In with the newspaper was one of those pull out retail flyers. You know the type: happy smiling family on the front, consuming consuming consuming, going for a good wholesome walk in the woods together.
Across the front in bold, capitalized letters: ADVENTURE.
I, being the rational person I am, immediately expect to find something like camping supplies, or a chance to win a whitewater rafting trip inside.
Instead I find coupons for tampons and shampoo. Sounds like an adventure to me.
I study this stuff at school, and yet I don't claim to understand any of it.
While I was walking home from the bus stop, two seperate horse chestnuts fell out of trees and hit me on the head. I wasn't surprised in the least. To this day I am not sure if I'm more prone than others to having strange little coincidental things happen to me, or it's just that I notice them more.
September is almost over. It has been a weird month.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Posted by erin at 10:49 PM
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I stepped out into a puddle, felt the cold water on my toes and suddenly realized that I was wearing flip flops instead of shoes. I didn't really have the time to change, though. I was already late for my bus after screwing around with my printer to coax some pages from it and not being able to find my keys. Some days are just like that.
Except for the presentation I did in polsci, I managed to not actually talk to anyone today, except for a little bit on msn, as odd as that seems. I sat through my whole lecture today, and for some reason or other, everything about it made me really sad. I just can't put my finger on why. Maybe I can and I just don't want to talk about it. I don't know.
My feet were still wet and cold when I stepped outside into a cloud of thick fog. I wish that I had had my camera, because at that moment, everything was just waiting to be framed: hazy reflections in puddles, long lines of columns with obscured vanishing points, halos of smoke swirling around the heads of Asians standing in front of the library, eventually dissipating into the fog.
While I walked across campus, I resolved to take the longest route possible home. I had a lot to think about, and that's always the best way to do it.
Arriving home, I found the door unlocked, the lights off and the television on. It didn't look like anyone had been there. Strange...
Zosie, the lady upstairs, made us dinner last night. I'm not accustomed to eating Filipino food, but everything is worth trying at least once, even if I tend to be vegetarian most days. I'm also not one to turn down people's hospitality, and the food was decent. Today though, as I looked at the leftovers congealed in the cold of the fridge, it just didn't look as appetizing as it did yesterday. I really wish that she hadn't told me it was made out of pig's blood.
Posted by erin at 10:37 PM
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I stopped at the doors near the ticketbooth to rifle through my bag in search of change for a train ticket, and found that I had nothing. Regardless of how I tried, I was always short $1.30. What, you ask, do you do when you're short $1.30 and can't get home? Call your mom.
"I don't have any change," she said, "No, wait. I have two dollars. See you in a few minutes." I love my mom. However, just as I hung up, a man ran into the room, noticed the mass exodus of people moving toward the trains and immediately approached me.
"Where are they going?" he shouted, his face much too close to mine, "You've got to give me a ticket!"
"Sorry, I can't help you," I said, emptying my wallet of its contents: miscellaneous identification cards and a hastily scribbled note explaining that I still owe Kathy $11. "The ticket booths are over there."
"But I need a ticket!" he screamed, rushing over to harass the people standing in line for tickets. "So do we. That's why we're standing in line," someone explained, but it's hard to explain things in rational terms to people who are themselves completely irrational. "But how much does it cost?" he shouted, "I have a bus pass!"
"Depends on where you're going," someone else said.
"The first stop!" he screamed, becoming even more agitated.
"The first stop is Port Moody. It's going to cost you $6," the transit attendant said as she approached.
"But I have a bus pass!"
And then the uniforms arrived and took him aside, and I never saw him again. I wonder where they went.
Posted by erin at 11:57 PM
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Every Tuesday he starts out with a simple, yet valid question:
"What is the difference between digital communication via circuits and communication via information packets?"
And then the prof replies with some sort of analogy, relating circuits to the old method of physically connecting phone lines with a wire at a switchboard, and packets with something more decentralized, like mail delivery or transmission of power through electrical grids.
"Well, aren't they the same things?"
