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June 2013

Two Hundred Forty Eight.

PREAMBLE: It’s always a bit strange for me to blog when crazy/scary shit is going on in the news. I’ve struggled with whether I should acknowledge stuff like the Boston marathon bombings, the Sandy Hook shootings, and many others, because in some ways, it feels like a dick move to just write like nothing’s going on. And yes, I get that terrible shit is going on all the time, but hopefully you’re smart and understanding enough to get what I mean. Right now, a lot of people I care about, including one of my BFFs of all time, are being affected by the flooding in Southern Alberta. I’m hoping that this will provide maybe even just one laugh during what has been and will continue to be a rough week. Thinking of you all. x

Time for a kid story!
Time for a kid story!

I was quiet and focused when I started to hear what I thought was my mom calling my name. Her voice was muffled and muted by a great distance, so I couldn’t be sure. I mentally shrugged my shoulders and continued with the task at hand.

In the meantime, I’m sure my mom was having an anxiety attack, since I inherited my mom’s anxiety and it’s the intense kind. She had only left me for a couple minutes and I had vanished. She noticed something was wrong when she became acutely aware of the silence, which didn’t happen often in my house when I was a kid.

“Andrea?” she said, holding her breath to listen for me.

Nothing.

She looked out the back window – had I gone to play in the yard without asking her? She rushed down the stairs into the basement to check there.

No one.

“Andrea?” she called again, her heart rate increasing. She ran back up the stairs and out the back door, her eyes frantically but thoroughly scanning the backyard, strip by strip.

“Andrea?!”

At this point, I could hear my mom, and was sure she was calling me. But I was inside and she was outside, so she wouldn’t be able to hear my response. I tried anyway.

“What?”

I couldn’t see her from where I was. I shrugged – for real this time – and got on with it.

By this time, my mom was officially freaking out. She started to do the math of how far away from the house I could have gotten in five to seven minutes of time. And, because she’s a worrier (again, I know this because I inherited it), I’m sure she was also wondering about any or all of the following:

  • Would I know how to tell someone my phone number, parents’ names, etc. if I were found by a stranger?
  • Would I even talk to the stranger, or just avoid them all together?
  • Would I know the difference between a good stranger and a bad stranger?
  • Was I even wearing shoes?
  • What if someone stopped their car and KIDNAPPED me before anyone else could find me?
  • Would I know to say no to the tainted snacks offered to me by the crazy child-poisoner who was probably on the loose, even though they looked delicious and I loved eating snacks?

SIDENOTE: The answers to those questions, in order, are…

  • Yes.
  • I would talk.
  • Most definitely.
  • Probably not.
  • I wouldn’t have gotten into the car willingly, so I would have had to have been grabbed.
  • No. I would eat them and I would die. Everyone loves snacks. Especially chubby preschoolers.

There was only one way I could have gone: out the front door. My mom – probably sweating even though she like, never sweats (I hate her for it) – slipped her shoes on as quickly as possible, threw the front door open, and ran about halfway down our front sidewalk, yelling my name.

“Andrea?” she said to the left. “ANDREA?!” she said to the right.

While my mom was officially freaking out, I was officially entering “what the heck is your problem?” territory. I decided enough was enough.

I grabbed the door handle and pulled the bathroom door open as far as it would go – probably about six or eight inches – before it hit my knees. I squished my face into the gap and saw the back of my mom, standing outside, shouting my name like a crazy person.

“WHAT!?”

She turned around and spotted me.

cute-feet-dangling

Yes, that’s right, I was sitting on the toilet, taking care of business.

“Andrea!!!” my mom threw her arms into the air as she rushed down the hall toward me, “You need to answer me when I call you! Oh my god. Oh my god! I was about to call the police!”

“I’m sorry.” I choked back tears. I feel like if you’re a human, you cry when your mom cries or looks like she’s about to cry or gets really upset or scared. It just happens.

That was the day I learned – you guessed it – to answer my mom when she called me, lest she have a full-on call-the-FBI-freakout.

xA

P.S. If you want to donate to the victims of the Southern Alberta floods, many of whom have lost their homes and all of their material possessions, please visit the Red Cross website to do so.

Two Hundred Forty Seven.

When I was like, six, maybe seven, I had a friend named Katie. We were super tight, and I played at her house a lot. She lived in a really old, really big character house in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, and I loved going over there because it was so big, I felt like I was in a fairytale when I stepped through the front door.

My favourite part of the entire house was this really narrow stairway that went up to a loft/attic that Katie got all to herself as a playroom. All to herself. That lucky bitch.

