Monthly Archives: July 2008

Gay Pride and Whole Rainbow of Possibilities

This coming weekend marks the gay pride parade in Vancouver. I have only managed to go once and it was a so-so parade. I was expecting big Kermit floats and others covered in flowers. Mostly it came across as ways for different businesses to advertise while showing support. Though you do get some colorful individuals and the bare-breasted dykes on bikes. We probably have the second largest population of gay and lesbians after San Francisco. Why the west coast? I’m not sure. Probably because it’s warmer but also port cities tend to always be a blend of tradition and new ideas brought in by different ships and crews. Port cities are usually more liberal.

One of the news items associated with this year’s gay pride parade was about a Sikh man who has been trying to put a Bollywood style float together and running into some opposition: people don’t want the Sikh religion associated with homosexuality. It’s kind of odd because it’s not the religion that should be associated with homosexuality but homosexuals who are associated with the Sikh religion. Homosexuality isn’t drawn to a particular religion.

No matter what right wing fundamentalist may think, homosexuality isn’t a choice. People are born with a particular preponderance. A very good friend of mine, Greg, told me that by the age of six he knew he was gay and wanted to play “rubbing dinkies” with the boys. Most of the gay men I know tried sex with the other gender but it just didn’t work for them.

Someone posted on wordpress a while back (I wished I’d gone and responded) that their theory was that women who had a “best friend evah” who was gay were women who were dumb, vapid and not too deep (is that the same thing?). I believe the person went on to say that gay men only want these Barbie doll types of women as friends. (I didn’t read all of the article) I’ve heard some ludicrous things over the years and this rates as one of them.

Example: one of my best friends evah is gay. My other best friends are not. I have two degrees and have never been called stupid by anyone. My neighbors are gay and we’re all friends. My landlady is an architect. I certainly see no correlation with one type of person being the preferred friend type to a gay person (and I use gay here to mean men or women). Like all people, gay people have a range of personalities and religious beliefs. They are of all religions and none, varying tastes and desires and life goals. The only difference; they prefer to have sex with the same gender.

Of course, these odd prejudices of only one type for one type can also happen amongst certain gay people. I’ve been accused by gay men of being a fag hag. I hate this term and to me it means a woman who exclusively hangs around with gay men, hoping to eventually have sex with/sway one over to the other side. Even if it only means a woman who only hangs with gay men, I still take offense. If I want to go out with my gay friend, what’s wrong with that and why should it be assumed that’s all I do? Do people presume such things if you’re out with a straight male or a woman?

My biggest problem with people being against homosexuals is–what business is it of yours what they do in their bedrooms? They’re not warping your children’s minds. You can’t sway someone to the “gay side” unless they’re already gay. And as far as I’m concerned any religion that would ban someone just for being born the way they are, is a religion I want nothing to do with. Of course, mostly what happens is religious interpretation by individuals, which can get skewed. Love thy neighbor, but not if he’s gay? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but not if they’re gay?

I haven’t studied all religions but if compassion means it’s only for someone who is like you, then that’s a pretty narrow definition. Those who protest the most against being gay are probably those who have questioned their own sexuality and repressed it. Live and let live and stop repressing the homosexuals. If they were accepted in most cases as part of society, the need to flaunt or protest goes waaay down. Hooray for Canada, which legalized same sex marriages. And here’s to the gay pride parade which will be needed until everyone accepts that homosexuals are part of the overall population; 10%.


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Airport Security=Paranoia Keeps Them in Line

In the past year, I’ve flown to Ireland and to Kansas. Flying to the US took far more rigmarole, extra gates and scrutiny of bags and clothing than going through Scotland and on to Ireland.

For US flights, you have to cart your luggage along, to then eventually toss it on a conveyor belt. Why? God only knows. To humiliate I guess. And Canada and the US share a border, but you never know what we might infest the US with either: politeness?

As everyone who has flown since 9/11 knows, you must take off your shoes when you’re going through, because some idiot decided to try and bomb with his shoe. Even if you’re wearing flip flops, some airports are supper anally retentive on all shoes. And of course, you can’t take a sharp metal object: no knives and no metal utensils on the plane.

Then there were the guys trying to splash about some liquids to make bombs. Now you have to put everything in a separate bag, and have no more than a few ounces of any particular liquid. And even if you use the airport approved bag, you may still not be able to carry it on the plane as my sister found out, because the rules change from airport to airport.

