With or Without Me?

Verdict’s in . . . without me 😦

Yes, tickets for U2 go on sale in a matter of moments and I’m not going to try to get any. I just don’t see how I can swing a trip west this year with moving and university. So Taia, you can officially fold up the roll-away cot, it seems like another year might pass without a visit.

I took a long sobering look at my financial situation and made some hard decisions. My move has to be my top focus, followed by courses . . . then travel. But things have a way of working out for the best, so maybe money will appear and I’ll still get to take a trip to Toronto, maybe to Harbourfront Festival of Authors or International Film Festival or something fun like that.

I found out yesterday that Mama Mia is closing in May. I always wanted to see that, always swore I would drop everything and go if it was going to close . . . but I can’t do that either right now.

Things will come around once I’m moved; the bugger is getting there with first and last, utility deposits, etc. Once I’m settled things will be better financially. I’ve already got great ideas for making extra cash to help out with things like trips.

Anyway, I’m very optimistic and not at all depressed about any of this. Life is good.

Yesterday I met with my writer girlfriends and we had a good session. So today my batteries are fully charged and I’m raring to go! That’s the great thing about taking the time to meet with them, not only does it help to keep me motivated personally with my novel and other creative writing, but it gives me great motivation and energy toward all aspects of my life — BnM, working out, house chores and whatever else — All of it! It’s a good buzz to have and I confess I’m still carrying around a bit of a buzz off the Fredericton reading last week. We’re going to try and meet again this week on Thursday; apparently Friday is Good Friday, which means Easter has snuck right up on me.

Mood: Electrified
Drinking: Coffee, perked with cream
Listening To: Eminem, Toy Soldiers
Hair: Gnarly

The Walk of Life

What a great day! I swear spring came today. The sun was shining in my window while I worked this morning, blinding me in a way it hasn’t for many months. When Nick and I were outside today my boots made a sucking sound in the mud and he couldn’t climb the snowbanks because they fell away under his feet. People walked their dogs past the house wearing pastel coloured jackets and running shoes. At 7 this evening it still wasn’t dark. I didn’t need my scarf and mittens.

What a great day!

And the best part . . . the absolute best part of this entire day for me . . .

Temperatures soared in the above range and I’m still walking, pain-free. For me, this is a really big fat hairy deal! The season is getting ready to change and one of these days I’m going to find myself struggling, that’s just the way it is, the nature of the disease . . . but today was an absolutely beautiful spring day and I danced around the kitchen as I cooked supper, went walking on the treadmill, walking outside . . . I walk and I walk . . . and you better believe I appreciate every moment.

Mood: Peaceful
Drinking: Merlot (but only one glass, I’m not medicating)
Listening To: Tiny Dancer, Elton John
Hair: Pass the burritto and call me Ozzy!

Shall I Dismantle an Atomic Bomb?

A few years ago I went to a psychic and got a reading. I’ve gone to a few psychics before, but this one really seemed to know his stuff. Every now and then I take a look at my notes from that reading to see if anything else he predicted has come true (yes, lots of stuff has come true!) or where I am now in relation to that reading. I should probably go get it done again because it has been a few years. Anyway, one of the things he stressed with me was that I need to pay attention to my dreams. I know, that’s a common thing for psychics to say but we discussed it in more detail than that with special regard to my writing and so on. Last night I read over my notes and was reminded that I really haven’t been paying much attention to my dreams lately. At the time he gave me an affirmation to repeat every night before going to sleep — “My dreams are vivid and I remember every detail. I understand the meaning of my dreams.”

Last night I said this affirmation for the first time in a very long time. I went to sleep and I dreamed.

I dreamed Stacy and I went to Toronto to see U2. It was exciting! I didn’t actually get to see any of the city in my dream though, didn’t get to see anyone I know. The dream started outside the venue for the event. We were lined up with a bunch of other people waiting to get in. The doors opened and we were ushered into a stairwell to continue to wait. I could see my breath, the air was damp. There weren’t that many of us waiting, maybe 20 people, but security was tight with gates and big no-nonsense guards. There were many entrances to the place and we had picked an obscure one in hopes of getting closer to the show.

