Why Are My Keys In The Fridge?

Staring into the fridge wondering what the hell you are looking for. Standing in the middle of the room completely lost. Re-tracing your steps trying to remember where you dropped your keys.

We all do it. Stressed? Age? Just too much going on? Nothing else to occupy the mind? Blame it on the booze? All of the above? Probably.

A few months before I left Toronto for the Dominican Republic was a busy time for me. One day I was having a social call with friends and thought I would squeeze in a visit to my tattoo artist. I had puttered about thoughout the day and was just getting ready to leave. I popped a token for the street car in my coat pocket, (for easy access) and grabbed my purse and keys and headed off.

The street car came quickly and it wasn’t terribly busy, I had a seat to my self. I sat, content, watching life on King Street cruise by. My first trek would take me to the Yonge Street subway stop and then up Yonge Street. I decide I’d better check on my money situation, or ‘sitch’ as the kids may or may not say, and was shocked to the core to find not my wallet but the remote control for my stereo.

We were just approaching the Spadina stop and I hurried off and crossed the street. I had no wallet, no money and no method to pay for a return trip home. Lucky it wasn’t rush hour and so when I got on the West bound Street car to return home, I sheepishly explained my situation, or, ‘sitch’ and to be honest, the driver seemed mostly unconcerned. I know they hear all kinds of excuses, Hell, I’ve heard all kinds of excuses. He wasn’t really concerned, I showed him my recent transfer but when I opened my bag and pulled out the remote and then showed him the rest of the contents, he actually laughed. He was still chuckling when he motioned his hand for me to pass and take a seat.

I missed the tattoo artist that day. When I got back home I just drank wine until it was time to go to Brad’s.

Ya. Booze. I blame the booze.

 

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On Ageing

Fifty-Five. Double nickels. Milestone? Maybe. I think all birthday’s should be a milestone. Whoo Hoo! I made it another year!

So many don’t.

For a while now, I’ve been at an age where people are dying. Heart attack, cancer, aneurism, stroke. We always thing we’re invincible. ‘I’ll diet tomorrow’. ‘I’ll quit smoking at New Years’ ‘I’ll just eat this pizza and start exercise on Monday’. People dying who are younger than me. When it first started happening, I wasn’t sure how to process it. Honestly, it scared me.

It should scare us. The other side of that, of taking care of ourselves, is taking  chances. I try to. It’s important to try. It doesn’t matter what it is. I remember years ago when I was seeing someone and I was chatting with his father one day. His father had been an airplane mechanic for the Military. I thought it was fascinating. All he thought was how horrid war was. He asked me what i wanted to be. I said I’d like to be on television. He nodded. He said he always wanted to be a farmer. I suggested he start small, plant a garden, keep chickens. He kidded again. Yeah. Maybe.

I don’t know if he ever did. I was on television. A few times. I’m pretty happy about that. It doesn’t matter what your dreams are. Stand Up Comic, Farmer, Writer, maybe you want to build birdhouses. Or dollhouses. Try. Failure is not the end result. If you tried, you accomplished.

A few years ago someone asked me if I was disappointed that I wasn’t successful as a comic. I’ll be honest, I was rather shocked. I wasn’t aware I hadn’t been. I tried it. No one died. People laughed and I didn’t pee my pants or cry or fart or have something come out of my nose. Success!

A few weeks after I turned forty I had the most amazing feeling wash over me. No one gives a fuck. I don’t have to. They don’t have to. Don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if I have cellulite. Who cares if someone thinks I’m a bitch. If I don’t, then no one. Now that I’m fifty-five, it’s even better.

So, I moved to the Dominican republic. A lot of people were happy for me. A lot of people said they were happy for me, but really they weren’t. A lot of people have distances themselves from me. They don’t want to hear it. They give me shit if I complain it’s too hot. (PS? It’s almost always too hot) I can’t change my lot in life. people who aren’t happy in their own lives will never be able to be happy for someone else’s good fortune. Let’s be clear. Good fortune is a subjective yardstick.

