Jan 2019 01

So, first of all, Happy New Year to anyone reading this.

The date is 2:30 am, 2019.

To answer the question you’re all dying to know, yes. Yes, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ still makes no fucking sense when you’re sober, either.

23 days. I know, I know. I’m surprised too. But I’m a stubborn little asshole. I hate to lose.

 

We now enter the days when the gyms have less elbow room.

Cigarettes loiter around longer on the shelves of your local convenience store.

The opening sentence of a thousand first novels spill out of keyboards.

Bacon goes through separation anxiety.

Alarms on clocks are set to numbers that have been complete strangers to them.

Nails go unchewed.

Beginnings, beginnings. The world is awash in promises.

 

As I am learning, a commitment to yourself happens daily, 365 days of the year. Every day you wake up you have to renew it. I am beginning to understand this ‘one day at a time’ stuff.

If you made a resolution, good for you. I am reminding you that you can do it. Put some runway under you. And it’s okay if it isn’t always a straight line. When the time comes and you fuck up, and you might (God, a giant glass of bourbon still looks delicious), just get up the next day and make it a whole new New Year’s Day.

 

But keep moving forward. I can. You can.

I wish you success, health, happiness, and just enough challenges to learn from this year. A better world starts with a better you.

Welcome to 2019.

It’s good to be here.

 

Dec 2018 31

“Help Andrew to leave behind 2018. To release all that he needs to. And to move forward into the New Year with positive energy…”

So I got Smudged.

It wasn’t a planned thing.

For anyone who doesn’t know what it is (I didn’t until recently), my basic understanding is that it’s a ceremony where burning sacred herbs are used to purify energy in some way. Native North Americans, Indigenous People, have been doing it for, well, forever.

Personally, since it’s been appropriated lately, I associate it with voodoo and witchcraftery. Mercury in retrograde. Kombucha. The Mandela Effect fucking with the Berenstein Bears. Discussions about fractals and spirit animals over music with bird sounds. And waking up in a tent at Joshua Tree, wondering why I quit my job last month and everyone is now calling me ‘Abhaya’.

Anyhow.

With two dogs in tow, I walked into Calyx Wellness, a store here in Parkdale that carries CBD products – yes, this is where I get me and my dog Henry some choice drugs to cope with modern life as a respective human and canine – and we walked into a smoke cloud.

Stephanie was performing a Smudging ritual of the store. The area around their Christmas Tree seemed to be the focus, with dubious billowy blankets swirling around it. Yah, fuck off Santa.

After a quick chat about Smudging and writing and creativity – her painting, my non-advertising pursuits – Stephanie offered to purify my energy. Like, I know what you’re thinking – why the fuck do I need some purifying of my energy, right? I’m as balanced as they come already.

So, I did. Why not, I figured. I can use all the help I can get these days. I closed my eyes and Stephanie circled me with some burning sage (or something that smelled acrid and mildly like lilacs) and recited the opening paragraph.

I opened my eyes to find one dog, Ivy, at the front door of the store trying to escape (she hates smoke – she will be terrible in a fire, no ‘hero dog’ stories in the news for sure), and Stephanie pulling a Tarot card out of a deck on the counter…

As the hippies say, ‘I shit you not, star child’.

Here’s what her book said about this card…

About Sarasvati (pronounced Sair-rah-SVAH-tee): The Hindu goddess of the arts, Sarasvati helps us with all creative expressions, such as music, writing, dancing, and eloquent speaking. The wife of Brahma, Sarasvati prizes knowledge and creative expression above material possessions. her symbols include a white swan, the vina musical instrument, and a book of knowledge. She helps us focus our minds on our creative projects, and not get distracted or procrastinate.

And with that, I leave you for 2018.

It was a monster year with seismic shifts in the world, and in myself. At times I felt like I was really in tune with the universe, almost clairvoyant. And at others, still monumentally confused about where this is all going and anything close to an answer only seemed to open more questions about life.

My natural instinct is to be an ostrich and put my head in the sand, but this year I made an effort to face life’s challenges head-on, to make all-new mistakes, and try to find some balance within. Old programming clashing with new, and unfortunately the old usually beating up the new and stealing its lunch money.

Perhaps the puzzles within puzzles are not meant to be solved. But instead meant to be experienced.

Whether you believe in any of this or not, I wish you the ability to leave behind what no longer serves you and to face 2019’s challenges, and yourself, with greater understanding, self-acceptance, and boldness.

There is only forward. The past? We’ve already been there.

The rolling over of the calendar is something we’ve created. The sun and the earth have no idea what ‘year’ it is.

There is only you and the resolutions you make to yourself every day.

Fuck. What was in that smoke.

See you on the other side, everyone.

 

#sober

 

Dec 2018 31

So I got spit on last week.

I know, right? I don’t remember the last time I got spit on. This alone makes this event worthwhile in noting. In a way, it was kind of charming actually. Sort of in an Old World way along the lines of a gentleman removing his riding gloves and slapping me across the face with a curt English-accented ‘You do insult me sir.’

So basic. But also so much more cultured than someone pulling a knife, or gun on me, or punching me.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

What were the events that led up to a woman spitting on me on Bloor Street, you ask? It’s a long story. But I’m gonna write about it anyhow.

So I was walking along Bloor Street, minding my own business. Cause I do that. I don’t like people, if you didn’t know. And I certainly don’t like people at Christmastime. The worst energy. Outside one of the storefronts, a woman was sitting behind a table. She was selling homemade ceramics, which were all spread out on the table. I took a look and while I was ready to move on (not knowing what a loved one would do with a homemade ashtray or plate), another woman came out of the storefront with an expression on her face that looked like someone had just murdered her puppy and she was about to get all Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’ on them.

