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Refuge for the rational.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Crazies and Stuff 

The last couple of months have been progressively stranger. I'm sort of stumbling around with the feeling that I should be doing something, but I'm not sure what doing entails, nor what the outcome or goal is supposed to be. School feels argumentative, and though intellectually stimulating, entirely entrenched in a bizarre unreality that conjurs in me an intense lack of motivation or purpose. A bunch of people sitting around with the intellectual power to change the world for the better, but only after a few dozen pitchers.

I rode home today in my friend's car as she blasted freakin' Christmas music, and I thought of home at Christmas and how much I've come to loathe the holiday--it's pressure. It's not the time I get to spend with the people I care about--I like that--it's the arranging of that time, the preparation, the fucking stress of whose house is graced with my presence on the actual day. 'Cause you know, it doesn't count otherwise. This year I'll only have one dinner to attend, and that's fucked up in itself.

I can't get my mind around the thoughts that go through other people's minds, and maybe that's why I feel like I'm constantly having some kind of fight or flight response to this anti-reality. No one makes sense to me, and I catch myself (and they catch me...even worse) just staring at them, trying to understand why the words aren't connecting in any real or meaningful way. It's frustrating and making me angry. Maybe there's something wrong with me. Dog the car on the bed couch into a pervasive hat man uncomfortable shining basket. Ok? Sure.

The craziest shit of all occurs within that petty and predictible realm that humans are funny enough to term relationships. If there wasn't enough hilarity and insanity in my own life already, there is now.

My friend who listens to Christmas music has taken to a friend of a friend in a rather bad way. It's uncomfortable because I know it's bad, but she doesn't. I think he's going to get upset with her soon because their casual relationship has turned into a professed need for constant action. Which men don't understand as sex. They get really scared and worry about someone getting too emotionally involved. That's going to be uncomfortable.

And then there's the crazy-ass bitch who made a collage of another of my friends. Not someone she's involved with because she's too married for that. Picture of her. Picture of him.......picture of her kid. Times two-hundred. It made my hair stand up on end. And then she topped it all of with writing a really funny letter about how she isn't a groupie. Ok honey.

My own relationship issues are just as funny, if only because we actually speak two different languages. I don't mean to suggest that I went to some exotic country and picked up a hot and muscley pool boy for myself, though that may be a better technique, for future reference. I realise that the men of our generation have their own peculiar set of psychological issues, but I'm not exacly sure what makes them think the rest of us aren't just as royally screwed. Or that they'll suddenly tell you they want to marry you. But.

In conclusion. I'm not sure why I'm suddenly more sane than everyone else.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Make My Day: Leave A Comment 

I went back in time today and read some of my old posts. Time travel sure is fun. It seems like we had a lot more fun back then. There was banter in the comments section. I like banter. And now there's none. It also seems as though I started actually taking this seriously somewhere along the line. And now it’s no fun :(

As you can see, I’ve inserted a ‘sad smiley’ to indicate that it is now fun time :) Given that I rarely engage is such antics, it is my hope that this communicates my sincerity and commitment to fun time :)

So it’s fun time :) As soon as I figure out what that means, I will let you know. It may involve locating a scanner and posting a picture of myself in Smurf jammies. This may take some time; I'm presently engaged in research. I'm doing an interesting study of the use of space in the context of local indie performances. In other words, I'll be watching people at the bar. In the meantime, why don’t you all tell me why no one visits me anymore? I’d really like to know. Even pen-palling wasn’t tempting enough. Assholes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Get Back Jojo 

I spent the evening going through old pictures at my parent’s house. You may not believe this, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cuter kid. I had Smurf jammies once. There was a hat and a one-piece with little booties. I miss that. I miss a lot of things from my childhood. I miss Lego. I miss the illusion of a drug and sex-free Cory Feldman. The soundtrack from Gremlins. And the Care Bears. I also miss pen pals. I had a lot of them once.

I’m really disappointed that people forget about this kind of stuff. Something happens to most people around my age, and they suddenly begin acting differently and sanctioning you if you refuse to do so as well. I’m not really sure what the point is. People can’t stand to just do nothing anymore, and yet they spend their lives doing nothing—at their jobs, in their marriages. I pay my bills on time and I don’t need to eat dinner at the same time every day to do it. I like to lie around on the floor and sing along to whatever I’m in the mood for. That’s not constructive and I don’t care. I eke out a living and go to school and when I don’t, I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about just doing nothing. I don’t understand.

Once, one of my pen pals tried to send me a tiny plastic reindeer through the mail. I guess when they tried to put the envelope through a machine it mangled the letter, but they delivered it anyway. It came in a plastic bag and had black ink all over it from whatever chaos it had created in the letter-sorting machine. I was glad to get it. I moved to the city my friend lived in a few years later. Unfortunately for me, she had turned into a real bitch. We were fourteen, so I suppose it makes sense. She had something to prove, and I guess the distance between us had distracted from the fact that we were completely different people. Not just different, our differences were irreconcilable—for her, anyway. Pen palling in bad spirit, that’s what she was doing.

I want to have pen pals again, but people are so committed to their adult lives. I’m sure no one wants to exchange Cracker Jack prizes through the mail, but I’ll accept applications anyway. Anyone who is as disenchanted with propriety as I am can feel free to email me their address. I might send you cool stuff.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sunday morning 

I was reading a book today and one of the characters reminded me of you. And it got me thinking about you, even though I’ve been disinclined to do so for a very long time, even moderately fearful of the idea that you should need to be anywhere in my conscious working brain if it is at all within my control.

But I know you want to be there. I know that you got off on mistaking my affection for love, but I didn’t say that and so you had no rational, reasonable justification for it. It’s ok. I’ve decided I forgive you.

That’s the Christian thing to do. Not that I’m among the saved or anything. I was a Catholic as a kid, but I guess our activities sort of throw that possibility out the window, now don’t they?

I remember thinking you looked so much taller when you were naked. I was probably smiling as I traced the line down the slight swell of your belly and past your hip-bone; clothes do a good job of giving people waistlines. You were giving me a ridiculously serious look and urging me to leave the comfort of your bed. I just didn’t want to, so I told you how much I hated the sound of your voice. Looking back, for whatever reason, that’s the only physical thing that ruined it for me—the way your voice sounds. Your nose is for breathing and blowing.

Your living room was so strangely inviting. Strange because the ceilings were high and the walls were white, and that kind of space can often feel dominating. But those old wooden floors and windowsills, and the old tattered hound’s-tooth couch—god only knows from where. And to top it all off, you put on a god-damn Velvet Underground record and made me sing along to Sunday Morning with you, giggling at the pathetic limits of your own sense of humour. You made coffee, and I sat on that couch looking out those windows wearing one of your oversized button-down shirt like some kind of sickening romantic drama cliché. If it were the eighties, I woulda had that disgusting mass of long curly hair that was somehow sexy back in the day. That would have been a bitch to get a hold of that morning.

It was warm out and the windows were open and I remember thinking that the breeze was being unusually tender for that time of year. The spring. A clean earthy smell came in with the wind, and even though the air was warm, the smell had the coolness of the rain that had fallen the night before—it tickled the inside of your nose if you took a deep breath. All of those manic sensory outbursts can make one lose their head and attribute a lot to experiences, and invent personalities for people that aren’t really there. You, for instance, were a deeply conflicted individual, well within the romantic and superficial limits of my categorizing capacities. But your kind and adorable eyes were only familiar in the context of carnal engagement, and I put my hands on your face and kissed you to make that unfamiliarity go away, to make you more like I knew you to be.

