Oh, and in retrospect it tasted great. Hope that allays any fears.

I’m not really big into pot. It’s the kind of thing I’ll smoke socially from time to time, but it’s far from a mainstay in my life. I rarely clean my bellybutton (which is probably why it smells more like a bellybutt), but I likely clean my bellybutton more than I smoke pot. My girlfriend is trying medical marijuana as an anxiety treatment and she’s been pretty pleased with the results. Occasionally I’ll join her if I have a free night where I don’t need to accomplish anything. Not often, but every once in a while it’s nice to coast for a stress free evening. When it comes to alcohol, I have a large tolerance. Weed on the other hand, hits me hard and fast. I like retaining a certain level of awareness and getting high throws that right out the window. I’ve always been a soft touch on it so I’m careful to have only small amounts at a time. One or two puffs is more than enough for a few hours worth of mellow and it’s rare that I imbibe more. Last night we were having a couple over for dinner who’d just moved to Toronto. We had a tiny toke maybe 15 minutes before they were set to arrive. I had a drag and a small puff. Five minutes before they were due to arrive I turned towards my partner in horror.

“Oh shit. I am way too stoned to host a dinner.”

She assured me that we were a team and we’d get through it together.

One of my issues when I smoke is that I have trouble parsing information. It’s not that I don’t take in information, but my usual subconscious filters come out to the fore. It makes almost everything a conceptual minefield. Furthermore, it certainly didn’t help me prepare dinner. We’d put roast veggies in the oven much earlier, so those were cooking away. We’d chopped up and salted eggplant to sweat out the excess moisture. All that we had left was to pan fry it and heat up our guests’ shepherd’s pie. I had two pans going with 1cm thick slices of eggplant. One was large and non-stick, the other was a cast iron grill pan. Outwardly my guests saw me cooking eggplant. Inwardly my dialogue was a little more like this…

When was the last time I cooked eggplant? Have I ever cooked eggplant in a pan? How long did the recipe say? Five to seven minutes per side? Does it change if one of the pans is flat and the other has a grill? Does that mean they need different cooking temperatures? How much oil do I need? Is this a light pan fry or something deeper? Does deep frying even happen in a grill pan? Won’t the oil get stuck in the grooves? What kind of texture does fried eggplant have? Do I want it to be soft and gooey or crispy? Or a combination of the two? I remember something in the recipe about eggplant being naturally bitter. Is that a flavour that subsides once it reaches a certain level of cook-ed-ness? Or is that something I need to counteract with spices/ingredients? Isn’t eggplant umami? How do I balance that flavour? Do I need to add lemon for acidic elements? Garlic? More oil? But doesn’t eggplant soak up a ton of oil? Does that mean I need more or less? It’s getting burnt, is it supposed to get burnt? Does that mean that I’m cooking it well or does that make me a bad chef? Am I a bad chef? I know that I like it when there’s a burn to things, but is that because my tastes are weird? Or is it a taste that people naturally enjoy when it comes to eggplant? Wait, am I trying to place my values when it comes to food over the preferences of others? How am I supposed to know how other people like it? There are three other people here. What if I cook it in a way that only one or two others enjoy? Does that make me a bad host? Or is it impossible to guess how others enjoy things and you just do your best? Is this subjective or objective? Are the darker bits the more or less cooked parts? Let’s have a taste of one. Hmm, is that what bitter tastes like? I’ve forgotten what a bitter taste is. I think I enjoy it, but it has a certain aftertaste. I’m pretty sure I like that aftertaste, but is that just because I’m stoned? What if others don’t like it? Does that mean I’m being shitty to them? How am I even supposed to know this? Would I understand better if I wasn’t stoned? Do I normally automatically know all of this stuff? Why am I thinking so hard about something that shouldn’t be challenging?

That was maybe a minute of internal dialogue.

The rest of the night was just as much of a maze. I felt like I was in some dinner party disaster movie and this was my subplot. I kept saying things, but not understanding why I was saying them or how I gauged whether or not things were appropriate. All I knew was that I somehow had to make it through the evening without our guests knowing that I was stoned. I don’t know why that was such an issue, but I think it had something to do with this lofty sense of social decorum (when in reality if I just said “sorry folks, but I’m really stoned right now, so if I’m acting weird that’s it”, they would’ve most likely been receptive to that). I’m pretty sure I enjoyed myself and the evening went by without any major hitches. Still, even today I still feel a little unhinged. I’m still piecing together how my brain works. Like, at brunch this morning I ate grilled plantain and didn’t realise I was eating the skin too. I ate maybe half a plantain skin.

