Sunday, October 28, 2007

lunch with my father

My father left me messages trying to track me down, asking if he could stay with me. The father that I barely know. He said he was having a hard time finding a hotel.

I live in a very small space. I've told him 'no' on a couple of previous occasions for that very reason, among others. As a 'father', why would he ask me for things he can see make me uncomfortable, forcing me to say 'no'? Why would he choose to do that?

Before I callled him back I found him a hotel. He took it fine. Sometimes he reminds me of one of those blow-up punching bags weighted in the bottom so they keep popping back up. We made plans to meet for lunch. We grabbed sandwiches and sat down in a food court. I didn't have a lot of time before my next meeting. I don't remember how we got on the topic, but I he mentioned he had never had a colonospopy. He's 60, so he should have by now, which is what I told him.

"Nah, my doctor will make sure I get what I need."

"But Dad, everyone gets them after the age of 50."

"As far as I'm concerned, if you worry about cancer, that's when you get it."

Of course that annoyed the shit out of me. So I made a comment about how ridiculous that head in the sand attitude is and he interrupted me, putting up his hand,

"I heard you the first three times. Stop repeating yourself."

The blood drained from my face.

If he was my 'Father' in the capital 'F' sense of the word, he might be able to get away with that, but this is the father that has not been in my life, that pretends to try, only to fufill his need for an audience, a therapist, a personal medical professional, and a topic of which he can engage others on to demonstrate to them what a great job he did 'raising his children'. He has not earned the right to snap at me.

I placed my sandwich down carefully. "This is not going to work."

He looked up, confused.

"Yeah. Not gonna work", my voice thin.


"You can't speak to me like that. You haven't earned it."

"What are you talking about? You were repeating yourself. Don't make a big deal about it."

"No. Let me tell you something. I'm in no mood for this. I have a crazy week ahead of me and you just drop in and think you can snap at me like that. No. Just no."

He was caught completely off-guard. Looking back now I feel terrible for this one part: that I could see him visibly shaking. I did that to him. A 60 year old man. My father.

"Rachel, why are you always angry?", he asked quietly, looking around to make sure no one could hear us. "Why can't you just let it go. I did the best I could, you know. I was there for you. I always loved you guys. Just ask your Mother. I did the best I could."

"I guess there are some things a child doesn't understand", I said looking down so no one would see the tears.

"Well you're an adult now and it's time to act like one."

Not a good thing to say.

He did love me and he tried to be there, but there are some things the kid's brain in me can not get past. Like the fact that he did not give my mother one fucking cent to help take care of my brother and I. He left my mother to take care of us alone, on a receptionist's salary. My father, the accountant, the MBA, never gave us a cent. He said he could not afford to take care of us, but he married someone else and had four more children. As a kid I could not process that and it left a wide rift.

I told him that, which was much more than I ever imagined I would say, especially in a crowded food court.

"As an adult I still find it hard."

"But Rachel, I was suffering from depression. All those years."

"And you were suffering from depression because of the things that happened to you when you were a child."

"That's right."

"And you still are."

"Well, I...yes, off and on."

"I am not about to tell you to grow out of it or snap out of it. It's just not that easy. As an intelligent adult, I understand that it is not possible."


I went through the rest of the day like a zombie. Late that night I called my brother.

"Where are you?"

"Anatomy lab, slicing the dead."

I felt like a cadaver.

"At this hour?"

"Gotta fit all of it in somehow. What's up?"

I told him the story.

"How did you end it?"

"I don't know. I guess it was smoothed over somehow because he was drawing me business diagrams again by the end of our lunch."

"Aaah, the old 'inverted pyramid?".

"Yep. That's the one."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

nail biting

Like holding smooth stones in my mouth
I envision biting off the end of my own thumb.
Opening up the back of my throat.
Swallowing it whole.
Suspending the connection between the sensation
And the idea.
I've always been good at that.
So many things I have become good at over the years.
Surely there is a good use to which I can apply these skills.
A way to use them to live a good life.
A happy one.

