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Three Hundred Sixty Six.

I know what you’re thinking.

Nope. I still don’t have any answers. And I still don’t feel like a grown up. Maybe slightly closer, but I still don’t even want to have to take care of a houseplant.

SIDENOTE: Somehow I manage to keep my dogs alive and happy. I don’t know how that works. Life Math is weird.

…Maybe I’m just not a green thumb.

Anyway.

My BFF Jo texted me yesterday and said, “It’s your last day as a 26 year old.”

At first I kind of panicked. Holy shitballs. 26. It’s over. I feel like it just started. I know it sounds like a super cliche, but in some ways, it really was like the blink of an eye.

I started this blog a year ago as a challenge to myself as a writer. Early in 2012, I kind of lost faith in myself. I hit a major rough patch and thought wow, maybe I’m actually a terrible writer. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I don’t want to ever write again. Of course, I eventually came around and realized that writing is the thing I love the most. And in the same vein, I knew that if I wanted to be a writer, I’d have to write.

But I was kind of scared.

So I promised myself I would write something every day.

I wasn’t really expecting that forcing myself to write a blog post every day – a story that somehow led to me learning a life lesson, no matter how small – would help me be happy. I saw it as much more of an exercise than anything else. And an opportunity to maybe be funny. But I have to say, writing this blog has given me a completely different outlook on my entire life. It’s helped me understand how my past has made me who I am. It’s helped me work through a lot of difficult times and put a positive spin on things I would have never otherwise laughed at. It’s helped me approach life in a much more open, accepting way.

Like, happen to me, life: I’m ready to learn from you.

That was a disaster. Oh well, next time will be better!

I can’t believe that just happened. I am mortified. Also, that was hilarious. I can’t wait to tell people.

I did it! Someone pat me on the fucking back!

I hate everything right now. Surely someone will understand.

I am hurting. I need to know it’s going to be okay.

This is weird. Does everyone feel this way?

Did that just happen? SRSLY?!

At the same time, I had come to a bit of a crossroads with myself. I had hit a self-love low. I was feeling depressed, defeated, discouraged, you name it. I decided enough was enough: it was time to make the active decision to be happy.

I also discovered that Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks. And my world was turned upside down. In a good way.

To quote myself (is that totally pretentious? I’m trying to recap, shut up.):

Jayne Mansfield, the American actress, singer, Playboy playmate, and all around drop-dead gorgeous bombshell, was flawed in a way that has been the root of much of my self-consciousness for all of my teenage and adult life.

So…all of that got me here.

SIDENOTE: It’s really hard writing the last post of a 365-day blog.

It’s going to be difficult to let this blog go. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and my first thought is going to be, “What can I write about today?” or, “Oh shit! I still have to blog today!”

But I’m looking forward to channelling my creative energy into a number of other projects that I’ve already either started or am about to. So I guess what I’m saying is I’m not going anywhere. Maybe there will be another blog. Maybe not. But I promise there will be something.

I was trying to think of a fun way to commemorate the end of this blog.

Here’s what I came up with.

Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks.

jayne

And so do I.

Image2

xA

P.S. It’s hilariously ironic that in the majority of the pin-up photos I took, my stretchmarks aren’t that visible. Because they’re everywhere.

But I guess there’s a life lesson in that, isn’t there?

I’m probably the only one who really notices them.

Image7_2

P.P.S. Things I meant to write but forgot: Happy Birthday to me! Also, here’s to 27! I’m crazy excited for it!

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Three Hundred Sixty Five.

I know this is a 365-day blog, but this is technically the penultimate post, because it’s a birthday to birthday thing. And tomorrow’s my birthday!

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SIDENOTE: Have you bought me a birthday present yet? We can’t be friends if you didn’t because all I care about is material possessions.

Anyway, I thought what better way to spend the second-last day of my crazy year-long blog than looking back on some of its best moments?

SIDENOTE: Maybe that should say best/”best”…

Think of this, if you will, as a flashback episode of your favourite TV sitcom. With the help of a couple friends, I’ve compiled some categories I think you’ll enjoy.

Without further ado…

Top 5 Stupid Kid Moments

photo(1)

Oh boy. Where to even start with this one?! Well, okay…

1. Pressing buttons was (OKAY, STILL IS) a thing I loved doing. See examples A and B.

2. Of course, there was the time I electrocuted myself

3. The day I put scissors through my finger

4. Setting fire to things is never a good idea.

5. Neither is writing a hate letter to your childhood friend.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give honourable mention to the day I learned that “bastard” is a bad word. Oh, and also to the combination of shaving off my eyebrows and getting hair extensions.

