Thursday, October 18, 2007

By the time you get home, have a shower, have a post-work screw (or two), the sun has set and your belly is a-grumbling.

Cooking is out, obviously, because the big grocery store will be closed by the time you find the fare to get there and nobody likes riding the streetcar back, trying to juggle cold things in your lap while bearded men ogle your purchases, and while there is a 24-hour market not too far away, it would require walking past the guy selling dreamcatchers on the corner whom I've already made far too much eye contact with today, then past a bitter, heckling homeless man whose smell would ruin anyone's appetite, and past at least 3 Second Cups, and those devils float delicious whipped cream on top of everything, which means I'd need an iron will to even reach the market, and if by some miracle I held fast on the way there, I'd surely get lost in sweet, sweet nirvana on the way home.

Like most fridges, mine contains a jar of olives, some beer, some nail polish, little packets of soy sauce from the Chinese take-out down the street, and a half-empty bottle of mustard (you could call it half-full, but I think it's pretty stupid to waste optimism on mustard). Not exactly the fixings of a great repast. Luckily, however, I've got a little something in reserve. It's called a "cupboard" and its contents are perfect for the pinch. I start to salivate just thinking of the dozens, maybe hundreds of possibilities in contains. This is where I keep my take-out menus.

Living downtown seems opportunistic for the plethora of possibility, but the truth is closer to this: you can drown in choice.

In fact, what usually happens is that by the time I've flipped through all the menus once, eliminated the greek place for its skimpy use of feta, the thai place for consistently giving me heart-burn, and the pizza place across the street because, frankly, we just had it 2 nights ago, and narrowed it down to just 27 places that all sound equally appealing. Thankfully, in the time it's taken me to do the first run-through, half the places have now closed (what kind of old fogeys live in this city? no one else is hungry at 11:30 on a Wednesday night?) and we are slowly but surely chipping away toward choice.

The rotisserie chicken place we eventually settled on "guaranteed" that supper would be in our lobby in 40 minutes. But I wondered - where's the or else? If the chicken was not in the lobby at the appointed time, then what? They weren't saying 40 minutes or it's free. 40 minutes or we'll walk your dog or wash your feet or throw in a pair of flat-front chinos. What good is a guarantee if there's no repercussion? If they're 34 minutes late or don't show up until April or come bearing apricots instead of chicken, it would be all the same to them. It might cut into the delivery guy's tip a bit, but they're already charging $3.50 for the privilege of maybe bringing chicken to your house in 40 minutes so I'm not really feeling the guilt. The guilt from a pseudo-guarantee that's only hypothetically been breached.

Long story short: the chicken was punctual and delicious, but before you start getting all smug, let me just remind you that eating is a particular habit of mine, and it's inevitable that this scenario will be repeated again tomorrow night.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Riding the Rocket

Here in Toronto I am faced everyday with an inapporpriate nickname: The Rocket. The Rocket is what the TTC (our lovely public transportation) calls itself.

Now, rockets are characterized by a certain thrust, thanks to the ejection of fast moving fluids. Rockets are fast, sexy beasts. Who wouldn't want to be compared to them?

But comparisons should be reasonable...or at least remotely possible. On most days, however, calling the TTC "The Rocket" is like calling this guy "Tiny".

The TTC, often billed as "The Better Way", in reality usually "The Only Way", or else "My Car Wouldn't Start" or "Fuck, it's Raining", is not so much a rocket but an expensive, unreliable way to maybe get to where you're basically going, eventually. And sometimes not even that.

But I still have love for the TTC. I love the ding ding of the streetcar, the fact that the bus seats are so high my feet don't touch the ground, the varied, blurred artwork of the subway stations as you speed by.

But mostly it's the people-watching. $2.75 is a steep price to pay for being late to your appointments, but it's an excellent bargain for an afternoon of entertainment. And who wouldn't be entertained when 2 drunk guys get on the bus singing The Hockey Song and spend most of their commute rolling down the aisle? Or when the driver keeps a running commentary of all the "jerk drivers" who "nearly" kill him "all the feckin time". Or when everyone boarding the subway in the morning has the same look on their faces when sniffing the damp, musty smell of newly "cleaned" seats. Priceless.