So, what’s next? Someone who puts some form of bomb material into a tube of lipstick, a suppository or a fake tooth? We have to take off all metal bits going through a metal detector but as I found, a bra can now set off the super sensitized detectors. Watch out, everyone who has piercings. Soon you may have to take every piece out. There has already been one case of overzealous customs guards making a woman take out her nipple piercings.

How ridiculous and useful is this? Well sure they scan for certain chemicals on laptops, but what about PDAs and phones? If someone wanted to kill or hold someone hostage on a plane, there are a million ways. What about someone who holds a black belt? They can kill someone with their hands. “Excuse me, sir. We’re going to need you to check your hands.”

“I can’t check my hands. They’re part of me.” “Well then we’ll have to tie them behind your back.” “But what if I have to go?” “The attendant will assist you.” “What! One person can’t fit in those bathrooms, let alone two!” “We’ll give you a cup, no charge.”

Oh and hmmm, let’s see. Many of us wear shoes with laces, or belts. They all can be used to tie or strangle someone. “I”m sorry, ma’am, you’re going to have to check those laces. Oh and the strap to your shoulder bag. You’re not wearing thongs, are you?” Remember, just after 9/11 when they were taking people’s tweezers and knitting needles? They must have been afraid of bad eyebrow pluckings.

Be prepared to arrive a day earlier than your flight, where you will strip down and be given orange scrubs and cloth booties to go through on the flight. Your checked clothing will be returned to you on the other side. Oh and bring lube, but in less than 2 ounces, for your cavity search. You don’t mind a probe do you?

All this supposed airport security is really one giant smoke and mirrors game. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain because he’s not doing anything. The attitude of the US, which Canada and other nations have followed is to fake us out with this “great” measure being taken to “keep us safe.” Really. Yes, safe. Don’t you feel it? I don’t. I keep thinking that mass stupidity and paranoia is all that I’m seeing. I think this sentiment was best echoed by other Americans when we were in the line-up to get to our planes. All I heard them say was, “This is ridiculous. What a farce.”

Yep but if those governments think we think we’re being protected, well then, spending money on half-assed measures always works better.

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Morbid Curiosity: Ghouls R Us

I have never understood the ghoul mentality, where a person must stop to watch the results of an accident. The worst I ever remember was as a kid when we had gone to Banff (or someplace close by) and seeing the detritus of a fatal accident strewn down the side of a hill. A semi had jackknifed into a family camper, killing the family. There was clothing and other items all over the side of the hill and the ghouls were down there rifling through, picking souvenirs. It would be nice to think they were cleaning up the hillside, but that was not so.

Every time I’m on the highway and there is an accident, all the traffic slows down. It makes sense if the accident is in the way and you have to cautiously go around so as not to hit emergency workers and other bystanders. But when the accident is on the other side, or in no way impinging on traffic flow, then why slow down to gawk? Is this an innate curiosity like the proverbial cat’s? If so, then it might just as likely kill you, if you end up affecting traffic flow by staring at an accident instead of watching where you’re driving.

This morbid curiosity extends into the fascination for some people with murderers and serial murderers. On the news this week was a piece about memorabilia of serial murderer Clifford Olson being put up for auction. How his items have gone from his prison cell to the online market is supposedly under investigation. But it’s obvious that someone is greedy enough to make a buck and doesn’t care if airing such items related to a perpetrator of horrific crimes further scars the victims’ families.

I’ve recently written several pieces of horror fiction. Something I have to ask myself from time to time is why have I written a particular piece. In it, is part of this curiosity that perhaps all humans exhibit: what would cause a person to become a murderer, to go mad? What reasoning would justify murdering to them? Perhaps part of our curiosity comes from not being able to fathom a murderous mind. I’ve written stories that disturb me. Sometimes they’re cautionary tales. At their worst, they’re just for thrill seekers, for those who enjoy being scared with slasher/horror films. True crime books are very popular, and often have redemption in them: the author has written about the murderer after he/she was put away.

I never did see Cronenberg’s movie Crash but it had a lot to do with this morbid curiosity taken to the next level and eroticsed. Some curiosity on the workings of a killer mind may be natural, but I really have to wonder at someone so wrapped up in the misfortunes of others and in taking serial murderers to star status. It disturbs me a great deal and I just wonder, in the right, or wrong situation, would such a person’s fascination go that one step farther. I always have to ask myself if I can justify what I wrote. Is there a message or is it just a thrill, whether wanted or unwanted? My answers are not always clear cut.


