Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Who?

It's not that I'm going all bah-humbug on the holiday, just that someone had to work it, that someone being me, and so I'm in Christmas-oblivion until the 27th, which is when my celebrations officially begin.

I celebrated Christmas Eve with all the somber reverence due to the birth of baby Jesus, in a greasy spoon called Zak's Diner, home of excellent home fries and uncomfortable seating. Andrew took me there when I got off work at 7am and it's as close to Christmas dinner as I've come. And no, that's not a complaint. Although I did raise my eyebrow ever so slightly when the waitress asked how he wanted his eggs, and he said "Scrambled."

"What's wrong with scrambled?", he asked.

"Nothing," I said, "if you're 12."

Frankly, he deserved a good ribbing after I had inspected his driveway earlier and declared that reindeer had definitely been afoot (ahoof?).

"No," he said, "we just have rabbits."

Now, granted, I had just got off a night shift and I was exhausted and bleary, but that's still no excuse for him to think it possible that I might confuse reindeer and rabbits. I'm not that blonde.

"Well if you're not referring to the tracks in the snow, then what do you mean?" he asked.

"I smell them" I said.

"You smell reindeer?"

"I smell magic!"

So then we kissed goodbye and he sped off toward his hometown, an 8-hour drive he managed in just 11, which sounds ass-backwards, but this is December in Canada and all things considered, he made good time. I have it on good authority that he is currently drinking generous portions of scotch while making awkward conversation with his Nana and trying to tune out Anne Murray's screechy Christmas album.

Meanwhile, I went to work on Christmas Eve in my fuzzy Christmas jammies, ready for all manners of office antics with just a pinch of party, but instead I spent the night alone in the dark while my coworker stretched out on the yoga mat and intermittently snored and ignored the annoying ringtone\alarm on his phone. For 7 fucking hours.

Merry Christmas to me!

Christmas day meant little more to me than the rest I'd need before heading back into work, but after approximately 47 minutes of sleep I discovered that any more would be impossible. Awesome. Nothing says Christmas like a nice glass of Redbull, I've always said. Maybe I could crush up some candy cane and give that a snort for some extra energy and a brief but minty ride on the festive train.

My youngest sister, bless her little heart, has spread Christmas cheer via text. She has sent blurry images that I assume are Christmas-related along with enigmatic updates such as "Now we're playing spoons!"

When I wrote back that I hoped that meant that our grandfather was attempting something by Beyonce, she (to my disappointment) clarified that spoons were not being played musically as I had imagined, but rather, it's an ill-named card game. Or a well-named card game, for all I know. But still.

If you think I sound grinchy, then you clearly don't know me very well.
This is how I always sound.
I'm an inspired complainer year-round.
It's part of my charm. Trust me.

Actually, I don't so much mind working through Christmas. I'm a contractor, which means I work for myself, so I could have had it off, but then someone else would have had to sacrifice their plans.

Andrew and I celebrated the night before he left by feasting on thai food and watching half a movie before he stoked my fire with his yule log.

And my mother has generously offered to host "Christmas: The Sequel" upon my belated arrival.

So I might not be roasting chestnuts on an open fire tonight, but I'm making pancakes and watching Hamlet 2, and you know what?

That ain't bad.

Happy holidays to all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Puppy Love

When Andrew picked me up last night he said "Wow, you look really great", which is more or less what he always says when he picks me up. He'd said an approximation of that very same thing the night before, but I was more willing to accept it then, being decked out in a little black dress and heels. Later that night, sitting on the leather sofas at Social, martini (deliciously named Anika Sky) in hand, he told me that my breasts looked "particularly fetching". And yes, he really said fetching.

But that was Saturday night; last night, Sunday night, I was wearing cords, and let's face it - no one looks sexy in corduroy. It's a functional fabric favoured by us citizens of colder climates. It is not h-a-w-t.

Obviously the response to "You look good" is "Thanks" but I tend to go with something like "I know!" instead. And I do know. Someone as gorgeous as I am, as smart as I am, as funny as I am, with such impeccable taste, unimpeachable opinions and superior skill at almost anything worth being skilled at (from the proper pouring of a stout to the impressively flawless removal of red wine stains from suede) will obviously become accustomed to receiving compliments. But that hasn't made me very comfortable or particularly gracious at accepting them. (Incidentally, my mother once wondered aloud how someone so conceited came from her womb, which made me wonder if someone this beautiful can really be said to be "conceited". Conceit implies that the self-flattery is excessive or worse yet, imaginary. Conceit, therefore, belongs to the uglies. Us good looking people who know we're good looking are simply self-aware. And that's a good thing, right?)

