If there was one thing my neighbourhood wasn’t lacking in when I was growing up it would be trees. Caulfeild is filled with them. Likewise, Caulfeild Elementary School. A lot of the trees have been cleared out now. Other haves been allowed to grow, changing trails that I once knew like the back of my hand into new labyrinths to conquer. There is one tree however, that hasn’t moved or grown much. It hasn’t changed at all. I know this is a rarity, if not impossible, in the natural world, but I think this tree remains unchanged for the mere purpose of mocking me and my gender.
Boys climb trees.
In Grade 4, that’s exactly what myself and a handful of my cohorts did: climbed this tree. We decided, as we looked down and the lunch hour games beneath us, to take a marker and write the names of the girls we liked at the top of the tree.
BOYS climb trees. Girls play with dolls. Girls collect scratch-n-sniff stickers. Girls… well… Girls don’t climb trees!
Girls do climb trees. Just because a girl doesn’t do something on a regular basis (leave the house looking like hell, not pee in a group, fart), doesn’t mean she can’t. This is the mystery of women and, to me, what makes them glorious. It’s not about Mars and Venus. Astronomy has nothing to do with it. It all about Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Theory. It’s not knowing what particular behaviour will be demonstrated (there are a handful to choose from and easily recognized with proper observation), it’s what behaviour will be demonstrated next. They say the hardest thing to do is hit a major league fastball. Bullshit. At least when that pitcher winds up, you know a baseball is coming flying at you. With women, you have no clue.
Sucks to be us but I don’t care for the alternative.
Now every time I return to Caulfeild School, the tree continues to mock me for being presumptuous about the opposite sex. I learned not to do that when I was 10, and every year thereafter.
Every guy has that tree somewhere.
“What if human sexual desire turns out to be merely an ‘animal’ instinct? That is, what if it’s just a biological urge which […] fixates itself on certain physical types, shapes, faces, personalities, and out of all that […] we try to construct ‘meaningful’ relations?” ~ Stan Perksy, Autobiography of a Tattoo (1997)
I have three tattoos: the Cameron Clan seal (to represent my father’s family), a Hereford bull’s head (to represent my mother’s family), and Cindy Lou Who over my heart. There is only one “true” story as to how she came to be there. I’ve been told that others abound. I’ve never heard them. I don’t gossip and don’t give a flying fuck about people who do. But, here for the record, is the biography of my Cindy Lou Who Tattoo.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am, well, girl crazy. In fact, if you are a young brunette of my acquaintance, I can pretty much guarantee that I have dreamt about us, in some exotic locale, fucking like two feral dogs. One such young woman crossed my path nearly three years ago. I was smitten the moment I saw her. You see, I am also a perennial, hopeless, capital-R Romantic. The moment I saw her, I fell in love.
Head over heels.
Well, I think it was my heels. I couldn’t see them at the time. When I stepped on the scale I weighed 5lbs less than Homer Jay Simpson. Yup. I was 5lbs lighter than the icon of fat slatternly faineance. I had really let myself go. No self-respecting woman would want to be with me. So, I got off my ass and started jogging, fixed my diet (no deep-fried foods, no deserts, no junk food), and started taking a real care about the amount and types of toxins I’d fed into my system on a far too regular basis. Over that summer, I lost 30lbs. After that summer, on her birthday, I had Cindy Lou Who tattooed over my heart.
Why Cindy Lou Who? Because she was the cute little creature who gave the Grinch his heart back. So did she. In more ways than one. We never got together. No exotic locales. No feral dogs. But she is my friend. She makes me smile, and my mood always brightens whenever she enters a room. Coming to grips with who she was made me come to grips with who I was and wanted to be.
I still love her, but as a dear dear friend. She is by no means perfect, and she does not stand above me, looking down from a pedestal of my own design… But any girl who comes for my heart has to get past that tattoo first. It’s not a symbol of what she is worth. It is a symbol of what I must do to attain the things I desire and deserve.
Earlier today, I created a Facebook photo album titled, “The Four ‘Perfect’ Photos”. The album’s description reads:
“Is it a bad thing to have found four photographs that come very close to capturing your idea of a perfect life? If I opened my eyes to see this scene, and everything in it, I might happily close them again for the last time.”
Here are the photographs along with their captions:
If a genie were ever to grant you a wish, don’t ask for something. Ask to be granted a situation. If you ask for a nice car or $1,000,000 that’s all you get. Ask to be someone. If you are granted to the wish to be who you really want to be, then material objects become objects again, rather than aspirations.
The four photographs above are all beautiful in their own way, but the one I will certainly take the most heat for is the last one, for more than obvious reasons. But I chose my words carefully. She “waits” in “our” backyard. If she waits, she cares for me. If the backyard is ours, she, unlike the first three photographs, is not a beautiful possession; she is my partner, my equal… and beautiful.
I was mistaken for a pimp once. At the suggestion of one of the bar’s employees, I followed through on the transaction. Let’s just say that strip clubs are places where pretty much anything can and will happen.
At a time when I lived outside of the Lower Mainland, I spent a lot of time in the town’s strip joint. Affectionately known as “The Ballet”, it was one of a handful of bars within the city limits. Because it was one of only a few bars in the town, the clientele was a broad mix of just regular beer lovers (male and female) and those who were only there for the “shows.”
Having filled my boots with “the Peeler Experience” within a couple weeks of turning 19, my reason for being there was twofold, and not the obvious one either. Firstly, the booze was cheap. If you’re going to hang out writing in a bar all day, it’s nice to find a place that won’t break your bank within an hour. Secondly, the people who regularly go to bars are usually a wealth of great story ideas, strip clubs doubly so.
