Err On The Side Of Hope

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This was one of my horoscopes this morning. It’s just a silly thing, of course, yet this one touched a few nerves, or something. I haven’t been able to read through and break it down into exactly which things set me off and why, and while I won’t do that here, I probably will do it on my own, at some point.

Alone, as I do most important things. Haha

I’m super emotional lately, too, so I’m sure that has something to do with my reactions, as well. At least my emotions aren’t in a constant state of overwhelming yet, though. I’m still weaning off my anti-depressants, so while I fully expect some roller-coaster rides of complete what-the-fuckery, I’m actually kind of surprised that it hasn’t been worse, so far. Much better than expected this time.

Some things about that horoscope:

  • I’m still in a learning period – always. I’m a lifelong learner, and don’t for one moment think I’ve got things figured out. Not about me, not about anyone else, not about the world. I think it’s good that I’m at least aware of that fact, and that I don’t pin all of my learning on my childhood. I know I have more to learn than I already know.
  • It’s true I have a hard time accepting my childhood, though. And my adulthood, but my childhood more. I used to hate that kid. Now on good days I tolerate her, but thus far haven’t come close to liking her. I can’t even think of any one quality to like about her, so the notion that someone else could basically makes me think she’s lied to you, too. Also, I don’t like people, anyway, so this should come as no real surprise, either. Haha
  • If my adult life is the fruit of the imperfections I corrected as a little girl…then I’m screwed, with nothing much to look forward to. Which I suspected was the case long ago, so I stopped trying. Instead, I focus more on just trying to be better than I was; better tomorrow than I am today. I feel like that’s a more attainable goal, and works in both the short and long term. This blog was supposed to aid in that, but I can’t bring myself to do it properly, nor can I bring myself to make time and do more on the side. It’s not making me a better person, it’s not shedding light on any kind of truth I could share, and it sure as hell isn’t improving my writing, so I’ll likely just finish out the year and be done with it. It’s too hard not to edit, or write about different things because I know certain people will read it – it’s all just not really me. And I have a hard enough time trying to figure out who I am as it is, without worrying about who other people think I am and how to live up to that.
  • Which brings me to that whole part of the horoscope about the people close to me love the child they see inside of me…that may be true, but since no one is close enough to really see the actual kiddo, I’ll be taking those opinions with a huge grain of salt. Of rock salt, probably. If I don’t let anyone get too close, they won’t be able to prove me wrong, it’s absolutely true.

But they also won’t be able to prove me right, and I prefer to err on the side of hope.

Writing Prompts – Day 2 of 12

Day 2:  The One That Got Away

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One

That Got Away.” What happens?

 

I realize that I’m not quite doing these things right, but at the same time, they are writing prompts, and I am writing about them. So suck it. I’m doing it how I wanna. Haha

Anyway…I’m going to delve into the vault of my actual past relationships for this one, just out of curiosity alone.

I was trying to figure out who I would consider to be “The One That Got Away”. I mean, every one of them dumped me, not the other way around, so in that sense, they all got away. Most of them, I was eventually glad they got away for various reasons, but there are three in particular that I miss, and still sometimes wonder what life would have been like had we not broken up. Of those three, one was unlike any relationship I’ve ever had, and was only ever meant to be temporary. It was more of a glimpse into what I would like to have for myself in the future, rather than any kind of permanent long-term thing. It was always going to end, and it was never meant to be 100%, but I feel like she’d be proud of the person I’ve become, and into whom I am continuing to grow.

She wouldn’t be proud relationship-wise, obviously, because a) I haven’t been in one for a good 7 years or so, and b) I never did find the kind of pairing she’d shown me I’d want for myself. Almost, but not quite.

So that leaves me with the other two, and they are actually more alike than different, as far as our relationships went, so for the purpose of this exercise, I can pretty much use both, instead of one or the other. In this case, they are sort of interchangeable. They are both also the closest I’ve been to realizing the kind of relationship I want someday.

They are not interchangeable as people – at all – but as far as what would happen if I bumped into either one of them on Valentine’s Day. Or any day, for that matter. It would all go about the same.