It was comfortable; the silences abounded without fidgeting or gulping or racking our brains for something to say, but it doesn’t mean I knew you. Or loved you. And your wanting to think that was the reason I hated you for a long time. Now that it’s ok, and I’ve decided I forgive you, I can admit that you were one of my favourites. It must be some innate quality, because I can’t really say why.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I recently had an ethical dilemma. I’m in a senior-level primatology class where we compare nonhuman primate behaviour with human behaviour and try to account for the similarities and differences using evolutionary assumptions. There are three group projects, the first of which I finished on Thursday.

But let’s go back to Monday. As I had discussed with my partner, we did the appropriate readings, took point-form notes and exchanged our notes and ideas for the direction of the paper by email. When I received her email, I panicked. It was a complete mess; not only was she completely illiterate, she didn’t understand any of the concepts.

Since the course required a pre-requisite, and since she had made it to her senior year by some miracle, I summoned the courage to give her the benefit of the doubt, assuming that, for her, point-form translated into something requiring far less effort. But I wasn’t taking too many chances. I immediately sat down and wrote four pages that would serve as the body of the essay.

At least, it was supposed to be the body of the essay. We decided on Tuesday that she would add ideas to my essay and that I would finish it off with a quick edit. I even had to lie and tell her that I used to edit for a living, just so the stupid idiot would let me have it last. I was supposed to receive the ‘final’ copy on Wednesday morning, but of course, it didn’t come until Wednesday night.

When I opened the file I almost started to cry. What greeted me was a fucking disaster. The email that accompanied the file contained the words “I’ve changed the format a bit, I think it flows better…”

Flows better. The only thing worse than a stupid person is one who thinks they’re smarter than you.

The idea behind a body of writing is that the paragraphs follow each other in a logical sequence. There must be something about the name Jenn that makes people in that unfortunate predicament rather dense. That could be the only reason she played fucking Jenga with my essay, and then decided to rape and delete entire sections, replacing them with sentences such as:

“The sexual selection hypothesis is proved in the primate record” Ok. First of all, the word is proven, and second, no it isn't.

She referred to all nonhuman primates as a single species. She used the term natural selection incorrectly. My favourite part of all though, was this little diddy:

“The concept of sexual intercourse no longer shares a causal relationship
with reproduction in the human database”

I stopped crying, briefly, to laugh. The concept of sex?!

So what could I do? I handed in a paper that I had written completely on my own. And as of yet, she has no idea. I have to work with her again, but at the same time, I have to be honest with her, and I’m paying for course credit and an A, not to worry about hurting someone’s self-esteem.

I am so angry that people like Jenn are allowed to advance as far as they do. Not out of some kind of elitism, but because it’s insulting to those of us with enough integrity to value our educational experience. If our standards have slipped this low, it’s not at all surprising that no one takes pride in being from my school. They shouldn’t.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Psychokiller, Qu’est-ce que c’est? 

A list of rules for one of my co-workers to live by :

The mouth is always open. That’s the first thing.

I think I almost had an aneurysm when you put your schmutzy hands on my scone and broke a piece off while asking me if you could have some. I would have said no, you know. No one likes someone who chews with their mouth open. There’s the smacking sound and the bolus. That’s disgusting. I understand it’s difficult to speak while chewing, but you should consider silence a viable option.

The second thing is this:

“…you’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything…”

And this results in personal moments of weakness when I picture your head under the wheel of a truck. It’s easy to sort of fade out like that while you talk. I’m trying so hard not to be an angry person anymore. But you make me crazy.

And despite what must be atrocious table manners and conversation, you invite people to dinner parties every weekend. Invite is probably not a strong enough word; aggressive attempts at coercion may be closer.

“Sorry, can’t come, I’ve got a midterm on Monday”
“Well, you can just stop by for one drink”
“No, I really can’t, I have a lot to do and my brother’s birthday is the next day and…”
“It’s ok, we don’t mind if you just pop in”
“Ok, I’m really sorry. I can’t be there.”
“Just stop by, no big deal”

Exasperated is a weak word. Social assault. Watch out.

The third thing is “…when I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed…”

I’m what people like you consider shy. In turn, I always thought that people like you, who know people everywhere you go, and who are (overly) friendly and talkative, are socially successful. Now I realise I have the upper hand in that game.

First of all, communication involves two people. Interrupting other people’s input with “Yah…Yah…Yah” and rapid eye movements that indicate impatience and inattentiveness is not the way to acknowledge what they are saying. You chose to talk to me, so I assume I’m supposed to reciprocate with actual speech.

This also means that you can’t just talk about yourself. You may want to briefly entertain the idea that you actually aren’t very interesting—it’s not like you’ve ever climbed a mountain or done anything meaningful, and no one gives a shit about your having to ride your bike to school in the snow because of some lame commuter challenge. And it’s Australopithecus you dumb fuck, not Australiopithecus. I am an anthropology major, dammit.

And this brings me to my fourth point, “…say something once, why say it again?!

If I hear that hilarious story about the toilet paper one more time (which would make it four), I may have to throw something at you (shitty TP, I hope, only because it would be a close match to your pathetically literal sense of humour).

The least you could do is have the courtesy to notice when I patronise and respond to you with mere tolerance. When you overheard me talking to E about going out the other night, you made some wry remark about not being invited. What did I say? Nothing. Precisely. I blinked. Subtlety clearly is not your forte.

You would have to be a philosophy major, it's just too perfect. All that pontificating can certainly get in the way of actually understanding the material though, can't it? Remember that conversation we had about dog shit? I believe we had somehow stumbled upon the subject of the folly of humans and their constant need to over-analyse. And I mentioned a story I'd read in an ethnography about an anthropologist (Narayan) who worked in India. A Holy man told her that when common people stepped in shit, they would exclaim "oh, shit!", kick it off of their shoes and continue on their way. Academics were the kind of people who would step in shit and have to pick it up and sniff it before concluding what it was. You made a priceless reply that requires no real commentary or analysis: "I've done that. Sometimes you have to do that, especially in Toronto, because of the way it snows there, and when you're riding your bike..."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Antigua, a Dream, and Nervous Social Misfortune 

I’m going to Antigua this summer on an archaeological dig. I was planning to go to a mortuary site in Egypt with Penn State, but the deadline was the first of February, and it just didn’t give me enough time to get my passport renewed and letters of recommendation together. No bother, I can always go next year. And I will.

Despite being excited, there is also this undercover anxiety that wakes up to poke me in the belly every so often. I had a nightmare about going last night. I found myself in this strange hall that sort of resembled one of those medieval theme parks. It had dark stone walls that were lined with Persian-influenced doorways. Some of them had sheer curtains hanging from that were moving in the conspicuously absent wind. There were no windows and no apparent lighting, so everything had a calm dimness to it. The hall was incongruously carpeted with a solid blue-grey industrial carpet that ensured silent steps as I ran around trying to figure out where the hell everyone was.

I was dressed in a long royal blue gown, and when I found everyone else, they were sitting in a kitchen area, dirty, in their digging clothes, and clearly upset with me for some reason. I tried to talk to some of them, but they wouldn’t have it. I wanted to know where they had been digging, since I couldn’t get outside, but they didn’t like me. I hadn’t done anything wrong; they just didn’t like me because I’d had the audacity to dress up.

I left the kitchen because I was hungry and the others wouldn’t feed me. Further along in the hallway, I went through a door that opened to a take-out curry restaurant. For all intents and purposes it looked like any other take-out place, with no seating and those weird clay coloured tiles on the floor. The area in front of the counter was crowded, and I crammed myself in next to an attractive man who immediately told me that he was an Anthropologist working with my group. I knew I had to get myself into his good books somehow, because if I did, he could sponsor my inclusion with the rest of the group. Something startled me at this point and I woke up at 6 am feeling rather anxious.