Monday, October 22, 2007

escape plan

Struck with a terminal fatigue, I left for home on this beautiful October Monday, did two loads of laundry, ate a cadbury premium dark chocolate bar and did not go for a run. Sometimes you just need time to recover.

I think I'll go to work tomorrow, but I leave the window open a crack to the possibility that I won't. I won't if I can't. But I probably will.

My muscles are sore from playing touch football on Saturday in Trinity Bellwoods Park with a group of my twenty-something friends, fueled only by a giant keg of beer. It made me feel simultaneously old and young.

Lana is stuck somewhere between the santa ana winds and The Fire, on "vacation" with her 8 month old. Sitting inside all day in Southern California, smelling of bonfires was not a part of that plan, but at least they are safe. I hope they stay that way.

It's 9:15. I am going to sleep it all off. The last fake summer day of the Autumn has ended. Despite not seeing enough of it today, I was able to really take it in yesterday. And it was splendid. Every single moment of it. The smell of the air, the drying fallen leaves, running past a young hipster family in the park who were singing, incidentally, Fallen Leaves, a great punk rock song by Billy Talent, with their two small children who knew every single word; my kind of family.

I've been running with Harry lately. Spending time with him wasn't the plan, but he's been consistent [or persistent] with his invitations and phone calls and I lost interest in saying no, and since I've been dating again it's been easier for me to be around him and he's been even more...consistent. Whatever. It's nice to have someone to run with and he makes me go faster.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

on repetition

When you do not know what else to do
You make people hate you.
It is what you knew first.
Your default.
The place you are most comfortable.
And so I hate you.
I fall for it every time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

still the same Lauren

"So how was your night with Max?"

"It was good. I had a lot of fun with him."

"Still feeling the chemistry?"

"Yeah, actually, I do. He's very cute."

"Did you get a chance to feel his dick yet?"



"How old are you?", I counter, the pot calling the kettle black.

I can hear her husband in the background, "Oh come on Lauren!"

"What?", she says to him, and then turns her attention back to me.

"So when do you see him again?"


"Good. Well let me know how his dick feels."

"Alright then. Call you later."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

where not to stick your gum

It was my turn to pick the place.

"Name a couple of restaurants that you keep meaning to try", I asked a few of my friends.

If there is one thing this city has a lot of, besides the homeless, its restaurants. It seems like every time I want to try something new I can never think of anything. I end up coming up with same names: Xacutti, The Drake, The Rushton... So this time I got a couple of ideas from other people, one of them being an Italian place off Bloor and the other a new Asian fusion restaurant on Spadina. I gave the guy I was going out with these two options and he chose the latter.

When we got there we discovered it had already shut down. So much for my plans. We ended up at, hands down, my favourite thai restaurant in the city: Salad King. Even thought it went through a funky Yabu Pushelberg-esque transformation a few years ago, it's still get in/get out fast service, yet cheap and delicious. It reminds me of those communal thai and indian restaurants my sister took me to in London. It was quick and good and that left the rest of the evening free to grab some drinks. We ended up in the Annex, drinking cheap wine and listened to some great music.

It was a breath of fresh air hanging out with this guy for the most part. He's a writer, totally down to earth, and the conversation was great, but a couple of odd things went down. After they brought over the wine, I am pretty sure I saw him stick his gum under the table. I kept trying to convince myself that I was mistaken, but unfortunately I don't think I was, and because we were having such a good time, I wanted to pretend it didn't happen so I didn't say anything. Who does that after the 6th grade? When he's at home does he pick his nose and wipe it under his couch cushions too? I mean really.

Later on we ended up in a used book store that was open late and I found a hand-written note in the European History section that someone had accidentally left on a shelf.

"Oooh, look what found", I held it up for him to see. I guess I got excited about it. I love finding shit like that. It's my voyeuristic side.

He gave me a funny look.

"Yeah...I'm sure you'll find the answer to all the world's problems on that piece of paper."