For some reason, when I first pictured this encounter, it took place in a restaurant. Why I would be in a restaurant alone on Valentine’s Day is beyond me, though. Unless it was McDonald’s.

And neither woman lives in this city, so bumping into either of them would be a surprise, to say the least. However, in my first instinctive scenario, both would be with their families. The families they built on after dumping me. Both had a child or children when I met them, and one has more now. Both are married (to men, because neither was actually gay to begin with – I’m just that spectacular for short periods of time), and both love their families; families of which I’d wanted so badly to be a part. So naturally, if I’m going to run into The One That Got Away, she’s going to be happily living her life with someone else, and – more importantly – without me.

That is going to simultaneously hurt me to my core, and make me happy to see her smile.

Maybe she introduces me as an old friend. Maybe some of the people at the table already know me. Maybe she’ll tell me a little about the job she loves, and about where she’s living now. She’ll definitely share something about the kiddo(s) I know and how they’re doing now, all grown up.

She’ll ask how I am.

I’ll lie.

Even though she’s obviously happy and enjoying her life without me, I won’t want her to know how I’m actually doing. It doesn’t even necessarily have anything to do with her – or not as much as it might seem – but not having a job I love and not seeing anyone right now…just all the “nots” that she has now and I don’t. I’m jealous and sad and blaming myself for not being good enough to give her the happy life she deserves, and is now enjoying right in front of me.

I’ll tell her I’m at least okay, that things are going pretty well, I’ll brush off the relationship question and deflect everything with humour.

Then I’ll leave, because even though I’m in McDonald’s on Valentine’s Day, I suddenly don’t have an appetite anymore, and I just want to go home. I’ll flip through some old photos and memories, imagine what might have been, and allow myself to feel for a brief moment as though she’d just gotten away all over again.

After that, I’ll pour myself a drink, break open a bag of chips, and watch some TV, because no one needs to feel that much misery over someone else’s happiness.

Especially not when it’s someone you love.

Harambe

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Ugh I’m so torn!

Do I join the rest of the uneducated masses spewing forth ignorant, empty of thought opinions online about the whole gorilla thing? Or do I continue to bite my tongue and hope my simmering rage will subside on its own before it boils over and spews out on its own? Haha

Such a quandary!

I mean, on the one hand, my opinion is no more or less valid than anyone else’s, even though I’m pretty sure most people are just wrong. Haha

But what would be gained from my babbling rant being added to the rest of what’s already out there? Nothing. It likely wouldn’t even change anyone’s attitude nor opinion, and would instead preach to the choir, just like everyone else. And you know how much I hate being like everyone else.

So given that what I think isn’t more valid than what anyone else thinks, what about the benefit of remaining silent and moving on about my daily life? Surely there are many good reasons to do that. Except my opinion isn’t less valid, either, and with so many voices out there loudly decrying the opposite of mine, it’s hard to believe that I should be the one remaining silent when so many others are selfishly putting theirs out there. And you know how much I hate being like everyone else if no one else notices how delightfully different I am.

I guess the deciding factor is really in the notion that I’m sure some people think they know what I think, and as that is not necessarily the case, it’s probably best to do my own talking on the subject, rather than let anyone else do it for me. I don’t really have time to put my thoughts into any coherent order, or articulate them very well, so this is pretty much all reaction to the public reactions I’ve been seeing all over the internet since the incident occurred. There is, as always, a boatload of judgement flying about, and should-haves and accusations and finger-pointing at where blame ought to be laid. Many are using it as proof that their soap-boxing ideas are correct, and most seem to see it as a black and white issue; a blanket for all animals, or parents, or children, or zoos, or zoo staff, or whatever. I don’t even know. What I don’t see is much discussion about a) this particular incident with this particular animal, and b) alternate viable solutions other than the occurring result.

So, let’s see…couple of quick things, I guess.