Maybe I’ll wait a while before smoking again.

Solipsister Act.

It sometimes surprises me how self-aware my dreams are. Last night I found myself at work. Well, in a new job anyway. I’d been employed at some large theatre (in the musicals and one person shows sense) but it wasn’t immediately clear what I did. I sat at a piano mounted somewhere within the crowd. I had my own little area, but was totally enmeshed in the audience. I wasn’t facing towards the stage, more so I was on the left hand side, looking towards the centre of the seating. Right in the middle, there was some dude with a massive keyboard/organ contraption. In retrospect he must’ve been blocking everyone behind him. No complaining from the cheap seats, I guess.

This fella was the main musical maestro of the show. A one man orchestra, he handled a ridiculous assortment of tunes, fingers tickling the keys like little spider legs. On the other hand, I sat at my old ragtime piano, dressed like an usher in a vintage movie theatre. A blazer with those gold buttons on both sides. Little cap and everything. I told the musician dude that I was flattered, but ill suited for the position. I had no musical talent and couldn’t even read it. He told me not to worry, that it was a player piano. Entirely automated. All I had to do was sit there and make it look like I had some idea of what I was doing. Okay, so I was an actor then? I could handle this.

Time passed and shifts came and went. For some reason I was a crowd favourite, even though I’d told my secret all my friends who came to see the show. Nonetheless I was a hit, profiting off the hard work of some piano robot. Fine by me. I settled into my new life away from the television industry and time passed pleasantly. After a while I began training new recruits. One show night I’d been working with a new guy, but he couldn’t find his uniform. It was cutting close to the show. We searched all the dressing rooms, backstage, through the props and costume rooms, but found zilch. I heard the opening notes playing out from the theatre and realised I was just about to miss my cue. The fucking show had started! I bolted out as fast as I could. I got to my piano and faced an angry crowd. Our resident maestro threw down his hat and stormed out. The crowd looked towards me expectantly.

All of a sudden I heard a voice from the audience. It was my girlfriend singing some pop song. After a beat or two, backing music slipped in behind her, likely from the sound tech in the booth out back. The crowd turned to her and started clapping. She finished and bowed. Then someone else from the crowd rose up and picked a song. Once again, accompaniment kicked in right away. Sound techs earning their keep many times over. Then another. The show turned into karaoke en masse. Success!

Not all voices were equal and my girlfriend was very clearly the star. She had a better vocal range and projection than the rest of the amateurs. It didn’t go unnoticed. After the surprise hit of the show, I took her aside to thank her.

Me: That was amazing. Thanks so much for filling in.
Her: It felt like the right thing to do, plus I had fun.
Me: Yeah. Well you were clearly better than the rest of the crowd. Your vocal range in particular.
Her: Don’t be silly. This is your dream, right? So in reality while I seem like me, I’m just another projection of you. That means you’re the one with the great vocal range.
Me: That’s not how dreams work. Like, I may have created you as a character, but that doesn’t mean that your skills in this dream translate to real life.
Her: You’re totally wrong.
Me: No way. I dream that I have telekinesis or Spider Man powers all the time in dreams. That never happens in real life.
Her: We’ll just have to disagree then. So are you gonna write about this tomorrow?
Me: I guess. Unless something momentous happens during the day. I’ve got nothing else remarkable to write about.
Her: Is this really that remarkable a dream?
Me: Well if you don’t think so in this dream, then I guess I don’t either. Let’s leave that to any readers to decide.

OffSpring are in the air. I gotta keep me separated.

Because I’m not a fully functional human being, I sometimes have strange responses to things. It’s fine, I’ve existed up to this point idiosyncratically and I’ll likely continue along the same path until I no longer exist. We all work with a range of people. Some co-workers grow to become friends. Sometimes with others water cooler talk drags on uncomfortably long (an important part of adapting to a workplace is learning who you can make flippant asides to (that won’t result in a conversation you weren’t looking for)).  The vast majority of them are simply people who do the same thing as you do, or inhabit a similar office space. As someone who has a lot of acquaintances, some of whom I’m pretty close with, co-workers who qualify as friends are a huge anomaly in my life. I make friendly conversation with most people, since the alternative would be either not talking with them or making unfriendly conversation. Neither seem to be great options. What I’m getting around to is this: I really hate the co-worker on maternal leave bringing in their infant thing.

In no way am I saying that there’s anything remotely wrong with bringing your kid in to work in order to parade them around. You do you, and other people enjoy it. Totally fine. When it happens though, I have to be elsewhere. I just don’t have that kind of relationship with the people on my team. If I was on some kind of parental leave, my co-workers would see me no sooner than 365 days post-pregnancy. Every single time that someone brings a kid in, I don’t know what to say.