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Omar Khadr, Politics and Guantanamo

From CBC’s website:

On March 31, 2008, Senator Romeo Dallaire added his name to the growing list of people calling for the Canadian Government to do more to get Omar Khadrout of Guantanamo Bay and back into Canada. Khadr has been held without trial at the U.S. military prison there for five and a half years. He’s being tried for the murder of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan in 2002, and questioned repeatedly about his own and his family’s links to al Qaeda.

There has been much ado about Omar Khadr, the child soldier caught during one of the Afghanistan raids by US forces. He’s the only Canadian still held at Guantanamo Bay and is finally, supposedly coming to trial. But there are complications. Part is that he was a brainwashed teenager who believed in fundamental Islam. The Canadian government hasn’t wanted to dirty its hands and his family here has come across as unsympathetic in their support Al Qaeda beliefs.

However, there are some fundamental aspects to war and Guantanamo Bay that I’m finding hard to fathom. Guantanamo, holding pen for people on the wrong side of George Bush’s crusade. I’m betting that 90% or more of them have brown skin. I’m betting a fair number are Muslims. Today CBC was talking about the unwanted in Guantanamo Bay. Nine hundred people have been processed through there in seven years. And most of those people were innocent, probably living quietly now and too afraid or ashamed to mention what happened, that the US made a mistake, a huge mistake There are another five hundred still there and most of them will never be charged. What to do with them.

Well, the US is trying to send them off to other countries or their home countries, to settle back in. But the US will not send people to a country that has other human rights issues. Does anyone else see the irony in this?Hello? What was being held for seven years without representation or a trial? Putting the people on Guantanamo Bay instead of US soil doesn’t excuse US policy and the military for infringement of rights. We could call this one of the biggest follies in recent history. George Bush’s little rug under which to sweep the dirty politics.

Now, of those people who don’t want to go back to their home countries (because they’d be tortured) or the US won’t send them, well they’re stuck waiting for some other country to help the US clean up its mess. The US, for some odd reason, doesn’t want to actually repatriate any of these people in the US. Come on, CIA, you can watch those potential bad guys right on your own doorstep.

Okay, so Guantanamo is made up of a mixture of several groups. Some are people picked up as suspected terrorists. You can bet that anyone they thought for sure was active was already shipped to a country with “soft” human rights when it comes to prisoners, and that those people were already tortured for information.  Just look at Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who after being sent to Syria by US officials for torture, was found to be innocent. Even after that, the US refuses to give him an apology.

We know there are many other innocents, people in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong color skin, who ended up in Guantanamo. There are also those who have fought against the US in Afghanistan or Iraq. Hmm, let’s see, the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to say that there wasn’t huge subjugation and injustices perpetrated against those citizens but I always thought that soldiers (whether paid or volunteer) were taken as prisoners of war. Those taken, say, in WWII, who were Nazis, were usually released back at the end of the war. Those who had committed unspeakable humans rights violations were tried for those crimes that contravened the Geneva Convention.

So, what about those people in Guantanamo? Are some awaiting an end of an endless war? Are some awaiting trial? It’s a pretty grey no-man’s land there. But let’s look at Omar Khadr again. He was a soldier recruited/influenced/brainwashed at a young age to fight. He was in a firefight when he was taken. Soldiers against soldiers in Afghanistan. But he’s being tried as an adult (they had to wait several years for that) for terrorism? For war crimes? There have been many child soldiers from Somalia. I have a friend in Massachussetts who helped raise four who were teenagers when they were freed and re-socialized. Those men all went on to university. What does Omar Khadr get?

What’s the difference? Religion. If we take the religious fear/bigotry/misunderstanding out of the picture we still have a teenage boy who was caught up in a war, fighting in battle. It’s pretty difficult to remove it completely, obviously but when someone is treated differently than other child soldiers and other soldiers because of fear and hatred, well it really puts into question the human rights abuses of the US. I wonder if George Bush will be tried for war crimes when all is said and done? Probably not. There is a bigger fear than religious bigotry and that is of the US setting an embargo against your country or riding slipshod over the Geneva Convention to suit its ends. Which country was it that used a nuclear device?