"No," the prof says, "I just explained the difference..." and then continues with analogies, this time of rivers and a road trip to New York, eventually concluding that networks and packets was a more stable, reilable way to send things.
"But what if a part of the network goes down?"
"Then the information reroutes itself through a different part of the network."
"But won't there be a problem with transmission?"
"No, because it will just pick a different way to get there."
"But what if it was all down?"
"It won't all go down. You would have to knock out each individual server one by one."
"But what if that happened?"
"It wouldn't happen. It's almost impossible. There will always be part of the network that will work. That's the beauty of it."
"But what if-"
"If they dropped a nuclear bomb on Vancouver then it would knock everything out at once, but then it would be the fucking APOCALYPSE AND WE WOULDN'T CARE IF OUR FUCKING INTERNET WORKED!"
The guy shut up after that. We were all glad.
I love university.
Posted by erin at 10:13 PM
currently sitting shivering over a cup of coffee, watching the cream billow and swirl in it because I didn't bother to mix it in.
staring at my computer screen.
waiting for nothing in particular.
somewhat more optimistic than yesterday.
not nearly as disturbed as my previous post would have you believe.
out of pictures to put on my blog because I haven't taken any in ages.
taking my camera downtown today, to see what I can find.
probably going to post some of my findings here tonight.
wondering what the hell I'm going to do about my presentation on constitutional law this Thursday.
listening to Jeff Buckley's Live at Sin-E from beginning to end.
absolutely loving the simplicity of it all: one man with a beautiful voice, guitar and a crowd.
wishing he wasn't dead.
checking bus schedules.
fully expecting to be screwed over by Translink again.
finally feeling the caffeine kicking in. Yes, I am addicted.
having trouble typing.
not sure if that is due to fatigue, cold or the large amount of caffeine I just ingested.
not sure what I'm going to wear today.
quickly running out of time with which to get dressed.
glad that it is sunny today.
Good morning, it's Tuesday and I exist.
Posted by erin at 8:14 AM
Monday, September 26, 2005
We are standing together in a room, a veritable sea of weak-wristed bastards, sipping their wine spritzers, smiling and exchanging their cards. We walk around, introducing ourselves, engaging in pithy conversation, taking notes about possible avenues for future backstabbing.
And I am just the right height in my heels. They're killing me but I'm still shorter than him. And I have a wisp of hair hanging down over my left eye, and I hope no one notices because this is not the time or place to be fixing your hair. Everything he says is crap, but I smile and nod. I know when to keep my mouth shut and I'm damn good at it.
"Evil only happens when good people say nothing," a voice whispers in my ear, and then it is gone.
And I'm shivering in my cashmere, hoping that when I touch people's hands they won't notice the calluses on my hands, my ugly chipped fingernails, because in spite of this whole charade I'm still a working-class fuck. Hoping that they will notice instead my necklace, I'm pretty in silver, 'cause gold is garish.
And here beside him I am a pretty trophy, the feisty one he tamed. I do not exist. And I am woman as sign, woman as object and a thousand feminist discourses cross my mind. And one by one I shut them up.
And he has forgotten I'm there, though I'm still handcuffed to his elbow. And as I looked around, those lecherous old bastards ceased their backstabbing and began to close in on me, and I said the only words I said all evening right then, a resounding
And that's where I woke up. It scares me when my dreams actually start to make sense. All morning I've had these lyrics running through my head:
It's giving me a headache
and my breathing's just a mistake
and my head's on fire, my head's on fire...
Posted by erin at 10:08 PM
Sunday, September 25, 2005
"Um, is Kyla there?"
"No, you've got the wrong number."
"Oh, sorry dude."
Okay, so apparently when I answer the phone in the middle of the night, I sound like a man. I don't know whether I should laugh or be offended.
There were some dishes soaking in some water in the kitchen sink and my cat ran into the room and jumped right in. She then flailed about and splashed water everywhere, and knocked over a flowerpot into the dishwater in the process. Then she ran out of the room, tracking muddy, soapy water everywhere.
My other cat was helping my dad do some sort of construction. She was getting covered in sawdust, but she didn't seem to care.
