Friday, October 31, 2014

the King of Spain

This Jian Ghomeshi thing is killing my buzz.  I like that guy.  I want to believe that guy, and quite frankly I would prefer to believe in a sexy BDSM world in which kink is both exciting and consensual.    (I had no idea he used to be in Moxy Fruvus; did you?  J used to call me his "unspeakable wife, Queen Lisa".)  But let's be realistic about it.  He probably is guilty.  Probably terribly terribly guilty.  But come to think of it, I have a friend who claims that George Strombolopolous undid her bra at a bar in Toronto - so you just never know who you can trust.  Because George is my boyfriend.  He wouldn't do that.  Right?


R says he is angry that he can never find M.  She is late, always late, never reachable, never available when one has an emergency, and why do emergencies always happen at such inconvenient times.  I watch his mouth while he is talking, and then close my eyes and try to count his teeth in my imagination.  It doesn't work.

This summer on the picket line I learned that strangers had been distinguishing between me and another Lisa by calling me "Lisa with the teeth".  (This is mysterious because the other Lisa also possesses a full set of teeth.)

I ask R, Why don't you tell her you hate it when you can't find her when you need her?  It will make her feel important.  He laughs.  R prides himself on being the kind of guy who shoots from hip, not the sort of man who would employ such manipulations.  Which leaves me to wonder why he is complaining to me.


I was frightened of C for a long time, years perhaps.  He always looked like he wanted to punch someone in the mouth.  He still looks like that, but now that I am confident it is not me he would like to punch, I find it attractive on him.  I play a game in my head where I try to make him laugh, because he gives up the laugh so rarely, so ruefully, and with such respect.  When I can make him laugh I feel like I have won a prize.  It turns out what makes him laugh the most is the things I am naturally best at: inappropriately intimate comments, innappropriately intimate questions, inappropriately intimate gestures.  (Perhaps in some ways there is no difference between my behaviour and Jian's.)  So I ask him about his divorce.  I encourage him to seek therapy for his rage.  I call him names.  Sometimes I say pussy and make a gesture that goes with the insult.  And he laughs.  And my fear dissolves a little more.  (I am thinking about tackling him in the prep room so I can push - and mail -  the envelope full of inappropriately intimate physical contact in a public space.)


Thursday, October 30, 2014


This was a photograph of me and Emory.  Now it's just a photograph of Emory and my hand.  Because Emory doesn't care about his privacy or about ending up on Google Images so people can use his photograph to lure teenagers into inappropriate relationships.  He says go for it.


Monday, October 27, 2014

making ice

Mr. Sexual Harassment is in trouble again.  He's at his third complaint since school started in September and this doesn't count the sexual harassment complaint from last year.  To be fair, only one of the current complaints is about sexual harassment, and the other two are just about being a jerk.  I met with him today to mediate one of those discussions between him and the complainant.  He did not handle himself well.  He loudly munched a big, juicy apple during the meeting and rolled his eyes and implied that the complainant was childish for being offended by his behaviour.  My role is about helping and supporting all staff members, but I do not know how to support this man.  Something is wrong with him.  And what bothers me most is that I kind of find myself liking him and empathizing with him.  He rubs people the wrong way, truly, because he is socially inept.  But I do not think he truly means any harm.  Or maybe I am giving him too much credit.  I feel certain he is going to end up being disciplined in short order and I cannot protect him from that if he keeps making terrible choices.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

ready for this

After nearly three weeks, I have returned to yoga.  That is, I have successfully attended two consecutive classes and have plans to get back into my regular routine.  But I am sore, sore like I was when it all began, which is exactly what happens when you stop attending yoga class for any length of time.  You lose your gains.

It was pleurisy that prevented me from attending class for three weeks.  I imagine that different people experience pleurisy in different ways.  For me, it involved a stabbing pain in my chest with every inhalation, right around the place where I think my heart is located.  At first, and for several days,  I thought it was some kind of weird pinched nerve, because the pain radiated outward the way nerve pain does.  I was confident I was not having a heart attack but after two weeks, I began to wonder if my heart was infected in some strange way.  I have never experienced anything like pleurisy before.  The pain was unrelenting, and culminated in the third week in a drowning sensation that kept me from being able to sleep lying down.  I was stubborn for far too long in refusing to seek medical attention.  I did, however, spend some time researching "Right to Die" legislation in case I did not start to feel better soon.  Fortunately, eventually, I did.

Throughout this ordeal I only took one day off work, and thought I was quite tough for doing so until I remembered that BB is working full time through chemotherapy.  There are a number of ways in the world a person can be stupid.  Or brave.  I have chosen to go back to yoga now that my strength and stupidity have fully returned to me.


Friday, October 24, 2014

only books

My book club is reading Alone in the Classroom, a peculiar bit of Canadian writing that tries to scream Canada! the way Miriam Toews screams Canada, the way Sam Roberts sings Canada, the way Tomson Highway and Michel Tremblay emote Canada with its beautiful quirks and flaws and magic .  I wanted to be impressed with this book but either there were bits that didn't quite work, or I wasn't smart enough to make all the necessary connections for it to be completely satisfying.  We are discussing it on Saturday, but unfortunately I have read a few books since this one and now it is not as clear as I would like it to be.

After that I read something by Deepak Chopra, something about seven spiritual secrets.  I did not appreciate it.  It seemed trite and obvious.  And insipid.

Then I read The Children Act, by Ian McEwan, which I enjoyed very much.  The notion of a woman in her sixties suddenly finding her husband is planning to have an affair with a younger woman was fascinating, terrifying, psychologically challenging.  The knowledge that these things really do happen is something I struggle with, along with the awareness that husbands also develop fatal illnesses sometimes and die.  It would be nice to think that the future is all set up, but these thoughts frighten and shake me, although I have enormous faith in my husband, I recognize our human frailties to keep me from being to certain of anything.

