Friday, December 19, 2008

"Knowledgeable Sales Assistance" *

Several weeks ago my mobile phone contract reached two years of age. I immediately received an email from declaring that my account was eligible for an upgrade. The email was frantically urging me to buy a new phone at a reduced price and to return my old phone for a paltry sum. I was pretty excited over the idea of a new phone, but not too eager to pay any money for it. I spent my days daydreaming about a fancy new phone, and I spent my nights nightmaring about paying for it.

I decided that my phone was good enough, and that I didn't need a new one. My phone *is* pretty good. It works perfectly, it keeps a good charge, and it does everything I want and even a bunch of stuff I couldn't care less about and never use. Still, it was hard to fight the urge to buy a new phone because the call of new gadgets notwithstanding, called me twice and emailed me twice more, and sent me a letter all within a three week period. It was hard not to think about new phones. Eventually I put the idea of a new phone so far out of my mind that I made it two weeks without thinking about it even once.... and then my internet went out.

I called Sasktel, and they said they thought my modem had died. They gave me a choice of waiting all day for a repairman or driving 5 blocks to a store to pick up a new router on my own. I opted to pick up my own router and within minutes I was in line at the store.

While I was waiting I looked at their phone demos and I saw a beautiful phone, the LG Reveal. Not only does the outside look great, but it opens up to a qwerty keyboard and a big screen on the inside. It was pretty and geeky at the same time - just like me. Suddenly I wanted a new phone again. I asked the girl at the counter and she apologized and said the demo had just arrived, and they really didn't know anything about it yet, including when they were coming in.

The LG Reveal: pretty and geeky
at the same time, just like Sarah.

I went straight home so I could look up information about it. Unfortunately the new router did not fix my internet so I had to wait a couple days before everything was working again. When I could, I looked up the specs. Except for the silly 2.5mm headphone jack I liked everything about the phone. I called to see if anyone knew yet when would be in. Nobody did. I asked what price it would be. Nobody knew.

A week or so later I checked the website to see if the phone was listed. It was! There was also a banner ad saying that it was on sale for $0 if purchased before December 31st. I drove down to the store only to find out that it wasn't in yet, and still nobody knew when.

This morning I checked the website again. This time it was there and it even said it was "available now". I didn't want to waste another trip, so I called to make sure it really was there before heading down. The woman on the phone said that they had some of the black model in stock. I don't want black though, I want purple. I asked her a series of questions, and received terrible answers in return.

I said, "Do you know when the purple one is coming in?"
The woman said, "Oh, we don't know."

I said, "Do you think it will be in before Christmas?"
The woman said, "Very doubtful."

"By the end of the month though for sure right?"
"Cannot predict now."

"If it comes in after the sale is over, can I still get the sale price?"
"Ask again later."

"...Ok, is there anyone else I can speak to who might know something?"
"My sources say no."

"I feel like I'd get better information from a Magic 8 Ball."
"Signs point to yes."

Ok, I admit it, I re-worded some of her answers to make a joke, but I didn't strip them of any information. She was exactly that vague and non-committal. One thing that she said didn't need to be converted to a joke was right at the end of the conversation. I asked if they even knew if they are even going to carry the purple model. She replied, "Yes, we are going to carry it, but I doubt they'd be in within one or two weeks. Probably more like the end of December."

Sorry lady, but two weeks from now is January 2nd.

Maybe she means next December.

* From the website: "Our service strategy is to provide our customers with prompt, knowledgeable sales assistance and enthusiastic service"

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I have mentioned before that I am on a couple dating sites. I like to spend some time chatting with new people who may be interested in me romantically. Sometimes the conversations are quite fun. A few rare times they are very offensive. Most of the time though they are repeats of the same conversation I've already had many times. On dating sites people tend to greet you the same way, make the same comments, ask the same questions. I feel like I should keep a record of my responses so I can just paste them in, instead of having to always type them out for each successive person. Today I received a message from a man who said something that is not unusual for people to say. He, and others who say it, mean it to be complimentary, but for some reason I don't take it that way. I'm probably going to sound awful here, but believe it or not I get offended when people thank me for my honesty.

