Drive

I took an Uber tonight. It’s not something I do a lot. But tonight, I did. And it was like being in a time machine.

I wasn’t in Toronto, I was back in Cebu, on one of the many evenings in a cab on my way to work, like Cinderella in the evening, rushing. The driver took a route I had never tried before, cutting through parts of the city I had never seen. As it unfolded before me tonight like a new place to be explored,  Toronto was a mysterious city waiting to be discovered and I felt a quiet sort of  joy, savouring the sweet, delicious tang of curiosity.  For a brief span of time, I was younger, the whole world before me. I was that girl again, and I realized I haven’t felt that way in a long, long time.

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Last Weekend Tonight (in bullet points, with links)

  • Shiny Happy People
    • new platform sandals
    • Pretty!
    • My feet are white and delicate! I’m a girl!
    • Why did I spend a whole afternoon walking?
    • And now my feet are yesterday’s ground up meat.
    • mein gott, the pain
  • Ikea
    • where I never leave empty-handed, despite my best intentions
    • same goes for you, Costco
    • Kitchen brush for 99c!
    • meatballs, yay
    • material for a new curtain
    • Yep, one. Singular.
    • would’ve flunked sewing class if it weren’t for my mother
    • which reminds me of that cross-stitch project I took on and never finished
    • it’s been three years, I really should complete that thing
  • Peek Freans Cookie Outlet
    • because I decided to send a box home to the fam
    • best place to get Oreos on the cheap
    • Le Hubs to me: What are you sending them, diabetes?
    • Me to Le Hubs: because I’m sweet?
    • sending them Omega 3 though
    • and pistachios, because my Dad loves them
    • my Dad, who wanted a trailer hitch for his Sorento, try fitting that in a large LBC box, Dad
  • Design Republic / Urban Mode / Casper Showroom
    • need new mattress, my back can’t take much more of this
    • I hate getting old
    • test drives are a must, 100 night trial offer bedamned
    • Urban furniture and design stores + expertly staged, ultra-expensive furniture = major inferiority complex
    • I may as well be living in a shack with donated goods from Habitat for Humanity
    • Casper vs. Endy vs. just choose one already godamnit, my feet are killing me
    • Oh well, Endy it is.
    • all I want for Christmas is Mandaue Foam
  • Storage Wars: Northern Treasures
    • getting some bang out of my Netflix buck
    • for when I want to binge-watch my tits off
    • one man’s trash, another man’s treasure
    • I’ll stick to dumpster diving, this is way too stressful
    • What kind of idiot leaves real gold jewelry in storage?
    • Maybe a dead one. Oops. Sorry, Lord.
    • Will Netflix ever get the original Storage Wars?
    • Does Roku support the A&E app for Canada?
    • Ugh, geo-blocking sucks!

Parts Unknown

Sometimes I avoid news. Not that I can avoid it entirely, but the general predilection of today’s news to be inflammatory – because that’s what sells – is exhausting. It’s issues, issues and even more issues, some of it real, a lot of it manufactured by people who seem to have made it their business to go through life with a gigantic chip on their shoulder.  Still, this past week or so, with that kiss (why does he make it so hard?) and she-who-shall-not-be-named invoking the memory of her dead parents yet again, it’s easy to see why people contemplate offing themselves.

Melodrama aside, suicide is no laughing matter. And it’s trending again. A couple of months ago, it was Avicii. Just recently, Kate Spade – she of the eponymous line of bags, shoes and accessories – and now Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, globe-trotter and highly esteemed food writer. All were highly successful and wealthy, all were living the kind of accomplished, jet-set lives the rest of us can only dream of having. None of it was enough to make them want to go on living. You know it’s serious when you wake up one day at the top of your game, and decide you can’t be bothered to keep breathing. Is it really that empty up there in the atmosphere of the one percent? Is it really that bleak? If having all that isn’t enough, then what is?

Although the stigma of depression is slowly being chipped away, no one ever talks about it very much. It’s a mysterious illness, easily dismissed, something only understood by those going through it and those who’ve gone through it and made it to the other side. My mother used to tell me stories of what it was like for her, after she had my brothers. She said it was a very scary, very weird headspace to be in. I was a child back then, so the only things that stood out were these strange roots suspended in jars of orange liquid, infusions of ginger root and tree bark she used to take, and the word bughat, something that, to a nine year old, was both riddle and an answer, all at once.

It takes a lot of strength to get through something like that, a lot of fortitude and a very strong will. My mother was one of the fortunate ones, able to emerge from the darkness of post-partum depression. I do remember one thing she always made an effort to do whenever she felt particularly low: she talked about it. Doing so helped in many ways – it helped me understand a little bit of what she was going through, even if I was only nine. And I think it helped her to know that we may not have fully understood, but that we were going to be there for her all the same. Talking about it helps. It’s particularly hard on us Filipinos, who for the most part, either think psychotherapy and the drugs that can come with it are for the weak, or believe in it but can’t afford it. Talking is cheap and effective, and there’s no shame in struggling. Depression doesn’t discriminate.