Anyway, after Andrew and I finished arguing about whether I looked dishy, we drove to his friends' place because their dog just had puppies - twins! - and we were eager to bask in their cuteness. At just 3 days old, the little tan ball of adorable sat in my palm with room to spare. It snuggled up to my chest and sighed contentedly. Andrew's puppy, however, mewed a little and squirmed against him. Perfectly understandable, of course, since they're newborn, still blind, and unused to being away from Mummy's nipples. Mine was the anomaly of course, but I've yet to come across a male who wasn't happy to nuzzle at my breast.

I didn't volunteer this perfectly reasonable explanation of my puppy success though, because I was meeting Andrew's friends for the first time and I was on my best behaviour. In fact, sometime before we pulled up (and possibly partly prompted by my repeated use of the word CUNT in the previous post), he'd warned me not to use the word pussy. So, after dating for a couple of months now, Andrew has pegged me as:

a) the kind of girl who can really rock a pair of cords; and

b) the kind of girl who would randomly insert inappropriate vagina-substitutes into conversation with complete strangers.

And he's not really wrong, on either count.

Earlier I had fucked with his hair a bit because he looked like he was about to sit for his school portrait. It's hard for anyone to compete with my new haircut ("the most punk-ass in the 613" according to my stylist) but when he asked me if he looked dangerous I had to admit that maybe "responsible" was a bit more accurate.

"Coming from you," he said, "I know that's not a compliment." It's difficult for most people to think of responsible as being an insult, but again he's hit the spot. This kid, he's starting to know me. And this fact, slightly startling on its own, was compounded by having occasion to talk to my ex this week. My laptop was stolen last weekend and I needed the serial number from him for the police report. On a manic high last summer, he'd promised to finally return my things, box up what was most important to me, and get it to me right away with a side of divorce papers. Six months later, I haven't seen any of these things materialize, but after watching my life be torn apart by his bipolarism, I guess I'm just a bit beyond disappointment these days. We've since had months of silence in the interim, which is not something I really regret. His curiosity got the better of him though, and he initiated our first conversation since August. I was surprised to find that the 8 years we'd spent together had somehow...dimmed. The feelings I once had for him, both the loving ones and the angry ones, have evaporated. I was struck by how strange I seemed to him. He doesn't know me anymore.

He doesn't know me anymore!
Even more shocking to me: someone else knows me now (and I don't just mean biblically). I mean that I can tease him in that way that I have and not worry that he'll fall apart. He gets my scathing sense of humour. He knows where I like to be rubbed, and why I can't just put a lid on a cocoa and pretend it's a white hot chocolate. He already knows that I'm never wrong, and that if there's any sort of competition between us, I will win.

Especially if it involves puppies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ode to Vulva

I remember very clearly one of my earliest classes in the psychology of sexuality because it consisted mainly of a 3-hour slide show of penises.

Penises, penises, penises. I'd certainly seen my share (perhaps even several shares) live and in person by that time, but to see them disembodied, out of context, in all their glorious shapes and sizes, in various states of arousal or flacidity, some straight and skinny like a fleshy misplaced bolo tie, others gently curving like a piece of mushy unappetizing fruit, it was simply too much.

Too much!

The next week I was bravely back in the lecture hall, pen in hand, optimistically thinking that I might actually be taught this time (although it's possible that the only note I took that entire semester was "Clitoris rhymes with Doris"), and that I probably wouldn't miss sausage all that much, now that I could no longer bring it to my lips when lo and behold, the unending penis slide show was followed by an equally lengthy one on vulvas!

This time, after bearing witness to literally hundreds of vulvas, I felt rather enlightened. Up until that time, the only vulva I'd spent any quality time with was my own, and I left with a heightened appreciation for just how goddamned cute mine was. Still, I went home to a hand mirror, a camcorder and some well-placed throw pillows that night just so I could admire her some more.

Mimi and I (that's her name) have had some very, very good times.

Very, very.

Well, I suppose that makes it sound like the good times happened just between me and Mimi, and that's not what I meant.

Though it is equally and absolutely true.

If I'm supposed to feel some measure of shame in admitting that, I don't.

Mimi is so pretty that you can't help but be drawn to her - such a luscious shade of pink that I'd gladly wear it on my lips if only Revlon could get their shit together and weren't so adverse to printing "Jay's Cunt" on the sides of their tubes. Personally, I think it has a nice ring to it.

Yes, I said cunt. Sometimes I think it's the only word really worthy of it: powerful, arresting. Cunt.