It’s not hard to interpret. I’m probably the shyest person I know, despite having the ability to maintain a competent social exterior, for the most part. But, a lot of people don’t realise just how socially awkward I can be. It comes out at random times, for reasons I have yet to comprehend. For instance, the other day someone I vaguely knew came into work. For whatever reason, it made me intensely nervous, and my body reacted before my mind could by heating my face until it matched my (red) hair. I had the brilliant instinct that if I tensed my body and stood as still as possible, the people right in front of me may not be able to see me. This produced an adrenaline rush, which proceeded to make my hands shake. To make matters worse, my acquaintance was sporting a cunt disguised as a very attractive woman on his left arm. And clearly not being experienced in self-induced social marginality, she resorted to a common conclusion: well, actually, I can’t read minds, but it undoubtedly had to do with hot sex, sex, sex. She insisted on paying for their meal, and made a marked point of not tipping me (how could you really be threatened by me in that state?!)

Well, I felt really horrible for the rest of the day. Mostly, I was anxious about the fact that I had no desire for this person, and thus couldn’t explain why I’d reacted in such a fashion. And it’s frustrating to present a constantly misinterpreted front to the world. Especially when it’s that of a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl with a silly crush.

In hindsight, it probably had more to do with being caught off-guard and not knowing what constituted appropriate interaction. Which is why I often pretend I don’t recognize people. Highly neurotic, I know. I should think, however, that you could understand my commitment to avoidance when the alternative is so extreme.

So I’m nervous about sharing close living quarters with seven other people. And getting to know them. What if they already know each other? I’m bound to either find the experience rewarding, and benefit from the addition of anthropology-minded individuals to my sparse friend collection, or once again maintain my status as the shaky, red-faced, sweat monster.

My Boss and His Wife Are Legitimately and Undeniably Insane. 

The most recent example of this is evidenced in a rather peculiar event that occurred during the holiday season.

Despite having a number of children and grandchildren in the city, my boss and his wife decided to go away for the Christmas season. It was with great sorrow that they related to a co-worker, well within my earshot, that they had to have their four million year old, deaf, blind and renally incapacitated dog put down whilst they were away. The poor thing was sweet, but clearly had been technologically maintained well past his natural expiry date by the miracles of modern doggy medicine. They were of the persuasion that if they had the dog put down while they were away, it would be easier on them.

Fast-forward two weeks. I was in a cab on the way home from the aeroport (that’s right, aeroport). I called my friend and co-worker M, who had been away for over a month, to ask her whether or not the mouse poison I’d left at her house, in her absence, had managed to do its job (that’s a whole other story—there’s lots of animal killing in this here story). The conversation took a twilight zone turn when she asked me in a wavering voice whether or not I’d heard about what had happened at work.

“Greg and Rhonda’s dog”
Apprehension now, though I knew the dog must be dead at this point, and I didn’t even consider the possibility of what came next.
She continued, “they left it with a dog-sitter and she had it put down.”
“Well, yeah”
“What do you mean, she had it put down?”
“They told me that she beat it and starved it and went all over town looking for a vet who would have it put down”
“What?! M, they were planning to have it put down. They told Kim as much.”
“Oh, god, don’t tell me they’re actually that fucking crazy. I knew it, Rhonda’s back on the drugs again. She cried, she fucking cried.”

When I went to pick up my check a few days later, Rhonda just happened to be there. I had to grit my teeth and ask her how her holiday was, pretending of course, that I didn’t know about the dog fabrication already. She laid it on pretty thick—ten minutes of doggy suffering and inhumane treatment and details of lifelong companionship can sure put a dent in your day. I wanted to make sure that I had the story right so I asked her, in a sympathetic and innocent way, “you mean, you didn’t plan to have him put down?”
Her eyes and mouth got wide: “No! Of course not.”

I’m still baffled.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hello, My Name is Skeletor 

I’ve never gotten along with other women, and that’s the only overt evidence I have supporting a theory as to why. I am, as they say…skinny. But that wouldn’t be my word.

I’ve been this way my entire life. I began having it pointed out to me in grade school where I was given the enormously culturally sensitive title of ‘Ethiopian’. In hindsight, that one is probably my favourite. Yeah, decolonialism’s a real bitch.

The thing that most bothers me about having my weight pointed out to me is that it’s clearly motivated by an insecurity on the part of the pointer. And, if that weren’t pathetic enough, most of the time the woman with the issue isn’t even large. She’s just accepted a socially defined gender role that has her loving shopping, wanting babies and hating her body.

You could get all Dr. Phil and suggest that the media has given these poor women unrealistic expectations that made them insecure. Though I think this may be partly true, I don’t think it excuses the kind of juvenile behaviour I witness at my job on a daily basis—dirty looks and snarky comments. It’s really not my problem if your husband tries to sneak a look. Maybe you should try actually having sex with him.

In fact, I think the unrealistic expectations the media endorses are more harmful to men than to women. I’m a weird kind of feminist like that. If men are raised to believe in a reality that is constantly thwarted, what kinds of relationships can they forge with women besides shallow, mediocre ones? (I mean, if they’re naïve enough to fully buy into that image to begin with, which naturally, no one reading this blog is…right?)

That being said, the media has been on quite a mission lately with regard to this weighty issue. It seems the high BMIs are taking back the power by finding ways to condemn the other side. It’s not like anorexia is a life threatening, devastating disease or anything. Now it’s a character flaw. And considering what hip hop videos have done for larger women everywhere, you’d think it were about time for them to leave me the hell alone.

For the record, I don’t have an eating disorder and never have. I like food the appropriate amount. If it’s really good food, I like it a lot. I try not to tell them that though. My genotype is apparently a real piss-off.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Opening Sentences 

I can’t write an opening sentence that doesn’t sound totally forced. I’ve been staring at my screen for half an hour trying to write about Thursday night. I went to the bar, and I’m writing about it for school. Because that’s what anthropology students do—pretty much whatever they want.

When I tell people that they seem to freak out a bit. They get this vision of themselves reading accounting books for hours on end, bored to death, and questioning the purpose of their existence, while I’m interviewing people over cigarettes and beer.

Archaeology students are a different story. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of archaeology, but I study it because I really want to dig up dead people. It’s all so that we can understand the social implications behind plagues and disease transmission. It also has important things to say about the way we treat the environment and the consequences of ecological destruction. They’re bad—I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an archaeologist who doesn’t believe in climate change. That’s another difference between accounting and anthropology students.

Another way to make them jealous is to tell them that you’re going to do fieldwork in Egypt. They get this vision of themselves in the museum as a kid, watching Indiana Jones, and wanting to be an archaeologist, but not having gained the necessary secondary sexual characteristics in later life to do so.

Now, I’m likely never going to drive a brand new car. Or drive one at all if I can help it. And that’s yet another difference between accountants and anthropologists. The University is kind enough to get you ready for the disparity early on. That is, they under-fund the social science programs and put a lot of money into the business schools. It doesn’t bother me much because I’ve never really cared for money or its management. At the end of the day, I get to learn that this current system of exchange is rather new, and despite the hype, rather ineffective. And it won’t last. So, given the current rate of destruction to our ecosystems, the health risks associated with this, the lack of social awareness or action in the public health department, the seemingly nonchalant attitude of the general public to antibiotic resistance, and rapid new disease emergence, I have a feeling what I study might be a lot more relevant in the near future. But, that’s only if the accountants are willing to give us any funding.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I have a long history with liars and yet I barely understand the phenomenon. When I was about five or six I had a friend who was a compulsive liar. She lied about everything, and I always wondered if the grandness of her lies were the result of her being stupid, her thinking I was stupid or some unholy combination of the two. I still wonder. She once told me this ridiculous story about how her family was not allowed to go to Toronto because her brother had bombed a building there. Oh, and her grandparents had died in the bombing. And her cat. I reacted to the bullshit the same way I still react. I didn’t confront her. I had enough foresight to recognize that she would simply become defensive and this would start a conflict and an argument, and I simply wasn’t interested in wasting energy on something that was so obviously false. I think defending a position in the first place lends credibility to the other side. And it’s rare that I’m willing to do that.