  • To those who say Harambe (he had a name, and a personality, which is weird considering he wasn’t a person by definition) and all animals should not be in zoos, he was captive-born, so what you are really saying is that he should never have been born at all. And if that’s what you think, then you have no right to be upset that he has now died. If you think he had no right to live in the first place, then how he lived and how he died are none of your concern. Move on and find another argument to waste everyone’s time with.
  • To those who say zoos are terrible, unnatural places for animals, I can counter your blanket statement by pointing out that they are better, healthier and allow for more natural behaviours that nursing homes, seniors residences, group homes, orphanages, foster homes and any institution which house our physically and mentally challenged citizens. Those statements are both true in some cases, but in many are also false. Each scenario should be judged on its merit alone, and not all lumped in together into one general assumption. Inform your opinions. Seriously.
  • Human lives matter more than any other species. To humans. Pretty much every other species would say the same. As always, there are exceptions to every rule, but even for me, while logic dictates that the member of the NON-endangered species should have been killed instead, my biological instinct, or whatever, is to save the child, even though there are a billion more just like him on the planet already.
  • I get why tranquilizers weren’t used. They don’t take effect immediately, and would instead agitate Harambe further, along with all the screaming and crying from the hairless apes around him. What I wonder is, given that things like this happen ALL THE TIME (not just in zoos, either), why no one has worked on finding other quicker alternatives to outright killing. There is a good ten minutes of middle ground in there. Why aren’t we looking for methods which would fit in between tranquilize and kill? Is it because killing is so often our first option that we don’t bother to look further?
  • What did the wee tyke learn from his trip to the zoo that day? A healthy respect for non-human animals? Doubtful. A greater awareness that rules are in place for a reason, and that they actually apply to him? Also doubtful, considering the number of grown-ass adults who also climb over fences at zoos these days. I suspect that all that will be retained in that kid’s still soft skull of his day at the zoo will be whatever other people tell him. For sure he wasn’t punished for going somewhere that’s supposed to be off-limits to him, so he won’t even have learned that, either. Those are the kinds of things that are supposed to be taught before going places – following rules, being a member of society, that sort of thing. Of course, most of us grown-ass adults also don’t abide by such general rules, either, so it’s really no wonder that kids don’t ever learn.
  • More and more, we have to protect animals from ourselves and from other people, not the other way around. Your dog should not have to be muzzled so he doesn’t bite some kid who hits him with a stick. But he is, because it’s easier than teaching the kid not to hit. People expect that zoos are there to entertain (they’re not), or to teach children to respect wildlife (if only their parents would learn that respect as well and pass it on themselves, instead of expecting zoos to do it for them), but the way I see it, they are there, for the most part, to protect wildlife from human beings. We poach, we destroy habitat, we trophy hunt – it’s our fault that so many species are on the brink of extinction, while we spread across the Earth like a cancer, consuming everything in our path. And yet, even in captivity, or sanctuaries, or reserves of any sort, we just can’t seem to keep them safe from us. Maybe because we can’t all agree on the best way to go about saving them. Maybe because we can’t even agree to disagree on the best way and try a bunch of different ways in the hopes of attaining the best results. We’re too busy arguing with one another to bother thinking about the animal in front of us; the one we put there with our own greed and ignorance.

There’s more, but I am out of time for today.

Rest in peace, sweet Harambe. Thanks for saving that kid’s life, even at the expense of your own. I’m sorry some people think you should not have been born; I’m not one of them. I’m glad you were here, and that your final moments highlighted one of many ugly truths about the human race.

We’re still making it all about us.

Over Everything Brain

Oh, 2am anxiety and your devilish sleep-stealing-ness. I’ve not had a chance to miss you yet! Perhaps try staying away for longer next time?

So freaking tired today, but still upbeat, because after this I am of for the rest of the week. The construction guys were louder than usual this morning, so I don’t anticipate being able to sleep in tomorrow or Friday, but we’ll see. I have some things on the go that I will probably do better getting up early for, anyway.

Met up with a friend for catch-up drinks last night after work. So much fun! And really nice – I feel like our conversation covered a lot of territory in a relatively short period of time, and that’s always a good thing when it happens. Hopefully we’ll do it a tad more regularly now that the weather is nicer, so that we have less catching up to do next time!