I’d set up shop in the corner of the smoking room (BC bars were allowed to have them at the time). I usually travelled light with just a note book and a pen. My seat always had a view of the stage but the page in front of me was my focus more than 90% of the time. Every once in a while, I’d glance the flash of something that’d catch my attention, but as with many things, the moment was always fleeting. I’d come to breathe the air, not to take in the sites.
There was once dancer I’ll always remember, most likely because she’d often come over to chat after her shows. I think my ability to concentrate increased tenfold during those conversations as she was rarely dressed. She was always curious what I was working on and I always wished I had better answers for her but we got on well. I still wonder how she’s doing these days but it isn’t one of those things you check up on.
I guess I could have written about being a pimp for half an hour (in a different bar, mind you), maybe someday I will. If we’ve ever shared a drink together you probably know the story. It’s one of many. As it is, these 500 words are just deep background, background to a story I’m getting ready to tell, even if I don’t believe half of it myself.
As a dive through the various notebooks that contain the various scribbles of my life, one fact keeps leaping to the forefront: it is the people in my life, my friends, that have made my life interesting. As impersonal as it can be sometimes, Facebook has really helped to keep in touch with what my collection of loveable hooligans are up to.
Every once in a while, a whiplash-worthy profile pic pops up on my homepage…
It’s said a picture is worth 1000 words. You’ll have to come up with the other 989 because I only have 11.
“God damn! I have the most interesting friends in the world.”
It wasn’t quite the Plains of Abraham, but it happened almost as quickly.
I have nothing against French Canadians; I’m not a huge supporter of the FLQ or anything like that, but generally adopt a live and let live attitude when it comes to our Canadien cousins. So I hope the events of this particular night aren’t taken as evidence of anti-francophone sentiment… the bastards.
Successful navigation of a night at the bar involves many factors. These involve, but are not limited to: psychology, chemistry, physics, sociology, and good eyesight (a career in kickboxing would be handy, but rarely required).
One of the regulars at my local pub, tends to become amorous when she’s tipsy. There is no inherent harm in this and it is a woman’s prerogative to flirt. The target of her affection on this evening was a beanpole Quebecois. He seemed harmless enough at first, but as the drink flowed and the evening progressed, she became slightly less amorous.
I was outside having a smoke when we made eye contact. She mouthed, “help me” and the deal was settled. I removed my watch and handed my Blackberry to a friend. As I walked inside, it dawned on me that his wingman was a giant with a serious attitude problem. I knew that if it came down to it with his friend, the giant’d be on me like stink on shit and probably from behind too.
So I did the math.
I walked up to the giant and cracked him one. Cheap shot? Sure. But honour is for the medal ceremony, not the battle. We wrestled for a bit before we were pried apart. Our dear French cousins were asked to leave and escorted from the bar.
The deed done and the French invaders repelled, I put my watch back on, checked my text messages, and finished my smoke.
For someone who owns [and uses] a 70yr old typewriter, I have heavily embraced the tech age. I love my toys. If I’m texting, or Tweeting, or Facebooking, or Tumblring, it is still a form of communication, a conversation of sorts. So if you walk over when I’m communing with my Blackberry, I am not being rude for ignoring you, it is you that is interrupting. Keep that in mind as you read the following…
ALWAYS answer your phone…
Friends, enemies, and Internet losers…
It was a Saturday. I was in bed. Awake, but lethargic. I was preparing to settle in for the day, a full on Harry Potter Marathon my only concern. Then my phone buzzed; I had a pm on Twitter. It was from a darling of Vancouver’s Burlesque scene that I am less-than-silently crushing on. She was at work and in desperate need of a coffee, a non-fat latte to be exact. Harry Potter would have to wait.
I packed up the travel bag:
1 Mont Blanc Meisterstuck ballpoint, 1 Canon Rebel XSi digital SLR, 1 Moleskine notepad (a gift… heh), Cigarettes, iPod, and various sundries not requiring mention here.
I jumped on the bus and headed out into the wilds of the almost-East Side.
I grabbed the coffees at Gene Cafe and went in search of my friend’s boutique. I couldn’t find it. I popped my head into Pulp Fiction Books to ask the owner (an acquaintance I’ve known since elementary school) if he knew where it was I wanted to go. He told me to walk, “gingerly,” across Main and look to my left. After a short game of Frogger with two coffees, success.
As much as I respect and love Dumbledore, spending an afternoon sitting at a sidewalk table, smoking and drinking coffee with one of the more interesting names on my Facebook roster is much better than a Harry Potter marathon.
About the time Harry, Ron, and Hermione would have been busting into the Chamber of Secrets, I hoofed it down Main Street, camera in hand, documenting all the fun little sites the street has to offer. The Skytrain and bus ride was made slightly more joyous by listening to France Gall, who can make even the most boring moments on transit feel like a flirty, perfume commercial.
Just as my Super Blue Limousine was feet dry at the north end of the Lions Gate bridge, the elf that lives in my Blackberry went into seizures again, this time spawned by Graham Myrfield, bass player for The Stumblers Inn. Earlier in the week, I’d expressed interest in thumbing a lift with them up to their gig in Squamish, and now Graham was touching back in the affirmative. Where was I? Just getting of the bridge. Where was he? Just getting on. I got off, they pulled over, and an hour later we’re in Squamish loading in gear.
Three hours after that, about the time Harry would have been learning the identity of the Half Blood Prince, I was no-handing shot glasses out from between the legs of a gorgeous, not-quite-blushing, bride to be.
Always answer your phone.