The Conversation

Discussing Jian Gomeshi makes me feel so angry inside.

Today at the coffee shop an older gentleman needed access to some wall charts behind me.

He respectfully stood quietly in front of me waiting for an opportune time to interrupt my reading.

”Excuse me miss, I don’t need you to move but want to let you know I am going to reach past you to write on the wall charts.” He paused and added, “I want to let you know what I am doing so you don’t think I am going all ‘Gomeshi’ on you.”

Immediately I felt a happy sadness. I wanted to stand up and give him a hug but of course I didn’t.

l smiled and thanked him and went back to reading but he wasn’t done. He was compelled to talk about how he felt about the situation. He felt sad and angry that women didn’t feel they could have come forward “the day after or even the night it happened.”

l smiled, weary. What of value could l share, from woman’s point of view, with this stranger? Most of us have a story or know of a story to tell but telling it publicly doesn’t always have a positive outcome.

l simply acknowledge his statement and reply, “Yes, it’s complicated.”

Armed with my non- answer, he answers his own question, “I suppose the cops don’t always believe the women so that’s probably why.”

Perhaps he catches my hesitation, I certainly wasn’t prepared for this discussion and we agree to end the conversation there.

I am thankful we are openly acknowledging and having tough conversations about a real issue that transcends Jian Gomeshi and the CBC.

MINI at the Border

I am getting pretty good at crossing borders. I’ve done it enough times and I’ve come to the conclusion that the car you drive … matters. It matters to the conversations that take place and the decision to either let me through or search my car.

The MINI is a hassling kind of car, but not in the same type of hassling that one might imagine.

After escaping the toll-taker, I happily crossed the bridge and made my way to the first available border crossing booth.

I pulled up, rolled my window down, removed my sunglasses and handed over my passport.

It started the same as usual, “Where are you from, where are you going, why are you going, when are you coming back, what are you taking with you, where do you work.”

Standard questions right?

I wasn’t prepared for, “What major road does your residential street run parallel too?” and was only slightly more prepared for, “What is the major North/South road that runs perpendicular to your residential street?” I was tempted to break out google maps, but instead I smiled and rhymed off all the streets starting with the one he seemed to know and had blurted out.

Where was this going? I didn’t know. I just knew I had to participate.

I was quizzed on area bakeries, pubs and eateries. With all the talk of Pasta I asked him if he happened to be Italian. There should be a section in every border crossing where the traveller is allowed to ask questions, right?

He handed back my passport. A sure sign we were wrapping up our “get-to-know-each-other” session and I was awaiting his decision on what my next steps were to be.

I pulled my chilled elbow back into my car and the minute I appeared the least bit interested in getting on my way, he sternly decided to ask more questions about my place of employ and soon we were off on another topic – Golf.

He suggested numerous times that I get in touch with his previous golf instructor to learn how to improve my swing and my game. I am sure it was after the 9th time that I clued in and offered to make a note in my cell phone of said instructor’s name. I pulled out my phone and promptly added in the name.

How did it end?

He pled with me, “You know if you learn to really swing well, you’ll be invited all the time to play golf. Men really like it when a pretty young lady…(big pause)…woman like yourself comes out to play.”

He hardly had time to catch his breath and continued, “I really like watching the ladies, you know they have a nice smooth swing, really smooth.” as he demonstrated for me inside his little booth.

Then his eyes lit up like saucers and in a deep bare whisper, he intoned “Women are so flexible!!”

Maybe it was the look of sheer shock on my face, but with his last announcement, on what I can only imagine to be his seeming desire towards flexible women, I was waved through with a simple “have a nice trip.”

The Curious First Date

Today at the coffee shop I am within earshot of a first date. I am amused. First dates are tricky business.

This particular first date is…………..hard to keep up with!!

“How tall are you?”

“6’3″, but I am the shortest of the guys in my family.”

“Right, well that’s a good height anything taller than 6’4″ is just too tall.”

“Well you are pretty tall yourself.”

“I am and I am wearing flats,” as she brings her foot from under the table up to the seat of her chair to show off her flat heel.

He nods in approval. I wish I could see the expression on his face.

She’s a pretty girl, he is good looking, or at least from the backside he’s a desirable man, in my opinion LOL!

She can hardly contain herself and good luck? for landing a date with such a man. The conversation is going a mile a minute. Hands in full motion to help with the verbal discussion.
Aren’t we woman pretty darn awesome when we are nervous?! 🙂

She points out what she likes about him after meeting him in the last 10 minutes, “you are easy to get along with but …. I won’t say the word,” laughing nervously. “Narcissitic,”

He reprimands her, “You said you wouldn’t use that word…”

Cutting in, she continues, “well self-absorbed. Not luxury, it’s self-absorbed. You are self-absorbed!!!”

The conversation is taking a manic turn and turns into a hardcore discussion on astrology signs.

She aggressively describes her sign, “We are passionate about everything, we are extremely loyal but if you cross us, we’ll never forget it and never be friends again. We’ll be nice to your face but that’s it.”

He nods and grunts

“We aren’t as jealous as our sign says. But we totally don’t forget. We don’t hold a grudge, but we never forget.”