The guards lowered the gates and we ran in the door to jockey for a good spot. Stacy and I broke away from the pack and led the way down a long hallway, the first to turn the corner and enter the room where they would perform. I skidded to a stop, shocked by the size of the place. It wasn’t any bigger than a small conference room in a hotel with seating for maybe a hundred people. There was no stage but an area of the floor had been left clear and a single chrome microphone stand stood there without any amp, speakers, drums, guitars, signage . . . nothing to indicate that a performance was forthcoming. The stage area of the floor was roped off with thin yellow rope tied to orange cones. There were a few round tables set up for dinner surrounding the roped off area and then some chairs lined up like for a high school play. The tables were reserved for VIP ticket holders. I checked our tickets and saw they said “Standing Room Only.”

Behind the stage area of the floor was a doorway covered with a velvet burgundy coloured curtain. The curtain heaved like it was sighing, breathing in and out on a gentle breeze. Stacy and I positioned ourselves at the rope straining to be as close to the microphone as possible. The other people we had waited outside with took their seats at the tables, in the chairs or standing beside us. Nobody else came in, there were no other groups waiting at other entrances. This excited me because if nobody else came we’d not only have the best view but chances were pretty good we’d all get to chat with the band and get autographs and everything before the evening was over.

The curtain sighed and I saw that the doorway opened onto a little room. Bono was pacing, talking to the Edge who was sitting on a stone bench. I couldn’t believe they were really there! And so close I could say hello if I wanted. I was starting to freak out from the excitement and anticipation of the whole thing. I looked around the room and there were only about a dozen of us waiting for the show. Some people had left because it wasn’t turning out to be what they had anticipated.

At precisely 7pm according to the silver digital watch on my wrist, Bono parted the curtain and entered the room. Edge stayed on the bench. Bono walked over to us, by this time there were only about six of us standing by the rope. He walked up to us and said he was sorry but the show was cancelled due to a lack of interest. “But no!” I said. “We came all this way!”

The Bono in my dream was not at all like what I imagine Bono to be like in real life . . . I mean with all of his humanitarian efforts and the lyrics he writes, all the interviews I’ve seen, all the articles I’ve read . . . nothing prepared me for this Bono. He looked like Bono mind you, but he didn’t act like any Bono I’ve ever heard tell of anywhere . . . although he was upset too that hardly anyone showed up for the show.

The six of us begged and pleaded, just a few songs, PLEASE!! But he was having none of it. They weren’t going to play for free to an audience of six, the rest of the band had already gone back to the hotel, the show was over and we had to leave. He turned and started to walk away. I reached out and grabbed his leather jacket on the arm. He turned back to me shaking my hand from his sleeve. “What now!?” he demanded. I told him he didn’t understand, we had flown all the way in from New Brunswick just to see U2 perform. He shrugged and said that wasn’t his problem. Everyone had left by then, it was just me and Stacy and Bono standing in an empty conference room . . . and I wouldn’t give up. “But do you know where New Brunswick is?” I asked. “It’s really far, and I came all this way spent all this money that I could’ve used for so many other things, just so I could see you guys.” But he wouldn’t budge . . . and he wasn’t very sympathetic. He had come a long way too, he said, and now he wouldn’t be paid.

As I creeped to consciousness my argument with Bono continued, even Stacy left. He couldn’t see my side, could only think of his own interests. It was very odd . . . and not at all realistic.

