Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nothing But Blue Skies Ahead

The Early Years

She first met him in the sandbox digging a suspiciously big hole with a shovel that he was clearly quite attached to.
When he first met her she was wearing a cute summer dress that, for some reason, made her appear taller and, although he wouldn't be conscious of it for another 10 years, slightly more beautiful.
He dug and he dug and he dug going deeper and deeper almost as if he were trying to escape from prison or trying to excavate enough sand to build a model prison or just biding time until his imaginary friends would allow him to switch activities.
She stood there, practically bouncing, twirling her hair both nervously and with an unforeseen purpose that she planned to unveil the Sunday after next to the shock and awe of those who knew her. 
He worked with such impressive zeal, which is saying a lot as she grew up in house practically oozing with zeal often bordering on being impressive.
She wanted to talk to him, to know all about him, to ask him a million questions, but it was hard. She was only 5.
As the sun slowly set on this brilliant day, the two walked home side-by-side, equal parts tired, hungry and excited to have made a new friend.

As the summer was reaching it's end, she went to the beach with her mom for the day and saw him collecting the hollowed out shells of dead crabs with just a little too much pleasure.
He immediately took interest in her sand castle building technique as it was clearly an homage to the Hellenic people of Ancient Greece with a little art nouveau tossed in for good measure.
She watched him standing knee-deep in the shallow water bravely awaiting the incoming waves of cold water as if to say "make me wet, oh mighty wave", although he could have just been yawning.
There was something about the way she ran, kicking up sand, crazy curly hair flying aimlessly in her wake that intrigued him making him subconsciously interested in both kicking sand on his own at some later date and demonstrating this to her when he felt more confident in his abilities.
As she casually observed, he overturned small rocks and scientifically studied the miniature wildlife underneath with a profoundly compelling lack of care for their well being.
Amidst the whirlwind of sounds, smells and colours, his eyes were drawn to her freckles as if they were directly speaking to him in a language that only he could understand. In moments like this he usually had two slices of cheese and took a nap.
The sun set on a spectacular summer day and they walked slowly to their respective cars lagging behind their mothers with a stunning, unforgettable sunset behind them.

The end of October came and with it arrived both fall and Halloween and she was able to not-so-gently convince him to trick-or-treat together for the first time.
While he had never been a big fan of princesses in the past, he found himself uncharacteristically quiet and well-mannered in her regal presence and kept kneeling before her when the opportunity presented itself.
She was enjoying her evening collecting candy, greatly appreciating the seriousness and attention to detail he was pouring into his role as Batman as well as the illusion of safety due to walking next to such a famous crime-fighter.
He was so taken with the twinkle of stars reflected in her eyes, the shimmer of moonlight on her hair and the audacity she so wantonly displayed with how messily she devoured her chocolates.
They ran into a small group of other boys dressed as Batmen and she was so strangely proud of his utter disdain and incredulous disbelief in their wearing the same costume as he, almost as if he was shocked that they felt their could be more than one.
He wanted to somewhat recklessly share sweets with her, to laugh uproariously with her, to protect her from those that wanted to besmirch her and, if things went according to plan, to pet her hair.
The rains came and ended the evening abruptly, and the two young kids joyfully walked quickly, almost skipping, as their tired fathers lazily brought up the rear.

On the morning after the snowstorm, she looked out of her frosted window and saw him constructing a series of snow people who appeared to be singing in a large, snow person choir.
Though deeply focussed on his work and slightly out of breath, he saw her approach with a mug of what appeared to be steaming hot cocoa, and he smiled, as he was quickly calculating all the ways to utilize her in his scheme while enjoying the warm beverage.
She started off by making a number of miniature snowmen as her way of paying homage to the miniature snowmen that she secretly saw following and protecting her year-round.
He was enjoying her company so much, and so profoundly, that he badly wanted her to stay which made his adoration transparent and his snow pie in her face all the more confusing.
Together, they worked hard all morning and she was so taken with his flushed cheeks, constantly dripping nose and furrowed brow that she decided to take them as perplexing signs of his affection for her.
The snow angels they made reminded him of her as they were both white, angelic and carved out of snow, which was further evidence of his lack of understanding of human reproduction and his immediate need for an eye exam.
Dinner times were announced, and they went their separate ways leaving only their footprints in the snow and the virtual army of snowmen in their wake.

The first flowers of the season marked the beginning of spring and she played catch with him for hours at the park. 
He was so enamoured that he would catch anything she threw his way including, but not limited to, balls, gloves and any other however-loosely-connected-to-baseball paraphernalia.
In many ways, playing catch with him, was a euphemism for her deeper, more romantic feelings for him and in many other ways, it was just catch as she had only recently turned six.
When they relaxed on the swings, he talked of his hopes for the future, his dreams of success and his fear of growing too hairy, although he had already come up with a really solid contingency plan just in case.
In moments like this she thought of her favourite movie princesses and how they were so beautiful, happy and in love either as a result, or being completely unaware of, the limits of their two-dimensional and fictional lives.
He willingly shared his cheese and tomato sandwiches with her and wanted to literally feed them to her as one example of his difficulty letting go of bread products and because of his overwhelming desire to touch her face in as uncreepingly a way as possible.
The spring of their relationship was drawing to a close just as the spring of the year was opening up, but they both knew, the best was yet to come.

The Middle Years

The first day of high school was upon them and she wondered if he was feeling as nervous, excited and as tired as she was or if he had learned how to better suppress his emotions as was his goal during the summer vacation.
He was anxious, but having her by his side calmed him enough so that his anxiety didn't lead to too much embarrassment in the first few minutes of the first day - he hoped to evenly spread it out over the entire school year.
The bell rang and they went their separate ways but not before she looked over her shoulder at his rapidly vanishing body and hoped that she would never forget seeing him in this way, mostly due to the vanishing effect.
He couldn't wait for lunch - to share with her all about their first morning of school and to make sure she was still in one piece - it was an irrational fear that he had.
The cafeteria was a busy, loud place and she strained to hear all he had to share and she couldn't be sure if he was actually talking or just mouthing the words as he knew she loved it when he did that.
Lunch was over and he held her hands under the table, partially to hide their connection from prying eyes and also because that is where their hands happened to be located at the time and he was a strong believer in not wasting any energy with excessive hand movement.
At days end, they walked home laughing and joking about school and looking forward to this new chapter in their lives.

They were standing in the blaring gymnasium - the site of their first school dance and she was hoping that he would dance with her and then, at some point, stop dancing and then resume dancing at some point later on.
He stood against the wall with the other boys from his classes but couldn't take his eyes off of her in general and her tapping feet specifically - there was always something about her feet that intrigued him.
She grabbed his hand when her favourite song started and was amazed by his moves until they became less predictable, overtly suggesting the masses rise up and revolt and more dangerous for all around.
A slow song came on, and he held her tightly and she seemed to melt in his arms which made him quite nervous and sweaty - which was his usual, Pavlovian response to all things that melted in his vicinity.
At the punch bowl, she noticed him making the rounds talking to other boys and girls and though she had flights of jealousy, she knew deep down inside that he only longed to rest his head on her shoulders and occasionally her knees as he annoying informed her every morning.
They snuck outside and shared their first kiss, and he felt like he was in the presence of an angel, both because of the glow from the moon and also because she had been quite forceful and directive in her orders.
The dance was over and everyone went home, but they took pause and looked at each other and smiled and just kept on dancing.

Her family had invited him over for a holiday meal and she was attempting to play footsie with him but he either didn't understand the game or was playing a tad bit too aggressively.
He asked her to pass the yams and he hoped that she would not only pass the yams, but that she would intuitively understand what he was saying on a deeper level, and also pass the gravy.
She was mesmerized by his rhythmic chewing which was perfectly on pace with the constant ticking of the minute hand on the grandfather clock and she appreciated this on many levels especially as it helped her fix her metronome.
Dessert was served and he insisted on giving her the first piece of pumpkin pie which he did with such gusto and verve that she stood and finally gave him the standing ovation he had so wanted for the past week.
After the last dish was cleared, she enjoyed his version of some holiday classics which were belted out in his usual somewhat-crazed-completely-over-the-top-verging-on-spastic-everyone-in-the-room-pressing-the-9-and-the-1-and-then-waiting spirit.
He sat next to her on the couch and admired her posture, her lack of posturing, her attention to detail with moisturizing and her cute abhorrence of foods that are moist.
As the evening came to an end, they comfortably sat next to each other and tried to fight off the sleep that beckoned.

With the excitement of Valentine's Day in the air, she spied on him frantically colouring away with a look she would later recall as equal parts fear and delirium.
He intuitively felt her presence and imagined her as a lioness proudly and regally striding through the jungle commanding respect mostly because this was how they spent the last set of weekends.
Upon receiving the handmade card, she contemplated shivering just to once again see the care and attention he gives to all things that shiver.
He accepted her card with a look of "I better just smile to mask my confusion" as the card was stunning in its audacity, flair and originality as it was not only a card and more of an experience.
She wanted to leap through the halls, tossing and playing with ribbons of all the colours of the rainbow while glitter fell from the ceiling, but she didn't as it wasn't a Thursday.
He stood there smiling at her reaction as it reminded him of something that he could not quite put his finger on and for a moment, he was lost in the mist, and when it cleared it was time to go home.
They sat on the bench outside the gym sharing a box of chocolates without a care for the mess they were making on their lips.

It was the last day of school and she was enjoying his new hair style as it was verging on exploring new dimensions and befriending the aliens who live there.
They had made plans to go camping with his family and he looked forward to scaring her with ghost stories and then comforting her with marshmallows and, after an appropriate break, to resume the scaring.
She cleaned out her locker only to find a note he wrote her in completely illegible printing decorated by drawings that would have been means for excommunication or beheadment in a different era.
After their last class, he went to give her a high five mostly for her sake as she believed that everything must end with the touching of palms and, if at all possible, the sliding backwards of feet.
As the hallways emptied and they lingered, she offered to buy him ice cream mostly to see his puppy dog reaction, followed by his kitty cat rubbing against her leg and finally with his moving slowly around like a walrus - how she looked forward to that walrus.
They paused while she said goodbye to the principal and he was envious of her ability to speak coherently to adults especially when it was not for marks as well as her aptitude for not appearing overly cliched even when she tried.
School was over and they had an entire summer of freedom before them and they couldn't have been any happier at this moment.