Anyway, this one day when I was over there, Katie’s mom made us lunch. She made us grilled cheese sandwiches and canned tomato soup.

Now, I know that probably sounds like a pretty “normal” meal, but I never really ate either of those things. I was raised by a mom who is (A) from Mozambique, and (B) a healthy hippie, so canned foods weren’t really on our menu. Neither were things like butter and white bread. I was raised on homemade, wholegrain breads (Seriously, who does that? My mom’s a superhero…), lentils, garlic, olive oil, things like that. Weird things.

SIDENOTE: I’m not saying that to sound superior to anybody. That’s just what we ate. The point is that I had never eaten canned tomato soup.

p_tomato-soup_1744921c

I looked down at the soup in front of me. It was a weird, overly bright red colour and it smelled really strange, kind of tinny. I honestly wasn’t even sure what to make of it. Katie started eating right away. I felt out of place.

“Eat your lunch.” Her mom looked at me, waiting for me to start. I panicked and decided to try the grilled cheese.

It wasn’t bad, but the butter left a funny taste in my mouth. I tried to focus on the cheese. I was never a big fan of cheese, but I forced myself to enjoy it. Mmm, cheesy. (Ugh, cheesy.) But at least it wasn’t tomato soup, which was all I could think about. Surely if I finished my sandwich, Katie’s mom would be satisfied.

“Eat your soup.”

Nope.

Well, shit.

I looked at her with my big brown eyes – filled with fear, I’m certain – trying to mentally will her to back down. I’ve always been way too nice. I would have never said, “I don’t want to.” I was petrified.

Eat your soup.”

Katie’s mom was kind of scary to start with. I should have mentioned that. She wasn’t the nicest. And she was blunt (as you can tell).

I scanned the table and found the salt and pepper shakers. I grabbed one on a whim. It was black pepper. I started shaking it furiously into my bowl. Katie looked at me funny.

“You eat pepper on your food?”

I nodded enthusiastically, buying myself time.

“Hey, me too. I want pepper, too! Give it here!”

Katie grabbed the shaker and added pepper to her soup. Within seconds, her mom snatched it away from her.

“Quit it – that’s enough. Finish your lunch, both of you. You’re not leaving this table until your bowls are empty.”

What can I say? I was totally trapped. I wanted to cry. I wanted my mom. I wanted out of that nightmare house.

I choked back the fucking soup and tried to play with Katie afterward, but I was battling an instant tummy ache. I feared I may see that tomato soup again much too soon.

When my mom came to pick me up, I told her the horror story.

“Andrea, why didn’t you just say, ‘No, thank you.’??”

“She made me eat it. Mom, she wouldn’t let me leave until I ate it!”

I probably cried.

To this day, I have never eaten canned tomato soup again. Just the smell of it makes me feel queasy.

tomatosoup

Lesson learned: Force me to eat something and I will hate it for the rest of time, because apparently my authority issues are very far-reaching. (Also, I just think canned tomato soup disagrees with me.)

xA

P.S. What’s your childhood “EAT IT!” food horror story? I feel like we all must have one. My mom’s will probably be about this weird condensed milk/Ovaltine thing her parents made her drink all the time, for example. Gag.

Two Hundred Forty Six.

On my first trip to Scotland in 2006, I was being a serious traveller. I would pack as much into every day as I possibly could. So in addition to being serious, I was also tired.

While in Scotland, I made my home base Edinburgh and sort of branched out from there. I went up to the Highlands, spent a day in Glasgow, one in Melrose, and one in Rosslyn, among others.

If Rosslyn sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the home of Rosslyn Chapel, the one that’s mentioned in The Da Vinci Code as being the real location of the holy grail.

rosslyn-chapel-1

SIDENOTE: The Da Vinci Code was still very new the year I went to Rosslyn. In fact, I went to see the movie at a cinema in Cork, Ireland on a rainy day just a week or so after I visited Rosslyn Chapel.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to Rosslyn for the holy grail. I just wanted to see the beautiful chapel. And it was. It was absolutely incredible. One of the things I miss most about living in Scotland (and really, anywhere in Europe that I’ve visited) is the amount of history you can feel everywhere you go. Canada’s a baby country. One that doesn’t value its historic buildings. We have almost none of that and it drives me crazy.

But this story isn’t about history. It’s not even about Rosslyn Chapel. It’s about a bus trip.

Rosslyn is really quite close to Edinburgh. It’s so close that you can take regular city buses there, which is nice and affordable. So after my visit, I found my bus stop and got on the bus back to Edinburgh’s city centre. I was pretty exhausted, so it felt good to know that for the next half hour or whatever, I could just sit on my ass.

