Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Breaking up with Studenthood – Politely

Dear Studenthood,

We’ve had a long run, Studenthood. There were those early, confident years where I basked in your educational sunshine. I’d never known a more comforting embrace than yours. Math races, Canada’s capitals, weather patterns, silent reading, story time, poster contests, school plays, and in-class performances – I could not get enough. You fostered long-lasting friendships, too. Sports day was always awkward but we powered through. The next day we were thick as thieves, seeking scholastic achievement again. Those were the glory days, SH; the spring of our relationship.

Things got a little tougher in high school. Do you remember, SH? The jerks were a little scarier and a lot bigger. They’d throw pennies occasionally. But even they couldn’t take the shine off of many classroom moments. There was poetry and science, the intricacy of the atom and the shameful history of Catholicism. As long as we avoided the topic of physics, there remained much love between us. You showed me greater freedom and student service. You gave me my weekends to do as I pleased. You respected my autonomy. The dog days of summer could be hard, but it was a great time.

Come to think of it, we’ve had a good run, you and me. As summer turned to fall and I began my university life, we remained close. I was poorer and had to work much harder, but I still loved you then. You woke my passion for knowledge; you inspired me. You drew connections in the world I had no idea existed. I added a degree thinking I could not get enough of you. But our energies waned. You grew demanding. I grew depressed and lazy. We couldn’t be everything to each other; it wasn’t sustainable. We closed out just shy of the Dean’s list. I was angry then. And exhausted. We barely said goodbye. I fled the country soon after knowing it would be years before I saw you again, if at all. I never thanked you.

For a few years I didn’t give you much thought. It was like a long, still winter without your glow. Then, one day, I took a test – a “likes” test of all things. You were drawing me back but I didn’t know it at the time. I accepted the challenge, studied and wrote yet another test. I remembered the comfort of tests. Just me, the stress, and the page. Writing. Insular. I applied for school, unsure whether you’d be there to pick up the pieces. It was months before I knew if we’d meet again. I didn’t know if I would take up the call. Should I work? Live life? Let you go? But when the call came I couldn’t let it be. The opportunity, and the risk of regret, seemed too great. I accepted.

We had found a new spring. I was passionate again, excited, electrified by the privilege of your educational embrace. The material, the ideas and the understanding all seemed to fit. But self-doubt crept in far too quickly. I couldn’t trust you as before. Am I good enough? Can I do this? How on earth will I survive once it’s time to let you go? And that’s the perennial problem between you and me: Studenthood, you are my comfort zone, my four-month cycle of self-loathing. You make room for my linearity but also my quest for change. You’ve become my crutch, SH. I am deathly afraid to leave you behind. It can’t be healthy, this fear, this sense that I am a square peg in an ever-narrowing round hole. I used to think I could do, now I’m not so sure. You have me convinced that I can only survive in your arms. I think about making organic baby food more often than not now. The blossoms are wilting before they bloom.

It’s not right, SH, and I must move on. I’m not sure where I’ll turn in times to come. I may look for you again in that space between life and dreams, but I need time. So I say goodbye to your flexible schedules, your always predictable cycle of stress, your grades, your affirmation and your rejection. I will draw a wage, I will get two weeks of vacation, I will learn on the job. I will do. Wish me luck, Studenthood. It’s for the best.

Gratefully Yours,

Rose

January 7, 2012 Posted by | Books, Childhood Complaints, Photography, Self-reflection, Writing | , , | 10 Comments

7 Ways to Leave Your Lover Wondering What You’ve Been Doing with Your Time

Way back in 2011, just as the days could get no shorter and the music at the mall could get no more annoying in my corner of the world, Dana from zona pellucida found enough light in her day to nominate me for the Seven Links Blog Award. While it is inevitable to be occasionally slapped with blog love of some kind or another, this particular honour excites me because, aside from the fact that I think Dana is awesome and her reading my blog still blows my mind occasionally, it motivates me to really look back at my blog and my best posts.

I have a whopping 80 something blog posts to my name and yet this task of mine is stunningly difficult. What posts do I want to highlight? Which of my mangled moments are my favourite? How can I possibly find controversy and helpfulness in such a quiet blog? But I’m working on doing things despite being unable to -also why you’ll find way more than seven links- so here I go:

1. Most Beautiful

A most beautiful post? Yikes. I don’t generally go for beautiful, nor am I mega-comfortable calling what I do beautiful. But if I must, *batting eyelashes*, my Thanksgiving weekend post Meandering through life keeping fed and watered, about higher education and reuniting with Calgary after 7 years takes the prize. Woman Recovers in Vegas from Assault by Arizona Desert, about my near-death experience,  and Not quite speechless, about finishing school, come in a close second.

