Category Archives: Humor

Do without

Having no money sucks. How many things can you do without it? Really. Go for a walk? That’s about it and you need clothes and shoes to do it and maybe some water and your keys, phone, whatever.

As part of the path of being thankful for what I have, I became aware of the things I haven’t. Like eucalyptus oil. And tea lights. Caribbean holiday, haven’t had one of those for a while let alone a vacation home. Where are the timeshares? The millions of dollars I think the cosmos owes me?

So I just pretend. I like looking over the luxurious real estate ads and deciding which ones I want to view. I have all kids of fantasies about moving in or rather having my people do it. I’ll need a housekeeper, hopefully she’s a chef, like, gourmet. Then I would need a lawyer and financial advisor to watch my money and make it more money and then I would need someone to watch over them because well, you know.

By this time, I am tired of all these people and just want some peace and quiet so I’m thankful I don’t want to see any of those luxurious properties because if I did, well, it would take so much effort. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? The effort. If you want something, anything, you have to put in the effort. There are few, if any, overnight success stories. Anything worth accomplishing takes a concentrated, continuous effort. That’s just the way it is.

So for now, I will be thankful for the things I do have. A place to sleep, food to eat and people who love me. That’s all you really need. Everything else is gravy.


Flag girl person whatever

I wasn’t going to say anything. Really I wasn’t. But I couldn’t take it anymore. It goes like this.

Where I live, it’s lush. And when spring comes around, things start to grow. My brother once said, “The problem around here is that things grow too well.” And he’s right. So, the municipality has to cut back the growth on city property. Which is all well and good and also an inconvenience.

There is a road that runs mostly parallel along the coast. For a good part of this road, there is rock and vegetation on one side and ocean or residences on the other. It’s one lane each way with barely enough room to pass a cyclist on a clear stretch. And because the road twists and turns so often, you can follow a cyclist for blocks at 15 kph. But this story isn’t about cyclists. I use this road regularly.

Fluorescent signs. Slow down. Flag person. I’m always curious since the sign is neutral. Usually it’s a flag girl with attitude. I mean, I don’t know what they teach them in flag school but they just throw up their hand in your face windshield. So agressive. I think it might be the sign or whatever. And the way they stand. I guess you have to be that way when you’re dealing with cars and trucks, all dressed up in a fluorescent suit on a hot day.

Anyway. You wait. What else can you do? Nothing. One lane traffic either way. That’s cool. The sunroof is open. It’s a beautiful day. Eventually, it’s your turn. There is always a moment of panic where they might throw up that sign in your face again but…it’s all good. And it’s okay if this happens once or maybe twice along the way. Fourth time, there is only so much anyone can take.

In the end, none of it will really matter. The lush growth or my irritation at being inconvenienced. The best approach is to just accept it and remind yourself that nothing lasts forever. That’s just the way it is.

Later that evening I was looking at myself in the mirror. You know, for a second. Why is one side of my face markedly more tanned than the other? Right. The sunroof. How does one even start to remedy the situation? Ugh.

No matter, next day, it wasn’t so bad. Noticeable to me but anyone else? Not so much. I’m not going to worry too much about looking like a harlequin. In the end, everything is okay. If everything is not okay, it’s not the end. Life goes on. And I’m okay with that.

Aliens among us

It’s not an unusual thought. Or original. But some people were talking the other day about it. Which reminds me of a friend who said Barack Obama is the first robot president. I thought that was funny – and weird. Anyway, these kids, probably 20 somethings, were talking about how aliens live among us and run the government and big corporations. And I thought, hmm, it’s possible.

I mean, I think I’m pretty smart but there are some things I just don’t get. Like cell phones. How are they possible? Pretty sure aliens had something to do with that. And microwaves. Fire I can understand because it’s hot, but. Press the button and one minute later, presto? It’s like magic, only real.

Looking back I think I’ve always been in a state of awe and wonder at the world. I just thought I was confused. If you stop to think about it, it’s all pretty unreal. I mean, how can a seed contain all the knowledge it needs to grow into something wonderful? Life is miraculous. It’s just so hard to see sometimes because everything else takes your time and attention. It’s true! It’s happened to me.

I don’t really want to think that aliens walk among us. If they do, they’re doing a pretty good job of disguising themselves. Although, when I look at some people…whatever.