But promises of Skype dates go un-Skyped. Happy hour on the computer is a solo affair. I understand if people feel jealous or covet something that is beyond my scope to change. Should I have taken my family inheritance and given it to you?

The point? Don’t know except I have more years behind me than in front and I’m going to enjoy myself and do what I want for as long as I can.

Happy Birthday to me.

 

 

 

 

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My Mother

Twenty years ago today, my Mother died. Tomorrow is my birthday. I don’t mind sharing the day with her.

It’s not really a ‘full-circle’ kind of situation.  I was adopted at birth.

She was a good women, kind, caring, honest, great sense of humour. I was very young when I realised I could make my Mother laugh. Hard. That, my friends, was a chestnut well polished.

Sometime around Christmas she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was living in Vancouver at the time  and after a decent period of denile, I sublet my apartment to go be with her in Alberta.

It is the hardest and equally the greatest experience for me. She was frail and had lost a considerable amount of weight. She was using a walker and my Father had attached a small loaf pan to the front of it like a basket on a bike for her to be able to carry things and not let go of the handles. I thought it was adorable.

People die the way they lived. So, after a short period of ‘why me’, she set about getting her affairs in order. She began by teaching my Father a thing or two. How to cook, do laundry, run a vacuum. While sitting at the kitchen table playing Scrabble, my Dad was doing laundry. He was going down the basement stairs and grumbled something like, “Oh, for fuck’s sake”. My Mother replied, “Hey! Watch the language, you know I don’t go for that kind of shit”. She then looked at me with mischief in her eyes and had a hearty laugh at her joke. I remember her shoulders shaking. My Father mumbled, ‘I know,’ and continued on.

The day after she died, my birthday, my Dad came from the basement with my Mother’s old red and white cake tin. As soon as I saw it, I  started to cry. He put it on the counter and said, ‘She insisted’.  When I lifted the lid, there was a gorgeous Angel’s Food cake. Half of it was iced, the other half plain for my Dad, who was diabetic. Mom

Later, when I was looking in the freezer downstairs, there were all kinds of frozen packages. Meatloaf, casseroles, lasagna, labels written on masking tape on them with my Mother’s handwriting.  ‘Turkey Stew’. ‘Veggie lasagna for Jo-Jo’.

Even in her last days she was thinking of others.

The Art of Con

Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry has probably been conned. A Runner. Dine and Dash. I forgot my wallet. It’s as old as Prozzies. I worked in pubs and restaurants in the day time to feed my more powerful desire to perform Stand Up Comedy in the evenings. My experiences were not exempt. What people don’t realise is that the server/bartender is responsible to cover the lost money. Yes, it does.

I only had it happen a couple of times, almost all in one pub I worked at on The Danforth in Toronto. The pub, long-standing, was across the street from: A funeral Home (The bereaved are awesome customers) A half-way house (Not so much, what with the crack smoking in the bathrooms and all, a Beer store and a Senior’s care centre.

You tend to be aware that being scammed is a common thing and try to be aware. My first at said pub was a guy who looked homeless, had a suit jacket on with jeans, shoes that were too big and no socks. He had a cell phone but it looked more like a Fisher Price Walkie-Talkie. He was my only customer that day, but even though I was sceptical, you can’t just ask someone to ‘see the money first’, even though I have done just that.
Six pints in, he went out for a smoke, Thrift store jacket still on the back of his bar stool, never to be seen agin. Not, that is, when I saw him a few months later in Honest Ed’s, and he ran like a bomb had gone off. My boss, the owner, who had actually been in the pub that morning, saw the guy and I asked if he looked a bit shady and he said, No. He did, however, later, offer to pay half the tab.

My best one though, the pure scam, was on New Years Eve Day, at least ten, twelve years ago, crazy cold and shed-loads of snow hammering down, not a soul in the place all day. The cook and I spent most of the morning hanging decorations and doing all the necessary prep work for the evening. I had made a total of twenty dollars in tips when a young, handsome ginger man entered in the early hours of the afternoon, stamping the snow off his boots and claiming, ‘You have a customer by default’.