And guess what?! It’s your lucky day. I found a photo of teenage Andrea with hair extensions and no eyebrows. And apparently I have no shame because I’m gonna post it on the Internet.

Extensions

Boy oh boy oh boy.

Moving on!

Top 5 Most Awkward Moments

If you haven’t deduced by now, I am the QUEEN OF AWKWARD. This is quite the random assortment, but I feel it encompasses who I am pretty well…

1. The day a goat ate my t-shirt. (Enough said.) (Stupid goats.) (Seriously, why would she do that to me?!) (Ugh.) (I fucking loved that t-shirt.) (SOB.)

2. The day I learned about orgasms in sex ed. (Is anyone else craving cake?!)

3. Barrel-chested. That is all.

4. The day the National Poet of Scotland called me stupid. Which I really should add to my resume.

5. My elementary school “boobies” moment.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

There are so, so many, but I feel like my Pilates FAIL and my Zumba BARF moments were pretty grand.

Top 5 “SRSLY?!” Moments

You know those moments. The ones that make you go, “what the fucking?!”

1. People and my tattoos. Why are people so weird about my tattoos?

2. That time a guy threw a book at my face. No big deal.

3. NO I DON’T WANT TO TAN.

4. Nothing says “what the fuck?” like getting pepper sprayed!

5. Also charming: when people tell you how to pronounce your own name

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give myself a shout out for fucking up my neck by making fun of someone on a Zumba DVD. Because who the fuck does that? This girl, right here.

But the greatest honourable mention in this category goes to Glasgow, Scotland, where I experienced so many WTF things, including…

Finding a tooth in an ATM.

Finding a used tampon on a bus.

And buses in general.

Among so many others. I fucking love you, Glasgow. I really do.

Top 5 Workplace Blunders

It’s a wonder I still have my job. It really is. It’s also a wonder I still have any self-confidence after all of the stupid humbling things that have happened to me at work…

1. My friends still bring up the day I parked on the sidewalk.

2. Also charming: locking yourself in a stairwell on your first day of work.

3. Or, you know, getting caught dancing in the bathroom.

4. Similarly, walking in on your coworkers in the bathroom.

5. Or traumatizing them with your hair colour.

BONUS PHOTO:

Getting caught taking a selfie at work.

Work selfie

At least I know my office mate loves me and doesn’t judge me.

Top 5 Relationship/Sex Fails

Look. I’d prefer we don’t dwell on how much I suck at relationships, okay? OKAY?!

1. I have been known to throw myself at guys I like.

2. I’ve learned the hard way that spin the bottle will only break your heart.

3. So will going after guys who don’t care that you exist. (But you can keep trying to shout “LOVE ME! LOOOOOVE MEEEE!” at them. Trust me. Guys SUPER love that.)

4. I’m good at ending up in awkward sex situations.

5. And awkward kissing situations, sometimes.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS AND A BONUS PHOTO:

Okay, well, first of all, heartbreak, right?

I think I also screwed it up with this guy, because he was clearly paying me a compliment.

Let’s not forget all of my failed marriages. Sigh.

And the time a MONSTER RASH ruined my potential Scottish boyfriend.

And hey, since I’ve already shown you how great I looked with hair extensions as an eyebrowless wonder, here’s a photo of me in the midst of the MONSTER RASH attack. This was after I managed to get my eyes open, because they were swollen shut.

Photo 130

Good lord…

Top 5 Accomplishments

I didn’t screw up everything, though. I’ve done some stuff. Yeah. I do things! I TCB every once in a while!

1. I’ve gotten over a lot of fear to become a Zumba instructor.

2. Then I stuck with it for a year and changed my life.

3. I grew back my eyebrows, guys. I fucking did it!

4. I got over some serious “I can’t!” bullshit and also tried wall climbing.

5. Oh, hey, I also learned how to embrace myself sometimes. I think that’s pretty huge.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

I BLOGGED EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 365 FUCKING DAYS.

A year, guys. A YEAR.

I’m excited to celebrate my birthday with you all tomorrow.

xA

P.S. I know what you’re thinking. There totally should have been some sort of crazy travel category. But I just couldn’t narrow that shit down. So you’ll just have to re-read my entire blog to enjoy.

Three Hundred Forty Two.

As you may have gleaned by now, I worked at a live theatre for a number of years. I met lots of characters and ghosts while I was there.

The characters who always perplexed me the most were the people who would come to see live theatre and not seem to understand that they were watching live theatre. They would sit in the front row and talk during the performance. Or answer their phones. Or they would come out of the auditorium halfway through the play and say things to me like, “I don’t understand what’s going on in the movie!”