2. Most Popular

I’ve written about this before. My post, Words (and other things resembling words) that warm my cockles: #6, about anemones – really the word anemone – is far and away my most popular. This kills me since the post is not exactly a piece of brilliance. It has almost no personal significance. However, it also serves as a reminder that what sells most isn’t always what’s best. Sometimes, people are just confused about sea creatures. Happy to help.

My second and third most popular posts, are Grad School: Deep and Delicious and A Considerate Person’s Guide to Riding the Bus, or Don’t be an Ass, respectively. The first I would find just as perplexing except that consumer products seem to win the google hunt every time and the second makes sense because it had the one-two-three punch of humour, lists, and being the only post I’ve ever put up on Facebook.

3. Most Controversial

While statements I’ve made against James Bond and Malcolm Gladwell could be seen as controversial if anyone had cared/commented I hazard a guess that my most controversial post may be the one in which I question our western, self-affirming, just believe and you will have everything you’ve ever wanted perspective. In Anything I set my mind to – Part 1 I wrote about whether we can get there just because our mommy or mentor said that we could.

4. Most Helpful

It occurs to me that the most helpful post on my blog should be one that gives others something: information, inspiration, perspiration… something. Unfortunately, such posts are few and far between. Vindication for Foot Sufferers Everywhere may prove helpful to those with evil, evil feet and Just Overshoot Me, which tries to explore and explain the issue of ecological overshoot, may provide solace to those who feel alone in a world where we’re constantly striving to use bigger, better, more.

5. Most Surprisingly Successful

As I’ve said, I remain astonished by my top post. But looking a little further along the list, I am most pleasantly surprised that I Prefer My “Maiden” Name and You Can Too (or Not) has achieved relative success in views and comments. It is exactly the sort of post of mine that doesn’t usually receive much attention. It was very fun to write and I’m still excited about the name change. I must admit that I’m pleased this one struck a chord.

6.Most Underrated

Underrated posts are often “underrated” for reasons that have nothing to do with the  posts themselves. It’s a holiday weekend. You published it at two in the morning. Everyone and their dog posted in that period and people are simply fatigued. But sometimes, the post just isn’t that great, or just doesn’t evoke any particular interest are reaction at the time its published. Either way, the flops can be frustrating. Especially the flops you like the most. My first flop, It’s Not Me, It’s Him, was also my very first post, so no big surprise there. It was about a (purely fictional – ha) loss of a developing friendship. This loss may have occurred for any number of reasons but I’ve decided to blame hypothetical people. The second flop I’ve chosen to highlight is my rant about language and generalizations, Warning! Lecture Zone: Generalize at your own risk. I am persnickety about language at the best of times but when it’s hurtful I really get going. I didn’t manage to get many others going with this post.

7. Most Worthy of Pride

Finally, as proof that things really can come full circle, my proudest post is a response my first blog award, also from Dana, where she gave me the once in a lifetime chance to reject an award: Who me? Well if you insist. No, thanks. That post was incredibly fun to write. The fact that it occurred to Dana to fulfill my dream was absolutely priceless!

Once again, this post has meant much more to me than it could to someone else. But I’m grateful for this time down memory lane and the wonderful bloggers that have encouraged and inspired me. For some of my favourite bloggers, cruise my very limited blog roll. [Hi, blog world. I’m trying to keep myself under control. It’s tough. Forgive me.]

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Community, Hypotheticals, Self-reflection, Waste, Writing | , , , | 6 Comments

Still Working on the End

I have been longing to do a well-considered, well-composed succinct and inspirational post of my hopes and dreams for 2012. I know you too have been waiting with bated breath. But, it’s not happening. My hopes and dreams for 2012 will remain unknown even to me and buried with hopes and dreams for other years passed. We spent a long week at home. It was busy, full of moments, fun and exhausting. Every day felt like a week. I got sick. I did little. I had fun. I talked with nephews. I didn’t sleep well. The reading and introspection that I somehow thought I would manage did not happen.

