Apr 2019 11

#graffiti #yongeandbloor #Toronto

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Apr 2019 10

Been a bit busy with some life stuff to write regularly. But some quick thoughts from a train ride home last night.

Some subway rides feel more electrically charged than others. This was one of them. There’s a feeling among the riders. Sort of a camaraderie of both misery and euphoria as we’re all on our way to somewhere better than wherever we spent our day.

I was jammed into the door area with my headphones on, watching people. A favourite passtime of mine. The human animal is so peculiar. At one stop, a mother and her three kids scampered onto the train, and they surrounded me. Three girls. All under 10. All Japanese, in school outfits. And all carrying stringed instruments like a violin. And very chatty with each other.

Like I said, I had my headphones on, so I couldn’t hear what they were saying but their lip movements – ya, sometimes I try to read lips, so what? – told me they were speaking Japanese. Their mother was doting on them like a happy bird with her flock. I almost wanted to join.

At the next stop, a very tall man carrying a cello case boarded and squeezed between all of us to get on. What are the odds? I think pretty low. I’m surrounded by stringed instruments and a cello just happens to get on board? C’mon.

So I take off my headphones and say to mama bird…

ME: Hey, look. A cello. Now we have a whole orchestra!

BLANK LOOK ON MAMA BIRD’S FACE, AND KIDS

ME: Cause y’know, you all have string instruments and he has a cello.

MAMA LOOKS AT ME QUIZZICALLY AND I REALIZE SHE DOESN’T SPEAK ENGLISH AND I CERTAINLY DON’T SPEAK JAPANESE

Fine, headphones back on.

The girls start whispering to each other and glancing at me, smiling. They might be making fun of me but whatever. It’s cool. I’m happy to provide some weird stranger energy.

Next stop.

A woman wearing a headscarf and with a stroller boards, and squeezes in among us.  I’m wedged up against the stroller. A baby, about 6-8 months I’d say, is in the stroller. A beautiful brown kid with big expressive eyes and goob everywhere. Clearly, a happy baby. Mom looks down at him and smiles. Big smile back.

And then the big expressive eyes are on me.

Shit, I’m having a great ride home.

So, I do what any weirdo would do in this situation.

I start to make ridiculous faces at this baby. Over the next couple of stops, I pull out every non-threatening goofy face I can muster (thankfully, already goofy face) to get this kid giggling.

The tongue wag. The bug eyes. The shifty fish lips. The shocked muppet (a patented look of mine). I’m channeling stuff I haven’t had to pull out of my toolbox since my niece was this age. I work in advertising and writing ads is easy compared to the challenge of entertaining a non-verbal baby.

And success. I see a happy, laughing baby looking up at me. Saliva bubbles of joy, and all. That’s when you know you’ve got them. They’ve lost control of their salivary glands.

The mum and I smile at each other. And then I look over, and the Japanese girls and mum are laughing at me too.

All of us are just enjoying the moment.

Without words.

Somehow in the noise and silence of rush hour among strangers, we found a universal language. Perhaps, it’s ‘dork’.

Then, my stop. I wave to my new baby friend and get off the train, saying nothing.

The doors shut behind me. The wind of the train departing flutters my coat. As I walk the platform, I turn up the music in my headphones a little louder to drown out the noise.

 

Apr 2019 07

My #Belizean dad’s 35 year old record, unplayed in 30. As far as Julio Iglesias albums go, a subpar outing. The real story here is finding the torn up liner – scars from a long ago wrong my departed #Japanese mom must’ve felt and revenge exacted via Señor Iglesias. Then Scotch-taped. But hearts do not mend as easily when passion is the name of the game! #Parkdale #vinyl
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Apr 2019 03

Hmmm. Wonder no more, everyone. #Parkdale #reached

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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.