Sucks that my brain wouldn’t give me a break in the wee hours this morning, though. I hate not having a place to go to in my mind when stuff like that happens. It makes everything more difficult, really. I’ll have to figure out a new one soon, I guess. It’s like my subconscious knew the whole time when I lost my usual go-to…maybe even before I realized it myself…and now it’s toying with me at every opportunity. Lame brain.

I used to want to be some kind of detective when I grew up. Not like a cop, exactly, but more like Nancy Drew. I read a bunch of Nancy Drew as a kid. Maybe all of it. I had a library card and my mom and I would go to the library quite regularly and I’d sit on the creaky wooden floor in the children’s area and pore over all the yellow-spines of the Nancy Drew hard-covered series and try to figure out which ones I hadn’t read yet. It smelled like books in there. I still love that smell.

When I’m rich and famous and design my own house, there will be a library and a movie theatre, and I’ll collect old books so as to always have that smell when I want it, and I’ll have a big air-popper for perfect theatre-style popcorn and hire someone else to clean that mess ’cause I ain’t doing it. There will also be an observatory – perhaps in some kind of tower – and a huge plot of land for all the animals I rescue.

Indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, small private gym that I almost never use but when I do it plays 80’s music a lot of the time.

You guys can come over and visit sometimes, and we’ll have full scale murder mysteries to play when we’re feeling particularly feisty. There will, of course, be secret passages and the like, as well.

It’ll probably be on an island (which I’ll also own), but I’ll charter various modes of transportation so you can get there easily, don’t worry.

What was I talking about? Ah yes, detectiving.

I liked all that cool mystery stuff – invisible ink, puzzles, codes, fingerprints, and a trail of clues to follow. I used to try and make up mysteries for myself to solve (this was way before the interwebs, kids, so I couldn’t just Google shit; I had to use my imagination) using old photos and documents and…just anything laying around. I liked calculator watches and anything with hidden compartments. I mean, even now, the deluxe Lost DVD complete series collection boxed set is one of the coolest things I own. I still haven’t discovered all the goodies hidden inside that beauty!

‘Cause therein lies the problem with my career as a private detective. I suck at it.

My brain just doesn’t work that way. I either don’t dig deep enough or, more often, I over-complicate everything. Over-think. Over-analyze. All the overs.

I love, love, love whodunits…wow. My maternal grandmother did, too. That just hit me. She was always reading murder mysteries and such. I never made that connection between her and I until literally just now, as I was typing “whodunits”. In my mind, I was thinking of TV shows and movies more than books, but as soon as I typed that word, I had a vivid recollection of her bookshelves and the jokes about how such a nice, tiny, elderly lady could love reading about such grisly subjects. Nothing to do with whatever I thought I was going to say. Just a sudden link between her and I.

Aww…I miss you, Nanny. ❤

I’m sorry about the stuff I lost. I know you know that, but I also know you know that knowing you know doesn’t make me less sorry.

Anyway. Mysteries. I love immersing myself in them; suck at solving them. That’s kind of why I like the TV series Motive so much, too. It tells you who the victim and killer are right at the beginning, and then it’s all about learning the how and, most importantly, the why. Also, I’m not sure I could love actress Kristin Lehman more than I do already, but you never know. I guess anything is possible.

As I got older and ran out of classic Nancy Drew to read, I spent some time with The Three Investigators, though only in book form. I of course watched Pamela Sue Martin as the girl detective as much as possible…and I think I still have a book at home called Susan Super Sleuth, now that I think about it…Sue is such a good detective name, and yet…I fail. At any rate, I’ve hosted a couple of boxed murder mysteries in my day, and was blessed to have friends get completely into their roles each time. I loooooved all the Carmen Sandiego games, both on the computer and that TV game show thingy. I really want to check out some of the city’s escape rooms someday, too, though I will probably suck at those, too. The brain, the braaaain! The over everything braaaaain.

So long as there aren’t actual lives on the line, or anything, though, puzzling through various types of mysteries is really very fun for me. Be it a book, TV show, film, or something more personally and/or physically involving like murder mystery dinners or escape room puzzles – even games like Clue or those insane word puzzles that I always have to draw a chart for in order to figure out. I love all that stuff, even as I fail at it most of the time. It’s the puzzle, the questions, the awesome gadgets (I love gadgets), and that rare sense of utter victory when you actually figure it out without being told.