Filed under Culture, family, politics, religion

The Evolution of Fashion to Antifashion

The 14th century hood with a modest liripipe (tail). From

Fashion changes and often goes through anti-fashion. In the middle ages a popular piece of clothing was the hood (your first medieval hoodie). It came with dagged edges in a variety of shapes like scallops, fleur de lys, pointed, etc. And it came with different lengths of liripipe or the tail off the back of the hood. The hood was first worn as you would expect, where it was pulled over the head, the face peeking through the opening, the tail hanging down the back or sometimes wrapped around the neck as a windbreak.

But as the essential fashion progressed, the young guys would take the hood and

chapersone, hat, fashion, clothing, hoods, liripipe

The hood got tossed on its side and the liripipe was lengthened. From:

place the opening on the top of the head, flopping the dags to one side and wrapping the liripipe around the head to hold it all in place. A rakish hat, to be sure. This exhibits how fashion has always been created to serve a purpose and then it may become more decorative or serve a different purpose than what was first intended. Some fashion was dictated by climate, some by what the rulers were wearing, such as the high forehead of Queen Elizabeth I (caused by a syphilitic dad) but popular with the women who may have plucked their hair to give them high foreheads.

baggy pants, fashion, butt cheeks, underwear

One way not to lose your baggy pants, suspenders. Sexy. Uh yeah, sure. Creative Commons: Signature9

Sometimes fashion goes so far afield that it is only popular with a small group, notable for its bizarre look but not catching on with the majority. I would consider the overly large pants, with crotches to the knees that young guys wear. The style has adapted so these pants that still look like you’re a 12-year-old who stole his grandfather’s pants have a smaller waist. Often, they’re worn overly loose so they hang halfway down a guy’s butt, showing off his underwear. I’ve seen some ludicrous reaches of this unfashionable fashion. One was the kid whose pants were hanging under his butt cheeks. The other was a guy in a tight tank top/wifebeater and pants worn low with about six inches of his waist-high, bright red underwear showing. It wasn’t sexy at all.

The good thing about the baggy ass fashion is that it’s popular with the skateboard crowd, which has eschewed yoga pants and lycra, and gives the liberty of movement. The other good thing is, you know if a guy is wearing pants like that, he’s not likely to rob a store because he’d have to run holding his pants up.

Plumber crack fashionsare just never good. The lower pants also came in for women, but more formfitting and displaying pierced

butt crack, fashion, low jeans, backtacular, bad fashion

The Backtacular Gluteal Cleft Shield to hide the butt crack. Really? Just…don’t.

navels, and sometimes hipbones. Thong underwear seems to go hand in hand but showing the T-bar at the back over a butt crack is still not attractive. There is about one percent of the population of either gender who might be able to get away with this. Presume you’re not that one.

Another really silly style is the platform, high heel runners (tennis shoes) or the heelless ones. But then one could argue that all high heels are silly, even though we (men and women) have been wearing them for about four hundred years or more. Chopins of the Renaissance were really clogs to put your shoes into for walking in the muck. They got to ridiculous heights of twelve or more inches and required an attendant on each side to keep the person upright. Conspicuous consumption? You bet.

This made me think back to what my friends and I wore as teenagers. Bell bottom jeans that were overly long. Some people hemmed them but having frayed and full of holes was an acceptable look. T-shirts. I had one that said Panama Red before I knew what that was and my friend had one with Bugs Bunny on it. We obviously wore these often enough that my nickname became Panama and hers Bugsy. Completing our lovely ensembles were lumberjack shirts, as we called them (sometimes known as mac or mackinaw) and they were a thick flanneled cotton in red and black or black and green plaid. They were the jacket of choice before we got jean jackets.

I know my mother didn’t like this fashion and thought jeans were something worn for working on the farm, but we were within our teenage realm. Not everyone wore what my friends wore but there were enough of us that we probably formed our own antifashion. Fashion will continue to come and go and go through its antithesis of anti-fashion. I’m sure at some point in our lives, every one of us shakes their heads at what people are wearing.

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Movies & My First Job

I saw Dark Knight last night and I could go on about the interminable slowness of the movie, the three endings, the poor acting by the minor characters, the tropes and going against the tropes (in the sense that they’re new tropes) but I’m sure there are better and numerable reviews already.

