Sunday, November 25, 2007

belle ville

I sink deeper, until the water is just millimetres from grazing the phone.

"How do you spell his last name?", Lana asks.

"Colville. C-O-L-V-I-L-L-E. Like Belleville."

I can hear her typing on the other end. I sink a hair deeper.

"Lana....I'm sinking....", I say in a faraway voice. "In case you don't hear from me again, thanks for being such a great friend."

"Are you in the tub?"

"Uhuh". I slide back up a little. I feel like I'm seven.

Silence on the other end and then after a little while she let's me know she's still looking.

"Luke", I say in deep voice. "I am your father."

She ignores me.

Like every time I get in the tub, after only minutes I'm antsy. The water line tickles my forearms. I cradle the phone in my neck to scratch.

"Alright. Sounds like you're not finding anything."

"Yeah, nothing."

"Ok, gotta go. Talk to you tomorrow."

I put the phone down on the toilet seat cover and I sink under the hot water, my long hair circling like sea grass.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

one last game

I just logged on to blogger and noticed I've had 666 posts. The number of the beast. I also missed my three year blogging anniversary, which was the other day. I love this blog. I love having a space to put myself and the opportunity to share with people now and then. Thanks for reading!

It's Saturday night, and I made plans with a friend of mine to go to a movie. I tried to call her this afternoon, but there was no answer on her cell, home, or her blackberry. I hope nothing bad happened, but if nothing bad happened, I'm going to be pissed. I turned down other plans and now I am sitting at home watching Bones. Ok, I'll be honest. I like sitting at home. More than I should.

I ordered pizza and ate too much and now I'm eating chocolate chips. I feel sick, I've eaten so many, yet I continue. I have my annual physical this week, which means getting weighed. I haven't been running for over a month because of my foot, so you would think I would try not to add any more last minute pounds on.

At least my foot can tolerate the bike, so that's what I've been doing. This morning I met Harry at the gym and then we spent the afternoon together. We played pool, and he was totally kicking my ass. It got so bad I swear I almost broke the cue over my own head. Then I tried a little reverse psychology. I proposed one last game.

"The winner of this game will be the queen of all pool", I suggested.

It's really win-win for me. Either I win and nullify all of my previous losses or Harry wins and I can call him the "Queen of all pool".

He said yes, but then I upped the ante, because my plan was to make it seem subtly deliberate. You see, since he had never played with me before, if I managed to win the game, he might think I'm a pool shark, which is better than thinking I suck. All of the previous losses would have been strategic rather than a result of a lack of skill.

"Hey, why don't we make this one a little more interesting and put some money on it?"

"Ok. Sure", he laughed. "How about whoever wins pays for the pool?"


Truth be told I hate spending my money losing a bet, but I sucked it up in case I got lucky.

The game began. He broke, and right away he pocketed a couple of low-balls, but then I came back [or rather he started to miss and I managed to steadily sink my balls until I had only one left on the table besides the eight ball].

The whole time I had a calm about me. I somehow knew I was going to win, even though he came back again at the end. When I sank the eight ball, I came close to scratching and so my only regret was that I squeeled, "don't go in, don't go in, don't go in!!!". That sort of took away from the overall objective of looking cool.

When I regained my composure I turned to him. "You've been sharked by Gold". I strutted to the rack to put away my cue.

"Yeah. You got me", he said, his expression flat. "You deserve an Academy Award. You really had me fooled. You were so incredibly convincing as a terrible pool player. You're a regular Jack Nicholson of pool."

The waitress came up to the table.

"Is everything ok over here?"

"Yeah. I kicked his ass", I answered.

After Harry payed the tab we walked out into the cold and he turned to me.

"Remind me to play competitive sports with you again real soon, okay?"

"Good game", I said, offering him my hand.

Friday, November 23, 2007

the danger of dishes

Before I forget, I should let you in on something I discovered this morning. If, like me, you do not have a dishwasher and you wash your dishes by hand in scalding hot water, I do not recommend washing dishes naked. I've had to learn this the hard way on more than one occasion.

My intention this November was to write more often, NoBloMo (or whatever it's called)-style. I had no intention of making it official, but I wanted to use it as an excuse to write more.