I guess that might be part of what makes me a good detective at my job, too. Even with this new system in place, the things I can do can’t really be taught. It’s kind of impressive. My talent in that area only exists here and holds no value in the real world, of course, but at least it exists. I’m feel accomplished – extremely gratified – when I’ve solved one of our little mysteries and sorted everything out.

Then I usually write a lengthy email to document and share my own brilliance, but that usually falls a bit flat. Nevertheless – I know when I rocked something, and I know when I’m one of the only people who could.

In other news, I’ve lost just over 15lbs in just under 4 months, and that ain’t bad. It at least explains why it seemed so much faster than picture memories on Facebook would have me believe.

So that’s good.

Edited to add: I just found this. OMG. The 8-year-old me is squeeing her 8-year-old squee.

Alone Not Lonely

I read a post this morning online about women alone, as compared to men, in our society. It was interesting, and while some of it I’m not sure I agree with, the majority of it I found quite relatable.

I should probably include a link to the post, in case you want to see what I’m talking about. You can read it here, if you like.

So, there’s some discussion about how men are essentially allowed to be alone – we call them bachelors and they have their bachelor pads and man-caves and the like. There isn’t really a word for women who are alone – at least none that have positive connotations. Spinster, witch, crazy cat lady – it’s treated as an unnatural state for women to be in. Normal women are in relationships and surrounded by family and friends most of the time. It’s what we all aspire to, whether that’s because we were raised to, or society impresses that upon us, or whatever. Women can only lead happy, complete and fulfilled lives if there are other people around, whereas men can either let themselves get “tied down”, or hang out by themselves and enjoy their bachelorhood. They can choose, and both options are seen as perfectly acceptable. Women…not nearly so much.

Which I can kind of see, I guess. I hadn’t really thought about it – perhaps because I never really felt like I fell very squarely into either category, as far as general society is concerned. I think, to me, it’s more been the impression that preferring to spend time alone is often viewed as selfish, or antisocial, or the result of some sort of psychosis. Or some/all of the above. It feels, to me, as though it’s perceived with disdain in some regards. As a child, getting sent to one’s room is meant as a punishment, but I liked being in my room. I’d read, nap, write, play alone with Star Wars action figures, colour, listen to music – tons of things. I had a good imagination, and was very good at entertaining myself. Punishment for me would be to be forced to go outside and play. But technically I enjoyed that, too, so I guess it’d be more like, “go outside and find some friends to play with!”

Noooooo…..

The horror.

I think I’ve mentionned before that I would be an excellent shut-in type personality, if I could work from home. I would probably only leave to walk the dog. And now that I live with a dog again, I don’t really want to spend much time NOT living with a dog, so hopefully I will always be surrounded by animals and unconditional love. And we would go for walks together, because that requires very little effort on my part to be enjoyable for him. I pretty much just have to show up, and Brody is happy. He doesn’t even care what mood I am in – he’s just glad I’m there and that we’re outside together. I never have to, as the article thingy says, “arrange my face in a way that someone else would understand”. That goes for time spent in the company of animals, and time spent in the company of no one. Both are rather liberating, and I enjoy lots of either when I come across it.

But is that selfish? It’s antisocial, I guess, though I would also argue that it’s an excellent way to recharge my batteries so that I have the capacity to be more social as occasion warrants. Being “on” all the time takes a toll, after all. It certainly feels selfish, the idea of telling someone I’d rather be alone than hang out with them. So I try not to do that very often, because I don’t like feeling as though I’m not taking another’s needs into account in favour of catering to my own. Which I’m told would be a totally healthy thing to do, but it doesn’t feel good, so I don’t do it if I can help it!