She's so affectionate it breaks my heart, always striving to be the best that she can be.

My vulva, myself.

I love her.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things I Recently Dropped in the Toilet: A Poem

The shampoo
Luster and shine guaranteed
Now with green tea extract;

The toothpaste
No longer so minty fresh
Still recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists;

Nail polish, extreme blackcurrent
Sank straight to the bottom
And looked like sunken treasure;

A whole roll of toilet paper
Quickly took on water and went glug glug glug
Fished out a soggy, pulpy mess;

A happy rubber duckie
Who looked so homey in his new pristine pond
That I left him there until I had to pee;

A candle shaped like a shoe
Extinguished with a mighty splash
Never to be lit again;

The ring right off my finger
Seemed to be committing suicide
But I rescued it and closed the lid, thus saving others as well.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm not mental, I'm mentally hilarious.

I work as a crisis counsellor. Basically, people call me and I talk them out of killing themselves. Or at least, I hope I do.

I'm not really trying to make light of it. It's just that after months of hearing horrific disclosures involving all manners of abuse, sex crimes, broken hearts, abandoned children and lost souls, you're just not the same person and you do what you can to survive it. There are days when I come home and cry. There are days I come home and run myself a hot bath to cry in. There are other days I pour myself a glass of shiraz, run myself a bath, and sob as I gulp wine greedily. But despite these challenges (and maybe a tiny bit because of them), I love the work I do.

I even love the fact that I get to do it at night. People become desperate creatures at night and every time the phone rings, I know I have the potential to save a life. What I love a little less though is the toll that working nights takes on your social life. My schedule goes like this: I work 7 nights in a row, get 3 days off, work another 7 in a row, get 4 off. By the fifth night, you feel a little undead. It's been forever since you last saw the sun, you have no idea what the idea of "suppertime" is anymore, and you have a personal vendetta against all banking institutions which are open only in the narrow window during which it is imperative that you sleep. Mercifully though, I am right now enjoying my 4 days off, Sat-Tues, or as I refer to them, Saturday!, Sunday!, Monday!, Tuesday!

The Saturday and Sunday I reserve for what we counsellors have taken to calling "filling up the reservoir" after a particularly cheesy workshop, but really consists of making sure we don't burn out or wind up in need of crisis counselling ourselves (both happen with frightening frequency).

Saturday was a lovely day. I sacrificed sleep in order to be among the people, and I hit up an indie craft fair where I spent my money on such silk-screened gems as a pair of panties that say "Eat Local" and a tie that has a TV set admonishing the masses "Read a book you dipshit." These are the things you risk missing out on if you do the "healthy", "logical" thing and sleep when you're exhausted. Saturday night I went to Gatineau to visit a friend, play some poker, and eventually, when I was drunk enough, embarrass myself at Guitar Hero.

Driving home, we were already a fair piece down the highway when my girlfriend rang my cell and said Jay, you forgot your wallet on the stereo. Andrew was kind enough to turn the car around and allow me to retrieve it without laying on the guilt. Did I mention that having a fucked up sleep schedule really messes with your memory? It does.

Sunday morning I made my way home before the sun had even risen after spending the night not sleeping in Andrew's bed. I went home and crashed for less than two hours before springing back up in order to enjoy Another! Day! Off! Andrew and I spent a blissfully quiet day on my living room floor drinking wine and laughing.

On Monday I should have swung into high gear in order to get around to all those errands that are particularly hard for those of us who work the night shift: grocery stores, passport offices, postal outlets, banks, even the laundry room in my building, they're all open hours that are only convenient to the majority but sadly not the totality of the people.

But....I didn't. I had finally allowed myself a few consecutive hours of sleep before waking up and realizing that I needed to be getting ready to get to my friend's house if I had any hope of being in the vicinity of "on time".

And I was, barely, but still. And I had a great night. I am blessed with friends who hardly complain at all about my schedule. I knew that the next day would be crazy for me, now having to pack 2 busy days worth of errands into just the one, but I managed to put that stress out of my mind and just enjoy myself. I work hard, and I deserve some quality down time. I got back home quite pleased with myself, started steaming milk to make some white hot chocolate, ran a bath and realized....I had once again left my wallet behind.

I never do that, but I've now done it twice in three days and for all I know Sunday was safe only because I never left the house. I sat in the bath panicking. No cash, no debit card, no credit card, no gym membership, not even my lousy laundry card to my name! The Christmas shopping that so desperately needs to get done? Forget it. The stamps that need to be bought? ID that needs to be renewed? Arms that need toning? In fact, the whole damn list of things begging to be checked off? Nope, none of it.