I’m still sick, which may be why I don’t feel renewed. I’m clinging to 2011. I want to close it off and start the new year now that I am at home, my way, but am not sure what that would be. The New Year bell has gone unrung. I’m standing in Times Square trying to figure out what to do when the ball drops unaware that life has marched ahead. Alas, the year has started without me. As always, I have about 300 things I want to do. Aside from eating and catching up on blogs, I am doing none of them. Look at me go.

And so, I have no beginning of year pearls of wisdom. I have no resolutions, themes or goals. I plan to survive. I hope that by the end of 2012 I know what I am working towards in the years to come. But I don’t expect to know. Mine is a winding road the next few years. The sort of road that has few signs, but occasionally provides veiled encouragement. A Sunday drive sort of road. I may be tempted to pull over and picnic, camping out in a spot of comfort while my body races. I may be entirely wrong.

In this puddle of doubt, I am unsure what to say about the upcoming year. Today, I’m thinking of a few things:

  • Health. This year may bring me either more or less time at a desk. I’m unsure and I may have little control over it. What I can control is what I do with that time away from the desk. I would like to get my lower back to a happier place.
  • Acceptance. I’d like to accept when things are not awesome, rather than blaming myself for failing to turn non-awesome into awesome and rather than telling myself that I’m just not trying hard enough to be awesome. I don’t understand what I mean by this yet.
  • Writing. My plans to interview my mom and aunt were somewhat derailed. I move into the next phase of life earlier than originally thought, my aunt was unwell, I was sick and did not have the energy. Blah, blah. I did manage some spontaneous recording of my mom on New Year’s Day though. A welcome gift. I gained some insight into her perspectives on dating and marriage that are rather hilarious. I left for the holidays thinking I would either gather a bunch of interview material that I would use to start this new writing project or that I would pick up on an old project. I’ve decided to pick up the old project. Step 1 is to reread what I have so far and set some goals. I’ll post once I’ve gotten that far.
  • Giving. I am constantly stunted about what I should do with my life because I am obsessed with the idea that my work has to be mainly about giving. All kinds of people see their work as giving work. I don’t consider them wrong. I have done giving work before in one way or another. But I have never felt like I am giving enough. Others give outside of their professional life, they donate, they give their time or expertise, they unite people. Me? I think about giving. This obsession is paralyzing. It deems everything inadequate. It leaves me drooling in a corner, satisfied by nothing. It is not a motivator.

Quite a barrelful of thoughts for the upcoming year.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Hypotheticals, Self-reflection, Writing | , , | 8 Comments

Stewing Without the Beef

While painfully trying to complete my schoolwork without getting too sidetracked by tangential thoughts about everything that wasn’t what I was doing, I created a number of lists of things that would be fun to do when no longer trapped. Among them was a list of blog post ideas – the sort of thing that in days gone by (i.e. September to November, my only uber consistent blogging in history) would have resulted in an immediate, pithy draft about the matter at hand. I look at the list now and wonder, how on earth did I intend to come up with an interesting post about “What I love about the Christmas tree”? I’m sure it was brilliant, but I know not.

Interruption: I should stop here to acknowledge that I am in fact done that school-like thing that I was doing for the last few years. My post-exam elation was followed by a tremendous kick in painful places that brought me crashing down to Realityville. Nothing tragic, just a closer look at the paper I had yet to finish and the many useful, intelligent, utterly overwhelming comments on a draft. That was 40 agonizing pages of my life that I will never get back. I do not regret it, but it was tough. And anti-climactic. I finished just in time to recover it (with help) from the nether-regions of MS Word evil, email it, praise the universe and get to the shower for a real live theatre production (so much fun) that only extended my feeling of floating in between window panes, seeing everything but unable to escape. The point is, I am happy, but I am many other things too. And I’m giving myself time to feel those other things and not be upset with myself about it. Let the morbid me be for now. [It strikes me that I’ve made it sound as though there was a real live theatre performance in my shower. Sadly, it was just me cleaning my greasy self. The real life theatre performance was a splendid staging of Jitters, a three act Canadian play about egos, reviews, stage fright, “making it” in Canada, playing it up for producers and getting along.] Digression is a magical thing…

I’m still stewing on a number of the topics, including a new one presented to me today thanks to Dana. But one topic I need to deal with now for ritualistic purposes: at the top of my blog to be list, or almost at the top, is “Goodby Studenthood” (either I didn’t have the time to correct my spelling or I was being too brilliant about something else to notice at the time). It’s time dear friends, for me to go post-student.