And so there you have it. I didn't say I would write better. Just more.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

things I need to keep

I have not needed you like I did
But there were times
When pretending you were next to me
Was the only way I could fall asleep.
I hate that it is one of the few things I have never told you.
But there are some things I need to keep for myself.

Sitting across from you I focus in on your socks
Or your hands
The way you run your index finger
Along the inside of your thumb.
Your expression
When you stumble onto something good
Or I have captivated you.
Made you laugh.

I know you better than I should
And often when I am with you
I am aware of my heart.
Not in the sappy way
But rather
Where it sits in my chest.
Clumsily clenching and releasing.
[I hope].
[to be sure].

And here I lie
Like the princess and the pea.
My specialty.
Not pain, exactly.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

buying the killers

I spent the morning cleaning, my afternoon at the gym, came home with my toes painted Malagra Wine red, and stocked the fridge with Stella, only to find out that the guy who has yet to be named even though he's been around long enough that he probably should be, called and canceled. He was supposed to come over for dinner and a movie but he has a bad case of the "shanghai flu" [aka a hang over].

I work a long day at the hospital tomorrow, so on the bright side I will be well well rested as you can be when you have to be up at 5 AM. And I have a sparkling clean apartment.

Speaking of the bright side, The Killers new cd is great. Just got it today. Me likey.

Friday, November 16, 2007

how getting a rim job can pay off

A friend of mine works for RIM, the makers of the blackberry. Last night they had a surprise concert for all of their employees. Each was invited to bring a guest. Lucky me, I was a +1. Turned out to be the Tragically Hip [one of my all time favourite bands] and Van Halen! What a great show.

The only weird thing was that usually when you go see a show the audience is made up of fans. There were definitely pockets of fans among the 15,000 people in attendance [lucky for me the biggest VH fan who was borderline belligerently drunk and who knew every word to every song, was sitting on my right], but there were clearly a lot of people in addition to myself, who didn't know anything beyond 'Panama' and 'Jump'.

The Hip really don't need flashy lights and props so their lack of stage presence didn't bother me. I got the feeling Gord Downey wasn't so happy to be playing to that crowd, and who could really blame him, but I loved seeing them and hearing them in person. I will always be a fan.

In contrast, the VH production was as polished as a U2 concert and they sounded just like they always have. They were a little heavy on the solos, but that's the genre I guess. David Lee Roth was kind of sexy with his high kicks and his leather pants. Also, I should mention, I love drinking beer out of the Air Canada Centre sippy cups, just like when you go see the Raps. I don't even like beer and I love the way it tastes in those cups.

It was so much fun. All I could think was, ‘how cool is this’, and ‘I have never seen so many glowing blackberries in one audience in my life. The ACC was lit up like a planetarium.

Monday, November 12, 2007

skin on

I left work early today. It's so grey and damp outside. On the way home I did errands, wandering the aisles of the grocery store, list in hand.


I love a good grocery list. I stifled yawns, maneuvering my cart around other customers. I wasn't in the mood to browse this afternoon. Often I am. I'll walk up and down every single aisle, lose myself in the groceries. I found a sale on bags of yellow, orange and red peppers, 4 for $1.99, so I bought two bags. It's the little things that make me happy and inspire me.

I make my own version of Israeli salad using anything I feel like using, as opposed to just tomato and cucumber. The trick is to dice it as small as humanly possible, which tastes so much better for some reason. I do it in either a fresh lemon and olive oil or a balsamic vinaigrette.

Today when I got home I made the salad with lentils, the multi-colored peppers, english cucumber [skin on], tomatoes, julienne of carrots, and hearts of palm. It is truly beautiful.

Friday night I went out with this guy again. We've been out a number of times over the last several weeks. Sometimes we have a good time together and sometimes it's just ok. Before I left I had a feeling that it was going to be our last date and I was ok with that. The last couple of times we've gone out I've left feeling unsure. I talked myself out of cancelling altogether because I'd had a really long week and I was in the mood to go somewhere and have a couple of drinks.

On the way to the restaurant I witnessed a terrible thing. A man in his thirties had apparently fallen down the subway stairs. He looked like he had been shot in the head. The whole side of his head was a mess. It wasn't just blood. I could see tissue. One man near me on the subway grabbed his son to cover his face.

The paramedics were already on the scene. The man who fell was conscious, but it looked really bad. In my line of work, I've seen things that could make just about anyone squirm, but this one really bothered me. I almost turned around and went home.