Maybe I’m an alien and that’s why I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere and everyone is a stranger. Did you ever think about that? Huh? Just kidding. I think probably everyone feels, at one time or another, that they don’t belong. It could be part of the process of finding out where you do belong. It’s part of the human condition. We’re all aliens.


I’ve been thinking about words a lot lately. Particularly words that have similar sounds but entirely different meanings or words that sound and are spelled the same but mean something different. Words communicate and if one doesn’t have the right words, it’s hard to get the point across. It all started when one of my friends was recalling a recent trip to the emergency.

“And you know what it’s like in emergency, they are all idiots,” she said. Well, now, they are not all idiots but I can certainly understand her frustration. It’s hard to know what anyone is going through by looking at them. As she went on, I started to think about the word emergency and that the word emerge was in the word emergency. Then I thought the word emerge sounded nice and pleasant, like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon. It made me feel like I’d arrived. Emerge. But then the word emergency didn’t make me feel that way at all. Then I wondered, who is in charge of words anyway?

“Are you listening to me?” she says. Uh huh. I lied.

It was probably later the next day when I was thinking about the conversation and I thought of the word hospital and that it is part of the word hospitality. I love hospitality! I mean, whether I’m guest or host, there is nothing like good hospitality. So what was the person in charge of words thinking when they named a hospitalhospital? What were they thinking? I should have their job.

A little while later, same friend starts talking about how one time she was explaining an event to a group of people and said ejaculation instead of explosion. In the uncomfortable silence, she realized her mistake. Once words are spoken, you cannot bring them back. I thought Freudian slip but whatever, apparently, they were not impressed. Bad visual. I think those people had a skewed perception of her for like, forever. It’s a good thing I like her so much.

Then today, I was at the gym and as I was leaving, some teenagers were pointing to sign that said, Please refrain from… and they were saying refrain, refrain, please refrain. So I started to think about the word. Refrain means to hold oneself back and also is a line or lines that is repeated in a verse or song. It’s like a conspiracy. I love singing!

Then I went into overdrive. Think about you, ewe, and a u-turn. And then what about I, eye, and aye-aye and aye yai yai? The number two, to, too, and t00-too, the ballerina dress.

I decided I should probably just relax and not worry about words so much. It’s beyond my control. I’m only responsible for my behaviour, a liberating thought. Everybody can just do whatever they want, I’m not responsible for their behaviour. I am only responsible for me. Ah. Relief, somehow. I think I’ll have a bath.

Now that would be crazy

I got a new boyfriend. He’s really nice. I want to spend all my time with him but he’s so far away. He lives in Athens, you know, like in Greece? It’s really far – and old. I saw on the internet. A bunch of stuff happened there a long time ago. Now, it’s just like everywhere else. I miss him so much. We met on Facebook. Well, this is how it started.

My friend, not mentioning any names, but she went and got herself a boyfriend and now she’s all busy with Mr Smoochy Smoochy. Gross. I can’t believe she did that. So I was like totally bored and thought why don’t I get a boyfriend? Right? So I went searching for one. I can’t remember how I got there, I was just clicking and clicking on friends and friends friends and then I was like totally in Greece and there were all these really hot looking guys.

And then I saw him. Vangelos Pitiloss. He’s so dreamy. I knew right then and there he was it. You know how they say you can just feel it when you meet that special someone? I totally did when I saw his picture. So I friended him. I was so nervous. What if he doesn’t respond? I worried about it all night because of course the time is different there. Sometimes it’s already tomorrow there and still today here. It kind of blows my mind. I never thought about it like that.

The next day I checked my email and, oh my god, he confirmed it! I was so excited. My mother was all like, why are you in such a good mood? Because I have a new boyfriend, I say. She doesn’t believe me. She never does. I was going to show her the email and everything but she would just give me that look like I was crazy or something, so I didn’t.

I’m kind of nervous about meeting his family though. What if they don’t like me? I’m sure they will. I’m a really interesting person. Wouldn’t it be funny if they couldn’t speak English? Then what would I do but my other friend said they DO speak English in Greece. They just spoke Greek before there was English, which makes sense. And anyways, it doesn’t matter because he speaks English. It says so on his page.

He’s a singer songwriter. That’s what he works at. It also says that on his page. He has even sent me some of his videos, well, he posted them and I watched and listened to them. My mother kept telling me to turn it down. I wish I could understand the words better. I get the feeling he’s singing about me.

