Sunday, August 22, 2010

So Long And Thanks for all the Lake!

Nearly three weeks ago, I gave notice of my resignation. Three weeks ago, Thursday still seemed like half an eternity away. Today, it feels... well... it feels like it's three shifts/four days away, but that's only because I wrote this part of the post yesterday.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from being all reminiscent-y about things. I remember my first "real" job. I was a cashier at a grocery store and I worked there 3 years. By the time I left, most of the people I'd started with (including the store manager) and got along best with had left, I'd developed pain in my arms from the repetitive motions, and Death by Sheer Boredom was a distinct possibility.

That said, on my last day, I sobbed in the car until a random lady knocked on the window and asked if I was all right.

Since then, I've left other jobs, sans tears, so I can't help but think the fact that my brain's bypassed all those jobs and brought me back to that particular memory can only be a sign of impeding emotional-ness. After all, this is the longest I've worked with one company since then, and ever. I've been working for this company since I graduated in 2006. I'm not counting the years. I did that a few days ago and it was scary. I then blocked the memory.

Strangely, the other memory that keeps floating back is when I graduated Grade 6. Not Grade 8. Not high school. Not university. But Grade 6. Pssst, Memory? You are weird.

Anyway, I would have been about 11, even though that number seems far too small to be accurate. I had moved to Toronto only 2 years before and those years were terrible. The kids at the school hated me before I even walked through the door. They made fun of everything about me. My mom used to tell me they didn't spend their time trying to figure out how to make my life impossible, but even now, I maintain it was a favourite past-time of theirs.

(Of course, I also maintained for the longest time that a mouse jumped out of the TV (from The Nutcracker) and that I chased it around the living room until it ran out the door, so you know, it is possible I'm wrong. It's not likely, but it is possible.)

In preparation for the graduation ceremony, the teacher traced the shadows created by the silhouettes of our heads. It sounds strange now, but somehow it made sense at the time. My hair (which deserves its own blog post) and I have had a tumultuous relationship since birth. In an effort to be like every other girl, I forced it into a pony tail because I liked that clean S-shaped hair-shadow effect they all had going on. My hair laughed in the face of S-shapes and repaid me with a blob-shaped shadow. No exaggeration needed. It was a blob. Possibly even The Blob.

The cardboard versions of these silhouette head-shadows were posted around the gym because it's always important to be surrounded with one's own mortification as one graduates, or in my case, as one delivers the Valedictorian speech.

Yes, I was Valedictorian for my Grade 6 class. It was an empowering experience, mostly. It was also hot. I was wearing a very uncool (in both senses of the word) long Laura Ashley dress. This seems important to mention, for some reason.

Mostly what I remember is writing the speech. And delivering it in a room full of people who made fun of me, their parents, my parents, and the cardboard version of my Hair's Evil Shadow of Doom watching from somewhere on the gym wall.

In my speech, I compared the graduating class to fish who'd outgrown their ponds. I said the ponds had nurtured us and been our homes for so long, but it was time to swim out into the large lake, to discover the world (of Grade 7). And I told everyone that, though this was scary, it was also exciting, because we had come so far, but we had so much farther to go (in Grade 7). It was a good, wise speech.

The strangest thing about 'seeing' this memory? Adult-me isn't the one giving the speech. I'm in the audience. I'm listening to a girl who didn't quite realize she was a child, a girl who'd eventually overcome more adversity than she knew existed (I mean, the hair alone...) give a speech about a school of fish taking chances.

If Grade 7 was a lake, I'm not sure what body of water I'll be standing in front of on Thursday, as I leave a job that's been my home (No, really, I've actually answered the question of where I live with: "The airport. Oh, wait, you mean, where I live... heh...) for far too long. A sea? An ocean? Another really big pool of water I can't think of a name for?

So, thanks for the speech, kid. And don't worry, when your graduation's over, you won't take that awful poster of your Hair's Evil Shadow of Doom with you, and eventually you and your hair will make peace. Mostly.

Anyway, time for this fish to swim out into deeper, scarier, and far, far more exciting waters.

Heh. I realize now that I haven't actually talked about the job I'm leaving, even though that's what this blog was supposed to be about. That's kind of funny. Can I pretend it was intentional?

Oh, I know! Here!

I Owe You:

One Blog Post about Working in the Lost and Found Before I Forget All About it

One Blog Post About my Hair, Possibly Including Embarrassing Photos of my Youth

One Blog Post Ensuring You Finally Know if You Are Indeed a Troll

Until next time, may we venture a little farther out to sea and learn the true strength of our fins!


(No, I mean, that's the end. Or rather, the beginning. Of the end. I'm just kidding. I only mean you can stop reading now. And... start commenting! See? It really is a beginning!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friends with the Ex (or The End of the World)

This is a real conversation. Names (IE. Victoria, who made me draw/post this) have been excluded to protect the not-so-innocent. The car ride is also real, though mostly irrelevant, except for the fact that it was a favour that allowed me to purchase and take home a very cool new litter box shaped like an igloo with steps. (Thanks again!)

The Conversation:

"Can you believe I'm friends with my ex and the world didn't end?!" asks my friend, not for the first time.

I grin. "You realize, of course, I'm envisioning this in comic form."

She's driving, but she looks at me sideways for a moment. "What's the comic?"