“So ya, what else, we are very business minded. Strong and pensive. Not lying just not openly expressive.”

They spend time reading more about her astrology sign till her manic state starts to tumble when she cuts him off and declares, “enough of reading this, I think we should skip the rest.”

Laughing and teasing he asks, “Why now, we just started?!”

“Ya this is just getting awkward.”

Really?

He gives in and she changes the topic.

“It’s not often that I connect to people in Toronto.”

“Curious, your choice or what?”

“Well its probably because I’ve lived in so many different places. I really think differently. I have a super open mind”

He’s visibly uncomfortable, shifts in his seat and mumbles something in his deep voice.

“I am sorry, I am not trying to put YOU into that Toronto box, it’s just an observation I’ve made.”

Intense….I am so distracted and fear I am going to miss my commitment to finish my book if I continue to sit here much longer! 🙂

Fifty Shades of what?!

Fifty Shades of what?!

I know, I know. This trilogy has been beat over the head, it’s laying on the ground withering. Why oh why am I wasting time and space talking about it?

We have all heard about Fifty Shades of Grey, the trilogy. We all know someone who is raving about one or all of the books. They can’t get enough, wishes there were a fourth, fifth, sixth book…? I don’t want to pass judgement on who has/has not decided to read this trilogy and their reasoning behind their decisions but I have decided to dedicate one post on my blog to the series.

Why?

Because it keeps coming up in conversation and some of the comments I hear from women have had me bent over in laughter. Really this post is about the women I have met and their many comments.

What I find most amusing is the difficulty with which I’ve had to extract any great juicy comments from the women who really are enjoying the books. Their only comments are usually “I just can’t wait to get to the third one…” Done. No descriptions. I am dying to hear something along the lines of…”I really like the part where he whips her with his belt…” but so far, I have been disappointed!

So instead I’ve had to rely on Wikipedia and the more pessimistic verbal reviews to really get an idea of what is going on in these books! I could of course just read one, but that would take all the fun and mystery out of what, I can only imagine, is a literary train wreck. 🙂

For anyone who is just coming up from under a rock, the trilogy is saving Barnes and Nobles bacon and is loosely based off of the teen Twilight series. From what I’ve read on my favourite, mostly true facts website Wikipedia, the main female character sounds a little like a boring dud – but that is just my take. The male lead is an egotistical, sexually damaged man who enjoys torturing his ladies with his belt and getting them involved in BDSM – which again according to Wikipedia is a catch-all acronym for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission and Sadomasochism.

Enough of the books and on to my, so far, favourite reviews of the book from every day women:

“If I read one more time how ‘his pants sit on his hips’, I am going to send the book through the shredder.”

“There is absolutely no imagination and tons of repetition. Does the author not have a better imagination? Granted there is S&M, but honestly watch a porno!

“It reminds me of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone is whispering, giggling and talking about it, so it must be good right?! Wrong!”

“I read the first book and I am stopping there. If I am going to spend my time reading a book it better be something good not a literary disaster.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey – it is Harlequin Romance on steroids gone Mad.”

“It’s a girl’s version of Penthouse from the 70’s!”

“I want to give the girl a shake, doesn’t she know ‘men never change’. If he was whipping her with a belt in the first book I can’t imagine him not whipping her in the second and third book. I am done reading.”

“In my opinion, you never really know a man in the first year anyhow.”

And my all-time favourite is:

“I read the first book. On reflection, I must have had a boring life because I was never invited to orgies in my 20’s, 30’s or 40’s!”

What’s your best review?!

On Coffee and Random Strange Men

On Coffee and Random Strange Men

Lately I have been away visiting, unexpectedly of course.

The fun part about visiting is I get to try out new local, organic, free-trade coffee houses. This makes me exceptionally happy!

I do my best to keep the coffee experience as close as possible to what I have at home for the sole purpose of making sure I don’t climb the walls.

See my legs are a little like two pets. When they don’t get walked they get hyper-active, naughty and little mouthy.

So this walking thing keeps them in line and besides it gives me a chance to see the community even if the interaction includes someone yelling in my face, like the man on his racing bike, muttering loud enough that I can hear above my music, “Gorgeous, just gorgeous.”

There was a squeal of a tire and a thump, thump behind me. I didn’t turn around. I can only image behind me was a human pretzel entwined in metal.

I do not fantasize that it is only I who attracts unwanted attention, nor do I delude myself into thinking I am a super model, flawlessly air brushed every time I step out of the shower. It may be possible to airbrush the illusion of ample cleavage and to rid the legs that end at the navel of hereditary cellulite and slim the booty to nothing but honestly who has the time and who cares?

You see it is not just me who is accosted while out on strolls, minding my own business.

It is in fact all women. We all have stories. There is no discrimination to age, shape, size, long legs, short legs, curvy, straight, short, tall, well endowed or flat as a board.

I had an argument with a man a few years ago. He was complaining that women think they’re “all-that”. I am paraphrasing but he must have said something like the following:

“All women just think they are hot, sexy and too good for guys.”