I have to make a sign for the washing machine that says:
Washer not working well. Small loads only.
It seems that some of the people who use it try to pack so much clothing into it that first of all the clothes don't all get wet, and second of all, it makes the washer jump up and down, which is irritating as hell. Then, because their clothes didn't wash properly, they put way too much fabric softener in with them and the result is that the laundry room always smells like cheap perfume and old stale bodies.
Okay, I'm anal, but it drives me nuts.
Okay, I've seen vending machines that dispense condoms, but live lobsters? That's seriously weird.
Posted by erin at 5:52 PM
Friday, September 23, 2005
"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"
Posted by erin at 11:15 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Erin and I are going to patent cataracts. I can't remember why. I think there was something there about having sunglasses contact lenses, kind of like those ones that are clear and then get darker when exposed to sunlight. You see, we are kindred spirits of a fashion, both out in search of the perfect sunscreen, one that is non-corrosive, doesn't stain clothing, non-greasy, smells good and preferably tastes good too.
Collectively we wonder how on earth the first white person survived in this carcinogenic world full of radiation before the invention of sunscreen and sunglasses. I think he/she was nocturnal. She thinks that he/she lived in a cave somewhere in northern Europe. The jury is still out on this one.
She says that she learned in psych that it doesn't matter what you read or hear, it influences your next decision, regardless of if you believe it or not. I'm not so sure about that...
"What the hell is wrong with those girls?" she asked me, gesturing to an advertisement for hair dye, filled with perky looking girls wearing too much makeup and sporting the most impossibly pointy breasts I have seen in advertisement art in a long time. "It looks like bad plastic surgery to me," she said, wrinkling her nose. "You're supposed to be able to see yourself in the ad," I replied. "And that's supposed to make you want green hair, your personality as defined by advertisement art?" she asked. "Of course," I said, "you're supposed to be able to say 'hey! I'm an incredibly pointy person,' and then that means you need summer plum hair, instead of boring, unpointy brown." We both laughed as everyone else on the bus tried hard to ignore us.
George joined in and somehow our conversation shifted toward pressing philosophical questions:
If our bodies were radially symetrical, how would we drive our cars?
What would a radially symetrical basketball game look like?
How the hell would you sleep with someone if you only had one radially symetrical leg and all sides of your head were simultaneously the front?
Deep, I know.
Posted by erin at 11:38 PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
We had a meeting in the pub today and just as we sat down with our drinks, a guy arrived out of nowhere with a flashy looking badge and asked for our id's. Luckily the underage people in our party had either convieniently gone to the washroom or hadn't arrived yet. We asked who he was, and why he was iding us and got a nifty business card with some sort of government insignia on it.
Something about the whole incident didn't rub me right. He just didn't seem all that official to me, and my hackles raised as he looked over my passport (I haven't seen my driver's licence for ages), asking me questions about the information there. After he was finished, he vanished into thin air, leaving us all agitated and fuming over our drinks.
Our minors came to join us, and shortly after, the staff from the pub came over to id us. "We've already been id'd," we complained, showing the rather jumpy looking guy the business card. "This guy checked us and we're okay," we said, and that was partially true. He had checked all the people who were legally entitled to be there. This was enough for the waiter, who left us alone after that.
While I'm really glad that that guy had given us a convenient way to keep our whole group in the pub, regardless of age, I still can't help thinking that something about that wasn't right. With all the identity theft happening these days...
I don't know. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.
I got In a Coma today, and I must say it is awesome. Rooms is just awesome. I have nothing else to say about this. I'll have to play it to death first.
Posted by erin at 11:53 PM
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Water Street is a wash of cigarette smoke and foreign tounges. People gather around to watch the steam clock tick. I still have yet to understand why exactly that is appealing, but they always do it.
Mitra was so excited when she saw me. "Carla says so much about you!" she exclaimed, and then she saw my hair. "So curly! It's beautiful! I cut and layer for you!" Then she set about cutting my hair.
I had heard stories about my mother's hairdresser. One day my she came home with a severely short haircut, because Mitra's mother was sick and she was upset. Once you're in her capable hands, you're at her mercy, and though your hair always ends up looking nice in the end, it's not always exactly what you wanted.