SIDENOTE: Yes. That happened. Like, a lot.

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CONNECT THAT TO:

Lately, I’ve been having some strange experiences in my Zumba classes. Like, okay, I totally understand that sometimes, people are tired and they don’t want to give 100% in class. That’s completely fine. If I’m honest, a lot of the time, I don’t want to give 100% either because I teach 6+ classes a week and I’m tired. I don’t have the option, but I understand.

But there’s a difference – a HUGE difference – between not giving 100% and literally STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CLASS STARING AT ME.

tumblr_lmfo592nsx1qii6tmo1_250

If you didn’t come to move, why are you in my Zumba class? Why do you look angry? Do you realize that I’m a real person standing in front of you trying to do my job – which I love – to the best of my ability? Do you not understand how standing and staring at me when the rest of the room is dancing and smiling might make me feel weird or uncomfortable or self-conscious?

No? Okay. Just checking.

SIDENOTE: if Christina Hendricks came to my Zumba class, I would DIE. She could stare at me all she wants.

BUT:

This weekend I went to a play. It’s been a long time. Like, a long time. For me, anyway. I think the last play I saw was some time in the spring. Maybe March.

SIDENOTE: It was Midsummer by David Greig, playing at Theatre Network, and you should check it out.

The play was great, but here’s what happened. I found myself a little disconnected. Like, it was jarring to me that real people were on stage, performing in the moment. It took me a while to adjust to that, and at one point – and trust me, I am ASHAMED to admit this – I almost reached for my phone just because I was curious what time it was.

WHAT THE FUCK, ANDREA?!

Shameful. I know.

cat-hiding-face

But after the play, as my friend-date Caitlin and I walked back to my car and talked about it, I realized yeah, we don’t disconnect much anymore, do we? It’s almost like we’ve gotten so used to the digital being “real” that REAL-real doesn’t seem real anymore. Like, I talk to my friends on Facebook and that’s real, but what would be more real is talking to them in person.

I don’t have any big answers or anything. All I’m saying is on the weekend, I felt the disconnect and I wasn’t happy with it. So the lesson I’ve learned is it’s time to reconnect with the human experience a little more and just be aware of being present.

xA

P.S. At least my phone didn’t ring during the show or something. (I’m just trying to make myself feel better. Don’t mind me.)

Three Hundred Twenty Three.

I think this is like, my first blog by request.

Maybe not the first, but it’s been a little while.

You all loved hearing about The Roxy Theatre ghosts, huh? Well, I had many, many experiences while I was working there, yesterday’s story being one of the most striking ones. But in terms of full-on shivery fear, it’s got nothing on this story.

It was the summer of 2008. Since I worked at The Roxy and I’m generally awesome, my bosses let me rehearse my Fringe show at the theatre (clearly they are also generally awesome).

Fantastic, except for the fact that the auditorium and backstage are a little…eerie.

I don’t know about you guys (well, I know what a lot of people think), but every single time I’ve ever stood backstage in that theatre, I’ve felt that there was also a man back there, and he didn’t necessarily feel nice. Standing back there in the dark during a production waiting to go on stage always made me feel like I had to pee out of sheer anxiety. Going through the backstage area to turn out the lights at the end of the night was even worse.

“Watch me! Watch me, watch me, watch me!!!” I’d shout at my stage manager while I turned out the last light and ran down the side hallway back toward the auditorium to leave. I say “ran” because that’s exactly what I did. I booked it. Every. Single. Time.  It was as though if I couldn’t see him watching me, I’d never get out. It’s hard to explain unless you stand there. Everyone I’ve made stand there has said, “Yes. I feel exactly what you mean.”

Empty-theatre-007The thing I learned very quickly when I actually started rehearsing in the theatre is that The Man, as I’ll refer to him, is like, everywhere all the time. Sometimes I’d be sitting in the front row watching rehearsals and I’d feel like there was someone watching me watching rehearsals. I’d glance over my shoulder and see the shadow of a man, sitting way at the back of the auditorium in the last row. Sometimes I’d glance back and he’d be standing in the doorway, a distinct figure. Sometimes he’d be walking by one of the sets of doors, leading me to actually get up, go out into the lobby, and double check that the front doors were securely locked. Sometimes, when I’d get on stage to talk to my cast about blocking or whatever needed to be discussed, I’d glance out and see him standing up in the production booth.

Luckily, he was never sitting directly behind me when I glanced back.

There was one particular night, though, that he made his presence very obvious to all of us.

Like a perfect horror movie, while we were inside rehearsing on a late week night, it was pouring rain outside. I had been creeped out enough so far during our rehearsal process that my reaction to the storm was , “Oh, great. Now this.”

