Tag Archives: bring back the words

Sixty-Six — A Rough and Tumble Alcoholic with A Heart of Gold, That’s Me

Ginger* asks: If you could be a TV character in real life, who would you be?

My first thought was Dominic DaVinci from DaVinci’s Inquest. I couldn’t quite figure out why, so I thought about some other characters, among them The Littlest Hobo, Amber from Parenthood, and Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company, but I’m going to stick with my first thought. They say your first thought is your best thought.

DaVinci’s Inquest was a Canadian drama that I loved for several years ( imdb says 1998 – 2005 and I believe them). I don’t know if any Americans have ever seen it. The character of Dominic DaVinci, a coroner in Vancouver, investigated deaths in the city and uncovered compelling stories about the dead people, along with their causes of death. Often there was a mystery, but not always. It followed a lot of real-life storylines like the tragedy of the missing and murdered women here in BC, (except I think in the show, the murders were solved faster than in real life.) DaVinci was a recovering alcoholic, a divorced father of one teenage girl, and he had this manner about him; it was love and realism and hubris in one grizzled, grey, Italian-Canadian package. He was smart and sarcastic and compassionate and flawed. The show was incredibly well-written.

He brooked no bullshit. It’s a trait I admire.

* (anyone can participate in Ginger’s Bring Back the Words weekly prompts. This means you! They are fun and informative! Check it out.)

Fifty-Four — Habits

Bring Back the Words: Do you have a habit that wouldn’t make sense to most people?”

Do I have a habit that wouldn’t make sense to most people? I flatter myself that I am fairly average, while still being completely exceptional, so I suspect not. Let’s go through the habits I can think of and you tell me if they make sense or not.

— I eat chips while I read, in bed, before going to sleep. Some people I’ve met think this habit is horrible and disgusting and it is if you think about all those chip crumbs in your bed and the greasy fingers turning pages. Awful! But to me it is nearly always* necessary.
* unless I am already so full I can’t move or I have no chips.

— It’s a rare evening when I manage to drag my tired and chip-encrusted ass out of bed after I’m done snacking but before I turn out the light so I can brush my teeth before I go to sleep, and that’s another disgusting (non?) habit. It also makes my morning breath The Worst Ever Except for Your Dog’s and yet.

Aside: Maybe this should instead be a study of ‘Do I have a habit that is so disgusting it will make people run screaming from my internet website?’ Maybe.

— Nine squares of toilet paper. No more, no less.

— I need a NEW KNIFE to spread my peanut butter. Not the other knife that probably has peanut butter on it but might have mustard on it. Can you imagine something worse than peanut butter mixed with mustard?

— I have a habit of having brilliant ideas about my future and not following through.

— I have a habit of making too many plans for one day and nothing for the rest of the week/month.

— I have a habit of buying pens and notebooks like the revolution is coming and there will be no pens or notebooks and people who can write things in notebooks with pens will get extra cheese and hugs.

— I have a habit of furrowing my brow.

— I don’t ever want to eat the last of anything in the fridge or freezer. Is this a self-preservation method, or politeness? I don’t know but that quarter cup of ice cream is going to stay there until it either turns to solid freezer burn or SA eats it.

— I write every morning in what used to be a spiral bound notebook but is now a binder because that’s just more practical/cost-efficient. Three pages, longhand, journal-ish stuff (sample: I am so sleepy I wish I had coffee oh I do have coffee I love coffee) to start my day. My right wrist is suffering from limited mobility due to all the longhand writing but if I skip so much as a day I start to lose my little mind. At 18 months straight, I guess this is a habit.

Hey it all makes sense to me, probably because if I don’t make sense to me where does that leave me? SENSELESS. Except the tooth-brushing-before-bed thing. I really should make that a habit.

Also the more I type “habit” the more I think of rabbits. Rabbits are so great.

Thirty-Eight — Monkey Bars

As part of Ginger’s Bring Back the Words series of prompts, I am posting a moment of peace from my week.

I was going to do this prompt days ago but guess what, there has been little in the way of peace this week. Lots of noise, fighting, adjusting, deep breathing, and some sleeping, but little that I would call peace, until today.

This afternoon the kids and I walked up to the elementary school to play in the playground. It’s a really nice playground, with big trees that provide some shade, and several different levels of playground equipment. We played there before it was Arlo’s school, when my heart leapt to my mouth when he was a toddler climbing the so-many-feet-tall green playground structure. And we have spent many, many hours there since he started school, during which hours I have watched him jump to the ground from that same green structure.

Today, both kids were all about the monkey bars. Arlo has a graceful way about him on monkey bars, a rhythm. He has the same rhythm when he walks, which looks more like skipping or dancing. He uses his whole body, head to toe, to propel himself from one bar to the next. He learned to do the bars halfway through his kindergarten year and has incredible upper body strength. I am awestruck every time.