She clucked and fussed over me for an hour, and at the end, I had substantially less hair. Not only that, but my hair was straight too. I've never had straight hair before. I also have not had my hair this short since I was 7. It's going to take a while to get used to.
Somehow during that hour, I got set up on a date with her son. "He is student too," she said, "25. He study medicine. Good family guy." I didn't think much of it at the time, but apparently later on she phoned my mother to firm up the details. "What is all this about you dating my hairdresser's son?" she asked, laughing. I laughed too, but the truth is that I don't know. I don't understand a thing.
Posted by erin at 11:04 PM
Monday, September 19, 2005
I was surprised by the number of tourists on the Grouse Grind yesterday. It seemed like every time I stopped for a sip of water someone with a German accent stopped and told me that I shouldn't be taking any breaks. If I went to a foreign country, I'm not sure if that would be the highest thing on my to do list. Then again, I've already done that, haven't I?
I gave some water to an East Indian man who was stupid enough to not bring his own. He passed us part way up and when we next saw him, he was taking a smoke break. I don't see how that could have possibly helped him climb the mountain, but I wasn't really there to judge.
Grouse Mountain has really changed since the last time I was there, nearly ten years ago, but the problem is that I can't exactly remember how. That seems to be a reoccuring theme in my life lately.
Posted by erin at 10:52 PM
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I have no attention span anymore. I have a mountain of reading that takes me much longer to get through than it should. The books sit in my lap and I stare at them, and I flip through the pages and hilight the odd sentence here and there, but none of it makes the slightest dent on my brain.
I sit in my lectures, copying down my notes, and yet my mind is on other things, in other places. It's filled with idle thoughts, childish fantasies, dreams. People ask me why I'm ignoring them. The truth is that I probably wouldn't have seen them even if they were standing right in front of me.
I'm forgetting little things: my keys, where I put my driver's licence, the location of my locker, which class I'm in, while I'm in it.
There is a knot in the pit of my stomach that I haven't been able to dislodge for days. I'm kind of hungry, but not. I can't tell anymore. I've developed a chronic twitch in my left thumb.
Lately I've been drawing weird shit like this on the backs of assignment sheets. >
What does it all mean? Maybe I just need more sleep...
Posted by erin at 11:24 PM
Friday, September 16, 2005
"I need a toonie for the Terry Fox Run," Du said.
"I don't have anything right now," Mom replied.
"I might," I said, and began to empty out the contents of my piggy bank on my bed. It was pretty pathetic: a loon, three quarters and a multitude of pennies that I will never use. While my sister was trying to scratch together $2 out of the mess, Mom walked in and handed her a twenty.
"Thanks Mom," Du said, just about to leave.
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied, "I wouldn't want to deprive you of your money."
"Yeah, because I'm rolling in it." And it was true. There were pennies all over my bed and I was quite literally rolling in them.
The two left the room.
"Erin's rolling in money," Du said.
"Erin is an idiot," Mom replied.
Damn straight. I've been completely out of my mind for a week.
Posted by erin at 6:22 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Hao and I don't talk much anymore. We just sit on the bus and stare at each other for a while. He asks a question, and I answer, one word. I ask a question, he answers, one word. Mostly we just stare, and then we look away, and I fall asleep. I think he poked me as he got off, but I can't really remember.
While I'm asleep, Harold sits down behind me and begins to talk on the phone, only he's not harassing me anymore. He's talking to Pamela, completely pissed and in an impotent growl, he tells her that they made a good couple and invites himself over for dinner with her tomorrow. "I gotta tell you a story though," he says. "There was this bee and it was flying around and buzzing and flying around and stuff. And it was flying around and then the little bastard stung me. But I made it pay. I killed the little fucker. I killed the fucker."
He repeats the line several times, and each time it sounds more pathetic. "Damn right I'm a tough guy," he says, "I killed the little bastard." He then convinces Pamela that they should get married, and with much swearing, he haggles his period of mandatory sobriety from one year to a week. Some women are stupid. There's no other way to describe it.