Step #1: The dreaded sweatband featured here is a relic of my undergrad days. I bought it in first year for a Richard Simmons Halloween costume (so sad that I don’t have a scanner). It somehow morphed into my study band, only to be worn once things got desperate, always upside down (damn the man and all that). The sweatband is being ritually burned this week. I would post pictures but my camera is still languishing sadly in Calgary. Documented or not, the burning will happen.

Step #2: I have to change my about page to reflect this new post-student life. It will take skill and determination, but I will do my best. I should also change my avatar since it too features the sweatband [I suppose once this is published these matters will no longer be in evidence].

Step #3: I have to organize all of my binders, course packs and other student paraphernalia into two categories: the limited number of things I am keeping and everything else. The everything else then gets given away, sold, or calendarized (seriously, it’s happening) to be sold at some relevant time when people might actually want to buy Remedies: the Law of Damages.

Step #4: I must post a damning eff you to studenthood, despite the fact that I am still for many purposes considered a student for the next year. Me oh my. Can you feel the anticipation?

December 20, 2011 Posted by | Brackets, Law, Self-reflection | , , , , | 9 Comments

Not quite speechless

I wanted to capture this. This moment. This confusion. The pounding, shaking, reverberating pulse of my body. The sense of impending tears. The excitement,  anxiety and fatigue all culminating in this mass of jello on this god-forsaken doctor’s office chair. My outward battle has not been particularly violent, but the inward battle has been protracted, painful, bloody and probably, in all seriousness, taken years off my ticker.

I’m wide-eyed. Trying to make lists and pretend that life is normal. Then making fun of myself inwardly for thinking even for a moment that life might be less than normal. People end things every day.

Today I point heartily at the mean one, the self-critic that has her place but is a little too comfortable at centre stage. Let others take the role for a change. I point at her, I call her out and I tell her to shut up. It feels good.

I will damn well celebrate because I feel like it. The day is mine, the week really, as I’m actually not done. I have not sorted out that whole war, poverty, hunger thing; cured cancer or developed the newest

I happily think of my dad today. I know that he never would have guessed. I know he would cry. I don’t find my accomplishments amazing. But I know my biased father would have. I know that I come by my crying honestly. Today I’ll let that ride.

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Law, Self-reflection | , , | 11 Comments

A Brief Hiatus

OK, the time has come to admit temporary defeat. Exams are next week and very little preparation has been done (by me, that is). I am reinforcing my tired old procrastinating student pity me campaign: “Oh, I have exams, isn’t it terrible? I would like back pats for failing to do my work all semester and cramming information into my brain while dealing with the pain of sitting in a chair 12 hours a day…”

I consider this official notice that I do not expect to blog for approximately 10 days. I’m sure you’ll make it through but I’m sad about it. Do not be alarmed, I read the odd blog while I eat. I may comment, too. Don’t judge 🙂

I shall return without dirty study band in short order, for better or worse!

If I go from looking like this...

...to this, I'll let you know.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Mr. Lonely | , , | 11 Comments

The Wedding Dress that Keeps on Giving

Given my inner burn to recycle, reuse, avoid buying, and decrease the flow of stuff to the place that stuff goes to die, it may come as no surprise that I actively seek ways to wear that item, often cursed in the closet for its girth, its awkwardness, its expense: ye olde wedding dress. Lawn bowling, bathtub cleaning, and the water park are a few of my favourite dress destinations. This inner burn is perhaps, um, less than classy. I can hear it now … you might be a redneck if … you wear your wedding dress to parties and people ask you where the other half is.

[For those of us not interested in the ridiculousness that is a relatively boring wedding dress shopping narrative, skip to the ridiculousness of me photographing myself in it earlier this week.]

In a classic example of the battle of wits between mice and men, or in this case, mother and daughter, the wedding dress search and purchase was a compromise. I wanted colour, maybe electric blue. My mom wanted conventional, virginal white. Aside from that whole purity thing which irritates me, and the princess thing which makes me uncomfortable, I really wanted a dress that I could wear again, at least in theory. My mom – somehow – got that I was pretty strong on the white issue and didn’t put up too much of a fuss, though she fought me to the death on high heels. They were a must in her book. When I suggested, every so gently I’m sure, that I wouldn’t be able to walk at my own wedding, she said with a smile, “too bahdd.” Take that, contrarian daughter! (In Retrospect #1: I still regret not pushing back harder on that one. Matching ballet slippers would have been pretty fun.)

