To Sleep Perchance to Dream

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On that note, I’m going to shortly go to bed. There’s an all-night arts festival going on that surrounds my area – and drunk people shouting at each other, to come with – so if I wake up in the night deprived of my right to sleep I can walk down the street at any point before six in the morning. Chances are slim. I haven’t been sleeping well and tomorrow’s my only option to sleep in. The injustice, that the world is crafted to further reward those already healthy, wealthy, and wise.

My Clothes are Expiring and I Don’t Like Shopping

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I used to go through clothes a lot faster. Maybe I was buying shitty quality things that didn’t stand a long-term chance. Maybe it was my size and/or activity when I wore them, as my jeans still only last a few months before my excessive walking and giant thighs erode them at the groin. Maybe I got sick of things sooner when I was in the Finding Myself stage of youth. Maybe working in a mall made shopping for clothes so much easier.

But at this point, my closet is full of articles of clothing that have lasted multiple stages of my life. I still have hoodies completely intact that I took with me to Europe five years ago. A sweater, for lack of knowing the real name of the garment, that was of thin fabric when I got it four years ago only got its first hole today that was easily sewn up. Some socks have even lasted me a while, through the lives of multiple pairs of walking shoes. I’ve come to trust certain brands over others in socks, and certain fabrics over others in pants, but I’m not such a snob in clothing quality that I really bother investing in brands, fabrics, or laundry practices that will make clothes last.

But my wardrobe hasn’t worn away. It doesn’t need replacing for any real reason, except for the bagginess that some clothes have on me from never fitting properly to begin with combined with losing a few pounds. I’ve actually amassed a collection big enough to last me a month between laundry loads of the outer layers put on for show, even avoiding the shirts that I was kind of on the fence about when I bought them. I can fit all of this into a small closet at about 80% capacity. I don’t understand how people need walk-in closets and still buy the vacuum packing bags to store what’s out of season because they just don’t have enough room. (I also don’t understand “out of season” clothes as I have count-’em one pair of shorts and sometimes wear hoodies in August.)

Maybe I would be more understanding if I liked shopping for clothes. Clothes shopping for women is supposed to be a social experience. Girlfriends get together and try on outfits to critique together and get advice from each other on what’s worth their money. I don’t like that social experience. Shopping is supposed to be therapeutic. It’s a gamble with poor odds on making me feel better about my body as I try things on that fit well, and handing over my credit card isn’t the stress relief feminine stereotypes depict it as. Whenever I make any kind of purchase – even of food beyond basic grains, dairy, and vegetables; of bus tickets or hygiene products – I second guess my judgment and worry if I could’ve spent that money better. I don’t like mall crowds. I don’t like the snobbish environment of small store boutiques. I would simply like to avoid shopping.

Going into my 30s I am taking the route towards outdated wardrobe instead of sophisticated fashionista. I’m not blind to how awkward this makes my appearance (or will, as this may take a few years to go solidly sour) and I’m not going to be so defeated to dress like a slob. I don’t think I can judge people with hair and wardrobe stuck in the 80s anymore. I’m already starting to veer towards the status of a cougar (and the story behind that I might tell later) and the clothes I wear in that role just might parallel the sleeveless Def Leppard t-shirt tucked into the size-too-tight acid washed jeans. (My jeans, I guess, on account of my thighs, will have to go with the style of the times.)

It’s either that or all of my clothes will suddenly fail on me at the same time by the rotation not being consistent. In that case I will have to keep up with the trends of what’s available in stores. I will also have to build up some kind of emergency fund. Is there such a thing as clothing insurance? There should be. It might come in handy one day.

The True Meaning of the Equinox

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The leaves started falling last month. That’s not unusual. It was during a week of lulled temperatures after a generally hot summer, so it’s no surprise the trees were confused. It’s been a slow fall process. There’s still a lot of life on the branches and the temperatures during the day still aren’t so bad – room temperature, give or take, so the outside is almost as comfortable as the inside.

Almost. On some days, like today, it’s humid. On most days it’s very windy, but that’s a weather phenomenon year-round (and as such, not really a phenomenon). The humidity and wind, when combined with things like September’s farm activity around the perimeter and construction activity in the city core, make for some foul smells – shit, burning crops, poured asphalt – that make me grateful for the refuge of ventilated shelter (made possible by the same hard working farmers and builders creating these smells).

