I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Sometimes a particular image crosses your line of vision and the only logical reaction you have is to stare at it. Of course, you can just turn the other way, but you can't. Your head snaps back, wondering what the hell is going on. It's like a traffic accident: violent, ugly and a total mess.

This happens to be one of those visions.

Not wanting to miss my train, I run across the street, avoiding streetcars. Unfortunately, it's inevitable that you will come across some pedestrian walking so slow, they're moving back in time. Swiftly, I dodge around these people, since I can't move through them. Someday, Steven, you'll have that power, I think.

Near the apex of my destination, I come across my vision. My living, breathing car wreck.

Harry walks in front of me, the same speed as me. It's impossible to walk past him, and I don't feel like running around him. I should, but don't. He mesmerizes me. Totally. And, for all the wrong reasons.

You see, Harry is follically challanged. Challanged in the way that hair sprouts everywhere below the neck. His head is shiny and freshly shaved - no nicks. He has no sign of five o'clock shadow. Fine. No problem, right? Wrong.

While sporting an olive green tank-top, you see the mess that Harry is in. Although sparse, the hair on his back resembles the hair on my head. Long and shiny hair. Frightfully disturbing. He's groomed from the neck up. Neck down is another story.

Harry certainly isn't embarassed about his situation. He has no problem walking around town like this since he has no visible farmers tan. I am not saying he should go out and wax his back, and Epilady his ass. The bear look exists in society, but I've seen it done so much better. And, with conviction. Harry's look comes across as half-ass, not full-ass.

Alas, what can I do? For I am only one man. One man in a bloody hurry to get to his train.

I don't want to look at this, any more. I run past him. I can't miss my train, but I have already bypassed a car wreck.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tit for tat

Reciprocity is an interesting word for which no one knows the meaning.

Well, they might know the meaning, but they certainly don’t know what it means.

Looking up the definition in the dictionary (courtesy of Canadian Oxford), the word reciprocity is the act or condition of being reciprocal – a.k.a. mutual.

In other words, tit for tat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not describing some huge act. No way am I going to give you a liver after having you buy me a drink. Doesn’t work that way. I’m talking about the simplest and most basic sense of the word.

Call, or e-mail someone back after they’ve left you an (actual, not an I’m bored, what are you doing?) message. Offer someone a ride home when they’ve been your taxi for several outings. Carry a bag for them when they’re overburdened with several. Buy them a coffee when they’re pulling out their wallet. Little things.

Yet, sometimes, people aren’t able to act on the simplest form of the word.

What does it take for reciprocity to take place? Who takes the first step? Does it have to be you? Do you have to reciprocate after someone does something for you? If you do, do you expect something back from them? If you don’t, do you seem like the biggest asshole who takes advantage of others?

I don’t know.

All I know is that I was always taught to do onto others as they would do onto you.

Which means, dinner and drinks are on you…

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wildest dreams, living nightmares

Her countless interviews with abusers, addicts, and adulterers earn Oprah a reputation as a stern, but caring talk show host. But, those shows don’t bring in ratings. So, once in a while, Oprah has dedicates an entire show to fulfilling the wishes of a few people. She calls it her Wildest Dreams.

In tear-inducing letters, these people ask for a helping hand to assist them with their downtrodden lives. Simple things. A wheelchair for a recently disabled loved one. A pair of eyeglasses to see the tiny print on prescription bottles. A conditioner that helps with tangles, yet is light enough for everyday use.

But, Oprah doesn't do simple. No. She does mini-miracles. Remember this is a woman who manages to disappear in front of our eyes while drinking Slimfast, only to reappear four times the size, then disappear again, gain back another 60 pounds, lose it, run a marathon, turn 50 and look better than ever, with her curly hair, high heels, clingy tops and skirts.

She can do whatever she wants. She has the power.

This Wildest Dream constitutes a struggling mother trying to keep her household afloat without sinking into the depths of depression. She takes care of nine children (three are hers, six are her brother’s and sister-in-law’s) in a three bedroom apartment in the bad part of town. To make ends meet, she works extra shifts at Starbucks, and makes personal sacrifices so her nine children can have a semblance of a better life.

Miraculously, she always has a smile on her face.

So, Oprah surprises her at work and tells her she is taking the day off. She has a surprise for her and her children! She’s taking them shopping at Toys R Us! Oh my God!

Back in the studio, Nate Berkus comes out of nowhere and offers his services in decorating her tiny, roughshod apartment. Sweet Jesus! New furniture for her living room and bedrooms! New stainless-steel kitchen appliances! Lord Almighty!