The Present Day

She excitedly waited among the teeming crowds at the arrival gate to see his familiar nothing-is-wrong-please-stare-somewhere-else-or-maybe-don't-stare-at-all-as-I-was-taught-that-it-is-quite-rude-I'm-just-saying look on his face.
His eyes caught hers and he felt his heart skip a beat and he sighed contentedly and cursed himself as he kept putting off having that checked out by a doctor.
It had only been a few weeks, but she felt that it had been a lifetime ago that she last gazed into his brown eyes, held his hand or obsessively combed his hair for hours on end.
He told her funny stories and enjoyed watching her large and varied range of facial expressions that she clearly had been practicing and expanding while he was away.
She watched him gather his luggage and was struck by a series of new and pronounced muscles in his legs and arms that firmly cemented him as non-animated and made her frustrated as all of the woollen clothes she had spent hour knitting by candlelight would now be too tight.
He put his arm around her in the backseat of the cab as she nestled her head into his soft sweater just as he had carefully and painstakingly directed her to in his long series of often cryptic and poignant post cards.
Now that this trip back to his homeland was done, they vowed to never leave each other's side again.

They started working on their wedding invitations and she watched with awe as he decorated the cards with drawings that were equal parts touching, random and graphic.
He was thinking about the evening when he proposed and how the light lit up her face, nearly burning her and completely throwing him off, making him start again from the beginning after the doctor ruled out anything serious.
Her mind drifted to all of the hyperventilating, rapid eye-twitching and jumpy knees of his that occurred on a regular basis that she dedicated a few minutes to each day convincing herself that they were cute.
While he addressed the letters, she put the finishing touches on the cards with a care that he felt would be better suited for nursing an ailing bird back to health, which coincidentally was a theme they had only recently rejected for their wedding.
She remembered the evening of the proposal, once the ring was on her finger, and how he just couldn't stop weeping at the restaurant and how her mood went from joy to concern very quickly.
He helped her mail the letters which he was prepared to do even if she objected as she often did whenever she wanted to use postal services.
The invitations were off and the wedding was a few months away and the planning had just begun.

It was the evening before the wedding and she wondered if he was nervous and passing the time, as he often did when nervous, by attempting, and failing, to literally bounce off the walls.
As his single life was drawing to a close, he imagined her in her wedding dress riding in on a beautiful black stallion, as if she was a messenger from some far-off kingdom bringing with her a deep dish pizza to share.
The clock struck midnight and she turned in to bed, but not before remembering and contemplating his favourite, yet overly cryptic, quote "the mighty sea washes away the sand castle as only the sea can."
He flipped channels, thinking of her flipping channels, then he ate some cashews, thinking of her eating cashews and he came to the conclusion that she was much more fun in person and that she should stop copying him already.
She lay there smiling at the thought of how happy he makes her and how happy he makes himself as a direct result of making her happy and how both of them were happy about all of that.
He wanted to hold her hand, to caress her shoulders, to have some idea where her kidneys are located - just in case and he knew that she was always the one for him because she didn't run away after he wrote a 5000 word story about these and other longings he had.
Their final night apart was a sleepless one and as night turned to morning, the big day was finally upon them.

The guests were gathering in the courtyard and she imagined him brushing his hair, trying to find just the right balance between volume, control and socialist ideals.
He stood with his best man and caught sight of her and she looked amazingly beautiful and he started tearing up and only then did he unselfishly wish it wasn't allergy season so the tears could all be for her.
Then she was next to him and they held hands and she heard him repeat the vows that he insisted be mostly unintelligible so that only she would know what he meant.
He gazed upon her as it was her turn to state her commitment, which she did as if possessed by an Elizabethan poet as they had reluctantly agreed upon considering their disdain for the works of that period.
"I do" and "I do" were spoken and she laughed as he pumped his fist and then raised his arms before completing a stunning backward somersault which was even more impressive considering the tux was one size too small.
He leaned over to kiss her and she decided to not only return the kiss, but also to jump into his arms and start singing Disney classics using his right thumb as a microphone.
The crowd rose and cheered as the newlyweds turned to face them, all the while beaming.

She would always recognize him by his syntax and refusal to use commas.
He would always appreciate her love for vases of flowers and for just flowers as in some situations vases were superfluous.
She loved that he was everything she wanted aside from some things that would require too much plastic surgery and brainwashing.
He considered himself so lucky that she cared for him so deeply outside of the time when her favourite shows were on as that was her time.
She wanted to make him happy which was harder than it looked as he was constantly writing and rewriting his "What Makes Me Happy" list.
He took pride in being there for her even when he sensed that she could use a break already or at least just slightly more personal space.
The past was full of amazing memories and the future was bright for the two as they had nothing but blue skies ahead.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Another Day in My Life

The following is part 2 of a story I am writing. To see part 1 please click here: Part 1

Part 2

I sit there on my front steps and survey the area.

It is true, I live on a really attractive block and I can only hope that I have become more beautiful as a result of all of the time I have spent here. I'm pretty sure I am more attractive now then before I lived here and not only because of my once-secret downstairs lab of mostly-male beauty products. I say once-secret because I recently took some photos and submitted them to the local newspaper who is running an expose on downstairs labs of local residents. I also refer to the products as mostly-male as I am not ashamed to admit that I do use a few products intended solely for women as well as one that is supposed to be for canines which is making my chest hair so light and fluffy that even my dog growls softly whenever I enter the room. It is an attractive block - splendidly tall trees that reach up to the sky as if leading a yoga class only with a fair amount more greenery and they create a very fresh and natural aroma compared to the last block I lived on that only smelled of toothpaste. There are no potholes on the street or cracks in the sidewalk the result of a neighbourhood group that was struck to crack down on late night acapello singing and an unforeseen byproduct was eliminating the potholes and cracks as it was determined that they could be connected to all of the singing. There was a newly painted fire hydrant that seems to scream out "let me spray you!" and "my name is George, by the way, in case you were wondering" and it was the talk of the street usually on Saturday mornings and the occasional Wednesday if baseball was rained out. And to top it all off, there was quite a set of front yards that are stunning in and of themselves and all-the-while piquing your interest in what could possibly be happening in the backyard. I mean, could it be even nicer most passersby would wonder, and the answer was yes, the seldom seen backyards made those front yards seem so pedestrian and more of a way to cover the earth then a yard. They couldn't hold a candle to those backyards, but I could, and I did every once and a while for no apparent reason or pleasure. My holding-a-candle-to-backyards thing started out small and stayed small - it just never caught on, not sure what I did wrong.

This is almost definitely the longest period of time I have sat and appreciated the neighbourhood, or anything for that matter, aside from the day my brother was born. Now that was a cute baby, I remember thinking at the time, and one that I could use for monetary gain or access to clubs and teams previously off-limits to my kind. I come from a long line of people who strongly felt that there should be limits to time spent sitting and appreciating anything, especially neighbourhoods, and also roasted chicken, freshly manicured nails or humourously trimmed hedges. Sitting for long periods of time was okay as long as you were okay with people talking, as was appreciating objects or people or political movements no matter how asinine, just not pairing the two together. I often wished my family was more normal in these areas, or if they were going to be weird, to be a whole lot weirder. My family fell into a gray area of weirdness that usually resulted in lots of sighs, murmuring and raised eyebrows. What I would have given to have qualified for some nervous laughter or an occasional exaggerated eye roll or maybe having a concern citizen ask if I was okay in a quiet and gently voice that would have actually made me feel less okay. I found myself mentally applauding the idea of grouping so many individual houses together to form this neighbourhood. It was also a good idea, I continue to think, of grouping so many pieces of wood together to make the houses too. And, whomever came up with the idea of stairs, bravo! Of all of the way that houses could have been configured, this seemed to be the best, but I was always slightly put-off by how rectangular and perpendicular everything seemed. Some days I wished I had been consulted and that we could have experimented with some nouveau shapes, something I can always do when decorating cakes or shaving my beard. I have learned the hard way never to do the two at the same time unless I want a sugary, frosting-covered goatee and a hairy, mostly inedible cake, which I almost never do. What did we do before neighbourhoods or houses or beards were mainstream and generally accepted by the public I wonder. Did they have to grow beards and build houses and secretly develop communities in private? Thankfully, we can openly do these now and I plan to pay homage to this by either growing a fantasticly resepefctful beard or just painting my house so that it looks more three dimensional.

After sitting for a while on my steps and enjoying both the vertical and horizontal sections equally, I decide to enter my house. The first thing that catches my eye is my umbrella and I find myself instantly taken back in time to my youth and a particular day when I was splashing in puddles, dancing to and fro and spinning and singing all-the-while twirling and tossing my beloved umbrella in the air. In this memory, I am young and free and with each leap, I seem to bend and almost break the laws of gravity, sailing higher and higher. I move dramatically to the sounds of a large string orchestra and splash and get wet as only a young boy like me could, or possibly a young girl or a different boy or one of those kids with certain haircuts that make you honestly not sure - I'll never know as my strict therapist trained me to have playful fantasies only involving myself usually playing with an umbrella in the rain - as a treat I was once allowed to eat some pizza in a daydream too. And as quickly as this daydream began, it ends as the phone is ringing. I contemplate my options which seem to be limited to either answering it or not. I curse my lack of creativity in regards to how to handle this interruption and to prove a point, I decide to talk into a unsuspecting banana instead which causes me to high five myself for such a display of spontaneity and to roll on the ground laughing at the idea that a banana could actually be a phone! "Who comes up with these things?" I say amidst the laughs and then I remember that I do and that results in a celebratory banana. "Mmmm, tasty!" I call out to myself and I wonder if that will become my new catchphrase. Only time will tell My voice mail light starts blinking from the missed call and my mind allots the next 5 minutes to who was calling and for what reason. Maybe a sales rep from the struggling local newspaper was calling asking me to increase or enhance my subscription. I can imagine the conversation so well that I am tempted to act it out then and there in my front hallway, but I decide that this prime comedic moment would be better saved for when my hand puppets have finally been fixed by my ex-girlfriend, who was both directly and indirectly responsible for their being damaged in the first place. Directly in that she cut them viciously using scissors and indirectly because I angered her so much by opting to spend our anniversary weekend staying in my room playing with the hand puppets. Buying her a pair of sharp scissors as a make-up gift and presenting the gift wearing the hand puppets was almost definitely the final straw from her perspective. Me, I don't believe in ranking straws and personally, I chose to believe in a future where there are limitless straws. If not the newspaper, maybe it is a recorded message from our local actor-turned-street performer-turned-hammock tester-turned-dolphin trainer-turned dog walker-turned-voluntary doorman-turned politician urging me to vote in the upcoming civic election and once voting, to vote for him. Would I vote for him if I chose to vote? I did like his hands I had to admit - strong, yet smooth and graceful. Hands that were the envy of most men and the object of affection for most women. The rest of the population just didn't care much for hands in general. If I could be assured that his hands would play a significant part in his duties as mayor outside of opening doors and holding papers, I could be convinced, because if not, what else does he have to offer the average person like me? He does have a nice face too and if I had to spend time looking at his face for a long period of time, say a week, it would not be a totally horrible experience, nor would it be at all a huge waste of time as I have nothing booked next week as it is.