It was getting very late – around 10 or 11pm – and for whatever reason (well, just read the above for a plethora of reasons), I was feeling pretty done for the night. I kind of just wanted to go home.

SIDENOTE: This was also the summer of no sleep. So it had just been a long day, week, month, everything.

I thought that it was just me feeling a little nervous that night. I had done the shoulder glance a number of times and seen The Man at the back of the auditorium, and I was starting to fear that he would get closer.

And then my fear came very true.

The cast was smack dab in the middle of running a scene when it happened: loud, distinct footsteps, clomping all the way from the back of the house, through the auditorium, and all the way backstage. They were heavy and evenly timed, and they were full of purpose.

The entire cast fell silent.

“What the fuck was that?!” my lead actress shouted, her eyes widening.

And then we all looked up.

Because the footsteps weren’t in the auditorium with us; they were coming from above our heads.

“Is someone on the roof?” my stage manager asked.

“If they are, they climbed up from the outside of the building,” I replied, “The roof access is upstairs, inside.”

“That was in the ceiling.” one of the actors spat, “Like above us. Is someone in here?!”

I shook my head and said:

“Let’s go home.”

And we left the theatre as quickly as we possibly could.

“WATCH ME!” I yelled, practically crying as I turned out the lights.

We exited in a holding-hands cluster, ran to our respective vehicles, and didn’t sleep that night.

But I was curious. I didn’t understand how someone could even get from the production booth to the backstage above the auditorium. So the next day at work, I found the theatre’s technical director – who at the time was a total skeptic (he later changed his mind!) – and asked him about it.

“Hey, can you walk from the booth to the backstage, like, upstairs?”

“Yup. For sure.”

“How?”

“Well, I mean, you can crawl, sort of. There’s a attic sort of thing. It goes from the booth to the poop deck backstage. But the attic has a lot of beams in it now, so you can’t walk through.”

“But you could before?”

“Yeah, absolutely. Back when it was a movie theatre. You could walk the whole way.”

“Like, quickly. Without obstruction.”

“For sure. Why do you ask?”

Eeek

The Roxy Theatre in Edmonton, y’all. Totally haunted. (PART II!)

xA

P.S. Tomorrow I’ll write about something not ghostly.

Three Hundred Twenty Two.

Oh shit, you know what I just realized?

I won’t be writing this blog come Halloween, because my 365 days will be over on my 27th birthday, October 17.*

You know what that means?

I don’t have to save scary stories to be seasonal! WA-HA! Fun!

SIDENOTE: Not like there’s ever been much rhyme or reason to when I post what I post…

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: It’s weird to think of this blog being over. It’s exciting and sad at the same time.

Okay. So remember how I worked at a theatre for like, five years? I’ve totally mentioned it before, this post probably being the most entertaining, though if you want to relive my glamorous acting days that took place in the very same theatre, read this one, too.

The theatre I worked at is totally haunted.

There are multiple presences in the building. In general, I would say that there are the following people around:

  1. A male presence in the box office and stairwell area
  2. A female presence in the lobby and ladies washroom
  3. A (different) male presence in the auditorium

I have stories about all of these. Little things, for example, like hearing high heels walking through the lobby and going into the washroom, only to find the lights completely out and nobody in the building but yourself.

Eerie.

SIDENOTE: Eerie, but also oddly easy to get used to. Just like the presence in the box office who would constantly rustle stuff around at night at the back of the office.

“Can you stop it? You’re freaking me out.” I got accustomed to saying out loud.

And he always respected my wishes.

Anyway, ironically, the story I’m about to tell goes against the list I just presented you with. But rather than elaborate, I’ll just tell the damn story.

It was my very first year actually working at the theatre. You see, I started out as a volunteer (I’m a good Samaritan!)/festival participant and actor (see the above link about my fabulous acting career)/fangirl (I was REALLY obsessed with this musical written by William S. Burroughs, Robert Wilson, and Tom Waits called The Black Rider. In total, I saw it seven times. Shut up. Did you just read who wrote this thing? PERFECTION.)

I was still pretty new to the whole “opening up the theatre in the morning” routine, but being a very hard worker and a generally responsible human being (see: 18 going on 40), I had a pretty good handle on it. At the time, we were about halfway through the annual emerging artists’ festival the theatre hosts, so I was getting into the groove of setting up every day.

I unlocked the theatre, got into the lobby, and disarmed the alarm. Normal.

Then I walked through the darkened lobby and into the box office, where I turned on all of the lights. Normal.

After putting down my bag and turning on the box office computer, I stepped out into the lobby to start turning on the rest of the lights. I flipped the switches for the lobby itself, then made my way around the concession counter toward the ladies washroom.

