Would you rather a bin ate it? You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to give away food these days.

With social decorum being what it is, by living in society you make a tacit contract to “not be a dick” as best you can. Some people commit harder than others. Some people succeed harder than others. Some people get hard in an unwanted capacity in front of others and succeed in being committed to a facility. There are tiny little arrangements we all agree to on a regular basis. Sometimes they’re just out of perceived politeness. It doesn’t stop me from thinking of exactly which unspoken contracts I’d like to break.

  • Riding in shopping carts: It’s okay when you’re a kid, but for some reason when you’re big enough to push one, cramming yourself into a cart and getting pushed around seems the height of malarkey. BUT IT’S SO FUN. Nobody is getting hurt (except maybe me when my bulk tips the thing right over). Furthermore, by virtue of being alongside the produce we’d load into the cart, it’d be less likely for any of the shopping to escape. I’d guard it with my life (precariously hanging in the balance of, well, my ability to balance in the cart). Is having a good time not a good enough excuse? It’s not even at the expense of others for once.
  • Eating leftover food in public: This one seems more symptomatic of inoculating ourselves against the unknown. A fear of germs or other contagion that strangers could be carrying. Or even worse, a fear of being caught taking other people’s leftovers. Shock horror. We buy leftover furniture and clothes. Why not chomp down on that plate of chips at a food court? Just because they’re cold, doesn’t mean they’re infected. Just remove the bit of that Big Mac they’ve bitten into. Safe as houses. Get a different spoon for that uneaten curry or soup. Why not? Because we’re afraid of looking poor or desperate? Check your ego at the door and enjoy free chow. It’s already been paid for, so it’s not like you’re taking money away from the business. What’s the worst that could happen? We already got rid of the black plague.
  • Everyday costumes: I don’t know why corporate stiffwads decided that eccentric clothing would adversely affect performance. Why can’t I dress like a knight every day without the expectation that I’m not capable of my job? What you’re wearing is no indication of competence, unless it’s your competence at conforming. If I was dressed like Wolverine, you can bet your sweet ass I’d feel confidence and capable. How would that not significantly increase the quality of my work? Plus maybe if I could brandish razor sharp claws at a moment’s notice, annoying people from other departments would leave me the fuck alone to get my work done. Who am I kidding? They’d just email instead.
  • No shoes, yes service: I get that this is more of a safety liability thing, but I love being barefoot. I can only imagine how much more relaxed I’d feel eating a burger and sipping a sweet brew if my toes were free to wiggle away in the open air. Why deny them that freedom? Maybe let me know that glassware could potentially break and cutting myself would be a possibility. Or let me wear jandals and I’ll slip them off when I get to my table. No harm, no foul. Only the foul stench rising from between my toes.

Don’t worry folks, I get it. I understand that these rules were created to try and keep everyone happy. Still, can’t we find a little wriggle room? For my toes at least?

Levi’t to beaver.

I was sitting on the train yesterday, hurriedly doing my daily writing. I’d hoped to squeeze maybe 15 minutes of writing time out of my transit between the gym and a volunteer meeting for this large scale game my friend is running (a meeting I arrived on time for (at the wrong location. In more realistic terms I was late)). I was somewhat distracted, but still trying to focus. All of a sudden I heard a voice pipe up next to me.

“They look like jeans, but what are they really made of?”

My head darted towards the source of the noise. The guy next to me was looking intently at my jeans. The jeans in question are yellow, mildly stretchy. They’re comfy and snug and best of all were all of $15 from H&M. After teen years spent draped solely in black, I’ve made an effort to widen my colour palette. Now dressing is a matter of picking a plain coloured top and a coloured pair of pants. Occasionally there’s a malfunction and I end up mono-coloured like I’m wearing pyjamas. Most of the time it lets me hide in plain sight (or remain camouflaged outside of a McDonalds with a red top and said yellow pants). With this guy next to me, not so much.

I replied that I had no idea what they were made of. Denim perhaps? Oh no, he assured me, that wasn’t denim. He knew his jeans and what I was wearing was no denim he knew. He asked me if they stretched much. I paused and wondered what would be the more practical use of my time, writing my entry or discussing something I knew nothing about with someone I’d never met. I put away my phone.

