Holland (February 2011)
Diane Smith visits Zellers Family Restaurant every day. It is a place she has been going for the past twenty years. She just got her hair done, wore a matching pearl necklace and bracelet, yet her eyes looked weary.
The restaurant is quaint and outdated, as if untouched from the ‘80s; with regulars filling up their usual spots, wallpaper peeling off in places, coffee stains ingrained on the tables. The waitress greeted Diane by name and instinctively brought her coffee. This is the one place where she can escape her often hectic reality, and it is closing this December. Her escape will soon be gone.
“Coming here is a stress reliever; I come every day and always see people I know. It is a comfort to me. I don’t know where I’m going to go now.”
Diane Smith is a 72-year-old widow. Three of her four sons still live at home. The three all have Fragile X, a genetic syndrome that is the most common form of autism. They are no longer children; Michael is 48, Jamie is 36, and Cory is 34.
“It has been a challenge. Nagging them all the time does no good. I constantly have to watch them. Last night Cory was brought home by the police for being in the park after hours.”
Diane has had to deal with fighting Cory’s $6,000 phone bill; Jamie’s tendencies of hoarding stuffed animals, dolls and records; multiple incidents involving the police; and bullies who egg their house and harass the boys at home.
(Exercise: Describe a setting where you’ve never been before.)
The exterior of the nightclub was as ugly as I’d imagined.
As my friends approached the line, I lagged behind, trying to mask my contempt for everyone in my view. The bouncer annoyed me instantly, acting like the gatekeeper to some sort of wild west portal. He wore a cowboy hat that was big and off-yellow, probably a steal from The Dollar Store or a souvenir from some glorious Texas trip or something. He was old and greasy looking, abnormally tanned for September, wore scuffed cowboy boots and a black T-shirt with the ugly ‘Ranch’ logo on it. He tucked his shirt into his jeans, revealing the slight outline of a beer belly. I swear all that was missing was a piece of straw hanging from his mouth.
The people waiting weren’t much better. The girls were applying lip gloss every few seconds as they moved up the line, legs bending awkwardly from their heels. The guys seemed to be in packs, and were dressed in button up plaid shirts – hair gelled and perfected, eyes blazing with anticipation. I shuttered with dread.
That bastard door guy better let me in.
I’m obsessed with the American election.
As a Canadian, I will forever use the excuse: “What happens to them affects me too!” in justifying my degree of dedication; but deep down, I just love the blood sport aspect.
I’ve never been a huge sports fan. Never had one team that I’m committed to cheering for. Never felt the need to spend money on jerseys, or boast about ‘my team’.
But with this election I am starting to understand that level of devotion.
This is a contest.
One with two competitors so different that each side feels they are the best. The answer to America’s problems – the white (or black) knight everyone needs.
Okay, I’m getting a bit dramatic. But I do know what I’m talking about.
I’ve seen every debate, monitored tweets, read every newspaper article (well, most), religiously watch Bill Maher; SNL; The Daily Show, subscribe to multiple news apps, follow the polls etc.
… and it’s all over in 17 days.
One Night Stand
“Why don’t you come back to my place?”
I met Marc just hours earlier, and somehow I found my lips interlocked with his as we strolled toward the sky train.
I was in Vancouver on business. It was my last night, and on a whim I decided to go to Stanley Park for a free concert. There I was, swaying to the beat of Snow Patrol, when I saw him. Well, saw the back of him. His mane of honey blonde hair seemed to gleam in the night sky, the way he smiled, that leather jacket; I was entranced.
“Great band huh?” I shot him my best smile as I stood next to him at the bar. Please don’t be gay. Please don’t notice the mountainous pimple on my chin.
“Sure is, you want a drink?” He smiled back, his voice warm and deep.
That was all it took. We danced, we drank, we kissed. We had instant chemistry. Marc did something for film, although I can’t remember what exactly. He was 27, liked hockey, never married. Normally I would be extremely skeptical- offended even, if a man asked me to stay over after just meeting, but there was something about Marc that was hard to resist.
“Sure, let’s go.”
“How many times have you tried to talk to someone about something that matters to you, tried to get them to see it the way you do? And how many of those times have ended with you feeling bitter, resenting them for making you feel like your pain doesn’t have any substance after all?
Like when you’ve split up with someone, and you try to communicate the way you feel, because you need to say the words, need to feel that somebody understands just how pissed off and frightened you feel. The problem is, they never do. “Plenty more fish in the sea,” they’ll say, or “You’re better off without them,” or “Do you want some of these potato chips?” They never really understand, because they haven’t been there, every day, every hour. They don’t know the way things have been, the way that it’s made you, the way it has structured your world. They’ll never realise that someone who makes you feel bad may be the person you need most in the world. They don’t understand the history, the background, don’t know the pillars of memory that hold you up. Ultimately, they don’t know you well enough, and they never can. Everyone’s alone in their world, because everybody’s life is different. You can send people letters, and show them photos, but they can never come to visit where you live.
Unless you love them. And then they can burn it down.”
– Michael Marshall Smith, Only Forward
So who doesn’t recognize this girl?
For anyone who doesn’t know her, Jenna Marbles is an internet sensation – (or “star” might be a better word) with 4,300,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her first video “How to Trick People into Thinking Your Good Looking” has had 45 million hits.
I wouldn’t say I have great style or anything.
But I’m interested in fashion, and can admire what other people wear. I like fashion from Sweden in particular, so here are a few pictures from one of my favourite bloggers, Natalie Holmstrom. (www.hakunamatatablog.com)
I love that leather jacket, cheetah purse and Jeffrey Campbell boots – looks great for a night out.