Thursday, June 30, 2011

You are predictable and incomprehensible like
Stephen Harper's Christmas sweaters,
banal smiles and Alberta French;
you are meant to practice but not understand
strategic voting and habituation.
I'm going to get better, Caelum, she said,
and by the time I stopped crying it was January.
She died. (You might not know this; junkies die.)
Or I could breathe --
adrenaline, endorphins, and fresh air.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

David, I do not know how to help you.  I never have.


"All significant truths are private truths" - T.S. Eliot

Sometimes people think that I am shy.  And sometimes people think the fact I do not say much means I do not think much.  And I have been told several times that I give a first impression of being haughty.  I am none of these things, not timid or vacant or stuck up, but I think this is how introverts are often misunderstood.  Shawn says people form this last impression based on attractiveness, but he is supposed to think that for my sake, and I am not nearly as attractive as he thinks I am.

Introverts are allegedly only about 25% of the population.  Imagine how short staff meetings would be if there were more of us.  Sometimes I am so frustrated by the way people have to give voice to every single thought that crosses their minds.  I cannot relate to this way of being, cannot imagine what it would be like to say everything I was thinking.  Perhaps this is why I like writing, because it allows me to say more.  Shawn says saying less leaves people wanting more, but he is supposed to think that for my sake, and I am not nearly as interesting as he thinks I am.

Extroversion and introversion exist on a continuum, and I find myself moving more and more in the direction of introversion as I get older.  This is why I need to change careers.  This is why I have less friends, less invitations, and less concern about these things than I have ever had in my life.  If I keep moving at this rate I will be a hermit before I hit forty.  Being around people makes me tired, really really tired.  I get so tired of small talk, so tired of gossip, so sick and tired of meaningless noise.  Shawn says I'm funny when I'm tired.  I'm not.


Monday, June 27, 2011

report to members

These last days of work before summer holidays begin are drudgery.  To be honest, a lot of the staff sneaks out and spends the afternoons in the neighbourhood pub.  I'm not really that type of employee, although I would like to be, and so instead I spend my days hiding in my office reading books and sipping coffee and watching the clock.  This is just as useless as drinking beer down the street, but somehow I feel like I'm on firmer moral ground when I do this.  I wonder why I care about things like this when no one else seems to.

Something is wrong with my office computer.  It has been making odd noises like those that occur before an airplane takes flight, that whirring sound that gets louder and faster until take off.  Only in this case I suspect take-off will actually be a crash.  In public school, things like this aren't worth mentioning to anyone.  I can tell the tech team my computer is dead, but dying doesn't mean a thing.  (This is the same policy practiced by the Ministry of Families and Social Development.  You have to report that a child has been killed, not that a child is being killed.  They only act after it's too late.)

Speaking of too late.  The Awards Committee coordinator just handed out the program to staff with two students' names misspelled.  This means their names will also be misspelled on the plaques they are to receive tonight.  This kind of thing drives me nuts, but the only way to prevent it is to join the Awards Committee and I know better than that. 

I had a dream about Colleen on Saturday night.  She was a child, maybe eight years old, and she had a terribly high fever.  The family was gathered around her, and the fever was climbing so fast that it was becoming apparent she was going to die.  We were saying goodbyes when she suddenly seemed to spontaneously recover.  And then I woke up abruptly, first relieved that my sister wasn't dying, and then to a higher level of conscious awareness in which I remembered she had already died.  I think it is Awards Night that is making my mind play these games.  Her daughter will be accepting an award tonight, and Colleen should be there.

One of the school counsellors is bugging me.  Ever since I finished my degree, she keeps trying to foist her counselling kids off on me, without consideration for the fact that I still have a full teaching load.  I do not have time to do her job as well as my own.  (Especially not when I'm supposed to be drinking coffee and listening to my computer perform feats of self-immolation.)  And my conscience doesn't allow me to send crying children away because it's not my job.

It is becoming increasingly probable that I am sick.  Actually I think I am often sick in June, only I mistake it for hay fever because it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference, except that hay fever, unlike flu, doesn't actually come with fever.  I have to present awards tonight, which means I need to go home and sleep on the couch for a couple of hours between commitments.  I am feeling worse as the day progresses.  I wonder why I always get sick in June.


Friday, June 24, 2011

every way you look at it you lose

This time of year makes me tired.  So many special events to mark the occasions of commencement, graduation, and awards.  I wish we could combine these events into one interminably long evening and have it done.

I always attend commencement.  I want to hand out my own scholarships.  I want the kids to know I'm happy for them.  But I always sneak out of commencement after the grads cross the stage and the speeches start.  I leave because I want to get out of the parking lot before the 800 parents and friends try to do the same thing.  And because I do not want to pose for pictures when it's over.  And most of all because I want to avoid having to talk to people.

Tonight, however, I was one of the ones that had to make a speech.  I'm not much of a fan of public speaking, not really, although I have lots of practice at it.  I always make my presentations short.  Couched between two long long long speeches, I think mine seemed abrupt and odd.  Like me.  I snuck out once the valedictorian started.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Now how I remember you

There are choices to be made.  DD has offered me a job in Rwanda for the summer. Eight weeks with her counselling agency.  And BB has invited me home to work with his band.  I have literally almost no talent so it is an honour to be invited to help them launch their album.  The other possibility is that I will stay right here and do absolutely nothing.  I wonder which I will do.


It was when I was seventeen that I first left home.  I spent that summer in Invermere, British Columbia, living in a tent on the property of a friend's parents who owned a cabin on the lake.  That summer I worked on a construction site building summer cottages.

From there I moved to Prince George where I took up tree planting to earn a living.  I went back to my parents' home when school started in September each year because I had no idea where else to go.  But in the summers I found other places to be.  I planted trees, I lived in Red's summer home, I ate bratwurst and I mowed golf courses.

Here, where I live now, I smell the summer blow in on the ocean.  It's salty and sweet and this year it is very, very late.  But now it has come and I want to camp outside even though I no longer need to, because I want to lie down beside the ocean and remember who I used to be. Because I feel sure I have not changed very much, and because I would like very much to have time to remember.


And sometimes, sometimes when summer comes late, it occurs to me late that I do not have to go anywhere if I do not want to.  But the burn on my shoulders says I'm supposed to go, the smell of fire smoke says it's time to go, and the smell of the sea.  And I think I am meant to sleep on tent floors on the beach, I think my hands automatically make the shape of a trowel, I think I am meant to eat camp food; I think this ten-year tan line on my back means I am always going to plant conifers to make my living in this world.

And I think I am damaged by these summers beyond repair in ways I would never want to be fixed.  Jesus god, I love summer.