Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME

It's my birthday and I don't have to go to work on account that with Boxing Day having been on a Saturday this year, we get Monday off! Yay!

Today (27th) I was so exhausted/run down that apart from a couple of hours mid-morning, I didn't get out of bed until 5pm. I imagine tomorrow will be the same - interrupted only by dinner with my parents and the bf.

Love to all!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's a family thing

My brother was up for Christmas so we got to talking about yelling at rude fellow patrons in the take-out line. It turns out that he had a story similar to my Starbucks moment [except that he had more success].

In this case he had been in a fast-food place and some dude came up to the counter and started screaming at the teenager serving everyone that he was tired of waiting for his fries. My brother told him something along the lines to shut up and that no one wanted to listen to him. The guy turned around to ream my brother out but then realized that my brother was slightly taller, and a whole lot beefier than him.

My brother stated, "Before you make the biggest mistake of your day, I suggest that you shut your pie hole, take your food, and get the hell out here"

Not surprisingly, dude grabbed his food and left.

Come to think of it, my coworkers hubby also had a similar experience at a fast food place. Like my brother, he is a big guy so when yet another customer was ranting excessively at the counter staff, he looked at him and said, "Obviously you have anger management issues. Get your food and go home and beat your wife or whatever it is you normally do."

Love. It.

Sadly it's probably pretty accurate but at least it got the guy to leave the premises. Meanwhile, enroute to my sister's place, my parents and I stopped in at Starbucks yesterday. It was all festive and the staff were happy as could be as they were earning double time and a half.

I hope you all had a great day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

He wasn't part of Sesame Street

Does everyone know the Sesame Street song about the people in your neighbourhood (or likely 'neighborhood' since it was an American show)? I even had a book about it. I remember reading about the dentist and the grocer. Or something like that. Anyhow, Sesame Street never mentioned the homeless, and let's face it, the homeless population is a pretty big part of most urban neighbourhoods.

And they are largely invisible.

This is neither a sympathetic or damning of the homeless post. It's just a record of a recent encounter I had.

One thing about the bike rally and training for it, although I found every single day of the rally and every single training ride to be an excruciatingly painful arduous torture, the experience did make me into a great city cyclist. I bought a city bike after the rally was over (I sit completely upright, it only has three gears, it has big, fat tires to negotiate street car tracks, etc.) and I ride it to my downtown office faithfully. I also ride on errands on week-ends. It's so freeing.

Anyhow, one Saturday in November I rode down to Yonge and Dundas, one of Toronto's main intersections, as I was attending a fundraiser that a good friend was hosting. It's a busy, somewhat sketchy area so I was a tad worried about leaving my bike there. I walked it over to the nearby university campus and decided to lock it there instead of right next to the huge shopping mall. As I was placing my bike in the bike rack, a nearby homeless dude was reading a newspaper and started chatting to me. Dude looked a bit rough (missing most of his front teeth)

"Oh hey. Nice bike. Is it new?"

I was taken aback that homeless dude noticed my bike at all. I'm not sure why I thought that a homeless guy would have no clue about bikes, yet I did. Anyhow, I confirmed that it was indeed reasonably new.

"Oh yeah. I can tell. I used to bike ride all the time. That's a great lock you have too."

I don't know what I said at this point. Probably babbling about how great bike riding was. Then he added, "But I stopped." As with disabled-actually-just-rude woman at my espresso moment, I was filling in the blanks with "I got in a bad bike accident", "my bike was stolen", "I have a back injury", etc.

He surprised me with, "I got tired of going to jail."

I think my answer to this was some sort of vacuous look on my face and a semi-nod as if to say, "Oh yeah, of course" while meanwhile realizing that I had no clue how one ended up in jail from bike riding.

His stream of thought clarified his statement for me...

"Yeah. You know that guy who stole all those bikes?"

Me: "Igor Kenk?" [at this point of this conversation Kenk had been charged but not convicted of bike theft]

"Yeah. Oh, I must have sold over 200 bikes to him in two years."

By now my two thoughts are, "Shit. Kenk must have known he was selling stolen bikes", followed closely by, "Shit. I so don't want to leave my bike here" What I in fact said was, "So, this is a really good lock?"

"Oh yeah. That's a great lock."