At this point, I was confused as to the motivation behind the lying. So confused that I considered (very briefly, but I was only six) the possibility that her stories could be at least partly true. I think it’s far easier to lie to someone whose first instinct is to be honest, because honest people simply don’t understand the motivation behind blatant lying.

I had reached the conclusion that people who lied like this did so for attention, and I resented what I perceived as a deliberate betrayal of trust (I was a pretty sensitive kid). That is, until my friend told me another ridiculous lie. The difference between this lie and the other was that it involved my own family. It was something small and silly, but nevertheless, something I could so easily refute. I considered a number of hypotheses to explain this, but was never able to decide on one. The only thing I can say for certain is that for some people lying is so much a habit that lies can seem real. But I won’t go as far as to say that they don’t know or can’t control doing it.

I am either a statistical anomaly, or pathological liars are not so rare as to deserve such a diagnostic label. It's just that I've known so many. However, I will say that there is a distinct difference between a chronic liar and everyday lying, for example, the kind that saves your ass at work. The difference is that the chronic liar seems to do so for no apparent reason. The lies are petty exaggerations that, though possible, are extremely unlikely, especially when their probability is calculated alongside any number of other improbable ‘facts’ contained within the person’s life’s story. What I’ve noticed about these people is that they think of themselves as honest people, and in fact will even go so far as to condemn dishonesty in others. The irony isn’t even funny; it’s just fucking pathetic.

The problem with these fucks is that I actually like spending time with some of them. I have friends like this, and the fact that I like them, and may even think they are intelligent, is negligible when I’m constantly exposed to shit-spewing. On the rare occasion I’ve tried to confront them, they have become defensive and launched into rhetorical tirades so obnoxious that it becomes impossible to say anything without being rudely interrupted. And then they pull out experts they know, or their boyfriend, sister, or mother knows, and places they’ve been, and things they’ve seen, and more lies that are impossible to disprove, and frankly, not worth the time of disproving.

I’ve even had these liars go so far as to lie about things I study. I can’t even express how absurd it feels to be interrupted by an air of expertise and a ‘fact’ you know to be wholly inaccurate because you have spent the last several years of your life studying it. At that point, it’s just offensive. I don’t know why people think they are more educated than they are. It’s endemic in our society. On the surface, it would seem as though these kinds of liars really do believe they are telling the truth. It could be that they read something that was inaccurate and took it as fact due to a lack of critical thinking skills. Or maybe they didn’t understand a valid presentation of the material and their misinterpretation grew into some horrible untruth that was far beyond their control. Either way, they’re pretty stupid.

I have noticed people claiming to have 190 IQs usually have problems with lying. So, not only are they aware of their own mental incapability, as evidenced by the incessant need to prop themselves up, but they think I’m so absolutely mentally retarded as to believe a lie that was fabricated by a complete idiot. I guess you could call it circular retardation. It’s also endemic in our society.

If anyone has a real explanation for this, please let me know. Otherwise, I guess we can just make fun of them.

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Friday, January 12, 2007


Motherboy was here again today. This is the name I graciously applied to a mother and her liminally adult son. They come in for coffee one or two times a month and she spins him like a top just to make sure he doesn’t get too far away from her, and to make sure he’s not getting spun by anyone else.

I know women like that. Cows. Everything is matter of fact and purposefully, patronisingly polite. Because as long as you don’t call someone names, you can speak to them however you wish. She has a mild English accent and faintly reeks of the colonial persuasion. She is cold and matter of fact and, like most women her age, round, with a waddle that renders her absolutely absurd.

Boy is as passive as you would expect one to be with a mother like that. In keeping with the colonial theme, he reminds me of a fancy-pants little heir to property in Kenya, whose short adulthood has been plagued by constant efforts to hide his homosexuality from his family. And to top it all off, the first time I ever saw Motherboy come in, boy was sporting these ridiculous Darwinian chops. And, since I have a passing fancy for sideburns that are, shall we say, more extensive than usual, the opportunity to further the ridicule of my odd inclination became a rather profitable pastime for my co-workers. I duly explained the minute differences between the Cold War and the War of 1812, but these protestations fell on deaf ears and I was forced to bear the humiliation of an invented connection to the disgusting little heir until he had the courtesy to shave the fucking things off. They didn’t last long, thankfully.

Once Boy came in with a girlfriend. She was a fairly plain-jane number, the kind you would expect a pallid little meekling like Boy to date. The thing that was notable about her was that she was smiling. It felt incongruous amongst the insipidness of Boy and the passive-aggressive sternness of Mother. Clearly, this was an interview. That’s what ‘nice’ boys do. They bring their poor girlfriends to meet their juggernaut mothers. There was nothing remarkable about the meeting; it was as silent and cheerless as always, with Mother doing most of the talking and Boy quietly absorbing her ‘advice’. When they left, Girl wasn’t smiling. She wasn’t unhappy either; if I know Boy, I’d say the relationship likely wasn’t anywhere near a point where she would have cared. That’s what ‘nice’ boys do. They bring their poor girlfriends to meet their juggernaut mothers before they bother to establish anything meaningful at all.

I never saw Girl again, but I guess that was inevitable. The fact the relationship was ever established to begin with was probably a wonder of physics. Though a variety of the usual secret lives and perversions could be summoned to decorate the inane Boy, none of them apply here. After all, I know boys like that. Disappointing. They use their silence to let you think there’s something more, but there never is. There are no perverse or even interesting surprises—just missionary sex and bad conversation.

Mother made me feel slightly less nasty toward boy when she came in with two of her hen friends. Mother and daughter—how perfectly fitting. The three sat around for over two hours and discussed indulgent subjects such as shoes and basically anything consumable. And then came an eerie, paranormal sound that halted the entire café. Mother laughed. She tilted her head back and let out a cackle. And she did it without smiling. She lowered her head and looked at the Sunday-best-dressed daughter and coldly said, “it’s because she’s jealous of you, dear”.

Despite not being privy to the context of the story, I was angered. The male sector of my audience may not know this, but women bandy this ‘jealous’ concept around all the time, and I’ve just about fucking had it. But this is another entry entirely. Suffice it to say that it’s the insecure, bitchy ones who seem to need it most. So, I felt a little pity for boy. I wanted him to grow the fuck up and kick mother’s ass to the proverbial Park Avenue curb.

A few weeks later they came in together again. There was the usual quietude and blank stares from Boy. And then I overheard her say something to boy that made me think, “Finally! He’s got to let her have it now!”

“She’s not our kind of people.”

Boy just sat there. He lowered his head. He raised it again. He looked left. He looked at mother. And then she kept on speaking.

Fuck you Boy.

So, it’s like I said. Secret lives and perversions don’t apply. Boy isn’t a serial killer or child pornographer or gay or secretly working on the solution to some great physics mystery. Boy is a stupid little boy, hanging from mother’s apron-strings by his ashen neck. He might take Prozac to cover up his underlying dissent, but his only sad attempt at eccentricity was shaved off months ago. He will marry some boring girl and they will have spoiled children whom they will be mildly proud of and who will be mildly successful. Such is life in the vacuum of consumption.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hallelujah…I’m Fucking Back 

Forgive the long stint. I had every intention of permanently abandoning the Cynic Ward without explanation, but a recent perusal of my bloggings left me with a faraway twinkle in my eye and a nostalgic yearning for old times.

