I didn’t begin this entry craving burritos. How do I get burritos without leaving the bed?

It’s weird being at a gig where you just can’t connect. The music’s blaring, beats are flowing and bodies all around you are gyrating energetically to the performance. You, however, stand alone unmoving. I don’t know why it happens, but it’s one of the most isolating things I can think of. This disconnection feels jarring and you start to question what it is driving a wedge between you and the music. Is it a strange emotional or social variance causing this rift? Is it that the music just doesn’t resonate with your subconscious expectations? Did you just eat a shitty burrito that took you down a dark path? That couldn’t be it. I’ve never known burritos to be anything but delicious. A bad burrito is like bad pizza, there’s a certain benchmark that leaves even poor quality meals still acceptable at some level.

Mismatched gigs though, don’t work in the same way. If the music can’t reach you, what hope do you have of getting something out of it? With a “bad” burrito, you’ve still got the base ingredients that complement each other. Beans, cheese, salad, salsa and guacamole just harmonise. Regardless of the quality, they balance each other out, poor beans can be covered by a deliciously spicy salsa. If everything sucks, the cheese will carry it through. If the cheese is off, well spoiled cheese probably becomes just some other flavour of cheese. Blue, perhaps? A blue cheese burrito just sounds goddamn delicious. With a poor gig there can be one imperceptible factor that’s just not clicking and it can throw everything into turmoil. Yet again, the arrangement could be totally fine, but something in your internal make-up just means you’re gonna have a bad time.

I had The Glitch Mob tonight and by all affairs it was as I’ve said. I was keen going into the gig. I’d never listened to their recorded albums, but they’d done a tremendous The Weeknd glitch album. I do love my glitch music, crunchy little shattered remnants of songbites ground together. It’s like taking glass shards and honing them into a bottle, taking all those edges and finding ways to balance them out against each other, forming a new smooth shape from their seemingly haphazard former nature.

Tonight though, those shards just failed to take shape for me. Everyone else seemed to be having a great time. I found a lack of music glitch/breakbeat stuff, erring instead towards Pendulum style heavy electronic riffs and slower bass driven beats. I thought I was down with this whole “wait for the drop” thing, but there was an unknown element missing for me. A certain je ne sais quoi (man, I do feel wanky as shit getting to throw out that term, especially when I’m essentially just rephrasing the same sentence in a different language). It just didn’t hit me, I needed something harsher, more aggressive.

I feel that music, like art, seems to hit you with a sudden connection. I don’t know much about art, but I know that when something appeals to me there’s a massive jolt of recognition. I realise that I’m experiencing something I’ve missed in my life and didn’t know it existed till that moment. When music gives me that jolt it moves me both physically and emotionally. My body moves almost of its own accord. Hell, I love dance music but sometimes it just fails to make its mark. I’m not saying The Glitch Mob did anything wrong, but whatever it was, they failed to grip me and shake my shoulders, hips or arse.

At least a burrito would’ve put a little toot in my booty.

My beard bears my bare bearings.

Now that I’ve discovered these extra 2 hours in my day during my commute, I feel like I’ve found one of life’s cheat codes. IDKFA straight up in this bitch. I now have something to do that doesn’t involve refusing to pick up a Metro paper, then craning my neck to read one over someone’s shoulder. Godawful paper, it’s like advertising and clickbait had an ugly baby who keeps eating all of your fancy soaps. Don’t ask me where that metaphor went, it’s the morning. I’m not used to having to be functional for another hour. If course I see the irony in giving Metro shit for lazy writing when I’m throwing out worthless wordplay myself. Then again, they’re a professional outlet and I’ve never professed to be anything of the sort.