“So are jeans your thing?” I asked, genuinely curious. “Oh yeah.” He replied. “I got all sorts of jeans. I always liked to dress stylish. Back in school they’d call me ‘Pretty Boy’. Even the teachers.” I nodded. “Right on.” He smiled “yeah man. I got heaps of jeans. I buy good ones, y’know?” [He rattled off some brands that I’m pretty sure I’ve heard before, but can’t remember] “They get expensive though.” “Oh? What’s the most expensive pair you bought?” I asked. He paused for effect. $700 was his answer. My eyes widened. “$700? What kind of jeans do you get for $700? Well, aside from ‘good ones’, I guess. Do they have special jean technology like Bluetooth? Do they glow in the dark? Contain Kevlar? I’m not knocking it, but what do you need to justify a $700 pair?” He looked almost confused “Well they look good and people know they look good.”

I took a moment and tried a different tack. “So if you’ve bought a $700 pair of jeans, is there any special prep you’ve gotta do? That’s a major investment and surely you want to take care of it? I remember reading something about putting new jeans in the freezer or wearing them into the bath for a couple of hours. Are those the kind of jeans you own?” He looked put off. “I don’t do any of that gay shit. I don’t want tight jeans. I’m all about that straight cut.” “Wait” I responded “what’s with the ‘gay’ stuff? How does wearing any kind of clothing make you gay? If it’s vanity you have a problem with, you just mentioned how much you spent on clothes.” “Yeah but” he sputtered. “I dunno, maybe you’re right. Anyway, if you’re making money you might as well put it into shit you like.” I nodded. “Yeah, that works.” He looked down at my jeans again. “So are you a jeans guy?” I burst out laughing. “Nope nope. I buy $10 H&M ones when they’re on sale. I’m not really a clothing person. It’s cool that you are though. It’s nice to have things to care about.” I heard the robot voice in the train announce Spadina coming up. “This is my stop, but it’s been nice chatting with you. You’re really a Jean-ius.” “A genius?” He asked “I just know stuff about jeans.” I fought every internal urge telling me to point it out. “Have a good night bud.” “Yeah, you too.”

It was either that or calling him a de-nimrod.

But it’s not like they made a black Care Bear. The panda doesn’t count.

The weather’s getting warmer, finally. I’ve been taking advantage of it by going for lunchtime jogs when I can. I work on the waterfront and there’s a bike path I can use the whole way. It’s great to get out into the fresh air, no doubt. Finding the motivation to leave my seat at work isn’t always easy, but I feel better (and monstrously hungry) once I’m done. So if anything, it’s having the foresight to appreciate potential satisfaction in hindsight. My main gripe really is sort of silly, so I’ll explain.

You know that bus driver wave? Two bus drivers going in opposite directions will nine times out of ten give a little head nod or wave just to say I see you. It’s neat, it instils a sense of camaraderie. It’s like saying hey, we both know this isn’t the best, but every cloud, eh? As someone who rides in buses all the time, it’s by far my favourite thing about the experience (aside from when that bus driver told me to organise my life because I handed him a $20 note. I was 12. “We’re not a bank for you kids” he went on. Tosspot). If I was a bus driver it’d brighten my day tenfold. But I’m not, so I don’t get to do the wave.

I’ve tried to bring it in on my runs, because I think it’s important. When I’m jogging near my home I do the little customary nod or wave and most of the time the person nods back. Yep, I’m struggling too I hear them think. Because empathy is basically telepathy. I see how they’re pushing themselves and it emboldens me to keep pushing. One foot in front of the other. Life goes on, and it’s only gonna make me strong. Can’t fight the moonlight (my motivational inner monologue is LeAnn Rimes, obviously). It’s also delightful.