My dating site profile is titled "Saskatoon Transgender Woman". In the 'About me' section I again specifically state that I am a transgender woman. I do it that way because many men are not willing to date a transsexual, and I know this. I believe my profile will weed out those men who may otherwise contact me, and reduce the chance of having a great conversation with a nice man turn sour when he discovers I am a transsexual. In short, I announce that I am a transsexual for two reasons: 1) So I don't have to waste time talking to men who are not interested in transsexuals, and 2) So I don't have to feel the rejection I'd feel when someone almost invariably refuses to reply after discovering I am not 100% female.

It is this declaration of transsexuality that people commend me for. Many times people have messaged me with good intentions, but not romantic intentions. They simply want to want to thank me for my honesty in stating that I am a transsexual on my profile. I don't think they realize that their good intentions are actually hurtful to me. I feel like they are thanking me for not wasting their time. Maybe one or two times it isn't so bad, but after many people have thanked me in this way and then never spoken to me again I feel like I've actually been thanked for saving them from me. Quite honestly, their messages feel like they are saying, "Whew, thanks! I almost asked you out!!"
"I commend your honesty in revealing that you are a Canadian."

If I could give any advice to anyone it would be to consider transsexuality just another attribute alongside such dating site staples as nationality, hair colour, or religion. If you think the message, 'I commend your honesty in revealing you are a transsexual' sounds like a perfectly acceptable sentiment, then try replacing 'transsexual' with any of my other attributes: 'Canadian', 'blonde', or 'radical atheist'. If someone did say 'I commend your honesty in revealing you are a Canadian' then how would a Canadian feel hearing it? Clearly the speaker perceives something is undesirable about Canadians, and the Canadian would not appreciate the comment at all. Hopefully this comparison shows how condescending and upsetting the sentiment becomes.

In addition, whenever I am thanked for my honesty in this way I am also left with the question of what it makes me if I do not reveal my transsexuality. If it is commendable to tell people I am a transsexual, then is it deplorable if I do not? Would this same person commending my honesty feel that I have become dishonest should I edit the word transsexual off my profile? Does it make me a liar to wait until I know someone a bit more before I tell him?
If so, then I've been a liar many times over.

I haven't always had such an open profile. I once thought it best to tell people after I've had some time to get to know them. As a result I've actually been told many times that because it is a dating site, I OWE it to people to tell them. These people believe that transsexuals must adhere to a strict policy of full disclosure, and believe that we are being deceitful if we do not tell them right away. I think that is ridiculous because the intent isn't to protect the transsexual woman from potentially angry reactions, it is to spare some men from embarrassment over his attraction to her.

The notion that I owe it to people to tell them upsets me. Should I not still have the option to reveal private parts of my life when and to whom I see fit? What should I do in real-life situations? Believe it or not I have been asked out by regular men thinking I'm a regular woman. Would such a man be within his rights to be upset with me for not somehow having advertised my genital status ahead of time? Even if he isn't one to be upset over transsexuals, do I owe it to him to tell him before he asks me out for coffee?

It reminds me of one time I was at Diva's (a gay bar) hanging out with some transsexual friends. Some guy had spent the night lingering in the background staring at me, and when I went to buy a drink he was quick to offer to pay for it. As it turned out the bartender didn't give me the choice to turn him down. The bartender, too busy to worry about it, took the man's money and moved on to the next customer. As I walked back to my table the man asked me what I was doing with the 'fucking trannies'. When I told him that I was one of them he was disgusted with me and didn't come near me again all night. So he saw a woman hanging out with transsexual women in a gay bar, and was still upset that he didn't know I was a transsexual too. Short of wearing a placard or taking off my skirt I don't know how else to have conveyed to him my transsexual status.