One time, he wrote that he couldn’t sleep and I felt so bad for him. So I wrote, don’t think about where you are, think about where you want to be. And he was so cute, he said xaxaxaxaxa. I think that means like, love and kisses. Then someone else from Greece put the same thing. I didn’t realize that other people were listening in on our conversation. How rude.

When I meet his family, it will probably be a bit weird at first but then when I come to stay, they’ll get used to it. They’ll have to because we are in love. I was telling my mother that I was going to Greece, she didn’t believe me. As usual. Sometimes she can be such a downer. It’s because she doesn’t want me to ever have any fun! Where are you going to get the money? she says. What do you know about foreign countries? What does she mean “foreign?” Greece isn’t foreign. She doesn’t know anything. I’m almost 21 and I know a lot more than she does, that’s for sure.

I will probably spend time by myself when he is out singing and on tour. He’s going to be really successful, more than American Idol. I can just tell. He has like over 5,000 friends on Facebook and it’s only a matter of time before he hits the big time. Then he will be making CDs and having concerts and I’m not sure I would want to be around that all the time. We will get a small house in Greece. White. With an ocean view. For some reason, I think we’ll have a couple of goats. Isn’t that weird?

I don’t know what I would do with goats. Would they be like the pets? They could keep me company while he was away and I was relaxing at the house, I guess. Waiting for him. Come to think of it I haven’t heard from him for a couple of weeks now. He’s probably busy. Although singing doesn’t really take very long, does it? I mean songs are short. They don’t take all day. You’d think he would have a minute to send me a message or something. I don’t know why he has to be like this.

Then he changed his status to in a relationship. I was so happy. I was over the moon. And he put a little heart beside it. See? He really loves me. I can’t wait to get married to him and out of this place. I hope my mother can come to the wedding. We’ll have to have it in Greece since that’s where we’ll live, even though I want all my friends to meet him. Wouldn’t it be fun if all my friends could come with me to Greece for the wedding? I don’t understand what is so crazy about that, mother.

It’s really expensive to go to Greece right now. My mother made me check. I called up the local travel agency. The girl was really nice. She was all excited for me and everything. You’re getting married in Greece? That is so romantic! Right? I don’t know what my mother’s problem is. So we decided to wait for a little bit until the prices come down. I can’t believe my mother told me to check. She is so mean to me.

You know, I started checking out some of his friends and I don’t know about Greece but guys here do NOT put pictures of themselves with almost no clothes on. It’s really weird. Most of his friends go to the gym, that’s for sure. And they are really good-looking. I’m glad that most of his friends are men. I don’t want any other girls coming along and trying to steal him away from me. I’m not too worried about it because I know how much he cares for me. Remember the heart?

Well, now all I have to do is wait for a few days and then I will be able to go. I haven’t told him yet. I want it to be a surprise. I want to just show up at the airport and say surprise! I should probably let him know I’m coming so he can pick me up. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t know where to go! Now, that would be crazy, mother.

I’ll keep you posted

A colleague called me the other day. How are you? Did you talk to so-and-so? What are you doing these days? Do you still have those discs? Fine, yes, not much, yes. Could he stop by to pick them up? Sure, what time? Well why don’t you come downtown and bring them, I’ll buy you breakfast? I guess. We could go someplace else if you want. No, the usual place is fine. Say 11:00 am late breakfast? Why not?

So many decisions. What should I wear? Should I drive? Maybe I should drive to Park Royal and catch the bus downtown. Oh, but then I would have to walk 7 blocks from Georgia St. What if it’s raining? Ha. It’s always raining. And then I would have to walk back. Remember last time? Remember how when you got back you were so cold you had to take a hot bath to warm up? Remember?

I decided to drive. I’m not sure if that increased my carbon footprint but I didn’t care at the time, I used to compost. You can justify almost anything, if you want. Nice drive in, no Lions Gate Bridge delays, smooth sailing through Stanley Park. I checked the lot. You have to pay! I park on the street except the sign says you need a West End permit. Knowing how things go, I get the sense if I leave the car, I will get a ticket. I walk over to the lot and press the button. $2 for an hour. I have no real money, only plastic.

Walking towards the restaurant I see a branch of my bank. My bank. Right. Inside is a long line. What should I do? Wait in line for 10 or 15 minutes for $2? I could take $20 out of the ATM and then…walk across the street to buy some gum to get some change? Argh. Why does everything have to be so complicated? Anyway, that’s what I did.

