venti dork

When I was a kid, I was absolutely head-over-heels in love with Optimus Prime. Yup.

MOST people probably count down to Christmas or to an upcoming vacation. THIS girl counts down to Fall TV Premier Week and THANK THE GODS ABOVE that it’s only two months away.

When I was 14, the single most important thing I owned was a small diary that had Fido Dido on the cover and he was saying “How can I control my life when I can’t even control my hair?” I wrote in the diary sporadically until abandoning it in favor of another notebook, and it wasn’t until years later that I found some of its pages rolled up together and bound with an elastic band. Upon unearthing them in a box of other similarly VERY IMPORTANT (yet boxed up and forgotten) artifacts of my adolescence, I figured I must have written some pretty GD profound stuff, necessitating the curation of said pages. Judge for yourself:

August 1, 1995

Dear Diary,

Well, welcome to my life. Today was a mix of annoyance and fun! I went to the mall and bought a cute key chain. It cost 7 bucks, but it was worth it. It, of course, is a cat. My list of people pests goes on: Tina. Well, actually there is only 1 so far, but it will grow. I went to the library and got me fave kind of book: Teen Life! Also, I got an astrology book. You know - zodiac? Mom’s on holidays now and tomorrow I shop till I drop! Well, see ya! Luv, K.

PS: Don’t worry, my life gets better.

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty glad I recorded that for the ages. Also, I wonder how Tina’s doing?

A friend of mine - J - is in a band and they recently released their second EP so I had a listen to it and it’s pretty good, though I’m far from what anyone would describe as a credible music critic (in my third year of university I chose to go to a Backstreet Boys concert because “OH MY GOD THEY’RE THE BEST and I bought a $25 bandana which I wore to all of my classes the next day.)

Anyway, J’s band is what is described as “post-hardcore”, which is initially a terrifying sounding genre of music until you actually read about it and find out that (hat tip to Wikipedia) “these newer bands termed post-hardcore often found complex and dynamic ways of blowing off steam that generally went outside the strict hardcore realm of ‘loud fast rules’. Additionally, many of these bands’ vocalists were just as likely to deliver the lyrics with a whispered croon as they were a maniacal yelp.” So given that the genre seems to be a departure from traditional scream-until-your-voice-is-shredded-mozzarella-cheese rock music, it didn’t really come as a surprise to me when J invited me to a gig of theirs in mid-August that appeared to be the polar opposite of what I assumed a post-hardcore band gig would be. Rather than a death metal rager where decapitated animals are drenched in the blood of the innocent, the event appeared to be a fundraising event in support of the prevention of elderly abuse. Glancing very briefly at the Facebook event that popped up on my phone, I was immediately intrigued and I had to hand it to J and his friends because I think it’s pretty progressive of a post-hardcore band to perform at an event to raise awareness for one of our most vulnerable populations. Like me, J works in fundraising so it’s not a huge stretch that he’d talk his band mates into supporting such a worthy cause.

TURNS OUT Elder Abuse is the NAME of the BAND that they’re OPENING for. I might need to get more piercings.

It’s a hard life.

It’s a hard life.

If you want to know what I was listening to when I was in junior high school, it looks something like this:

  1. Mad About You – Belinda Carslyle
  2. Tonight – NKOTB
  3. Faithful – Go West
  4. My Destiny – Lionel Richie
  5. Again – Janet Jackson
  6. As I Lay Me Down – Sophie B. Hawkins
  7. Shoe Box – BNL
  8. Dreaming of You – Selena
  9. Lucky Love – Ace of Base
  10. Head Over Feet – Alanis Morissette
  11. I’ll Be There for You – The Rembrandts
  12. Like a Prayer - Madonna

I have a dilemma. I’m four books into the Song of Ice & Fire series (aka: Game of Thrones, aka: A Treatise on Nipples and Bashing People’s Heads In) and honestly - I need a BREAK. There’s only so much I can take when it comes to people being assaulted, eviscerated, dismembered, and GODDAMN MELISANDRE. YES I GET IT. THE NIGHT IS DARK AND FULL OF TERRORS.