If we’re to go by the examples of successful people who’ve killed themselves (Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Robin Williams, Alexander McQueen, etc), all the money, success, fame and glamour in the world aren’t enough.  But does that  make life not worth living? I refuse to believe that. I still want to know  what it’s like to be so rich, I can use dollar bills to wipe my behind.  I’m not convinced that life isn’t worth it, just yet. I think breathing is sweet, and I still want to win the lottery. If it’s all downhill from there, then that’s as it may be, but at least I’d have gotten to try being on top of the world.

Just Another Day

Well, Doug Ford and the Conservatives have won Ontario, winning a rat race of an election I couldn’t bring myself to participate in because all the choices were so bad, it was practically  Russian Roulette with all the chambers loaded. The Liberals have overspent, overpromised and under-delivered. The NDP is untried and untested, their dreams of a better province unsupported by a concrete budget. The Conservatives are viewed as  the Canadian version of the people who support Trump and they didn’t even bother releasing a plan with a budget. Doug Ford, their grand high poobah, is the brother of a mayor so infamous, Toronto did a full 360 and elected his exact opposite – may that infamous mayor rest in peace – and said poobah made said brother look so much gentler in comparison.

There’s really no easy way to put this, my province is fucked.  Ontario’s electricity bills are astronomical in comparison to the rest of Canada, and our government acts like someone  who’s just gotten paid on a Friday and decided that the word budget is not in their vocabulary. In Toronto, the TTC is practically held together with duct tape and a prayer because no one wants to stop squabbling about how to make the TTC better and everyone keeps spending to find out how to make it better instead of actually making it better. The Liberals have already screwed us seven ways to Sunday, what else could go wrong?

I have no idea what the future holds for Ontario and Toronto in particular, but at least the Liberals paid for their very expensive mistakes (but not before we had to pay for theirs) by flaming out spectacularly. I guess we’ll have to see if the Conservatives make good on their promises to make Ontario great again. Hope for the best, and expect the worst. So really, just another day, eh?

Excuses and Alibis

Due to an ever so unique combination of exhaustion and distraction, I’ve been struggling to write regularly of late. I’m mentally and emotionally drained by the time I’m done with work, so when I get home the last thing I want to do is think. Or talk. Or even do. Because work is nuts. My brain has to go in so many different directions in any given time and sometimes the volume of what I’m processing bogs me down and takes its toll. My thoughts mostly resemble scared mice scurrying away whenever I try to cobble them together, which is probably my cue to go to my family doctor and ask for drugs. Pharmaceuticals: today’s answer to everything!

But, no. Like most everything else, I will bend over and take this current exhausting adult phase like a champ, even if work sometimes feels like a fat dick shoved up my ass with no lube, because this too shall pass. It may pass the way a particularly jagged calcium deposit shreds your  urethra on its way to sweet freedom, but it will pass. Please pass. Please?

So I’ve been making it a lousy excuse not to write because by the time I get home I don’t feel like writing anymore. I’ve been reading or watching Netflix while stuffing my face. I really should try to cut down the stuffing of the face, but I don’t seem to have any self control these days.

Still, I’ve come out of temporary hiding to say I’ve had it with this whole royal wedding. If I never see another post about Meghan Markle again, it won’t come soon enough. With my luck, and because people need to sell newspapers, it will be full court press coverage  of Harry and Meghan for the next few months, at least, while I twiddle my thumbs and wait for the inevitable stink piece on how the Duchess of Cambridge is jealous about all the attention being showered on the Duchess of Sussex.

Am I the only one who doesn’t give a shit about this? My feeds have been crammed with the dress, and the kiss, the guests (Amal Clooney in mustard yellow, making up for the ridiculous getup she wore to the Met Gala) and all the ooh-ing and they’re-oh-so-in-love-ing.  Have we forgotten the mess that was the Charles/Diana union? That started out just as romantic as this one did, with all the cute smiles and the shy glances and the photo-ops and gown reveals. For all the magic of that wedding day, they ended up at each other’s throats. Two people from different backgrounds getting married and trying to fashion a life together? It’s work. So I’m here watching them go by, giving them five years at most before it all goes to shit because I’m a bitter, overworked peon and I’m sick of having someone’s extravagant romance being shoved in my face. Also when the mention of a British-American wedding comes up, my brain goes straight to Four Weddings and a Funeral, the gold standard for English romance (no, it isn’t but I love it anyway).  Also, because this is me at weddings:

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Who am I kidding, this is everyone at weddings. Everyone I know, anyway.

Try watching Four Weddings and a Funeral on mute some time. It’s just as hilarious.

 

Random YouTube K-Hole: Tears for Fears

I’d been waiting for the official video of Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty before posting this particular k-hole about songs that deal with a specific kind of emotional catharsis. But before getting to the country queen’s latest oeuvre, I’m getting in a time machine and going all the way back to the past when Aerosmith and Alicia Silverstone ruled the video airwaves…

Aerosmith, Crying

I don’t know what you’re all going on about us being oppressed, female power was just as alive in 1993 as it is today. Alicia Silverstone and her healthy blonde mane acts out after seeing a very young, very attractive, Stephen Dorff inhabiting his standard persona of douchebag-you’d-still-bone cheating on her in a movie theatre. Proving to him and everyone else, including the guy who attempts to steal her backpack (look, Josh Holloway!), that she’s not going to take any shit unless it’s on her terms, this was the first of Alicia’s video collaborations with Aerosmith. She would go on to star in Amazing, and Crazy, to similarly enthusiastic acclaim. With a killer video and sweet vocals, Cryin’ is the Teenage Dream video of the 90’s, before Katy Perry (intentionally? unintentionally?) got her revisionist mitts all over the disaffected teenager storyline.