His tone caught me off guard; a bit of a buzz kill I must say. It wasn't a light sarcasm. It was kind of cold. I looked down at the paper trying to think of how to respond.

"Nah, turns out it's just the measurements for a tablecloth or something. No such luck."

He made another strange comment on the way home. I pointed out this place that I want to try called Black Camel, well known for it's slow cooked meat sandwiches. I had pointed out the new Mark Thuet restaurant that specializes in southern barbecue earlier when we walked by in the Annex.

"Wow, you seem to be a real expert in pulled pork." Also sarcastic.

I don't know why it bothered me. I don't even eat pork, let alone "pulled" pork. But mostly it was how he said it. This time I let the silence kick in. I didn't give a shit. I don't give a shit about too much these days so I let him sit in it [the silence that is]. He quickly jumped in to fill it, but my guard was already up.

When he pulled up to my apartment, he kissed me goodnight. It was a nice kiss too.

I don't know what all that was about, but whatever.

And in other dating news I let the south american go. It wasn't pretty, but in the end he emailed me a quote he once saw written in a school yard, sadly the coolest thing he had done so far and simultaneously the lamest quote I've ever read. Something about how beautiful life is if you don't let it pass you by. Blah.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

sitting in the dark

I just got home and it is a rainy October night, already dark. I lay here on the couch in my underwear, hands still dirty from the subway, and I know if I turned on the lights and washed my hands I would feel better than I do, but I wait a few more minutes.

I am reminded of when I was in grade school, waiting in the old lady's parlor for my piano lesson, hearing the sound of my mother's car pull away. There wasn't enough light in the house, especially as it grew dark earlier and earlier. There I would sit in that musty room, watching the grandfather clock, bone tired from a long day at school, stomach growling, dreading the angry old women with the rooster neck skin, knowing I didn't practice enough—I never did—and just waiting to pay the price.

Even then I was depressed I think. Right now I can't remember a time when I was not.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I carried my tennis racket
And walked as fast as I could.
I was ok for the moment
With the next few hours planned out
Like kindergarden.

I walked past a man and two kids
On a porch on Palmerston
Shading their eyes and pointing up.
There in the deep grey sky sailed a navy blue blimp.

This morning when I sat down at my desk
There were responses to two emails
From the night before
I could not remember sending.
Maybe it was the sleeping pills.
At some level there was relief that even the drugged up me
Knows how to toe the line.

I'm trying to remember when all this started.
Maybe the spring?
No, earlier.
Probably in winter.
Winter strips everything to the bone.
But in the summer you rot.
Blimp, blimp, blimp.

My therapist doesn't think it's depression
As much as it is 'the verge'.
The verge of breaking away.
Of being myself.
Of living my life.

"Once you got a taste of it", he told me
"It was impossible to settle for anything else,
And that's where you are."
So apparently there aren't any pills to fix that
Other than those ones he gives me to sleep.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

sounds like a plan

I've had a headache since Thursday. I still managed to make an appearance at Shoshanna's dinner party, despite the fact that I was the only single person in attendance if you don't count babies. I've also managed to keep running, bathing, and shaving etc... Maybe I don't need to be medicated afterall.

I went out and bought a pair of shoes I will probably return, which is somehow more satisfying than buying nothing at all. I've been relatively content to walk the city on this dreary october Saturday, an americano misto in hand, silently swearing at fat nerdy families and annoying tourists slow-walking, blocking sidewalks, and gawking and photographing stupid tourist things.

I've been dodging the south american for the past few days. At first I told myself it was because I was depressed and that it must not be the right time for me to be dating someone, but the truth is, tonight I have a date with a guy that Lauren managed to set me up with [while sitting shiva for her father]. Maybe I'm just not that into the south american.

I wanted to find something to buy to wear tonight but nothing jumped out at me. I also meant to go to yoga this morning but it started at 10:30 AM and I woke up at 10:15 AM. I need something to make me feel myself again.