Of course, having read four of the five published books, I feel committed. I have invested a substantial amount of time reading these books. Each one is roughly 16,000,000 pages and if the series was a person, I’d be married to them and we’d be 23 years away from paying off our house in the suburbs and have one, possibly two, kids and probably a dog. Taking a trial separation from the series seems like packing a few things in a small suitcase because I’m going to “stay with my sister for a while.” PLUS the OCD part of my brain is very uncomfortable leaving the last book on the shelf while I start something else (Outlanderis one of the possibilities but I think there are about 200 books in that series, so I won’t be going back to Westeros for some time.)

It’s a non-problem, I know. Maybe I should get a lawyer.

Things I Have Yet To Learn In My 33 Years On the Planet:

1) If I’m allergic to a certain kind of makeup, I should probably STOP WEARING SAID MAKEUP

Today’s forecast: temperatures in the high 20s, and the province is bathed in blood

Today’s forecast: temperatures in the high 20s, and the province is bathed in blood

When you’re growing up, practically everyone you know is within walking distance, or a short bike ride, or maybe a car trip if you live outside of your school’s boundary, but even though you have to beg/borrow/steal a ride from your parents if you want to see those friends, it’s maybe a 20 minute drive. For the most part, your friends are close by. And your parents work downtown, which isn’t that far away, and there’s a certain security seeing the familiar, hazy blue silhouettes of sky scrapers in the near distance because you know that if you need to find your mom or your dad, that’s where they are. And everyone’s families live in the same city because - hello - we’re all here to begin with. Really, there isn’t a week that goes by that you haven’t camped out at your friend’s place and/or maybe visited the mysterious, somewhat intimidating, vaguely reverent spaces your parents work in and/or maybe spent time with family friends or your friends’ families because your world is small like that. A quick walk, a quick ride; everyone is close by and it’s like that for a while.

And then the world gets bigger. After high school, after university, your friends spread their wings and take flight and you take a trip across the city or the province or the country to see the people who were once just down the road. And that’s cool, that’s what happens - the friends you grew up with may put their roots down in your hometown or they may plant themselves on the other side of the world, that’s just sort of how it goes. Your cohort has leave to leave. And even though it’s alarming, it’s okay because the pioneers of your social world - your parents, the people your parents know and who you come to know, your friends’ parents, the people who have always been there back before you were even a thing - they are still here. So you can have Sunday dinners at home. Crash holiday get-togethers with your parents’ best friends. Run into your mom’s old coworkers or your dad’s old classmates. When your best friend is in town, you can stop by their childhood home and catch up with their parents.

What will really be the shock is when you realize that these pioneers are pulling up for points distant - be that retiring and no longer occupying an office downtown or selling the house they’ve owned for 30 years are moving to a small town on an island somewhere. This is when all of a sudden the impermanence and transience of adult life takes center stage and you can’t help but marvel (and maybe worry) at the dance that finds downtown bereft of your parents or a familiar little house on a cul-de-sac vacated. My friend’s parents just sold their house and are moving to another province. It’s really weird to think that their family will lack a presence in this city, a presence that I’ve known for almost 20 years now. Their house, which always smelled like fresh baking and cleaning supplies, was where it all happened. From 16 on, my friends and I took over that house on Friday nights, during Christmas break, spent summer afternoons lazing about in the backyard drinking Slurpees and telling stories. That house was where I met my best friend, where we told each other fortunes with playing cards, developed a deep appreciation for Savage Garden, tried to figure out what it all meant, negotiated our ever-changing friendship, made plans for the future. I doubt I’ll ever be able to set foot inside that house again. Regardless of who lives there, to me it will always be the immaculate home that had fresh baked bread cooling in the kitchen and where everything just happened.

I will never forget the list of important phone numbers taped to the inside of a kitchen cupboard door, either. I hope they have one in their new house.