As a younger sibling, Eli has learned the monkey bars a year earlier than his brother did. He moves from bar to bar with a more jerky movement, his lower body stays stiff while he swings. And he can’t reach the higher bars because his arms just aren’t quite long enough, but he tries and tries, dropping to the ground, laughing, getting up and trying again.

The two of them on separate sets of bars, swinging without speaking, all concentration and the slap of bare hands against metal. I could watch them forever.

Twenty-Seven — Why Are We Here?

Ginger is doing a weekly prompted bloggity thingeroo .. you can participate too, if you want! I am going to answer both prompts because the first one is a very short answer.

Prompt one: Why did you start blogging?
A: I started blogging because I wanted people to read my words.

Prompt two: What is the best decision you ever made?

So much waffling. What IS the best decision I ever made? Moving to this townhouse, to the city of New Westminster, which seemed like an OK decision at the time, actually turned out to be a great decision. Having children was a pretty good decision, but I’m not sure it was the best ever. Career-wise, there haven’t been many great decisions, other than quitting the job with the creepy boss.

I think the best decision I EVER made was to move out on my own when I was 19.

It was 1993 and I had just finished my second year of university. I lived in Burnaby and went to school at UBC, so my bus trip was an hour each way. I spent a lot of time on the bus, scribbling in my journal or listening to my big, yellow Walkman and staring out the window at Hastings, Granville, Broadway, 10th Ave.

I was starting to really resent my overprotective father. While I was in high school, I complained bitterly but never really rebelled against the house rules. But when I got to UBC and started meeting new people, people I hadn’t known for five or ten years already, people who listened to grunge and electronica and folk music instead of top 40, people who wore cut off jeans, tights, combat boots, people who dyed their hair and pierced their faces and had tattoos and wrote poetry and made films…well, I desperately wanted to be a part of it. That life. The life that started with me being able to stay out past 10 pm.

In June, 1993, I blew away all the treaty negotiations. I decided it would be a good idea to celebrate writing my last exam of the year by drinking a lot of vodka and grapefruit juice in Stanley Park with my friend. Obliteratedly drunk I arrived home well before curfew but that didn’t matter as much as the fact that I was dropped off by a strange man in a pickup truck who had rescued my friend and me from the railroad tracks below Gastown. Apparently we had been wandering on and off the tracks, my friend had a hammer, and the guy with the truck –Bill, I think?– took pity on us and drove us home.

Whooee! was I in trouble. And rightly so. I had to go to my brand new part-time job at the cheese shop the next day with a wicked hangover and that was nearly punishment enough. As part of the fallout from the “discussion” that ensued, I declared that I would move out of the house that summer and get my own place. Dad said, “No you can’t.” Having a bit more than a little of his stubborn blood in my own veins, that was all I needed to hear.

In mid-July, my friend Joanna and I moved into our two-bedroom suite in a house at Main and 22nd Street. A month later, Sarah joined us and we were an amazingly big-haired trio of roommates for a year, after which we went through roommates and new apartments for a few years before settling down with our significant others, to whom we are all now married.

When I moved out I didn’t have any real plan, other than I would work at my job selling cheese and pay my rent and tuition and for food and drinks. Jobs came and went, tuition got paid, albeit more slowly than it had when Dad was paying it, and it took me an extra couple of years to get the credits to graduate, but I did. Eventually.

I learned how to survive; how to cook, clean, give notice on an apartment, quit a job, look for a new one, accept the kindness of strangers, be good to my friends, manage money (eventually..this was a very steep learning curve), maintain the relationships I needed to maintain and release the rest.

What I experienced living on my own made me into the person I am today; someone who understands that ordinary people make mistakes and deserve forgiveness and second, third, fourth chances, myself included. Someone who isn’t scared of smelly people, who sees something interesting in every conversation. Someone who has at least seen how the other half lives and knows how close she came to that poverty line, how close she was to crossing it.

I was young and stupid and lucky. I could easily have ended up on the other side of that line. If my parents hadn’t forgiven me, mellowed, held their tongues, invited me for dinner every few weeks, helped me move. If my friends hadn’t lent me money or fed me booze when I needed it, if, to start with, I hadn’t been young and white and educated, with all the privilege that those afford a person.

God watches over drunks and idiots; double-plus if you are both?

The most important thing I learned was that the real world is indeed a dangerous, wonderful place, and that I could handle it.

And the place where I hold all those lessons; the practical ones like how to budget and the people ones like how to talk to people on the bus, is the place I will draw from when my kids are out in the world and I’m scared for them. The world is a dangerous, wonderful place, and they can handle it.