Apr 2019 29

 

 

Let’s pledge
to make

all new glorious mistakes
this week

 

 

 

Apr 2019 05

So, I’m on the streetcar.

Like, right now as I write this.

Every commuter’s worst nightmare just happened – a school trip just boarded. About 20 kids, probably around 10 years old. And they have surrounded me, and have the energy of a thousand curious puppies but with way less charm.

So naturally, I decide to talk to them.

Me: where are you all going for the day?

Girl: Queen’s Park!

Me: (exaggerated yawn) Sounds super exciting (exaggerated yawn).

KIDS ALL LOOK AT ME LIKE I’M NUTS

Me: Well, it’s not Canada’s Wonderland or anything. Am I rite?

KIDS ALL LOOK AT ME LIKE I’M NUTS

I’m putting on my headphones. I have officially become obsolete.

Apr 2019 04

Realized one of my new sober superpowers today.

Apparently I can smell alcohol like a Disney movie beagle can pick up the scent of little Joey who is stuck in a well three miles away.

The big question I had wasn’t around my change in sniffing abilities, but instead was ‘Why is this man 15 feet away from me on the King streetcar bathed in a vapour of Vodka at only 8:45am on a weekday?’

Then I got sad.

The burden those Disney beagles must have carried. They knew so much.

Apr 2019 03

So many people have said to me – ‘You get back what you put out there’ lately. I have started to examine what I’m putting out there. Other than pheromones past their best before date.

The topic of happy has been on my mind.

Yes, happy.

Oh, boy. Andrew’s listening to that relaxation music with the birds again. No.

But recently someone asked me what my life would look like for me to be happy.

At first I thought ‘Fuck you, what makes you think I’m not happy?’ and then realized that isn’t exactly a response a happy person would have. So I thought about it. I usually have an answer for everything right away, but I really had to think.

And then even when I started to talk, I realized I had nothing to say. Rare. I can ramble about anything usually, but this cupboard was bare.

Hmmm. Happy. I never really wondered about what that means, but what the fuck is ‘happy’, anyway?

When I was younger, the answer was easier – happy was something in the future, filled with possessions I had worked for, or events that I imagined would happen. Success at a career yet to even happen. Yes, those things would ‘make’ me happy.

Janis said it well. ‘Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz…’

And as you get older (I’m not that old yet, people) you get a little road in the rear view mirror and you see that you bought those things. You did those things. You’re making a living doing the thing you wanted to do.

And yet… did ‘happy’ happen? Hmmm.

Where is the truth in advertising? Weren’t we promised happy if we painted by the numbers?

So now I wonder, this ‘happy’, just what is it?

Part of me wonders if it is just the release of brain chemicals and their effect and a hope that the cycle continues. Happy is your brain chemistry working well. Keep in mind, I’m sober now and my brain is adjusting to this lack of generated highs and searching for the next one. So if this is the case, I’m in trouble for awhile.

What about a point in time? A destination? Can ‘happy’ be reached? “Ah, we’re here everyone. We made it.” This seems problematic too as it will always be dependant on an outcome.

Is it having a purpose? A feeling like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and in the role you were meant to be in? That Dalai Lama looks pretty fuckin happy all the time.

An increasing number of us Generation Xers are starting to look at our lives and wonder if we’re doing this right. We still have time. I don’t know if I’d call it a mid-life crisis, necessarily. Some of us are wondering if we just made the world worse. And maybe the change has to start with ourselves.

I still don’t have an answer for the question.

But I am starting to wonder if it is the ability to look at each moment with optimism and wonder.

This is the problem for me, it seems.

Happy might depend on my own outlook on life and enjoying the moments and journey instead of only enjoying a hoped for outcome.

This would require a major rewiring. Like shock therapy. Like waking up with the brain of a happy-go-lucky dog. Like basically – not being me. Ugh.

But I’m intrigued with this topic. As a human. As a writer. As an explorer stepping out of the space capsule.

This needs more examination.

 

 

I know this. Happy. I’ve tried defining it through everyone else’s lens. Clearly, I don’t have my own definition of it.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 2019 28

As long as the world keeps throwing bizarre interactions at me, I’m going to keep writing about them. Yesterday early evening, 501 streetcar along Queen…

“Are you carrying?”

Since I boarded the crowded 501 streetcar at Spadina, this guy had been talking to everyone, and also talking to no one. Loudly.

He talked of lottery tickets, his mom wasting $1,000 on ‘Crossword’ scratch tickets and never winning anything, how slow the streetcar was …

He had a few arm tattoos. Piercings. Pretty standard Toronto Queen Street except for his restless, manic energy. No one wanted to make eye contact. And now he was focusing on me.

What is it about me lately that just says: ‘talk to me’?

Sigh.

“Sorry? Am I carrying?” I asked.

“Ya, bro. Weed? Are you carrying?”

“Oh. Nope.”

“Whoa. Well you have a real chilled vibe like you’re on weed. I can usually spot it. You sure?”

“I gave it up awhile ago actually.”

“Ya. See! I could tell. You’ve smoked a lot of weed in your life, I bet. Why’d you give it up?”

Okay, so this conversation is public. There are lots of people around us on the crowded 501 Queen car yesterday evening… I figured I’d just go with it. I have nothing to hide. Trying to live like an open book. Unless I’m going to get knifed. Then, I close the book.

“Good question. Hmmm. I guess it wasn’t working for me anymore.”

“Ya man. Good for you. I’ve tried to quit everything. But I can’t get off the meth. I like it too much.”

“Whoa. Ya, I seem to be living my life like ‘If it gives me pleasure, but is bad for my bigger picture, I quit it’.”

“Good for you.”

We continued east along Queen street and the streetcar remained packed. Not sure what everyone was thinking of our very loud conversation but lately I trust my instincts and stayed focused on him. This guy was not out to hurt anyone. He just wanted a bit of connection.

He asked me where he should get off for Trinity Bellwoods park and I told him I’d let him know.

“Maybe I need a pet. Maybe a pet would help me.” he said. “We had this bird in our backyard once. It must’ve been injured cause it let me come near it, and I fed it. But then it flew away eventually.”

Then Trinity Bellwoods was coming up and I told him his stop was next.

“I think I’d like a bird again,” he said. “But I’d train this one to stay close to me. Maybe keep it on a little string to train it. And then it would get used to me and learn to come back. I’d give it worms and grubs and stuff. Maybe it’d deliver messages for me. That’d be sick, right? Hey everyone, check out my falcon!”

We said goodbye. The doors opened and he started to get off.

“Thanks. You take it easy, bro.” he said. “Thanks for talking to me. Y’know, you get back what you put out there.”

And I was left on the crowded streetcar, and now everyone was looking at me as the guy who talked to the weirdo. Not making eye contact with me now, and cutting me a wide swath as I made my way further back.

Yet another odd interaction where I am left thinking “Just what is the energy I’m putting out these days?”.

And also thinking, “That guy? He needs a bird.”

 

 

 

 

 

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