I wake up in the wrong side of town and get off the bus. My long walk home is a montage of isolated images: graffiti, broken glass, dead rat, asphalt cracks, pebbles, urban decay.
Thoughts become disjointed. The clouds are gathering overhead. I forgot my jacket, so I'm cold. Somewhere in the distance someone is cooking dinner. It smells delicious. I am not here anymore, I am mechanical. My legs move beneath me without thought. I could sleep forever.
Mothers are calling out into the night, calling errant children home.
Posted by erin at 7:51 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Carson and I set about choosing a suit for Harold, while Jai sits down with my mother to discuss the cultural significance of death and funerals. "Yeah, okay," she says after he is finished, "but do I get a free iPod like everyone else?" Kyan helps the mortician as she attempts in vain to make the nicoteine stains on his fingernails a little less visible. Dad leaves with Thom to discuss how on earth we could possibly return his disgusting apartment into some sort of livable space. At our request, Ted teaches my sister to cook something other than kraft dinner.
It is a beautiful funeral. There are boquets of black orchids everywhere and we are all done up in the trendiest black outfits. Carson got me a cute little black dress with a pleat in the back that I would be sure to wear elsewhere. Harold, well, Harold looks like Harold, huge, ugly, crewcut and German. He fills up his coffin, just the same way he used to fill doorways with his presence.
I shrug off my velvet bolero blazer and take my place at the head of the ceremony, where I read out a poem about love and understanding, the family naturally preferring my own bullshit to that of a minister. I know that sitting in their flat, the queer guys will be exclaiming over how heartfelt and beautiful the whole thing is. Whatever.
We have a solemn reception after the ceremony. Fed up by the fact that I won't let them smoke in my apartment, Harold's friends and neighbours leave almost immediately for the nearest bar. I'm not upset. They were creepy and disgusting people. Back in New York, the Fab 5 are cheering.
"Is that the ex-wife?" one of them asks, pointing toward their wide-screen TV. It is. "It's about goddamned time," Grandma Eileen laughs over a glass of wine. "Wow, she's bitchy," someone says all the way from New York. "To be fair, they've been divorced for over 20 years, and this must be a stressful time for her," Ted says, always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.
"What the hell is this shit?" Grandma asks, screwing up her face as she samples the food on the table. Back in New York, Ted has just changed his mind about my grandmother. "It's naan bread with homous and baba ghanousj," Du says, "I made it myself."
"Well why can't you cook something useful like a pork roast instead of this Hindoo shit?" No one says anything. What I would like to say is not appropriate for prime-time TV, and I become painfully aware of the cameras everywhere in the room. It's almost time to send Grandma back to the hospital. I'm glad. Some days I just want to slap her for the crap she says.
After all is said and done, the big screen tv switches off and the Fab 5 discusses everything over their drinks. "I think they handled that very well..." someone says.
And that's about the time when I woke up.
Posted by erin at 10:27 PM
Monday, September 12, 2005
The cashier gave me a sympathetic look. "Do you want to try your card again?" she asked.
"Sure," I replied. It should work. It was probably just a mistake. The line behind me shifted impatiently.
The cashier didn't know what to do. "Do you want to try your card again?" she repeated. I had a terrible sinking feeling that somehow my account had been frozen or even worse, my parents had made another unauthorized withdrawal to pay for my grandfather's funeral arrangements, in spite of the fact that I had taken away their signing priveleges a couple of years ago.
"No," I replied. "I'm holding up the line. I'll be back later." It wasn't her fault. She put my textbooks off to the side as I left the store. My next stop was the library, where I logged into my bank account and saw that there was more than enough there to cover the cost of the books I wanted.
Technology is a wonderful thing.
I bought my books.
Somehow it took me three hours to get home. I spent some of that time chatting with Nick, who had to tell me all about the conference that he had been at over the weekend. I of course, knew all about it because we had attempted to sneak in to steal their food as part of frosh weekend.