When I run on the waterfront though, it doesn’t happen. People avoid eye contact at all costs. It’s a bummer. Is it me? What have I been doing wrong that they won’t meet my eyes? Do I carry a wafting stench? Is my aroma so arresting that it’s easier to look away than consider a human could smell that sweaty? Is my musk offensive? Or is it the way I dress? All black worked for Johnny cash and New Zealand’s national rugby team, but I have neither the cultural capital nor charisma to pull it off in the same manner. I may not be decked out in head to toe Lululemon, but I can still go the distance. Okay, so I may be wearing golf pants, but they’re from the Canadian Olympic team. Doesn’t that make them authentic enough to count? Are they turned off by my knee brace? Damaged goods too much for them to conceive of as a legit contender? I fought hard to tear my PCL (though admittedly that wasn’t the goal). Now I’m nothing but rotting flesh in motion? The fucking audacity of these monstrous perfectionists.

Or I guess they could just be focusing on their own shit. That makes sense too. I just want to make friends wherever I go, like a care bear in human form. Is that too much to ask?

I’ll slice you in a minute, random office sociopath. Wait, is that a firing offence? Or a social good?

It snowed this morning. The rest of the day has been bright, with mild clouds. I don’t understand this country. Maybe I was never meant to. Maybe this reality is a simulation and someone’s messing with the Danger Room controls. If sentinels descend and begin rounding up the mutants, it’ll either be a sign that something’s off or that all of my dreams are about to come true. Then again, I don’t know if I’ve ever really imagined being a helpless normie in any superhero stories that were to come true. Is that emblematic of privilege? Or the way that these stories are designed? That naturally since you identify with the empowered central characters, you feel like you’re inhabiting that role? You wouldn’t imagine yourself as your normal self, because what would be the point of your normal self being in that universe?

I’ve been wearing my newest pair of pants this week. I had a gap in my wardrobe that required something burgandy-ish to go with my assorted plain coloured shirts. Having previously experimented with jeans, I bought a pair closer in line with trousers. They’re soft, which is nice, but by fair the most pleasing feature is the zipper. It’s unusually long. I don’t know why it has such an impact when I’m zipping them back up, but it’s hugely noticeable. More leverage and easier to grip without fumbling. It couldn’t be more than 5mm larger than a normal zipper, but so far it’s elevating these pants from tolerable to enjoyable.

I was pretty stoked to walk into the work kitchen to see pizza on the counter. While it was no gin tasting like yesterday, free pizza still has abundant charms. There’s an armistice zone where up-for-grabs food goes to linger. Reaching the box, however, I found it to be empty. What kind of sociopath does that? Look, if I see an empty box in the garbage, I think oh, that would’ve been yummy. Maybe I’ll stow that thought in my brain for some other time when I’m considering snackage. However, the concept of having taken part in its deliciousness never really crossed my mind. When an empty box is there, for an all too brief moment my brain gets flooded with hope. The trials of my monotonous trudge through quotidian existence fade as my vision haloes around this pending treat. To discover that someone has not only dashed my hopes, but desecrated the corpse of said dashed hopes by ensnaring them in some inhumane trap feels like a brutal betrayal. IF YOU TAKE THE LAST SLICE/PIECE/ONE, THROW THE BOX OUT. Monsters.

Ugh, I’m too disgusted to go on. Fuck this noise, I’m off to get my own pizza.

My breaking point will be when they tell me I can’t eat tinned tuna any more. Sorry oceans.

My girlfriend and I have the house to ourselves tonight. Her mum was staying with us for a few days, which has felt like a significant departure from the norm. It’s weird how that happens, you get so locked into patterns and habits that one little tweak upends the natural state of being. Don’t get me wrong, having her mum lodge with us for two nights was not a big deal. She’s friendly and easy going, so it’s not stressful. It’s just different. The guest bedroom is where my computer lives, so I can’t stay up late on the internet. Suddenly we need to be conscious of whether or not we’re wearing clothes. Normally it’s laissez faire. We ask ourselves do I feel like being dressed now? The answer may vary. If we’re going for an early morning dash to the bathroom, the last thing we’re gonna worry about is showing some skin. When another human’s in the house, they may not want to see genitals in contact with the open air. It’s understandable and not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. What it does do is make you have to consciously think about how you’re acting.