But, of course, all of this new fabulousness comes with a big problem: There is simply no room to store it all. So, what does Oprah do? No, she doesn’t get her storage. She buys her a new house! A wildest dream come true!

Her reaction exemplifies that of a heart-attack. But, she’s not ecstatic, she’s worried. She’s thinking the same thing I am, and it ain’t good. Taxes? Insurance? Utilities? And, this is only the house. Imagine how much money she has to spend on her family.

Oprah, remember this woman works at Starbucks. Last time I checked, no barista makes enough money to sustain a house and nine kids. She needs a job. Find her a position with a company that doesn’t include a frothing machine and twenty different kinds of drink flavours. Find her a position that allows her to make enough money to keep her family off social assistance and the streets.

This poor woman (literally) will have to endure an additional strain on her already stressed life. She doesn’t need another sleepless night wondering how she’s going to pay off another bill.

You have the power. Only one entity has more than you. And, secretly, you know you can make the crippled walk, the blind see, and Ashlee Simpson sing.

Oprah, I am sure your heart is in the right place. Correction, your producer’s hearts are in the right place. But, I have no idea where the hell their brains are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Giving good phone

From prior experience, I consider myself skilled at giving good phone. I don’t call people too early in the day, or too late at night. When I do get a hold of someone, my attempts at making myself a sympathetic ear, and a vocalized sparring partner, makes the conversation both relaxed and exciting.

Like a combination of a blanket and a pitcher of margaritas.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I have two very uncomfortable phone calls in two days.

The first call is on a Sunday night. It consists of a bad connection, a few words between two people, and someone hanging up – and it wasn’t me.

The second call is on a Monday night. This time, after someone picks up, and after the initial awkward pleasantries, I am told that they are too busy with work (it was 8:30 p.m.) and should call another time. Click.

I’m a little ruffled. Have I lost my touch? I thought I gave good phone.

All of these issues are laid to rest when I get a call on Friday night. I almost don’t answer since I am no where near a phone. When I do, I am pleasantly surprised. The conversation varies, but my attention never does.

So, maybe all of this worrying was for naught. Maybe I do give good phone. Maybe I am a good conversationalist and storyteller. Maybe I should charge $3.99 a minute, and 99 cents each additional minute...

But, maybe it just depends on who is on the other side of the line. I may have had two bad calls this week, but all it takes is two good people to make it work.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mr. Manners

As I’m walking down the street, enjoying the sunshine of a warm summer day, something shocking happens. So shocking in fact, it leaves me at a loss for words.

A young punk approaches me while I’m waiting for the lights to change. From prior experience, he’s probably going to ask for directions or the time. Wrong.

“Hey, man, give me a dollar.” It isn’t a question. It’s a demand.

Excuse me? Did he just say what I think he just said? Oh, he better not have.

My jaw drops and my brow arches. Pardon my manners, but how fucking rude! Am I supposed to depart with my money just because you asked for it? Sorry, demanded it?

Normally, I give out money to people when they ask for it - politely. “Can you please spare some change?” is often said with a soft-spoken voice. You rummage through your pockets for whatever change you have, and they thank you just as you place some coins into their cupped hands.

With the world in such disarray, I consider this transaction as payment for politeness.

But this young man is singled out for a reason and the reason is this: Attitude.

Of course, it doesn’t help that his gold- and diamond-encrusted necklaces around his neck and designer clothes on his back is probably another reason for me to ignore his request for compensation.

Sorry, but I ain’t paying for your lavish lifestyle. Who do you think I am, Russell Simmons? ‘Cause you don’t look like Kimora Lee.

Hey, man, learn some fuckin' manners, I say in my head. But, by the time I want to say this to his face, I have already walked four blocks up the street.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Limber (pt. 2)

In case you don’t know, I’m talking about my bathroom scale.

Participating in an S&M session first thing in the morning is not to my liking. There are countless others who feel the same. Too much pain for too little result. Placing it in the centre of the room, I make sure that it’s calibrated to the exact numbers I want it to achieve: Start at zero. No way am I going to be five pounds heavier than what I really am.

First, my right foot touches the pad while my left is still on the floor. As I raise my left foot on the other side of the scale, I put pressure on my right foot and I see the numbers rise dramatically. Shit. No, no, wait. Wait. Now, both feet are on the pads. Flat. I look down and I see the numbers. What? That stupid scale is wrong.

Without resorting to opening up my physics textbooks, I come up with a logical solution: less me = less weight. You don’t need Dr. Niels Bohr (or Dr. Atkins) to teach you that.