Actually most women think the following:

“Crap I am unattractive, this dress is sooo unflattering, look it’s showing my cellulite *gasp* I promise myself to bike a little harder in next week’s spin class and maybe my female friends will compliment me on my supple smooth skin and be jealous. Oh and by the way all men think they are hot, sexy, God’s gift to women and too good for us!”

Take that bucko LOL. That is how I may have responded but I admit my memory is a little fuzzy. I do remember however being distracted by his enormous ego :).

This whole yelling and telling complete strangers how hot and darn amazing they look isn’t helping with the argument of how men think women organically feel about themselves. I mean it’s no wonder we now have heads the size of giant, country fair winning Watermelon’s!

Right ladies?!?!

Yell at us indiscriminately enough times and we’ll accept that we are purrrfect for every and any man and we’ll continue to work on that stubborn cellulite for our fellow female friends only. 🙂

Of all the times I’ve been creepily yelled at or followed; from the weirdo wearing a cow-plop hat strattling his white scooter pushing with his legs three feet behind me to the man who chased me down the road yelling for me to stop to talk?!?!?! (Seriously has this ever actually worked?), my all time favourite experience and yes I accept this is weird that there is a favourite! but there is one.

It was the man on the bike with a basket and a bell.

He was leisurely biking towards me, weaving all over the path, I am guessing enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. He was pedalling an old bike with a rusted basket on the front and a bike bell on the right handlebar.

As he got closer he started dinging his little bell to get my attention. I ignored him.

When he got within earshot he said,

“You look great, you really do.”

When I smirked at him and gave him the “screw off” look clutching my illegal mace and anticipating the typical negative reaction of “b*tch”, he instead slowed down his bike stopped and quietly said, “I really meant it, I am not looking for an acknowledged approval, I just wanted to let you know that you look nice.”

And with that he pedalled away.

Maybe it was his soft eyes or how he said it – I didn’t feel verbally violated and if he had of turned around his bike and asked me out for coffee I might have just put away the mace and said “Sure.”

Ya, we’re complicated 🙂

The Case of the Man and his missing pants

I am sitting on a bench waiting. There are three strangers sharing my bench. They are reminding me a little of college; overwhelmingly smelling like bounce dryer sheets, homegrown weed and cigarettes. Imagine all three scents having a party in your nose and then you’ll likely stop using a combination of the three. Your choice.

Which reminds me, I am not a smoker but I invited my friend over to visit me this evening under the stipulation that there is a Vogue pack of menthol cigarettes to be shared. Am I being serious or I have I gone mad?

Well see, I have simply gone mad.

Today a friend suggested meeting up to enjoy some sunshine and do some catching up. The cherry on the top was that I was going to show off my coffee shop where everything happens. And I mean everything. Some days I just don’t post simply because it’s too unbelievable.

In any event I was so proud to show off how my account worked seamlessly. Trust me, showing off my account is a huge highlight in my otherwise monotonous life.

Coffee’s in hand we agreed to stroll along part of the Lakeshore path that when I am alone I simply avoid. I know there is some weird sh*t that happens along this particular portion of the path but with a walking mate it seemed reasonable that we’d be mostly safe.

Well we were anything but safe.

We happened upon a small commune and out of the commune came the event that has completely sent me into crazy land.

It was a beast I say, a mad beast. It emerged from the bushes, bearded, arms flailing, a look of crazy (I know I used this word already) on his face, wearing a light brown shirt, pant-less with his treasured hairy balls peeking out just below the shirt. They were misshapened and one was sagging slightly lower than the other.

He was yelling;

“Women are running around downtown Toronto topless, showing their titties, they are running around without shirts and bra’s – I am just exercising my right as a man, SEEEEEEE!!!! I am ALLOWED!!!! I am ALLOWED!!!!”

As he did a little dance and jiggle.

I averted my eyes but not in time to have the memory of his hairy, sweaty things hanging in our faces to be seared into my mind….forever…

To all the women who have been spotted?!?! wandering up and down Yonge street exercising their legal right to go bare chested in the mid-day heat, please stop before someone gets hurt!

I need another cigarette…

Oh it’s good to be back

Oh it’s good to be back

Its been 8 days…8 days is a long time in coffee world. I’ve tried out Broad Ripple coffee and I dislike failing independent coffee places, but I am super excited about my Free Trade, Organic, Bird Friendly coffee who’s beans were grown under the cover of tree canopy.

My favourite brew is from coffee beans grown by women, sold by women to women!

I swear I am not a hardcore feminist who’d burn her bra in the street but tell me it doesn’t make you a little glad that oppressed women in a third world country are taking a stand and making a difference for both their little girls AND boys.

Plus I miss eavesdropping on my fellow coffee mates. Most of all I miss vibrating after drinking a cup of coffee.

I am easy to spot on my way home especially after days of going without. I’ll be the one with flailing arms, trying to walk straight and no I am not drunk, just oddly caffeinated…

Ok so maybe that’s a bit over-dramatized but I swear there is something special about the caffeine in this coffee.

Could it be where the beans are purchased, roasted, ground, brewed?

Who knows.

I just know that when I travel I have a little ache in my heart from missing my coffee shop…