Weekend and After.

This weekend I got out of the city for the first time in two years. Shit, don’t let me do that again. Make me leave the city. make me take vacations, even if I am worried about time or money.

I was up at our friend JP’s place. He’s the caretaker for 20 acres on the Sunshine Coast, which is just about the best place in BC, as far as I know.

We slept late and drank wine and built fires. Some of the guys played golf. We ate a lot of delicious food and froclicked on beaches. It was the best. I can;t remember the last time I smiled so much.

And then this morning when I woke up to go to work, it felt like there were knives in my belly. And then I spent 40 minutes on the toilet. Finally it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to drive any cars.

I called in sick to car jockeying and teaching and spent most of the day asleep/dozing/curled in a knot groaning.

I thought I would be asleep by now, but it turns out, when you wake up at 6PM, you’re not tired at midnight. Although I am not as stabby-bellied right now as I was earlier.

I feel like I’m being punished for having a good weekend. I didn’t eat anything weird. Maybe it is psychosomatic. Maybe Work Brain wants me to keep away from carefree weekends so I can obsess further about work. Or maybe it is physiological. I had three days off and my body doesn’t want to go back to work.

Whatever it is, I wish it would stop. I’m tired of the pain now.

Solstice.

Today is the longest day of the year. Sunrise was at 5:07 AM. Sunset will be at 9:22 PM. And from today, the days will just get shorter.

One time, I went out with a bunch of friends on the solstice. We were excited about it. We talked about going somewhere to see the sun rise. We were young and didn’t need much sleep. It must have been a weekend night. At least some of us were employed. I hadn’t gotten the call from my boss to go up to Hardy yet.

We went to Boston Pizza at Metrotown and ate pizza and talked about where to see the sunrise. It’s, like, a special sunrise, we told each other. We have to see it. Cory fretted that we ought to have more girls than just Lisa and me. I can’t remember which one of us was sleeping with him at the time. Wil told us facts about how pagans celebrated the solstice. Todd remembered all the times he’d seen sunrises when he’d been awake doing drugs for three days.

We paid up and went to the parking lot where our cars were. It got dark. We said, ok, we have to find a great place to watch the sun rise. Stanley Park? Wrong alignment. Great for sunsets. Burnaby Mountain? Maybe on the trails? Cory’s roof? His dad would kill us. Then get us drunk on Polish moonshine and tell us about the jackrabbits he hunted as a boy in The Old Country.

We stood and debated for long enough that across the street, the sky slowly turned dishwater gray. We didn’t even watch the sunrise. We watched the dimming of the streetlights and the neon of Cactus Club, and saw the wig store and the work boot store slowly take colour as the sun rose. Without us watching.

Then we got in our cars and went home, because we were kind of tired.

Saturday Night Babysitting

It’s something I don’t do so often, but for Morgan and Tara, it is no hardship. For one thing, Tara is the best cook in the city, maybe the universe, and their fridge is always full of lovely things. Today I have eaten approximately 83 pulled-pork sandwiches with barbecue sauce, the creamiest, tangiest potato salad in the Western World, and been handed a Responsible Babysitter mojito, from mixmaster Morgan. Then they went out and left me responsible for their daughter, their dog Max, who is maybe a descendant of the Godolphin Arabian or else a giraffe, and their awesome technology. I think their TV is from outer space.

Today Morgan gave me an out as Simone has been ill, and he felt that I should not be subject to anything undue coming out of either end of the child. However, I was not dissuaded. You see, the thing is, I am actually very good with human effluvia. I was the girl at the party who could clean up the puke without, herself, throwing up. Is it an X-Man skill? I don’t know. But I can remember cleaning up puke and giggling madly with my friend Kevin, in Port Hardy. He was another one who could deal with barf, and we were so excited and happy to meet kindred puke-proof spirits in each other. It was surreal. We each had thought we were alone in the world, the only ones who could handle the noxious task, and then there were two of us against the puking world. It was amazing!

But I digress. Morgan stayed until Simone went to bed, and she had a few mood swings, but nothing serious, so I told him to go to the wedding. He set me up with the TV remote and that was it all.

They have just arrived home, happy to have had some time off. I’m glad I could do that. Oh, and watch True Blood.

Friendship History

In Els’s awesome van tonight, my friends were discussing the kinds of friendships their children have. Since I am child-free, mildly high on cold meds, and sleep-deprived, my brain naturally gravitated towards my own friendships. And, hey, friends, based on my experience, your children will grow and change and be different kinds of friends for different people.

See, I have been friends and been in different kinds of friendships with a whack of different people. I’ve had several best friends, at different times.

I’ve been The Leader, especially early in life. I was the kid who would try how high to climb and how far to range. Mostly, I was fearless.

I’ve been The Sidekick. Best friend was stronger/more attractive to boys/a better all-around student. My role was to be less attractive and to be a source of sound advice. Although, sometimes that was advice to the boys: My friend doesn’t appreciate you. Walk on.

I’ve been The Scapegoat. Briefly. Insulting me for no reason is a good way to lose me as a friend.

I’ve been The Sage. Sometimes even now I am The Sage, but I try to avoid it. I don’t know everything. I don’t want to.

I stopped having to act in Friend Roles in First Year of University. The close friends I made in University have held strong, mostly, for more than 15 years. With these friends, I don’t have a role. I am just me. And that rules.

The unexpected happened when I met E. I still have the best friends from university, and I can be me with them, but now I have E. He doesn’t complete me, because I am not a half a person. He makes me more than I would be otherwise.

He is my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. I have a lot of best friends, but he’s the one I think of first and last and always.

Apologies for the mush.

Taking Pictures

The problem with taking pictures is that the pictures don’t convey the whole picture. As it were. This is where I miss writing.

Here is a picture of a bee. What you don’t see is the full circumstances surrounding me taking this shot.

You do not see me, muttering at the bees in the flowers, tossing an aside to my landlady that bees are not very smart. They fly erratically. This is about the 15th picture I took of bees yesterday.

You do not see my paint-covered landlady, weary of rolling paint on shingles for the house as she and I talk about life in Sointula 30 years ago.

You do not see the interruptions from the upstairs dogs, snarfing and grinning and snuffling as they patrol the perimeter of the backyard for stray worms or delicious places to eat dirt.

That’s the problem with photographs. You can use all kinds of editing tools on them, crop them or make them sepia-toned. You can do a lot to edit a photo.

You can’t edit to show everything. You can’t edit to show the happiness of just being you, at that time, in that place. You can’t always edit to show love.

Elective Mute.

The kids I encounter all have coping mechanisms for being in a foreign country and learning English. I know it. It is fricking hard to be dropped into a foreign culture and be expected to thrive.

That aside, one of the most extreme coping mechanisms students use is to be electively mute. The kid doesn’t talk. Ever. Extreme, but it’s also very effective. Eventually, people stop asking you questions in a language you are not comfortable with. They let you drift.

But no one drifts with me. Not for long.

Two months ago, Moon did not say a single thing in class. Even to direct Yes/No questions. I got a slight shake or nod of head, and never eye contact.

I started with simple yes-or-no questions. I got a nod or a shake. Still no eye contact.

So I upped the goofy. I got her to make eye contact a few times with clowning around. Got a giggle acting out the answers and the ideas about what she was reading.

Last week she whispered when she tested her flash cards.

This week she spoke audibly, at least half the time.

It’s a start.

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