Now, as I mentioned, there’s a female presence in the lobby of the theatre. And often, the sound of high heels goes from the front door into the washroom, then stops. Connected to this (in my mind, anyway), is the fact that when you step into the washroom to turn on the lights, it always feels like when you do turn them on, there will be someone standing RIGHT THERE in the mirrors.

So I made a habit of just reaching my arm into the washroom to turn on the lights, keeping my head outside of the washroom and my eyes firmly shut and/or averted from the mirrors.

SIDENOTE: I guess I never thought too much about what if I reached in and FELT SOMETHING THERE?

On this particular day, I guess I was feeling somewhat brave (or maybe I was just still too new to know any better) because I stepped into the darkened washroom and flicked on the lights.

And then I jumped, startled.

SIDENOTE: Are you freaked out?!

Not because there was anything in the mirrors (just me), but because I heard very loud laughter and muffled conversation between two females coming from behind the closed auditorium doors.

I froze.

What the fuck?

Now, at the time, the two people running the technical side of the festival were women – Tammy and Gina – so my first thought was, “Oh! Tammy and Gina are here already! Awesome!”

SIDENOTE: Tammy and Gina are The Shit (in the good way) so heck yeah I was excited to see them.

I guess I didn’t stop to think about the fact that when I got to the theatre, the security system was armed. I guess disarming the alarm had already become such a habit that it didn’t even occur to me.

I left the ladies washroom and skipped the six or so feet toward one set of the auditorium doors. Excited to see my friends, I grabbed hold of both handles, yanked the double doors open, and rushed into the auditorium.

“HEY LADIES…”

And then my breath literally stopped in my lungs and everything felt cold.

The auditorium doors started to close behind me, the light vanishing, leaving me in PITCH BLACK.

Because there was nobody in there. The ghost light wasn’t even on. As soon as I opened the doors to walk in, the laughter and chatter I heard fell silent.

wide-ghost-light

I panicked and ran directly into the doors, throwing them open and getting the fuck out of the auditorium. I stumbled through the lobby into the box office, sat down at my desk, and didn’t move until my friend and manager Muffy showed up about an hour later.

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Lesson Learned: The Roxy Theatre in Edmonton, y’all. Totally haunted.

xA

P.S. I have one more super cool story about this theatre, so let’s call this PART I of me learning this lesson, okay? Okay.

*SAVE THE DATE AND BUY ME PRESENTS.**

**Who said that?!

Two Hundred Eighty Five.

STORY 1:

About eight months into my 12-month Master’s degree, I got a phone call from my dad.

It wasn’t the first call I got from my dad while I was living in Scotland. You just needed to know it was eight months in. And that my Master’s is in Playwriting and Dramaturgy.

We were having a perfectly normal conversation – how are you, how’s the weather, how are your classes, etc. – when a silence fell between us for a moment.

“So…what is Dramaturgy, exactly?” My dad asked me with his most bashful of tones.

I did the best I could to explain, though at that point, he probably could have just waited until I had finished my degree and moved back home to ask.

STORY 2:

Last week, I took part in an event called the Slow Flash Mob. It was a very cool all-day event that offered a variety of free activities and was targeted at multiple generations and getting seniors involved in park life in Edmonton. I was honoured to be asked to teach two Zumba workshops.

Photo by Mack. D. Male, @mastermaq on Twitter.
Photo by Mack. D. Male, @mastermaq on Twitter.

Because it was a free, family-oriented event, I decided to invite my parents. My mom is an avid Zumba participant who comes to almost all of my classes, but my dad had never seen me teach before. I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to catch a glimpse of one of my jobs.

After one of the sessions, I was on a break and having a wander around the park. I crossed paths with my dad, who approached me very seriously.

“You have excellent dance moves.”

“Thanks, Dad!”

“But seriously.”

“I appreciate it. I love teaching. I have a lot of fun!”

“You should be a professional dancer.”

“Haha! Yeah, totally, right?” I laughed, “I think I’m as much of a professional dancer as I’ll ever be – I teach Zumba and it’s one of my jobs, right? So I’m a professional.”

“No, but you could pursue this professionally. Like in music videos or something.”

And then my heart melted a little.

Lesson learned: Dads. They say the darndest things. (Thank goodness.)

xA

P.S. If I were ever going to be in a music video, I would want it to be Run DMC’s “It’s Like That” vs. Jason Nevins. I understand that I can’t turn back time. I’m just saying.

Two Hundred Thirty Nine.

