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Long day’s journey into night

It has been so long since I have posted that I have gone through the shame and come out the other end. Ima just hand out the points retroactively. (Yes, yes I can do that, because I am the self-appointed judge of humanity.)

This is the post I should have written at the end of November. If you recall, I had my first entirely legitimate excuse. One minute I am enjoying a lovely takeout sushi dinner with my spouse, and the next minute I am curled up in foetal position on the bathroom floor googling “acute back pain” in between dry heaves.

Google and the nurse at triage agreed: kidney stone. So that’s where the initial retroactive point goes- to the Canadian and Quebec health care systems.

It took two hours, 23 minutes and 45 seconds for me to see an intern, and then another 12 minutes and 8 seconds to see a real doctor to get an order for morphine, and then another 17 minutes for fucking nurse Helga to hook up my meds. I just lay there on a stretcher in the hallway of Major Emergencies vomiting periodically into an ironically kidney shaped basin and whimpering gently so as not to appear like one of the neighborhood junkies who stopped in for meds.

Things are looking good for the Apocalypse. Excruciating pain. Helplessness. Annoyingly cliché blue gown missing two of the three ties that should attach it in back. And since I am parked in a hallway, I get whiplash everytime an orderly wheels some other helpless fucker down the hall. Did I mention that I am dry-heaving all this time?

But eventually I do get the morphine, when all nursing attention is no longer required by the man who is screaming that his asshole is itchy. As the nurse injects the drug into my IV, I lie back and wait for my first groovily legal opiate moment. But what I get is a lot more Eugene O’Neil than Timothy Leary, and it’s a Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

For twelve hours, I sit propped up on my stretcher with my mouth open, drifting in and out of sleep, vomiting occasionally in my ironic basin. I long to lie down on my stretcher, but I am too drug addled to ask the orderlies who keep crashing into me to lower the back of the thing.

I could go on (e.g. with a description of the food), but you get the picture. The Apocalypse is rubbing its hairly little palms with glee.

But I spent the night in a hospital being cared for by overworked but highly trained professional nurses, I saw an intern and two doctors, and had several doses of morphine, an expensive anti-nausea drug and an emergency CT scan, and it cost me $3. For the taxi to the hospital.

The Apocalypse: 23.5

Humanity: 19.5

Apparently, I don’t make a very good morphine addict

Please read my guest post over at Seeking Elevation. I missed the chance to promote it because I was at the hospital. (Insert dramatic soap opera music here.)

Can’t write more because I am still trying to get over the morphine hangover (long tragic kidney-stone story to follow) and if I look at the screen much longer, I am going to throw up. Again.

 

Dancing with lesbian stars

Now that work has settled down and my dog is no longer mournfully defecating in front of my bedroom door, I should be able to write. After all, this blog was supposed to be easy. All I have to do is come up with something to be outraged about once a week and let my meagre feminine side shine through often enough for Humanity to pick up the odd point here and there (chicks dig that emotionally moving stuff).

[Can I just digress long enough to mention that WordPress is recommending I link to a Wikipedia article on defecating and I am afraid.]

Anyway, like I was saying. This is supposed to pretty much write itself out of the stream of bitter observations I hurl about me on a daily basis. But I have realized that genuine topics for points for the Apocalypse are not so easy to come by. I have to be outraged enough to be bitchy. But not so disgusted with my fellow human beings that I want to harm myself. I am a suicide prevention trainer and I am pretty sure I would lose my job for that.

But tonight I got lucky, because the Israeli version of Dancing with the Stars has recently featured a same-sex dance team made up of a lesbian sportscaster and a professional (straight) ballroom dancer. Yay! End of writers block!

Because first of all, there is the very existence of Dancing with the Stars. And the fact that it has international francises.That’s good for the Apocalypse. But then the Israeli version decides to be the first to feature people of the same gender dancing together. The potential point for Humanity here adds dramatic tension. Which way will I go? Add the fact that the couple in question, lesbian sportscaster Gili Shem-Tov and professional dancer Dorit Milman, are really attractive (heterosexuality of Ms. Milman notwithstanding) and there is even the potential for a bonus half-point awarded for hot girl-on-girl action. [Yes, I know my Feminist Card with be revoked over this. But I am a womyn-loving womyn and I have needs.]

Unfortunately for Humanity, I decided to watch the YouTube video before writing this post. This routine is the most awkward, asexual display of human movement I have experienced since my third grade square-dance performance with “Boogie” Brent Dempsey. Most of the choreography has the women swaying around a card table and it looks a little like they are about to break into an arm-wrestling contest. Ballroom-type dancing is supposed to be sensual, no? I mean, they are wearing a couple of strips of spandex and some netting. But whether the table is between them or not, they hardly touch.

