Thursday, 7 April 2011

It's A Long Story...

Originally posted January 20, 2010...

Hello Friends.

It wasn’t a good day to start off. I had recently read that compulsive alarm clock checkers (like me) are supposed to keep the face of the clock covered up, because all that insomnia-motivated clock checking creates is stress. So my alarm clock has been covered by a sock and I’d spent the last sleepless hour that morning trying not to check the sock. As fate would have it, the moment I finally decided to check the sock, my alarm went off, scaring the bejesus out of me. Then I poured myself some cereal, only to find that Jon had finished off the milk the night before and didn’t mention it or replenish the supply. So I left my dry cereal sitting in the bowl on the kitchen counter that morning which I had hoped would convey to Jon both “We’re out of milk” and “Go to hell.”

Anyway, after an improvised breakfast of Triscuits and blueberries (I don’t know why I didn’t just eat the dry cereal—the principle, I suppose, it surely would have tasted like defeat), I headed for the bus, which was running super late. When it finally arrived, with another bus right behind it (which is just a bonus “fuck you” to the people waiting half an hour), I reached into my wallet for my Metropass… and came up empty. A Metropass card is a Big City necessity that allows the cardholder unlimited use of the buses, streetcars, LRT’s and subways. I have to buy them because I take transit at least twice daily for work and the cost of paying individual fares would be prohibitive, but barely. A Metropass costs a staggering $121.00/month and I had just lost mine barely two weeks into January. Fudge.

By this time it was too late to run back home and scrounge for change; I had to open the store and couldn’t be late, so I had to use my debit card and take a cab, which naturally slowed down to catch every red light, and took unnecessary turns just to jack up the fare. When I finally got to work, rather than do any prep to open the store, I just sat in a sulk, wishing the hard break room chairs were my warm bed, and instead of pillows, I’d just have a line of vodka tonics. Actually, they would make lousy pillows, but what would I care, I’d be blasted. By the time some coworkers arrived, I was in full kvetching mode. I relayed my tale of woe to my coworkers, one of whom said “That sucks” and went on fixing her hair and the other who said, “Your Metropass is under your bed. I see it.”

“Horse-pucky!” I replied, grateful to finally have the opportunity to use the phrase. “No, it’s true!” she said. “I get these visions sometimes and I can just see it!” Rather than humour her, I ignored her (because I’m a stone cold bitch) and tried to mentally retrace my steps as far as the Metropass was concerned. I always keep it in my wallet, and on rare occasions, my pocket, and when I thought about the last time I used my wallet, my heart sank, and I knew it was gone forever. My last Tim Horton’s visit, I was using up the last of a gift card on my coffee, and when I went to fish the card out, part of my wallet snapped and cards went flying everywhere. I thought I had retrieved everything, but clearly my pass had fallen under something and I had missed it. So on my lunch break I called Jon and asked him if he would please check with the kindly Tim Horton’s ladies to see if anyone had found or turned in my pass. He called back about an hour later to tell me my pass had been found! As he was changing clothes to go to Tim’s, he bent down to retrieve a pair of socks and there was my Metropass lying under the fucking bed!!!

Dream: To have psychic ability.

Goal: Apparently, achievable. I could not believe it. I screamed across the store to my psychic friend, “It was under the bed!!!” and she goes, “Oh, yeah, I thought so.” Like I had just told her some innocuous thing. She wasn’t the least bit surprised or in awe of her freakish ability like I was. The best I can figure out, what had happened was this: The day before, on my way home from work, the streetcar was so packed that, rather than take out my wallet to put my pass back, I just put it in my pocket. Then I had thrown my jeans into the laundry basket at the foot of our bed (the same jeans I wore the next day because I’m filthy). That night, Jon and I had flipped our mattress (because I complain we don’t do enough “as a couple”). Flipping the mattress had upset the laundry basket, which must have caused the pass to go under the bed. The chain of events is so oddly specific that I can’t see how anyone could have predicted that outcome.

