I don’t remember ever really believing in the Easter Bunny.
The same goes for Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and all those other characters kids are supposed to fall for.
I’ve always been a weird kid, so I never pictured this:
In my mind, it’s always been more along these lines:
Like, just whois this “Easter Bunny”? Why does he know where I live? Is he trying to lead me somewhere with this “egg hunt”? He’s gonna kidnap me, isn’t he? He’s gonna kidnap me and then eat me alive or something.
I don’t think my non-traditional parents ever said, “THEY DON’T EXIST” outright. I think it was more of a facial expression that accompanied the words. Like, “Yeah, that gift is from Santa.” Like implied air quotations: “Sure, the Easter Bunny brought you chocolate. Definitely.”
Basically, I learned pretty quickly that my parents are terrible liars.
Or maybe they were just protecting me from the truth.
Aside from my little friendship fling with Sara, I had a good group of friends. I also had a best friend. Her name was Allison.* I don’t remember when we hit it off and made the move from regular friend to BFF, but I know that in grade three, we were tight. We hung out all the time, went to each other’s houses regularly, and talked on the phone WAY TOO MUCH.
SIDENOTE: Remember when there were landlines? And also when people only had ONE phone line and no call waiting? And then you’d be talking to your friend and your mom or dad would pick up and interrupt you and it would be really awkward and they’d be like, “Oh, sorry, honey!”? And then like, an hour later when you were STILL TALKING, your mom or dad would pick up and be like, “Okay, that’s enough – it’s time to get off the phone!”? And all you wanted in life was your OWN PHONE LINE?! And you begged and pleaded, but you never got one?
Those were the days.
As the year went on, I started to get close to some of my other friends, too. I wanted to branch out a bit, have new experiences, play dress-up at other people’s houses. Allison had other plans. She wanted us to be the only BFFs in our world. She wasn’t keen on me having other friends. She started to morph from a cool friend into an overwhelming, overbearing friend. She wanted ALL OF MY TIME ALL THE TIME. She got clingy.
In my mom’s words: “Oh, she was such a pest.”
SIDENOTE: I don’t know Allison now, and I have nothing against her. Allison, if by some weird circumstances you’re reading this, (A) I’m sorry, and (B) no hard feelings?
If you know me well, you know I don’t deal with clingy. The best way to end any sort of relationship with me is to be clingy and overbearing. As soon as it begins, I put a firm arm out in front of me and I keep you just out of reach of it. I’ve had too many frustrating and genuinely scary experiences in my life that are directly related to clingy to put up with it anymore.
But even back in grade three, before any of that, I was over it.
I tried my best to distance and detach, but Allison would not quit.
She pushed and pushed and pushed until she released The Beast. (That’s me. Weird, right?)
Like I said, I’m not proud of this, although looking back, it is kind of funny that I became a writer.
Because I decided the best way to cope with this troublesome friendship was to write a letter.
I just wish it had been a little more tactfully written…
Basically, I told Allison off. Big time. I told her I didn’t want to be her friend anymore, I called her some very third grade names (I think I might have said she was “smelly”), and then I pulled out a word I had heard, but didn’t understand: bitch.
Where I got the word “bitch,” I do not know. But I knew it was bad, so I threw it in there. You know, just to emphasize my point.
Then I gave her the letter. I don’t even remember how I gave her the letter. We didn’t have lockers, and I don’t think I handed it to her. I might have mailed it to her. I honestly have very little memory of this. I probably blocked most of it out because of what happened next.
A few days later, I was at home and the doorbell rang. Being a kid (also see: being a dog), I ran to see who it was as my mom opened the door. When I saw Allison’s dad standing there, I immediately ran away to my bedroom and got under the covers in my bed. I knew the shit was going to hit the fan. (Even though I didn’t know the word “shit” yet…)
He tried to push my mom out of the way to get into our house. He was going MENTAL. Just screaming at her about how he wanted to “talk to me” (more like kick the shit out of me, but whatever). I just closed my eyes and hoped no one would ever find me (in my bedroom, in my house, not actually hiding – what the hell, Andrea?).
Eventually my mom got rid of Allison’s dad.
Then I got in trouble.
Then it eventually faded away.
Many years later, Allison and I reconnected in junior high, and we became friends again for a brief time, but to this day, I still feel guilty about that damn letter. It was just so mean.
That was when I learned to break up friendships in a more tactful way, like just not ever calling the person (obviously), and also that things in writing can always come back to haunt you. (Except I still put things into writing every single day – oops – like this blog, so…)
Now, someone make me feel better about myself by telling me the mean thing you did when you were a kid. Annnnnnd go.
Andrea walks into any sort of meeting or event or any place she may she someone she knows.
ANDREA: How’s it going?
