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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

NY See: Missed connections

While having drinks with the guys at Therapy, it comes to someone’s attention that Billy has been texting a few times during the night. Men and their gadgets are like women and their shoes and handbags: it’s all about the newest and most stylish accessories.

While some of the others flip out their snazzy phones, I say that I can’t even text on my phone because it’s old. To prove it, I pull it out and show it to the others. Their faces say more than words ever can. They’re surprised that phone still exists (and works).
My phone is ghetto. It’s a few years old and resembles a brick. It doesn’t have a camera, can’t download music, and has a rudimentary game of “crabs” as a form of entertainment.

Jenny from the block ain’t got nothin’ on Steven from the ‘hood.

I say I don’t need it for anything but sending and receiving phone calls. It does what it’s supposed to do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work when I want it to.


After walking around for several hours in the area of Union Square, I’m tired and head off to the hotel. I have no desire to get up from my bed, but decide on getting something to eat since I’m hungry. The phone stays with me when I run out and net a nosh, and while I eat it on top of the bed, it’s within reaching distance.

The hours pass and I lie back on the bed and watch a little TV. My eyes begin to blur, and by the time they regain their focus, it’s giving an episode of Law and Order: SVU.

Did the phone ring? If it did, I must’ve been out of it, I think. I turn around and pick up the phone. No little envelope on top of the display. Nothing. Maybe he was having fun and just forgot.

Either way, since it’s late, I throw on my PJs and slide under the covers.


When I meet up with G, he asks whether or not I received his messages. He says he called twice and left messages – once when he left a show and once at the bar – and he also texted me. I didn’t get a single one. There’s no sign in my call history.

As we go around and take in the sights before our show, he mentions I would’ve enjoyed myself last night. He and his friend went to a hole-in-the-wall bar in Greenwich Village, had drinks and listened to drunk college students sing bad karaoke. Sounded like fun, especially when it’s at the cost of seeing others make fools of themselves.

I wish I could’ve been there instead of being zonked out in my hotel room. Yes, I realize that I could’ve called him, but I didn’t. I’m from the school of when someone says they’re going to do something, I let them do it - an assertion of one’s independence.

But, I can’t go back in time. Whether or not messages were sent is irrelevant. Whether it’s my phone, his phone, my provider, his provider, or the fact there’s some force-field around me that fucks up the space-time continuum, I don’t know.

Maybe all of this can be resolved with a new phone.

Anyone care to offer me one?

Monday, May 28, 2007

NY See: A little Therapy never hurt anyone

Getting ready to meet up with someone you never met for the first time can be a bit unnerving. Getting ready to meet up with a bunch of people you never met for the first time can be a hell of a lot more.

The plan is to meet at Therapy – a cool bar/lounge – at 5 p.m. for drinks. The name alone makes me giggle. I always thought therapy is the place you go to on the weekdays, in-between errands. Not anymore.

I need a quick shower to freshen up. The only problem is that wet hair and humidity equals to white man’s 'fro. Product doesn’t make much of a difference in taming the mane. So, I wear a cap to avoid the mass of curls that will continue to erupt from my head as the night goes on.

There’s a black dress shirt and a pair of jeans on the bed, but I decide against it (even though it looks good on me). In the end, I end up wearing cream chinos (that look like they’re four sizes too big), a black shirt with a v-neck sweater, and a black jacket. You can always throw off a layer if it gets too hot. To up the geek factor, I take an umbrella in case it rains again.

As I run to Hell’s Kitchen and walk into Therapy, I see there’s no one there. Not just from the group, but in general. I do remember Billy telling me there’s a small bar/restaurant next door, just in case Therapy isn’t open. When I open the front door, I see he’s sitting at the front table, waiting for me.

We enter Therapy together and place our bags and coats at the front of the lounge, where we’ll Bogart the entire seating area. A few moments later, I see a shaved head walking up the entrance. It’s Cooper. He looks just like he does in his pictures. He’s wearing a black shirt and jeans. Thankfully, I didn’t wear the same thing, or else I have a feeling we’d end up on Us Weekly’s “Who wore it best?” page (he'd win).