Can we talk about something? How about the karmic justice of gloating about my conflict free existence, then having an intense stress attack brought on by a lack of sleep and deadlines. As it’d be easy to see, I’ve had a bit to do over the past few days. This week has a pretty heavy work load of gigs, having had We Were Promised Jetpacks on Sunday, some observational research at Oasis on Monday (observational research he says…) and Angus & Julia Stone on Tuesday. It doesn’t let up much, with Glitch Mob Friday, the Dream Serenade benefit (which hilariously finds me gaining free access to an expensive charity gig) in Saturday, then We Will Destroy You on Tuesday. Lots of stuff on and it’s great that I’m busy. I might have overloaded myself, but in the end they’re just reviews that I’m doing for experience, not pay. My editor’s pretty good about letting me push out deadlines if need be and it’s nice that he’s got my back. Still, making sure that I get everything done without having time to blow off steam really dug me into a hole. I started getting this weird muscle contraction in my arm, rapid heartbeat and got uncharacteristically emotional. Thoughts receded to dark places, negative outlook throwing a pall over everything. All because I had a few things to write?

Of course it was more than that. It always is. They say that when someone is drowning, it never looks like how we imagine drowning to be. We expect to see frantically waving arms, to hear them loudly yelling for help. In reality people just kind of quietly bob up and down while inside they’re screaming. Okay, that’s how you do a metaphor. When I get stressed, I pointedly act overly cheerful and falsely energetic to compensate. The last thing I want is someone catching on. The thought that I was trying to push my burden onto someone else would only send me into a deeper spiral of negativity and self-loathing.

So what brought it on? The usual suspects: self-defeating attitudes about irresponsible consumption habits, lack of physical activity, consistent failure to rein in fleeting desires in favour of being accountable to myself, a general lack of willpower and personal respect, relationship issues and not taking time to rest. I’ve been disappointed in myself, which has led to repeated bludgeoning of my self confidence, curbstomping my belief in my own abilities. If you stop believing in what you’re capable of, it’s rare that you’ll go on to achieve it.

So I guess the take away is that even when times seem to press down and crush your spirits, it’s pretty important to stop, take a breath and survey your surroundings. With perspective comes understanding and understanding allows you to take things apart, piece by piece and make them manageable. Sometimes managing is just enough to get you over that last big hill where things level out, where you can at least relax and find equilibrium. I can’t really do stress right now. I have facial hair, I’m not looking for that to go grey.

If time is money then where’s my change?

Okay, here we go. Micromanagement time. I’m en route from work to get home, have dinner and grab a few writing supplies. I’m gonna try and see how it feels to type up a review on the bus with the random laptop someone left at our place when they moved out. If I’m lucky I might be able to squeak out 25 minutes on the way to my event, 25 minutes on the way back. That’ll probably be enough to get the bare bones sorted, which I can finish up tomorrow to and from work. Then off to another gig tomorrow night, the review of which I can do Wednesday. Also in between my bus writing tonight, I’ve got an event to attend that may involve some primary research for an article I’ve got in the works. Thankfully I’ve got the time now to get this nugget of daily writing sussed. Wheuf.

Time is currency though, right? In this age of instant connection, it seems so rare to have the abundant spare time I recall from some past life. Or perhaps it’s that we so saturate ourselves with stimuli that even if we’re following leisure pursuits, we still feel drained. I mean, I’m so obsessed with constantly being busy that I forsake sleep just to be able to continue consuming as much information or entertainment as I can. Forget sanity, proper personal recharging or anything. If I only give another hour of myself here I might be able to keep up with the pop cultural water cooler talk circulating around Facebook. It’s gotten to the point that I feel guilty being on public transport and not using that unoccupied time for something productive. I’ve got an hour each way each day. If you had 2 spare hours in a day, wouldn’t you strive to squeeze out any precious juicy minutes you could? I mean hell, the fact that I’m currently walking with head bowed through the Bloor/Yonge station means I might almost get 6 hours sleep tonight. Isn’t that worth the sacrifice? I don’t even have a gym membership right now. If I was working out that’d be an extra 2 hours of my day once transport and showering came into play. I feel guilty, physical activity is a pretty necessary component of my life. How am I not finding the time? Why can’t I do everything?