It’s the kind of “problem” that you can’t really grumble about, because as I said, it’s not a big deal. Most people, when it comes down to it, are probably pretty reasonable people. I don’t think people walk our their doors deliberately wanting to hurt or offend others. It happens, but I’d assume more out of ignorance than maliciousness. I’ve said a ton of ignorant things in my life and I’ll probably continue to do so. Because I’m not always aware of the implications my words could have to people whose life experiences are removed from my own. I’d hope that if I erred, I’d show remorse, apologise, learn and try to do better next time. I’m sure that more than once I’ve made the same mistake again and again without learning. My enduring wish would be that one day I’d finally learn.

As I get older, I feel encroaching resistance to new ideas. Not massively, but in small ways. Like my resistance to 3D movies (needless cash grab), looking at iPads for the first time and thinking so we’re buying half a laptop now? Why did that need to happen? It sucks, because I’ve always wanted to be progressive, looking forward instead of clutching old notions close to my heart. I still think 3D movies don’t add enough for the extra cost, we just get more clumsy scenes where objects hurtle towards the screen for poorly justified reasons. At times I’ll hear an idea that challenges my previously held ways of thinking and internally my neck hairs stand on end for all of five seconds before realising wait, this isn’t a big deal.

When I was entering university, I couldn’t understand why there was a generational bias to political leanings. If someone has always held liberal values, why would they ever become conservative? Did something happen and they took an instant 180 to hating those less well-off than them? As I’m getting older, I can start to see how it happens. I’ve always held the view that progress is important, that one of the most dangerous ideas is we’ve always done it this way, why would we change? I can also see how enticing the notion of security is. How at some point your mind could hear an idea that would require you to act or think differently than you have your whole life and you think NO! I don’t want to have to change. I’ve changed enough. Can’t I just be good enough as I am for once? Not that the opposing idea was really asking for too much, but that the effort it would take to make a conscious decision to monitor your actions/words until the habit stuck would seem more than you had the capacity for at that time. That by hearing the way you’d always done something was wrong, was like hearing that you were an asshole for being that way. That instead of showing remorse, apologising, learning and trying to do better next time, you got angry for what felt like you being told that you were a bad person. Regardless if that were the intent of the other person, that was how you heard it. Your hackles were raised and you dug your heels in, refusing to back down.

I’m not saying that’s right. I’m saying that I understand how that could happen.

So no, having my girlfriend’s mum staying was not a big deal at all. It is nice to be pantsless in front of my computer again though.

A goth damn delight.

Turns out social contact was the best remedy medical science had in its arsenal. For the first time in many moons, I left home after the cover of darkness in order to be conversational. My girlfriend’s mate was throwing a goth themed 28th birthday. It was foolproof. If at worst I ended up wallowing in a corner over social paralysis, at least I’d be on theme.

I pulled (literally) on some pleather pants I’d found at a costume sale and a black long sleeved shirt. Dabbed gel in my hair for the best imitation of an emo fringe I could manage (working with limited resources here) and got my girlfriend to apply some serious eye liner. She dolled up with all black finery, a grey cincher with purple highlights and pitch perfect makeup. Some, in her words, “skull contouring” was dead on brand. One Instagram later, we were ready to leave.

Arriving, it was obvious what a goofy application of theme it was. Marilyn Manson videos on the TV, tea light candles and black balloons everywhere. The catering was delightfully all kid’s party food: Cheetos, chips, faux marshmallow bananas, pretzels and taffy filled candy cones. I grabbed a beer and took a seat, squeaking as I did. I had a non-zero fear of self-combustion, the inner thighs of my pleather pants rubbing back and forth against each other loudly. Once again, dying at a goth party would only increase my street cred.

It was the kind of company you want at a party. Easy conversationalists, never strained or awkward. Everyone was friendly and seemed genuinely inquisitive. I chatted with a dude who’d just moved into the city about the struggles of getting settled. A gal educated me about the horrific treatment of the native population and how it hasn’t yet been put in the past. Did you know that medical professionals have been trying to coerce native women into forced sterilisation? Not 20 years ago, but as recent as 2013? I chatted about accents and cultural differences, the strange approach and almost blind acceptance of celebrity spokespeople. I leaned about demands placed on teachers these days, how smart phones in class not only hinder, but often aid learning. There was fluid back and forth and it was a total joy just to enjoy conversations with strangers.