In my six years as an independent theatre producer, I threw many a fundraising event. For the most part, they were successful. I’m lucky to be able to say that only one was a flop. And then there was the fundraiser that was highly successful despite a string of pretty ridiculous circumstances…

CUT TO:

It was all going down in the upper level of a weird, kind of old-fashioned pub here in my hometown. The space was nice and big, but it’s important to note that we were upstairs because we were having a heatwave and the air conditioning system had broken down “that morning.”

SIDENOTE: I put that in quotes because the pub was run by a bunch of assholes who lied to me about many, many things that day. I will never set foot in that shithole again. But hey, water under the bridge.*

So it was sweltering hot. When I say sweltering, I mean it. As part of our fundraiser, we were selling handmade cupcakes, and about 10 minutes into the evening, they had all melted all over the fucking place. I’m so grateful people still bought them because they were delicious, if no longer beautiful to look at .

It was so sweltering that nobody was even ordering drinks, because we all felt sick and dehydrated. So my crowd was guzzling ice water and sweating profusely. The pub was not happy about that, but you know what? That was their own damn fault.

Water under the bridge!*

Still, I have to say that everyone was being a good sport about it. Despite the setbacks, the crowd of supporters was positive and upbeat, and our entertainment rocked the house. We had a very successful silent auction, stand-up comedy, a wicked live band, games, and then my BFF Louise DJed the night away.

SIDENOTE: The “DJ Booth” was “under construction.” God love Louise, who stood inside a sketchy ass cave-in-the-wall, held together with scary, splintery, unpainted plywood, and balanced all of her equipment on more of the same. Knowing Louise, I feel like she has at least 20 stories of worse places she had DJed, but I still commend her for putting up with that shit.

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: God, that pub is the fucking bane of my existence…

Not long into the dance party, the crowd became a bit frantic.

In Louise’s words: “I looked up and saw people dancing as far as the eye can see. Really, passionately dancing. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, Casemore, you’re really killing it tonight.'”

But back on my side of the story, I was already all too well aware of why people were passionately “dancing.” Because I was already trying to get someone who worked at the pub to help me with the m’f’ing BAT that was flying around the room and into people’s faces.

Yes. A BAT.

One of these guys:

Corynorhinustownsendiiflying

I would just like to say that I don’t have a problem with bats. I actually think they’re both cute and cool. But when they’re flying ALL OVER THE PLACE because they are PANICKING because they are INDOORS and they are making EVERYBODY FREAK OUT, then, you know, I’m not the biggest fan.

Turns out the geniuses at the pub had made the executive decision to leave the back door – which was connected to a long stairway that led to the dark, creepy alley – wide open. To cool the place off.

It wasn’t helping the temperature at all. And now we had a special guest at our party!

“Can someone please do something?” I asked, trying to remain calm, “There’s a bat flying around. It’s kind of freaking people out? I don’t want it to get hurt, or hurt anybody, or, say, destroy my evening.”

The pub people looked at me and shrugged.

“What do you want us to do?”

“Like, I don’t know, catch it? And then put it outside?”

“…”

Then I got a little upset.

“Are you fucking kidding me with this right now? There’s a bat flying around! People are freaking out! You need to do something!”

“…”

Then I got more upset.

“Okay, great. DO NOTHING. I guess I’ll deal with it since you’re all so capable. [under my breath] I fucking hate you people.”

So I had to catch a bat that night. Luckily I had a little bit of help, and eventually, we managed to wrap it up in a tablecloth and release it.

Only after a lot of screaming and straight up anxiety attacks from a number of my guests. My one friend’s mom – bless her heart – is a bit of an animal freak like me. She kept screaming, “OH MY GOD! DON’T HURT IT! DON’T HURT IT!” over and over again while we tried our best to catch it. That was calming.

The party sort of wound down after that. People were “tired,” I’m sure.

That was the day I learned that bats are real party poopers.

I feel like I need a drink just thinking about it.

Vodka

xA

P.S. For the record, Louise did kill it. That girl know how to DJ. Also, she has this like, DJ dance/swagger that makes anyone and everyone want to sleep with her. It’s magical.

*Jk, jk, I will never let go of this grudge.

Two Hundred Twenty Two.

It was the spring after…my second year of university? It may have been my first year. It makes me feel old that I don’t remember. But it’s not that important.

It was spring session, and I was trying to get as many credits out of the way as possible. See, I worked somewhere between almost full-time and more than full-time hours during my BA, so I took spring and summer classes every year so that I could take fewer than five courses a semester during the regular academic year.

I was taking Drama 149. It was intro to acting or something. That wasn’t the official class name, but it was the first drama course I was allowed to take that was on-your-feet drama, not theatre history or studying play texts.