Chris saunters in soon after. He’s as tall as a sequoia. I’m starting to feel like a hobbit.

Eric, Brechi, and Mike end up strolling in within minutes of each other and they take their places around the three tables we saved.

Even though I feel like ordering my ‘old man’ drink of scotch rocks with a dash of Coke, but think it’s best not to freak out the others with my esoterically-eccentric taste in alcohol. Since I’m not a fan of barley and hops, I go with something from the menu. Fuck, it’s Happy Hour in New York! I might as well indulge in some libations before my VISA is cut up in front of me in little pieces by the server.

For the couple of hours, we talk about such topics as JMG, playing against a certain team, and Sunday brunch. It feels like we've known each other for a while, even though some of us have only just met. There’s no drama, a few laughs, and a lot of pictures being taken by four different cameras.

Of course, some of them couldn’t help but poke fun (lovingly) at the one from the land known as Canadia. And, I cleared a few things up for them: I am not from Halifax, I know Mike from Canada, we’re shorter up North, and being compared to Wikipedia isn’t bad (it’s better than being called an idiot).

On top of that, no one mentioned my accent (I didn’t say about once), and Cooper made me blush (which is a very hard thing to do).

But alcohol can only satiate our hunger, so the group walks down a few blocks to Vynl. It’s decorated in a way that can only be described as a disco jukebox exploding inside of a long and somewhat narrow space. It’s bright, colourful and more plastic than my Olivia Newton-John records (bah rah BUM).

Everyone places their orders and the words “I have to work out after this to burn off the extra calories” aren’t said. No one cares about counting carbs and eliminating bread from their sandwiches/burgers. But, Mike’s mac-‘n-cheese looks like it can make anyone gain two pounds by looking at it from across the room.

The seven of us eat, drink, discuss whether or not Pink Cadillac was sung by Natalie Cole (it was), although it was first sung by Bruce Springsteen (who knew?).

Unfortunately, some of us have to get going to other events and/or home to their poop scoop duties. Some goodbyes are said, while some cab it to the 20s and go to another bar. Before we walk inside, we’re carded. It’s non-discriminatory. They don’t care about how old you look, but how old you really are. How novel.

We don’t stay for long, and since my voice is shot, I decide on not having anything else to drink. I’m here for a few days and laryngitis doesn’t work for someone as vocal as I am (or can be).

With Billy and Cooper going in another direction, Mike walks with me a few blocks to his subway stop near 34th street. Before he goes, he talks about going to Burlington and I tell him it’s gentrified and much prettier now. Unfortunately, he was talking about Burlington, Vermont, not Burlington, Ontario (I’m such an egocentric Canadian).

In the end, they made me feel welcome. I wasn’t a wayward tourist to them, but part of their group. If you added a lot of yelling and pointing fingers, I’d think I was at home with my family.

If this becomes a weekly event, I wouldn’t mind coming on a regular basis. Only next time, I hope they pick a place a little closer to me.

Friday, May 25, 2007

NY See: Hotel hell-o

It’s been a long day. I’m tired, cold, and wet. The weather isn’t cooperating with my travel plans, and neither has my carryall. But, I'm almost at my hotel and I can leave those problems behind and focus on a new set of them.

Since budget is a consideration, I'm not booking a room at the St. Regis or The Pierre. It's a good thing I'm not picky when it comes to accomodations. I can fall asleep anywhere, just as long as it’s clean. A bed isn’t always necessary because I can sleep on the floor if needed. All I need are the basics.

Apparently, I should have higher standards.


As I flick the lightswitch on the wall, the room blinds me. There's a bare bulb in the ceiling and the walls are painted institution white. The carpet is covered in a dusting of joint compound because the room is being renovated.

The room is decorated in only the way that a blind, Korean grandmother would love. There is no headboard, a teeny tiny bedside table, and an old dresser (with no hangers inside).