I still haven’t evolved to the point where I find babies interesting. They make shitty conversation, are pretty bad at doing anything and don’t understand my pop cultural references. So there’s no attraction in getting to hangout with an infant. I too lack the knowledge about child-rearing that gives me conversational ammo for their parents. They’re obviously gonna want to talk about their baby, who I know nothing about. Outside of that, there are the usual assortment of questions about what life is like with a baby that I’m not interested in. If I wouldn’t have chatted with the parent about non-work subjects while they were still working in the office, how would them having a kid change that?

It feels like a social obligation. I don’t want to pretend that this person is suddenly interesting because they reproduced, that’s disingenuous. While they’re in the office though, it can be hard to avoid them if they’re conversing with people in the middle of a main thoroughfare. There’s no way to get to the kitchen for more water without bypassing them, so I get stuck parched at my desk hoping they’ll just leave without noticing me.

Maybe I need to work out strategies around this. I could just pretend in my head that they don’t have a baby, and ask them questions that I’d usually ask them as if they didn’t. “So, what’ve you been doing these days?” “How’ve things been lately?” “That Toronto weather, eh?” “Trump right? So crazy right now.” (then launch into the Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh, no, nos from Beyonce (feat Jay Z)’s 2003 single “Crazy in Love”) Then again, people like talking about their kids. So as an addendum to that, I could totally splice in some throwaway about the baby to my previous plan. “So what’ve you been doing these days [with the baby]?” “How’ve things been lately [with the baby]?” “That Toronto weather [with the baby], eh?” “Trump right? So crazy right now [with the baby]. Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh, no, no.”

Conversely, the underside of my desk is very spacious and I get a WiFi signal there. I could hide from my problems instead.

Sometimes it takes a while to make things click. I can’t always blame dysfunctional websites.

I’m trying to buy tickets to an event, but I can’t. I know, I know, I can be inept at times, but I swear this isn’t totally my fault. The event is selling tickets through a larger site. In order to buy the tickets, I need to be a member. The fun part is, I am a member. I’ve bought tickets through them before. I just don’t know how. Every time I try to login, it tells me that my password is incorrect. When I click the “forgot password” box, it tells me it’s sent an email to sort it out. I’ve been checking all my email folders, but I haven’t gotten this email. So I can’t reset the password and can’t buy tickets. I swear I’ve bought tickets within the past year. How the hell did I do it last time? At this rate I’m gonna have to make a new account with my work email.

….

Okay, everything’s fine I’m just an idiot.

That’s such a peculiar sensation. You’re trying to think of what to do and you think how would past me have acted? Then you try something and it turns out that’s exactly how past you would’ve reacted. There’s a smugness to it. There’s a comfort in knowing that fundamentally we don’t all change that much. Also I guess it’s neat to still be able to surprise yourself. When it happens to me, I can’t help but feel a little proud that I managed to figure myself out. As ludicrous as that sounds. Like I have this fear of growing in such different directions that I’ll no longer recognise my past thought patterns. I of course want to shift and develop in myriad ways, but I don’t want that at the behest of forgetting where I’ve come from.

At times it seems like we’re all taking in so much information that a ton gets lost in the shuffle. As time passes, we go through so many experiences that it’s a marvel we remember as much as we do. I used to think it was silly how people always talked about young minds being spongey. I was a teen and I still had a damn good memory. I’d commit lines from plays without trying. Memorise vast amounts of information from video games with the capacity to recite it from memory. Even in university I could still pull theorists’ quotes from my arse without much effort. Information landed in my brain and stuck there. Maybe it’s a case of rose-tinted reality, but in my current recollections, my past was flush with the ability to recall all the more vividly.

Now when I give anecdotes, I need to be a lot more intentional when it comes to having specifics in place. You know that feeling when your mind is reaching for a name or word? So often those names or words were within my brain’s arm’s reach. Now it’s usually the case that I need to stretch or strain to grab hold of them. Otherwise my anecdotes are a string of “what’s its name?” And “you know, the thing?” “I can’t remember the line exactly, but trust me, it was really funny.” Consequently, while I have more stories and life experiences to share now, I share fewer of them. Not having the details you want is pretty damn mortifying.

I’m sure most people have the experience of family members who repeatedly tell the same stories. Maybe this is why. I’m sure it’s partly having forgotten that they’d told the story, but it could also be an easy way of sharing an experience and getting recognition. It sucks scrambling for information that you feel should be on hand. Losing awareness of your memories must feel almost dehumanising, as if your past is being erased. If you can’t remember events in your life, how do you gauge their personal value? Dark, but inevitable.