I re-park the car. My colleague is already seated. Just got here. Me too. Last time, I was encouraged to order the cheap breakfast but this time he says, “They have great eggs Benedict here.” Sweet, no, awesome. I am an eggs Benedict connoisseur. It’s my favorite. Life is grand. What are you doing this afternoon? Me, meh not much. Did you want to see my new apartment? Um, sure. It’s on the 23rd floor. Cool. I love a good view.

Nice place. Beach Avenue. Up some stairs and an apt whale tail sculpture rises from the landing, in the distance, the blue waters of English Bay. Elevators seem dated but well cared for. Up and up to the 23rd floor. My heart is racing.

Come in, come in, don’t mind the mess. Just moved in. Spacious. Outside, the wind is howling. There is a wind warning. We are up high. I feel jittery. Maybe it was the cappuccino. Those are big cups. Look at this view! Whoa, don’t get too close. I am experiencing vertigo, in a big way. My legs feel like jelly. Hmm. I’ve always loved a view but…

You’re not afraid of heights? Me, no. No really, it feels like the room is spinning. Want to have a cigarette on the balcony? Oh god, no. But we do. I feel like I am about to fall off a building from the 23rd floor. The balcony is three feet deep and 12 feet long and feels like it is going to drop out from underneath me. Casually, I keep my back to the wall while we have a quick smoke. The balcony is made of concrete, it’s not going anywhere, I tell myself. I’m fighting a morbid wave of impending doom. I must get off this balcony. It feels like panic. I try to make small talk.

Inside. Good. Sit down, sit down. I just need to make a couple of calls, do you mind? No go ahead. Doctor appointment, television on low. Wind howling. I must get out of here. What if there is an earthquake? I would never survive. Relax, stay a couple of minutes. Go shopping later maybe. Pick up a few things. Everything will be fine. But everything is not fine. I achingly wait out a few minutes. I should go. Thank you so much for breakfast.

I want to run to the elevator but that would be silly. I want to press the 70s elevator down button repeatedly but that would be silly too. Hurry up! I get in the elevator and it’s almost worse. What if there is an earthquake and I am in this elevator? The door closes and I am on my way down. Okay. Okay. Everything will be fine. Five floors down, the elevator jerks to a stop.

I want to scream. What if I am stuck here? The door opens. A well-dressed woman steps in. Smiles. I smile back, weakly. She presses the L button, then Door Close. She lives here, clearly. Okay, now we are on our way down. It will be alright. Somehow, I would survive if I was stuck in this elevator, waiting for help, with this woman. We speed to the ground. Breathe deeply.

In the fresh air outside I take a few more breaths. I need a cigarette.

Everything is fine now, a couple of days later. I still don’t understand what happened. Maybe it was an isolated incident. I’ll keep you posted.

Napping is good for you

I came home from Seattle today on the train. Well, it wasn’t exactly Seattle, more like Everett, but what’s the difference? They’re both in the same general area. I mean, why would I go to Seattle when I don’t know anyone there? One of my sisters lives in Everett, so I went to Everett. Well anyway, I came home from Everett, WA on the train, only it wasn’t a train. It was a bus. They were doing track maintenance and today the train was a bus – which was fine. To be fair, it was on the web, like everything else and all you needed to do was check. Which I did and already knew I would be taking the bus.

The bus was fine. When I got to the train station I kind of panicked because I thought maybe I should be at the bus station. But then I remembered that I checked the Amtrak website and the address they gave for the trip was the train station. It helps that there is a bus loop attached to the train station in Everett. It sort of makes sense. Props to the city planners who did it right – there.

So I was carrying my US Air Force Official backpack only it’s not really my backpack. Well, it is my backpack but it was my nephew’s. He’s in the USAF and like I said, I was visiting my sister in Everett and thinking of getting a bigger travel pack. My sister, bless her heart, says, why don’t you take this one?

Well, I walk into the train station and am wondering where I should go. It’s 7:40 am and the train bus leaves at 8:30. So I want to check like, where I should stand for the you know, train bus? I am hoping to ask the Amtrak people but they start working at 7:45. Hmm.

I’m not really sure if everyone here in the train station belongs here. I mean, I don’t think these people have any money to go anywhere, not to be judgmental or anything. The guy next to me says, “Don’t go to work on Sunday. Why not? Because it’s April Fools and your boss will say, You have no job anymore! April Fools!”

Well, guy-next-to-me carries on about how Sunday is the first, Monday is the second, and so on. Sigh. Maybe if I look away he will start talking to someone else. He does. Actually, someone else starts talking to him, which is fine. There are characters at the train station. Who knew?