I was still shaken up when I got to the restaurant. We met at an asian-indian fushion restaurant I had been wanting to try. I don't even think I looked around the place when I got there. I was flustered. I told him the story while I scanned the drink menu. I just knew it had to be a sign that things weren't going to go well.

But I guess nothing is ever predictable when it comes to this kind of thing. Maybe it was that the pressure was off but by about midway through dinner I realized how much fun I was having. The night sort of came together into a haze of red wine and music and crowds of people.

Sort of like how my upcoming trip is saving me, I so needed that kind of a night.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

he's my mother

The carpets in his office have been replaced. I can smell it even before I open the door.


"I've been witness to two new sets of carpets now. That doesn't bode well for my progress. Have I really been here that long?"

He smiles.

"I could just leave", I tell him. "I was doing really well when you were on vacation. I'm starting to wonder...", I trail off.

He raises his head ever so slightly to let me know he's listening.

"Well, I could just say today is my last day."

The air is thin suddenly.

"Any thoughts on that?", he asks.

"Maybe I shouldn't leave yet. Maybe I'm not ready."

He waits for me to continue.

"But then maybe I should. It could be that I'll never be ready."

"Instead of talking about whether you should or shouldn't, why don't you talk a bit about what leaving means?"

There was a long silence where I could come up with nothing. I couldn't even visualize the kind of thing one might say in response to the question. On the surface it doesn't seem like a tough one but it was like nothing else existed. All I could see was the should/shouldn't argument. It was as though my vocabulary had been cut down to a handful of words and so I was very limited in what I could think or say.

Strangely, Silence of the Lambs came to mind.

"Hey", I asked instead of answering his question. "What would you do if I started only referring to myself as 'it'? Like, 'Ok, well it has to leave now. It needs to take the subway home so it can eat dinner.'"

He tries not to laugh.

"Seriously, what would you do? It wants to know"

Now he starts to laugh full on, shoulders shaking, his face red. I allow myself a moment of pride before I realize the self-defeat.

I'm writing this out, swallowing a fist-full of vitamins at my desk, because I'm thinking the second or third time around I might be able to find my insides. It's somehow important to me to quell the panic rising from the idea that I could actually be devoid of a soul.

I am determined to answer this question. So here you go Doc:

Leaving means I'm alone. Ok, but I was anyway. We all are. Even the people surrounded by loved ones and family and children and pets. We think we aren't but we are.

The thought of leaving you breaks my heart. I think I have always loved you; or at least I love you for caring for me like you have; the real me, or as close as I could possible get to it. Your goodness, effort, reliability, and authenticity have never failed me. You've brought me closer to myself than I have ever been. You always take my side, even when I try to present you with my faults on a platter. You are for me. I've never had that before. If I let you go, how will I ever find it again?

There's also the fantasy, in contrast to the previous point, that maybe leaving would make you angry. Not because you will miss me but because you will miss my reliable body in that time slot. And maybe you will miss having an informed and cooperative patient who puts up with your wild interpretations and has enough insight to see that you are good at what you do.

If I leave it means that there is nothing left to be done for me, which means it may never be better than this.

I'm not leaving yet, but I had to prove it to myself that I could answer the question.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

taking a breather

I invited him back to my place. We'd just seen a depressing movie and I knew it might be a hard switch into what a fourth date might involve.

I turned on a good playlist and took out a chilled bottle of white.

"I feel bad that you're opening a whole bottle."

"Don't feel bad. What's a bottle of wine for if you don't open it? Speaking of which, are you any good at opening these?"

"Yeah, I can do it."

"Oh wait. Never mind. It's a screw on."

"Screw on cap?", he laughed. "Only the best...?"

I held my tongue, but I wanted to say, 'Hello!? Are you new?'

That wine comes from a winery I visited in Napa. It was more than I normally spend.

It's one thing not to know much about wine. Frankly I don't either, but it is a whole other thing to not know much about wine but pretend like you do.

Maybe he's just nervous, I thought. He's human, right? I let it go the same way I convinced myself I was mistaken when I thought I saw him stick his gum under the table on our first date.

"I love this song", he told me when November Rain came on. "They played it at my budddy's ex-girlfriend's funeral though, so now it's all my friends and I can think of whenever we hear it."