The flip side, of course, is that I am also painfully aware of my inability to be a good friend or partner to anyone. So much time spent alone means that spending time with anyone else, or a group of anyone elses, is a huge thing for me. It’s stressful, and exhausting and taxing and frightening and overwhelming – along with all the good things it can also be, like fun, hilarious, emotionally-uplifting, creative…time with people you care about is priceless, really. It can take a load off, carry you forward, pick you up, and also recharge your batteries, just in a different way.

For me, so much time alone means that I get all that in theory, but have had very little practice, and am constantly noticing when I screw up, but haven’t quite figured out how to fix it when I do. Sometimes it’s a little like navigating a mine field, in a way. Like, do people actually want to hear what another person thinks? Or would they rather be listened to without judgement? It may seem like that depends on the person, but it also depends on the mood the person is in at that moment. And I’m terrible at picking up cues. Terrible.

I used to joke that I never knew if someone was flirting with me, which is true, but it’s also true for, like, everything. Realizing too late when I’ve pissed someone off, or hurt someone, or just misunderstood something and made another person feel un-heard or under-valued or un-loved. It’s like what’s happening in my mind is either way slow or way off whatever’s happening for the other person, and by the time I figure out what was going on for them, the damage is already done.

I feel like I’m behind and playing catch-up almost all the time. Like everyone else made the jump and I’m still back near the start, only just now realizing that everyone but me has already moved on.

That makes me not easy to be with. I don’t know if I am easy to talk to as a friend – I assume that also depends on the person and the mood and the situation. But I know it’s not as fulfilling as it could be, were I better at it. I’m definitely not an easy person to be in a romantic relationship with. Sometimes I feel like I should apologize to everyone who’s ever dated me, though logically I know that’s ridiculous and that no one is perfect. I do wonder if knowing how much I struggled, and that I did so because I wanted to be with them, would make any difference, though. Sometimes.

I guess the fact that I find it hard to communicate with others, while often preferring my own company to that of other people, makes me at least lazy – if not completely selfish – when I opt to be alone. It’s just easier. But also enjoyable, and rejuvenating in its own way. So there’s that.

And when I do choose to inhabit space and time with other people, it’s because I really want to. Not because I am desperate for companionship, or that I need to be in a relationship in order to feel fulfilled, or that I’m afraid to be alone, or any of the other assumptions that can be made. It’s because I want to be with that person or those people at that time. I love my alone time, I love not having roommates, I love not having to arrange my face. Being around other people means I have to give those things up, and even though I do my best, I know it’s not always what is needed or even wanted by said others.

When I choose to sacrifice those things I love and hang out with other people instead, there are various reasons for doing so. Some aren’t even that flattering or well-intentioned to mention.

Sometimes, though, I forego those things I love simply because I love you more.

Out of the Minds of Babes

I don’t really remember ever wondering where babies came from.

I mean, obviously they came from the mama’s belly. She grew them in there like potatoes, or something.

What I pondered over for some time, instead, was why a baby would look anything like its father. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the father had to do with any of it, yet people were constatly talking about how much some baby or other resembled their father. Once it had been alive for awhile, I could see how some would grow to take on certain traits or whatever, because people and pets start to look like each other all the time. But as a newborn baby? Why would the potato look like the father at all, let alone MORE like him than the mama who grew it? Made zero sense.

So I gave it some thought, and what I came up with (keep in mind my skull likely hadn’t fully formed yet) was that kissing must be how some of the dad could transfer over to the baby’s appearance. Clearly that was the only physical contact that moms and dads had with one another (actually, I briefly considered some sort of airborne transfer while they were sleeping next to one another every night, but disposed of that theory because it seemed too far-fetched, even to my young self). Pleased with my initial theory, I asked my mom about it. However, the way she said, “um…noooo” gave me the sense that she didn’t want to talk about it, so I dropped the subject and went back to my ponderings.

Eventually I did figure it out.

It’s funny how brains work, especially for children when they are learning everything about just existing in the world around them. I’m not sure, but I feel like I actually vocalized fewer questions than many kids seem to. I think I wanted to figure it all out on my own, if possible. I’m sure I pestered my parents for answers as much as the next kid, but on the inside it felt like I was working more inside my mind than I was speaking things out loud.

