Yes alarms and yes surprises, please

Last night I set my alarm for work.

My girlfriend and I were readying for bed. I say readying, but I was naked, with the covers pulled up to my neck all cosy-like. I looked at my alarm. I thought out loud “I think I’m gonna set my alarm to 7am instead of 7.15. I wanna make sure I arrive early to prep for my shift.” She blinked and looked back at me, surprised. “Oh?” She remarked “that’s a big difference.” I thought to myself and agreed. I hated my last job. I dreaded going to work, knowing that nothing but disappointment and coffee were going to greet me at my desk. I’d think about the endless emails and urgent changes. I’d think about how we were permanently short-staffed, and the revolving door nature of the department meant we’d never not be. I’d think about my co-workers, and how much they struggled day to day. I’d think about how emotionally drained I’d be leaving the office, to have a break before heading back to do the same thing the next day. I’d think about my weekends, the desperate urgency that accompanied my reprieve from work. Most weekday mornings, I’d think about all of this before I even stepped out the door. I’d get up late, arrive when I felt like it, and leave early. I had no shits to give.

These days I think about what shows I’ll “get” to do, not “have” to do. I think about the kids with low vision who’ll get to watch cartoons because of my work. I think about my bike ride, my heart racing as I zip up hills. I think about my co-workers, all super friendly guys, who look out for one another and offer help whenever they can. I think about my bosses, who trust us as professionals and provide us with whatever we need to get our jobs done. I think of work life balance, and achieving it for the first time. I think of the difference between the unrealistic expectations of the past job, and the support I get in this one. I think of the specialised skills this job requires, the bizarre convergence with my own, and how much I’m learning. I think of how easy it is to get to sleep these days, without my brain freewheeling excessively. I think of how manic I was all of eight months ago, when I seriously thought I was losing touch with reality. I think of the constant cycles of negativity that used to reverberate around my skull. I think of the ex co-workers I still talk to, how they’re always in a state of crisis. I think of how much I like doing the work. Repeatedly doing retakes to get it right. I think about the complete lack of hesitation I have in staying late. I think of all this, and set my alarm to arrive early for my shift.

I think I’m happy, and I think I like it.

Getting in my own sway

I’m not sure if you know this, but if you get tired enough you’re basically high.

Cut to me roaming the halls at work, swaying as I walked. Not a sexy, seductive kind of sway. Less hip movement, and more of an I’m losing touch with reality and boy oh boy I need to keep my head from flailing into errant walls kind of sway. Perhaps it wasn’t a wise idea for me to bike to work. Perhaps it was an even less wise idea for me to bike home from work. All I know is, I’m very thankful it was a moderately slow shift, because I don’t think I could’ve handled much workload. I messaged my girlfriend at some point to let her know I was getting motion blurs from turning my head too quickly. It was like bad VR, which already gives me motion sickness. Thank fuck my eyes have a decent depth of field, otherwise I’m not sure I could’ve handled my own body. The saving grace was that as long as I was stationary, I was mostly fine. I don’t need to rapidly turn my head at my desk to do my job, so I could at least get the work done without much of an issue.

Last night I made an important, but boring decision. I decided to stay home from the final of Late Bad. As I’ve raved over the past week, it’s quickly become my favourite local comedy show. The hosts are fantastic, the recurring bits are absurd, and it tickled my funny bones all over. In a whimsical, not creepy way. I think having your bones tickled might be a meth symptom, but I can’t be sure. Hell, I’m not even sure how many funny bones I have. I clearly cannot be trusted as a medical expert. In any case, I was at work thinking I might be stepping outside of liminal time right now, but do I stay up in the present to see Late Bad? I did notice how much better I’d felt after eating a full meal, and I’d thrusted enough caffeine into my body to make sleep an intangible concept. T H R U S T E D. I knew going to Late Bad wasn’t a good idea, but I didn’t trust myself to make smart decisions. Like, how could I know that the things I thought were ill advised were actually, well, that? What if my concepts were twisted all challah-like? It was Rosh Hashana, but what if it was also opposite day?

Deep down I knew I shouldn’t go. Look, there’s no misdirect here. I already told you I didn’t. But we’re living in the future. I didn’t know that even after I’d left work, liminal time or no. I got let out early, and had ample time to actually make it to the show. I was on my bike, and still couldn’t decide. I was riding seated, one-handed, up a hill, texting my girlfriend about my indecision. Then I realised, that I was riding seated, one-handed, up a hill, texting my girlfriend. I wanted to go to the show, but I clearly wasn’t in a sane state of mind to make those decisions. I took stock, and thought back to the festival. I remembered how good I’d felt making smart decisions not to fall prey to FOMO. I thought about my potential next day after staying up late at Comedy Bar. No doubt I’d get a drink, maybe two, get sucked into the frenzy of the final off-festival show and 4am last call. I knew how terrible today’s shift would be, given that it might actually get busy. I understood that, if I decided to see the show, much as I wanted to, it would mean I’d clearly learned nothing from my experiences. I may have been delirious with exhaustion, but I wasn’t a dummy. I went home, chilled out, and had a full night’s rest.