So, along comes my mother for dress shopping, and magically, things went relatively smoothly. I tried on a few bridesmaids’ dresses before finding something that we both really, really liked. It was dark brown. I love brown. My mom primly suggested we look at the other colours available. Being so completely reasonable, I agreed to look at the swatch card, which had a number of colours that excited me and a number of versions of white that caught my mom’s eye. Then, our gaze magically landed on the silver square of fabric at about the same time. We looked at one another, our eyes meeting like two people in a bad movie who thought they hated each other until they discover their love in one another’s brow, scent, and sheen. (Is that a weird thing to say about your mother?) We were of one mind. (In Retrospect #2: I kind of let my mom get her way by agreeing to silver, it’s not a colour after all, and could be mistaken for an almost-white sort of dress. It certainly didn’t make an electric blue statement.)

To fast forward, the silver dress was ordered, it was a hit (with me, anyway), and I later wore it shamelessly at my 29th birthday party – a “wear something in your closet you have no excuse to wear” party. I couldn’t have been more pleased to get the news that I had an excuse to wear it again, at a black tie affair with dignitaries and other lesser life forms, that I was invited to by association. The affair was fun, the dress appropriate, the food excellent, and the company lively. There was however no dancing. How I love to dance (link includes a full length view of said dress). I also learned that the affair may be an annual one, which means that rather than selling or cocktailing (it’s a term) the 3 – seriously, three – full-length gowns in my closet as I had planned, I may in fact hang onto them, or let the closet hang onto them.

Sadly, my camera is happily bumming around in Calgary like some sort of teenage delinquent driving her mother crazy and I was unable to get a proper picture of the full effect. We’ll have to accept my impressions of a three-year-old twirling in a tutu in the dark that I took at the END of the night.

In retrospect, I could have repositioned the computer, moved further away, and turned on a light

I also could have smiled and moved the barometer

I shall return to things of relevance, or things that involve less shopping, in my next post.

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Brackets, marriage, Waste | , , , | 8 Comments

Unsettled and other Tales of YIKES

Things are a little unsettled over here in my neck of the woods. Good news, weird goings on, and the usual impending doom mean I’m all a flutter, quivering like butter. The wind mocks my inward state.

 

When every utterance makes your heart jump

but not with romance

and when your stomach sinks

at the sight of entrance

is it selfless concern

or self-preservation?

when your imagination runs wild

and you question your safety

are these unfair assumptions

or animal responses?

when it’s not about you

but you is all you know

the fear of tongue-lashing raises tension so high

collective avoidance

or unified support?

Watch the plaster come off

let it crumble

patch it back hastily, deficiently

or turn away

… hope it stops.

November 24, 2011 Posted by | Mr. Lonely, Self-reflection, Writing | , , , | 6 Comments

Trespassing Prey – Part 2

 An adoring fan (I kid) inadvertently encouraged me to put up more of this story I wrote a number of years ago. You can find the introduction here, if you’re so inclined. In the interest of avoiding a 12-post series, this section is lengthy. It’s also from a less succinct period of my life. I seek forgiveness.

As always, the first kilometre was tough, finding a rhythm and warming our muscles up to the idea of a good deal of work ahead.  We breathed the air in deeply, enjoyed the scent, shared our excitement, and thought about cougars.  For a while, we used a good deal of energy avoiding baby frogs that were making the journey from their nesting place to their new marshy home. They lightly hopped across the trail.  We enjoyed their energetic movements and cracked up about being easily distracted, lacking diligence in our attention to potential cougars.

After a brief break at the three-kilometre mark, we hiked on.  Here, the real work began, the climb became much steeper, which I hate, and covered with small fallen trees, which drove us crazy.  Every fallen tree required a strategy.  Most were a metre or more off of the trail – too high for either of us to straddle, very difficult to go under with a full backpack. We were further delayed because we had to stand around and complain before and after, again and again.  Luckily, a cougar did not choose such an opportune time – with one of us caught under a tree – to come sniffing.