I don’t know how much I feel like delving into this right now. I logged in. I purchased the tickets​. Now all that’s left is to have an experience profound enough that it’ll give me stories worth boring family and friends with for years to come.

Just pop the tab with your sphincter. Why else would you squat so much?

Well I’m back on the pre-workout. If you remembered my previous experiences on the drug supplement, you’d find no reason to question why. If you didn’t, then the reason is obvious: I want to feel like I have super powers.

Whether or not mild discomfort is a super power is up to you. As I can only imagine Wolverine does as his skin knits together, five minutes after downing it I feel a tingling itch spread across the surface of my body. Like teensy little needles knitting together the fibres of my being, my pores are suffused with a wave of expectation. Hesitation lingers but a moment before realising that I’m about to ride what a mountain of coke would feel like without the euphoria: A disdain for limitations.

Taking pre-workout is indistinguishable from a metric fuckton of microdoses unified into one high. Let me rephrase: It makes you high. Pre-workout makes you feel young again, which is a nice way of saying that it shaves years off your life. You know that scene in Logan? The one with the bestial howls? It’s basically that in the middle of the gym, which is a super handy way of getting people to stop loitering at the squat rack. A heavy-breathing, sweaty dude behind you is a huge incentive to leave whatever you’re doing and never to return. To that end, given the packed gym during the prime 5.30pm time slot, it’s mostly standing around feeling your molecules vibrate rapidly.

The true fun of pre-workout is trying to justify to others why you needed to feel that for once you were capable of ripping a horse in half with your bare hands. Man once looked at the moon and started thinking “how” instead of “if”. Everyone who’s ever taken pre-workout has looked at the moon and started thinking how long would it take me to run there? Pre-workout is not merely to engage the limits of your strength, but to engage the limits of your healing factor. By tearing your muscles asunder, you’re daring your body not to keep up.

Even after these ringing endorsements, you may still be questioning whether pre-workout is right for you. In that case, take a hard look at yourself and search for these answers:

  • Do I crave the sensation of shelving an unopened can of Red Bull?
  • Are my workouts suffering from a lack of graft vs host style fear?
  • Is it not enough to feel uncomfortable in my own skin, that I need to make everyone else uncomfortable around me too?
  • Have I ever been envious of a pitbull’s saliva output?
  • Did I watch any of the Fast cinematic universe and think I wish I was a car?
  • Do I seek to make hummingbirds jealous of my heartbeat?
  • Am I bummed that I’ve never shit myself at the gym?
  • Do my eyeballs sometimes feel too small for my pupils?
  • Have I got #squadgoals for Nicolas Cage in the Wicker Man remake?
  • Is the dial up connection sound my favourite rapper?

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that pre-workout isn’t for everyone. Sometimes though, you just want to know what it feels like for your muscles to exist outside your skin. For those times, pre-workout has your back. And will likely capture your heart.

Sorry, I meant will make your heart seize up.

Or I could open thirty more Chrome tabs. Possibility is everywhere!

If I don’t start this now, I never will. Time for some straight up stream of consciousness bollocks. It’s been one of those days where I’ve had next to nothing to do. It’s not a bad thing per se, to have nowhere to be and zero obligations. Sometimes it’s downright luxurious. Today however it’s manifested in an almost paralytic listlessness. I can do almost anything I want (short of activities involving high level reality warping), all I need is direction and motivation. The two things I’ve lacked thus far. It’s so cold. SO GODDAMN COLD that even at home, my fingers are chilly. The tiny muscles surrounding my knuckles need to thaw before working. Right now my typing is clunky, blocky. It feels unnatural moving at a pace beyond lethargy but if I don’t, this will never get done. My one job today was to try and get the right handle for our shower. Ours falls off periodically. We have a hex key close by in case it needs to be tightened (which it does, all too often). By this point, the screw’s thread is damn near stripped right through. I’ll turn the hex key and it’ll just rotate in the hole, finding little in the way of purchase. My girlfriend and I got a replacement a month or so ago, which turned out to be the wrong type. I was to bring back the one we bought and get the right one. A mission.