Since the bed is next to the wall, I jump over it and go to the window to see the view. There isn’t one. The window is backpainted in black so you can't see out of it.

"Great," I say to no one in particular.

It's bad enough there's no television, but there's also no telephone. If someone comes into the room in the middle of the night, I can't dial 911 for help. Also, no one will hear me scream because the room is at the end of the hallway. If I get killed, the only way they’ll know I’m dead is when the cleaning lady moves my limp body to the side to make the bed in the morning.

I take a glance into the washroom. It's small, clean, and the plumbing works. There's a window, but it doesn't work since it's glued (and taped) shut.

Thankfully, I'm being moved to another room in the morning.

God forbid what's in store tomorrow.


When I open the door to my new room, I pray that I won’t be subjected to the Bates Motel. The last thing I need is to think of Anthony Perkins, dressed in drag, and holding a knife while looking over me.

When I turn on the lights, I’m pleasantly surprised. The room has halogen lighting, not a single bulb in the ceiling. The walls are painted in a zesty colour of lime, there is actual furniture (a headboard and dresser), a plasma TV on the wall, and a phone. It’s not luxurious, but it’s simple.

Best of all, there’s a window that opens… to an alleyway.

In the end, this room is a four-star suite compared with some of the places where my friends live. But, I shouldn't complain - most of the time spent in this room, I'll be unconscious.

Note: To all of my readers (and friends) in the USA, have a great memorial weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

NY See: Whether the weather

No matter how much you try to plan your itinerary for a forthcoming trip, you’re never prepared for the unexpected – namely, the weather.

Of course, if you’re travelling to the North Pole, you take something that’s down-filled, and if you’re going to Brazil, a swimsuit (and a waxing) is a no-brainer.

With New York being close to Toronto, the weather patterns tend to be similar: when it’s warm/cold in one place, it’s warm/cold in the other, and vice versa. Since the temperatures in Toronto are quite mild in May, I assume NYC will be the same. To make sure this holds true, I check online to make sure I need to pack t-shirts and shorts, instead of sweaters and slacks.

After a few clicks, I see that the next few days won’t require a supply of woolly separates - t-shirts and shorts it is.

When I arrive in the city at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m., I expect for it to be cool since the sun isn’t out yet. It’s not cool. It’s cold. And rainy. And windy. Very, very windy.

What the fuck, Mother Nature? Bitch, what did I do to you to deserve this?

Due to the fact that I don’t have a lot of body fat, I begin to shiver. My arms wrap around my torso to keep warm, but it doesn’t work. I begin to shake a little. I thought wearing a t-shirt, a v-neck sweater, and a lightweight jacket would be enough insulation, but it isn’t. Thankfully, I skipped on the shorts and flip flops when I left Toronto and decided on wearing a pair of jeans, shoes and socks.

As I walk towards Times Square, my carryall falls over for the umpteenth time. Whoever designed it thought it was a brilliant idea to place its wheels close to each other instead of further apart for balance. They should be fired. And shot… several times.

Looking down, I see the zipper burst open and my neatly-rolled underwear stick out of the side, as if I’m advertising my services.

“Motherfucker!” I yell at the bag as I try to shove everything back inside while frantically pulling the zipper up and down. The passers-by look at the spectacle and must think I’m crazy because I’m talking to myself and shaking.

Great, I come to NYC and I’m going to catch a cold… or the flu. That’s one way to make this a memorable trip, I think. Good thing the hypochondriac in me was neurotic enough to pack cold and flu medicine.

When I reach the intersection where Broadway and Seventh Avenue make an X, I see McDonald’s and go in. The coffee I order is hot enough to warm my hands.

As I sit at the window, I watch morning commuters pass by. Apparently, I must be the only one who is suffering from a mild case of hypothermia because most them are toing-and-froing without the several of layers of clothes that I’m sporting.

To kill some time before I check in to my hotel at 3 p.m., I take advantage of the fact there aren’t many people around (including those dreaded tourists – ugh) and snap some photos. With my camera in one hand and the carryall in the other, my hands lose all feeling in less than 15 minutes.