I can’t guarantee results. I’ve written nothing but emails and anthropological papers for the past year, and have just made several spelling errors in this sentence alone. But, I guess it’s like riding a bike. I’ll work on the eloquence if you pretend to be really super-duper excited.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Reminder 

I came across a letter today that I’d written a few years ago. It was addressed and stamped, but for some reason, I’d never bothered to mail it. I had written the address out with a tight and controlled script—apprehensive, careful, but attempting to appear casual and even hurried.

I opened it, and I read it, and though it’s somewhat applicable and poignant, I don’t remember what motivated the obvious feelings of injustice that influenced its writing, nor what could have prevented it from being sent to its rightful owner. I guess it was just a selfish endeavour, and the simple task of writing it was enough to quench my desire for sticking it to my ex-friend.

I guess she was kind of a bitch. I loved her, but she had a narcissistic complex that rivalled even mine, and as usually happens, the assumption that one knows everything distracted her from the fact that other people sometimes have good ideas too.

We’d have what we called “adventures”—trouble or mischief that I’ve been as of yet unable to create with any other person. It used to trouble me. I felt lost without the anecdotes that supposedly made my life so interesting, until I realised that everyone has those stories; they all take the same turns and end the same ways and everyone considers their little cloistered corners worthy of the haunting that can only happen in the most special and dramatic of situations in literature, and in films, and I guess in life.

There were no love stories. We tried to invent them, but they would always collapse on themselves within a few weeks and we’d be off and on to the next conquest and the next urgent and desperately meaningful narrative. It was just a way for us to feel close to each other, close to the people around us, but just 'cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there. And in the end, they weren’t. That isn’t meant to be nihilistic. They aren’t here, and that doesn’t really mean much.

I ran into one of them a few weeks ago and I was unsure of what to say. He seemed happy to see me, and indeed at the time it had been his prerogative to continue the drama within which we had somehow embroiled ourselves. It was funny, because my friend hated him. And he would start shit with her and then profess his love for me and say something like “can’t we all just get along”. When I saw him, I didn’t know what to say. Not because I truly didn’t think it would either be kind of touching or funny to catch up in the trendiest bar in the city on the night I’d chosen to wear the most revealing dress I own. I’m not really sure what it was—I momentarily considered pretending I didn’t recognize him. We stood there for what became an increasingly uncomfortable passing of seconds and then I broke into a smile and gave him a hug and cut the hello/goodbye short as quickly as possible. As I was walking away I realised it had been an inappropriately short amount of time. Obviously, he had wanted a stop and chat. I tried to find him later to say I was sorry and how are you doing, and the rest of it, but I felt as though an introduction between past and recent acquaintances was too much like staring my old self in the face. It made me uncomfortable.

I guess the reason the letter didn’t make me uncomfortable was because there were no witnesses. There was no one there to tell me that I’d changed or that I still looked the same or that it was good to see me, whilst searching for some kind of familiarity or fraternity. There is no date, so I have no idea when it was written, except that it had to have been over four years ago. I say in the letter that I “currently find myself in pleasant circumstance” (how patronising), and given this time period, I was either lying or delusional. Delusional is probably more accurate. And this should be some clue as to why I’m uncomfortable with facing my old self. I didn’t change so much as attempt to abandon a mania that constantly threatens to return. I don’t fear running into familiar strangers so much as I fear the alliance with a person who wasted four years of my life. She lingers over every re-acquaintance as an embarrassing spectre of theatrical folly. And people are never credited with having the ability to change. So, when you run into them, all they remember is who you were, and it doesn’t much matter who you are. Deadly penguins indeed.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Click Here For Your FREE Gift! 

It's that time of year again! Time for obligatory association with people you don't like, randomly assigned $20 gift exchanges, and more crap you don't need! YES!

Of course, some people like the whole work party thing. I suppose it might be ok if you work with people you enjoy spending time with. Or, in the case of employment in some kind of corporate office setting, share the same beligerent, contemptuous, fat white guy ethics. Then, maybe, you can have a good time.

I worked in an office last year, and unfortunately did not share the political sentiments of my co-workers. This made for an ugly event. That's ok because two months later I blackmailed them into giving me a couple thousand dollars and went back to school!

And school is hard and I'm busy with it right now. So, I haven't much time to post. But, like a good blogger, I'm not about to leave you hanging. From the archives, amuse yourselves with the story of last year's Christmas hell-fest.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

You're On the List 

And last but not least, we’re watching Schindler’s list. That may seem tacky to some of you, it certainly seemed that way to me initially, though I’m not entirely certain why. I do know that college film students are conditioned to regard anything Hollywood with a certain degree of hostility and scepticism, which may in itself be fairly tacky.

This is most definitely the case for most of the tacky fuckers in my class. You all know about my most unreasonable loathing of a certain halo-endowed individual in this class (the validity of which has been more than confirmed by now). What I’ve come to realise is that I’ve wandered into a class populated with varying degrees of this person—he’s only their leader. There is power in numbers you know.

Of course we know that—that’s why Nazi film was supposed to be so interesting. Unfortunately, the rhetoric level in this class has reached maximum capacity. I want to throw things. Probably poo.

The lecture today began with questions regarding our reactions to the film. Most of us (myself included, after watching it last night) confessed we enjoyed it. Those who are clearly intellectually superior to us, however, snickered, and in audibly more…scholastic British…voices, began to list reasons why the film was a piece of cinematic shit. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. If someone actually gave a credible reason for not liking the film, I could live with that. The reason given was that people who did not live through the holocaust first hand had no capacity to make movies depicting it. Of course those weren’t their exact words, but I don’t consider that description to be dumbed down whatsoever; I’ve merely removed the fancy bullshit rhetoric.

I wouldn’t disagree that our sickening modern lives of entitlement and endowment have allowed us a certain degree of blindness when it comes to hardships and issues of actual survival. Most of us will never have to go hungry or fight for our lives. Most of us are lucky that the drama in our lives is of our own construction and our own faults and completely within our own control to stop. It is, however, an atrocity and really fucking gross that we think this semblance of peace and order and control means that we are somehow removed from what happened sixty years ago in Europe, or for that matter, fifteen years ago in Rwanda (besides the degree of organization, there is no difference whatsoever). The whole point of making films like Schindler’s List is not to accurately record details about isolated historical events caused by isolated, and conveniently dead, individuals, but so that we remember that individuals are collectively capable of committing such acts and that it is well within human nature, and well within our individual nature’s to do so. The attempt to isolate these events to a particular time and space is nothing more than a ridiculous and pious attempt to isolate one’s self from the possible ugliness of our character.

I think this is why the Amon Goeth character was so accessible. It wasn’t an accident that we could identify with certain aspects of his character, such as his susceptibility to Schindler’s suggestion that true power is forgiveness. Most of us are slaves to our egos, and therefore we should have identified and even laughed, especially when he single-handedly re-created The Creation of Adam in the mirror. It isn’t far-fetched to consider him an extreme and perverse version of ourselves. And of course, there is the multifaceted use of hands. There is endless symbolism in the use of hands in this film—it is so diverse and multilayered at times, I think I’ll write an entire essay about it.

There is a downfall to liberalism. It is always the kid with the dreadlocks and the adbusters stickers on his dirty water bottle who will claim that we can’t talk about anything but our own experience. That we have no right. They think this is respectful in some bizarre way. Don’t fuck with the hard facts, they say. This kind of attitude merely separates people and their experience instead of regarding events from the point of view of human nature. So long as you’re too liberal to (wash) consider things from a holistic point of view, and to consider yourself woven from the same thread, you are validating segregation. I'm not suggesting that responsibility lay at the feet of those who weren't there. I'm simply suggesting that we stop deluding ourselves about who and what we are.