Surprise, surprise, the wicket opens up at 7:45 and a pretty woman asks if she can help. Yes, the train is a bus this morning and it will be along shortly. Where should I stand? Oh stand anywhere, we will make an announcement.The train bus leaves at 8:31.

I don’t know. What if I go outside? Will I hear the announcement? What about the washroom? Will I hear the announcement then? The train bus will park outside the doors to the right, she says. Should I wait there? You can if want to get wet, she says – with her eyes. And all the time I am thinking everyone thinks I work for the Air Force, which I don’t. It’s an upside-down, mixed-up, crazy opposite alternate world day. Haven’t had one of those for a while.

8:25 there is still no sign of the train bus. It’s coming along shortly, she says. How much time will we have to board? Are people getting off? Is the bus full? I shouldn’t have had that extra coffee but I got up so early. I mean, what is going on? Where is the train bus? I am starting to freak out – inside. People keep coming up to the wicket to ask the pretty woman all sorts of rhetorical questions like, how much is it to Chicago, New York, or Denver? I want yell, “You don’t have any money!”  but I don’t.

It’s now 8:35 and I am really panicking. What if there is no bus? How will I get back to Vancouver? I decide to go stand outside where pretty lady said the bus would come. She catches my eye and says, “It’s a Starline bus.” Woo, a Starline bus, somehow that makes me feel better. I’m standing in the pelting rain and out of the corner of my eye I see it – the Starline bus and it’s pulling up to me. Oh happy day.

Four passengers get off. I get on, guy takes my ticket says, “Help yourself to some muffins and juice.” Really? I get muffins and juice? I want to take three but only take one because, well, you know. And I take an apple juice. Why not?

The bus is packed. I move down the aisle and it doesn’t seem like there are any seats. Where were those four people sitting? Do I have to stand the whole way? Then I see a knapsack on one seat and a guy in the next seat all curled up into a ball. I tap his shoulder. “I have to sit here,” I say. “Huh? Oh, ya.” He moves his pack and curls back up again. Humph. The seats are small. Well, I will just put my USAF backpack in the overheads. Ha. There is no way. A passenger laughs. Fine, I will put my backpack between my knees, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Okay, fine, I am settled next to Mr Hungover or whatever.

So we carry on towards Canada, land of the brave, home of the free or is that where I am leaving? Can’t remember. Doesn’t matter. I am on my way and it’s alright. I have a muffin, some juice, a sandwich my sister made me, a couple packs of cigarettes, a bottle of water, book and crossword lotto ticket in my pack along with my clothes, passport, new running shoes, toiletries and old knapsack. I am set.

After a quick stop in Mount Vernon, we continue to speed along the grey, rainy highway to Bellingham. We will be heading to Canada Customs shortly so here are the forms. Please fill them out and be ready with your identification. I get out my pen and begin filling out my form. Sleepy head next to me starts filling his out too. I watch out of the corner of my eye. I’m snoopy. I can’t help it. I memorize his name and address noting I will Google it later. See? You just never know who is watching.

At the border, everyone gets off the bus and brings their belongings. The first Customs Officer is pretty tough looking and I prepare myself, then another one signs on in a different booth. He looks more lax and tough guy goes to search the bus. He comes back and continues quizzing passengers. Even though I am a Canadian, I somehow find this very stressful. Then a third officer comes. She signs in. It’s a Customs Lottery! It’s my turn and the woman nods to me. “It takes so long to log on to these computers,” she says. “They want this password and then that password, then a blood sample!” Ha ha. Bingo. She breezes me through.

We all get back on the bus except for the young Asian couple who were too vague or confused and led off to the side. Oh, here they come. All is well. For the rest of the trip, I sit by Mr Not-so-friendly and he pulls out his little laptop, Blackberry and data stick and starts keying code like there is no tomorrow. Really. He’s looking out of the window while he is typing like mad then he checks his work. He’s not typing gibberish. It’s all true.

Well. Now I’m really curious. Back home the first thing I do is Google him. Surprise, a few people have the same name. It’s almost historical. Well actually it is. Not like Ben Franklin historical but enough. Then there he is. This guy has degrees in math, physics and a PhD in economics. Seriously. And he is half my age. I mean, cannot I not get a break? Poor guy. No wonder he is tired. I’d be napping more too if I was him. Not that there is anything wrong with napping, I think it’s good for you.