But having this dream on the night when I affirmed that my dreams would be vivid and I would understand them, after reading the psychic’s notes and knowing I’m supposed to pay attention to my dreams . . . it got me thinking . . . maybe I’m not supposed to go to Toronto to see U2. Maybe it’s going to be cancelled and I’ll be out money that I can’t really afford to be out. Because I’ll have to book flights . . . and getting out of flights, getting a refund on airfare, is pretty much impossible when you’re taking the cheapest route. As anyone who knows me knows, I am a big believer in the power of the universe . . . I see signs and I listen to them . . . I try not to enforce my own will, because it’s impossible anyway, nothing will work out like you plan if the power of the universe wants something else to happen. Things will just get screwed up if you don’t listen and try to mess with the plan. I learned this lesson the hard way, but I know it to be true now.

Tickets go on sale this weekend, and now I don’t know what to do. How important is this concert to me in the great scheme of things when I’m looking at a new apartment next month and more travel in general within the province . . . yet no anticipated increase in income? Maybe it’s unrealistic to plan this trip? Maybe this dream is the sign and I need to listen?

Mood: Uncertain
Drinking: the scent of a feng shui candle (metal)
Listening To: Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Clash
Hair: This is an interesting new look for me — the high ponytail on the left side of my head only, rather than centred. Hmmm . . . I don’t think I’d wear it out in public.

How to Marry a Man in a Small Town

I’m trying to get some work done on my novel so I’ll have something to workshop on Friday with the girls. For anyone who isn’t familiar with it, the novel is written in the third person and focuses on the life of a man named Callum. Callum is not having the greatest life so far, there’s a lot of stuff happening to him. There are several female secondary characters who are all very different from one another, yet they’re all playing the same role (girlfriend) in Callum’s life. Making each of these women stand out and be unique can be somewhat challenging, so I thought I would experiment by writing in the first person as each of my female characters. If they were interviewed or if they had to write an essay on their views of the world, what would they have to say? This has been really helpful in developing each of their characters and some of the results have been surprising to say the least. Take the character of Shannon for example. I thought she was a very sweet girl, a little thick maybe, but overall kind and sweet. It turns out she’s a bit more manipulative than I first thought. Here’s one of her monologues that I call “How to Marry a Man in a Small Town.” Keep in mind these are Shannon’s thoughts, not mine. And this piece is the equivalent of background research, it won’t appear in the novel.

How to Marry a Man in a Small Town

It’s hard to find a decent man around here. All the single ones — well, let’s just say they’re single for a reason. They’re jerks, running from woman to woman. They’ll never amount to anything. The decent ones are all married. Trouble is everyone knows that and there’s not enough to go around, so you gotta be quick, you gotta stay on top of the situation.

As soon as you hear a marriage might be in trouble, you’ve got to make yourself known. It’s an art form really. You don’t want to go after the guy who’s gonna get taken to the cleaners, you want the one who’s gonna be left with the house — but not the kids! Kids are trouble. They’ll bust up your plans every time. And you can’t be the first after the wife leaves cuz they never keep that one and you want to be a keeper.

Maybe it’s more like a science than an art. Yeah, I could write a book on it.

You hear rumours about something; maybe the wife is stepping out or talking unhappiness to the hairdresser. Maybe the man is on the prowl — you gotta watch that though. It’s okay if he was a stand-up guy all along and this is a new thing, but not okay if he’s been cheating on his wife the whole time, cuz you better believe it he’ll cheat on you too. It’s a total waste of your time to go after the ones that could never keep their hands off another woman. But the one’s that have been quiet, that you haven’t heard a peep about in years, but now they’re stepping out all of a sudden — that’s a big heads up. He’s unhappy. That marriage is in trouble.

Okay, so you figure a marriage is gonna go bust but it hasn’t yet, you gotta let your presence be known. Some eye contact in the grocery. A “Hi there! Hello!” at the post office. A little brush by at the gas station. Nothing outrageous, subtle stuff, but you got to be consistent and keep it up so he doesn’t forget who you are.

It can take a long time for a marriage to split or it can go boom in the night. You gotta be ready and you gotta be patient. When it happens, you make a move — but not the BIG move.