I describe the image in my mind's eye -- an image that should probably have remained where it was born, or at least been drawn by someone who has some concept of how to portray depth/perspective.

"Hee hee hee," she exclaims afterwards, "You must draw it!"

"Ha," I reply, too quickly, "I can't draw."

"Yes, you can," she says, "And your comics are funny so it doesn't matter anyway."

"Only you think it's funny because you're involved in it."

She instantly replies:"My ex will think it's funny!"

"He's involved in it, too!" I protest.

"You never made me a troll questionnaire so you have to draw the comic."

"I can't draw!" *

"Yes, you can!"**

"No, I can't. Stop being mean to me."

"Saying you can draw is being mean to you?" she asks.

"Yes!" I cross my arms.

"This conversation is like a comic."***

At this point, in real life, she repeats the conversation in panel-form, but, in the interest of avoiding the inevitable time-space continuum never-ending loop of conversation, I'll skip right to the part where I expose you to the comic.

So -- depending on who you are -- sorry and/or you're welcome.

*I may have said this more times than represented here. Heh.
**She may have said this more times than I said the opposite, hence the post.
***Look, three stars! Also, the conversation was like a comic, but I'm not drawing it, damnit!

Friends With The Ex (or The End of the World):

P.S. The part you can't make out is supposed to read: "No, it [the flooding] doesn't put out the fire."

P.P.S. Stop making me draw things!

P.P.P.S. Hope you liked it anyway!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cryptic is as Cryptic Does

“That hombre could make a laundry list sound cryptic”. This is a line from “Fables: The Great Fables Crossover” (Written by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges), and it amused and perplexed me when I read it.

A cryptic laundry list? I’m not even sure what a laundry list is, much less how it could be made cryptic. Is it a list of things one needs in order to launder? Laundry soap, a stupid amount of quarters and loonies (yes, loonies. It’s a Canadian thing), dirty clothes. Or is it a list of the dirty clothes themselves? No, I’m not going to list (or air) my dirty laundry. (Ha... get it? Unseen shooting stars, I’m tired.) Really, I think “a laundry list” is cryptic to begin with.

As I traveled home, this line and thoughts remotely connected to it echoed in my mind. Perhaps I should note here that in addition to songs, I sometimes get lines and titles stuck in my head. One particularly annoying time, I had Mordecai Richler’s name on repeat in my brain for what I remember now as days. Out of desperation, I read “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz”. I’m not sure why, but it actually worked; my mind was cleared.

So traumatized was I by this strange wordsworm (for lack of a better term), that I decided to apply this same theory to the cryptic laundry list. Also, I was curious. I wanted to know if I had the writing chomps to create a list of laundry so obscure and clue-full, one might only describe it as cryptic.

Here’s where I should definitely mention, I’ve been up since four in the morning. Actually, that’s not true. I woke up at five twenty, due to a particularly odd dream about my roommate asking me how to get “dead things” out of the sofa I was sitting on. Incidentally, I’m sitting on that very sofa right now... Anyway, in the dream, she very earnestly said, “Chicken soup!”, and I have no idea if it was the “dead things” in question, or the preferred method of removal, or perhaps just a craving of hers. Wait... Why am I telling you this again?

In any case, after work, I met a friend in a cafe to be exceedingly distracted by a man making eyebrows at his laptop (trust me, there’s really no other way to describe it) and also to write. Not that I’m upset about the eyebrow-watching to writing ratio, but I think I should insist that mostly I met her to write.

Look, if this makes little to no sense, know that that only furthers my case. After all, I’m writing this at 1 am, and I’m squinting in order to do so. Words look a little funny when you squint. Kind of slanty. And blurry.

So, please, keep my utter exhaustion and general squintyness in mind when I tell you that when I sat down to write a cryptic laundry list, I somehow ended up with a cryptic grocery list.

And because I enjoy revealing things that should be otherwise embarrassing, especially when I’m squinty and giggly as I am right now, I’ve decided to share that list. Even though nobody asked me to. You’re welcome.

Here it is:

A Straightforward and Yet Unnecessary Title for a Cryptic Grocery List

An animal, a meal, and a taunt.

A fruit, described by its colour.

How can something decreed as perfect also be in such disputation of order?

A letter so useful it both begins its own title and is its own word.

Ever predictably, that which you call one thing I call another.

The truth is, we know but the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, let us not worry our heads about which is better, and which is best.

This is to hair as salivating is to Pavlov’s dogs, only shinier.

On any other, this would make one blue, especially if you hate waste.

A house of this could be blown away; a bowlful devoured.

To do nuts or not to do nuts: that is the question.

A game to crush or a plant to eat?

Don’t cry. It’s actually pretty funny.

Whether it’s a secret or water, don’t wait for someone to spill it. It’s probably already on the internet.

We need room to grow and room to write, of course. They say it’s fun, but I really hate this guy.

If one killed as often as some eat this, and one was caught and judged as guilty, I would hope the sentence would be as long as this one or longer, only with years instead of words.

Can you figure out the items on the grocery list and/or do you have any to add? Can you write a cryptic laundry list that doesn't somehow morph into a cryptic grocery list? Can you tell me what a laundry list (cryptic or not) is?

Good night...

...and good news! The line's out of my head! For now...