"Damn, you were there and I didn't see you?" he said, "You should have dropped in to talk to me." I probably would have if I had known he was there, but for now he was fully absorbed in the telling of the delicate inner workings of the Conservative Party of Canada. He's such an arrogant sob. Sometimes I just can't stand him.
He paused for a moment to introduce me politely to a friend. She greeted me with a patronizing smile and a weak-wristed handshake. I was filled with an instant dislike for her. She was icky. As we walked away, he surprised me by saying exactly what I was thinking about her. Always a politician. I wonder what he says about me behind my back. It doesn't matter too much. Smile and nod, smile and nod.
By the time I got home I was filled with enough repressed disgust and anger that I had to yell at my mom about how much I hate Family Circus for its good wholesome 50's sexist patriarchal Christian values, even though it had nothing to do with anything I was thinking at the time. It was just a convenient.
Posted by erin at 8:34 PM
Chiuey found me sitting dazed on the skytrain. "How long will it take you to get home?" she asked.
"From here? An hour and a half, maybe," I replied. She looked upset that I was out so late. I assured her that I would be fine. It was definitely not the first time I had ridden transit alone at night. She wouldn't stop frowning. "Just call me when you get home, okay?" she said as she got off the bus and walked off into the night.
I was definitely not dressed to sit out for an hour that night. I shivered in my flipflops and capris, feeling really nonchalant, but finding that my goosebumps were not helping me look that way. Sitting at the bus loop waiting for my ride, I had nothing to do but peoplewatch.
I sat inside one of the bus shelters, underneath one of those disgusting yellow streetlights that I hate so much. There was a group of maybe eight guys loitering around, smoking pot and swearing. Two women were also present, walking around nervously. They made several circles around the bus loop while I was there, unwilling to sit down while there was so much male bravado being tossed around.
"Hey baby, what's up?" he asked as he sidled up to me, pulling his oversized baseball jacket a little closer to his chest. His every movement lacked coordination and he flailed his arms out when he walked in that odd way that addicts do. "Not much," I sang with sweet smile, fixing him with a glare. He stalked elsewhere.
Shortly after a scuffle broke out behind me, to my left. "I don't got nothin'!" the same guy shouted, as two others began to shove him into the next shelter over, clobbering him with shots to the head. He swatted at them ineffectively, too stoned to defend himself. Eventually the transit police arrived and told them to leave. "We were only waiting for the 701," they pleaded politely, but the police would have none of it. With a couple of parting shots and a thorough search of the guy's pockets, they were gone.
The guy in the baseball jacket remained, seemingly unconscious on the bench of the shelter in the sickly yellow glow.
My ride arrived.
Posted by erin at 4:57 PM
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Morning found me sleeping in for the first time in more than 10 weeks. After all the frosh festivities over the past week, it was a welcome change.
Among other things today, I went to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Bard on the Beach in Vanier Park for some delicious wordplay and philosophical thoughts on death. It was made more poignant as a result of my grandfather's recent passing. I also had the chance to take my camera downtown, and I will be posting pictures from today all week.
I went to North Delta to photograph the fire at Burns Bog as well, but unfortunately none of my pictures really turned out. The one today is a waterbomber in the smoke, but really too dark for my liking.
Posted by erin at 9:38 PM
Friday, September 09, 2005
"Look at her," she said, "she's going to take another picture of something weird and then post it on her blog. Then she will write some sort of random post that has nothing to do with anything."
"Yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do," I said, "and I'm going to do it just to confuse the hell out of you."
Posted by erin at 11:06 PM
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I thought I would go to bed early so that I would get a full night's sleep. Of course, things never happen that way.
Some time around midnight the police arrived at the door and invited themselves in. They got my mother to sit down and then proceeded to tell her that her father was dead, and gave her the phone numbers for the coroner and his landlord so we could make arrangements to deal with his personal effects. Then they just stood there.
My mother thanked them for their time, expecting them to leave. They stayed, expecting her to break down and be in need of comforting. Watching from the other room, I tried hard to stifle my giggles. It seemed as if the police were more concerned than we were, and they kept offering advice and condolences that weren't really needed. I felt sorry for them because they were stuck with such a crappy job.