Chances are in the beginning he’ll fall to pieces. He’ll start showing up at all the dances drunk and crazed to find someone to fuck. He might even chase after you, but you gotta hold back and bide your time. Now’s the time to build a rapport, a little sympathetic ear and hand patting, but nothing more and not too much. Spend no more than 10 minutes with him at a dance. Let the other girls have at him. Don’t worry there’ll be other girls, they’ll be out in droves throwing themselves at him. Let him fuck a few of them, have a good time and work through that eye-for-an-eye revenge and anger macho shit.

Wait at least three months to see if the wife is going to come back, if there’ll be some sort of temporary reconciliation, if it’s the real deal or a practise run. Just build rapport but don’t make the mistake of becoming his friend, that’ll kill the deal. A rapport, but still a mysterious unknown. That’s okay.

Keep this up until he gets a girlfriend. He’ll get one pretty quick. They always do unless they’re complete losers, in which case you don’t want to waste your time with him anyway. Let him have his girlfriend, but keep your rapport going. Don’t panic, stay calm even if the girlfriend sticks around a couple of months or longer. Don’t doubt yourself. Bide your time.

When he breaks up with that first girlfriend get ready to hustle. That’s when the game is on because the next girlfriend will be a keeper and you want to be that girl. He won’t fall to pieces this time because he never really cared about that girl anyway, but chances are that he’ll still be hurting about the wife. You really have to gauge the situation here. If he’s raring to go, let him fuck another girl or two. But if he seems tired, like he’s holding back, then it’s time to pounce.

Seduce him. Show him bits of your mysterious self but be sure to keep something hidden. Let him come after you, encourage it but still play a bit hard to get. Before you know it, you’ll be the girlfriend and then the wife. You’ll have the house and the guy. Game over, and he’s none the wiser, thinks he was in control the whole time.

That’s my theory anyway. It was still in development when I met Callum though. That was my major mistake. I was the first girlfriend.

— Shannon

Mood: Playful
Drinking: Coffee, perked and black
Listening To: Bad Habits, The Monks
Hair: Got2b my best friend

Hair Today . . . What Tomorrow?

I’m getting bored with my hair. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been growing my hair out for a couple of years now. I’ve always had short hairstyles, since I first got it cut short in the second grade. Changing my styles and colours has always been fun for me . . . but now I’ve gone longer and I’m bored. You can’t do as many fun things with longer styles it doesn’t seem. Even if I dye it some freaky colour . . . what will I do with it? It’ll just hang there like always or else get pulled back into a God-awful ponytail. Blah!

The last time I got my ends trimmed I mentioned to the hairdresser that I was thinking of doing something drastic like getting a super short spiky pixie cut again. She was horrified, “But you’ve put so much work into going long! And now you’ve got it beat!” I confess I just don’t get the long hair thing, I never have. Everyone I’ve ever known always looks better in shorter styles . . . yet, many girls (and most guys in particular) seem to really dig longer locks. What’s up with that?

In the beginning I decided to let my hair grow because I’m not getting any younger and I think after a certain age women can’t carry off the long styles very well. So, I figured if I was ever going to experiment, I’d better get started. I had no idea how long it might take to get even shoulder length hair. I’m a little bit below my shoulder now and it’s been probably close to three years.

My hairdresser is right though, I’ve got the awkward part of growing your hair out beat . . . but the trouble is I don’t know what to do with it now as we continue on down to the small of my back. Without going drastically short and just tossing all these years of work away, what can I do to spruce up the old do and loosen up the boredom? Any suggestions for styles or colours or hair accessories or . . . ANYTHING?

Comment please.

Mood: Heavy-Lidded
Drinking: Just finished off half a bottle of cheap Chilean Merlot
Listening To: Apatrullando la Ciudad, El Fary
Hair: Stringy

Have Mercy!

It’s funny how memory is connected to your senses, how certain smells remind you of certain things, how certain songs transport you back in time. I’m sitting here listening to tunes and on comes an oldie but a goodie from the 80’s. You would think this song would take me back to my youth, the days of the rebel teenager, but it doesn’t.