It was also a class that satisfied the required fine arts credits of like, every degree ever. So in terms of participants, it was a mixed bag.

I forget everyone’s names except the guy who was my partner for our final scene assignment. His name is Mike. The only other people you really need to know about are Jason, who is about to become “That Guy” in this story, and Aaron, who became “That Guy” in our class, because he’s blind.

Aaron was a normal dude in a drama class who didn’t really want to be in a drama class. He was a totally shy nerd, but he was a nice enough guy. To be entirely honest, I think that our instructor – who, by the way, was batshit insane – drew way too much attention to the fact that Aaron was blind. Like, yeah, cool that he still wanted to try a drama class, but also, he had to for his degree. There was one day where we each took turns trying to navigate the room with our eyes closed. That was interesting. After that, it was like, “Okay, we get it – Aaron’s blind. He’s over it. So are we.”

But I digress.

Jason took an immediate liking to Aaron. Jason was a weird dude. He was also a shy nerd, but his quietness, rather than being peaceful like Aaron’s, was creepy. The two of them seemed to become friends. They would arrive to class together, and would often work together on exercises and assignments.

Great. Whatever. I worked with Mike a lot. Because (A) he was one of the only “normal” (see: not hating on the class, but not way too into it) people in the class, and (B) he was hot.

And so the drama class happened.

It was, unfortunately, the most stereotypically awful drama class ever.

If you don't get this, I don't get you.
If you don’t get this, I don’t get you.

We sat back to back and hummed to feel each other’s vibrations. We lay on the floor flat on our backs and “meditated” until we cried from thinking about horrible life experiences, and when our final scenes came along, our instructor systematically took every comedic scene and turned it into a rape scene. I’m being entirely serious. I think something was very wrong with our instructor.

But I digress again.

Before our final scene assignments, something more traumatizing than our instructor would happen to our class.

It started out like a normal day. We were all sitting on the floor in a circle, taking turns telling the class how we were feeling that day, and what we had for breakfast. (OH MY GOD THE CLICHES ARE MAKING MY BRAIN HURT.) I’m 100% certain I made something up. Because it’s nobody’s business what I had for breakfast. Or how I’m feeling.

When it got to Jason, something wasn’t right. He looked pallid. His eyes were dark. He looked kind of like a heroin addict, with sunken-in cheeks and a weird sheen of cold sweat on his face. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he went off on a tangent that started with him saying something about having sex for breakfast and went on for like, seven minutes too long.

It was totally fucked up, and our weirdo instructor ate it up.

“Fantastic.” He said, clasping his hands together and holding them under his chin like his world had just been shaken. And then, like nothing weird had happened, we moved on to the next person in the circle.

Cue my eye roll.

And then another one.

We split off into our pairs to work on our scenes. Mike and I were mid-conversation when we heard somebody screaming. I turned to see what was going on and froze: Jason was attacking Aaron. Just absolutely pummeling him. Aaron – who had obviously not seen the attack coming – was knocked to the ground yelling, “NO! NO! STOP! PLEASE STOP!” while Jason screamed, punching him over and over again.

Mike – who was also the only other guy in the class – took off toward them to break up the fight.

After what was probably five seconds but felt like five minutes, Mike managed to peel them apart, but instead of chilling the fuck out, Jason left Aaron and – face red with rage, still growling like a crazy animal – started stomping toward me. I panicked and turned toward the wall, trying to think of ways I could defend myself. Luckily I didn’t have to, because Mike managed to wrestle Jason to the ground and, with the help of our instructor, carry him out of the room.

The guys were gone for quite a while. A number of people attended to Aaron to make sure he was okay (he was, thank goodness). I cried, but nobody cared. I’m not holding it against them. I was just scared; I hadn’t actually been hurt. When Mike and our instructor eventually returned, class was cancelled for the rest of the day.

Jason was expelled from the university. He issued a letter of apology. We were all too freaked out to care. We heard rumours that his wife had just gone through a miscarriage, and that may have been what set him off. It didn’t make anything okay.

SIDENOTE: Neither did the tacky “cleansing” ceremony our instructor made us perform before we reentered the classroom after the incident. It involved haiku. (Holy shit, it involved the haiku.) And was directly proceeded by him turning all of our funny scenes into CRY-CRY-SOB-SOB rape and pillage disasters.

About a month ago, I wrote about Scott, the fourth grade desk flipper. This is sort of like version 2.0 of that: you never know what the last straw is going to be. It’s also kind of amazing to think about how much trust we have to have in absolute strangers every single day. We go to school with them, drive next to them, run errands beside them, let them serve us food, or operate on our bodies, pretty much always trusting that we’re safe. And luckily, 98% of the time, we are. Because luckily, 98% of people are genuinely good. *

Whoa. Deep, right?