He told me straight away he’d locked his keys, wallet, phone in his car and had called road service but due to weather, had a bit of a wait. I immediately asked him (smiling) how he planned to pay for things if he wasn’t in possession of his wallet and he very charmingly assured me all would be well. Yes, I was suspicious, but he didn’t look like he lived across the street in the Crack House and I just poured him a pint. Yes, I did ask him how he called the road services and he said a passer-by borrowed him his phone. Kindness of strangers.

He was very kind, attractive, very chatty. Asked about me, the pub, talked about himself in great detail, name, house, job, girlfriend, address, blah blah blah. It was dead quiet, had been all day so quite frankly, I was just happy for the company. He went out to smoke several times, but right in front of the door where I could see him. He was overall, lovely. I never really let my guard down, but he seemed very genuine. He didn’t run up much of a tab, two premium pints and a Caesar salad.

After about two hours and several ‘checks’ on the car he wanted to try the road service again. He asked for the phone book and it was at this moment all the flags started to go up. He looked up the number and then wrote it down and asked me to dial it. I said, no, it’s fine, come behind the bar and use the phone. He refused. He held the receiver and had me dial. Now. Now all the flags and alarm bells were going off. It was like the past two hours flashed before my eyes, looking for the flaws and loopholes. I dialled, he had a conversation, then hung up, claimed they had been and gone and then said he had to go.

He gave me his phone number, which I absolutely assumed was a pizza parlour and then he thanked me profusely and took his leave. But, wait. The final step, the piece de resistance and likely part of the entire bet or challenge, he asked me if I could lend him some money for a cab. He promised he would be right back. I was already full aware I’d spent the afternoon being ass-fucked without lube, so when he offered me his coat as collateral, (Minus 18 with wind and hammering snow) I turned around and grabbed the only money I had made all day. A twenty dollar bill and handed it to him.

I’ve thought about that day over the years. I went through the emotions of it fairly quickly. I wasn’t even terribly upset about it all, mostly because he worked so hard for forty dollars. I hope he thinks of me. And Karma.

A few months after this, I had a busy day and a couple I had served for several hours asked for their bill, and then proclaimed they didn’t have their wallet. Oddly, I didn’t hear alarm bells, I said fine, I paid their bill of just over fifty dollars and didn’t give it another fought. Money is just a means, isn’t it. And to lose one’s self in it, well. Anyhow, I had a few days off and came in to work to fine a card with a hundred dollars in it and a lovely note saying, ‘Thank You for trusting us’.

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Miss Me?

People often ask me, ‘Do you miss … Canada, Toronto… ‘

The simple answer isn’t simple at all. Mostly: No. Yes. Mostly, No.

I just spent 2.5 hours without power.Yesterday, 5 hours. It’s a ‘thing’. I moved here last September, experiences a few power outages, but nothing serious. Of course, by serious, I mean under  six hours.

Since March First, 25 times, including the twice today. It’s hot. I’d open wine. It’s difficult but not a chore at all.

Yes, I miss my favourite Tibetan Restaurant in Parkdale. I miss and don’t miss the TTC.

I exist here.

That’s huge.

It’s noisy, dirty, the power goes out, a lot, I don’t know the language.

All of those things appeal to me.

So.

No.

 

Blooms In The Barbs

Molly likes blue. Jill doesn’t. Fight started.

What is it about fighting on the internet? Honestly, I’m not a fan, but sometimes you can’t help yourself. My theory is, that people who never felt they had a voice, suddenly do. They may have been wallflowers for many years but now they have an outlet. Perhaps it’s repression that makes us so vile?  Anonymity helps propel that even further. Clearly, we would never say most of the stuff to people’s face. Most of us can do it from our couch but would be hard pressed to say hurtful and cruel things in person, particularly to a stranger.