Instead I see myself in my early 20’s in the early 90’s, sitting in front of the console in the on-air booth at the old CFAN building overlooking the Sobey’s parking lot. It’s midnight and I’ve just gone on for the overnight shift. The station manager is a bit of a sexist pig. He has certain ideas about what voices work best at what times and he has decided that a female voice is exactly the thing the night shift at the mill will find enticing. But I’m not impressed with this discrimination so I’m not talking much.

The good thing is that I get to play pretty much any song I feel like during this time of the day because I don’t need to worry about Canadian content ratios or getting some God-fearing religious freak’s prayer beads in a knot. This is when I can play Zeppelin or AC/DC and get away with it. I like to put in Stairway to Heaven so I can enjoy a nice long smoke in the bathroom down the hall.

People are always calling the station to find out the weather forecast or the tide times and sometimes to request a song. There’s a guy who calls every night to request the same song. His name is Darren and he works at one of the 24-hour service stations in town.

Darren has lady problems. He has a daughter with a girl but they broke up and she’s taken his kid to Moncton to live with her. His ex really seems like a bitch to me. He’s devastated by the whole thing because he loves his kid so much. The sun rises and sets on her. He’s confused and doesn’t know what to do. Thinks he might fight for full custody.

Every night he calls and we talk for hours about our lives. We talk until 5:30 when the morning ride to work male voice arrives. It’s kind of weird sharing all these conversations with a guy I don’t really know and have never met in person, but it’s kind of nice to have a friend too. My boyfriend is jealous of this friendship. He doesn’t see anything nice about it at all, just weirdness.

After weeks and weeks of talking everyday, Darren, who gets off work at the same time in the morning as I do, would like to drive me home, but I won’t let him. That would be crossing the line I think, because I do have a boyfriend. Still, I’m curious about him. I would like to meet him in person. As the months go by things are not going so great with my boyfriend and I’m becoming even more curious about my telephone friend, but then the calls stop and I don’t know who he really is or where he’s gone.

I never find out.

I break up with the boyfriend, move away, move on with my life . . . and still every time I hear this song, I hear that voice on the phone and wonder where Darren is, what happened with his daughter, and if he ever got that girl he requested every night.


Listening To: Henry Lee Summer, Wish I Had a Girl

In the Name of Love

Last week U2 announced more North American tour dates. They’re coming to T.O. in September for two concerts at the Air Canada Centre!! They’re also coming to Montreal and Ottawa in November . . . but I’d much rather go to Toronto. Tickets go on sale March 19th. Only $50.75 for general admission (floor). I checked air fare and it’s only $310 return out of Moncton. Sooooo . . . I think I’m heading back to the T dot this fall!! How exciting is that?!

I’m really hoping I can swing it. Stacy is not a big U2 fan . . . well, she’s just not familiar with their music. I think she could be a fan, if she tried harder. Anyway, she’s up for any sort of a road trip that takes us to our favourite city and old stomping grounds, so perhaps she’ll come with me.

I don’t know whether I’ll do a drive-by in the old neighborhood or not. I have this superstitiousness about that place. Like if I get too close I’ll get stuck. I know it’s irrational . . . I think it’s more to do with Kevin than the neighborhood. The last time we saw each other he wanted to move to NB, get married and start a family. I didn’t handle that situation very well at all, I was still M’s girlfriend but I was getting close to R and ready to leave M. Kevin just complicated things further, so we didn’t leave it on very good terms. I don’t know if I could handle seeing him and having him hate me . . . or worse, still love me. Yeah, that would be bad. Thank God I no longer need to create drama in my life to keep myself from dying of boredom! Things are so much less complicated now.

Mood: Chipper
Drinking: Diet Pepsi
Listening To: poor you, beat & path
Hair: Very straight, sleek and shiny