Slowly, I raise my left foot off the pad. The numbers on the scale move up and down. Achieving balance, I rest my foot against my right leg, creating a 45 degree angle. No change. While I move out of this yoga pose, I raise my left leg in the air and off to the side. Still the same number. My arms must be the cause of this. Since they’re contributing to a vertically-downward gravitational pull, having them dangling to the side is not beneficial to my situation.

To offset the uneven weight distribution, I raise my right arm to the side, then my left arm, forming a perpendicular line to my body. No change. Those brainiacs are idiots. They make me want to forget everything I’ve been taught in science class. I’ll never lose weight with their methods. To hell with my retention abilities – both memory and water.

The lack of change must be due to my left foot resting against my right knee. As I release the pose, I extend my left leg outwards, as far as it can go. My head lies parallel to the floor, and my eyes glance downwards. No change.

Come on. Think of something, anything.

Desperate as I am to lose at least one pound, I resort to one final move. The stage is set and all is silent. Moving my weight forward while slightly bending my right knee, I arch my foot and lay all of my weight on its ball. Tiny beads of perspiration start to form on my brow. My arms and my left leg bend slightly at the elbow and knee. The pose resembles Ganesha. It’s an Olympic feat. If this doesn’t get a 9.5 from the Russian judge, then to hell with him.

A final glance down to justify my determination. Ooh, I almost can’t look! And, the scale says I have lost a half-pound. One half-pound. Fuck.

I didn’t go through all this to lose a half-pound. I probably lost that weight in sweat while I was maneuvring my body in all sorts of ways that it isn’t supposed to go in the first place. Something good does come out of it; I know I’m much more limber than I initially thought.

Who says I’m not gymnast material? If an Olympic gymnastics coach would barge into the bathroom at this very moment (for whatever reason) and saw me, looking like a naked Cirque du Soleil contortionist, he would ask me to join the team… if he’s really desperate.

But, first I would have to lose a couple of pounds.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Limber (pt. 1)

You have to admire gymnasts for their ability to move their elasticized bodies in every which way without breaking a sweat. Whether they’re tumbling during their floor exercises, flipping in mid air over a pummel horse, or twisting their bodies as they fling themselves up and over the parallel bars, they make flexibility highly attractive.

Aside from their agile talents, part of me finds their gymnastic qualities desirable for other reasons. I feel no shame. There are plenty of people who have freaky things in their closet they probably wouldn’t want to share with the populace. The deviancy is delicious. In fact, you could consider it a Secret Single Behaviour (courtesy The Good Fight episode, Sex and the City).

A SSB can be done anywhere (as long as you have time and right equipment). Past experiences have shown me never to do this in public; it didn’t work to my advantage. Mind you, that doesn’t mean I can’t, but the possibility of encountering the same security guard while performing my duties, legally entitles me not to solicit a repeat performance.

Let me describe a personal SSB for you.

Early in the morning is the best time to do my SSB, and it’s normally in the comforts of my bathroom. In all actualities, it can be done in any room of the house, but if anything gets dirty (like me), the surfaces are easily wipable. Well, that and it’s the only room in the house with a lock on the door. The relevancy of a secret is lost when everyone knows about it.

While inside the privacy of the locked bathroom, I remove every article of clothing and place it on the toilet-seat. After checking several parts of my body to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary, or out of place, I continue.

Opening the lower cabinet, I find it hidden away from the greedy hands of others. There is the device that fills me with fear and total elation. It puts a smirk on my face. No matter how flexible you are, you’re always finding ways to contort your body into Kama Sutraesque poses to ensure a beneficial outcome. Use it incorrectly, and your body reacts negatively. Use it properly, and it’s sheer bliss. You’ll want to enjoy it for hours on end...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Something else is more

No one is ever truly satisfied with what they have. They always want more. Something else. Nothing is ever enough. Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s achievable, sometimes it’s not.

For some reason, it’s the unachievable things that make us want them more.

You want laughter. Someone who can change your mood. Something that puts a funny thought in your mind, or a smile on your face.

You want love. Someone that makes you feel wanted, feel needed, feel desired. Something that allows you to feel warmth, to feel comfort, to feel secure.

You want life. Someone, or something, that makes you happy to get out of bed every morning, and makes you sad when you have to go to sleep. Someone, or something, that feeds your heart and soul. Someone, or something, that wants you to want more.

You want it all. Sometimes you get it all. Sometimes you get nothing.