Justin Timberlake, Cry Me A River

Way before he became the Man of the Woods, Justin Timberlake was living out a revenge fantasy featuring Britney Spears a blonde who famously breaks his heart. He denied the song was about Britney of course, but we all knew he was lying, Liza Minelli! For a brief moment in the early aughts, those two turned a number of pre- and post-pubescent teenagers into a screaming Tyra Banks meme. (We were all rooting for you in matching denim, damnit!). With the help of Timbaland, Mr. Timberlake breaks into a not-so-mysterious blonde’s home like a crazed stalker, tap dances all over her furniture, has sex with a stranger in her bedroom and spies on her while she’s in the shower. Rude! Also, creepy. This video would’ve aged pretty well if it wasn’t for that bulky-ass cam-corder, reminding us all of the lengths we used to go to just to record things for posterity.

Ariana Grande, No Tears Left to Cry

Known more for her vocal chops than eye-catchingly original music videos, Ariana Grande doesn’t do anything to upset that particular status quo in this, her latest video for No Tears Left to Cry. The concept is pretty much blonde Inception on the discarded set of Marvel’s Dr. Strange and it’s a complete disconnect from the song, but who needs concepts and connectivity when you have a new hair colour? It could be the bleach, it could be having a perpetual ponytail, whatever the cause, Miss Grande’s state of mind is up, down, and all around. A bit of a surprise banger, No Tears Left to Cry  is probably going to go on heavy rotation from here to eternity. And by eternity, I mean for the rest of the summer. She’s here, it’s queer, get used to it.

Carrie Underwood, Cry Pretty

And finally, the blonde that kickstarted today’s quintet. Round of applause for Miss Underwood (no relation to Frank) who is back with another country ballad about falling apart, wasting mascara into the process. I’m not sure what she meant by saying her face got all fucked up and she doesn’t look the same; I only hope she’s not suffering from some extreme form of body/face dysmorphia, because girl is still looking good. I know some people who are so gay they practically sweat glitter, but Carrie Underwood is going the extra mile by actually crying glitter tears while singing Cry Pretty. A bit on the nose, but way to commit to a concept!

Lettuce Pray

It’s been a difficult past few weeks.

Lately it’s been hard not to bubble over into hyperbole and give in to the urge to stay in and avoid humanity. It’s definitely doable – now that groceries can be ordered online and delivered straight to your door – and definitely tempting because apparently, nothing is sacred anymore. Not going for pancakes. Or walking on sidewalks. Not even salad greens.

I used to struggle with greens. Once, frustrated with my inability to eat vegetables, my mother forbade me from leaving the table until I had eaten all the chayote on my plate. It wasn’t even a lot, about four or five good-sized chunks, but an hour and some mild gagging later, I had barely made a dent. All the action that poor chayote got was on the prongs of my fork, getting pushed slowly round and round on my plate in a rapidly congealing sauce. I think the sum total of chayote  I was successfully able to swallow that day was two, at most. I know my mother only had my best interests at heart, but no one won that day.

Everyone knows vegetables are good for you. While I still won’t eat chayote,  I like to think my relationship with greens has improved. I’ll occasionally have a salad when I feel like pretending to be a responsible adult, tomatoes in quesadillas are yummy, and having spinach makes me feel positively righteous.  Now this. The great E.coli brouhaha of 2018, where America has a meltdown over a green, leafy vegetable. So far Canadian lettuce is still safe to eat, but between disturbed young men shooting kids up in schools and the rising use of automobiles as weapons to cause maximum loss of life, having something as mundane as lettuce posing as a potential killer is just the icing on the cake. Barry Manilow was right, some good things never last (because of E.coli).

Has produce become weaponized? Just last week, an Australian library was hastily evacuated due to a potential chemical hazard. A bio-hazard team was dispatched, and what they thought was a gas or chemical leak turned out to be a durian that had been left in a cupboard that had started to rot, its gases having infiltrated the library’s air conditioning system. Durian, the famous fruit that tastes like heaven and smells like hell had caused the police and the fire department to get involved and forced at least five hundred students and their teachers to hastily leave a building fearing for their lives. The smell must have been incredible.

Going to a Waffle House can kill you. Green, leafy vegetables can kill you. When even walking on the sidewalk is dangerous, how does one still retain enough faith in the world and in humanity to go on and keep living?  If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few weeks, it’s to wash your vegetables thoroughly before eating them. Also, to try and take things one step at a time. I need to remind myself to keep trying to respond and not react and to believe that things can and will get better. Because this too shall pass. According to Facebook, it may pass like a kidney stone. But it will pass.