I remember thinking for the longest time that one of my great-grandmothers was actually named GRAPE-grandma, because that’s what it had sounded like when other people said it, and she often wore a purple dress. At least, my only memory of her is sitting in her chair wearing a purple dress when we arrived and went to hug her. Actually, she may have worn one to a family reunion, too. She may never have worn purple in real life, but that’s how she’s always existed in my memory. Grape-grandma. Whenever I got a glass of grape juice from the fridge I’d think of her.

One year I convinced myself that, while Santa Clause might not be real, the Easter Bunny most certainly was. See, I’d figured out the Santa thing, but while I was in – I want to say Georgia – over Easter one year, I was certain that I could hear everyone else asleep in their rooms while still hearing an extra “person” in the kitchen at one point during the night. Easter Eve, let’s call it. And naturally there was chocolate all over the place the next morning, so it must have been the Easter Bunny. Process of elimination, yo!

Even then, though, part of me wasn’t entirely sure I believed myself. I just wanted to believe. (cue X-Files theme).

What else? I had imaginary friends…I forget their names – Jody and…something? Both boys, a bit younger than me. And I think I pictured them as cartoons. I was also pretty confident in my invisible Smurf friends for awhile.

I wanted very badly to have some form of ESP, so I made myself some quiz cards with, like, the different shapes on them and such, but quickly learned that I could not, in fact, quiz myself very accurately. I’m too easy to fake out.

I think this card is…a triangle.”

(Turns over to see a circle)

I mean circle, I was actually thinking circle. What was I saying triangle for? Totally meant circle!”

I also was – and still am – quite skilled at mis-hearing song lyrics. Yet I dreamed of becoming a Mini Pop.

I was – and still am – a very big dork.

In other more current news, my #BowlForKidsSake team for BBBST has been registered! We are Esmer’s Lane-gels, and we’ll be rocking the lanes (with gutter balls, if you’re me) on Thursday March 3rd! Before then, however, we need to rasie as much as possible to help out the kiddos. If you have time, please consider a donation to the cause – no amount too small, trust me! – and even more importantly, please help spread the link around to everyone you know! There’s not a lot of time left, but I am confident in our communal super powers!

Here’s the link to my fundraising page: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3235990#.VrzBQHMc0ds.twitter&panel1-2

Please share!

Fun Dip, Grab Bags, and the Value of a Shiny Quarter

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Guys – there’s Valentine’s Day Fun Dip!

I had no idea until I saw some at the pharmacy yesterday, and it brought back a flood of memories for me. Not so much the Valentine part, but the Fun Dip part, for sure.

I mean, I of course flashed back to those days in elementary school when we’d all bring those wee cardboard Valentine’s to our classmates, and leave them on one another’s desks. Those themed ones with groan-worthy jokes and puns on them that we’d get at the store and then have to buy a second box because there weren’t enough for everyone in the class, and then we’d have some left over that we’d intend to use the following year, but would inevitably lose in the interim. And of course at least one kid would’t be at school that day, so their desk piled up with Valentines that wouldn’t be received until whenever they were next present in class. And the pretty and/or popular kids would always receive the most somehow, and every year you tried to figure out a way to give a special Valentine to one kid in particular, without having it look like theirs was different from the others you handed out, even though they all came from the same box, and you hoped somehow they would magically notice they got a special one but that no one else would so that you wouldn’t have to be embarrassed.

Anyway…Fun Dip!

I used to love that stuff! And while I’m sure it would send me into a diabetic coma if I were to eat a package today, I think I would still love it. I remember being torn between whether to open both sides at once and alternate, or save my favourite flavour of the two for last. The danger of doing that, of course, is not having any candy stick left. I was not above using my finger to get every last grain of delcious sugar out of the packet, but still. It’s not the same when you’re not licking it off the provided stick. Or, you know, using the stick as a candy spoon of sorts.