The bumps in the road were starting to make me relax a little too much. I felt like a baby in a car seat being rocked to sleep. My eyelids felt heavy. The bus would go around a bend and my head would bob, side to side, until I’d catch myself and force my eyes open again.

Don’t fall asleep, Beça. You’ll miss your stop and wake up in the middle of nowhere. (I would do this years later without falling asleep…) Or in the middle of Leith. And if Trainspotting taught you one thing, it was to avoid Leith.

SIDENOTE: I’ve never been to Leith. Is it nice?

First-scene-trainspotting-3172411-767-413

A couple of stops later, two guys who might as well have been characters from Trainspotting got onto the bus. They were both tall and just broad enough to be physically intimidating, fairly well built, and they were both wearing the stereotypical “NED” uniform: track suits, white sneakers, and chains. Their hair looked dirty from excessive use of hair gel (and maybe it was dirty too, who knows) and they both looked pissed off.

Oh yeah, and also, one of them had a tank of a pitbull on a chain leash. He looked pissed off, too.

Of course, they sat right across from me, and of course, they stared at me with deadpan expressions on their faces. I tried my best to avoid eye contact. Mind you, I was also trying my best to keep my eyes open.

DON’T FALL ASLEEP, BEÇA. YOU’LL NEVER WAKE UP AGAIN.

SIDENOTE: I was 19 and had an over active imagination.

YOU KNOW WHAT: No, I’m 26 and I’d still be somewhat (less, but somewhat) worried if the same thing happened today.

Guys, I fell asleep.

I’m not talking like, drifting off for a few seconds. I’m talking ASLEEP. Completely dead-to-the-world asleep.

I woke up 20-30 minutes later. My head was balanced up against the window of the bus. My purse wasn’t even on my lap: it was next to me on the seat, totally unguarded. My arms were limp at my sides. There was some drool on my cheek. My mouth was dry. (Was I snoring?)

I realized what had happened and tried not to make a scene. I looked calmly out the window to figure out where the fuck I was. I recognized the area. Phew.

As I put on my best calm face, the following was going through my head: “Okay, thank god you’re alive, but you’ve more than likely been robbed. You need to look to your left – but don’t look look – and see if the guys are still there. Also, check your purse, because all of your shit may be gone. On the count of three. 1….2…

It was as though no time had passed. The dudes were there, expressionless as ever, still staring at me (through me?). The dog stared at me, too. He looked bored. My purse was untouched, unopened. I pretended to look for some gum and found that everything was where it should be. I was in one piece, albeit a little embarrassed that I had been drooling all over the bus window for half a hour. (But it’s okay, those buses have seen worse.)

A couple stops later, I got off the bus and continued on with my day.

It wasn’t until a week later I realized that my iPod was gone.

I’M KIDDING.

They hadn’t touched me. That was the day I learned you shouldn’t stereotype people just because they look like the stereotype. I should know, right? (But also, I learned that sometimes you’re just lucky, because anyone on that bus could have robbed me that day.)

xA

Two Hundred Forty Five

I’m not very good at “settling in.” I don’t know if it’s the whole Beat Generation, On The Road part of my personality, or the result of my “I’m a 20-something and I haven’t got it figured out” -ness or what, but I have a tendency to sort of “perch” in places and not really make them my own. Like, it fascinates me that hotels have closets and dressers, because why would you move stuff out of your suitcase?

Even at my current job, where I have been working for almost seven months now, you would barely know which desk is mine. It took me months to put a picture of my dogs on my bulletin board. I still haven’t put a single thing into any of my desk drawers. Hell, I don’t even use the pen holder that was left behind for me.

And my name is on the door.

When I moved to Glasgow – beyond my obvious inability to “move in” to a place – I did so knowing it would be temporary. I knew going in that I’d be living in Scotland for two years, max. I definitely hoped to stay longer, but I didn’t count on it working out that way.

So I never really moved in.

Okay, I definitely put my clothes into my wardrobe, but I guess what I mean to say is that while I knew that my flat was “mine,” I never really felt like it was mine. I spent every day feeling a bit like I was in someone else’s home and I shouldn’t disturb anything too much. I wouldn’t even hang pictures on my walls.

So imagine my horror when I destroyed the bathtub.

There she is.
There she is.

Fine, I put it that way for dramatic effect. But here’s what happened: I’m typically a very tidy hair dyer. I’ve been dying my own hair since my teens. For those of you keeping track, that gives me over a decade of experience. I know what I’m doing; I don’t make a mess.