Such is laughter. Such is love. Such is life.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Supersonic hearing enables me to hear food cooking on the stove, while being in another room. It’s a good thing to have when you can’t keep an eye on two things at the same time.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop the food from burning. My supersonic hearing tells me the normal bubble of the broth has become a sizzle. Never a good sign.

Hearing the change of sounds, I run out of the bathroom, after taking a quick shower. I purposely don’t dress myself. No towel, no nothing – not enough time.

Most of the liquid has evaporated, and all that is left is a less viscous sauce. Not bad. A proper reduction enhances the flavour.

Little drops of sauce leap out of the pan, and I make sure to stand back. The pan is searingly hot and I don’t want to burn myself. Any bit of myself. There is no time to place a dish towel around specific, sensitive areas. And, even if I could, how could the damn thing stay still without falling?

The contents are being placed onto a plate and a little bit of fat pops and lands on my thigh. The sensation is that of a rubber band snapping on bare skin. Note to self: stand further back.

Even with my arm stretched out to its furthest, it happens again.

Owww! Burns. HOT!”

Quickly, I scrape the last of the sauce onto the plate. As this is happening, I hear two distinct pops. Drops splatter out of the pan and onto Johnny. Sizzle.

“Oh my GOD! FUCK! It burns. God, does it BURN!”

I drop the pan into the sink and grab the dish towel, hanging on the oven door. The droplets have made red marks on my, uh, appendage. The more I blot, the more it burns.

“Ooh. Ooh. Ahh. Ouch.”

Eventually, the pain subsides, with the help of a cold compress. The marks, unfortunately, remain.

Who knew that cooking could be such a dangerous endeavour? Maybe that’s why our parents are always warning their children not to play with the stove when they have to go out. They were right all along… at least about one thing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Like sands through the hourglass

As seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours turn into days, days roll into weeks, and weeks change into months, never did I imagine time can pass by so fast when you're not counting.

So, imagine my surprise when I find out Human Nature has been around for six months. Who knew? I can tell you, up until a few days ago, it wasn't me.

This platform was initially (and still is to an extent) a selfish one. Me, me, me, all the time. Six months later, things have varied, slightly - my age, miraculously, stays the same.

Comments and questions, thoughts and opinions roll around in my mind. As they leave a world of synaptic stimuli and onto a universe of digital impulses, the more I realize I am not the only one who thinks about irrelevant and irrational thoughts.

We're only people. It's human nature, right?

To the readers of my ramblings, both past, present and future, you minimize the space between us. The success of this is measured by your reactions - whether you love or loathe, agree or disagree.

You bring me to life.

And, for that I thank you.

Now, where's the champagne...?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Drama chasers

With the world in a constant state of disarray, it’s no surprise that many of us are finding ways to alleviate forms of drama in our lives. From prayer to prescriptions, the methods of medication are endless.

But, what about those who want to add drama to their lives?

Nona is a woman who appears to live a happy life. Her marriage to a loving husband is solid. She has two bright and educated children. Her social life knows no bounds. And, her job is always fulfilling and challenging.

So, why is she a drama chaser?

There are certainly many reasons for her actions. Her marriage has seen better days. Her children are not meeting her lofty (and irrational) expectations. Her friends are “living the life” that she wants. And, her career, although fulfilling, screws her over time and time again.

But, in all realities, she lives an empty life and believes that drama is the only way to fill a gaping void. She makes it her job to find ways to assimilate her life into the lives of others – without them asking. She acts and reacts with every new possibility. More and more. An addictive personality. With conflict in her life (and conflict is always the source of good drama), she feels alive.

Ironically, although this drama gives her a reason to live, it also gives her a reason to feel miserable.

How strange.

Why someone would want a life like that, I’ll never know. Whenever drama comes my way, I’m always the first person to turn the corner or let it pass me by. That, or I’ll prescribe myself my own form of self-medication.

Who needs all this drama in their lives?

Friday, August 05, 2005


Every once in a while, she can get a little dirty. The debris that rests on the surface shows up in random spots. How I want to run a soapy sponge all over her body. Unclean is unsexy - no matter what you look like.

Yet, some people find that attractive in a person. In a car, not so much. It's reflective of its owner - dirty car, dirty man.

Preparation is key when washing your car. You spend a great deal of money and time on a machine, and you want to make sure it runs and looks as it is brand new.

First, I make sure the windows and doors are shut. Spontaneously washing the outside and inside of my car is not to my liking. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t own a convertible.

Bringing out the bucket out of the garage, I place a small blob of liquid soap inside, and fill it with water from the hose.