I took a slow sip of wine, remembering the song they played at Toby's funeral.

He looked up at my. "Now don't start getting all morose and telling funeral stories. I shouldn't have brought it up."

His tone startled me. I'm not sure if I would have said anything about Toby. I doubt it, but there's a chance I might have. Either way I came out of that exhchange feeling cheap somehow.

"Hey", I said, "you're the one who brought up funerals and picked a depressing movie that made me cry."

"You cried?"

"Well...yes. A little. It was incredibly sad at the end. You didn't notice?"

"Not a thing", he lied grinning. I got the sense it wasn't to protect my dignity, which might have been endearing.

A few minutes later he moved toward me on the couch. He pulled the elastic out of my ponytail, letting my hair fall across my shoulders. Then he kissed me, leaning me back against the couch.

I expected that I would warm up to it. I tried to let myself go, but soon it was clear to me that I wasn't feeling it. Yet had I not come too far to be considering my options now? I tossed that around, but finally I pulled away from him.

"Are you ok?"

"I'm fine.", I told him, kissing him gently one last time, a hand on either side of his face.

I sat up and reached for my wine.

"I just need a little breather."

He stayed a little while longer.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

the instillation of fear

I dropped a make-up brush in the toilet.
About the size of a pencil.
I put on rubber gloves to retrieve it
Which only pushed it down further.
I could no longer see it
So I did what I thought was the next best thing.
I flushed.

After that the toilet acted up.
Sometimes it just flushed slowly.
Other times, the water level rose
Instilling that sort of toilet water rising fear.

For a while there was this fantasy
That it would fix itself.
But after a while
I relented and called the plumbers.

The next morning there were two at my door
They took out their tools
Removing the back cover of my toilet
Heads bent together
Discussing the matter in hushed russian.

"Water pressure is low", the tall one said to me with finality.
"Are you sure?", I asked.
"Because sometimes it rises like it's going to overflow."
I tried to sound like I did not already have the answer.
He furrowed his brow, eyed his partner and turned back to the toilet.
I could hear the tools clinking against porcelain.

The shorter heavier set one came into the living room sipping a 7up.
I stopped dusting the bookshelf
Braced myself and waited for the verdict.
The tall one slipped out the front door.

"Have you dropped something in toilet?", he demanded.
"Me? No...not that I can think of."
I tried to sound surprised at the question.
"Mmmhmm...", he frowned.
"Ok. We get snake."
I frantically pieced together an explanation
In case the brush came back up.
Something about babysitting someone's toddler
Who may have thrown a thing or two in the toilet
Like the baby in 'I'll love you forever'.

Finally, after some time, the two men emerged
Red-faced, glistening with sweat.
"Toilet fine now", the short one said out of breath.
For a moment I waited for him to go on
But he said nothing else.

I thanked them and double bolted the door behind them.
I stood over the toiled and flushed.
The water rushed down with urgency once more.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

listen all y'all it's a sabotage

Lately I feel as though I have aged 10 years, but yesterday I got a few of them back in just one click of a mouse. I booked a trip to London. Spending that much money and making a spur of the moment decision right now was difficult, but as soon as I did it I knew it was exactly what I needed to do.

In making that move something else came to me. I have two jobs. One in academia and one in a hospital. I don't talk a whole lot about my work here, especially the academic position— the one I've been in for several years—but what I will say is I haven't been getting enough out of it for a while now and something happened recently that closed the deal for me. On the one hand it was a, 'great, just icing on the shit cake that has been my life lately'-moment, but on the other hand it was an invitation to freedom.

And that's just it. The way that booking this flight made me feel also allowed me to see that the life as shit cake notion is really just a point of view. I'm not talking 'the secret' or some other Anthony Robbins self-help motto. I am merely saying that if a click of a mouse can reverse time for me or relax my ribcage to allow me to breath deeper, then shaking up my perspective a little more often and pushing through the discomfort that comes with that is worth it.


As I prepared this to post I found myself humming "criminal mind", by Gowan. Humming is a good sign. I'll give myself a break on the choice of song.

Which reminds me, last night a girlfriend of mine came over and we ordered sushi and drank wine and she showed me that my cable package provides free karaoke. Nothing like becoming the Beastie Boys over some good food and drink to wind down the day.