This isn’t me being bitter about missing out on some hot lesbian action. I have When Night is Falling and Tipping the Velvet on DVD. This is me thinking it’s no coincidence that the first same-sex dance couple gets a routine with no heat. This is me assuming that the male-female couples on this show and every other Dancing With the Stars are all over each other like cheap suits. And this is me having better things to do with my time than to watch them to find out.

Like adding another point for the Apocalypse.

The Apocalypse: 23.5

Humanity: 18.5*

* Loyalty bonus for my tens of readers. And an Apocalypse point from Seeking Elevation, as requested.

AAAAAAAHHH

I’m in over my head. Work. Child-rearing. Fluffy white dog with diarrhea. Not sure if that is how you spell diarrhea. Am too lazy to look up diarrhea.

I will post soon. Honestly. In the mean time, if you continue to love me, I will award a half point to Humanity on your behalf. You have my word.

I’m not just a lesbian- I’m gay

Bloggers everywhere are talking about the tragic deaths of young people who killed themselves because society made them feel hopeless about being gay. One of my blog BFFs put together a collection of posts about this at The Liminal State and I finally had to sit down at 3:00 am and figure out why I haven’t written anything about  it yet.

I am a lesbian. And a mother. I write a blog about the best and the worst about my fellow human beings. And I train people in suicide prevention for a living. Why the hell can’t I write this post?

I am beginning to understand why. I can’t write this post because I am jammed squarely into one of life’s catch 22s. We have to write blog’s like T’s calling out those who threaten, bully, and hate. Young people struggling with their sexual orientation– hell, young people struggling with being different in any way– need to know that they are not alone, that most people are on their side. I needed to know it when it seemed like the whole world was against me, and my experience wasn’t even all that bad.

I made it through high school rural Canada because it was the 80s and lesbians hadn’t been invented there yet. I saved my babysitting money to pay for the psychiatrist I would need because I didn’t like boys, and I buried the crushes I had on half my female friends and my grade nine English teacher until I left home. As a young marginally employed teacher (in that same high school), I kept my mouth shut about my personal life, tried not to be alone with my female students, and feared for my job. (And continued to feel uncomfortably attracted to my grade nine English teacher as we ate lunch together in the staff lounge.)

I will never forget the first person who stood up publicly for me. It was at a conference where the presenter discussed the impact of music videos that contained suggestions of lesbianism and bestiality. Yep. Those two together. From the back of the room, the vice president of the Girl Guides of Canada stood up and clutched her pearls. Reeling from the presenter’s comment, I glanced over, noted her cashmere twin set, and prepared myself for a reading from the Book of Leviticus. But instead, she said, “Excuse me, Dear. I think people are going to misunderstand what you are trying to say. It sounded like you were saying that being a lesbian and having sex with animals are pretty much the same kind of thing. I just want to give you a chance to correct that.” I didn’t have time to feel relieved, because the presenter stammered on with a lame apology about how they were not really the same, that what she really wanted to say was “images of inappropriate sexuality.”

I sat there silent, terrified, and ashamed of my inability to speak up, while the nation’s second-ranked soccer mom tore this presenter a new one. When my Girl Guide hero was finished, the presenter suggested we take a break and she did not come back. I skulked in the back of the room until I was sure no one from my school would overhear, and I went over to thank the woman who had defended me so passionately. She squealed, “Oh, are you a LESBIAN?” and grabbed me in one of the best hugs of my life.

Young people need moments like that. But the problem is that to do that publicly, to stand up for them, we have to make the problem a little bit worse. We have to remind them that being gay is so bad that some of their peers decide to take their own lives.

As a trainer in suicide intervention, I know that every suicide covered in the media pushes those already thinking about killing themselves one step closer. Suicide is suddenly everywhere you turn. And hopelessness casts a shadow that distorts their perception of the world so thoroughly that it can actually seem like a way to get the love that they so desperately need.

I think the only way out of this is to make sure that when we shine a light on this problem, we also show the other side of being queer. Young people need to know that if they get help and if they can just hang on, eventually it will all be okay.

It wasn’t easy coming to terms with my sexuality, but the struggle didn’t last forever. And along the way, I found people who loved me for who I am. I have been with Brigitte, the love of my life, for 13 years now and we have a beautiful 8-year-old daughter. I have a fantastic career and I am surrounded by friends. I’m not just a lesbian– I’m gay. They need to know that they will be too.

And to celebrate, I’m awarding 1 point to humanity.

The Apocalypse: 21.5

Humanity: 18*

*+1 bonus point from Elah, who has been granted temporary authorization due to her overwhelming awesomeness.

What will they watch in grade 3 — The Exorcist?

I’m trying not to be a helicopter mother. Honest to god, I really am. I know that children are resilient and that they are best protected by letting them face challenges and learn things on their own. I know that, really and truly I do.