In spite of the warmer temperatures, even when not humid and relatively wind-free, the decline into autumn is evident from the shortening day. The sun is no longer up hours before I am, so I’m not awoken by light then comfortably half-asleep for my favourite kind of rest afterwards. The sun doesn’t stay up past the evening clockwork of the car blaring dance music in my back alley to hang out with my Russian neighbours every night at 9. I’ll have to start running in the dark after 8 in the evening, and/or in the morning before 7, trusting that I won’t get myself hit by a car in my entirely black outfit.

It’s still a few months before daylight works a mere eight hours like the rest of us, but we’re not yet equipped with a thick white coat of snow to reflect the light from the moon, from its reflection of the sun that’s westward ho. Past studenthood there remain cruel reminders that summer’s gone and everyone must realign themselves to the solemn industriousness of the Protestant ethic. In my case it doesn’t help that this year I start off the season with the steep learning curve of a new job at an entrenched organization founded, reluctantly, with the same spirit of paternalistic colonial efficiency.

They say life is short but it’s not short enough to remember year to year what each season feels like and accept it for what it is. I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder to a substantial enough degree outside roughly manageable depression and general wintertime blues, but it bums me out to see the light fade and with it the excuse to put something off until later. Does Judaism start the year in this season to get the lull out of the way early? (I know this is only applicable to the northern hemisphere, but the residence of Jews in New Zealand and Uruguay is vastly overwhelmed by the millions of people/thousands of years they’ve lived in Europe, North America, and Palestine…as is, coincidentally, also the case for me.) The calendar we live by today, and like to make the rest of the world live by too, starts on the more optimistic note of can’t-get-much-darker. Again, that’s short-sighted with no apparent lesson learned year after year.

I should be prepared for this. But like any other annual occurrence it gets me the same way every time. That is the true meaning of the equinox: we never learn.

Mini-Epiphanies

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There are a lot of concepts in my head that aren’t quite developed into concise wording, into succinct arguments to make the point clear. TWitter helps force these out a thought at a time to refine the argument to one conclusive sentence. With a stream of consciousness preceding it, yesterday I pondered the purpose of employment equity/affirmative action programs and how they require women, people of colour, and persons with disabilities to actively claim their disadvantaged status and wound it all up with:

“Default” should not be lazily interpreted as “normal”. It should be read as “point of bias” by which the marginalized are differentiated.

White able-bodied men are seen as the default human being. Try to argue with that all you like. When anyone else holds a position of power or is the protagonist in a tale, we take note of that difference.

The benefit of having a process to put that into brevity is that it can leave the reader to do the thinking. The concept can be unwrapped from that concise wording in the reader’s head. Most people aren’t convinced of things until we think it up ourselves.

Transcripts from Dirktember 13th

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Friday night was the first time I’d seen Dirk for months. It was a rejuvenating spur-of-the-moment arrangement that goes along well with other change I aim to make in life (though Dirk is fortunately not involved in any of the other changes).

It was hilariously absurd. I had to send a play-by-play to someone who’s never met Dirk so I was texting throughout the night what was going on. This was all very normal for a Dirk experience for me, but the break made it more refreshing and hilarious rather than eye-rolling and borderline morally repulsive. Here are some of the texts I sent:

“He’s talking about working out and his pecks twitching. He’s acting kind of weird…” @ 8:43pm

He’s been spending most of his time at the gym lately. This is new; he used to be tall and skinny and now he’s beefing up and his neck is thick. I don’t know why he seemed a bit more awkward than usual but it’s probably just not seeing each other for months.

“And having unprotected sex.” @ 8:48pm

I’m not going to go into the details he was telling me, but he seems to shrug off all the risks of this with “the girl wants it this way” and “whatever happens happens”. And whatever happens won’t get my sympathy, but Dirk doesn’t care.

The person I’m texting responds with:

“Interesting five minutes!” @8:49pm

“Chlamydia.” @8:50pm

“He bought a $3000 desk chair and a $1000 foot stool to go with it. He should get it within the month.” @9:00pm

Dirk tends to buy ridiculously priced items and have them custom made and shipped from overseas (almost always Germany) and often upon receiving it realizes something’s wrong and has to send it back and wait even longer. Or he buys something so outrageously overpriced then finds something twice the price but slightly more “ergonomically advanced” and wants to sell what he bought for thousands of dollars and buy that other item.

The stranger to Dirk’s ways asks:

“Chlamydia or the desk?” @9:02pm

Very charming of this person.