To keep warm, I find a computer terminal in the visitor’s centre that allows its users to go online for 10 minutes at a time. I e-mail a few people saying that I am in the city and that it’s freezing. One of the replies is: You’re from Canada, you should be used to the cold.

He’s right. I shouldn’t complain. I’m in New York.

In a few days, I’ll be seeing the sights, meeting up with people, and taking in some musical theatre. Sleeping will be optional.

And, if I need a sweater, Loro Piana makes great cashmere separates to keep me warm.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Under the covers

By the time I’m under the covers, and my head hits the pillow, I am ready to close my eyes and hope I’ll be unconscious for approximately six hours.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go smoothly, because I need a level of comfort to achieve a semblance of sleep: the room has to be warm, the bed can’t be too soft, the pillow should be to the side, and the room needs to be completely dark and silent.

Also, I need to be wearing something, like pajamas. I don’t understand why (and how) people can sleep naked. Women can roll around and wake up with a tit in their pit, and men with their, well, you know.

I tried it once and it was the most uncomfortable experience.

The entire night I kept readjusting myself, pushing it one way and the other. At least with underwear, it stays in one spot and you know it wont be moving (or be squished by an overzealous mattress) during the night.

And, God forbid if I had a hard-on. Can you imagine the shock of quickly rolling from one side to the other and crushing your piece? That’s the worst kind of wake up.

Also, the sheets get cold. And no one likes to wake up in a cold bed. That's another kind of rude awakening after a night of blissful dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sleep in fur coats. If it gets really hot, then I’ll throw off my pajamas… and I’ll slip on a pair of boxers.

Note: It's a long weekend in Canuck land, so I'm off until next week. I'll have plenty of NYC stories to tell. Enjoy the archives. There's some good shit there.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

There’s a hunger pang that I must take care of immediately. I’m in the mood for something sweet, but not in the mood for pop, chocolate or cookies. But, what? Ice cream. Ice cream hits the spot just right. It’s sweet, cool, turns from a solid to a liquid as it melts in your mouth. It’s practically magical.

Out of the drawer comes a spoon that I take with me to the freezer, as a compass of copious consumption. I open the package and dig in. First, I scoop out a little. Mmmm... It's so good. One more scoop. Then some more. Then, a little more. Oops, I have to smooth it out because there’s a dip, I think. One more spoonful won’t make much of a difference

But, it does.

As I look down, I see that I’ve already had ½ of the 2 litre carton in one sitting. That can’t be right, I think. But, I’m oh so wrong. Already, I can feel my pants tightening and my stomach bloating. For some reason, I’ve been scooping out more and more while sitting down, not realizing how much I’ve been eating. And, it’s only been 15 minutes. Shit.

Bad, Steven. Bad, bad Steven. Now, what the hell am I going to do? Put it away? Throw the rest out? Join Weight Watchers?

Nah. I’ll take out one more spoonful… to even out the top.

Note: Thank you to those who asked how I was doing. The answer is not good, but things will get better. Someday.

Friday, May 11, 2007


No one ever said life would be easy. It’s hard. Very hard. Every day is different. There are ups and downs. With every positive, there is a negative, and quite often, there are more lows than highs.

When the bow breaks, you have to look for a source of strength in order to pick yourself up from the ground, stand up, and keep moving forward.

For years, I have been that person who was there for others when they needed someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to, and a critical eye to avoid fashion faux pas.

Unfortunately, there are times when the blade has been in my head - if not my hand - and there isn’t anyone around for support. I may be the one who’s there for others, but they won't always be there for me.

So I have to find the strength elsewhere.

If it could be found on a store's shelf, I'd buy enough to last me for a lifetime; in bulk. Too bad Costco doesn't carry strength in industrial sizes.

So where does it come from?