As a transsexual woman I think it is a good idea to make sure any man I go out with knows ahead of time that I am a transsexual. It is a decision based on preserving my safety and to protect my self-esteem, not to preserve the black and white sexuality that some men believe in. My profile says I am a transsexual not to spare men from being exposed to me, but to weed out those men who would not be interested, and to avoid negative reactions that hurt my feelings. I advertise this fact about me only because I have chosen to, only because it serves my purposes. In no way do I owe this information to anyone I don't wish to have it. If you want to thank me, don't thank me for 'being honest' about a highly private detail of my life, thank me for gracing you with it.


I saw the trailer last night.

PS. Sorry I forgot the website I borrowed these pictures from.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Proposition 8 Wins...

Well, they took that step backward afterall. Did nobody down there read my blog? Sheesh. You always hear that California is the most liberal state but just over half of that place is in favour of discrimination, so I guess California is now just as backward as the rest of that country. Way to legalize discrimination California!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Proposition 8: Backwards Progress

Earlier this year the California Supreme Court narrowly voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriages. I applaud the California Supreme Court both for this decision, and by not allowing the issue to be settled by public opinion. Two weeks after the decision, public opinion reared it's ugly head and with over half a million petition signatures, Proposition 8 was added to the next general election ballot. Despite the title of this blog article, the actual title of Proposition 8 is "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry". Today is the day the Californian public decides.

I've been reading about advance polls of how people will vote, and the results are scaring me. In all of the polls the results have been very close. In fact in some polls the difference in the percentages of For and Against were less than the margin of error in calculating those numbers - meaning it could go either way. This is what upsets me. It might seem like a great idea to let democracy rule, but it is not okay to potentially vote away fairness and equality.

There are many voters who disagree with homosexuality based on their various personal bias and ignorance, and/or their religion inspired narrow mindedness and bigotry. These people will likely see a vote in favour of maintaining the right of same-sex couples to marry as a vote in favour of homosexuality. Such people will read the ballot as if they are literally voting on homosexuality.

In California homosexuality is not the issue on the ballot. The matter at hand is a matter of equality. It is about whether it is legal to restrict the right to marry for a subset of the population, while allowing everyone else to freely exercise that same right. The issue is simply about potentially making it legal to discriminate against a minority group.

Democracy is a great thing, but this is just not a matter that should be up to the lowest common denominator philosophy of the democratic treatment. People are often too biased to be relied upon to vote in the best interests of society. People are often too set-in-their-ways to vote towards progress. For issues of equality and human rights, democracy must be served by putting decisions in the hands of elected officials. This is what elected governments are for, to serve the public trust, to put the rights of all citizens first and foremost, and make the right decision for society - now and future.

In Canada we've gone through all this already, and I am proud to say we did the right thing. There were people at the time who wanted to use the "notwithstanding clause" of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to simply say that the rights of same-sex couples do not matter, but thankfully this did not come about. I give a lot of credit to Prime Minister Martin, who took a stand in favour of same-sex marriages. In a speech regarding Bill C-38 (The Civil Marriage Act) he said:

"We cannot exalt the Charter as a fundamental aspect of our national character and then use the notwithstanding clause to reject the protections that it would extend. Our rights must be eternal, not subject to political whim.

"To those who value the Charter yet oppose the protection of rights for same-sex couples, I ask you If a prime minister and a national government are willing to take away the rights of one group, what is to say they will stop at that? If the Charter is not there today to protect the rights of one minority, then how can we as a nation of minorities ever hope, ever believe, ever trust that it will be there to protect us tomorrow?

"My responsibility as Prime Minister, my duty to Canada and to Canadians, is to defend the Charter in its entirety. Not to pick and choose the rights that our laws shall protect and those that are to be ignored. Not to decree those who shall be equal and those who shall not.

"If we do not step forward, then we step back. If we do not protect a right, then we deny it. Mr. Speaker, together as a nation, together as Canadians Let us step forward."

I'm hoping that today the state of California doesn't take a huge step backward today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby Update!

It's only been a few posts since I last uploaded pictures of Baby, but it's actually been months already. He's looking a lot more like an adult bird than he did, so I thought I'd post a couple pictures of him from the first week, and some of him from now.

The first picture:May 1st.

