."

Keep in mind I bought the lamp because I liked it and I did not actually want or need her opinion. I only asked because I was sick of catering to her. I wanted her to go out of her way for me this time.

I tried to pretend it did not bother me. I thanked her and gave her what she came for.

"I hope you didn't mind hearing that. I figure you wanted to know the truth or you wouldn't have asked."

I envy her in a few different ways, but most of all I envy her in her obliviousness. It is unmatched.

I just wish I had the courage to tell the truth. My therapist seems to think it is as simple as that. He never tells me what to do or how to do it. He never gives direction, but I prompted him a little harder than normal and maybe he could tell how close I am to cracking lately.

"You could have said, 'Shoshanna, you're right. I did ask for your opinion, but you went too far. There are diplomatic ways to say things, but instead you chose to insult my taste. That is not a quality I look for in a friend. I certainly don't think I have ever been that kind of a friend to you.'"

Keep in mind the poor guy was a fish out of water telling me what to say, but I think it was a valiant effort and I got the point he was trying to make.

"But how can I do that?", I asked him, suddenly tired. "It would be uncomfortable".

"It should be", he shot back. "For HER. You can leave her with that. Why should you be the one left feeling uncomfortable when she's the bitch."

But then what, I thought? If that's the end of the friendship, so be it?

Monday, July 23, 2007

all on a private jet

I watched the You Tube debate tonight. Three things: I'm impressed with Hilary Clinton; I felt bad for Joe Biden when he mentioned that his wife and daughter died; and I love the format; everyone gets their opportunity to ask the candidates questions. That's really all I care to say about that.

I'm going to bed. I didn't sleep well last night. I played a solid game of tennis tonight [still had my ass kicked], had the most delicious split pea soup for dinner from United Bakers, my favourite dairy deli.

No matter what is going on, it is always the simple things that make me happy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

the sound of smoke

He was out all night, he told me.
By morning he was still too high to drive home.
So he walked west along the water
As the sun came up.
He stood at the shore
The sleeping towers of the city at his back.
It was so quiet he could actually hear the sound of the water.
And he could hear the smoke
Rise up through the mouth of the smoke stacks
Like the sound of tearing paper.
He continued west toward Spadina
And there to his left
In the grey lake water
Was an enormous fish.
The size of these two tables, he said
Gesturing to the two-seaters between us
Pressed together to seat four.
The fish swam along next to him
At the same pace he was walking.
The fish at his side
In the dark water
And he on the cold concrete.
When he finally turned up toward chinatown.
The fish continued on its way.
And he knew it was a sign.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

black jetta

So I'm biking down Dupont east of Ossington this afternoon when these big dark clouds appear out of nowhere. Of course this time the shitty forecasters DIDN'T call for rain, but rain it did. All week they've been crying rain and all week I lugged my umbrella to work and back for nothing.

So I'm riding my bike and it's spitting and I'm listening to my new favourite metric song, the twist, in my right ear only [for safety], and this beater, a dull black jetta circa 1989 that looked like it had been hand painted, pulls over about 50 metres ahead. I don't really know what 50 metres looks like, but being Canadian I thought it would be a good descriptor. Lets just say a half a block. And I see this hand waiving madly from the driver side window. As I approach, the bald guy in the car is waiving me over so I slow down.

"You can't pass someone on the right side like that", he says.

"What?", I ask. I actually heard him but I'm buying time because I don't know what the hell he's talking about and I'm trying to remember if I did that.

"That car you passed back there. You're gonna get yourself killed passing cars on the right when they stop to turn."

I look over my right shoulder.

"You're going to get me killed by pulling me over in the middle of the road to tell me this", I say. "Other than that, I appreciate the advice."

I pedal away. He passes me angrily a few seconds later, his 1989 motor purring like a harley davidson.

Now that I think of it, if I did do that he has a point [and the fact that I can't remember means that either way, I need to pay better attention].