Or maybe it is my credit card company letting me know about my incredible credit almost going as far as comparing my credit with a perfectly feathered peacock or freshly sponged compact car or a whole series of other comparisons that make little to no sense and definitely do not help me better comprehend my credit. I had some idea about my credit standing seeing as scary looking men in black suits very rarely come by my house any more unlike the old days when I subscribed to a service that had a guy in a black suit come by once a week just to chat and ask me about my day. I usually store all thoughts about banking and money in the deep recesses of my brain or, during holiday season, at least in a room nearby that is available hopefully with a kitchenette as I like to give my thoughts the option of making their own dinners to save money. The man from the credit card is trying to either sell me on a new feature that I would be almost idiotic not to agree too or possibly not idiotic enough - as an aside, for years I have been honing my idiot skills which included an exceptional package of books and exercises that I mailed away for while watching some really late night TV after eating an excessively large dinner of sauce - some tomato, a little plum and a whole lot of alfredo. I know I'd be almost tricked into buying this new feature, because he'd have a svelte voice almost as if his vocal cords were actually made out of suede that had been generously slathered in butter and I am often quite susceptible to talking men, to suede and to things slathered in butter - put all three together and how could I resist? In fact, my father routinely got me to eat my broccoli by talking with a deep, sexy voice, dressing head-to-foot in suede and slathering himself with butter. I mistakenly tried covering myself in butter once on a third date only to have my date attempt to leave abruptly only to slip on some grease and have to be rushed by me to the hospital for bumping her chin with the unexpected upside being that the creamed corn they fed her was quite bland and needed some butter and I was only happy to make myself useful. With my newly featured card I could buy things, earn points to buy more things more easily then I ever have before, which would earn me even more points and more things until I was either broke or had no more room for things or points. I sat there trying to consider a world where I had too many points, but was unable to. Must revisit that mental construct again after I've had a good nap.

Quite possibly I've won a trip! "Guess what?" the overly excited recorded voice would mutely scream, "You've been randomly selected to win an all-inclusive vacation to the Bahamas." They would go on and on about how lucky I am and that all I have to do is answer a skill-testing question and attend a meeting about an awesome timeshare that I may also be interested in buying all-the-while I'd be considering breaking my phone with a fury that I've been saving for just the right moment and I would resist as I just know that the true moment I've been waiting for is when my boss at my job fires me and I want to react with as much faux-anger as humanly possible in an effort to save my job as I know my boss has a thing for faux-emotions- he even went as far as make a series of funny pins that said as much.You know, I've always wondered are those skill testing questions actually skill-testing for anyone? I wish they would devise some questions that are incredibly skill testing and have the skills be as varied and random as possible - like the skill to yodel underwater, or the skill to build relationships with marsupials or the skills to actually pay the bills. I would love to have that skill! Or, if someone cannot answer the simple skill-testing question, I would only hope that they aren't my surgeon or my future wife or my wife from a previous incarnation who was also a surgeon who harvested my internal organs after a night of festive partying only as a way of exacting revenge as she just lived for exacting revenge and for harvesting - her father owned an apple orchard and was always going on and on about how his only dream in life was to have his only daughter give up her dream of being the best, darn apple farmer (and only female, as apple farming in that neck of the wood was a career only open to men and sometimes to really talented and non-temperamental gorillas, a completely sexist tradition that she ate many an apple while ranting over) this side of Oklahoma (really confusing for all as they lived on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean almost directly opposite Oklahoma making it hard to know which way to go), go to school, study surgery with a minor in illegal transplants and then steal organs from the rich to give to the poor sort of like a modern day Robin Hood, which was quite confusing to all as Robin Hood hadn't even been born yet. And saying I did actually win a trip to the Bahamas, who could I trust to watch my goldfish whom I would be confident wouldn't touch my collection of antique gold coins or my collection of frozen fish.

Or potentially it would be a charity asking for a month-by-month donation. These ones are hard to say no to and they know it. They know that you are hesitant to refuse as that may make you seem like more of a social deviant than you already are (your past habit of throwing recyclables at the neighborhood boys didn't help, especially considering they were choir boys - past tense "were" as many of them did quit - and they were only going to help you with your recycling well before curbside service began) and they always sound so sweet, so just and so full of themselves just knowing that your money that you were going to spend on a yearly subscription of after-dinner mints is almost theirs. You were so taken with charities that you had once planned to launch your own but on the way to the government office you ran into an old friend you hadn't seen in years. The two of you immediately picked up where you had left off with a handshake and saying goodbye. You felt like you should stop and talk and hang out, but it was already too late as you had immediately jumped into a taxi on your way downtown. You had a long history of taking taxis downtown. A long, completely uninteresting history completely devoid of even the smallest odd or funny event. You always wished that something more reportable would occur on these cab rides just so you could add in a funny caption in your scrapbook that you were working on and so you could tell your mother who was complexly and totally unsupportive in almost all areas involving transportation aside from fleeing, flying and floating and, under the right circumstances, pogo-sticking. So the charity person would go on and on and you'd listen, mentally counting the money and completely revising your detailed and extravagant 9-course menu you'd been planning for your old college friends. They never came over, but that didn't stop you from constantly and enthusiastically planning menus you think they may enjoy including a few you know they would be highly allergic too, those good-for-nothing friends who couldn't even pick up the phone or drop in with cream puffs. Man, I enjoy a good cream puff especially when I need to work out my frustration with my old college buddies. Even a mediocre cream puff would do.

I notice that the street lights have come on and that somehow it was nighttime. I guess I had been sitting there for quite a while without noticing. The fresh air can do that to me sometimes, so can misreading the labels on the expired medicine I accidentally inhale mistaking it for a jar of peanuts that I also love to inhale as a tribute to elephants both real and imaginary. My next door neighbour is just returning home and he stops and is about to speak before he breaks into a extensive and exhaustive song and dance routine as his way of rehearsing in front of an audience before his big audition tomorrow. When he is done, I leap in the air and shower him with hugs, flower petals (mostly from his overhanging lilacs that he just won't trim no matter how many times I cryptically ask him - I am really bad at sending cryptic messages as they are often far too hard to decypher and I just don't have the energy to try again) and inspirational quotes from famous Asian people like Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and Ho Chi Minh. It is my hope that he finds these quotes as inspirational as I would if I was him, as I don't personally find they do much for me at all. I hope that he does well in his audition as it would be strange for me to spend all of my free time writing and choreographing mean-spirited cheer-leading routines against him and driving to the houses of the director and producer of the show and spray-painting their cars with hate-filled messages illegibly from him and renting an off-road vehicle, driving through the mud and then parking in their spots at the theatre knowing of their dislike of off-road vehicles, mud, and nonsensical and anonymous pranks that could be mistaken as a gift of a used car. Plus, I like him and I want him to work and it would be far too much time and effort to execute the plots against him. If he works, maybe he will buy me a rose bush. I've always wanted a previously, out-of-work actor, who has recently found work, to both give me a perennial flowering plant. It is a bit weird and so random that I am not at all shocked it has never happened, until now. Go, neighbour-who-probably-has-a-name-but-I-either-never-knew-or-was-told-and-purposely-forgot-or-was-told-and-was-humming-too-loudly-to-impress-my-cat-so-it-sounded-like-meow-as-the-cat-was-highly-appreciative-of-the-humming-but-it-almost-definitely-is-not, go.

Across the street, I see a girl proudly skipping on her front lawn without a care in the world. I am torn between going to my basement and practicing my own skipping and then coming out and showing her to be the fraud that she is, or going over there, with the best of intentions, and reeling off a number of topics that would be guaranteed to give her a care or two to think about. I decided against both of these choices as they seemed petty and mean and quite unbecoming for the man I hope to one day, years from now, become. Plus she seems like such a nice girl - in fact, I would buy her a skipping rope if she didn't already have one. She seems to be lost in her skipping - maybe her mind is elsewhere and she is preoccupied by naming her socks or brushing her hair or stuffing her socks with her own fallen hair and making them into sock puppets and then creating a vibrant and dramatic series of sock variety shows that she would perform for her parents who are usually so consumed with her excessive skipping, brushing her hair and lack of human friends. Maybe she is skipping for a reason or a cause like generating electricity for her parent's illegal black market dealing of electrical current or having to log a certain number of hours of skipping to gain visiting hours with her pet bunny Alexis or she is skipping to remember her best friend, Gail, whose family moved away mostly because they were imaginary but also because her father was just given a new position within his company and transferred. The position sounded made up to the girl's father, mostly because it was, but also because why would a clothing company need a massage therapist in the first place except of course if the work was overly strenuous on the shoulders and upper back. I sat there and watched her and wished I was a young girl like her, but I had learned the hard way to keep those thoughts to myself.