But it did get me thinking about my first real job as a teenager, after the babysitting and selling Regal cards door to door. I worked in a movie theater in Calgary called the Plaza Theatre, on Kensington Rd. Stomboli’s restaurant was next door and they made awesome pizzas. Sometimes, my girlfriend Marie (who had also got a job there) and I would order a piece of pizza and then when we were down to the puffy and chewy crust we’d pour some butter from the butter machine into a cup and dip our crusts in.

Our job was to stock the concession stand, make the popcorn, serve the customers and balance the cash at the end of the night. We would cart large (50 gallon?) buckets of coconut oil for using in the popcorn machine. It gave the nice golden tone to the popcorn that we know and love. In would go the cup of oil and a spoonful of fine grain salt. When it popped fresh and warm, we would pick out all the yellowest kernels because they tasted better and saltier, and put them in a paper towel-lined, chocolate bar box lid. Of course we added butter. With the butter machine we had to pour off the butter milk that would form once it melted. If we poured it on the popcorn, it would melt it into a gooey mess, just like putting water on it. It tended to be saltier and a few of the girls liked to dip the popcorn into that.

At other times we would count through the ju jube bags, the Nutty Club brand, and find the bags with the most red and black ones, and then buy them. We did the same with the bags of red licorice, looking for the ones that had 39 instead of 38, or even a whole two more than the usual bags. Those were our favorites.

The Plaza went from being part of Cineplex (or its equivalent then) to being sold off as a repertory cinema. This meant that we didn’t always show first run movies but ran special or themed films. These included matiness of Godzilla and other kiddy fest delights. This was an old theater that held about 400. Imagine that many unruly, screaming kids on the weekend who would do such wonderful things as smearing Fudgsicles over the walls, leave the taps running in the bathrooms, and turning around in their seats to talk to their friends, hence getting their knees jammed between the back and the seat.

We ran Hindu movies, where all 400 people would come out at once during the intermission (yes, remember them?) and push as one mass toward the concession stand, all waving money at you. Having been to India I know this is a cultural thing where people often do not wait in line but push push push forward. I guess when you have a billion people it might be the only way to get served.

We also showed other eclectic delights, such as The Last Tango in Paris and 2001: A Space Odyssey. My boss, Dorothy, wouldn’t let us watch Last Tango because we weren’t old enough (fifteen when I started). We often got to sneak into the theater in between shows to watch snippets of what was playing. One time, there was a comedy on and a man came out saying he’d laughed so hard, that his dentures had snapped and dropped out of his mouth. We said we’d look once the movie was over. But he came back a bit later and said that he’d found them when he sat down and they bit him.

For the matinees, we ended up getting an usher, a young boy named Rodney who was probably about thirteen. He was tall and gangly, as most boys are at that age, with light blonde hair and a penchant for eating his weight in beef jerky and drinking megacups of pop. One day, we told Rodney that all that beef jerky was dried meat and with all the pop it was causing the meat to expand in his stomach. If he didn’t watch it, he would bloat up and explode. He turned decidedly green at that point. We kept that up for the full day.  

The projectionist, an honest to god person who ran the films and spliced them when they snapped, would sometimes let us up in his garret to peer out at the people below, watch what he did and chat.  I’m so grateful that was my first job and not having to serve at McDonald’s. We were teenagers concerned about ju jubes and licorice and sneaking in to movies. It was a fun time, and I missed the episode where Marie was robbed at gunpoint for the evenings ticket sales. Dorothy had treated us like daughters. She was stern but fair and years later Marie and I visited her a couple of times. It was a good first job, giving me a confidence to join the work force.

That great old theater, the Plaza, with its large screen and 400 seats still exists and is still a repertory cinema. If I still lived in Calgary, I’m sure I’d be frequenting it, for nostalgia if not for the films.

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Broken Hearts and Frozen Hearts

I’ve been lucky to have fallen in love, more than once even. Which of course leads to the being not so lucky to have fallen or been pushed out of love more than once, hence clearing the way for better, bigger loves. Well, not always. Each one was different.

Back in high school I dated Randy for about a year but I didn’t love him. I broke up with him because he was an alcoholic. A pretty good reason I think. I dated a few other guys and another one named Randy Davis who had the potential to be long term, except we were almost the mirror of each other. It was uncanny to the point that we knew what each other was thinking because we had the same thoughts at the same time. The problem was that we were both in the same spot, not sure if we wanted a relationship and so broke up without every actually having to say it. I still wonder what became of him.