Not until I’m dying my hair in an immaculate, newly renovated bathroom in a flat that I’m renting that I feel no ownership over, that is.

I finished applying the dark brown dye to my hair and turned to leave the bathroom. That’s when I noticed that I had somehow completely defied the laws of physics and gotten a splash – not a drop, but a whole splash – of hair dye on the wood panel on the outside of my bathtub.

“Bleach!” was the first thought in my mind. But I was too late. The damage (see: huge stain) was done. Soaked in. Permanent.

I panicked while I waited for my dye to do its thing. I panicked while I rinsed and conditioned. I panicked while I rinsed again. I tried to tell myself I was overreacting until I poked my head into the bathroom again and saw the beautiful cream tile, the beautiful cream sink and toilet, sparkling new. And the beautiful cream bathtub…with a massive stain on the outside of it.

I’m pretty sure I cried then.

Suddenly, I remembered seeing paint cans somewhere in my flat. Where were they? I scoured under the kitchen sink to no avail, then realized that they had to be in my front closet.

Bingo.

I could make this dirty mistake disappear. No one would ever know. I wouldn’t lose any of my damage deposit! Win-win.

About two hours and three coats of paint later, I had solved my problem. I vowed to never let such a stupid mistake happen again. After all, this wasn’t “my” flat.

SPOILER ALERT: Oh, it happened again. And again. And again.

By some bizarre curse of nature and gravity (I just had a flashback to a couple of months ago at work when I asked one of my scientist coworkers a question and he exclaimed, “You don’t understand gravity!”), I managed to stain and re-stain the outside of my bathtub at least four more times. I wish I could explain it, but I can’t. I have no idea how it kept happening even though I was so damn careful.

Maybe it was the universe’s way of forcing me to accept some level of home ownership, even though I was just renting. Regardless, I had to repaint that fucking bathtub four or five more times, which meant 12-15 coats of paint. I’m not proud of it, but I did what I had to do.

Lesson learned: Always have an extra can of paint.

(Also, maybe seek some therapy for the whole “I can’t make myself at home here” thing. Because it’s weird, right?*)

xA

*I feel like my mom’s gonna read that and go, “No, it’s not weird – I do the exact same thing!” like it’s not weird just because she does it too, when really that just means it’s weird and I got it from her, like my severe anxiety and my need to be early to everything. Hi, Mom.

Two Hundred Forty Four.

I am a very punctual person.

I HATE being late for things. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that at least once before. (Yes, there was this – among others, probably.) In my mind, being “on time” means being about 10-15 minutes early. Anything less than that and I feel like I’m running late.

I get super frustrated when I make myself late with poor timing or a bad hair day or puppies who won’t listen to me when I need them to just PEE AND COME BACK INSIDE. But when the lateness is out of my control? Then I go a little crazy.

I feel like every time I’m at an airport, it turns into some weirdo experience. There was the time I almost missed a flight because my fire alarm was possessed. And of course, let’s not forget when I got proposed to. That was exciting and scary.

Heck, I could probably write a blog based solely on my airport experiences!

SIDENOTE: Once, I saw Gerard Butler at Heathrow. I can’t stretch that into a post on its own, so there you go. He was wearing a purple zip-up hoodie and he looked fantastic. I did not talk to him, because he was obviously trying to blend in. Okay, done.

Here’s a story that combines airports and lateness. It’s great. And by great I mean it was a horrorshow 30+ hours, but I can laugh at it now.

So back in 2006, I went to the UK and Ireland on my own (I got proposed to on my way there! I’m making connections for you!). I was 19 at the time and tried to do things as cheaply as possible. That meant that my return flight was a bit…leggy. I had to fly from Dublin to London, London to Seattle, and then from Seattle to Edmonton, my final destination.

Dublin to London was fine, aside from the fact that the dude sitting next to me on the plane would NOT stop hitting on me. I put my headphones on; he continued hitting on me. I opened up Trainspotting and held the book in front of my face; he continued hitting on me. It was exhausting and awful, and thankfully it happened on one of my shorter flights.

My London layover was uneventful. At this point, Heathrow feels like a second home. I spent so much time in Heathrow between 2006 and 2010, it’s not even funny. I’m sure what I did was sit in one of the giant waiting areas and eat a “Bugsy” sandwich from Boots. Yum.

But then I boarded my flight from London to Seattle. After about 25 minutes of waiting to take off, I was getting hot and starting to feel claustrophobic. After another 25 minutes, I was just mad. What the hell was going on? Finally, after waiting almost TWO HOURS to take off, we all learned that we had been waiting for a tardy flight attendant.