Still, that would involve leaving the house and simply being helpful wasn’t quite enough motivation for me. I needed something else. By midday I still hadn’t eaten, showered or coffee’d (holding out hope for someone being keen for brunch/lunch somewhere). I realised that if I left the house I could get coffee, catch a pokémon or two and feel like I’d accomplished something today. I went back to the store with backup. Not only did I take photos of the shower set up sans handle, I brought the handle with me. The sales assistant took one look at it and noped out, handing it off to his manager. His manager said they’d possibly have what I was looking for, but more likely I’d have to go elsewhere. We looked, but couldn’t find anything that fit the particular set up. Trust my landlord to grab something difficult to replace. One refund later, I came home with no new handle, no new pokémon (it wouldn’t even log in) and a stomach merely containing caffeine. At least I tried, goddammit.

With nobody taking up my offer for lunch, I was forced to take matters into my own hands. Sandwich time. Hearty multi-grain bread. Mushrooms, cheese, sundried tomatoes, sliced turkey, shredded cabbage (for texture), mayo, sriracha and tabasco all grilled in the George Foreman. It feels peculiar to name a sandwich the high point of my day, but frankly it was a big bastard of a sandwich. I watched an episode of MBMBAM, played some Shandalar and flicked through my comics library in case anything caught my eye. No surprise, it didn’t.

Surely those can’t be helped moods are something that everyone experiences, right? Even with myriad options, it’s impossible to find something that really catches your fancy because you’re so conditioned to saying no to things. Nothing will work out because in your head, you’ve got this preconceived notion of being inconsolable. You’re not miserable or depressed, just indecisive to the extreme. Perhaps it’s loneliness or a desire for company in disguise. Maybe I was actually clinging onto hope that someone else would grab on to the olive branch I was putting out, then take all decisions off my hands. My indecisiveness would be solved out of a lack of needing to make plans. I could latch on for the ride and simply be a passenger. Go to a restaurant or bar, have the burden of cooking, mixing taken away. Really relax, letting my tired bones, muscles and frozen fingers hang back to thaw out.

Then again, the day isn’t over. There’s still time for hours of possibility. Even a second sandwich.

Not in your mouth, not in your hand, but in your head.

Brain gone. Replaced by coffee. Coffee stocks fading. Brain fading accordingly. It’s gonna be one of thooooose entries. Work today has been a pissing contest of how much can go wrong. You know those days where each new issue begins to prompt maniacal laughter? Where you’re mere inches away from diving through a window screaming “I AM A GOLDEN GOD” to prove the fallacy of polytheism? When your boss has piled the junk food table high and you don’t have the discipline or presence of mind to imagine the cautionary image of what your brain looks like when you’ve eaten a brain sized portion of mini eggs?

As the great scholar William Frederick “Fred” Durst once said “It’s just one of those days.” He also said “Everybody’s judged by their fucked up face”, which may be more true than ever we knew. A true Nostradamus of My Generation.

I’ve been trying to book an appointment with a specialist over whether or not operating on my deviated septum would help with my breathing problems. It’s excellent that I’m covered by OHIP and thus get access to consultations without paying hefty GP fees. Furthermore, if I end up getting the operation OHIP will once again have my back (and septum), paying the applicable costs. I’ve been entangled in this weird system of trying to sort out the appointment. A few weeks back I made an appointment with my GP in order to make an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. She sent through the application and said they’d contact me.

Then yesterday, possibly ten steps after I turned my phone off airplane mode (I get no cell reception at work, so it just drains my battery otherwise). I got a call from my GP with an appointment time, telling me to call the specialist back directly to confirm. She said to do it quickly (within the next day) or else I’d lose my appointment. I asked why the specialist hadn’t cut out the middle man and called me directly. She said clinics rarely ever do that. I told her that because of my non-existent cell signal at work I’d left my email with them in case they needed to get in contact. The receptionist at the GP said they charged $10 per email, so they hadn’t emailed me. She once again implored me to call.

I called the specialist many times today without getting an answer. 70% of the times I called, there was a Rogers answer phone message saying that the number was not connected. The rest of the times brought me to a phone menu that eventually led to a number that nobody answered. I checked that I was using the correct number umpteen(!) times. I was. I sent them an email saying that I wanted to confirm, but got no response. You know, I should probably try again before they close for the day.

*****

Oh, I finally got in touch with someone at the specialist. They said their automated phone system is a piece of shit that loses calls and drops out so often that they should just pay someone to take calls. I couldn’t agree more. I gave her my details and she said my number didn’t match the one they had. The number she repeated back was the phone number of my GP. She asked me why they’d use their number instead of mine, when they could just cut out the middle man. I couldn’t agree more. I confirmed my appointment, which will no doubt culminate in the specialist telling me I don’t need the operation because my pre-existing allergies would negate its benefits, making this whole thing a colossal waste of time. Guess I’ll find out on Friday.

With my mind successfully melted for the day, let’s get the fuck out of here.