So this is my plan. I will get my ass off the couch right now, go for a run, take a long hot shower [can you believe that just typing that made me feel guilty, like I am the sole reason for the collapse of the world's water supply], and then I am going to find something great to wear. By the time I meet up with this guy, I'll be a new woman.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

maybe everything happens

I guess I took it pretty hard when Lauren's father died, but it was before that too. It's been a while. I startle easily lately. I mistake specks of dirt or a fallen leaf in my peripheral vision for a cockroach or some other dire threat. When PMS starts two weeks early and lags two weeks after, it's time to ask some serious questions. Even with my game face on, I'm hanging by a thread.

"Let's talk about the thread", he said.

Maybe the thread is what people expect of me. Maybe nothing happens when the thread breaks. Maybe everything happens when the thread breaks.

"Anything more on that?"

I am one thread away from never getting out of bed, never shaving, never washing my hair, never running, never putting on my make-up, and never answering the phone again. It seems to me that whatever is going on here is time-limited; not in the way that it will go away on it's own, but in the sense that I can't keep it afloat much longer. I am starting to think about doing the one thing I said I would never do again.

When I told him that he said, "You see everything as a struggle between good and evil".

That's how it has always been for me.

"There are things in between. We still have work to do here. Just because I'm not normally a medication kind of guy doesn't mean it doesn't have a place."

"I don't know what to do" I told him. "I said never again but I can't just keep feeling like this. I don't know what to do", I started to crumble. "Just tell me what to do. Please I need for you to tell me what to do." I paused for a moment but there was nothing.

"I need you to tell me what to do, but you don't. You never do. It's so easy for you to take that stance. To use your therapeutic approach to excuse yourself from asking any of the right questions or taking anything on yourself." I couldn't stop trembling. "I need you to tell me what to do".

But he left it at that and I left with my sunglasses on again, tissues balled up in the palm of my hand.

Monday, October 01, 2007

brackets I ain't in

I woke up early, straightened up the apartment for the cleaning lady, went out to this fine linen store Shoshanna sent me to, under the premise that there was an amazing sale, which turned out only reduced the price of a set of sheets from $475 to $300. I can't imagine being in that kind of a sheet bracket. I'm not sure how Shosh is, but needless to say I didn't spend much time there. I ended up getting a set of white on white striped sheets in an entirely acceptable thread count and material for a more reasonable price to go on my amazing new bed, which is set to arrive this week. This is going to be a dream bed. I did not skimp on the bed.

And in further news, I applied for a job. A really good job. Really good. When I put the resume in, I thought they would chuckle and think, 'aw, how cute she applied for this way too important position', and would promptly recycle the paper it was written on, but instead, they emailed me the next day to set up a preliminary interview. Over the next few days I started to think about it. I started to see myself in the position.

So I had a phone interview. Normally I give good interviews, and so it came as quite a shock when I realized, about 30 seconds in, I was completely bombing. I had prepared well and I was still terrible. As it was happening I was thinking, how the hell am I going to survive this? I wanted to jump off my balcony. Every question they asked was completely inapplicable to my experience. Normally I would make my experiences fit, but it was impossible!

What it comes down to is that they were looking for someone else. I didn't have the experience they wanted. As much as I can rationalize it, it never feels good to sound as stupid as I sounded today, and the worst part about it is that I have to go back to work tomorrow knowing that there isn't this great opportunity waiting for me around the corner. It makes me want to leave. It makes me want to call in sick and move to the burbs to stay with Lana, her husband, and the baby for the rest of my life. It makes me want to go home to my Mommy.

In less humiliating news, I've been spending time with a certain South American guy. The weather in Toronto has been great. I've been running every day. I feel amazing other than the breast tenderness, exhaustion, occasional bouts of nausea, and random food aversions.

Unless someone slipped me a roofie, I'm not pregnant. However Shoshanna just told me she is...three months pregnant...with twins! For the love...

Maybe it's sympathy morning sickness. Naw, not even. Maybe it's PMS.