Is it spiritual? If you put your faith in an otherworldly being, will faith be transcended onto you? Is it mental? If you brain believes you’ll be alright, will you be? Is it physical? If your body is strong, do you think you’re physically able to take on your problems due to sheer strength? Is it chemical? If you swallow a pill, can it program your negative thought process into something positive?

It could be one, some, or none of the above. I don't know.

The only thing I do know is I need to be strong now, and I don’t know where my strength will come from.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The eyes have it

It's true what they say: the eyes are the windows to the soul. Look closely, and you know everything that’s lies beyond the façade. The eyes can tell a lot about someone, even though they don’t realize it.

Mine are an almond shape that turns up slightly towards the ends. They are surrounded by a series of long, dark lashes. The colour - a chocolate brown - exudes warmth.

There’s something happy, laughing, smirky and snarky about them, with a touch of magic that is sprinkled in minute doses. The colour and shape also exemplify a desire and ambition to go after what I want.

Yet, there’s also coldness; a sharpness and harshness around the sides that can’t be hidden. This comes from years of life, living it the way that anyone does in today’s world.

Towards the centre lays sadness, and an opportunity for a tear to build. The disappointment and bitterness is apparent, no matter how much I try to smile my way out of a situation.

Those are the reasons why I don’t like people to look too closely. I don’t want them to know what really is going on inside.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Token of affection

As I’m inserting the $20 bill into the token machine, a man slithers his way from around the corner and stands beside me. He puts his arm on top of the machine and leans in.

“Hey, bud. Would you mind giving me a token?”

“Uh, no,” I say, collecting the small, dime-like pieces as they fall from into a dish and make a clink sound when landing on top of each other.

“Bud, I have to get to Bloor and Sherbourne. Can you spare a guy a token?”

Bloor and Sherbourne? Bloor and Sherbourne? I work in that area and I walked to the train station to save a token. This guy looks mighty capable of making the same trip. He doesn’t appear to be disabled. He also doesn’t look, act, or smell crazy.

“I said no.” I give him the evil eye.

“Well, then, how about some money?”

Turning around, I give him a look of Fuck, dude, really? Then, I turn on my heel and walk away. He gets the point without me saying a word.

The nerve of that man. It’s bad enough that I have a hard time giving money to people I know because I know I’ll never see that money again, but to give a token to someone because they asked is beyond my comprehension. A token of affection, perhaps? Perhaps not.

That, and a token costs almost $3 and there is no way I was giving this man $3.

Maybe I should just start asking people at the train station if they could give me a token. Like that, I wouldn’t have to worry about spending my hard-earned cash on the TTC and start spending it on things that matter, like alcohol.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lick and stick

For the past week, I've been working on a complicated mailing that required a lot of my time. There are approximately 150 large, manila envelopes that have to be sealed and stamped before they go out. Due to the fact that I must follow my timeline, I have to get someone else to finish the work because I am busy with a series of other projects.

My boss sees the strategically-separated groupings on the floor. “Steven, is there anything you need?”

“Yeah, I need someone to lick and stick,” I say while I scratch my head.

“What was that?” a voice is heard from beyond the partition.

“You know, like lick and stick,” I say indifferently.

A pin drop could be heard if it wasn’t for the fact the floor is carpeted. From the sound of silence, it seems that my reputation has already caught up with me without my knowledge.

“Oh God, did I say that? Out loud?” I roll my eyes. “I didn’t mean that. God, you people are awful. I mean… awful.” I can’t find the words to describe what I’m really thinking.

Even though my mind isn’t Ivory clean, their minds aren’t as pure as snow, either. Did they really think I meant something dirty? Who do they think I am, and how could they tell so quickly?

Note: Happy birthday, C.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Flashes of white

When the nicer weather arrives, so does the warmth. With that, people throw off their down-filled duds and slip into something less heat-confining: t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops.

But, there’s one big problem with that… their skin is really white. It's the equivalent of having the sun being reflected in a mirror. Seriously, if I see another pair of pasty-coloured legs, my corneas will stop working from retinal burn-in.