It sucks.

And yet, I have accidentally given myself a gift.

I have nowhere I can go and no means to do anything. I will be forced to spend the day at home, alone. For the first time in a long time, I will truly relax. I will sit, and read, and eat cookies, maybe watch movies, maybe nap, probably open some wine and turn the Christmas tree lights on. I might even call my mother! It will be the complete opposite of the day that my to-do-list requires, but it will be the exact day that my tired soul has been longing for. Sadly, I all too often leave myself off the list (while scolding clients who do the same) but my unconscious has apparently identified the need and has worked hard to ensure that I treat myself to a real day off.

Thank you, dear wallet, for saving me. This act of deliberate sabotage is the most selfless thing an inanimate object has ever done for me.

Today I will shower in the dark with expensive body wash.
Today I will touch flame to virgin wicks.
Today I will go panty-less in order to preserve what clean laundry I have left.
Today I will savour every last minute.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The glory days of a bi-hockey couple.

He's handsome and thoughtful and has great taste in music, but he's deeply, deeply flawed.
Andrew cheers for the wrong hockey team.

No, I take that back.
The Ottawa Senators are not just the wrong team, but the worst team.
The rivalry between Toronto and Ottawa is legendary. Politely referred to as "the battle of Ontario", fans use much more colourful language in the stands.

But with a twinkle in his eye, he invited me to the game, and despite the fact that I felt fairly confident that it could spell an end to our relationship, I accepted.

He picked me up wearing a StinkySens Volchenkov jersey and hardly batted an eye at my skirt and white leather motorcycle boots (if you doubted for a second that I was the kind of girl who'd wear a skirt to a hockey game, then get the hell out). But when I ditched my coat in the car to reveal my own jersey, he lifted an eyebrow. My blue and white should normally repel his red and black, but instead they brushed together as his hand in the small of my back led me up the steps towards the monstrosity that feels entitled to sell beer at $12 a glass.

The ticket-taker was the first of many skeptics.

Are you two sitting together? she asked.

Apparently, I replied, rolling my eyes.

But otherwise I bit my tongue, which is not normally one of the many things I like to do with my tongue, but in a sea of Sens fans on their home turf, I know when to pick my battles. Plus, I didn't feel like getting jumped.

I wasn't the only Toronto fan in the building, but I was sitting in a section saturated with Senators sweaters (Andrew has season tickets, natch). I expected some ribbing, and I got some. I also got lots of high-fives from the Leafs fans pouring down periodically from the nose-bleeds in pursuit of more beer. One Leafs fan in particular was very vocal in his approval of my jersey. He went so far as to berate Andrew.

Dude, he says, if you're going to sit beside this lovely lady, you should have worn the blue and white.

I smirked.

Andrew grunted.

Or at least, he did the first time.

The second time he got razzed by this guy, he was a little less amused. The first period of the game had been intense, the Sens scoring within the first 4 minutes and the Leafs tying it up just a couple of minutes after that. The boys behind us shouted their anti-Leafs sentiments in their smug french accents while Andrew and I engaged in friendly one-upmanship. If he was on his feet clapping, then I'd be jumping up and down doing my damndest to drown him out. And then we'd make out and ignore the ice completely. It was good.

It was good up until the persistent Leafs fan showered me so strongly with compliments that he talked himself into proposing marriage, down on one knee on the concrete steps of the Scotia Bank place in a foam cowboy hat and face paint. Hawt. He took my hand and looked into my eyes and, refusing to be rejected, he assured me that though Andrew may have splurged for better seats, the real fans were further up in the stands, and that he'd have a seat saved and warmed for me when (not should) I choose to join him.

Equilibrium was not restored until a Sens fan threatened to throw me down the stairs. The entire section, witnesses all of them to the awkward scene that failed to end in an engagement, erupted in laughter, enjoying having put the Leafs fan back in her place and their energy carried them through a battle into overtime and finally a (surprising) Ottawa victory in a shoot-out.

We spilled out into the crazy-packed parking lot after the game in a sea of jubilation. Andrew grabbed my hand in the crush and we strolled happily towards where we estimated the car to be parked, having already mostly forgotten which team lost and which team won, when yet another random person stopped us in our tracks.

This one though congratulated us.
If a Leafs girl and a Sens boy can still be holding hands, I have hope for this world yet. Anyone can get along together if you guys can.

So, beacons of hope that we were, we drove home together to rip the offending shirts off our backs and do the things that make us forget that we have any differences at all, except the anatomical ones that we tend to quite enjoy.