The woman selling ceramics said “Are you okay?” to her.

This lit the fuse.

“Don’t you fucking talk to me!” she yelled. “You stupid bitch. Gay. Lesbian. Shut the fuck up! Fuck you!”

And she walked away yelling. Everyone on the busy Bloor street looked and kept walking. The ceramics lady said nothing else and just went back to her serene demeanour.

“Wow,” I said. “I saw the look on her face, too. She looked troubled. It was nice of you to ask if she was okay.”

Well, the murdered puppy lady clearly had good hearing. Because from about 20 feet away, she heard me, and circled back. Then she was in my face.

“Fuck you!! You shut the fuck up. You stupid Gay, Lesbian, Faggot! Fuck off!”

People are slowing down their walks to stay out of the situation, or walking around us. This is now a scene.

Okay, reader. I ask you. What would you do in this situation? 2017 me would probably have walked away or even apologized. But 2018 me is kind of a different kind of idiot. And I’m in a mode lately where I seem to quickly assess a situation and think ahead to my future self and ask “What would I like to have done instead?” – and I stupidly do it. If life is truly a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, well, I guess I choose adventure.

Which is what I did.

So I start yelling back.

“YAH! I am a Gay Lesbian Faggot! That’s right! You’re totally right! I’m all those things lady!! Gay! Lesbian! Faggot! Yup and proud of it!!!”

Now I’m the one making the scene. I think I read somewhere that the best way to deal with unhinged people is be even more unhinged than they are. But maybe that was how to deal with attacking bears in the wild? Hmmm.

Anyhow, she doesn’t know what to do. She’s stunned for a moment.

And that’s when it comes. The flying spittle.

She gives a really good build-up. She rears her head back and with a perfect sound-effects library worthy sound – ‘PITOU!’ – out flies the gob onto me. Onto my leg. Yes, she aimed for my leg. This was her mistake actually. If she was truly unhinged, she would’ve gone for my face or something. This is when I know I have her.

I know, I know. I’m recounting this and wondering who is the real weirdo in this story.

Anyhow, she turns and starts to walk away.

“Fuckin asshole. Don’t talk to me. Gay lesbian faggot!” she keeps yelling.

And 2018 Andrew keeps at it, yelling back.

“That’s right! You got it right, lady! Let it out!” I shout as she keeps going and she turns around and stands 15 feet away from me or so. We’re now just two weirdos yelling at each other on Bloor. “Let it all out!” I shout. “You’ll feel better! Let go of the anger!” as she continues her tirade.

So I add another element to my performance. I start to do yoga moves (I don’t even do yoga so I have no clue where this came from) where I hold my hands over my head in some kind of praying position and then move them down across my body and outwards like I’m releasing energy or something.

“It’s okay!” I shout as I close my eyes. “Let it all out! You don’t have to be angry! Release it! That’s right! You’ll feel better! It’s going to be okay!”

And she walks away briskly, showing that I won the battle of the unhinged. I should mention right now that there is a theory my sister and I have that there is a ‘Shimamori’ gene on my mom’s side (her Japanese last-name) that kicks in around middle-age and we go a bit bizarre. My Aunt has it. My Uncle has it. My mom clearly had it. My turn.

Anyhow, the show’s over and life returns to normal on Bloor Street.

I calmly go back to the woman selling ceramics and say to her “You’re a nice person.”

“Thank you” she says and smiles calmly.

And I leave.

Sometimes, you just have to let people get stuff out of their system I guess.

So ya, I got spit on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 2018 30

Page 51

Posted In Blog,The world

 

There is no wait longer than the wait for a book to actually get good.

 
It’s never a good sign when you still miss the characters from the last book you read.

 


note: protaganist just travelled to Africa, I am hopeful

Dec 2018 28

The problem with people who don’t drink alcohol is they’re like fucking vegetarians. They have to make everyone know that they don’t drink and make everyone feel bad who does.

And maybe I’m one of them now. Fuck.

Anyhow, I made it through my first Christmas Eve, Day, and Boxing Day, without touching the Devil’s Sweat. For me, a miracle along the lines of immaculate conception, but somehow did.

I pressed my luck last night with a visit to my favourite bar, and true to form, before I even had my coat off or said hello to anyone, the bartender had my usual goto drink placed on the bar in front of me – a double vodka soda with a slice of orange.

“Oh. Yikes. Thanks… but I’m not drinking tonight.”

During October, my sober month, I was on the rooftop of this establishment. So all the bartenders up there heard about my dalliance with sobriety (cause we fucking won’t shut up about it like Jehovah’s Witnesses). But for this bartender on the main floor, this was news.

With perfect comedy timing, he removed the orange slice and slid the drink down the bar to my friend. My new drink of choice, in case you’re wondering, is a Red Bull and Soda – in a glass it looks like the biggest tumbler of straight bourbon ever, by the way.

Non-drinkers are like Scientologists if you didn’t know. You don’t know where they are exactly, but you know they’re around, somewhere in the baseboards, and at any moment they could crawl out, reveal themselves to you when they know you’re one of them, and share their story.

And last night, the latest one did. The bartender.

“I haven’t had a drink since August, Andrew. And I feel fucking fantastic. I look younger. I feel younger. I’m sleeping better.”

Goddamn non-drinkers. They have to tell their story to everyone like they’re so fucking superior.

Or maybe they just need to remind themselves how far they’ve come and they don’t want to go back.

Day 19.