But every hand-wringing blog I read about the endangered species free-range kid rings false. Because parents like me are not trying to protect their kids from skinned knees and playground squabbles and the boredom of an unstructured afternoon. We are trying to protect their right to be children in the first place.

Today, I had to protect that right against a second-grade art teacher with a Halloween project. My daughter’s public school has a fine arts mission, so her teacher clearly cannot limit herself to the pumpkin-and-black-cat theme pack. She decided that her budding artistes should tackle Frankenstein. Not the green-skinned, goofily grinning illustration on trick-or-treat bags, but the 1931 movie with Boris Karloff considered by critics like Don Druker to be “one of the most deservedly famous and chilling horror films of all time“.

Full disclosure: My daughter is not exactly the most courageous consumer of popular culture. When she was four, we had to sit next to her when she watched Dora the Explorer so she would not be spooked by “Swiper, no swiping.” I am sure that there were kids in her class who saw no further than the clumsy shuffling of a low-tech movie monster in platform shoes and went home no worse for wear. But my daughter and several of her friends spent a good part of the afternoon crying over the movie and I spent a good part of the night dealing with her fear. (Fear and sleep will always be issues in this house.)

My daughter couldn’t really tell me much about what she saw in the YouTube clips the teacher showed. At the mention of the name Frankenstein, she just covered her ears and sobbed. I kept thinking, “Surely to god she wasn’t stupid enough to show the scene with the little girl.” Do you know that scene? Little Maria is playing next to a pond when the monster shuffles over. Initially startled, she overcomes her fear and takes his hand, inviting him to play. They share a creepily tender moment throwing daisies into the water and watching them float away, until the monster runs out of flowers. He silently picks up the girl and, as she screams at him to stop because he is hurting her, throws her into the water. And she drowns. (I’m not going to embed or link to the clip, because if you are a mother, you don’t need to hear that splash.)

Of course, my daughter’s idiot teacher did show this scene. No doubt she thought it would be relevant and the kids would relate because they are roughly the same age as the child being killed.

Having met with a wonderfully intelligent and open-minded vice principal, I think I have managed to shut the whole Frankenstein project down. But now I have to prepare myself for the backlash for having been over-protective of my child, from the teacher and from the parents of kids who cut their teeth on the Lord of the Rings.

And that’s the point for the Apocalypse this  week — the fact that I will have to try to explain that it is not developmentally appropriate for 7-year olds to watch the killing of a child, no matter how bad the special effects are.

The Apocalypse: 21.5

Humanity: 16

Money does grow on trees

Clearly, I am just too important these days to post regularly. This is the blog equivalent to the book report you hand in having read the first page of each chapter on the school bus.

I found this video at The Bloggess (if you are not already following her, you should click your arse over there.)

  • Almost nobody took more than 1
  • Some people encouraged others to take the money
  • Some people just walked by and left the bills for someone else.

This concludes your feel-good moment for the day.

The Apocalypse: 20.5

Humanity: 16*

* Extra half point because Isabelle thinks I look like Joanne Vannicola.

Can we get the homeless some bunny suits?

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has lifted an injunction that prevented the University of Victoria from dealing with its feral rabbit population. The more than 1300 campus bunnies can now be humanely trapped and moved to a rabbit sanctuary in Texas.

Sweet mother of god. What is wrong with my country?

First, a whole lot of arsewipes abandon their pets on the university grounds because they are no longer fuzzy and small. We’re leaning toward the Apocalypse right there. But it gets better.

The university realizes that the bunnies are wreaking havoc by destroying trees, shitting all over the grounds, and severely maiming the rugby players (ironic, I know), and comes up with a sensible plan to cull the population.

[Going to warn you right now- unless you can demonstrate that you are a vegan, you can just shut up with the animal rights bullshit. Steaks are not delivered to your supermarket by the Meat Fairy and leather does not grow on trees. I have no patience for part-time Greenpeacers wailing about “rights” of the cute.]

Anyway, the university’s plan is foiled by animal-rights nutwad Roslyn Cassels, who gets an injunction to stop them from sending the furry little mascots to the stew pot and then defends it through two levels of the justice system, until the case reaches the provincial Supreme Court. The university backs down from a PR nightmare, likely realizing how much it will cost to Photoshop the bunnies out of all their promotional material. And a small army of idiotic volunteers is marshalled to arrange the spaying, neutering and shipping of 1300 rabbits 2000 miles across the U.S. to Texas.

The Apocalypse score is pretty much undisputable at this point. But it gets even BETTER!

Juxtapose, if you will, the plight of the feral bunnies of Victoria with the plight of its feral humans, i.e. people with mental health problems who are unable to find shelter and who are allowed to camp overnight on public land. About 40 people have tents set up on the median of a busy boulevard near the city’s largest homeless drop-in centre, and three of them have been killed by cars in the last 18 months. The city’s response? Provide them with some decent shelter so they don’t have to set up tents? Move the services they need to survive away from this busy urban boulevard?  Nope. Victoria City Council has decided to introduce a bylaw making it illegal for them to camp. And not a peep out of the Roslyn Cassels of the world.