“Classic.” @9:05pm

“Within two sentences, David Cross and Bob Odenkirk to terabytes of porn.” @9:24pm

“Impressive.” @9:25pm

Dirk and I used to hang out into wee hours when we were both un(der)employed back in 2005 and rent movies from a store that’s no longer there, picking up his roasted garlic and banana peppers pizza on the way back to my parents’ place. One of the DVDs we rented once was the entire series of Mr. Show. This was when Arrested Development was originally on so seeing original David Cross was one of those bonding experiences with Dirk that makes it easier to stay friends with him through the most ridiculous of shit he does. David Cross and Bob Odenkirk shared the guest seat plus a segment cameo on The Daily Show this past week, and from there I think he talked about wanting to watch Breaking Bad but not having space to download it onto his computer. Because of the porn.

“Now he’s reading out an email about new landlord legislation.” @9:26pm

“He’s literally had sex with a grandmother.” @9:29pm

The other person says that’s “another impressive transition” of conversation topics within minutes. At some point, probably a tangent from his condom-free sex life bringing in a mention of the show Californication, we managed to move from talking about the 20th anniversary X-Files to the Syrian civil war in a sentence and a half.

“He brought twenty-nine tofu sausages. And some mustard. To make and eat here.” @9:35pm

“He’s nuking the sausages.” @9:47pm

“He threatened to get mustard on my rug again.” @9:48pm

Last Halloween he dressed as the ghost of Steve Jobs and was at a club near my apartment between the next place he had to go. As he always does when there’s a lull, he called me to ask if he could come over and hang out. I was just on my way home from a bar so we met when I arrived. He hadn’t eaten anything or been in a restaurant, but one of his shoes had mustard on the bottom in a very specific spot. We didn’t find that out until he barely stepped on my living room rug with that one shoe and its very specific spot. Fucker got mustard on my rug.

“It smells terrible. Also, he just said: “You wouldn’t to have any Yop, would you?”” @9:59pm

“Is this a real person? Has to be, you can’t make this shit up!” @10:01pm

“Unfortunately…” @10:02pm

We left for the corner store, because I had no Yop. And we needed to be optimistic. Maybe the corner store did.

After we each bought chocolate milk there (he bought a whole litre in a plastic jug; I got 500ml in a cardboard carton; sadly there was no Yop) we sat on a bench that’s inside of a fountain and talked about the fall weather getting to the perfect night temperature for sleeping comfortably under a warm blanket.

“He’s blowing his nose straight into the public garbage can.” @10:20pm

“Now he’s lying on my couch on his phone. If he doesn’t have somewhere else to go he’ll fall asleep and I’ll have to go to torturous measures to get him to leave.” @10:34

Like pluck out his leg hairs. It’s happened before.

“Did I mention one of the first things he said tonight is that he’s sleeping with a woman who has a boyfriend, without any birth control?” @10:39pm

“And he may have an STD from fingering her. And he just wants to sit and watch me play video games.” @10:43pm

A couple of side notes: a) this woman is not the grandmother, and b) the non-sequitur of manually transmitted STDs and watching me play video games came from Dirk’s mouth just as disconnectedly as it did in the transcribing text.

“The only word I can up with is odd. Really fucking odd. Every last detail is odd.” @10:46pm

“He’s on the executive council of the Manitoba Green Party!” @10:51pm

“And out of all the things he does and says, he apologizes for scratching his balls from the outside. Then humps the air and farts.” @10:54pm

“Dirk’s fallen asleep on me. Please say you haven’t done the same.” @11:04pm

“I’m farting in Dirk’s face because he won’t leave.” @11:10pm

“No, I’m awake. Did you get him out?” @11:13pm

“No, but I threw gonorrhea at him…” @11:14

(I have one of those plush virus dolls.)

“I may have caught a disease through his armpit. Anyway, that was my evening with Dirk. What have you been up to?” @11:18

I consider it a success to get him out of my apartment before midnight. There was a lot of farting and Dirk’s annoying cackle of a dorky villain. He talked about genetically engineering an über race of sexually attractive people, having parents pick out genes for their children specifically so they’ll fuck a lot when they get to the appropriate age. (For Dirk that’s 18 only out of legal reasons – and clearly with the GILF example he doesn’t have an upper limit as long as she’s sexy.)