Then a young boy walked by delivering newspapers. He smiled and waved and tossed me a paper with an admirable amount of coordination which either came naturally to him or was a result of hours of training with another master of the trade. Regardless I felt quite uncoordinated relative to him and also uncomfortably conscious of the raw emotional scars I still had as a result of a particularly uncoordinated youth as well as the actual scars from being to rawly emotional around my nanny who believed that a proper young boy should never display any emotions and should be aiming for robotic perfection. I felt like I knew him, or that I sort of knew him. It is so hard to know anyone anymore I thought, especially a young boy like this. I mean, I don't even know his first name. I tried out a few potential names to see if any of them rang a bell and if they did, to spend a fair amount of time figuring out how and why me saying a name rang the bell and who installed that bell there in the first place? Was it Sebastian, the young paper boy with a heart of gold who was delivering papers to save up money for his first baseball glove which would be a confusing choice as he much preferred baking to baseball? No, probably not Sebastian. But maybe he was Glen, the renegade paperboy who regularly stuck his nose up at the whole paper delivery system and its proud traditions and instead preferred to do things his own way ignoring the wrath of the others and who one day would either revolutionize the industry or bring it down from the inside - either way really, he didn't care. Definitely not Glen, but he could be Wayne, the narcoleptic, addicted-to-his own concoction of sugar, caffeine, and red food colouring he liked to call "yummy", cross-eyed, double-jointed and often mistaken for a cactus owner's son, the boy who could do no wrong, and the heir to the thrown (yes, his father actual bought and sat on a thrown). Hmmm...probably not. The unnamed boy had stopped and a look of worry crossed his face almost as a reflection of mine. I tried to fake a smile so I could release him and allow him to finish his route. Unfortunately, I am not very good at fake smiles and the look I gave him fills him with a mix of horror and confusion and also some pity. It is times like this when a little pity goes a long way and I am now motivated to practice my fake smiles more often. He has such a bounce in his step - he should probably get that checked out - and he is years or at least months away from being jaded or hardened by the harsh, cutthroat realities of the paper distribution business. He still delivers each paper like it is the right thing to do and sees himself as part of a team, or an army (he also privately sees himself as part of a gaggle, but hasn't worked up the courage to talk to his colleagues about this as they will wonder if he sees them as human, paper-delivering geese or a group of mostly male, prepubescent, completely underdressed nuns). I can tell by how he clutches each paper that he has a deep respect for the paper and probably, as I did when I was a young paper boy like him, has a hard time letting go. He wants to prolong the moment before he has to let go - to say his goodbye, to wish the paper well, to say he is sorry for the whole playing with matches thing and, if time permits, to dance a little jig - newspapers, according to lore, love little jigs especially when danced by young human boys. But, let go he must, unless he wants to turn from a paperboy whose sky is the limit to an old weirdo who has a massive newspaper collection in his basement and, when no one is watching, he hugs the big stack of old papers and, if it has been a good month, offers it a glass of merlot and a freshly baked brownie...not that I know anyone like that personally.

Seeing these two brings me back to my youth and, after being momentarily lost in my youth (I took a few wrong turns and then had no idea how to get out), I remember some of the kids i grew up with. There was little Johnny who was always swinging his imaginary baseball bat at imaginary balls. Johnny wanted to become someone that that could swing an actual bat at a real ball, but whenever we suggested baseball player. he instantly turned pale and drifted away to what seemed like a very dark place inside his mind and only a well-cooked pork chop and slap with said pork chop would snap him out of it. Then there was sunny Sally always munching celery and laughing a little too loudly at everything I said. At first I used to enjoy having a sidekick providing my own personal laughtrack who was clearly well off in the dietary fibre category, but after a while I started questioning many things like how funny I actually was, how she had access to a seemingly never-ending source of celery and why it always took a few too many "Sally"s to get her attention. And I'll never forget Ralph and his younger brother Geoff as the two of them were so motivated to follow in the footsteps of their father, the most famous garden manicurist in the neighbourhood. Ralph was the strong and silent type and George was always deferring to his older brother, which meant that the two of them didn't speak a whole lot. The only way they got any message across was through a series of incredibly well-illustrated drawings delivered with an impeccable, yet mostly silent, presentation. To let the gang know about their garden manicurist plans took 45 separate and detailed drawings presented over 10 consecutive Thursday afternoons. The presentations started with a lot of pomp and circumstance, but got a little boring in the middle - so it is good they decided to serve snacks. And, of course, I will never forget Rachel, the love of my pre-teen life  - her plain, straight brownish hair that was aching to curl and be noticed; her small collection of cute freckles that captured my heart and only gave it back for, what was considered a good deal at the time, $40-worth of gum; and her walk - she vowed never to take the same set of steps more than once which, while sounding avant-garde and like a good idea at the time, rendered her motionless for days and weeks on end as there are only so many different combinations of steps one person (and a young girl preoccupied with her straight hair and freckles at that) could reasonably devise. Rachel was so sweet and letting her get away is one of my main regrets in life, but her family moved and I just didn't have enough money to stop them. Her dad opened the bidding at $50, and by the time I called in a few favours, broke open my piggy bank and sold my precious, one-of-a-kind oyster pearl that looked like JFK, the auction had closed and they were halfway to Toledo or Tofino or Toronto or wherever they were going. I was quite unhappy that they left without even saying goodbye as I had planned and rehearsed a very emotional, long and drawn out, running down the street while weeping and sobbing, tearful and gag-inducing goodbye to Rachel before heading inside to make some popcorn and watch some cartoons. For a while there every time I saw anyone who reminded me of her, I broke down in tears. Luckily this didn't last long and eventually I broke out in laughter as a way of coping when I was reminded of her which was only slightly better - who knew people would be offended by a little boy, they didn't know, doubled-over laughing and pointing at them. I was only grieving and grief takes many forms including stuffing your own socks with foam, drawing faces on them and reenacting the Industrial Revolution - a very dry and mostly eventless period to reenact but I just couldn't bare getting blood or even ketchup on my socks. It is amazing how long ago all of this was and how much nut butter I've consumed since then both with honey and without. I wonder what they are all up to now and whether they are all happy, attractive and okay and what they would think of my plan to only keep objects in my house that start with vowels as my long-overdue way of objecting to consonants.

Finally, I decide to get up and go inside and make some dinner. As I walk up my stairs and into my house, I am deliberating between an intricate 5-course meal featuring products from local farms and artisan cheese shops that tell the story of my life up until this moment or a few boiled eggs and a glass of orange juice, which oddly would also tell the story of my life quite well. I enter my kitchen and I decide that I just don't have the energy to cook anything to laborious or time-consuming and yet I don't just want some eggs, so I take out some veggies and begin chopping them up while also putting on some water for some pasta. I really enjoy chopping veggies and find it both cathartic and poetic. However, last night I made the naive mistake of lining up the bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms and broccoli on my kitchen counter, spending quality time with them which included showing them around the house (them seemed to love my use of feng shui), giving them a nice warm bath in the sink (which included a massage and rubbing them down with extra virgin olive oil at the end) and ending off with a viewing of Star Wars (who knew they hadn't gotten around to seeing this classic film, but then again, they were relatively young and probably hadn't had the chance to get out that much growing up on a farm way out of town). The zucchini seemed to be suggesting that we were turning in too early and that perhaps a night on the town, maybe taking in a show or hitting up the clubs would be a good idea, and I almost agreed until I thought of how it would look - me walking around with an armful of veggies and I decided against it, mostly because I wasn't taking the chance of setting any new trends after what happened last time - long story short - everyone was sprinkling their clothes with red and blue paint ala Jackson Pollock for a while. I also had no way of knowing what that loose-cannon of a broccoli would do and say once we were out and I wasn't interested in either spending the night in jail, bringing the party back to my place or getting engaged. So, we stayed home and after playing a few card games, we turned in - me in my bed and them back in the fridge. There was lots of complaining, so I hand-crafted sets of pillows and comforters for all of the veggies and read them the complete works of Richard Scarry before closing the fridge door while singing a few jazzed up versions of standard lullabies accompanied by the amazing harmonies of the mushrooms who hit all of the notes with pizzazz. After spending a really great evening with them I felt like I knew them - I knew their names, their personalities and, if they were forced to choose, the animal they'd most want to be sculpted into if I chose to make some animated animal-vegetable-art. Surprisingly, they hated the game 20 Questions as they believed that having to select an animal, vegetable or mineral was cruel and unnecessary mostly because they vastly misunderstood the rules as they were only inanimate vegetables hanging out with a guy who's imagination had been declared by at least three different professionals as creative, troublesome and the reason we often should be seen and not heard. Giving the veggies names was a big mistake - it is so much harder to eat something that has a name - maybe that is why they kept on suggesting it. Oddly, I had no trouble cutting up the named veggies or stir frying them, but the eating, it just didn't seem right. I felt overwhelmed with a flood of memories of similar experiences - I have always had a hard time eating food that I had creatively assumed or assigned personality traits too. An average carrot? Yes! But a happy-go-lucky carrot who just wants to make the world laugh? What sort of devil am I to eat that carrot? A regular zucchini? No problem! But a zucchini who is manic depressive? Not as easy. Yes, eating him may ease his pain in the short term, but I'm pretty sure that that is not one of the methods that medical professionals at Johns Hopkins are currently recommending for his long term coping. What a dilemma! I almost felt like patting myself on the back and going to my favourite podiatrist and once there, have him look at my arches. Finally, my hunger for food took over and not a moment too soon as I it was starting to get a little boring just hanging out and all. I'm hungry all day long for something - sometimes the truth, sometimes some fresh air and other times a good talking too, but nothing makes me more satisfied then some good food, and if that food is also accompanied by some truth-telling, a few breaths of fresh air and a deep conversation with a therapist then I feel totally full in every sense. I cook the veggies, saying a tearful goodbye to each one - knowing that I'll never see the little mushrooms grow up and the red pepper will never ride a horse or experience her first kiss, the miniature corn on the cobs will never get over their feelings of being inadequate compared to their full-sized cousins (I once made a joke about my full-sized cousins which would have landed me in hot water both literally and figuratively except that I was fortunately recovering from a bout of laryngitis so no one heard me except for my sister who just couldn't stop laughing and eating kale chips) and the vastly misunderstood red chard who was planning on proving to all that he was not, contrary to popular belief, a communist although he did have a soft spot for one particularly attractive communist female bunch of chard who was worth the risk.