Plan: Unknown. When I asked my coworker how she could have possibly “seen” that, she said she’d always had those visions. “But if you lose something,” she said, “you just have to pray to St. Anthony. Not only that, though, you have to go to church and light a candle…” and that’s where she kinda lost me. I mean, I’m sure her spirituality has been fulfilling for her throughout her life, but I know nothing about any of the Saints and I feel like St. Anthony would drag his feet a bit if I lit a candle and prayed for “That Steely Dan cd I used to have. Y’know, with that song on it? The one that goes, like… geez, listen to me tell you what it goes like, sorry your Highness.”

So I don’t know how one might achieve psychic abilities, but I shan’t let that stop me from imagining situations where that would be extremely useful. Like…

Going to the movies. Wouldn’t it be great if, when you contemplated shelling out fifteen bucks for a first run movie ticket, you could predict whether or not you would enjoy yourself? I know movie reviews are supposed to do that for us, but there have been several occasions where I’ve gone to a well-reviewed movie and regretted it, and not just for the hipster cred of hating the mainstream. Like The Reader. I wish I hadn’t spent fifteen bucks on that. Did you ever see it? Spoilers ahead if you haven’t. Three quarters of the movie leads up to the big reveal which is that she can’t read, which is no fucking surprise if you’ve been paying attention. In the first few scenes, she’s with her much younger lover (the film’s high point, by the way. At one point she instructs him in her heavily German-accented way to “remove your trousahs!” and then he does! Score!), and when he brings her a book of sonnets or something, she says, “Read it to me. I’d rather you read.” at which point Jon leans over to me and confidently whispers, “She can’t read. I bet that’s why this is called The Reader. That’s what he is to her.” And the movie we passed up for The Reader was Milk, which we eventually saw and was much better. Thanks for nothing, psychic abilities.

Interacting with babies. Studies I just made up show that 9 out of 10 baby interactions are positive, but it’s that one percent of stupid, overly critical babies that make me wish I could predict their reactions. I love smiling big at a baby who will then smile back. Even better is the baby laugh from a funny face. My cheeks-puffed face is hilarious; it’s the 30 Rock of baby faces. But when a baby doesn’t smile or laugh it really chaps my ass. I mean, I’ve bombed in front of a crowd of drunken Greeks, but a baby? They’ve got no comedic basis of comparison at all! It’s not like they just came back from a Louis C.K. show and I’m just crap next to that. I could live with that, but come on, babies! You’re just babies! You think someone like, what, Dane Cook is funny? When you get a little older you’ll realize that he sucks!

Auditions. Oh man, actors, wouldn’t that be sweet? If, while waiting in those stupid hallways, I suddenly had a vision of ultimately being rejected for the part, it would be so freeing. “Yes, I’m James and I’ll be singing Moon River and my monologue is from GO FUCK YOURSELF HAHAHAHA!” and then I’d flip over that stupid “director’s table” they sit behind all proud of themselves and just run. Or maybe I’d stick around the stupid hallway and tell each actor in turn whether he or she would get the part. I was once at an audition for a play which was a contemporary update of a classic play (in other words: a failure) and waiting with me was an extremely earnest girl who was a little heavy. Anyway, she talked about how excited she was, and how this was her first audition in a long time, and how she “just wanted to be considered!” and she got herself so keyed up that she cried! The poor thing! By the time they called her, she was all red-faced and blotchy and even more nervous. Neither of us was cast, and in fact, in the part Crying Girl was up for, the director cast his girlfriend, who he had used in his last two shows. So what chance did CG have in the first place? I wish I could have said to her, “Screw this, we’re not getting these parts. Dry your tears. Shall we go get some chili fries?” And they would have tasted so good!

But I suppose the downside of psychic abilities is that, if you knew the outcome of every conceivable situation, you’d never take a true risk. And what makes life exciting if not the risks we take every day? If we never risked the bad movie, we wouldn’t be able to tell how good the good ones were. If we never smiled at a baby, they’d never smile back! And if we never went on auditions, we’d never get the parts. So, I guess the lesson is you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take, which is yet another moralistic if trite way to end today. But if you’re a regular reader, I suppose you could have predicted that.

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