Sure, I kinda regret my decision, but I was going to either way.

My ringtone is the Full House theme. At least I think it still is

It’s JFL42 time! If I celebrated Hanukkah, I’m sure this is what it’d feel like.

JFL42 is Toronto’s version of the legendary Montreal comedy festival, Just For Laughs. In French, it’s called Juste Pour Rire, and it almost sounds like someone telling you to pour butts. Putting the ‘ass’ into ‘class’, those Frenchies. JFL42 is a bit different, in good ways. The credit system is innovative and value packed. You get a certain number of credits (two, four, six, 12) and use them to book shows. When you get to your show you get your credit back. You can then use this to book another show, ad infinitum. IT’S A GREAT SYSTEM. I usually use it to see around 25 acts in ten days, for around $100 altogether. It’s fun to strategise and figure out how to see all your desired acts. It’s gotten harder as more people have figured out how to use it. Still, the sheer quantity of quality comedy on display is amazing.

This year, I have a bike. It’s in a conditional condition right now. I took it over to a friend’s place yesterday so he could do some maintenance. A few things got better, but in trying to fix my gears, there were mishaps. My gears are now non-functional, and the one gear I’m stuck on is higher (faster spinning) than the one I’ve grown used to. I actually have to build up a cadence instead of relying on strong pedalling. It’s not ideal, and I’m getting a workout. While this is great on one hand, I’m also getting to shows late. Sub optimal, but still workable.

I also have the house to myself for a few days. My girlfriend has gone away for the weekend, so I get to sleep really deeply. I love having the bed to myself. To this day, I still sleep better alone. Will that ever change? Who knows? I use f.lux, I take magnesium citrate before bed, and wear earplugs. It’s not like I haven’t been training. I’m about to do my first day shifts in the new job. It kind of sucks to have that during one of my busiest, late night periods of the year. Still, at least I can still see the shows at night.

I’m waiting on internet people. They were supposed to call, which is why I’m at home and not seeing daytime JFL42 stuff. They haven’t called. They were supposed to call between 2.30 and 3.30, and it’s past 4pm. They were supposed to call to check that I was home, and if I didn’t take the call, they wouldn’t come. They haven’t called. They’ll probably called, but as of yet, no call. Zero ring. If only they knew my dedication. I turned my phone off silent for the first time since I bought it. I’ve been waiting for this call. This call is my sole raison d’etre at home right now. I just want faster internet. Is that too much to ask?

I have no idea, because they haven’t yet called for me to ask.

That, my friends, is how we do a shameless plug

For a change, I’m worn the fuck out.

It was totally non-intentional. I had zero plans last night, then made the last minute switch to have plans. See, it all began when I woke up thinking it was Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t, but it was hard to shake the feeling. I was like is there any way to lean into this unnecessary delusion? I looked up some events and saw that there was a Bumble pre-Valentine’s mixer happening. Free drinks, all you needed was a Bumble account. I thought back to when I got really into dating podcast Why Oh Why? The host went to a couple of events and they sounded fun/silly.

I was borderline interested, but then thought back to that time I installed Bumble. It was sub-optimal. I swiped and swiped, often coming across friend’s accounts. Each and every one of those friends had stopped using the platform, so it turned out I was scrolling through what were likely endless dead accounts. Or maybe that’s what I told myself to feel better about my lack of matches. Who knows? My thumb still gets phantom pain from all the swiping. I figured I was better to stay home and have a low key night. The cat has been incredibly fussy lately, noisy at night. A decent sleep would do me wonders. I went home for a quiet night.

Around 9pm, I saw that one of my friends was attending the event. I was not dressed, I hadn’t eaten dinner and leaving the house was probably not in my best interests. We chatted, she said to come along, and if it was a total bust we could just grab a drink. I hadn’t been out all week, so I figured why not be adventurous, y’know? I hastily made dinner, showered and concurrently pre-drank. I ordered an Uber and managed to get there for 10pm. Real feat, that. I walked in the door and saw my friend standing there. It was loud, very loud. I seriously wondered about my ability to hold a conversation. It’s basically the only tool I have in my arsenal. “We have to leave immediately” my friend whispered. With no questions, I did a 180 and we grabbed her coat, then left. I figured that her judgement had always been impeccable, so if she said we needed to leave, we did. We walked to a Liberty Village craft beer bar and grabbed a table.