Unless people are naturally pigment-rich, they need a serious dose of colour.

Being the giver that I am, I want to either a) tell them to throw on a pair of long-sleeved shirt/pants, b) make them to go the tanning salon (either UV or spray-on), and/or c) rub self-tanner all over them. It’s the least I can do.

And, I won’t be doing it for me, but for the millions of others who have to endure this visual train-wreck; a series of flashes of white. Because when you think about it, who the hell wants to go blind in the season of sun and sex?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Turn around

As I was standing at the corner, I thought I saw a face from my past. A face I can’t forget, but should. The face, the body, the clothes are unmistakable.

Could it be? Could it really be? I think.

When the light turns green, I begin to cross the street one way, them the other. As we’re passing each other, there’s no eye contact on their behalf. It makes sense, since we haven’t spoken since the falling out.

The history between us is filled with highs and lows. The story did not end on a high note. It was mean and miserable. I was treated like shit. Why I bothered to care is beyond my basic comprehension of human nature. I shouldn’t have cared, but I did. Maybe too much. It still hurts to think about it. And, yet, I still do.

When we pass each other, I turn around when I get to the other side of the street. I turn around once. I turn around twice. I turned around, again. They continue to walk, without stopping and without looking back. I bow my head and look at the ground. My fingers comb through my hair, massaging my scalp.

After I compose myself, I shake my head a little and continue to walk. Should I turn around again, just to make sure my mind and my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, or should I move on?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Clowns are funny

Whenever people describe me to others, the first word out of their mouths is always the same: funny. I have no problem with that. In fact, I think it’s better than being called asshole.

But, after a while, being called funny becomes tiring. Although I try to keep people entertained with my witty repartee and snappy comebacks, that doesn’t mean the only qualifying characteristic of my personality is one of humour. Why can't they talk about how smart I am, my sense of style, or my backlog of useless pop culture and irrelevant social trivia?

I mean, clowns are funny and I don’t resemble a clown in any way, shape, or form.

It’s true that my nose can get red due to allergies. The hair is a little curly when it's humid. The lips are naturally red and pouty. The clothes have been baggy and off-coloured (it was the 1980's). The shoes I’ve worn can be a little floppish. There have been times where I’ve come out of a car with 10 other people (carpool). But, I don’t have a flower that squirts… I have something else for that.

Hmmm... from my description, I can see some similarities, but don't expect squeeze my nose because I'll hurt you if you do.

Note: Thanks to SB for inspiring this post.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Good morning rush hour

Even though Canadians are known to be passive-aggressive and polite in their daily demeanour, it doesn’t mean they can get pretty pissed when someone crosses a non-morning person during morning rush hour.

While I’m walking through the train station, the masses converge in one area in order to exit the building and enter the subway. In the near distance, you can hear the voices of two women. Shouting. Angry. Louder and louder as you get closer to the doors.

“Don’t you think I know you were pushing me,” says one with glasses, pointing at the thinner woman.

“I didn’t push you,” says the thinner woman.

“Didn’t your mother teach you any manners, you bitch?” says the spectacled one with greater conviction.

“I have manners, bitch, it’s you who doesn’t have any manners.” The other one’s response doesn’t have the heft of the one with glasses.

“Don’t you tell me that. I was polite, then you pushed me. So don’t you fuckin’ tell me I don’t have manners.”

The other one turns around and starts to walk away.

Don’t you walk away from me when I’m talking to you!” yells out the one with glasses.

“I don’t talk to people who don’t have the common decency to talk like an adult.” The thinner one uses her best passive-aggressive tactic.

“I am an adult, it’s you who’s running away.”

“I don’t have time for this.”

“Well, neither do I.”


Whatever?!” she huffs. “Fuck you, bitch.”

“Oh, yeah. Well, fuck you, too!” yells the other as a weak retort.

By the time I walk past them, I’m grinning from ear to ear. Free entertainment, how novel. It’s before nine in the morning, and I already got my wake up call, telling me that I am not the worst morning person in the city.