Is it that we have no right to tell this story, or is it that we have no right to make you look at yourself in this light? The fear of tainting the real, lived, experience of the holocaust is nothing more than an attempt to separate the self from the possibility of it. Keeping your distance is the perfect way to ensure that it can and will happen again.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I’m tired of the kids with their cars and their ipods, travelling the world in the name of “learning” and pretending their recycled bullshit ideologies make a difference at all. That’s not ideology, that’s trend and it fucks up the discourse and makes it harder to talk about in the end because now we have to sift through all the garbage and talk about how we should discuss the discussion. I can’t claim top grades because I’m unwilling to participate in half the festivities: the exclamation, the proclamation, the provocation. I'm unwilling to listen to more fluff and rhetoric and more of the ever necessary made-up words that are really just Freudian insertions people use to try and sound smarter and I’m sick of ideas that are all show and no solution and I’m sick of protesters and “political” people and people who don’t realise that politics are just the simplification and corruption of philosophy and ideology and what we should really be discussing is what the fuck matters and that sometimes these lists of things that fucking matter don’t line up the way they fucking should, that sometimes these lists aren’t solely red or blue and that I’d be embarrassed to be either. I’m sick of the indie kids and their lame ass attempts to pretend that they’ve had to work a single day in their god damn lives. I’m sick of the kids who’ve had to work every single day of their god damn lives and the way they won’t let the rest of us forget it. I hate that having money is something to be proud of and I hate that not having money is something to be proud of. I’m sick of seeing things that are wrong and feeling powerless to fix them and sick of the pathetic, snotty, utterly impotent subculture that supposedly addresses these problems and supposedly unites people who view them as such. More problems, more labels and no solutions. I’m sick of you and your rationalisation and attempts to distance yourself whilst reading this entire article. You are part of the problem. Now go deal with your pitiful lack of virility and leave me the fuck out of it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween-It Doesn't Have to Be This Gay 

I kind of wish I had gone out on the weekend dressed in some last minute concoction of an outfit; I just got off work and I have school tomorrow and I’m basically just too lazy to do it tonight. There is also the gay factor. And, when I say gay I am not referring to, and therefore mean no insult towards, those whose sexual preferences are “evil” according to hardcore Christians (or, as I like to refer to them, fucking nutcases). I simply use the word because upon semantic reflection, it seems the most appropriate phrase for those people wearing capes.

Capes. And nothing else—makeup, or any kind of concept alluded towards—today is just an excuse for them to wear a cape.

Halloween is the day all of your dreams come true. For some of you anyway. I get dressing up and going to a party—I wish I had. I don’t get waking up early to get dressed up to go to school. I don’t think I need to point out that costumes are bulky, annoying and unnecessary in such a setting. I think Halloween makes it acceptable for some people to do things that they would otherwise feel unable to do—unable because of social convention and/or fear. You may have noticed these people walking around waiting to be noticed. It feels too much like revelation, like they want me to look into their soul and identify or reaffirm something for them. For instance, if you’ve ever wanted to dye your hair pink and Mohawk it, but are too much of a pussy to actually do it for real, Halloween provides the perfect excuse. If you’ve been waiting to come out of the closet for awhile, you could wear a purple shirt with purple fairy wings and walk around with an apprehensively lusty homoerotic look on your face (as one individual in my class chose to do. He had that 'bottom' look about him). If you’re a slut, but haven’t quite mastered the art of really trashy street wear, you could dress like a pleather-clad disco dancer, a French maid or just a big slut (there has been a high prevalence of tit today). Then there are the aforementioned lazy costumes—the capes, the weird hats, the wigs—none of which serve any purpose but to satisfy the wearers desire to express their love of Harry Potter, Humphrey Bogart, or Cher with no risk of getting beaten up. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the drag queens.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Retards Need Parents Too 

Hello. As you may have noticed, I've engaged in a bit of philanthropy and adopted the celebrities listed on my sidebar. I'd always wanted pets you see, but my brother had serious allergies, so I had a fish, but it died the day after I brought it home. His name was Ralph; you would have liked him. My younger cousins had those cyber-pet things, but those are just creepy and weird. A few months ago, I came upon a website that proudly advertised that it had celebrities up for adoption. I knew this was the meaningless hobby for me. So, I registered the name of the celebrity I wanted to adopt, posted a link to the registration site and went on with my day. It wasn't until the following evening that I began to question my choice and even become disturbed by a certain aspect of it. Namely, it states on the website in question that if you don't link to it, your celebrity adoption will not be reserved and someone else may post the name of that person on the site. Ok, so...we are talking about silly fictitious adoptions here, right? I mean, what gives stupidcelebrityadoptions.com the right to lease the fantastical adoption of random celebratory peoples? Where does the true authority lie? Are we really the kind of society that tolerates the kind of proprietary presumption that leads to the irresponsible and disrespectful plastering of celebrity faces on random websites and the lease of these people's names as though they were a commodity--a joke even? So, I removed the link--the address of which I can't remember offhand. And now I've grown bored of the Gallagher brothers. They're simply too fucking retarded and it's become unfunny. Liam thinks he's John Lennon. No, seriously. So, further adoptions will be happening. There are going to be big changes, people. BIG CHANGES.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I love it and I hate it. The more anthropology courses I take, the more I’m convinced that there are researchers whose entire careers are wasted on semantics and finding the perfect label. I took medical anthropology because I have a devoted interest to epidemic illnesses and their effects on different societies. However, we have not yet explored anything remotely approaching this in form. We have spent the last month and a half on what I would consider to be introductory anthro. bullshit—labelling the “approach” of the investigator instead of focusing on the facts contained within the article. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be learning anymore—should I care about the percentage of people who die of endemic malaria, or should I focus on the fact that the researcher used a “political ecology” approach in conducting his research? As of yet, I’ve been the only one in my class who seems puzzled at the lack of distinction between certain theories. Some of them don’t even have a hair to split. Fuck, just give me some Ebola already.

So, I’m studying really hard. And that’s why I’m away. In case any of you were wondering. Midterm on Tuesday, and them maybe things will resume their normalcy. Maybe I’ll write a rant about evolution. People seem to need educating on the matter--even the ones who believe in it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Here I Am! 

It's been two months--so what? I've been busy. I haven't been in the mood. I didn't want to talk about it. Here, have some pointless filler. Regular filler should resume soon as words are finally flowing through my brain again.

Do you believe in love at first sight? If so, what about hate at first sight? There is an individual in my "Cinema in the Third Reich" class who has managed to evoke this particular sentiment within me. I find it absolutely inexplicable--almost from the moment I laid eyes on him I felt an itchy, irritating feeling manifesting somewhere in my head and moving into my bloodstream. I had to turn away just to save myself from the glare of his perfect, angelic, virginal face. It was disgusting. I'm not really sure what it was about the face that I was so opposed to--children have perfect, angelic faces and I certainly don't want to curb stomp them. It may have been the grin--and by grin I mean ear-to-ear half moon crevice complete with eager and excited side-to-side twitching of head, not unlike an alert and happy puppy searching for his chew toy. It may also have been that my initial reaction went something like this: you've never had sex, or alcohol or drugs and probably engage in some kind of dogmatic religious ritual before retiring to bed. But again, children fit this profile and I don't want to kick them in the teeth. Whatever initial reactions I had concerning this person probably would have passed in time if my loathing hadn't culminated into something even more disturbing when I discovered that he had a personality that was eerily well suited to his face. He is one of those people who tries to laugh louder than everyone else, to be the first to answer the question, to be the first to give the teacher her metaphorical apple. He is just plain annoying. Not only that, but he makes silly and obvious points and alludes to films as though he is the only person ever to have heard of them (Like Nosferatu--which is a vampire film by the way).