That’s the problem though, we’re told that we should be able to. We have the technology. Where there’s a will, there’s wi-fi. For everything else there’s an overwhelming sense of ennui and inadequacy. Everyone we know is just killing it in all aspects of their lives, right? Social media depicts the gloss without the dross. We see the successes without the 9 failures preceding them. Twitter brings us close to those exceptional individuals who’ve found fame through their hard work and diligence. We start comparing ourselves to them and expect the same of ourselves. If they can do it, what’s our problem? Once again, we’re seeing the outcome without the years it took to get them there. Coupled with our expectations that life, like technology, should grant us instant results and it’s easy to see how we feel constant, crushing inadequacy. It’s understandable that we’re stressing that each hour of each day doesn’t last for an hour longer. How else are we supposed to embody everything that we’re told we should? At what point do our unrealistic expectations become reality? If we burn ourselves out, how are we supposed to keep stoking that fire? What happens when the appeal of this life we’ve made for ourselves loses its spark?

I’ve got no answer, but it looks like I’m just about home. Time for this night to get busy.

The next big fashion trend? Fluoro garbage worker outfits. Just you wait.

Today marks the first time I’ve gone to a department store to try on, then purchase an item of women’s clothing. An auspicious occasion to be certain. The story, however, begins not there, but at the racks of the Kensington Army Surplus Store. I’d been rifling through the racks looking for a military flight suit to set up my Halloween costume. My companions were an older woman and a creepy sales rep who wouldn’t quit (it dawns on me that with his uneven gait, bloodshot eyes and seemingly vacant expression he was most likely a returned serviceman. The respect I had for him didn’t diminish is overwhelming creepitude). I flicked between flight suits, $80, $80, $80, $70, $60. A $50 XXL suit came up, trampling my hopes further into the ground. The twin pressures of sleep-deprivation induced fatigue and the overly insistent sales rep didn’t help my frustration. After 4 or 5 attempts to ask me if I needed help (I must’ve looked as inept as I felt), “Igor” slunk off, leaving the woman and I alone to contemplate the selection in front of us.

“Well he was determined.” I muttered quietly to the woman next to me.
“Yeah.” She replied. “If only he could do something about these prices.”
“Halloween?” I enquired.
“Halloween.” She echoed. “The worst part” she continued “is that this isn’t even for me. I’m already sorted, my husband is the one who needs it.”
I let out a short snort. She whipped her head around to look me up and down.
“Wait, weird question. How big are you?”
She was right. It was a weird question. Had I just met Buffalo Belle?
“That is a weird question. Small to medium I think, depends on the cut.”
I didn’t dare ask why.
“Okay, this could work.”
I gulped, despite myself. I did so enjoy my skin remaining attached to the rest of my frame.
“This didn’t make any sense to me, but flight suits are actually in right now. H&M sells them for $19.95.”
“Oh?” My eyes widened.
“Yeah. The catch is that they’re only in for women. You look like you’d be small enough to fit into women’s clothing.
I smirked. “Thanks, I guess?”
“Well if you could save $60 on a Halloween costume, wouldn’t you?”
I would. I did.

Which is how I found myself outside H&M in Yonge and Dundas square, looking up at a large poster for a flight suit garbed model mid-stride on an air strip.

I went to the racks and found a sales attendant who, thankfully, gave off a more normal vibe. She said they were in stock, but the largest size they had was an 8. She said I could use either the men’s changing rooms downstairs or the women’s on the same floor. A changing room by any other gender would look the same, I figured. I was right.

Putting on women’s clothing is a strange affair. There are some parts that fit well enough, others didn’t. I didn’t expect the foot holes to be so much tighter. I had to finagle my heel through, but once it was in it wasn’t going anywhere. The legs were fine, hips were easy, roomy, comfortable even. The waist wasn’t. The suit was crimped around the waist, I assume to show off some kind of hourglass I don’t have. Thankfully it was elasticated. The chest was super roomy, for obvious reasons. My mannories didn’t have quite the bust to fill it out. The shoulders were tight, leading to taught arms, but that’s workable. The strangest part was doing up the buttons. Given that men and women’s buttons are on opposing sides of shirts, I was fumbling as if it was my first time. It didn’t help that this thing had a million (minus 999988 or so) buttons and they were tiny. Still, it fit and despite the awkward tightness in some parts (I might need to find something to wear over my pelvis. Camel tail is a thing), it’s exactly what I need to make the costume work.