I know the mentally ill homeless are not furry and cute and I know they aren’t easy to love– we have one living under a fire escape across the street who spends his days drinking, masturbating, and screaming at the voices in his head. But when the people of a comparatively wealthy Canadian city can turn their backs on them like this, while mobilizing thousands of dollars for a pack of wild rabbits, Humanity loses two points.

The Apocalypse: 20.5

Humanity: 14.5

Back-to-school point for the Apocalypse

My daughter started second grade today, so this back-to-school post should be a nostalgic meditation on how much she has grown. Instead, it’s a bitchy self-indulgent rant, because my dog has no balls.

Um, yeah. What I meant to say is that my dog was neutered yesterday, and he is apparently unable to sleep through the night without his testicles. I was up at midnight. Then 1:30 am. Then he slept for 2 hours but the fucking electric company shut off the power and set off the alarm. And then he needed to pee. But he can’t pee if he can’t sniff every goddamned plant in at three block radius, and it took me another 15 minutes to take off his cone of shame. At 4:00 am, I stopped trying to sleep and watched Law and Order until the alarm clock rang, so I am too tired and bitchy to play nice.

Which is a happy coincidence, because I am going to talk about my daughter’s school, so there will be no need to play nice.

My daughter goes to a public arts school (think Fame with less talent) run by a team of pedagogically impaired artists and a principal with the social skills of a gym sock. Because this school is “special”, the kids in elementary school have lockers, homerooms, and travel from class to class. Now, an educational institution run by staff with no pedagogical impairments would send you the homeroom and class schedule at the beginning of August, rather than gather the children and parents of grades 1 to 3 in the auditorium and read off the class lists like the fucking NHL draft. But since my daughter’s school is run by pedagogically impaired artists, what we got was the draft. Because the first day of school isn’t stressful enough for these kids.

And then we got the speech, which is the whole reason they rope parents into the auditorium in the first place. The please-make-sure-you-show-up-at-the-bus-stop-on-time-and-put-their-names-on-their-lunch-boxes- and-don’t-bring-your-kid-to-school-late-and-you’re-not-allowed-to-enter-the-building-when-you-drop-them-off-because-you-might-be-a-gunman-and-our-teachers-don’t-want-to-talk-to-you-anyway speech. (Yeah, gunman. Last year, grade 2 got a Duck and Cover style speech to prepare.)

I have been an elementary school teacher. I have taught everything from kindergarten to academic upgrading in a minimum security jail, so I know what it’s like to be on the other side of that desk. But I still can’t understand the distaste schools have for average parents like us. I know some parents show up late every day because they don’t give a damn. Some parents expect teachers to raise their kids for them, and some are so involved that they become capital pains in the ass. But most of us are hard-working people who love our kids, value the education they are getting, and try to do everything we can to help. It would be nice to be treated with respect for a change.

The Apocalypse: 18.5

Humanity: 14.5

Cyclists score for the Apocalypse

This week, Humanity vs. the Apocalypse targets cyclists. My loyal readers will be exceptions to the rule, but I am here to declare that if you use two-wheeled transportation, there’s a good chance you’re a maniacally egotistical, self-entitled arse.

I am conformtable generalizing that cyclists, as a group, are self-righteous, planet-hugging jerks whose main goal in life is to terrorize little old ladies and children on the sidewalks, and to make my life a living hell. For every peaceable, law-abiding peddler in this city, there are three dozen arseholes on the road, blowing though traffic on red lights and flipping off drivers who honk their horns.

It’s not that I don’t have compassion for innocent, law-abiding cyclists who are maimed or killed by arseholes behind the wheel- there are lots of those too. But in my city, anyway, such motorists are outnumbered by the cylcists who think that because they have small carbon footprints, they own the world.

You know the ones. The ones that don’t like to put their feet down when they come to a full stop, so they teeter back and forth on their pedals until they fall over onto your car. The ones who don’t like the congestion on the bike lanes and don’t have the balls to ride on those terrifying one-way residential streets, so they zoom up behind me on the sidewalk and almost kill my little dog.

(For extra emotional impact, I’ll post a photo of my little dog:)

The ones that are so exhausted from pedaling all over town that they can’t walk half a block to the bike rack, so they lock their hipster fixies to the gate, making it hard for you to get out of your own damned front yard.

But worst of all are the ones who force you to face the very darkest corners of your soul. Not because they make you feel bad for depleting the ozone or using more than your share of fossil fuel, but because they make you fantasize about kicking one of them over in the path of an oncoming car.

Cyclists, you may be saving the planet, but you just cost Humanity this week’s point.

The Apocalypse: 17.5

Humanity: 14.5