Along the way, we fantasized semi-seriously that if a cougar were to attack us we could slay it with ease using the knife provided by Beth’s dad.Beth would keep the head as a trophy.  In a stroke of serendipity, the cougar would be female and lactating, to ensure that I could have some milk afterwards, for my stomach. Especially in the absence of my stomach medication – yes, that’s right, in my late night stupor the stomach pills had not made it into the backpack. Sigh.  This tidy cougar-hunting scenario amused us for quite some time as we hiked, satisfied with our plans.

After another 5km or so consisting of fallen trees, steep terrain, the inconvenient realization that I’d also forgotten my cell phone and our ride wouldn’t know when to pick us up, the trail levelled off and we came to a clearing with a cabin, thus concluding the lower portion of the hike.  We intended to drop off our wares, do the second leg of the trail and come back down to the cabin to sleep.  Our plans were foiled somewhat. The cabin itself did not have hospitality written on it – anywhere.  It was dank and dark, and seemed to host many visiting/nesting/pillaging creatures. Our tent was far more appealing and we set up camp in a nearby clearing.

But first, we had to find the trail to the peak of Mt. Cartier, which would apparently make the arduous hike entirely worth it.  Everyone had told us that after the cabin, the trail continues, but try as we might, we found nothing. We could go no further without a severe fight with some devil’s club.  After a number of attempts, we despairingly gave up on reaching the peak and glimpsing the fantastic view of the entire valley. No cabin, no peak, no view.

We didn’t pout for long before we quickly set to work making our home.  The sun shone, I started building a fire, and Beth, wielding the cougar knife, began preparing our tent site.  Each of us was quite happy to do our work. We pitched our tent, enjoyed the view and our dinner in the sun and chatted about nothing particular. Though it was most certainly on my mind, we still had not talked about the date. We were holding a stubbornness contest and neither of us wanted to be the first to bring it up.

After dinner I took it upon myself to figure out how to get our food and toiletries up a tree so that no bear would make us into a grocery store.  I threw everything in a garbage bag, tied a rope around it and looked fruitlessly for THE TREE.  Very few of the trees had unobstructed branches that I could manage to get the rope around. But oh how I tried. People always made this sound so easy when giving “bear aware” instructions, how hard could it be?  Very, apparently.

Eventually I picked a target, setting my sights on a branch approximately 5 metres above my head.  I wished myself luck, cocked my arm back, and threw the rope as hard as I could.  In a moment lacking triumph of any kind, the rope peaked a metre below the branch and fell limply to the ground at my feet.  Not to be deterred, I tried again, with a similar result.  I had no more success the third time.  Or the fourth.  I quickly became frustrated; my patience for my own failures is quite limited. I had no hope in hell of getting that garbage bag up to somewhere that a bear could not reach.  The fallen trees that we had been cursing along the hike now seemed very appealing – at least I could stand on one.

So I settled for an even lower branch, perhaps two metres above my head.  Pathetic.  I threw the rope, angry at my failure, hit the branch and almost knocked myself in the head with the rope as it came back down.  We were sure to be robbed tonight.  But refusing to sink further into patheticness, I threw the rope again and thankfully (for my self esteem), it came down on the other side of the branch.  So I pulled the rope, heaving the garbage bag mightily into the air before relishing in my heroic moment. I had Amazon woman strength.  Proud, I lowered my gaze from the glorious branch and looked straight ahead.  Sigh.  My heart sank.  The bottom of the garbage bag hung directly in front of my eyes.  Any heroism left in my feeble body was swiftly deflated.  How lame!  A two-month-old squirrel could have used the bag as a piñata.  I might as well have left a stick beside it to make things easy.  Alas, I assumed that this was better than having the bag in our tent and gave up, shamed and perplexed.

Exhausted and fearful of getting attacked (by mosquitoes as much as by cougars) we crawled into our tent to start one of those classic too early to sleep sleepover-type discussions. Beth’s mind, like mine, is over-active at night and we both struggled to find even a fitful rest.  I had silly dreams about dates and frogs and cougars and woke up every ten minutes changing positions. Every time Beth’s foot kicked the corner of the tent, the opposite corner, at my head, would pucker and scare me, waking me up frightened and sleepily alert. Beth got even less sleep than I did, disturbed by my kicks and tossing and turning at every sound and silence.