Seriously?

SERIOUSLY?

All right, I’m gonna let that one go, because otherwise I’ll get all irate again and it’s been like, seven years, so I should calm the fuck down about it.

I don’t even need to tell you that we were late getting to Seattle. I was like, wired the entire flight thinking about it. Because here’s the thing: yes, I could miss my final flight and just catch another the next morning or something, but when you’ve already been travelling for 25+ hours, you just want to GET HOME. No more layovers. No more planes. Just home. Bed. That’s all that will satisfy.

20080727SeaTacPlane

As soon as we landed in Seattle, I ran off the plane to find the baggage claim area. I forgot to mention that for some stupid reason, I had to get my bags and re-check them. Oh yeah, it had something to do with customs. Fucking customs.

I waited. And waited. And waited. Every other person on the flight had picked up their bags and mine still hadn’t shown up. I called my mom and scream-cried/ranted at her about how this was the worst day ever and I hated whoever and I might miss my flight or whatever and OH MY GOD I’M SO FUCKING TIRED WHAT A FUCKING JOKE.

Then my bags appeared. A couple of officers had heard me freaking out and asked me what was wrong. I explained the my flight was taking off in like, oh, 10 MINUTES NO BIG DEAL and they personally rushed me through customs and security. But they still made me take off my shoes, which were Converse rip-offs with a ton of laces that I was not about to re-tie when I had a flight to catch,

So I grabbed my carry-ons, threw my shoes under my arm, and RAN LIKE THE FUCKING WIND.

Guys, I know that I’m a super active girl now. I work out and shit. I even run sometimes. (Okay, like once and then this happened, but whatever.) But back in 2006, you could frequently find me bitching about fitness and making jokes about how running was stupid and the only reason I would ever run would be if I were being chased by a murderer.

I was not a runner.

But I ran.

The Seattle airport has a subway in it. Like, built into it. To travel between terminals.

So I got on that and went the wrong direction. Naturally.

Let’s take a minute to imagine it. There I am, standing on the Seattle Airport subway. I’m totally dishevelled and sweaty. I’m holding way too many carry-on bags. My shoes are under my arm. I’m panting. I feel gross from being on planes for too long and let’s face it, I probably smell a little.

I scan the subway map, trying to make sense of it through my blurred I’ve-been-awake-for-over-a-day vision. I realize what’s happened. I shout, “OH SHIT!” Everyone stares. It’s a tough crowd at almost 11pm. The subway stops and I stumble out in my sock feet, trying to find my way to the subway going the other direction.

Somebody somewhere remembers me from that day. They’ve told stories about me. I’m sure of it.

At this point, I have like, five minutes to catch my flight. I get on the subway going to the right terminal, and I continue to run my ass off. I felt like I was in a movie. I’d dash down a long corridor, slide myself into a full stop, read the signs in front of me, and then take off running down the next corridor.

I have to admit, I actually sort of felt like a superhero, even though I was obviously a hot mess.

Finally, I was nearing my gate. I ran past one confused face after another, reading the gate numbers out loud. Maybe I could make it. I could get home. I could just BE DONE WITH THIS TRIP.

There! To the right! My gate! My gate!

I arrived at my gate to see the following announcement blinking on the departure screen:

“Seattle to Edmonton: DELAYED to 1am.”

Two hours.

That whole time. That whole ordeal. And I had TWO EXTRA HOURS.

I’d love to tell you that I dropped to my knees dramatically, throwing my arms into the air and screaming, “WHHHYYYYYY?!” to absolutely nobody (and at the same time, everybody).

In reality, I whispered something like, “1amtwohourstheflight…delayed…twohoursohmygodfuckingareyoufuckingkiddingmefuckshitfuckingshitballsohmygod” to myself, took a few deep breaths, and decided to go to the bathroom to wash my sweaty face. After all, I had two hours to kill and everything at the airport was now closed, being that it was past 11pm.

Funny story: when I got home, I still took the time to shower before going to bed.

Funnier story: after sleeping for approximately four hours, I got up and went to work. The theatre I worked at was smack dab in the middle of an insanely busy 10-day festival and I was running the box office.

For the record, the only thing I remember about that entire festival is going to work on that first day wearing a Guinness zip-up hoodie and my friend Gina saying, “Cute! I want that sweater!”

Lesson learned: Always books flights with ample layover time. But not so much that you need to like, camp out or anything.

xA

Two Hundred Forty Three.