To ensure that I don’t get as drenched as the car, I unbutton my shirt and hang it on the fence post. Here I am. A man with flimsy shorts - which leave little to the imagination - and a bucket filled with foamy water.

As I soak the car, I recall those beer ads where several women dry-hump some undistinguishable car with large hoses between their legs, and master the technique of the hair-whip - it’s all about the hair-whip. Water is flying everywhere, yet the car remains amazingly dry.

If only.

With the sponge full of soapy goodness, I start to rub away at the grime. For a second I think I'm Paris Hilton in the commercial where she's washing an Austin Martin, while holding onto a motherfucker of a burger. Foam spooges from the sponge’s pores. Glossy bubbles float on my arms and chest. My shorts get all wet. And, on top of that, I'm scarfing down a sandwich.

Ah, to eat, perchance to dream...

After the sudsing, comes the rinsing. As the spray clears away the remnants of the bubbles, a touch of wind blows through my driveway and whips the water in another direction – mine. The cold water rebounds off the metal skin to human skin. Goosebumps appear and nipples become erect. It’s cold, refreshing, and strangely erotic.

The car is washed; no longer unclean. A shammy takes care of a few wet areas so there won’t be any water marks to mar the paint finish.

By the time I dump the leftover water in the bushes, I hear a very distinct noise. Splat. It better not be what I think it is. I turn around. The aural sensation of dread has just become a visual one. There, on the hood of my freshly washed car is a puddle of viscous, yogurt-looking liquid.

Dirty bird.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Nothing to sneeze at (pt. 2)

When I sneezed into my hand, I blew the resulting spewage sideways onto the glass. That was why my hand was clean. Now, the window is covered (in a rather pretty design, mind you) full of nasal excrement. Ewww.

Wanting to ignore the other passengers and their looks of disgust, I calmly raise my newspaper to cover my head and open it to the middle. Bad move.

Since the glass can’t be completely covered, splatter is still seen from the side. That, and with the sun blazing through the window, the snot is now being reflected onto the newspaper – creating two images of the same train wreck.

There is no way to remove the incriminating evidence. The other three passengers in my cubicle know it was me, so I can’t divert the blame onto some other person. This works when someone passes gas, not when someone sneezes.

What to do? What the fuck am I going to do? The options race through my head. None of them are logical, apart from suicide.

The only reasonable option, beside pulling out a bottle of Windex and some paper towel and wiping the crap off the glass, is to stay in the same position. Keep the paper elevated and open and pretend to read the same articles over and over again until the train stops at the station.

And, that is what I do.

The train stops at the station, and I make sure the other three passengers leave before me. When they’re getting up from their seats, I turn my body sideways to cover some of the mess, lest they are grossed out at the start of the day.

With them gone, I pick up my bag, leave the paper behind, and walk away. When the cleaning people pass through to remove the garbage, I’ll let them deal with my spewage.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Nothing to sneeze at (pt. 1)

The rumbling of the train, rolling along the tracks, lulls the passengers to sleep, while the humming fans from overhead keeps them unconscious. What a nice way to spend an hour traveling to and from work.

Being fortunate to sit next to the window in a crowded train, I look out and watch the vistas zoom by in a cosmic blur. The lush trees, the crystal-clear water, the industrial buildings; appearing progressively closer to the city.

The sun pours through the pane of glass and little flecks of dust are captured in the light. The particles appear to be snowflakes in the middle of summer.

My left hand reaches up to the window and my index finger traces little circles and random patterns. My right hand is holding onto a newspaper.

With every flick of my finger, more and more flecks of dust fly into the air. The breeze from the fans above, blow them around.

My nose starts to twitch as I inhale. Every exhale doesn’t help the situation. It’s like a prickling feeling in your nose; a feather with pointy tips.

Allergies are starting up again. Same time, every year. When the flowers are in bloom, my allergies become my doom. Why do I have to be allergic to something so prevalent in the environment? Why can’t I be allergic to things I can’t stand, like family?

Knowing that I am about to sneeze any second, I place my left hand in front of my mouth and make a semi-fist.

It’s coming. Oh Lord, it’s coming.

Aah, aah, AAH… CHOO!!

Finally. Relief.

My left hand releases its semi-fist and I look at it to see if there is any residue. Nope. None. Good. That means I don’t have to (discreetly) wipe it on my shirt or pants.

As I glance over to the window, I see something that wasn’t there before. What exactly is that pattern on the glass? A smattering of little dots. A miniature de Kooning abstract.

Oh, bloody hell, nooo...!