I love how every subway car reliably has at least one person who is sleeping (like, really, snoringly, head-bobbingly sleeping), one person who is praying (like, really, devotedly, rosary-wieldingly praying), and 18 discarded coffee cups rolling around the floor leaving swirling, sticky puddles in their wake. And then a smattering of mothers yelling at their kids to stop licking the chrome, business drones clutching briefcases for dear life, shifty-eyed men rubbing their crotches conspicuously, and a guy taking up 3 seats trying to wrap a gift without the benefit of scissors or tape in between the Queen and Wellesely stops while juggling his cellphone and a cinnabon. Good times.

Keep on rockin the Rocket, Toronto.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Live from HoJo, it's Thursday Night!

Thursday is the new Friday.

I'm celebrating at the Howard Johnson.

The drapes are floral and the valance is plaid. Yeah, they're on the same window. Howard is hardcore like that. Matching is for fools.

Bobby Brown had a heart attack. No more humping around, I guess.

The "complimentary" plastic cups are having some strange chemical reaction with my Pepsi, and it's fizzing way more than is normal. I've resorted to "drinking" foam. I imagine my lungs slowly filling with it. That's a pretty undignified way to die, but let's face it - with my lifestyle, it's probably a step up from my probable fate.

The bathroom wallpaper has cuttings in it where bits of completely different wallpaper has been patched in. Most likely someone died pretty violently in there last week and Howard was too cheap to repaint completely, so they just took an exacto knife to the most obvious blood spatters and gray matter and saved themselves a couple bucks, which they did not pass on to the consumer. Ahem.

I notice that the bar of "hand soap" and the bar of "facial soap" look suspiciously familiar.

A package of Nabob is supplied for my coffee-drinking convenience. Nabob. Arguably, not actually coffee at all.

The ice bucket is laughably small. You couldn't keep so much as a bottle of water cold in there...but I think it might come in handy if I actually sever a finger.

Te faux-gold wall sconces are really classy, if a little crooked. I also appreciate the mirror that is strategically hung right across from the bed, where I am presently making myself comfortable and trying not to think about special investigations involving black lights. At first I kept winking at the hottie staring back, but now that I'm wearing my "complimentary" shower cap, I'm pretending to be a cafeteria worker, and she's much less sexy.

I love how the maid folds the end of the toilet paper into a charming little triangle. It really helps me to forget that perhaps just hours before someone else's butt cheeks were sitting in this very same place, and someone else's hands were fondling this same roll of paper, and the HoJo bastards are too cheap to replace it.

I never look under the bed when I stay in hotels. As an insomniac, I've been privy to a whole gamut of terrible late-night movies in which there is always a dead hooker under the hotel room bed. Or at the very least, a drippy condom.

I don't have to worry about not sleeping tonight, though. Howard provides his guests with "complimentary" white noise (ie, it's right next to a major (noisy) highway). Nice touch, HoJo. You've really thought of everything.

Okay, I took off the shower cap. It was making me giggle pretty loudly, and the neighbours aren't even having inappropriately loud, wall-banging sex to drown me out. Pity.

Well, I'd like to stay and chat, but it's getting late and I have to let Gideon out of the drawer and write corrupting footnotes in the margins.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wino Forever

On Thanksgiving, it is customary to be thankful, and boy was I ever.

Thankful, that is.

So I stood (well, it was mostly upright) and raised a glass (being careful not to spill a drop) and proposed a toast (what kind of verb is that anyway? I thought that "to toast" involved a stick, a marshmallow, and an open flame) - a toast to getting (and staying) drunk; a toast to the lushes and alcoholics who keep me company; the barware that twinkles so invitingly; the olives that provide sustenance during long, intense bouts; the bubbles that tickles inside your nose; the people who squint to see 2 or 3 fewer of you; that spot on the rug that will never be the same.