Harold will always be etched into my mind as the drunk that used to harass me over the phone. In my last conversation with him, he told me that my mother was dead and I agreed with him and hung up. That must have scared him because within the next couple of days even the most obscure relatives I have phoned to see if they could get some sort of inheritance from her. Shortly after, I switched to an unlisted number so he would stop calling me.
The last time I saw Harold we talked for a bit on the street near the liquor store. He didn't recognize me, and I didn't bother to introduce myself.
I neither like nor dislike him. I just don't care.
The coroner tells us that his body sat in his apartment for a couple of days before anyone noticed. It is sad that he died alone, but then again, what can you expect? He was an abusive alcoholic. He burned his bridges long ago.
My father says that we must be emotionally prepared to find anything at his apartment. It almost seems like he's secretly hoping to find that he has left money for me or something. To be honest, I don't think anyone will find much, and I don't care. I've never needed anything from him.
My grandmother is jovial. Her memories of him now are twisted into a bizarre and improbable history where she ultimately is the victor. My aunt is overly sentimental, wanting to keep his ashes in her basement and trying her hardest to find pictures of him. Obviously she didn't know him well. My mother is filled with quiet anger and relief. She wants to forget. My sister laughs a lot. We each remember things our own way, and in the end, it doesn't matter.
Posted by erin at 7:36 PM
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Lauren was a flurry of words and smiles when I saw her this morning. "Ask Erin, she knows where your class is!" she practically shouted, pointing at me from across the garden. The next thing I knew, a confused looking guy shuffled up to me, and I gave him directions to something in the 4000 level of the AQ.
Lauren had missed numerous busses to get there and soon made sure I knew every detail about her morning. Then I showed her where her class was and she was excited about that too. It will be interesting to see how she is after a couple of weeks of institutionalized abuse at the hands of the university. Until then, her enthusiasm is both entertaining and irritating at the same time.
Kathy got a locker for us to share so the next order of business was to find that. It was located in an odd part of the school, but I'm still glad that I have a place to put my books and computer when I'm not using them.
Then I sat through two fairly uneventful meetings, where we discussed among other things, how to make sauerkraut sexy. To tell the truth, I still don't know the answer to that one.
The fact of the matter is that I really don't know what else to say about my day.
Posted by erin at 8:46 PM
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I had a strange premonition this morning. I decided that I needed to leave early to catch my bus. I didn't because I was talking on msn.
My regular bus was five minutes late. I got on and flashed my upass at the driver. "No, you've got to put it in the farebox," he said. I sighed and obliged him. It came as no surprise when it didn't work. Translink and the student society had sent out an email earlier explaining that there was a system error that prevented our cards from working. Evidently this bus driver was out of the loop. He took my upass, checked the expiry date and then let me on the bus, telling me to contact a system administrator.
It seems that everyone and her dog decided to take their baby strollers on the bus this morning. Each one delayed the bus a little more, until it was about ten minutes late. The people at the back were becoming agitated.
Just before the bridge another girl got on with a upass. The driver put her through the same routine that I had gone through. She put her pass through the machine and like mine, it didn't work. Then he asked to see her student card and driver's licence. He then decided that he wasn't going to let her on the bus.
He would have succeeded in kicking her off had the complaints of the other passengers on the bus not escalated to a point just short of mutiny. They were angry that the bus was now 15 minutes late, and yet the driver continued to waste time arguing with the student.
What was the difference between her and I you ask? She was black. That makes me very, very angry. There is no reason why she should have been treated any differently than I was. This is happy, racially-diverse, inclusive Canada, not the American south. She's going to lodge a formal complaint with Translink. So will I.
Because my bus was late, I missed my connection and arrived at school 20 minutes late. Not being familiar with that particular building of that particular campus, I managed to stumble in through the only door at the front of the lecture hall, disturbing the entire class, and attracting the full attention of my prof and all the TA's. Lovely. Thanks Translink.
I should have trusted my instinct on that one.
