A coworker asked me the other day if I ever just talk to myself out loud. I was flabbergasted. The answer to her question is hell yes. All. The. Fuckin’. Time. What shocked me is that somehow, somehow she had yet to be catch me doing it?!
I guess I’m better at knowing when to let my words run free and when not to. If I’m at home alone, it’s open season. All waking hours. Usually start my day off with something like “Charlie, you don’t get fed for another two hours, “ “I don’t want to workout today,” or “that’s enough Instagram before nine a.m.” And then there are the times when I’m walking in public with headphones in but no music on. I’ll be talking to myself and the second I suspect I’ve been caught, I break into song.
One day I thought I was home alone and so was yammering on like I always do and then my roommate emerged from her room. Surprise! I was instantly coated in head to toe shame. But why? Everyone does it. And I think it’s healthy. I mean, when I’m alone, I’m able to get out all the garbage. I congratulate myself for pooping by saying, “I pooped” multiple times to myself for about an hour after this achievement. It’s out of my system. Figuratively and literally. And that way when I go out in public, there is no longer a desire to share said information. Or rather I’m able to bury the desire to share it (If it was up to me, I’d throw a parade every time).
My dad was an out-louder. It drove me nuts as a kid, but now as an adult I completely understand. So many thoughts are running through your mind at any given moment that it can be grounding to get out the fluff. The “no, I don’t want to eat that” an answer to a question that was never asked but prompted by seeing the can of olives you bought in an attempt to snack on “healthy fats” instead of all the popcorn and m&ms the world has to offer. Or the “I gotta wash a load of underwear. Meh. Later.” Or worse, the “fuck, I knew I’d forget to do that load of underwear?!” Now there’s room for genius to come through. Well. Room for something that isn’t celebrations of poop to come through, genius not guaranteed.
I’m done with being embarrassed for being human. For doing something that everyone does, whether they cop to it or not. I know who I am and I am proud and confident in my skin. And I don’t want to waste anymore time apologizing. So next time I’m walking down the street and someone catches me saying, “did I put deodorant on today?” I’m going to lock eyes and smile and quietly whisper, “in case you were wondering, I pooped earlier.”
I live in the wrong place. Or maybe I live in the right place but in the wrong time. Wrong time not because I am plagued by nostalgia for a different era like Owen Wilson’s character in Midnight in Paris. Although, the 50s – am-I-right? But wrong time because the weather is going fuckin’ loco. I love Toronto. It is a city that literally never sleeps. And as someone who comes from a government town or as I’ve heard it called “the city that fun forgot” the liveliness of Toronto is exactly what I need. The weather though? Enough.
I remember driving from Ottawa to Toronto as a kid in the winter months and marveling at the fact that the closer and closer we got to the city, the less and less snow we saw. It wasn’t the snow-covered roads, five-foot high snow banks, and seven layer outfits, that I was used to. It was just enough snow around Christmas that Toronto could maintain Canadian status (because what isn’t more Canadian than the idea that we live in a snowstorm?) and once the Christmas trees hit the curb, the snow left the ground. It was, in a word: perfect. I needed to move here.
So I did. But after seven years of living in Toronto, I am broken-hearted. It is not the idea of perfection I once thought it to be. It’s turned into seven months of winter, plus one month of rain-shit-storms before and after winter. Really we have three months of sunshine, if we’re lucky. The reasons for this are clear. But this isn’t a post on global warming. It’s a post on change. Toronto has changed. And maybe it’s time I did too. The sunshine is calling me. And I’ve hit ignore on that call for way too long.
An ex of mine was a bit of a self-proclaimed renaissance man. Sometimes it was fascinating like when he could accurately predict if a person’s parents were still together based off a few random questions. Times like those, it was like dating Sherlock Holmes. But other times, like when he’d correct my pronunciation? That’s when it was like dating Ben Stein (just in case that’s appealing to anyone, no judgment, but I meant it in a bad way). Those are the times when I would clench my teeth so hard, two veins would protrude from my neck. I’d be thankful I wasn’t born with Cyclops’ optic blast ability otherwise I’d be taking the stand pleading “your honour, I didn’t mean to kill him, my protective glasses just FELL off.” And then I’d tell the jury that though they couldn’t see it through my lenses, I was definitely batting my lashes in a cute and totally innocent way.
Perhaps you haven’t noticed but many people, at least in Toronto, have dropped the “c” out of the word “picture.” So when I ask, “hey babe, can you take my picture?” I sound as if I am asking my boyfriend to grab a pitcher of something (probably wine ’cause that’s how I roll). “PIC-ture. PIC-ture. PIC. There’s a c,” he would say. You know what else there is? A pedantic man making his girlfriend feel stupid for no reason other than to make himself feel better. Was my dropped “c” hurting anyone? No. Did it make me stand out from the crowd or make me seem of a lower level I.Q.? Hell no. Did it give me a complex and make me want to speak less around him? Absolutely.