Last week, I went to see my dermatologist and ended up needing to get a biopsy (it’s a “just to be 100% sure scenario – my doctor is very confident it’s nothing serious). I had never gotten a biopsy before, but the doctor assured me it would be quick and easy. An extra 10 minutes of my time and a couple stitches.

I was a little nervous, but he put me at ease.

Now, I’ve only seen my dermatologist once before, so we haven’t spent much time in the same room, but I really like him. He’s very thorough, doesn’t seem like he’s rushing, and he’s always open to questions. He’s really soft spoken and kind. And he’s always got a smile to offer, which is very refreshing.

So he left his nurse to do the prep work, which in this case just meant a shot of local anaesthetic to the top of my foot. That was another first for me. The nurse warned me it would sting before going numb, and she was right.

“Wow!” I said, laughing nervously, “You weren’t kidding!”

“Yeah, it’s got a bite to it, for sure. It’s an acidic base – well, basically, it’s like injecting an acid into your skin, so…”

“…Lovely!”

She left me to my own devices for a few minutes to allow the anaesthetic to do its thing. I mostly just wished I had brought my Kobo with me to the examining table, because it was kind of a boring wait and hopping to the other side of the room at that point didn’t seem like a great decision. I noticed the top of my foot was turning really white all around where the nurse had injected the anaesthetic. “Weird,” I thought to myself, “But probably normal.”

A few minutes later, my doctor returned.

“Just lay back and relax,” he said, “Look at that – your foot turned nice and white! Ha!”

“Yeah, I noticed that – it’s so strange!”

“Yep, it does that – totally normal!”

“Cool.”

The doctor chuckled to himself.

“Can you imagine if I had come back in here and looked at that and gone, ‘OH MY GOD!’ and run out the door for backup?”

(Inner monologue: “Hey, my doctor’s joking with me! That’s funny!”)

“Ha Ha Ha! Yeah, that would be hilarious! And alarming! But funny!”

“That would be so funny! Oh my god. Can you imagine? Just ‘OH NO!’ and out the door. TOO FUNNY!”

“Yeah.” I laughed again.

(Inner monologue: “This guy’s kind of kooky. I like it! Especially after the last three months of asshole doctors and no-show doctors I’ve dealt with in trying to figure out my knee injury. This is great!”)

“OH MY GOD! Ha Ha Ha Ha!”

(Inner monologue: “Oooookay. Let’s do this thing. Procedure time. Business time.”)

As my doctor started getting more seriously prepared to do the biopsy, he continued to joke around.

“I should do that! I should totally do that!”

“Ha…Yeah, totally.”

(Inner monologue: “Are you cutting into my foot yet?”)

“Just, ‘OH MY GOD! It’s not supposed to look like that!’ Ha Ha Ha!”

“Do it to someone you know, definitely.”

(Inner monologue: “I wish I could see what’s going on down there. Scratch that – no I don’t. I’m sure everything’s fine.”)

“Yeah, totally to someone I know. Otherwise I’d get in trouble with the board!”

“No doubt, ha ha…”

(Inner monologue: “Business time! Right?”)

At this point, I couldn’t help but wonder if my doctor focusing on the task at hand. A different nurse came in and he repeated the whole story to her, laughing away.

“Seriously, though! I have to do it! Can you imagine the board, too? I’d be standing in front of them like, ‘It was a joke!’ and no one would be laughing! Ha!”

“Yeah…hilarious, totally.”

(Inner monologue: “ARE YOU DONE CUTTING A PIECE OF MY FOOT OFF?”)

“Toooooooooo funny. I have to do it.”

I smiled at him, and then at the nurse who was laughing along even though she spoke almost no English. We had officially moved into awkward territory.

I have to say, while it confused the hell out of me, it was a great distraction from what was going on, which was maybe my doctor’s tactic the entire time. It kind of made me like him even more. But also, it definitely caught me off guard. Maybe I needed to lighten up? Maybe the world of medicine could benefit from more laughs in the examination room?

Whatever the answer to those questions, I walked out of there with two new life lessons:

(A) In my mind, that is exactly what going to see Ken Jeong as a doctor would be like.

fhd007KNP_Ken_Jeong_001

(B) While I love a little humour and light-heartedness at my doctor’s appointments, I guess I’m a little more uptight than I thought. I’ve got a definite limit before I start to wonder if your framed license and degree came from the Internet.*

xA

*I’m kidding, of course. My dermatologist rocks.

P.S. Having stitches is weird. I’ve never had stitches before, and they’re driving me crazy. They don’t hurt anymore or anything. It’s just the fact that they’re there. There are KNOTS. Like, in my SKIN. THERE ARE KNOTS IN MY SKIN. And I can see them! And I’m paranoid they’re gonna catch on everything even though I cover them with a bandage. And I want to CUT THEM OFF.