Adroitly, she pointed out the issue with the dating app party. On these apps, you have the benefit of relative anonymity. Creeps can’t message you because of the filters. You’re protected somewhat. When you go to a dating app party it’s kind of like going to a regular bar, but there are no pretentions of what people are there for and EVERYONE IS THIRSTY. It’s goddamn oppressive. It sounded less than ideal, and from the two minutes I spent there I already didn’t like it. Having left and gone to a craft beer bar, however, we didn’t have those problems. We just had good beer. I even ordered a cheesecake. It was gas.

It was fucking great to catch up, and I can’t imagine the kind of time I could’ve had at the party that would’ve been better. She’s a top notch human, and conversation has always been incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that by the time we’d had two beers and settled up the tab, it was later that we thought. Look, we hadn’t checked our phones, but how the hell does it just BECOME 1am? On a school night, no less. We hurriedly got out of there and gapped it to the bus. I got home and the cat still hadn’t been fed. She was all kinds of ornery (not really, she was just loud. I think that’s her natural state). I fed her and managed to get into bed for 2am. The cat was not ready for bed. Throughout the night, in very regular intervals she started caterwauling and scratching at the door. Again and again. My earplugs were long since worn out, so I just suffered, maybe managing all of 3.5 hours sleep. I’ve been half past dead today, and no amount of coffee has been able to exhume me.

Tonight I have very deliberate plans of zero plans. Maybe I can actually follow through this time.

And I ordered these from Amazon. I will sleep someday.

I’m a lean mean napping machine

It was a week. It’s been a big weekend. I’m not sure why I’m italicising.

Suffice to say, it’s made me realise that I’m nap years old now. I’ve had two long nights out, heavy on the booze, the caffeine has flowed freely. Sleep has not. I’m staring down the barrel of a fun night out to cap off the weekend, and I’m not certain I’d be putting my best foot forward at this level of fatigue. I don’t even know if the last sentence worked, that’s my level of mental fugue. I’ve been doing too many neat activities to “waste” time closing my eyes between sheets. My body, however, doesn’t agree with my brain on this. I’m all of course we can burn this candle at both ends. It worked for lightsabers, even if Darth Maul looked a little goofy. My body is like yeah, but that almost directly led to the dorky lightsaber hilt thing, so maybe slow your roll.

Case in point, like last night I have another nap scheduled for post posting this post.

I can’t remember being a baby, and I also can’t remember ever enjoying sleep. Sleep has been time I couldn’t get back, always. With under a week until I greet 32, I’m so much more aware of how my body runs. I can recognise the difference in greeting the world well-rested. My brain functions more smoothly. I don’t have to grasp for concepts, words, and how italics work as much. My limbs feel more attuned to my thoughts. I can navigate the world easier. Things just flow in a way they don’t when tacit understanding is beyond arm’s reach.

Which is a convoluted way of saying that I try to catch up like a goddamn tiny child. I took a capsule of magnesium citrate before writing this, and I think/hope it’ll calm my body down enough that mental peace comes easily. I want to get an extra hour of charge. I think it’ll make tonight more of a party. I’m well aware that people have been napping for centuries, but I’m often late to the game with trends. I just downloaded Snapchat today (so a friend could make shared Bitmojis with me). I gave up all kinds of rights and permissions so they could put together silly pictures. Does that sound like a solid idea from a well-rested brain? I DON’T KNOW.

But there’s now a cartoon version of us playing hacky sack. I don’t know that it’s worth losing sleep over.

That’s the thing, I have been losing sleep. I did think those italics worked, but I’m not sure about the ones I just typed. Coherence is hard enough to come by in this “crazy mixed up woild”. You know what’d bring it closer? Closing my eyes between sheets for an hour.

Wait. Are they called “italics” because Pisa is in Italy?

How’s Henry Winkler’s sleep schedule?

I’m old and I want a nap.

My dearest hope is that I can bust this out in half an hour without any fuss and get between one and forty winks. It’s almost 8pm and I’ve got a party tonight. I didn’t sleep enough last night, and while the party tonight is slumber party themed, I figured I’d commit to the theme insofar as wearing a onesie. Maybe I’ll bring a pillow or blanket. Snoozing all the way through it seems like more adherence than I want to give. I go out to social spaces to hang with friends, not to lie prone, snoring lightly in their presence. I’ve got vague hesitation about sleeping too long that FOMO comes into play, but maybe I’ll dream of the party to compensate. It’s basically like attending from the start, except my fellow guests may inexplicably have crab claws for hands.