In the morning, we woke to a warm tent.  The daylight brought with it, as it always seems to, a sense of relief and safety.  We were alive.  Not even our toes had been gnawed off, and though uncomfortable and tired, we woke in good spirits, pleased with our adventure. This air of reassurance unfortunately was soon challenged by my physical condition.  The warm tent, the excitement, the lack of my usual milk remedy and stomach medication was starting to take its toll.  In search of some soothing protein, I found and delved into some peanuts.  I’m not sure where the peanuts came from because the food was supposed to be hung, but they were there and I ate them desperately.

Regardless, I was soon rushing to unzip the tent – the date’s tent, conveniently.  I mostly managed to direct the pathetic contents of my stomach away from the tent but to my horror was not completely successful. Is it a bad omen to throw up on the tent of the person you went out with 36 hours previous? Between “moments” I managed to get dressed and go sit by the fire pit to spare Beth any more of my scent.  I did my best to feel better, eating and throwing up alternately, while she packed up our entire camp without complaint.

… Stay tuned for trespassing, paranoia AND police.

November 21, 2011 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Hiking, Wild Animals, Writing | , , , , | 4 Comments

A Considerate Person’s Guide to Riding the Bus, or Don’t be an Ass

Dear Bus riders:

Thank you for riding buses. They are not always the most convenient option, sometimes they smell or they’re slow or fellow riders make less than surreptitious noises or engage you in conversations too deep for morning commuting. You’ve made sacrifices and you want them recognized. I understand. I too have been coughed on, driven past, glared at, or almost run over. But today I plead with you, ask not what your bus ride can do for you, but what you can do for your bus ride.

Just because you’re angry you don’t have a car to drive to work when it’s completely unnecessary or to go to your friend’s house to do things other than empower the homeless or combat the AIDS epidemic (in which cases a car would be needed for the pamphlets, bullhorns and information in your brain), does not mean you have to be a bus nincompoop. Don’t take your bus ride frustrations out on your fellow riders!

In case you’re unsure whether you’re a bus nincompoop, I’ve assembled this Considerate Person’s Guide to Riding the Bus, alternatively titled “Don’t be an Ass”:

  1. Be polite to the bus driver. Heck, say “hello” “good morning” or “thank you for putting up with my ilk”.
  2. Your purse does not need a seat. Neither do your backpack, pocket dog, feet, and chia pet.
  3. Before you step on the bus put your sense of personal space in the roof-top storage bin – there’s no place for it on that bus (my apologies to the Queen Mum).
  4. Unless you’re Rosa Parks, move to the back of the bus.
  5. Don’t stand needlessly in that hallowed spot by the midway door/release hatch. You will block people getting out, block people getting to the back (see #s 4, 6,and 8), and block people’s ability to remain non-homicidal. You are not Superman. You do not need to be able to leap out at every stop in a single bound.
  6. For the aforementioned make-a-better-concrete-block-than-a-pathway sort of reason, do NOT move to the midway door/release hatch until the bus leaves your penultimate stop. If it’s not going to take you a week and a half to get to the door and you’re not about to upchuck, stay put.
  7. Evacuate your seat (not on your seat) for elderly people, people with children, people looking like they’re struggling, and people looking around desperately for a seat. Hidden disabilities are every bit as real as visible ones.
  8. In case you missed it before or thought it didn’t apply to you: move to the back of the bus! The guy outside freezing his, uh, whiskers off, has as much right to be on the bus as you do.
  9. Unless you are hard of hearing, turn your music down. If we wanted to go to a Taylor Swift concert on a bus, we would borrow some strangers, then rent a bus and a Taylor Swift impersonator.
  10. If you’re still struggling with that personal space thing (#3) — don’t! (…unless people have in the past or are now abusing your personal space – in which case, do what you will).
  • Consider Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life. When riding the bus, you live in a house like the Catholic house. Kids are in the cupboards, swinging from the rafters and piled on the furniture like folded laundry.  When you get off the bus, you can live in the Protestant house with a 10-feet-between-people-at-all-times-except-for-the-conceiving-of-children ethic.
  • Expect this (the first minute should suffice):
  • Not this:
  1. And finally, making room for others does not mean forming a single line down the aisle and shrugging your shoulders at the guy standing outside freezing his, uh, whiskers off. Plug the gaps, shuffle, MAKE SOME FREAKING ROOM.

Sincerely,

Rose

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Bad TV References, Community, Irritated, Travel and intrigue | , , , , | 16 Comments