FRIEND: I totally saw you walking down (whatever street) the other day!
ANDREA: Oh yeah?
FRIEND: Yeah! You looked PISSED.
FRIEND: You looked so mad.
ANDREA: Oh…that’s weird. I wasn’t.
FRIEND: Seriously, you should have seen the look on your face.
SCENE 2: ANYWHERE ELSE
Andrea having a conversation with almost anyone (though this most typically happens during rehearsals).
ANDREA: Okay, cool.
ACTOR: What’s wrong?
ANDREA: How do you mean?
ACTOR: Why are you looking at me like that?
ANDREA: Like what?
ACTOR: Like that.
ANDREA: I don’t understand.
ACTOR: You look so mad.
ANDREA: Mad? I’m not mad.
ACTOR: Why do you look so pissed? Should I try it again? Do you want me to change something? I can go bigger with the (whatever we’re discussing) if you want.
ANDREA: No, I thought it was great!
ACTOR: Are you sure?
ACTOR: You still look mad.
ANDREA: I’m just listening to you!
ACTOR: Are you sure?
Throughout my life, I have learned that my neutral facial expression apparently looks very serious. So not only is my face international, but it’s angry, too(?). Maybe I watched too much Addams Family as a kid.
And then my boss turned to me and said, “No, no, we did get separate cheques.”
I looked at the receipt again, then back to him.
“That was my dinner. We all paid that amount.”
I made an active decision to play it cool.
“Oh, okay, sounds good. I’ll take care of the paperwork this afternoon.”
Even though on the inside I was like:
As my boss walked away, I looked at my 19-year-old co-worker and mouthed the words, “THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS.”
Because guys, I don’t even have $300 in my bank account right now. In fact, I just checked, and until my next pay day, I have $185.69 in my chequing account. Which is somehow supposed to cover my automatic-debit payments for car insurance and student loans on the 31st.
SPOILER ALERT: That’s not enough to cover my car insurance and student loan payments.
NOT EVEN CLOSE.
So that was the day I learned that I’d better:
(A) Get famous so that I can afford $300 dinners in the future, or
(B) Marry rich.
P.S. For the record, this is in no way a judgement on my boss. He’s totally rad and I love my job.
P.P.S. Are you a single surgeon and/or movie star? Call me.*
*I was gonna say something totally lewd there as a joke, and then I remembered my mom reads my blog!
Remember how my BFF Mags and I went to Sweden while we were in a post-master’s-thesis haze? And we had all sorts of bizarre conversations that made no sense whatsoever? And then we got totally lost in a folk park?
That amazing folk park is called Skansen. It’s in Stockholm, and it’s HUGE.
Sure, sure, we couldn’t read the map and got lost and thought we would never leave. That definitely happened. But by far, my favourite thing that happened was when we started to see signs that read, “Swedish Animals.”
“Oh cool,” I said to Margaret, “I wonder what kinds of animals they have!”
Margaret scanned the map. “It doesn’t say anything specifically. I’m so intrigued!”
We started to follow the signs, dreaming about the cool Scandinavian animals we were about to see for the first – and maybe only – time in our lives. Would the Swedish have their own special breed of cow, like the Scottish Highland Cow?* What kinds of crazy species live up north that we have never heard about in the USA and Canada?
Our anticipation built.
(The park was really big, so we had to walk a lot, so we had lots of time to get super excited and anxious about these cool animals.)
Our anticipation built some more.
Then we turned the corner to the first animal enclosure in Skansen and saw…
Margaret and I exchanged a look, and then started laughing maniacally. I’m certain that everyone walking by thought we were on mushrooms.
(Maybe we were.)**
Then we walked a little further and saw…
Also on the list:
But I guess we can’t really hold it against Skansen. The signs were telling the truth.
That’s when I learned that yeah, wherever animals – like people – are born, that’s the kind of animal they are.
I’m gonna go cuddle my Canadian dogs now.
*A.K.A. THE CUTEST EVER.
***Funny story about the pigs. Margaret reached down to pet that very pig and when she did, all hell broke loose. The pig behind it jumped onto our friend the pig and started humping her/him ferociously.
Okay, it was early summer in 2009 and I was with my BFF Louise at the theatre I worked at, preparing for a photo shoot for one of my upcoming Fringe productions.
I had just finished putting A LOT of makeup on Louise, who was playing an alien in a bizarre, 1950s B-movie sci-fi play I had written. Basically, she had green glitter from her eyelashes to her eyebrows, green glitter on her cheeks, and green lipstick. Her hair – which was half black and half blonde at the time – was curled. Oh yeah, and she was wearing a corset wrapped in tin foil, which was her makeshift costume until we got her head-to-toe silver spandex, courtesy of American Apparel. (Who buys that shit for real life use? Seriously.) I almost forgot: she also had antennae on.