I was supposed to go to work today but I got out of my shift because I had to go to school. Instead I sat in the library and talked on msn until my laptop's battery finally died.
In spite of my crappy first day at school, I think it's going to be a good year. Or at least that's what I'm hoping for...
Posted by erin at 10:59 PM
Sunday, September 04, 2005
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
There was nothing to do, so we cleaned. We scrubbed things until they were beautiful. We talked a bit, said goodbye and then left. We have each other's phone numbers, but I doubt we will ever call each other.
That was my last day of work.
I should feel really relieved that I can finally get more sleep. But instead I'm drained. Is it lack of sleep or lack of endorphins? I really don't know.
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
Posted by erin at 11:50 PM
Saturday, September 03, 2005
"Excuse me," she says, tapping me on the shoulder. "How long will it take me to get to Main? I'm taking the skytrain to Commercial and then I'll take the B-line from there, so that shouldn't take too long, but I don't know how long the skytrain takes." She is the cliche nosy neighbour from American films, middle-aged, dumpy, straw sunhat and cardigan, an oversized clutchpurse in her hands. She reminds me somewhat of my kindergarten teacher.
"Probably about 20 minutes from here," I replied. She looks hurt.
"So I can't make it there in half an hour?" she asks.
"Maybe you can," I say, not wanting to disappoint her.
"I'm going to be late," she whines, and then without breathing she switches subjects. "It's terrible what's happening in New Orleans, isn't it?"
"Yes it is."
"It should never have happened."
"No disaster should."
"I was there once. It was a magical city. It's so sad. What are they going to do?"
"I don't know," I say as we board the skytrain.
"It was all preventable, you know," she says, screwing her face into an angry caricatured pout. Her voice is gradually getting louder. "It was George Bush that brought this all about. The Clinton administration told him that the levees needed to be repaired and he didn't do it. No, he had to be such a fucking asshole!" Her voice was shrill now. The last two words had been screamed. People on the skytrain shifted from side to side nervously.
We are at Production already. She apologises as I get off. I tell her she didn't need to.
Posted by erin at 4:09 PM
"Do you mind if I smoke over there?" he asked.
"No, go ahead," I replied. I hate cigarettes, but at least he asked. Most people don't.
"You taking the B-line?" he asked, pulling a can of beer out of a nondescript plastic bag. "Yes," I answered. The beer fizzed over when he opened it, all over his hand and the ground he was sitting on. Unphased, he took a sip and began fumbling in his bag again, this time producing a small joint and cheap book of cardboard matches.
"You know, I just made fourty bucks in half an hour," he said, obviously proud of himself. "Really?" I asked. He was making the lady beside me very uncomfortable. "I had to really hustle to do it though," he added, pointing toward his squeegee, "see, I smell like ammonia. You can smell it, can't you? I mean, where else would you go and make that kind of money legally? I mean, with good honest work and all? I'm gonna go home and buy myself a nice steak." Steak, the working class status symbol.
The joint refuses to light. His smile was full of gaps and decay as he lit another match. A small plume of smoke wafts up and fills the bus shelter. Pleasant. He begins to speak again. "I can do 58 different voices," he said, "I'm the best in Canada. Name your favourite song."
Mann Mot Mann by Kaizers Orchestra was playing on my mp3 player at the time, and I was tempted to say it. "What's your favourite song?" I asked. He then began to serenade me as Kermit the Frog, Louis Armstrong, Burt Bacharach and Steve Page from the Barenaked Ladies. He was no Peter Sellers, but pretty good regardless. Then he sang a medley of Elton John songs, his face animated with a manic fervour. I was soon beaming from ear to ear.
"See, you're smiling," he said, still chattering away. "That's why I turned down a recording contract. Everyone's offered me one, but the suits wanted 75% of my profits." He looked to me for some sort of approval.
"That's criminal," I said. He continued to talk. And talk.
The last thing he told me as we got on the bus was that he wasn't a drug addict. The needle tracks up his arms made that hard for me to believe. Denial. Perpetually full of shit. It doesn't matter what I think. I just listen.
Posted by erin at 2:55 PM