What the hell, if a reformed bike thief is telling me that I have a good lock, then my bike was about as safe as it can be left in downtown Toronto. I wished him a nice day, locked my bike, and went to the fundraiser. When I got back, dude wasn't there, but my bike was. I hope this guy manages to stay out of jail.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Almost a heartwarming moment

As I am a bit embarrassed to show my face at the Starbucks where I caused a scene the other week, I was having my espresso at a nearby high-end department store a few days back [I was in the store drooling over my perfume which I discovered did in fact make it as my parents' gift to me this year. So happy]. Holy crap I live a shallow life, but back to my meaningful espresso story...

I ordered my double espresso and was waiting to pay when I realized that there was something a bit off about the customer currently at the cash. She was very well-dressed, probably in her forties, and unlike the rude mofo at the Starbucks, she wasn't barking obnoxious orders at the woman at the cash. On the other hand she wasn't really saying anything and she seemed almost paralyzed on her left side. Her right hand was held out with a variety of change on it. The cashier was carefully taking out the amount for the woman's coffee. The woman stared blankly.

As I had only arrived at the coffee station, I began to wonder - "Was the woman disabled in some way?" I decided that that was the case and began to think it was SO GREAT that she was out on her own and SO GREAT that the woman on the cash was helping her so graciously. And wow, didn't this woman look gorgeous and must be getting really good help at home with her disability. At that point I began to notice that she was muttering to herself. I revised my opinion to think, "Oh she's mentally ill! Again, SO GREAT that she is out and about and functional in the world"

Only then did I clue in that the stupid cunt was talking on her cell phone and that's why she had some weird paralytic hunch to her as she held the phone against her shoulder. She couldn't even be bothered to put the phone down and pay for her coffee. I must have been bug-eyed at that point. I was in such shock that I couldn't be bothered to yell at her. I did commiserate with the cashier though as soon as 'I'm so important that I can't get off my vital phone call in order to pay this serving woman' lady stepped off to add milk to her coffee (and truly I'm amazed that she managed to do that herself). The cashier and I cracked up discussing what an idiot that woman was.

I confess - I have stood in line on my cell phone and only paused my conversation to order and pay and even now I see how rude that is. Never though I have I done anything quite this ridiculous. All those jokes about the wealthy are sometimes on display and evident in this department store.

Of course because annoying woman took so long with the payment process that my espresso was rancid by the time I drank it, but I didn't complain or demand a new one. The service staff had dealt with enough irritation for one day.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Don't get between me and my espresso

The nearest Starbucks was short-staffed or deficiently staffed today - either way everything was taking a long time. However, it's only coffee. This guy in front of me was being so freaking rude to the woman behind the counter and started barking at her after she gave him his sandwich, "Knife! Knife! I want a knife! Didn't your hear???? KNIFE!" She handed him one and this was followed by "Fork! Fork! And a FORK". [and this had already followed his muttering diatribe that started from the time he ordered]. Meanwhile, my head is about to fall off, I'm dying for an espresso, and all the staff look like they are no longer functional and so fed up with it all.

He received his knife and fork and I looked at him and said, "You're welcome" He glared at me.

I continued, "You know - please, thank you - common manners? You should try them."

Of course I ruined my etiquette lecture by adding (and not in a whisper), "You're a complete asshole. Oops! I guess I'm not showing any manners now but you don't deserve them. You fucking asshole"

The whole time he was making kissing noises at me. Honestly, I can't believe how irate I was. I walked out with my espresso, resisting the urge to keep up our public display of boorish behaviour as he was saying, "What? Where you going?"

Long day people. Long week. End in sight though.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

World AIDS Day

My most inspirational job ever was being a librarian/treatment educator for a national HIV organization. I usually only hear about HIV in the news when the tragic stats in Africa are enumerated or when someone is being criminally charged with spreading HIV and is held up as a pariah. However, my experience with the HIV community was meeting the most open-minded, fun, and socially-aware individuals ever.

I started 2009 with the conviction to cycle to Montreal as part of a fundraiser for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, and with great effort, managed to complete that. I'm closing the year by hosting a series of dinner parties and encouraging people to in return donate to the PWA food bank. I'm beginning to form an idea of how to honour the community in 2010 - now with my depression under control, I can once again fight for the cause I most believe in.