As with every hangout, he ended it with “we should hang out more” saying he now has more time because he’s been busy lately but taken care of a lot of things. As with every hangout I say I’ll have to space them out to prevent a murder. He’s a lot to handle. At the end of a week of new experiences and adjusting to changes, seeing him for the first time since the Pride parade and having the first real conversations with him since my birthday was good timing. It may be a few more months before anything like this works out again.

But for now, I’ve been reminded there are worse things to do than what I’m doing, and worse people to be than me. Whatever odd image I project from a selection of traits that go against the grain of people’s perceived reality, Dirk thinks the withdrawal method works and brings tofu Italian sausages with him to microwave wherever he goes.

Tear Down That Wall

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Here are a couple of my tweets from earlier today:

These two observations are linked because in the latter one, I knew everything going into my first day of Grade 1, and I also knew everything going into my first day of university. My second day of university was a little more modest as before any of my classes started the planes had already struck the Twin Towers. Over the past twelve years I’ve conceded that I don’t know as much as I previously claimed to (as my Socrates doll stares at me from his spot on the bookshelf). In Grade 1 I was so smart that I brought up the fall of the Berlin Wall and end of the Cold War in conversation at lunch. Expectedly, the other kids had no idea what I was talking about. Being able to hold onto that smug intellectual superiority at six years of age kept it with me through to eighteen years of age, when after another major world event it was everyone else around me who had the confidence that they knew everything. I saw the error of my previous ways in other people.

I’m still sanctimonious on many issues and have opinions galore, and the topics I bring up at lunchtime conversation (or did, until a very recent change that makes “lunchtime conversation” coming home to eat in peace) are beyond the interest and/or comprehension of the people around me. But these aren’t as accusatory or politically charged on the issue du jour as I’ve seen since I was 18. I’m not out to prove other people wrong. I don’t think I should be in control of the world. I don’t try to win by being louder. Maybe I’m a hipster for wanting to explore other things, but I won’t talk over you or force you to listen.

Occasionally @neiltyson will post comparisons to how major historical events that are memories of living people are chronologically closer to times we see as the distant past than they are to today. This is the concept that brought the first tweet to life (with, of course, tomorrow being the 12th anniversary of 9/11 bringing the event to mind). On that day in 2001 I don’t know what people 30 and over were thinking in regards to the progress of world events since the falling of the Berlin Wall, but this observation has, to me, made the past 12 years look stagnant. Please, correct me by pointing out all the things that are vastly different. Point out what little change there was from 1989 to 2001 and that it’s all biased from my perspective as a child at the time. It doesn’t make me feel old to think that the same amount of time has passed from one age to another as it has to today. It disappoints me at how unproductive public dialogue has been in my adulthood so far.

We can measure these events chronologically. How can we measure them socially?

Recycle Brilliance

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Today is the first of my between-jobs unemployment, with tomorrow being the last one as the weekend for somebody who left one Monday to Friday job and will soon be starting another does not count. Actually, scratch that, “unemployment” for policy purposes means someone doesn’t have a job and is actively looking for one. I’m not actively looking for one anymore. I covered that shit when I was still employed.

But I digress. The real purpose of this is to hash out what I JUST POSTED ON TWITTER here, for all of you who for some reason don’t want to read my half-baked (no, not that half-baked – I sleep and eat crap enough as it is) ideas all day.

(Postscript on this one: granted, non-reproductive sexual pleasure is beneficial in times of scarcity or overpopulation, and this is how homosexuality makes evolutionary sense.)

(I think I meant “wrap your mind around that one” but I didn’t notice autocorrect’s error. Let’s roll with it.)

(It’s safe to presume I don’t like Richard Dawkins. As a human being.)

And finally…

(I really do like Bertrand Russell. He was the good kind of intellectual atheist.)

This was all thought up from scratch as I was eating cereal in bed ON A WEEKDAY as nobody has argued with me that female human lips are based around fitting a penis into them. You’re confusing one type of labia with the other. (Yes, “labium” is Latin for “lip” and “labia” is its plural form.) And I’m not even sure the other labia are about sticking the penis in so much as some kind of vulval curtains and/or skin to stretch in those last few inches when pushing out a baby.

I just tweeted these all a few minutes ago, but I thought they should be reproduced here in one stream. The added commentary in the paragraph above also couldn’t fit in 140 characters.

So you’re welcome. Follow me on Twitter to get all of the brilliance I don’t get around to re-posting here.