There’s a famous anonymous quote, “never make fun of someone if they mispronounce a word, it means they learned it by reading.” If I was a betting gal, I’d say I probably learned the word “picture” in grade school from a teacher and not from reading. And somewhere along the way, much like the second “t” in Toronto (re: Turonno), the “c” just dropped out. But the lesson still stands: don’t be a pronunciation bitch. It doesn’t make you look smart, it makes you look like literally the worst person ever. PLEASE stop talking, then go die.
But seriously it’s ba-gel. Like BAY-gel. Not bag-el. You idiot.
Dr. Dre’s 2001. In grade 7, I remember dragging my mother to HMV with the goal of getting the album. I tirelessly pleaded with her to buy me the CD because it’s cool and I’m cool, and because she’s not cool, she could never know how cool it was. Ah, the logic of a twelve year-old. Finally, she gave in. I like to think it was because I was so persuasive but it was probably more because she secretly knew what table I sat at during lunch. We get to the cash and the nice-nice-oh-so-nice man behind the cash looks from me to my mother and back to me then says, “did you know we have the clean version?” Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me? My eyes drilled holes into his head as he showed my mother where to find the PG album. I felt so betrayed. What gives, dude? Retail workers don’t get tips. And even if they did, joke’s on you, she tips the same no matter what the service is like. Having since worked at HMV for a 3 year stint, I can say with confidence I never showed the same douchebaggery to underage folk. That is until they came the listening booth with five CDs. This isn’t the buffet of music, all-you-can-listen, get the fuck outta here!
Walking proud with my new CD spinning in my discman, I took my usual seat in the cafeteria only to be interrupted by Christianne: self-proclaimed rebel from the grade 8 class. She asked me what I was listening to and when I replied, she yanked the headphones off my head and hit play. Right off the top things get suspicious when Snoop turns into one of those faceless adults from Peanuts and starts talking gibberish, “Da da da da da, It’s mwa-sner-der-fla D-O-double-G!” If you weren’t paying attention or you were say, in a large cafeteria full of 1200 students, that one may slip by you. It isn’t until the song finishes and the iconic words, “EYAT WYERMS EVERYDAY!” hit your eardrums that you truly know something isn’t quite right. Eyat wyerms? Like eat worms? Oh please no, Dr. Dre, not you too. Or maybe Wyerms is an acronym for some new diet of diets spreading through the Hip-Hop crowd and Dr. Dre is getting paid to advertise? Not having heard the uncensored version, I didn’t dwell on it too long. But Christianne knew the original very well. And nearing the end, at around the two minutes and thirty eight seconds mark when Dre reminds gardeners everywhere that they’ve been doing it wrong, she heard it: “HOLY SHIT! It’s the clean version!” She proceeded to run around the cafeteria and tell everyone about my profanity-challenged CD, which had the added sting of her having to point me out when she was met with “who’s Rebecca?”
It sucked. But isn’t that the way when you’re motivated by vanity? Murphy’s Law. I like to think that the spike in censored album sales thanks to yours truly (or maybe thanks to mommy dearest) gave Missy Elliott her inspiration to “Ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht [reh] tup.” It’s all how you look at it. And I’m taking this one as a win. But also, like, fuck you HMV dude.
The other day I had to speak to a Lawyer and after I was done adulting, my first impulse was to suck my thumb to restore balance. Yes, on paper I am thirty years old, but inside I’m not a day over sixteen. And I’m not talking maturity, although I do still laugh when people fart. It’s more of a feeling and the more people I talk to about it, the more I realize that that feeling never really goes away.
There isn’t a more perfect example of this feeling then when I purchase alcohol. I prescreen the LCBO cashiers in an attempt to decide which one is least likely to I.D. me. Again, I’m 30. After I’ve chosen my preferred cashier, I hop in line and vibrate with anxiety. The next defensive technique I adopted is having my Air Miles card at the ready, because what underage kid would have an Air Miles card? I end up so consumed with not getting carded that my face reads suspicious bitch despite the laugh lines and greys. I avoid eye contact, reply no thanks when the cashier asks me how I am and slide my ever-ready Air Miles card into the debit machine.
Damnit. I present my I.D. and stand worried that the layers of make-up I applied in an effort to have a nice Driver’s License photo have now made me unrecognizable in person.
Oh thank god. My body releases pounds of tension and I strut seemingly weightless out of the store. I run home as if I got away with murder. Once in my apartment, I crack open the bottle of wine, pour a glass and draw a bath. I soak away all the aches and pains of getting older while I text my best friend, “you’ll never guess what happened today, I got fuckin’ carded! Still got it!”
I most certainly DO NOT still got it.