So, dinner was cooked and eaten and I lay on the couch enjoying some TV dramas. Nothing like lying on a couch and watching TV to help me settle down before going to bed. I had tried numerous other methods including throwing darts at pictures of my enemies, throwing pictures at drawings of my enemies playing darts and calling my enemies up and treating them to an exquisite meal of scallops and risotto served with an amazing vintage pinot gris where, by the end of the evening, I would have not only grown to love them all but to go as far as sharing stock investing secrets, planning to go on vacation to Mexico next year and finishing off the evening with a game of darts that feels just a tad bit strange to me. I knew I had a busy day tomorrow and that I shouldn't stay up too late, but I was really digging the whole couch thing and just wished there was some way to bring the couch along with me on all of my journeys. As I lay there, I was hit with a detailed dream I had once where I imagined a world where there were couches everywhere and all the people were full of bliss and joy due, in some part, to all of the options for places to relax. The people treated the couches well, at least they thought, until one day the couches decided enough was enough and they all got up, shook off the dust and the crumbs (they kept the loose change stuck in their cushions - could you blame them?) and all simultaneously walked off. The people all returned from their work, their tennis games and their other daily pre-couch sitting rituals and routines to find no couches anywhere, only the empty spots where their beloved couches once sat. Everyone would always remember this day - the day the couches left and the day when people tried to not take things they sat and occasionally lay on for granted, which they did until it was time to go to bed, because as great as the couches were, and they were pretty awesome, you just can't beat a bed. I smiled at the memory of this great dream and wanted to turn it into a play that could run at the local community theatre. But, that would have to wait for another day as I needed to get some sleep. I turned the TV and all the lights out, enjoyed the onset of the darkness that felt sort of like an envelope that I, the letter, was being placed inside. Having said that, I felt like a letter in many situations in life and that may explain why I felt so comfortable surrounded by my half-written, never-sent, lavender-scented-as-that-aroma-of-paper-just-happen-to-be-on-sale-the-day-I-spent-way-too-much-time-at-the-office-supply-store-for-reasons-I-still-had-not-determined letters in my office. I also held envelopes of all kinds in high regard and planned to leave at least part of my inheritance to envelope makers worldwide to both aid them in their arduous work and to provide them with a small nest-egg (I had thought it was really odd that my grandfather had left me a huge collection of fermented eggs in his will). I headed up the stairs, brushed my teeth, washed my face and went to bed. Washing my face always made me laugh - it was a private joke that lost a lot in the translation from its original Russian. My last thought, as I closed my eyes, was about a man, just like me, standing in Russia also washing his face and wondering if, for that one, short moment, he felt a connection to me that ran deeper than our freshly-washed, acne-free, multi-freckled-faces. I wanted to see him, to hold hands and dance in a circle to Japanese folk music, to share veggie bacon recipes that are appropriate at both holiday time and when eating a meal after being chased by a group of wild raccoons who ended up just being a few joggers out for a late night run and to put my finger on his nose. I have always wanted to touch a Russian man's, for failing that a goat's, nose. I would also gladly touch a Russian woman's nose, but in some remote areas of Russia that is considered a marriage proposal and the last time I married someone based on how their nose felt I ended up having to burn all of my shirts and I couldn't look at a pickle without shrieking.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Something in the Oven

I do have something in the oven, thanks for asking!

When the lights are on at my house, somebody is home and when they are off, I can't see at all, so while I'm pretty sure I am still home, I could have wandered aimlessly into the woods.

I am often gassy which I blame completely on Big Oil and Gas.

Allergy alert! I may contain peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter and/or other tree nut butters as well as a significant amount of bread and jam.

I live life on the edge by swimming 29 minutes after eating and proudly deal with the resulting cramps. I have contemplated giving myself even less time, but don't want to appear like I'm showing off.

Sometimes I grow a beard as I am trying to hide something.

I'm trying to convince myself that it is totally random, but why won't any of those balls bounce my way.

Not only do I dream that I'm a frisbee, but I'm trying to live more like one in my waking hours as well.

Once and a while, after not shaving, I am much-moustachioed.

I do wear glasses to increase the chances that a random passerby will ask me a skill testing question.

Everything on me right now is for sale for exactly $1.

To the best of my ability, I made sure that an entire village was used in raising me. No one got off easy.

I am proud to say that I am fully three-dimensional and am considering upgrading to four in the near future.

Videotaping me and showing the tape without my expressed written consent can result in a $5000 fine and/or jail time.

When I splurge and get the best shampoo and soap, I am treated afterward to a wonderfully soft and smooth coat.

I have been known to walk around town whistling a happy tune that is unfortunately significantly marred by my inability to really whistle.

No matter how hard I try, I can only write cheques that my butt can't cash. Honestly, after multiple attempts I am still no closer to accomplishing this at all.

I wear earplugs to tune the world around me out and I also enjoy some cool jazz at the same time.

Even if the owl has called my name, everything those owls say sound the same. How am I supposed to know if he is talking to me?

I always eat with my eyes first and, depending on how messy I have been, the meal at the restaurant prematurely ends there.

Even when the sun sets on my day, I always respectfully keep on going for a while to show my appreciation for all of its hard work.

I am watching the pot boil. Now I am watching it boil over. And my pasta is overcooked and stuck to the bottom of the pot. When can I stop watching this pot? Anyone?

My shadow is so tall and lean and almost definitely mocking me.

With increasing frequency, I know what time it is and what people are talking about.

I believe I can fly. In other news, I am an incredibly broken man.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Things I Really Appreciate

I really appreciate the first taste of freshly squeezed orange juice first thing in the morning. Sweet, tangy, full of citric acid and vitamins and I enjoy it up to the point, but not past, when I have saturated my senses with juice and I sink into a state of delirium where I imagine I am being chased by an army of oranges riding larger, horse-like oranges hurling smaller, grenade-like oranges at me and all three sizes and genres of oranges have fully-equipped faces including adorable eyes and curly moustaches that would look appropriate on certain French chefs.

I also appreciate orangutans as I'm fairly sure it would be unwise not too.

I really appreciate chalk for providing me a means to communicate messages via sidewalk, the least transportable, but often times, the most convenient method of communicating. Many of my most interesting, thought-provoking and meaningful communiques have been delivered on the sidewalk - what can I say, hardened concrete inspires me and it always will. I also like having my body traced as if I were a victim at a taped-off police crime scene as I believe in being prepared for just about any situation that involves chalk and sidewalks.

It is hard not to appreciate a really comfortable couch - soft, cozy, relaxing - all the things the couch in my living room is not - it is almost as if I have the couch who was excommunicated from the wonderful land of the couches, and the monarchy that was fair and just for all, for being abrasive, rude, practicing witchcraft and always talking in jealous tones about how many of the couches who walked around so superior like were just glorified and oversized chairs in the big scheme of things. I understand that this thought is still relatively unformed and in its' infancy - I'll work on it more and flesh it out when I have that comfortable couch.

I have grown to appreciate fans overtime and have progressed from barely being able to handle using one small fan on particularly hot summer days to the present where I have filled every square inch of my house with super high-powered fans that make it next to impossible to make my hair at all presentable but with the upside of making things extremely light and breezy that I haven't sweated inside my house in years and have literally flown from room to room.

I truly appreciate great art including anatomically-correct sculptures of human beings especially the ones that teach at the local community college - I owe everything I know to those walking, talking and well-dressed moving pieces of three-dimensional art. It's also highly possible that they are, in fact, just actual people who work as instructors, and if that is true, they are now even less interesting than before. Here's hoping they are sculptures.

I can't stop talking about how much I appreciate the word "the" and to show my appreciation I have created a musical comedy/multimedia presentation featuring hand puppets and an interactive slide show that is both highly controversial and overly sentimental. The show takes the audience through the sordid history of "the" from infancy through it's present-day mature adult who dresses and acts about 10 years younger then it really is which is both embarrassing and humourous for it's friends "and", "then" and "yet". The show highlights certain times in the life of "the" including "the's" rebellious youth (wanted to go by solely "T"), the radical period in it's 20s (started wearing berets, shades and listening to jazz) and  "the's" middle-life crisis when it felt that half of its' life was wasted and wished more time had been spent travelling, spending time with family and charging for each written use of itself. The show ends with an allegorical act making a commentary on the role "the" has played both in the rise of the humans and our eventual fall.

I appreciate one of nature's little miracles, the squirrel, always running, jumping, bouncing and looking for food and dancing beautifully with a reckless abandon to the songs of nature and Mother Earth or they could just be jumpy and nervous and need to relax more.

I truly appreciate my eyes for granting all that wish to pay the $25 access fee for a view through the window to my soul - for only an extra $5 you can look into my ears where I believe there may be enough free wax to go around.

I really appreciate the lock on the door of the room I am locked inside of as I am attempting to see the positives in everything and I have learned the hard way that just staying angry, especially at inanimate objects like this lock, are a waste of energy - "it isn't the lock's fault" I tell myself, although in moments of anguish and frustration, I just want to smash it to bits right before trying to befriend it.

It is hard not to appreciate the gentle background buzzing of a far off group of bees - so calming, so pleasant and such a perfect natural soundtrack for me to enjoy while I lean back and enjoy eating spoonfuls of sweet, thick honey while sitting in my favour spot surrounded by clovers and other flowers almost literally dripping with nectar. I don't have a care in the world and nothing bad is going to happen to me today, I just know it....Is it just me or is the buzzing getting louder and more intense? No matter, nothing is going to disrupt my peace and my pure enjoyment of this magical honey.

I really appreciate the glass of water I have in front of me that I plan to start drinking out of momentarily. It is currently so full, almost bursting with water and a such a picture of perfection that I just can't get myself to take the first sip even though my lips are chapped, my throat is dry and my headache is growing worse by the minute. I look around and admire my room that is literally full of glass upon glass of crystal-clear, very-drinkable water and beam like only a proud father could.

I also appreciate objects, unlike me, with thick skins such as unripened bananas and my great uncle Larry. There is just so much I can learn from these two about not letting little things get to me and letting small annoyances roll off my shoulders, and in exchange I believe I can teach them all about the wonders of becoming yellow and edible as well as the fact that the war ended decades ago. 