She looked very similar to this production shot:
At the time, Louise was a smoker, and the makeup job had taken a long time, so she wanted to have a quick cigarette before we started taking photos. She put on a hoodie and we went to stand out front.
The reactions were instant. Every car that drove by honked. Some people rolled down their windows when they stopped at red lights to shout random shit at us. We even saw a very near accident, all due to a little green makeup.
Then we noticed a lady coming down the street toward us. She was a black woman (which I promise is relevant, and not just some random statement) in her late 20s/early 30s, and she was pushing a baby in a stroller. Her second child, who looked like she was about three, was walking next to her, holding onto the stroller.
We braced ourselves for a big reaction, since this woman was going to be our first face-to-face encounter, not just someone passing by in a car. She walked up to us looking very serious and paused.
(Our mutual inner thought: “Here it comes…”)
“Is this the way to the black lady hair salon?”
In my mind, there was a painfully awkward five minute pause while I tried to absorb what was happening, but in real life, I’m sure it was two seconds. Had she just said what I heard? Had she not reacted to Louise’s green face?
“Oh, um, well, there’s a specialty African salon across the street and about half a block down that way. Or just on the corner there is Images and Shades – they have lots of stuff there, too.”
“Okay, I need the one that puts the weave in, not just sells the weave.”
“You definitely want the place down the road, then! They’re a full salon.” I smiled.
“Perfect! Thanks, ladies!”
She started to walk away, then paused and turned back to us briskly. She stared at Louise. Her face went serious again.
(Our mutual inner thought: “Okay, here it comes for real…”)
“Girl, are those your real lashes?!”
“Noooo – god no, I wish – they’re falsies.”
“Hm. They’re gorgeous. Have a great day!”
“You too!” We chimed back at her, watching her walk away.
“So that just happened.” Louise couldn’t help but laugh.
Lesson learned: You can tell when someone is Good People based on how they react to your ridiculous costume.
That lady rocked.
*I feel like the words, ” that happened,” and “totally,” are integral to every conversation Louise and I have ever had.
So this weekend I went on a bit of a whirlwind road trip to take a Zumba® training course in a nearby city. Luckily the roads had cleared up after a crazy snowstorm just a couple days ago, so it was pretty smooth sailing.
We had to leave sort of late in the afternoon on Saturday, so we didn’t get to our destination until about 11pm. We were all tired, ready for bed and a very early start the next day.
When we walked into the lobby of our hotel, I was immediately a little thrown off. The guy standing behind the desk was wearing very casual clothing – so casual that I wondered if he worked at the hotel, or if he had just snuck behind the counter to get up to something.
And then he lived up to every single one of my mean/judgemental inner thoughts.
And then there was the time I found a tooth in an ATM in Glasgow.
I practically heard you go, “A WHAT?!”
Yeah. A tooth.
My brother, Bryan, and sister-in-law, Laura, had just landed in Glasgow for a visit. I think stopping at the ATM was one of the first things we did after I got them settled at my flat and took them into city centre to explore.
There it was, sitting above the keypad, if I remember correctly.
How did it get there?
That’s what I’d like to know.
(Except I also kind of don’t.)
What I do know is that whatever happened, someone somewhere was going
Lesson learned: Some things seem to only happen in Glasgow.
“I don’t know, I’m just not much of a dog person.”
Words I do not understand.
Like, how, HOW can you not be a dog person?
It is no surprise that all of my BFFs have dogs. I had never even thought about it until this very moment, but it makes perfect sense.
How can you tell a dog person apart from someone who’s not?
Someone who meets a dog for the first time and immediately switches into puppy-voice is a dog person. (What’s puppy-voice? “Oh, look atchoo, wittle won – you’re so pretty! Who’s a pretty girl? You’re da pretty girl! Are you so cute? Are you SO cute? Yes you are!” That’s just an example, though. There are many variations.)
Someone who lets a dog give them kisses is a dog person.
Someone who understands that I’d rather stay home with my dogs than hang out with people some nights (okay, most nights) (okay, every night) is a dog person.
Someone who understands that when I do go out to a house party, I can be found in the corner or bedroom playing with the dog is a dog person.
Someone who gets that sometimes I cry just thinking about how much I love my dogs is a dog person.
Someone who knows what a Kong is is a dog person.
Someone who gets excited at the words “puppy breath” is a dog person.*
Someone who also has over 500 photos of their dog and their dog friends on their phone is a dog person.
I could go on and on, but I’d rather let you add to the list. What makes a dog person a dog person? Discuss.
Also, lesson learned: Don’t trust a person who’s not a dog person.**