So, presumably there is some fucked up reason I hate this person so much (and by hate, I mean that I would laugh and point if he were on fire and probably look for the nearest gas can), considering the fact that he has never really done anything really wrong except be silly and overly eager. Has anyone else experienced such unabashed and unreasonable disgust? Analysis is welcome, but just keep in mind that subliminal desire is an extraordinarily easy conclusion to draw.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Your Mother Should Know 

I used to know this guy named Aaron when I was crazy and I could never figure out why I hated him so much. I knew that it was partly because he had an attitude towards my negativity that I saw as morally superior. I don’t remember what we used to fight about, but he used to say things like “you know, people do care”, and it would always make me feel guilty and confused. Now I realise that I still hate him, but this time my reasons are different.

I’ve watched a lot of biographies about Marilyn Monroe. She’s quite fascinating. Despite her usually ditzy roles in films and her voice to match, she was highly intelligent and fought for more challenging roles. After she committed suicide, they found a fairly sophisticated library in her house. Another fascinating thing about her is the men she was involved with; I’ve heard it said that part of the attraction was the fact that she was damaged goods. Beautiful, intelligent, sweet and fucking nuts. I think people like to think they can save people like that.

In retrospect, I know that this is true. That’s why I hated and still hate Aaron. There was some kind of attraction to the craziness for him. He pretended there wasn’t, but he was so much more focused on it than I was. I suppose next to me, he could try to look saner.

I also know this is true because all the men I dated at that time were the same as Aaron. I could never figure out why they were so stupid for me; I was, after all, far younger than them. They all seemed to fit a similar profile: They were graduate students or “professionals”, they had “grown-up” friends who seemed painfully prudent to me, and they all seemed pre-occupied with my nuttiness. They took me to the symphony and out to dinner at nice restaurants and bought me things I didn’t really want, and when I decided I was getting too close to trophy-wifing it, they would try to “keep in touch” for months and even years after. A naïve person would claim that it was all about the sex, but Marilyn and I know better. They just couldn’t have a nervous breakdown on their own.

That character is so prevalent in our society. You young salesmen, students, artists, lawyers and engineers—you’re all the same. And Salinger was so right about you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Dear Freaky Vampire Boy, 

The thing is, I tried really hard to be nice to you. And there are good reasons for that—I didn’t giggle behind your back because I don’t think it’s wrong that you should find me attractive. I also hate when people do that—I’ve had it done to me—it isn’t a crime to desire involvement with someone.

The problem is that you are really creepy. You crossed the line a long time ago, and I’m not sure that it would even be visible if you turned around and looked for it. Because you clearly don’t know that you’ve crossed it, and you clearly can’t read body language, and you clearly don’t get that my valiant efforts at not hurting your feelings are being thwarted by your persistent and masochistic insistence that we are somehow fated to be together.

The first time you approached me, I thought you were going to ask me to go to a movie with you. I think that would be the most fitting approach for a fellow film student. I wasn’t really sure what the approach would entail so I decided to prevent it altogether. I tried to do you a favour, to save you the rejection. I made a phone call—surely you remember? “I just have to make a quick phone call before break is over.” And that call went to the person I’m involved with—perhaps it was too subtle?

You must have rationalised it, twisted it until the person on the other end became my sister, because you persisted. You told me you woke up one day and just decided to start a film company. And then you told me you believed in signs. Eeek.

You told me I looked like some B-movie actress, except “hit with the sex-kitten stick”. You told me that she had been your inspiration in creating the one and only character that you have yet to cast in your film. I asked you what the genre of the film was and you told me it was a vampire love story (eeek), and I almost asked if it was a comedy, until I saw that you were serious. Then you told me my character was the queen of the vampires and I nearly shot snot out of my nose.

The next time you approached me, everything I had said in class was recited back to me, and had been interpreted as some kind of sign. A lot of people like Ewen MacGregor (he’s kind of, like, famous you know), it doesn’t mean you can use his shitty new movie as an excuse to take me on a date. And considering my reaction to your film idea, it shouldn’t have shocked you when I responded to your second request with a speech about artistic ethics. I told you that I didn’t consider myself ready to pursue an acting career at the moment and that I didn’t ever want to be cast for appearances because that would stunt my progress in attaining a genuine artistic practice. I told you I despised bad art, that formulaic art was a waste of time, that Wilde and I were in utter disagreement, but that I loved him just the same. I thought this was a fairly plain negative answer. Your confusion surrounding this issue should have acted as somewhat of a guiding light to the fact that we aren’t meant to be together.

It’s so kind of you to share your intimate knowledge of the universe with me. I, clearly, have been wasting my entire life up until this moment and should gladly discard my life, passions, interests, intellect, values and pursuits to fulfil the personality that you’ve assigned me. You made it quite clear that my boyfriend was not the one I was meant to be with when he came to visit me. You made a special effort to glare at him and stare at my ass that day.

Last week you made an extra-special effort to try to get closer to me by cornering one of the people I sit with in class. He was very impressed. I’m sure he didn’t mind being late for class, the subject of ME being so important and all.

Today, I was just annoyed. I didn’t make any effort to be polite. You asked me for my email address and I asked you why. I think it’s a fair question. We haven’t exactly engaged in any riveting conversation or interesting film analysis. You can’t possibly think I’m interested in you sexually. I’ve expressed my disinterest in appearing as the queen of the vampires in your lame movie. So why? Because you have some questions. Oh? Yeah, about the role in the film.
That’s what my body said, I know because M witnessed it. I said nothing—I couldn’t get out a complete sentence. I started to say something like “I can’t believe you’re still on about this”, but I was so unbelievably dumbfounded that you could be so utterly stupid that I just walked away.

I tried really hard to be polite, but the funny thing is, the more you pursue this, the more repugnant you become. The more I want to say the awful, rude, cold-hearted things.

I know what you’re thinking. That I’m going to regret this when you become a famous director. That I’m going to dream about what my horrible life could have been like if only I’d been capable of seeing your genius. Here’s a hint: real directors get their education before attempting to write and direct a film. Whether in school or elsewhere, it’s kind of a vital part of not making a hack film.

Do you think that if you corner me I’m going to give in to you? How are you going to wow me? Do you have a few Shakespearean sonnets saved up? Are you hoping that I haven’t noticed that you wear the same horrible outfit every day—black Adidas track pants and an oversized button-down shirt with a blue and red dragon on it? Do you think AXE body spray really makes women go mad with desire?

I’m quite done with being nice to you. It obviously isn’t working. Tomorrow is the last day of class. I suggest you don’t ask me any questions because I can’t promise that I won’t say something really nasty.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What Freedom? 

I can think of so many ways I could smuggle numerous weapons onto the plane. This isn’t so restrictive. Where are all the bomb-sniffing dogs? I could snort coke in the bathroom and no one would ever know. Gives new meaning to the mile high club.

Now this is the worst part. Through security and waiting for the announcement. I’m in the back of the plane; they’re going to call me last. The children and the special needs go first. Then the first class people—rich people move so slowly. They call me last but there are still people adjusting their luggage and taking up space in the aisle when I get there. I eye each and every one of them and wonder how anyone could want to blow up a plane with such a multitude of harmless brats and car salesman fathers. They wouldn’t, I guess. They would get on the plane and look at the non-threatening people and they would think, so what? What government would care about these people? They would fly all the way to the end and then they would board a flight full of business people and oil executives and politicians and they would blow up that plane. That’s the one that they would blow up. Maybe if I’m really nice to everyone who gets on the plane, that will help. Then, if one of them is a terrorist they will know that I don’t deserve to die. I’m nice and I have things to do.