I have grown to appreciate pond scum and am working hard at learning to appreciate all types of scum as I don't want to give the appearance that I am playing favourites.

I just totally appreciate dresses and the whole worldwide dress-designing and making industry. These expert dress people are so skilled, what with the measuring, the sewing, the careful-determining-of-profit-margins-to-arrive-at-slightly-unfair-but-not-enough-so-to-raise-the-alarm-that-was-built-just-for-potentially-price-gouging-moments-like-this-because-if-it-did-it-would-cause-a-revolution prices and the bringing of smiles to women both young and old around the world and also to admirers-from-afar like me with closet-room to spare and really poor decision making when it comes to saving, investing and spending my hard-earned money. When I need to drown my sorrows for being broke, I just sit in my closet and rub the soft fabric of these dresses on my face and neck and I feel so alive.

I have a deep appreciation for things that appreciate in value like my collection of rare stamps, my never-used expensive Italian car, my big bag of polished chicken bones and the unopened bottle of apple juice I'm holding and considering saving and selling to the highest bidder during the rapture. There is a chance the bones are worthless and, in that case, at least I need to find a new item that will appreciate to maintain my minimum quota and to cook less chicken as the bones are worthless and I am a vegetarian anyways.

I will always appreciate leaps of faith as they are daring, exciting and breathtaking and can be done both blindfolded and partially asleep while also involving next to zero actual faith in anything at all (believe me, I asked around and most people just nodded their heads and took the first bus uptown) or belief in anything outside of what I can directly experience.

I completely appreciate dots for their simplicity, for helping me either end or extend sentences, for dancing in front of my eyes and keeping things optically interesting, for their freckleness and for appropriately always paying homage to their ancestors the circle and, the infinitely more exciting, rings.

I will always appreciate where I have come from and the people who helped me leave there and get to where I am now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart- I couldn't get out of that sink hole fast enough. 

I appreciate the simple things in life and the ridiculously, mind-numbing, hair-pulling-out complex things as well as some of the things in between except of course: congealed chicken fat (unless there is about to be a food fight or prizes are about to be awarded for the greatest array of fats), excessive punctuation (I have always believed that if you can't express something with three punctuation marks or less it isn't worth expressing and you should probably just calm down), watching paint dry (or just watching paint in any stage of being made, bought, applied, dried, and waiting until the onset of the eventual peeling which will lead to scraping it all off and starting again - once you are in, it is an endless loop of horrible and mind-suckingly boring experiences all involving paint), the letter 'm' (it just seems like an inverted w and it is fully aware of that), bats (no explanation needed aside from my tears), periods of silence (it all depends on how long the periods are and how much and what quality of noise I will be treated to afterwards) and those rows and rows and rows of white pillars that I must run amongst for what seems like years and years all the while being pelted with rain and snow and sleet while also dealing with the teeth rattling-screeching of the hundreds and hundreds of black menacing birds by air and the unbelievably large, blood-thirsty wolves and coyotes by land and having to make split second decision after split second decision with the adrenalin pumping and the heart racing and the excessive sweating overwhelming my body. That's right, I appreciate everything but those things.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

More About Me

Who am I, people may be starting to wonder? And now that I ask the question, I am also pondering this. It would be great if one of you would just tell me, or at least set-up an intricate set of puzzles and challenges that would reveal who I am upon solution. I love puzzles, especially the kind that involve dressing up as pieces of fruit for no apparent reason aside from keeping the guy who lives downstairs happy. What a funny, appreciator of people-dressing-up-as-fruit-as-a-seemingly-unconnected-yet-connected-piece-of-a-puzzle my neighbour is. But, again, who am I? Any progress on one of you telling me? No?....Fine then, in my estimation I have two choices, I can either undertake some honest self-reflection in this piece of writing or I can go off on ridiculous tangents that neither answer that question nor answer any question - in fact sometimes I go out of my way to intentionally create tangents and asides just to spite those who aim to use me and my beliefs to answer their questions! How lazy can you get? Oops! Sorry -that sounded a little too harsh and would have only been appropriate if I was your mom, and I am definitely not your mom, although with some coaxing (read "money in large denominations" or "a new hat that would give me the illusion of being Cuban") I am happy to try - although I must tell you that I refuse to excessively praise you or say you look beautiful when only a mother would more than once a day. Any more than that would sicken me and you don't want to be around when I am sickened - really, it is quite gross and pungent. I believe that the truth and nothing but the truth may be "good for me" or "less bad than a number of the alternatives including but not limited to half-truths, quarter-truths (I'm also looking for ways to divide truths into even smaller fractions - can you imagine a twentieth of the truth? Would that even seem at all similar to the truth? If time permits, I'm also possibly looking to express truths as rational numbers that would look good printed on coffee mugs of mathematicians who tell less than the whole truth) and wearing purple socks ironically" especially when accompanied by a glass of soda and one of those singing trouts to mount on the wall. I once met a man but that is just not important right now. Another time I met a different man who tried living his life telling over 100% of the truth all the time and it nearly killed him. Well that and all of those angry, angry truth-defiling sharks. Plus, me being truthful and showing what is really inside my brain would be interesting for most people especially neuroscientists and the men/women/manchilds/half-man half-lions who love them or at least tolerate them what with their braininess and their constant questioning and that annoying, hard-to-place European accent that makes them sound either smarter or European or like a scary plastic surgeon - believe me I know. For most other people, seeing what is inside my brain would cause you to have nightmares for weeks. Yes, if I explore the honesty route, then quite possibly professionals in white lab coats, who are genuinely concerned and looking for more subjects (and objects - I can do both! No extra charge!) for their longitudinal and qualitative research paper will sign me up and hook me up to numerous electrodes and be given free pizza or at least scratch-n-sniff stickers that smell like pizza or I'd even settle for some regular stickers. I am happy to oblige, although oblige may be the wrong word  -it is an area I need to improve upon. I imagine those professionals go home, take off their white lab coats and, after feeding their dogs and their human families and then their sim family in the video games that occupy most of their free time (in that order) they take off their coats, momentarily freed from the world of the coat and all of the rules and societal pressures and tears often role down their cheeks when they remember when they used to dream of unicorns and leprechauns who were plotting to implement phase one of their plan to take the rest of us down and they'd also dream of a life where they would have an option to wear a coat or not and when choosing to, it could be the colour of their choice.

Who is this man (its me!) behind the words and are there other, more remote words that are also behind him? Maybe those words are worth reading. I'll try to look over my shoulder or construct a series of mirrors or just turn around when I take a break and I'll let you know. If I decide to forgo the truth about me and instead go the weird-tangent route then it is because I've come to the conclusion that I must protect my true self sort of like a turtle, except that I'm trying to resist using any tortoise-related analogies at least until the next full moon or until my new shipment of multi-coloured erasers arrives. I sometimes set out trying with the best intentions to be serious and normal and to be less weird and crazy sounding and then something happens. It is hard to explain. It is sort of like the normal writing is a boat, let's say a cruise ship (no that sounds too hoity-toity  -do you want everyone thinking you are an elitist snob? No, but it is totally fine for everyone to think that I write/talk to myself? Good thinking.) - okay how about a yacht (much either have no idea how to avoid sounding elitist or are doing it  just to bug me knowing how much I have a soft spot for those that write like they are oh so upper-class). Anyways, the honest, normal writing is a boat and the weirder and funnier (read "less marketable" or "impressive if written by a 9 year old") writing is like a large jar of glue which is either holding the boat together or being sniffed ad nauseum by the sailors. And the wacko parties they have after sniffing that glue...I'm not exactly how that analogy works and what it all means - and I wrote it! Imagine how you must feel! On an aside, I once spent a whole weekend trying to figure out how someone else felt and it just made me hungry for sushi - it turns out they felt a little bit annoyed (I was staring and making a series of sketches that I later on had no success selling at popular tourist destinations around town as they came off looking a bit too haunting and green - I only had one crayon) and a little bit melancholic, which I never would have guessed as I needed a dictionary to even have any idea what that even meant, and even after looking it up and reading about it extensively on the internet, I still think they made it up. Back to the boat being the writing - let's just imagine that that was true. Work with me for a there is this boat ("the writing") and it is a mighty fine boat and it has set sail for somewhere...let's say the Promised Land or a convention for the annual meeting of ornithologists or Guam and the boat sets sail and for the first few days things are very uneventful. There are the usual hijinks you would imagine - a glass-blowing contest, staying up till midnight when the captain required sailors stay up till three or until the next shift showed up mostly to be on guard for pirates, and shaving each other's backs to make learning Spanish more enjoyable (which is hard to do - it is already very enjoyable, or so I've heard from my neighbours who are learning Spanish and can never stop smiling. Having said that, they were always smiling and they could just be like that - always smiling. God, they are annoying! But, multilingual - so I'll have to give them that). And then the storm hits and rocks the boat ("the writing") and luckily the crew has just come from a big sale of glue ("the weird stuff") and have no real concept on how to react to the storm and out comes the glue. Now we all know that I could go on and on about the boat and the glue and use a ridiculous amount of unnecessary detail to try to make this totally superfluous analogy work and we all know that I would never quite do this and wouldn't care as that was never the point in the first place which would raise the salient question over my use and abuse of analogies in the first place and whether I totally understand their use at all and if I should just spend the money and take a course once and for all - one that would force me to learn or make me conform or at least smell better. Or maybe the analogy is a living entity itself (it isn't) and it wants to corrupt or feed off the story (it doesn't) and once it has done so it may find a way into my brain and start setting up camp - this makes even less sense then even the average nonsensical stuff that you are expecting to read and it would be correct to wonder if I am okay and whether I need to lie down for a while and think about elephants or to actually make a few phone calls and get some elephants delivered so I can stroke their big, floppy, ears that just go on and on for ever - I could just wrap myself up in their ears and drift off as a happy as a clam and not just a run-of-the-mill clam either- I'm talking top clam here. 