PS This house on an alley in the Annex is my dream home. It is so central, so urban, not excessive. I wouldn't even need the benz parked in the driveway. I'd bike everywhere. I swear.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I packed my things for work, got my bike from the balcony, and headed for the door. I stopped in my tracks. Did I leave my stove on? I backed up a couple of steps and craned my neck to look into the kitchen. Stove not on. Something was not right. It came to me that I should call my mother. I leaned my bike up against the wall by the door and walked over to the phone and dialed.


"Hi Mom."

"Oh hi sweetie."

"What are you doing?"

"Just parked my car and I'm walking to pilates - running late. What about you?"

"I'm about to bike to work", I told her, standing there with my helmet on, waiting for something to click; to feel better.

"It's nice and sunny here finally. How is it there?"

"Sunny", I answer, mildly irritated by the small talk. I shift my weight.

"Well that's good! We've had terrible weather."

I don't say anything for a moment.

"Ok Mom. Have fun at pilates. I'll talk to you later?"

"Ok Rachel, ride safe."

I hung up and stood there. I felt like I just gave my mother the final conversation she would replay over and over again and I started to feel bad that I was short with her. I considered calling her back. A second try. Smooth it over, but I changed my mind. You can't keep second guessing yourself. But seriously, maybe I should leave my bike at home. Take the subway. I mean, why take the chance? But things happen on the subway too. A few years ago, a girl was pushed into an oncoming train at King Station by a crazy man. Trains get bombed. Train switches jam. Trains collide.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

the friday blues

So I pretty much met my entire blog readership on Friday night, which was great since I've known them 'computorially' for a long time. I couldn't pass up the opprtunity to put faces to font. I met JC, his cousin T of no known blogging address, Sunshine, and a special guest. They were as I imagined they would be, but funnier.

I joined them for drinks, served by a Julie Delpy look-alike, with a background of [apparently] slightly off-key blues/jazz. There were a couple of John Cusask look-alikes, an episode of neck picking, a tall man either drooling or lactating [no one knows for sure], the discovery that blue curacao [pronounced CURE-uh-sow] and rolaids combine smoothly, and that everything is funny when you're, "on advil". Finally, the consensus was reached that while it is acceptable to carry rolaids around with you, it would not, for example, be acceptable to carry metamucil in your purse. At one point there was a tree-falls-in-the-forest-argument presented, more specifically that if you didn't offer it around and no one knew, perhaps that would be ok, but in the end the line was drawn for an all-out ban.

So I expected that meeting this group for the first time would feel more surreal, strange, or uncomfortable, but it really didn't. It was great. I'm glad it worked out.

P.S. Your biblical reading material is in the mail.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

don't want to die living in a highrise

Working in the hospital again may not mean big money, but it sure puts me back in alchohol swabs. Man, did I miss those little individually packaged for convenience squares of antiseptic heaven.

Last night, after a great last training shift, I said my goodbyes to my coworkers and my many thanks and sat down at the front desk [always a mistake as you're a sitting duck] and checked my schedule. One of the staff docs came rushing over to me and asked me to transfer an unstable patient from another unit, by ambulance, to another hospital.

"I'm not sure I'm the person for the job."


"Well, first of all I'm leaving after 13 hours of work, and second, I'm still officially on orientation until my next shift."

"Well you won't have to do anything-"

Just then the nurse in charge walked up to us.

"What's up?"

Staff doc repeated his request. Charge nurse reiterated the reasons I wasn't going to be going. I kind of wanted to go, but to be honest, I had plans after work, I'd had a great run of shifts and wanted to end my orientation on a good note, and I figure there will be plenty of time to do interesting things. I've also learned, although it sounds jaded [maybe it is], that sometimes doing the extra—going the extra mile, which I tend to always do—only buys you a boatload of pain.

So I walked out into the unusually crisp summer evening, took a deep breath and smiled, put my ipod on, and walked to the subway to the sounds of the new Metric CD. Love it.