I like to play games online, crosswords, solitaire, escape games. I can, and do, idle away my early mornings doing just that. Most of the sites I go to people are just interested in the games, some have virtual and real friends but it’s pretty tame. One site I go to has been changing recently and a lot of us older players aren’t taking it well. It’s not the site, but a new crop of players that’s changed.

Several old school payers have been voicing opinions about it and I got caught up in it. I’m not very brave about it, though. I state my piece and then go, not returning to see the responses. I have done in the past and it ends with me calling someone a CUNT in all capitals. Not. Good.  I’m not a Stand-And-Fight kind of internet arguer. I’m more of a Fart-In-The-Elevator-And-Bugger-Off kind18ixhcr5g3522jpg.

We all have a name we use and mine reflects my abrasive personality. People take great pleasure in pointing that out, but I have so far resisted saying, well, duh. This particular site, it’s for escape games, where you need to find clues to get in or out of situations. I’ve played them for years. Recently there has been one woman in particular who has been really aggressive in the forum. We always used to ask for help or give small clues. She comes in now and comments on every stick or crumb she finds and has completely highjacked all the games with this. To be honest, she is as obnoxious as all fuck.

I’ve been caught up in all of this garbage because, why? I can? I’m bored? Yes. The other side, the reason this woman had highjacked the game site and is so desperate to get her name and clues all over the page is because she’s probably lonely.  Maybe she was bullied? Maybe this is an safe outlet for her. Maybe she doesn’t have any friends except online. The answer here, is yes.

A few people use their real names, which you can find easily enough online, Facebook and such.  A few months I noticed, well, we all noticed a few players getting chummy and mentioned their Facebook pages and started to connect. Then it seemed like two players in particular were chatting quite a bit. A few weeks later we gathered that a woman from California had completely upped sticks and moved to something something Shire in Merry Ole to be with this man she met on the is game site. And not just the game site, but a particular game made by a particular game maker.

So, in the midsts of a battle of “Yes I can, No you can’t” going on, of which I was firmly nestled, I went to the game site’s page on Facebook and I noticed, not the person I was looking for but the name of the lady who moved to The UK. I went to her Facebook page to give it a proper snoop and was completely overwhelmed.  There she was, with the UK guy and her kids and her grandkids and all just as happy as Larry. I thought it was so sweet, that I had watched this unfold and there it was! Well, clearly I missed their Skype calls, but still.

It gives me hope. Love is there, maybe where you least expect it.

But you’ll have to excuse me, there’s a bitch in Scotland I need to insult. Unless I find her picture first.

Me/We

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride? I’ve never been married or a housewife. I assumed I wouldn’t be very good at it, except the hanging around the house part. I could do that.

Several of my married friends over the years who have raised kids and ran the house have used the word “I” rather then “We”. It confuses me. The first time I heard it my friend said, ‘I bought a new car’. You did?, I asked. Yes, she said. She’s never held a job outside the home, so I was curious why she didn’t say, we bought a car or Husband bought a car.

I never asked her, just assumed it made her feel better. Maybe she picked the colour.  I got a message the other day from someone from the small town I recently left. We were neighbours, had spent some time together but not particularly friends. I found her mean, mean with money and rather cutting in her remarks. She was a second, ‘trophy’ wife, although if ‘we’ are being honest here, not first prize. She acted like she was top shelf goods, though.

Her message said, Hi, it’s  (fill in name here), I moved to Mexico. I immediately clock on to the ‘I’. Did you? Yes, she said. I’m trying it for a year. Well, of course I assume it’s just her, not her and her husband because that’s what she said. ‘So, he finally tossed you out, eh? Not surprised, you always were a sour faced old cow. Miserable bitch!

No, I mean We did. Jeeze, what the fuck, woman? That was her response.

Tee Hee! Totes kidding! So totes not kidding.

She signed off by saying if I ever found myself down Mexico way, although in this case it should be up Mexico way, or at least across .. I digress. That I always had a place to stay because Her house was HUGE!

Not going, Me. I-Me-Mine-Narcissism