So that’s been my last four or five days. Just thinking about stitches and how fucking weird they are.

Here’s a bonus life lesson: I’m far too neurotic for stitches.

(I didn’t cut them off. Yet. I have to wait until the 26th to do that.)

P.P.S. Today makes it official: I’m two-thirds of the way through this 365-day project. Insane.

Two Hundred Forty Two.

Let me tell you about some of the lists I have, on my phone and in notebooks.

Artists

I have grocery lists (obviously).

I have lists of books I have lent out with the names of the people I lent them to.

I have lists of random codes I need (combination lock for the gym, lock for the community hall I teach at, etc.)

I have lists of story ideas.

I have lists of artists whose work I enjoyed and wanted to look further into (above).

I have lists of license plate numbers from two separate incidents (almost three years apart from one another) I had to report to the police.

I have lists of “characters” I see in my day to day life, A.K.A. people who will get written into something in the future.

I have lists of topics I need to research to match up with my story ideas.

I have “To Do” lists on both macro and micro scales (“go to the dentist eventually,” vs. “send that email”).

I have lists of random account numbers and passwords for things/places I don’t use often enough to remember.

I have lists of topic ideas for this blog.

I have lists of things I worry about.

I have a list I call my “NOTE TO SELF” list, of stupid shit I keep doing that makes me sad/ill/generally unhappy, to remind myself to stop doing it.

I have lists of goals, both long-term and short-term.

I have lists of what I need to do in order to reach those goals.

I have lists of story ideas I should pitch to certain blogs I frequent, like xojane, but haven’t yet pitched because I’m scared of rejection.

I have packing lists from past trips I’ve taken, because I always forget something obvious like pyjamas or my glasses.

I have lists of books and movies people have recommended.

I have lists of journals and publications I can submit my writing to.

I could go on and on, but I feel like this list is long enough.

Lesson learned: Lists make my world go ’round.

I write them when I’m too excited to remember things. I write them when I’m too busy to keep track. I write them when I’m worried and need to get my feelings off my chest. I write them when I’m stressed and need to calm myself down by figuring my shit out. I write them because sometimes I’m forgetful. I write them because it’s what I do.

Do you?

xA

Two Hundred Forty One.

So a couple weeks ago, this happened:

Hit on?!I talked it over with some people (see: Facebook, but also my BFFs via text – more important), and it was definite flirting. It went down at work. I don’t directly work with this guy, but I see him a couple times a week.

After The Incident, I was totally flattered, but I mean, it was a simple little compliment. Some of my friends were already assessing our non-existent relationship.

“So he’s into you, but are you into him?”

“Is he hot?!”

“Do you looooooove him?!”

To be honest, I was pretty indifferent. I barely know the guy. He’s nice and pretty handsome and everything, but I’m not super attracted to him, and I literally see him sitting behind a desk at a boring office job, we smile, say hello, and then I leave.

The verdict: I’ll give him a chance to try to get to know me.

So I saw him once last week. I will openly admit that I was being pretty girly about it and made sure I had a good outfit on. I didn’t go out of my way. I just wanted to be sure I was outfit confident.

(Remember, I could go to work dressed as a clown and no one would notice. I still put effort in on a daily basis, but we all have our off days, like this one day I realized I was wearing a summer outfit with winter boots and felt angry at myself all day for it. Such a mismatch. And not in a cute way.)

(But I digress.)

I walked into his office. It went like this:

ANDREA: Hello!

WORK GUY: Hi.

ANDREA places a handful of papers into WORK GUY’s inbox tray.

ANDREA: Have a great day!

WORK GUY: See ya.

Uneventful. Disappointingly so. “What, no compliment?” I thought to myself. “No big smile? No obvious joy at seeing me wonderful me in a good outfit – walk into his office?”

Well, that sucked.

And this is where shit started to get weird. I found myself thinking about him a little more often. I found myself thinking things like, “He is pretty cute.” and, “I wonder how he’ll react next time he sees me.”

So then yesterday, I had to go to his office again. It went like this:

ANDREA: Hello!

WORK GUY: Hi.

ANDREA places a handful of papers into WORK GUY’s inbox tray.

ANDREA: Have a great day!

WORK GUY: See ya.

I left, disappointed yet again. But as I walked back to my own office, I found myself feeling more attracted to this guy. “He’s really attractive,” I told myself, “I want him to like me!