I think I am a pretty regular and normal guy, although, having said that, it is all relative. Compared to some people I'm all wacko and a few phone calls away from being removed with the upside being becoming a well-compensated spoken word performer for the king of some hard-to-pronounce Eastern European kingdom or for a guy calling himself the king with little-to-no competition for the title from others as the country had been converted to a republic in a bloodless, coup-less good natured discussion that was over early so they all went out for ribs that were unfortunately substandard (they had discussed having bloody coup but everyone was quite squeamish). And to others I'm almost hyper-normal - sort of like the most normal person you know (right- that guy) only much more normal. When the decision came down to use the words hyper and normal together as a contrast to the weird part of this paragraph I was also drinking raspberry-cranberry juice and contemplating going for a run - I decided against it as it is very hard to write while running and even if I could I would either break out laughing or the writing would be completely unreadable and that is saying something as I would be typing and I use autocorrect. I have wondered if who I am in real life is the same as who I show myself to be in my writing. Do I come across as weirder on purpose or maybe to make myself look good? Do I think that is actually happening? Can I really create funny and odd writing that would have an effect on how someone sees me? And would it actually either trick them into thinking I now look good or would they see me as good in comparison to the writing - I hope I look better than the words I write, or at least in the same ballpark. Maybe who you see come out in the writing is my true inner self who I've kept locked away for years and is finally enjoying the blue skies, fresh air and focaccia bread (which will be store bought-  I'm sorry, not wasting my talents and time making homemade focaccia, at least not until I buy some new, masculine-looking, leggings, which may take some time based on current fashion trends and my own struggles with appearing masculine that I am blaming on the lighting in my house). The problem is (according to my wife) that I am almost addicted to being literal and odd. To set things straight, I am not addicted to it. I mean, I can walk away any time and not be literal and not get a case of the shakes or the jimmies. And I don't have to be odd in the same way that I don't have to cut or brush my hair and I can either grow a super-awesome afro or have dreadlocks. I really don't know what happens. Honestly, I don't. I often set out saying to myself "this next piece of writing will be non-weird - the kind I could show my grandmother, or someone else's grandmother if the two of them were chilling together reading creative writing on the internet. On second thought, that will never happen. Although, I've been raised to believe the impossible and if I can dream it, then it can happen. What was I writing about again? Oh well - open the flood gates!". So, I want to be normal and then some crazy force, either internal or external or a combination of the two collude where the two join forces to take me down! Why is everyone trying to join forces to take me down! (What? Are you saying this isn't happening? That it's all in my imagination? Wow...quite the imagination I've got. Good job me. I can sit back in revel in that for a while. I had nothing to do this Friday anyways.) Anyways, the writing often starts out along a straight path before it goes all haywire and fun and I start laughing and loving the strangeness and all connection to reality is long gone (reality is lying by the pool enjoying a cool drink and contemplating a swim before hitting the restaurant for some lightly-seared scallops in a wonderful beurre blanc). On second thought (it could be my fourth or fifth, I lost count - that's how it is with thoughts, so hard to keep track of unless I could come up with a numbering system or get them to line-up outside my brain like kindergarteners coming back from a recess of splashing in puddles and sharing their peanut-laden snacks with a willy-nilly disregard for allergies), who wants to be normal? When I was in my 20s I used to take being called normal as a criticism or a put-down and I am still that same guy, or just an older version of that guy with a depressingly smaller afro (some would say no afro and they would be depressingly correct) and a more refined taste for bitter foods (those two things may be connected on some level  -or could be connected -don't think I can't! I should have a Ph.D in making connections between things that others think can't be connected). So, it is totally incorrect and misleading (at the same time - I am crazy like that) to describe the process as poor little old helpless me being ambushed or attacked or beaten around the face and neck by strangeness. I am a willing participant and I welcome the diversion from regular stuff and thinking - it is inside me and I am far from blocking it's rise to the forefront - I bought it an annual first-class ticket on the train and it is riding that train all night long! That's right, baby! Ride that train like the badass you are! I'm not totally sure how bad-ass riding a train in first class actually is what with the pampering and tea and crumpets. Never been there or done that. Maybe a better way of looking at it is as a prison break, but that would be comparing my mind to a prison or maybe it is not a comparison and my brain is an actual prison. I don't think so, as nothing and no idea is trapped there against their will. Possibly it is better to describe it as a voluntary mental institution where everyone can check in and out whenever they see fit. My words and ideas can come and go as they want, have guests, roam the grounds, catch a show and just obey the curfew, because if you don't I can't be responsible for what happens. I mean I could be responsible, but I'm usually asleep at that time which makes the consequences for missing curfew up to my cat and my cat has a lot of pent up anger and aggression probably stemming from a past life as a mole. I totally get that comparing my mind to a psych ward is far from complimentary for me or for psych wards themselves - no one said that this writing thing was going to be full of compliments. 

Here is what you should know about me as it is both revealing and strangely not-revealing at all as that is almost impossible to do in a blog with no pictures. I do not profess to conquer the impossible with this blog, but if that was to happen coincidentally then I will gladly take full credit. I have been known to revel in coincidental accomplishments and, in case you missed those times, will gladly do it again. Let's get to some juicy details about me, which is tough because I have reduced my juice intake a great deal and that includes intake through the mouth, ears and eyes (sometimes I was very inaccurate with my pouring skills, missing holes where juice could flow into and instead relying on the absorption rate of my skin  - I owe my skin so much. Remind me to thank it sometime. What's that you say - I should do it now as there is no time like the present? I guess, but between you and me I just don't feel comfortable thanking my skin in while everyone is listening - it's personal.) Here we go - I love hitting things with racquets - usually balls, but I am willing to hit whatever comes my way and I often walk up and down the streets (I'd call it roaming the streets but I signed that court order saying that I would stop roaming and that I would also stop calling it roaming), racquet cocked, just ready to hit things. I do this as I heard that this is what some world champion tennis players did in their youth although I never quite believed it, I'm not in my youth and I'm pretty sure they weren't wearing nothing but goggles and shockingly tight underwear while doing it. In all seriousness I love playing squash and tennis and have done both for years and am now, as I approach the twilight of my youth, finding great joy playing my two children. My face lights up with pride and pleasure (among other random and fleeting expressions that I have no control over - it's sort of like I'm waiting for the hypnotist to snap his fingers - except that their is no hypnotist and only fingers. Lots and lots of fingers) to see their young, pretty faces in high degrees of anguish as I lead them through hours upon hours of grinding, energy-sapping drills. I kid, I kid, we only play for short periods of time, but they are showing great promise and it feels very dad-like to be on the court with them, which is doing wonders for me and my stock as a dad. If my dad-ness was on the market I would suggest buying now as the stock only goes up every time someone walks by the court as they are probably thinking "now, there's a dad!" unless they happen to wander by when I'm growling at my kids which is highly probable as that makes up much of our on court time. Before you judge, they have requested that I do that as it is a big step up from teaching them using mime or yelling. I am attempting to use less vicious-appearing hand-gestures and high-arching eyebrowed expressions as, again, it does not makes me look good and, in the end, that is essentially what this and everything I do is all about. Anything that does not make me look good is worthless, unless I happen to be making money while doing it and then it does have some worth, just not enough for me. I am a man who prides himself upon extracting and compiling as much worth per minute of each day as I possibly can and, to play racquet sports while doing so. I am joking about the hand-gestures and overuse of eyebrows - I am what you would call a "nice" guy and a "gentle" man and a "proper" person and all things not nice, gentle and proper are either beneath or beyond me - depending on where I hid them and where I happen to be standing. Squash is a wonderful game - I love to run hard, work up a sweat and figure out a strategy that helps me win or at least not only lose all of the time. It can be a lot of work, but I am usually up for the challenge and when it is all over and I sit in the steam room stretching, I feel like I have accomplished something - nothing major like building a fence high enough to keep the prying neighbours from seeing me suntan in my backyard (who am I kidding - I don't tan, I only burn and excuse me, but I like to burn in peace. And yes, I do understand, that in times of war, I should still use an SPF of at least 45). No, the feeling I get after finishing a tough match is more like tying my shoelaces with hands covered in vaseline while swimming away from a playful seal - I have never done this, but it sounds challenging and it is in my current top 10 of completely made up daydream accomplishments. I still haven't decided if I befriend the seal in the end or if the seal is fairly standoffish and turns down my invite for tea. Or if I should give the seal a turn with the shoes - who am I to hog all of the shoe-wearing in this scenario? This is quite different from an actual daydream, as it is purely made up and I'm trying to think about it often enough until the dream just happens and then later on it actually occurs in real life, which is the opposite of how it usually goes down in my life where real events turn into daydreams and then into figments of my imagination. Most of my imaginary friends and possessions used to be real and that is why I cry myself to sleep most nights. For the record, and in case the lawyers need to know, the seal's name is Guido. 