And now I know that I’m roughly a women’s size 8, which is not something I thought I’d learn before arriving back home this evening. Life is magical and full of surprises sometimes.

If my parents were giant robot technicians, my dad would officially be cooler than yours.

I’ve been trying to call my parents for the last few days. Once it gets to about midnight or 1am I load up Skype and give ‘em a ring. Nothing. Call failed or endless ringing. You have no idea what a sense of self-satisfaction this gives me. For once I’m not the person exhibiting shitty communication skills. I’ve been ceaselessly trying, but to no avail. Blame the massive down-under time difference. They’re 7 hours behind, a day ahead, so unless I choose not to sleep it’s tricky at best to get them on the line before work the next day. But I’ve been trying, so go me. I don’t know why I’m busting my chops so hard (“busting my chops” he says. It’s literally just loading up an app and ringing a few times. Zero point five effort required) to speak to them. If you’ve been following my writing closely over the past month you’ll realise that nothing of importance has happened in my life. It’s not like I’ve done anything noteworthy or had any powerful revelations worth reporting back to my parentals. Yet still I persist. I don’t want to call it “obligation”, because that removes the obvious love involved in the connection. I just don’t know why we really need to speak. I mean, they raised me for most of my life, one call per month is hardly a great expense on my behalf (and even phrasing it like that makes it sound like a chore to call them). We get on pretty well, the calls are enjoyable and it’s nice just to hear their voices. I realised the other day that it’s been over a year since I last saw them. It wasn’t a bombshell moment, no earth-shattering epiphany. More like when you look in your cupboard and notice you accidentally bought an extra can of tomatoes. An occurrence of no consequence, just mildly interesting to note. It would be swell to see the family again, but there’s no real sense of longing pulling me back. It’ll happen when it happens.

It must be gnawing at me somewhere though. Last night I dreamt I was at some huge office block party and my parents were there. They kept trying to score acid off my friends. My dad was so excited. When I tried to tell them I was leaving it took 13 times of telling him to actually get the message through, for him to acknowledge my existence. I hope my dream parents had a great acid trip, wherever it took them. In the dream I got contracted by a special police division to try and discover who was importing loads of super strong hallucinogens into the party. They thought they’d made a massive bust and got me to organise it. I was bored with the clerical work, so I broke off a piece of this large slab of dream-drug and chewed it in the hopes of livening up the sorting. No effect, also it was goddamn delicious. “Guys, you haven’t cracked anything. You’ve just confiscated stacks of large white cookies.” I was both congratulated on my sluthery and reprimanded for attempting to eat police property. They decided to just let me go back to the party rather than leaving a liability like me on the police team. I went off in search of my parents and found them in a large gazebo, tripping out while lounging back on cushions. I figured they were off on their own adventures and I’d only be a buzzkill if I interrupted.

Maybe something deeper afoot is happening. In the hidden reserves of my subconscious I must be concocting some kind of elaborate narrative whereby my parents have way too much going on in their busy lives to have time for me. They’re skipping out on Skype shenanigans because they’ve discovered some great new hobby. Perhaps they’ve finally started playing videogames and are too busy trawling dungeons for sick loot. Perhaps they’ve become reformed swingers and just can’t seem to find their keys in that large fishbowl. They could be on a secret mission to topple the leaders of ISIS or concocting a cure for ingrown hairs. They could be building a giant anime style robot to defend the earth from extra-terrestrial forces. I can’t discount the notion that they ran away to join the circus, or a weird amphibian sex cult. Maybe they’ve just ascended their physical bodies and are finding the internet too enticing to float around to shift back to reality.

Or maybe they’re just like me. They don’t have anything to talk about either and figure it’ll happen when it happens. The apple doesn’t fall far, right?