Three cheers for Crown Royal, makers of fine whiskey, whiskey so fine it makes you try to lick the freckles off your own shoulder.

Huzzah to Grey Goose, a vodka that I can only hope comes into no contact whatsoever with actual geese, and that gets shaken (not stirred) with such vim that I feel humbled to worship before such dry, dirty perfection.

And to the 6 or so bottles of n;adkspkj white wine (either a very strange name indeed, or my eyesight was at this point failing me) that was meant to go well with the turkey, if only I had remembered to make it (but it went well with the pie - okay, I admit it - pies).

Anyway, long story short: ain't nothin like a little sauce for the holidays.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old

So the other day I'm talking to my friend Sean who was telling me about this magazine article about people under 30 who've made their millions or climbed their way to the top or made some significant contribution to society and he was practically pissing himself with admiration.

He didn't think my attitude quite cut the mustard.

"What's wrong with you?" he asked. "That's some impressive shit."

But if Sean thought that I was going to be happy for these people, he thought wrong. I'm way too busy being jealous.

You won't hear me admit that very often, but yeah. Jealous. Instead of thinking "Wow, good for them" I think "What the hell is wrong with me?"

When you're trying to get pregnant, you look at other women's bellies with envy, maybe a little resentfully, but probably not with full gladness of the heart.

I feel the same way about success. I'm mostly concerned about my own ambitions! I'm ready to give birth, dammit! When will it be my turn?

Screw those other pregnant bastards, my clock is a-ticking.

Loudly. Except I don't know want no damn baby.

They say writing a book is like having a baby, only with a longer gestation period, more alcohol, and no epidural.

I've always hoped to be published by 30, but in order for that to happen, I probably should have finished writing it, like, yesterday. But I didn't.

I know my Ovaries of Creativity are not about to dry up. I know that logically. But logic is for losers and under-achievers. Me, I'm a dreamer. And a little unrealistic. And very self-critical. And pretty lazy. So while I may have dreamed of being published by 30, I've never dreamed of spending hours at my desk, pulling my hair out. I don't dream of follow-through, or discipline, or writer's block, or paper cuts, or actual hard work. I waste my nights dreaming of creamy cheeses and naked firefighters instead (and while I don't regret those, they're not exactly productive).

My Creative Fertility is at its peak. So, again I ask: what the hell is wrong with me?

.....Maybe don't answer that.

Never too early (or too late) to buy your mother a vibrator.

Note the date and time: I just saw my first Christmas commercial.

It was for a "shower head" that wasn't even pretending not to be a bath-based masturbatory experience. All for just $19.99!

Monday, October 01, 2007


My favourite word in English is corpuscle. Corpuscle. Mm. What a meaty little word. It starts in the back of my throat and ends up vibrating in my stomach. Corpuscle corpuscle corpuscle. Corpuscular. Corpusculous. Corpuscularity. God, it's exciting. It's a thrill just to say.

My favourite word in French is pneu. What a delight for the tongue - such complexity in just 4 little letters. You can say and resay the word until your lips tingle and the word loses all meaning and still it's a pleasure.

Perhaps I have a p-fascination, which is queer because as a much younger version of my current self, I was most obsessed with the letter M because I thought it was so pretty in cursive. I am probably too swayed by the prettiness of letters - it was the deciding factor in how I should hyphenate my last name. Originally Jason's name was to go first, we thought it sounded better, but after weeks of practicing, I still couldn't make a convincing cursive T, and so we flipped the names, and there you have it. (Now I rather think that my cursive Ts are more pleasing than my cursive Es, but let's just keep that between you and me.)

My M-mania has long passed, but once upon a time every character I wrote about was named Melissa and every time I played Barbies mine was called Marcia (it was apparently lost on me that Barbie was already named, well, Barbie). And despite the obvious arousal the letter P elicits for me, I've never dated Peter, Paul, or Mary. Well, you know what I mean.

Yeah, I know I'm weird.