Then there was Chuck, my first true love. We met in art college and were together about three years. I thought we’d be together forever. It was very much an in the moment thing. Problem was, he fell in love with someone else. That was like being pushed off a cliff–no soft landing. I moved to Vancouver at that point and crawled through a three-year depression. Part of that was finding my self-confidence. I’d been damaged enough that when I was with Chuck he supplied the confidence for me. Without that break-up I probably wouldn’t have grown as much, but it was still one the most painful experiences and broke me forever on pure love. It happens to most of us though.

Eventually when I crawled my way back to normalcy, I was burned and twice shy, dating but not particularly wanting a relationship. Then I accidentally fell in love, with a customer at the bookstore where I worked. I realized it when it was too late and tried to start a relationship with him. It was a disaster and I coasted close to completely losing myself in the worst aspect of my eating disorder. He was a charming rogue running across the globe to escape commitment. To this day though (we resolved things years later) I care for him even though he is half a world away, knowing that’s because it was unrequited love and therefore can remain this little pearl of what-ifs.

Then came Eric. We met through friends and were perhaps feeling a little bit like we’d never meet anyone. Really, we were ill-fated from the beginning, attracted by creativity and assaulted by some major incompatibilities. We tried for three years, with our problems mounting and communication going out the window. We finally called it quits when we had already moved far from the emotion of splitting up. We still chat from time to time many years later.

And after that, I think there was one other person who snagged my heart, who I can’t remember right now. Overall, dating became scarce, and though I still hold out hope of falling crazy head-over-heels in love I also wonder if my heart has been frozen through time. It’s been a while and the people I’m attracted to usually turn out to not be attracted to me, or not wanting to date, or are taken and that’s a road better not to walk.

Perhaps I’m living in a fairy tale, waiting for my prince to come and thaw my frozen heart, to live in bliss forever more. Well, bliss might be stretching it, since all relationships take work, time and communication. But I think relative bliss is still available. Vancouver is filled with twenty somethings, which I no longer am, and gay men, and attached men. The pool is small. But there might still be hope. Now if only I still have a heart.

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It’s an All About Me World

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be living at the height of the 40s when people doffed their hats, everyone said please and thank you and called people by their last names, and politeness was just a way of life. Over the decades things have changed. Morals and moires have loosened up, there is more freedom in speech and thought and dress and we live in a very affluent society in North America.

With that, has come consumption at a phenomenal rate. Products are over-packaged, packaged and packaged again to make them splashier, bigger, brighter and harder to rip off. Fashions for everything from clothing, to cars to home furnishings are advertised everywhere, on billboards, in magazines, on TV. Even the poor have TVs and cell phones and wearing the latest cool rock or movie star inspired trend is what matters.

We toss out usable TVs, computers, clothing, furniture because we’re tired of them, they don’t fit the new decor, whatever. Once upon a time in a world only a hundred years old people kept and used items until they were used up. Except perhaps for the rich. But now we have a much richer society compared to a lot of the world’s population.

And what does it seem to have made us? Selfish, self-centered, rude, righteous and arrogant. How often do we drive, turning every other driver into a nonentity or someone to race past, curse out or otherwise denigrate to prove we’re superior, faster, more entitled to use that HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane to switch in and out of traffic than all those people who follow the rules? How often do we shop in a store or walk down the sidewalk, not considering that other people are using it too and trying to get past but making everyone move at our pace?

Do you bump into someone and don’t even bother to say, “Sorry,” presuming that they just expect it to happen? Do you throw your litter on the ground because you don’t care, it doesn’t matter, everyone does it, or any other way that you justify it being fine for you to do what you want? Do you push in front of someone in line, whether on the road, or at an event? Do you stand in the middle of a walkway, chatting with your friends and blocking the way for everyone? Do you say thank you if someone serves you, lets you in, holds a door for you (no matter the gender)?

We’ve become such a selfish me-me-me society that it really saddens me. I too fall into this at times, because I’m in a rush, I’m grumpy, I was cut off by that jerk. I’m not perfect but I try to consider others around me and not make it that the world was designed only for me and serves me first.

It takes effort to be polite, courteous, kind, but it can really make one feel a lot better if someone says thanks. I once needed change for parking, four quarters for a dollar. I tried to ask a man walking by and he veered around me like I was a leper. We’re turned into a very uncaring and callous society. If we all just try a bit harder we can make our rich, affluent world a pleasant one. Try just being considerate to one person more than you’re considerate to today. Consider a stranger and how your actions may affect them. Think about the world around you and try and imprint it with kindness. The 40s seem quaint now but they had their value.

