I don’t have great time perception. It’s a running joke that my family suffers from a genetic malfunction we call the “Other Day Syndrome.” As a result, I’ll use the phrase, “the other day” to refer to something that happened two hours ago (wtf, right? I know.), yesterday, three weeks ago, five years ago, whenever. I also tend to forget how old I was when certain things happened unless I can connect my memories to a certain birthday, school teacher, etc. I sometimes forget what I had for breakfast. Or who I am. (One of those was a joke.)

So let’s say I was about seven, but really that I could have been anywhere between seven and ten when the following incident took place. It was summer, because it involves lawn mowing and if you know anything about Canada you know we don’t have a very large time frame to mow lawns in, what with the sub-zero temperatures and moose getting in the way all the time.

Our next door neighbours were out of town. They were an adorable elderly couple my entire family was very fond of, and if I remember correctly, they were out of town for some sort of square dancing event (yep, adorable – you should have seen the outfits they would wear). But maybe it was just a vacation and I made that up because square dancing is charming when old people do it. Anyway, my dad, a total green thumb, had volunteered to take care of their lawn while they were away, and I was a seven-to-ten-year-old, so I had nothing better to do than follow my dad around while he did things like take care of lawns.

Now it’s important that I mention that when I was young (basically until I became a pre-teen and got simultaneously super self-conscious/too cool for school and way too into the Spice Girls), I liked to pretend I was an opera singer. In my mind, I was actually pretty damn good at it, and I sometimes wonder if I’d be an opera singer if I had committed to practising, but I’m too scared to ask my mom if in reality I sounded like a kid who was really shitty at singing “opera.”

So my dad’s mowing the lawn and I apparently have not yet been scarred enough by mean school kids and society to worry about singing opera in the front yard for EVERYONE to hear, so I take to the neighbours’ front deck as if it is my stage and I start to sing an impassioned operatic version of “Ode to Joy” at the top of my lungs. Probably even louder because I’m trying to hear myself over the lawn mower.

My dad’s ignoring me and I’m having a great time hearing the sound of my own voice, so I decide to kick things up a notch by not only singing “Ode to Joy,” but pressing the neighbours’ doorbell – always lit up so enticingly for anyone to push – in time with the glorious music emanating from my talented, young lungs.

SIDENOTE. Why I did this, I will never know. It’s not like I could hear the doorbell, right? Kids (see: people) are stupid.

What could go wrong, right? Wrong.

After what must have been at least five minutes (because I was singing the two parts of the song I knew on a loop, obvs) of me pressing that doorbell over and over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again, I was startled from my melody by the front door opening, revealing my neighbours’ grandson, who was a young adult male and therefore totally dreamy and anxious-making in my eyes, looking tired (it was early in the morning), confused (well, YEAH), and (OF COURSE) mildly irritated (bless his patient, forgiving heart – I’d have killed me).

I think that I have mentally blocked what happened in the heat of that exact moment. One day when I can afford therapy I’ll figure it out. What I know is:

  1. My dad yelled at me.
  2. I ran home and hid on the stairs to our basement.
  3. I cried.
  4. I stopped singing opera outdoors (maybe altogether).


PUSHING BUTTONS HURTS PEOPLE. See what I did there? Layers. Lots of them. Don’t do it.