OBVIOUS SIDENOTE: He did not get any more attractive from day one to yesterday. He’s still just him. Handsome, but I’m not super attracted to him.

Less than an hour later, I was on my lunch break reading Sarah Colonna’s book, Life as I Blow It* on my Kobo –

FINE!

IT WAS NOT MY LUNCH BREAK.

It was just a really slow day at work. I was reading on work hours.

OKAY?!

Anyway, she was talking about some past relationship and said something along the lines of, “he was completely ignoring me, so of course I was in love with him,” and I was like HOLD UP.

YEP.

I do that.

Suddenly, my “dating” life flashed before my eyes.

SUMMARY: All of the guys I’ve had “relationships” with have been either (A) completely disinterested assholes, or (B) completely obsessive (see: literally scary) stalker types.

I have a serious tendency to let myself get strung along by guys who act like they’re really into me, then vanish (physically and/or emotionally) for days, weeks, months.

And you know what?

OVER IT.

Lesson learned: Recognize the pattern and BREAK IT.

Nobody

xA

*Really good. Read it.

Two Hundred Forty.

I hate to make generalizations, but most of the time, men don’t seem to notice “changes” in women. By “changes” I mean a haircut, a new outfit, and that sort of thing. If/when they do notice these things, they either (A) keep quiet about it, or (B) say something, but get it totally wrong.

One of my favourite examples of this is the following story: after completing a photo shoot with me in which she was DRESSED as an alien, My BFF Louise changed clothes and had to run to a rehearsal for a play she was directing. She went in full “alien” makeup – bright green eyeshadow, green glitter blush, etc., etc.

When she got to rehearsal, she sat down and noticed that her cast – which I believe was comprised of men only – was looking at her funny. After a brief moment, one of them said, “Hey, you’re wearing your hair down.”

Nevermind the GREEN.

Anyway!

I work with 98% men. There are two other women in my group, and they are both so shy I have only heard their voices like, twice each in six months. Plus they’re always tucked in one of the labs working, so I almost never see them. So when I go to work, I never expect to hear anything about my appearance.

SIDENOTE: I never go anywhere expecting to hear anything about my appearance, but when I worked with all women, there was a constant stream of “I like you hair today!” or something random like that. This is a completely different environment.

Sometimes I’ll run into one of the ladies from downstairs and they’ll be like, “Cute outfit!” and I’m like, “Oh thanks!” and that’s it. I have to say, I kind of love it, because if I’m feeling self-conscious about anything – like a bad hair day or a what-the-fuck-happened-to-my-eyebrows day – I remind myself that no one cares. It’s liberating.

Last week, I dyed my hair. I didn’t do anything drastic to it. I just needed to touch up my colour and cover up my roots and grey, which at the moment is too randomly scattered for me to embrace in a sexy Stacy Clinton way.

Fucking Stacy Clinton and that grey streak. So hot, right?

I feel the need to emphasize that I didn’t walk into work with like, blonde hair or something. I didn’t go from Plain Jane to Lucille Ball red. I went from slightly faded brown to a slightly richer brown. No big deal. And of course, I didn’t expect to hear anything about it.

Flash forward to me sitting at my desk about halfway through the day. It had been a quiet morning and I was clicking away at my computer. Now, when I’m sitting at my desk, my back is facing my office door, so I don’t see when people walk in. It used to mean that I got startled approximately 83 times a day, but I’ve gotten somewhat used to it. And normal people (see: maybe 50% of the people I work with) knock, or at least clear their throat when they reach my door.

But what’s the fun in being normal?

I was sitting at my desk, focused on whatever I was doing when I heard a bizarre squeak/shriek/cough/expression of shock and potentially fear.

It wasn’t like, “Oh!” It was more like, “OhhWUAAAGH!”

Read that out loud.

And again.

Add some volume.

Add some slasher movie flavour.

Okay, cool.

So I’m sitting there and all of a sudden I hear, “OhhWUAAGH! Your hair’s different! Your hair’s different!”

After I nearly peed myself, I swooped around in my chair to see my 19-year-old co-worker standing there, staring at me in horror. I blinked at him.

“Yeah. I dyed it.”

“It’s…oh, okay. It’s different.”

“Thank you.”

And then he left.

I could have spent the rest of the day worrying about it, thinking that maybe I had made the wrong colour choice or something, but I didn’t. Because in my current world, that’s a compliment. So I just laughed to myself instead.

Lesson learned: Working with all men is hilarious.

xA

P.S. My apologies to the men out there reading this and going, “I NOTICE STUFF!” I’m sure you do, and I thank you for it.

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