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Forgiveness & Betrayal

Well, it’s come up because of my recent post on eating disorders. Could I forgive my father for what he did to me?

Let me say that my father abused me and my older sister, who had to deal with a lot more for far too many years. Such abuse leaves emotional scars that can sometimes never be corrected. It sets you back on the path of life, if nothing else, taking one much longer to achieve what emotionally happy people can. If there’s one thing I’ve learned very strongly over the years: what you give your children will be what they give back in years to come. If they are abused in any way, chances are they won’t succeed in some area, that they’ll be petty, mean, abusive, unstable, wounded, or worse. Some will become criminals. We’re lucky in my family that none of us strayed too far down that path.

Forgiveness is something I can grant many people who have done me wrong. I’ve been betrayed a couple of times in the last few years. Betrayal is one of the worst things a person can do to me. It hits at a fundamental level of trust. These betrayals caused such distress for me that I no longer do many things in the arenas where those people are. I lost the love to do so. I’m probably ready to return to some events, but others, it will never be the same.

Still, such betrayals are forgiveable. On one level I know that one person did what she thought was right, no matter that she was influenced by someone else. The other person, well, she had always been self-serving and I should have been wary. In each case I thought I was friends with these people but friendship means different things to different people. I can forgive them that they had a different viewpoint and that they probably didn’t think they were betraying me. It doesn’t mean they’re friends anymore or that I like them (I may or may not in the individual cases.) but I can forgive their actions as not having meshed with mine.

I cannot and not sure I ever will be able to, forgive my father. He abused and betrayed a fundamental role as father. He never showed remorse and never tried to communicate. When I went into art college, he told my older brother he would pay my way through college. I said, “I can’t be bought and if this means he wants to see me, then he needs to stop drinking and see an counsellor. Then I’ll accept and see him.” I never heard anything else on that front and I paid my way through college.

Someone who knowingly and repeatedly does harm to another is, to me, beyond forgiveness. Sure they may have been shaped by their childhoods but they know what’s right and wrong. Should I forgive the sociopaths that kidnap, torture and murder someone? Forgive them because they know not what they do? Unfortunately they know very well what they do. They hide it because it is wrong and they get off on it. How should I forgive that?

Some day, like I said, perhaps someone will explain forgiveness in a way that I can grant it. But to me, to forgive is to accept. I can’t accept the self-serving heinous actions of people who murder and rape. My father is dead and that’s a blessing. I’ve done a fair amount of work to get myself to a stable and contented space. Sure I still have anger to deal with and I’m working on it. But some people aren’t so lucky in their lives.

Like I said above, nurture your children well. Love them. For the foundations you give them today will help them succeed tomorrow.

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The Mutant Tooth

Addendum on the traumatic dental surgery. It’s Friday. Yesterday I went in because my tooth and gums were hurting more than the other days. I had taken a Tylenol with codeine and by the time I went in the swelling was partially down and the tooth wasn’t hurting. They said that it looked okay but to call if I was having problems today.

I went home and then by evening my tooth was hurting again. I took another Tylenol and another and another, every two hours. I kept waking through the night with throbbing pain, in time to my pulse. I kept taking Tylenol. This morning when I finally woke up from brief spates of sleep I was so swollen that my right eye is closing. My top lip is sticking out and my nose is being pushed to the side. The inner lip is swollen.

It feels as if someone is poking my lip while slowly shoving a not sharp knife up my nose. My head hurts and I feel nauseous. Needless to say that in about an hour I’ll be going back to the specialist, again.

Problem is, I can’t take sulfa or “cillin” antibiotics. And for some reason, having not had antibiotics in ten years, this will be the third time this year. I just hope to god that they only have to give me antibiotics because I’m completely freaked about them going into my tooth again. This is as close to torture as I want to get.

I also have to officiate at a wedding tomorrow and now worried that I’m going to scare the wedding guests. Update later.

Which was that they had to lance the infection and stick in a “drain” and give me antibiotics. I also had somehow popped the sutures so they sewed me up again.  I took a Tylenol 3 and then slept. Finally, there is no pain and the swelling is going down but not yet gone.

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