I’m in my seat now, still musing over whether or not it would be worthwhile for them to blow up this plane. Surely someone would catch them at the gate—there was one guy complaining that they wouldn’t let him take the Swiss army knife his dad bought him onto the plane. If he were really dangerous, he probably would have stuck it up his ass.

I could fight someone with a box-cutter anyway. What could they do? They’d have to be pretty precise to hit the jugular, and that’s really the only way they could do any damage. I’d ask to go to the bathroom…”excuse me Mr. terrorist, but I need to pee”…and then I’d grab something and sneak up behind him and get him. They don’t give out knives anymore, but what about that wire that holds together the magazine flap? Whaddya call that? Or I could use the piece of cloth that ties the curtain back. Just get it around his neck and take him down—I’d have to pull pretty hard. There are a lot of things that would work, probably. So, I should probably just relax.

Unless he had a bomb strapped under his shirt. He couldn’t get that past security, could he? Someone would surely notice the bulge—how big are they? No one patted me down—but maybe they know what terrorists look like. They must just go for the ones who look like terrorists.

These seats are smaller than I remember. My hands are sweating so I adjust the air, but all it does is blow a steady irritating stream at the top of my head. I wonder if the terrorists are sweating. I wonder if they are nervous, if they are afraid to die. I wonder how they said goodbye to their friends and family. I wonder how it feels to know when your last moment will be. I don’t want to know, but I wonder.

How far do they let you get? Do you get to the end of the flight, think that everything is ok and you’re finally there and the hotel room is going to be a blessing and you will order a cheeseburger through room service and get some pay per view porn and call your lover long distance and go to bed early and get a good nights sleep and set the alarm and wake up ready to start the day in unfamiliar territory? And then something terrible happens? Or are you mid flight and there are people watching the movie who take a little longer to realise that something is happening? Is anyone on this plane a fire fighter? Do fire fighters know how to disassemble bombs?

Flying makes me nervous. Next time I’m going to drive. Or maybe a boat—how long would it take to get to England on a boat? I’d like to go to England one day, but I don’t think I will fly. I won’t take the subway either, that’s way too risky. England is cold though, and I would like to go somewhere warm. I couldn’t go to a country that wasn’t free though, even though those countries are warm. Like those countries that all the terrorists come from. They hate our freedom, and that’s why they want to blow us up. Freedom, sweet freedom.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

By Request 

I saw your sister again. She was walking down the street arm in arm with a girl who was laughing intently at her clever quips. I couldn’t help starting at her as I drove by, and smiling, probably in an absurd way, but she didn’t see me so I guess it doesn’t matter. It seems like every time I see her she is with another woman—it reminded me of Gabriella. You remember her, I assume?

We were wearing the same shirt. And she had her hair cut in the same way except that hers was blonde and mine black. Of course I knew—you didn’t have to sneak around in such an insulting manner and send Dan over to hint to Mary that she should keep quiet about it. I was rather proud of myself; I didn’t feel threatened at all. She was just another one—we had never agreed it should be otherwise, even when we were involved—and she looked like a bad cover version of myself: she had no giant breasts to compete with, certainly no university education, and she wasn’t nearly as put together as she would have liked to believe; deep-down, she knew this too. She only had that name. People would tell her that it was beautiful, but I still think it’s ostentatious. I wasn’t angry or bitter or sad, I knew that the others existed, I had only never seen them.

You hadn’t seen mine either. That’s how you always blew things out of proportion, by suggesting that I should be upset. I rarely was, it was only that you wanted so badly for me to be that way.

I assumed that we could at least be friends. I assumed we would have disdain for you in common. It’s difficult to be fascinated by you without realising that you’re a truly horrible person. So, I tried to introduce myself. I stuck out my hand, which wasn’t taken, and made a comment about owning her shirt, to which she informed me that a lot of other people did too and walked away. It was only at this point that I decided I hated her—it had nothing to do with you.

Then, I got lucky. I had a horrible experience. I realised I was in a really shitty venue and that it was a Thursday night and that your band probably sucked. Then, you started playing, and all of my worst fears were confirmed. You were terrible. So terrible, I was embarrassed and wanted to sink into the floor upon which I was standing. My palms began to sweat as I lit another cigarette to distract from what I was seeing and feeling. You were writhing. That’s simply the only word for it. Mick Jagger dances around like a child when he performs, you writhe. On the floor. On your knees. And you and your friends like to think that it’s a result of depth. You were enraptured by yourself and completely unaware that your prostrations were akin to a rock-god or perhaps karaoke-god on the verge of giant finale. I remembered asking you once what it was like to be on stage in front of everyone and you had replied that you had no idea what happened up there. You lost yourself in the music…man. How deep.

The concept is over-used in high school and college English essays: Disillusionment. It’s so uncomfortable in real life. I stood frozen to the spot I was standing for the entire time you were on stage. You were so terrible.

I hated myself for buying into you, for believing that your “art” really was just misunderstood and under-rated. I had believed everything, and now I was watching you suck the life out of even the concept of art, in the same room as a childish girl in my shirt with whom you’d tried to replace me, and I couldn’t move. And I realised that you were a really awful kind of person. You had nothing to offer anyone except to control them. Your friend, James, had been so sweet to me once. He had kissed me on the cheek and tried to pretend that it was only friendly. But it wasn’t. We’d been talking for two hours while everyone else was inside and I couldn’t believe I’d found someone so gentle in your company. But that was the end. He started to avoid me after that and I knew it was because you’d told him he wasn’t allowed. I knew this because of that time I was over at your neighbour’s apartment with Mary, and Dan had come over and been surprised to see us and remarked, with what he pretended was sarcasm, that you were going to be really mad. We were never invited back there either.

When I realised what was happening, I started to laugh. I laughed as everyone began to disband from the stage. Someone asked me what was so funny and I laughed at them too. I laughed at them all because they were all so stupid and fooled. And I hated you. You had me believe that I loved you and you were nothing but a fraud, a complete idiot. I wanted to cause you pain.

I became distant. Everyone asked me what was the matter and I would only laugh at them, drink some more and light a cigarette. That wasn’t cool, was it? I was supposed to maintain that cool and collected posture all night, wasn’t I? No matter what, you aren’t supposed to feel things. This is what you’d taught us. And we lived by example.

I got really drunk. Not just slightly tipsy or accidentally beyond myself, but deliberately and intentionally smashed. Everyone crowded into your apartment and then came the speech. I was standing on the couch for well over a minute before I had the nerve to start speaking. I think Gabriella looked at me with a curious haughtiness and I’d taken a deep breath as I’d silently cursed her and looked up at the ceiling and began speaking over everyone’s noise. I was laughing so hard I could barely stand up. I’ll have to paraphrase it for you, though I’m sure you remember it quite clearly:

“Dear People. Could you turn this shitty music off? It’s bad—I like Pulp. I think James looks like Jarvis, but no one else does. I really wanted to have sex with James, but he (you) won’t let me. You aren’t fooling anyone! I’m sick of this stupid shit—you are all fake. All of you, except (I pointed at Gabriella), you’re just a fucking cunt. And you all do whatever he says, and that is sooooooo completely….and…(I remember this part quite distinctly) UTTERLY PATHETIC! (laughter—maniacal) BYE!” And then I threw the Heineken bottle I was holding against the wall. There can be such satisfaction in the sound of breaking glass.

No one moved. I can’t believe you all stood there and let me finish! I can’t believe it took Mary so long to drag me out of there! I had no shoes, I carried them because she was afraid everyone would attack me if I paused to put them on. This made me laugh. I still laugh about it sometimes—and that’s why I laugh whenever I see your sister.

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