Then the night hit its peak with a rousing game of Pass the Parcel. If you somehow had a shit childhood and never played, Pass the Parcel involves some small token wrapped in 10+ layers of gift wrapping. À la Musical Chairs, music starts and you Pass the Parcel around until it stops. When it does, the person holding it unwraps a layer. If this sounds trite, sometimes there are trinkets or booby prizes between layers. It’s more fun than I’ve let on. In last night’s incarnation there were Kings style mini games. Make a Rule, Wink Murder, Categories, freestyle rap (wrap?) about death. With the right crowd, it was a blast. The lesson to learn is that we’d likely severely improve all of our parties by a factor of 12 if we included the party games of our childhood, yet adapted them for adults. Bobbing for vodka infused apples? Fluffy Bunnies with sips of coolers? I’m sure I’m not the first to think of a Pin the Tail variant with one of those horse hair butt plugs… Consent being the main ingredient of course.

Or does the last sentence prove that I probably have no place hanging around with proper adults?

It’s dark outside. I am likely to be eaten by a grue.

I need to get out of the house. With the exception of the hour and a half I spent going to and from my doctor’s appointment yesterday, I haven’t left the house in over 24 hours. I’m getting bored of myself. I’ve had my butt pretty firmly glued to my computer chair (save getting up for food, water, or drugs), clad in slovenly sweatpants. Feet stuffed in slippers, wearing a bright yellow sweatshirt. I’ve been the perfect picture of comfort, but also the perfect picture of indecision. With the entire information superhighway at my disposal, I could be anywhere doing anything just by surfing the web. Instead I’ve found myself clicking around the same couple of sites, playing Shandalar and flicking through Netflix without watching much of anything. I repeat, I need to get out of the house.

I’m less sick than I was. The constant pressure of my headache has subsided. My throat no longer burns. My nose is still pretty congested, but how’s that different from any other day? It’s past 6pm and I haven’t taken any meds since this morning. Maybe I am on the mend after all. I really should go, even if it’s cold outside. I do weird things when I’m home alone. I pace back and forth from the office and the kitchen without purpose. Scan the fridge or pantry for something to eat, find nothing that I can be bothered making, go back to the office and feel hungry (or bored. Same difference). Occasionally I’ll feel guilty for not having been active, so I’ll try a few handstand push ups. I maybe get to three or so, then lose my balance and guide myself back to the ground. Feeling accomplished, I’ll usually go straight back to being inactive (realising as I do, that this small amount of work doesn’t constitute a workout. I won’t follow it up with more work).

Indoor kid as I am, I’m finding myself longing for spring. Toronto had an oh so brief flirtation with temperatures over zero. Remember last week or so when I got to jog? That was amazing. There are all these new pokémon to catch. So many unused patios citywide that would be ideal for enjoying a beer. Hell, I miss beer. It’s been about five weeks or so since I last drank and I think I’m ready to open up the La Fin Du Monde sitting in the bedroom. I need human connection. The cat may be talkative, but she speaks a lot of garbage. I love my girlfriend, but I don’t want to wear her out. I realised the other day that most of my friends haven’t seen me with a beard, which has been slowly accumulating over the past five weeks. It’s time to put on real clothes and make elaborate hand gestures while conversing.

I didn’t get the interview with Los Campesinos tomorrow, which is both a bummer and a relief at once. I’ve been raring to see this band live since they dropped two outstanding albums in 2008. Getting the chance to meet and chat with a member or two would be amazing. On the other side, I felt a massive amount of dread that I was walking into some kind of trap. What would I be able to say to people I’d respected and looked up to? I was intimidated, as if I’d say a bunch of dumb things and be treated either patronisingly or like I wasn’t worth their time. I was sure they wouldn’t be rude, but that any amount of prep I’d done wouldn’t be enough to, I dunno, have them like me? Don’t meet your heroes encapsulated. It’s silly. I should really have enough self-respect to know that I’d be fine, that I could hold me own, that they’re just Welsh thirtysomethings and I’d probably have fun in the end. Sorry, *would’ve* had more fun in the end. Still, I get to review their sold out show that I’d forgotten to nab tickets for, so all is not lost.

Enough of this whole “typing” thing. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna shower and see what the outside world has to offer.