I went to watch a bunch of student documentaries today. One of my friends has been working really hard in her course, and they screened their unit’s ten minute documentaries at Bloor Hot Docs. It was all kinds of neat to see all the work that’d gone into them, and the areas at which they excelled. I was super proud of my friend, ’cause I know the ludicrous amount of hours that went into bringing their story to life. The level of production quality of these pieces was amazing. For students, a lot of the work looked really professional. Of course there were some oversights or glitches. It happens. Still, the breadth and scope of these documentaries was astounding. There was one about competitive eating. Another focusing on a gay male model coming to terms with both his queerness and modelling. One documentary focused on a boy discovering he was adopted, and his 25 year journey towards discovering who his mother was.

My friend’s was on vaginismus. It was superb and incredibly affecting. I’d been vaguely aware of the condition, but I had no idea that some cases could be so bad, that an insertion the size of a Q Tip could cause pain. Imagine feeling that level of betrayal from your own body, with something the majority of people take for granted. It was very intimate, with a ton of quite brave and vulnerable admissions. Also, one of my friends was in it, and hearing about how the condition has affected her was hard hitting. Like, I went to her wedding. I had no idea that her and her husband had been working through this. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, the issue was presented with such compassion, but also levity. I came away having felt like I learned a bunch and it wasn’t shoved down my throat. My friend made a comment that documentaries should elicit feelings of surprise and/or discovery, which clicked. The documentaries we watched that didn’t quite come together or stick the landing, they were missing those aspects. They weren’t teaching anything new, or showcasing an alternative viewpoint/narrative from the mainstream. They either didn’t have much of a voice, or straight up missed what the real story was.

Ugh, I’m all out of story. I’ve been borderline passing out writing this. I’m ready to Get Them Winks.

Anyone need a spleen while I’m there?

Last night I dreamt that I had a rapid onset illness where my body stopped producing new cells. Untreated, I had a life expectancy of three days. We somehow caught it right away. My parents came over to Canada then whisked me away to London so one of the world’s top doctors could figure out what to do. It happened in what seemed like an instant and there was no chance to say goodbye to anyone. When I asked how long I’d be staying in this London lab I was told in an unwavering manner “this is your home now.” I asked about my girlfriend back home, our flat, my job. All my friends. They told me that was all over now, that there was science to be done. I was ostensibly not dying, but it didn’t seem like they had care for my quality of life. It felt a lot more like they were just intrigued by my condition and what a cure could mean for them on the global stage.

I got a message out to my girlfriend and told her our dark family secret. That my real estate parents had hidden genetic clones of me and my brothers in cryostasis, in the basements of three houses they’d sold over the years. She travelled to New Zealand and met up with one of my childhood friends. They cross-referenced every house my parents had sold with all houses currently on the market. They then posed as newlyweds pretending to be buying their first home and infiltrated every open home on the list, sneaking off to try find secret basements and hidden passages where my clone could be kept. Meanwhile I was wasting away as a London lab rat. Still alive, but barely more than a test subject.

I woke up really wanting to know how it ended. Did I die? Did my girlfriend find my clone? Was he an actualised person? Did I ever see her again?

It felt like a weird prescient dream given the events of last night. A friend hosted a birthday bonfire on the eve of Beltane. She read a passage on the Death card in Tarot rising with the pink moon. It emphasised the importance of letting old patterns and behaviours go. Beltane is a time of renewal and growth, part of that being death to held customs and anxieties. That in order to grow, it’s necessary to shed the known self and discover new potential. A time of transformation and the awakening of sexual energies. To discover your fertile self in every layer of meaning. Also we lit sparklers, which was dandy.

My spiritual belief cache has been barren for quite some time. It was nice, however, that the passage was written in a pretty down-to-earth manner that was easily relatable. We all feel stale from time to time, like we’d benefit from widened perspective. The idea of taking stock of where you’re at and questioning what brought you there is rarely a wasted exercise. It’d be no surprise for regular readers to hear that I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit a wall and stagnated. That I’ve been treading water long enough I’ve started to question weather or not my head is still above water. That not being dead doesn’t hold the same place as feeling truly alive.

Maybe the answer is to burn away those things inside me that no longer serve a purpose. Have I been getting in my way this entire time? What version of myself has yet to come out of cryostasis, held in reserve by a simulacrum past its expiration date?

Once I figure it out, I’ll make sure to light some sparklers.