I’m trying to end this blog post in a way that doesn’t make me roll my eyes at myself. I’m struggling. So give me a break, okay? I’m not trying to blow your mind or anything, but it is true.

xA

*I totally made up that number, but you get my point.

Two Hundred Thirteen.

I glazed over this story way back near the beginning of this blogging project (post #52, to be exact), but now I’m gonna tell you the whole scary thing.

So I was working at the theatre one night. My box office window was a few feet in from the front door, and from where I stood, I could see out to the street in front of our building.

I was letting in the last-minute patrons coming to see the show when I saw a white car park very haphazardly in the “no parking” zone right outside the theatre. It stopped with one front wheel well onto the curb and the back of the car sticking out into the street.

It immediately struck me as weird.

But that driver didn’t come into the theatre first.

First came a young boy – probably about 16 – looking terrified.

“Hello,” I said to him, already concerned, “Can I help you?”

He just looked at me with fear in his eyes, sort of hinting with his glance that something was going on behind him.

And it wasn’t long until I got what he was silently referring to.

A man – about 40 – stormed in directly behind the teen. The entire lobby filled with the stench of alcohol. It was so strong I felt like I couldn’t breathe. He pushed the boy out of the way and stumbled toward my box office counter.

“Gi’ me a pen!” He shouted, “I neeeedah pen ri’now!”

I handed him a pen.

“What’s going on?”

“Thiskidhid mah car! Fuckin’ new driverz…eee doesnknow what he’s doing aneee hit me!”

The kid looked at me with giant brown doe eyes. He was speechless, but I could tell that he hadn’t hit the man’s car. Clearly the opposite was true.

“These kidzar drivin’ antheydunnowhat – what they’re doin’! He hit me!”

The man turned and started barking orders at the kid to write down his information.

I started forming a plan to keep this guy at the theatre. There was no way I could let him get back into his vehicle. He would kill someone driving as drunk as he was. I exchanged some silent glances with my coworker, Muffy, who nodded at me. We’d figure this out.

Then things got way more complicated.

The man stormed out the door before we could say anything, leaving the teen standing in the lobby. He returned a moment later with a little girl. She was somewhere between four and six years old, wearing a nice dress and boots and holding a stuffed animal. Her messy blonde hair covered most of her shy face.

It was my turn to be absolutely speechless.

“Mah dodder neeeestah pee a’forewee leave.”

“I’ll take her, no problem.” Muffy offered.

I turned to her and mouthed the words, “STALL. STALL.” She nodded again.

At this point, I can’t remember if the teen boy was still in our lobby or what. I think he had called his mom, but all of my focus was on keeping this man from getting back into his car.

In the meantime, he was getting impatient of waiting for his daughter. He leaned on my counter, squinting at me, breathing his gross breath all over me. I felt nauseous.

“Whereizshee? WHEREIZSHEE?”

“She’s coming, don’t worry. Muffy’s helping her in the bathroom.”

He stomped through the lobby and found his daughter just exiting the bathroom. He grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her (see: practically carried her by one arm) through the lobby and out the door toward his car.

“Sir!” I shouted. Which did nothing to stop him, of course.

I grabbed the phone and dialed 911.

“Get the license plate number!” I yelled at Muffy, who was already on it. She read it off to me twice and stepped out the front door to see which direction the guy was going.

At this point, I burst into tears.

“911 – what is your emergency?”

I sob-told the woman on the other end of the phone what was going on, all the while thinking about that child (and many others on the road in other vehicles with their own parents) getting killed because her idiotic (to say the VERY least) father was driving drunk. Nay, wasted.

Luckily, we had all of the info they needed to catch the guy before he got more than a kilometre away.

When a police officer showed up at my box office to take a written statement and told me that, I cried some more.

Okay, I was a total mess.

I hoped that kid had someone responsible to go home to.

That was just one of many (unfortunately) times in my life I would learn that I will NEVER understand people who drive drunk. Ever.

So when my BFF Jolene asked me to help her out with her annual Zumbathon® to raise funds for MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), I immediately said yes.

270957_447259052035059_537466666_n

If you’re in Edmonton or the surrounding area, you should come, too.

xA

P.S. I know it sounds like an after school special, but if you’re drinking, take a fucking taxi. If your friends are drinking, drive them home. Just keep each other safe. Okay? Okay.

P.P.S. As scary as this event was, much, much, MUCH scarier stuff happens daily. So even more reason to help stop this shit from going on all the time.

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