Even in university, while watching a solid TV line-up one night, my roomies and I made a run to the convenience store and loaded up on candy during a commercial break. By the end of the night we were jumping on the couches and giggling like, well, schoolgirls. But much younger ones. Fun Dip and possibly Nerds were the primary culprits. We also made a run to Tim Horton’s for donuts before they closed for the night one time, too. Living on campus was fun, but off-campus was even funner! 😉

As children, we would often walk to Blackburn’s – the 5 and Dime on the corner – during our lunch break from school, and spend our parents’ hard-earned change on Fun Dip and a myriad of other delectable delights – licorice strings, Bazooka Joe bubble gum with those lame comics inside, chocolate bars of all sorts, those Mackintosh Toffee things that would tear your teeth out but which were sooooo delicious, those things that were…what’s that stuff inside a Crunchie bar? You know? It starts off like a golden foam but you chew it down into a hard candy-like bit? And there was spray gum, candy cracelets and necklaces – the list goes on and on. I don’t even remember what was in the rest of the store – just that candy kiosk near the front by the cash. The hardwood floors would creak under our sneakers from the moment we entered, and it always seemed quiet in there, compared to Creemore’s bustling Mill Street (the street never bustled – but inside the store was even quieter – and incidentally, that the Meat Market was run by a couple of gay guys would not strike me as hilarious until much later in life, but I digress) and Mr Blackburn would greet us, usually by name, and we’d crowd around the candy to choose what would be our one sweet prize that day.

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The most excellent selection was usually the 25-cent grab bags on the bottom shelf. Packaged in white paper bags with a staple at the top, these bags held mysteries forged of candy and plastic, and to my knowledge no two were alike. When feeling flush, the grab bag was usually what we went for, if we could. Candy AND toys?! What better choice could anyone possibly make?!

I remember once a boy in my class asked me to get him a Grab Bag, and handed me a shiny quarter, which I placed in a pocket separate from my own change, so I wouldn’t get it mixed up. I may even have carried it all the way to the store clutched in my fist, actually. I can’t recall for certain, just that I kept it separate. When I got to the store, though, there were no more Grab Bags. Temporarily out of stock. So I paid for whatever I was getting and went back to school. I gave the boy back his quarter and explained that they were sold out that day. He was mad that I didn’t get him something else instead, and I’ve felt bad about it ever since.

It actually hadn’t occurred to me to get anything other than what he’d asked for. There were so many choices, I didn’t know what he’d like as a substitute, and I didn’t want to risk spending his money on something he wouldn’t like. Of course, it was candy, so he probably would’ve liked any of it, but I didn’t consider that at the time. All I knew is they didn’t have what he wanted, so I didn’t get him anything.

Really, he should have just walked to the store on his own two feet, but whatever.

I feel like that kind of uncertainty follows me to this day. I don’t cook for people because I’m afraid they won’t like it and then they’ll be stuck with no other choice from what I gave them. I’ll eat whatever, but I don’t expect anyone else to. I think part of it comes from never having money enough to make mistakes. Like, if I get the wrong thing at the grocery store, I can’t go back and get the right thing, because there’s no extra cash to get a second item to replace the wrong first one. Giving the boy back his quarter was, to me, a better choice than wasting his money on something he might not want. Then he’d have something he didn’t want, and no more quarter, either. If I make a meal wrong or something, there isn’t extra cash – nor usually time – to give it another try and either make the same thing better or make something else entirely. I even have trouble making decisions that involve other people because I always try to anticipate what they want and work out my choice to make sure they get theirs. I know it makes me seem…a lot of not great things…but it’s because I genuinely try to make others at least content. I require less, and I’m used to not really getting what I want. I’m used to not even fully figuring out what I want, because I know I probably won’t get it, either way. Or if I do, it won’t be as good as I’d hoped.

So while I’d have been happy with Tootsie Rolls or Bottle Caps or lime green licorice strings (though grape were my favourite), I had no idea what the boy might have preferred as an alternate to the mysterious Grab Bag, and thus I returned to him his very same shiny quarter to be used another time.

Logically I know, something is better than nothing. But I also know from experience that waiting a bit longer can be better, because sometimes the something you get in the moment isn’t worth not having waited for what you really wanted in the first place.

Sometimes you might wish you could just have your shiny quarter back and get your Grab Bag tomorrow, instead.

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