Click through to experience
new uncensored adventures
in creative living.
Come read the
or dive right in and
“There’s a fire starting…”
The last snooze timed out and Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ jolted me out of doze mode. The beat found me under the covers and grabbed me by the foot. Next thing I knew I was rocking out an impromptu Rolling Stone photo shoot. I went for it with full-on Lindsay Lohan abandon – sheets flying back arching hair tossing lips pouting hands on hips…etc. For my glorious finale I swept back my hair, flashed a dashing smile to the invisible camera, and swung my legs (toes pointed) gracefully over the side of the bed – my left ankle bone lining up perfectly with the corner of the bedside table…
<SMACK>”… you played it to the beat…”
I spent the last few bars of the song curled up in fetal position nursing my injury. Thank you Monday, thank you very much.
What do you do when Monday steals your glamour? You take it back! When I got to work I found Adele’s song online, shut my office door, and proceeded to rock out hard core, with full-on Cymbria abandon – arms flailing hips swinging hair flying knees bobbing face grinning…etc. Even tethered to the computer by headphones, I gave it my all. Was anyone watching from behind the half-closed retirement home blinds outside my window? Who cares! You know what, I hope they were watching! And I hope they felt my joy. We only get one life, may as well live it dancing!
Oh the shame. I know we all do it. It’s natural, oh so satisfying, and perfectly healthy. But I managed to go eight long years before my husband ever caught me in the act. I could have sworn I heard the door shut after him on his way to work. I was so sure I was alone…
Then the shower curtain tweaked open and there was his rosy cheeked face looking up at me all innocent and questioning, as if seeing me for the very first time…
“Were you…?” he asked, his smile gleeful as he peeled back the last layer of his wife’s nakedness. “Were you really singing in the shower?”
“BE CAREFUL!” yelled an irate driver through his open passenger window, rolled down, I assume, for the express purpose of berating my curb-mate. The unlucky fellow had stepped into the crosswalk prematurely, trying to beat the light, and had nearly been mowed down at 7:50am on a Friday – what a way to start the weekend!
But the driver who balled him out was three cars behind the action. He had no reason to get involved, and I felt for the poor victim. Calgary drivers aren’t so careful themselves, and I’ve reamed out more than a few while hiking this concrete jungle. But while it’s easy to slink away unknown in your glassed-in Cavalier, it’s much harder to keep your head up when you have to walk down the street step-in-step with the witness to your humiliation.
He was a small man, with scuffed shoes and a shabby, beat-up briefcase. His shoulders slumped down further after the attack. He hung his head as we crossed the street together. My heart went out to him and I tried to think of something to say to ease his embarrassment. But, really, what can you say?
So instead, I did something. I gave him a knowing half-smile, then made a jaywalker’s mad dash across all four lanes of 7th Avenue.
There are many ways to let a man know that he is not alone.
Life can be so random. During a solo noodle lunch earlier this fall, I got caught engineering something odd, yet eminently practical, out of a bent wire condiment caddy and a Robert Ludlum paperback. My audience, an Über groomed businessman two tables over, was endlessly amused. I went on to tell him about a similar invention of mine involving corrugated plastic. His face went bright red with excitement at the ludicrously low material cost per unit. Plans were made, and I spent the next month perfecting and prototyping my design. Long story short, I found out the fellow’s company had filed for bankruptcy under some extremely shady circumstances – a mere two weeks after our meeting!
This summer’s blog hiatus taught me many things about life (a subject I still know embarrassingly little about), the above fiasco being only one of countless adventures. In our over-documented lives, we have little opportunity to go off the radar and explore our deeper selves without an audience. What with Facebook and cellphones, blogs and Twitter, we risk sacrificing these precious spirit quests in favour of availability, so easily misconstrued as accountability. I come back to you rested, dear readers, and inspired. I have passed the 200 page mark on my most recent novel project, and am pursuing a patent on my corrugated design independently, on my own terms. But more importantly, these few undocumented months have awakened me to certain inexpressible truths about love and the need for honesty when it comes to honouring our deepest selves.
“Are you OK?” my husband asked, when I told him about the bankruptcy.
I sighed. “Yah. But it’s weird, I’m not half as upset as I thought I’d be.”
As he wrapped his strong bear arms around me, and I lost myself in the warmth of his hug, I knew why.
I remember the exact moment I discovered wisdom. Do you? I was thirteen years old, riding the city bus down Bank Street, back in Ottawa. Where were you? The bus stopped for a red light at Gladstone, and I watched through the window as an elderly man gave the fabric of his pant legs – just above both knees – a small tug before bending down to pick up a dropped something in a gas station parking lot. For curiosities sake, I tried it out for myself that afternoon. Sure enough, the extra slack turned out to be a revelation. It was a humbling moment. There on my knees, I was forced to admit how little I really knew about life.
“Is this a stop?” I called out politely after an unsuccessful battle with the bus’ back doors. No one answered. I was sure I’d seen my bus # on the sign right outside the window – and the bus had bloody well stopped, hadn’t it!?
Maybe I was just asking too much from a Monday… for one (just one) of my fellow ‘civilized’ public transit customers to come forward with a word of help for one of their own. I know this is the start of the week; and I know Mondays come with their own set of rules, but…
As the bus pulled away from the curb, a man, two shoulders down, finally spoke. “Looks like you missed your stop,” he said.
Be proud of me, dear readers… I let him live.
But just like Calgary’s weather, its people are prone to Chinooks. My faith in humanity was restored five city blocks later when a woman opened a door for me, then held it for that extra glorious ½ second that takes a gesture straight from courtesy to comfort.
Yes, all was peaches and cream until I came face to face with The Sun’s Front Page. Why, Calgary, why? Can’t a girl make it to her desk without being forced to stare into the soul-dead eyes of a man tortured, beaten, and starved almost to death by his trusted roommate? Or should I simply appreciate the fact that his abuser – with a generosity similar to my own – ‘let him live’?