And now I am reading Elizabeth is Missing, which I chose because it was Laurel's Pick at the bookstore, and I like the name Laurel.  This book is about an elderly woman with some sort of dementia, who feels certain that her friend Elizabeth has gone missing, but struggles too much with her failing memory to deal with the situation as effectively as she wants.  And again I am reminded of our humanity.  My mother and her her ominous threats about the tea I was meant to poison at earliest sign of dementia.  (She was lucky, really,  because my mother behaved irrationally enough times throughout my childhood that she would have been dead many times over if I'd kept my word.)

Yesterday I went to the Writer's Festival with a pack of teenagers and BB, who is recovering so well from leukaemia that one would never know she had been ill.  I honour my strange friendship with this woman who no one else seems able to get along with.  During the writers' talk, one of the authors said she identified herself as "bi-gendered" or "two-spirited".  While this has been in vogue in the East for a long time, it is comparatively new to the West, and completely new to conservative BB, who rolled her eyes at me and said, "Good Lord", in a voice that travelled several rows.  I tried to explain it to her on the bus on the way home but she would have none of it.  Stupid, impossible, ridiculous.  I do not wonder why other people find her intolerable.  I wonder why I enjoy her so much, why I get such a kick out of her obnoxious behaviour instead of being offended.

Speaking of work, the cool young teachers have invited me to a cool young teacher party in a couple of weeks.  (BB is not invited.)  I am not sure why I am, as I am neither cool nor in my early twenties.  I am trying to decide if I want to be sociable with people I do not really relate to, in case I find something relatable after all, or if I would rather stay home - which is my default preference.  Last time I went to a cool teacher party I drank too much wine and got sloppy.  Come to think of it, maybe that is why I have been invited, to provide some entertainment.


Sunday, October 05, 2014

my own silence

My mother's book is experiencing success.  No, my mother is experiencing the success of her book.  It is an odd thing to read a book in which you are a character, even a minor, flat, character.  (Flat as a piece of paper, actually, flat as a dour nun who can be counted upon to shake her bony finger at you in disapproval every time you try to think about enjoying yourself in some small way.)  I am proud of my mother - though not of the small part I have to play in the dramatic story of her, and Colleen's, life.

It is raining, as it does here for much of the year, and this time I have remembered to fill the bird feeders.  It makes the rain more bearable to see living things outside and enjoying the rain in a way that I can rarely muster.  It is fascinating how it is actually very possible to enjoy rain when one chooses to do so.  Like birds do. They rejoice.  When you step outside with the purpose of jumping in puddles and getting wet, rain feels wonderfully refreshing.  You know you can come back inside and change clothes and dry off.  The other kind of rain, the one that gets you while you are trying to load groceries in the trunk of your car (only the first of many tasks that must be completed on the weekend), feels dismal.  I wonder how many frustrated authors have begun (and ceased)  to write about how rain makes them feel today.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I fell in love the way you fall asleep

I think of myself as a person who falls in love easily.  I do fall in love easily, but falling in love is one of those expressions that means different things to different people.  Perhaps I refer to the potential for love more so than love itself, for love is complicated.  And I think it is enduring - even when relationships end.

But I say I fall in love all the time, because I do.  I feel I have fallen in love with book characters, movie characters, musicians and singers, authors and artists, strangers on the bus to whom I have not spoken, and I am not sure what I really mean when I say that.  Can one be in love with a fiction?  An intangible?  Can one be in love with someone with whom one has no relationship?

Though I fall in love easily, I have only had two of those of those kinds of loves that fit society's rules, the kind that come with long lasting relationships.  Commitments and promises.  One of them did not last.  One of them has lasted.

My first love was Shawn, who eventually I married, but not until after I met, loved, and broke up with the second love, T.

T was actually the one I thought would last forever.  And somehow he turned out to be even more fictional than a character in a novel, but I do not know how this happened.  Perhaps he was never who I thought he was at all.  Or perhaps he changed into someone else.  Or perhaps I did.  Any combination of these could be true, and to be fair I am certain I disappointed him too.

A few years ago he got married.  And divorced.  And recently he became engaged, and again split.  And I am surprised by my own reaction to these pieces of news because if I truly loved him I should be sorry to hear of these things, shouldn't I?  But during his divorce I found it impossible not to laugh at his exasperated Facebook status posts about his ex-wife stealing his car and kidnapping his dog.  And this time I guess I am just thinking it serves him right for trying to be happy in this world without me.

It proves that one should not maintain contact with one's ex-lovers.  And it proves that I have a tight knot of cruelty right beneath my collarbone.  And it proves that love is not always really love.




In summer, the lack of responsibility cuts my anchor to the calendar and days blend together in a blurry, warm, campfire haze.  I like that life, borderless and loose.  It makes time move in a different sort of way, neither fast nor slow; time is just as an unimportant bit of information I rarely notice.  It could flow in almost any direction if it wanted to.

Then summer ends and I pin the new calendar to my bullentin board and begin counting the days until the weekend, weeks until holidays, months until next summer.  Wishing life away, one might say, but it isn't exactly like that.  It is just a heightened awareness of time and how responsibilities fit into time, and deadlines and paycheques and appointments and meetings.  Places I am meant to be, times I am meant to arrive and leave to avoid missing the next commitment.

The thing I miss more than the easy flow of time is the light.  I miss the early morning light that makes waking so natural and easy.  And I miss the late evening light that makes me want to stay outside, that makes it easy to sacrifice sleep for more conversation and one more drink.