I have always loved cooking. Or more accurately, I have always loved cooking aside from that one week when I was 16, when I just didn't like anything except bouncing a ball against the wall and curling my tongue. There is just something about preparing food that makes me happy. I also love eating the food. I love planning the menus, buying the food, cutting it up, cooking it and feeding the results to my family. I'm not a huge fan of watching the cooked food go into their mouths as that is a little weird and hard on the eyes almost like staring directly at the sun (I do take photos of them eating and stare at them after everyone else has gone to bed which is only slightly less weird or possibly on par), but I like seeing their satisfied faces after consuming the meal. Cooking is a hobby (some people call it a chore and I call talking about those people another hobby although sometimes, when I'm tired, it feels like a chore) and I look forward to taking out the knife and chopping up the vegetables and then watching them fry in the hot oil, defenceless. I also enjoy grating things, which is a welcome break, for all around, from me being the thing that is grating. Seeing the thick, proud, seemingly-
impenetrable block of cheese transformed into a mound of small strips provides such a release for me although, I am quite aware that the tables may be turned some day (in fact, we were contemplating rotating them later this week). Someday the cheese may rise and overthrow us. I am expecting it, what with all of the melting and I am just trying to become one of the humans spared - they will need someone to wash the floors. I also feel that there is nothing more pleasing then whisking a thin cheese sauce and watching it thicken on a beautiful autumn afternoon just after the rain has stopped. The loose sauce reminds me of myself in my youth - loose, pretty pale, lacking a sense of fashion, a little lumpy and then the whisk comes along and the sauce metamorphizes into my older self - thick (in a good way - like I'm not just going to start oozing all over the room when company is over, or at least, oozing a lot less then I used to), bubbly, and delicious (I would say so myself, but true story - a random group of religious zealots just happened to stop me on the street the other day and comment on my relative deliciousness apropos to nothing, although I could have been mistaken as they were speaking in what resembled tongues and I was trying not to appear to interested as I have a tendency at being sucked in and idolized by zealots of all shapes and sizes). There is a time and a place for cooking - the time is almost always 9 or 6 and the place is usually the kitchen or, in desperate times, the front hall closet. I hate be restrained (unless there are multiple pigs and a saxophone involved) and I am trying to open up my mind to new times and places to cook. Like why can't I cook at 2am in the bathtub? Or why can't I create a temporal wormhole where time and space lose all meaning?  Or throw away all time pieces and cooking equipment, paint the whole house black, cover ourselves in molasses and let the wrestling begin. We can order in. There may be lots of questions asked. My favourite meal to cook is weekend brunch but I have to qualify that by saying that I was bought off and they got to me. Previously I didn't care for weekend brunch, but after hours of brainwashing and sampling some of the finest brunches in town, I gave in and now I love it. I have always said that if I have to be brainwashed at least let me eat some really good Hollandaise at the same time. So now, I make omelettes, frittatas, smoothies and entree-sized salads with a smile that is very similar to the naked eye to all of my other smiles and even can be mistaken for my grins and smirches as well. Brunch is fleeting and in a blink of an eye it is over especially with certain company who takes more than their share. As for my least favourite? I don't love making school lunches in the evening before going to bed. More accurately they are the bane of my existence mostly because I was advised to have a bane in the first place once I earned enough points to have an existence (and it took a long time, let me tell you). They just go hand in hand I was advised. So when it comes time to make the lunches, I'm tired, it's redundant and I'd rather be watching TV, even a show where they are making school lunches - "poor sap", I'd think, watching that guy on TV making lunches, "stuck making lunches like a loser" I would get close to mumbling before noticing that I too, am a lunch-making loser. At least I have new socks, so there is that. You know I did take exception to be called a "lunch-maker" as I found the term both repulsive and derogatory for reasons that made very little sense and could have just been a result of watching too many gory online videos after making one too many lunches. I also appealed the term loser, but I was told that I had signed the contract and should have paid closer attention to the finer print which is ironic because I am 1/10th finer print by birth. There is a certain amount of power providing sustenance for a group of people - it's almost like "I am allowing you to eat now - pray before me! Which always sounds good in my head or in front of the mirror in my room (that mirror has witnessed many a self-affirming diatribe and now won't settle for anything less or else it will be "too tired" too reflect and will give me a refraction instead which does not do much for my self-esteem), but significantly less when said at the time especially because everyone's mouths are full. I always chicken out and continue to feed those that love me, although I have started to wonder about the relationship between the food I give and the love they return and their relative values and wondering if we could make a killing if we bundled the two together - I did go as far as buying a chart and some over-sized graph paper that is lying in an unused pile in my closet next to my pile of old newspapers just waiting for a paper mache day, my framed portrait of a dog-Mozart (it is so cute sitting at the piano with that look on his face) and my collection of used mops. Those graphs of the food-to-love equations could sell like hotcakes and even more so if we threw in a few hotcakes to sweeten the deal (I would provide some sort of sweetener up to a point and then you'd have to purchase some as honey does not currently grow on trees). Don't get me wrong, I love making food for my family and I don't take the responsibility any lighter than I take any other responsibility (or any heavier - and I have had them weighed - it is usually within 5 lbs) and I don't want or need anything in return except for the occasional series of pats on the head or the back, some unexpected jerky and something to grease my wheels, preferably grease.

I love puzzles of all kinds - crossword, jigsaw, math, ones involving action figures - you name it! Puzzles are fun in-and-of-themselves and also because they make me feel smarter. I'm unsure whether they actually make me smarter, but I don't care - all that matters is how I feel. A few minutes of puzzling and I feel like a new, incrementally smarter, man ready to face the world. But, I don't want puzzles that are too hard as those ones make my head hurt (most likely from all of the banging), cry for my mommy (who never answers my cries!), and feel less smart than I did before. Puzzles that are too easy aren't great either - no, what I'm looking for are ones that are just challenging enough without being an insult to my intelligence and a waste of time or overly frustrating. When I find a puzzle like that and I solve it I am overcome with emotions (I'm usually found weeping like a little boy or bleating like a little lamb or contemplating cooking a nice meal of roast lamb and handing it out to the very first little weeping boy that I see.) My current favourite are large 2000 piece jigsaw puzzles. These puzzles occupy a huge piece of prime real estate on our living room floor for the time I am working on them. I have tried to get lost in a puzzle which is really hard to do seeing as I am quite three dimensional  - I once had this amazing dream where I became two dimensional after a horrible vacuum cleaning incident and was able to live inside the puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed aside from all of the dust inside the puzzle box until I started missing some of my favourite, three dimensional activities and then I couldn't break free as I had put down a damage deposit for a new two-dimensional living space and had also signed up for some two dimensional pilates classes and wanted to get my money's worth. In the end, I enjoy sitting down and putting some pieces together, standing up and shaking my legs that have fallen asleep and then walking away - I really enjoy walking away and have considered writing a song about it. I could get lost in walking away from puzzles but, thankfully, there are always walls and/or couches to bump into. I also love Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzles. They are the correct level, they make me feel smart while doing them and I love the play on words. For those that are just joining us, I am absolutely taken with wordplay and expressions and these crosswords are right up my alley, which was hard to construct seeing as I live in a townhouse complex where no alley previously existed. It is very probable that I will get fined for the whole alley thing, but I will argue that it was beyond my control, it was my destiny and that the crossword made me do it which is all very hard logic to argue against and believe me I tried throughout my youth with my crazy, crossword-completing, destiny-following, alley-building grandfather. He followed his destiny until his last day at which point he was fairly certain he had made a wrong turn a ways back and also that he should have drank more milkshakes with ground flax seed and kale for the fiber and nutrients. Finally, number puzzles have always been one of my favourite activities. I enjoy "seeing the numbers dance" or dancing myself with stationary numbers all-the-while trying to convince the somewhat shy numbers to come join me on the dance floor. They claim the song is hard to dance to and that I am embarrassing them and that they would rather play a game on their phone. I counter by saying that it is my phone, that they are just numbers and that I should stop conversing with them as people are starting to stare and not that I mind people staring as long as they are doing it for the right reasons - like a perfect cartwheel - those are awesome. Numbers can do almost anything if you believe it, and even more if you sweeten the deal (just don't use anything too sticky). They can add, subtract, multiply and divide all while keeping a straight face and not blushing - very hard to do! They can also sit cross-legged for hours at a time while snake-charming or allowing themselves to be crunched up to a point (even numbers have a breaking point, I have learned the hard way - I wish I still had that 4). Number puzzles are logical, attractive and sharp quite like a take-no-prisoners accountant/model who will file your taxes by day and then hang on your arm at the club at night or like a model/accountant who walks the runway at night and keeps getting hired based on her looks and fired when she can't operate the calculator. I believe I am quite alone in this view of number puzzles and I am also alone right now with my number puzzles and the two of us are a team ready to take on this cold, hard world where letters and pairs of people dominate and aim to keep us down. I am also contemplating going back to school to study either modelling or accounting and eventually writing a thesis on how models/accountants will represent our best chance for survival when the aliens arrive as long as we have constructed enough runways. It's also highly probable, that one day in the near future numbers will rise and all those that fear them will tremble and shiver (we also plan to use a few high-powered wind machines mostly for the effect and also as we may want to take a break and go fly some kites). When the numbers are correctly in their spots and the puzzle is done I often put on a new shirt and then take it off and return it to the store as it is not my colour. What was I thinking when I bought that shirt?

So there you have it. You have now learned a lot more about me - the man behind the writing you probably skim through as it is so long. Why do I have to make it so long? Good question! I will work on making it incrementally shorter each week dropping all that is superfluous and redundant until it is only a series of vowels and periods. I hope you feel that I am relatableintriguing and human or at least not less of those then before you read this. I am quite relatable - some would say hyper-relatable and others would just refuse to comment. I have an immense amount of respect for those who refuse to comment for reasons that are totally beyond me and I like that arrangement - some things are better left unknown especially the code to my strange uncle's safety deposit box. Can you imagine what sort of weird stuff that guy kept? It is interesting how one comes across compared to how one really is and think of how hard that would be for two or five for that matter. Man, am I glad that I am not 5 people - think of the challenge splitting the bill or playing doubles! And all of the whining! I have been told that I whine enough for 10 people sometimes, which means if I was 5 people that would be like 50 people all whining for more sauce on their noodles or to have a few more minutes in the bath. While on the topic, I am also glad that I am not part man/part cat as I'm sure my cat-side would expect my human side to lick it clean and also for all of the unwanted attention when I'm shopping for clothes or investing money. One day I plan to write a book or just walk with more attitude - either way really. I also think it would be pretty cool to experience incandescence at least for a few minutes. So, what have you learned? I'm all ears - which is completely inaccurate except for the part that are my actual ears and then that is all ear - meaning I would love to know what you all think? I only require you to submit your thoughts in a 15000 word essay using correct APA formatting and references. Now that you know more about me can you help me make it big (I'm pretty sure I will need some gold-plated gloves, a bag of roasted pumpkin seeds and some industrial-strength yarn) or at least bigger (I have some clothes I am still trying to grow into) or failing that, can you help me learn how to whistle and snap my fingers? Once I learn to do those, I will be unstoppable! I'll just walk around whistling a happy tune and snapping and pointing at everyone making the shades and leather jacket-look slightly more tolerable to all of you critics out there always following me around, lurking in corners and critiquing my every move - it is highly probable that this evidence of my over active imagination that is always highlighted by an unhealthy dose of paranoia and superstition. I wish I could find a practical use for paranoia or have it be "cool". Anyways, I am always trying to improve and to grow and to become the best me that I can and I will only settle for second best when all of my sock puppets grant me permission (those sock puppets run a tight ship and leave me in a constant state of fear and with cold feet - all the freakin' time!). Writing this was not at all cathartic for me - sorry - you get what you pay for.