Broccoli Face: May 3rd.

On swing eating miller: June 8th

Looking out the window: July 10th

Posing on his perch: July 10th

Sideways: Sept 3rd

Shaking off the water: Sept 3rd

Ketchup and Seed Feet: Sept 3rd

The 'she' in Yesheva

I believe that the trouble some transsexuals have being accepted by society has to do with people's (mis)conceptions about who we are. It seems that while most of us live an otherwise typical and average life, we are not the examples of transsexuality that people remember. There are some transsexuals out there that put forth a very different portrayal about what it means to be transgendered, a very over-the-top, absurd, Jerry-Springerlike portrayal. Unfortunately this is what people seem to think of when they hear the word transsexual. I think it makes it hard for transsexuals as a whole to gain mainstream societal acceptance.

For this reason I am usually very happy when I read a news story that involves a transsexual woman portraying us with some level of normality, especially when she is immersed in a traditional, conservative environment. It leaves me thinking that while at first her associates may be horrified, eventually her normality and humanity will win them over.

My friend Levin works at a Jewish university in New York where a male professor has just come back to work as a woman. Levin sent me an article in the New York Post that tells the story. You can go read it at the link above, but the basic outline goes like this:
  • A male professor named Jay gets tenure at conservative Jewish university
  • Jay takes a couple years off
  • Jay comes back as a female professor named Joy
  • Faculty is horrified, students don't care
  • Joy mentions unfinished memior with a convoluted and completely stereotypical transgender-oriented title. 'Inside Out: Confessions of a Woman Caught in the Act of Becoming'. Oh please.

Normally if I am reading an article about a transsexual, this is exactly the news story I would prefer to read. It has everything that I think is required for North Americans to better understand and accept transsexuals. It talks about a transsexual living an average lifestyle within a conservative environment. It seems to describe the perfect scenario where frightened conservative people will be exposed to the normality of transgendered people. It isn't that hard to project ahead and imagine that this currently horrified faculty will eventually think of Joy as nothing other than an average woman. All we transsexuals need to become fully accepted in society is for everyone to know/work with/heard of transsexuals that are just normal every day people and not at all how we are portrayed in sensationalist media.

"...massive violation of Torah law, Torah ethics and Torah morality."
- Rabbi Moshe Tendler

Still, this article didn't really make me feel good. It left me trying to be hopeful, but feeling like it is a tainted hope. I don't want to be pessimistic, but I can't help it. The problem is that while I believe people are capable of overcoming the insignificance of what it means to be transgendered, in this case we are not just dealing with people - we are also dealing with religion.

The article above quotes Rabbi Moshe Tendler talking about Joy: "[S]he's a person who represents a kind of amorality which runs counter to everything Yeshiva University stands for. There is just no leeway in Jewish law for a transsexual. There is no niche where [s]he can hide out as a female without being in massive violation of Torah law, Torah ethics and Torah morality." Please note I have corrected Moshe's incorrect pronoun use.

I am sure his comment is, pronoun use notwithstanding, correct. Even if he wasn't a rabbi at a rabbinical school, I've been informed via comments to this blog (all of which were unceremoniously deleted) of my own immorality based on religious standards many times over and I am sure that some of the commenters must have been Jewish. Even if none were, it doesn't really matter because those so zealous in any particular religion all have something in common, and that is either an outright inability to rationally think, or an overabundance of ability to suspend thought while indulging delusion (what they call faith).

I suppose what I just said can be hurtful to some, but that doesn't really bother me. I think what is more hurtful is to think about poor Joy who did nothing wrong, but will be subtly punished anyway during her time at a religious institution. Even if she is by all appearances treated with respect, she'll likely sense the disgust exuded by, and hear the words muttered by, at least some of her co-workers who will fervently believe she is immoral and unethical despite how well she lives her life.

I fully believe that the average conservative individual can overcome his or her misconceptions about transsexuals, and I fully believe that individual people can realize and admit when they are wrong, but religion never will.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Untitled Part II

This article describes the events of the last Saturday.
I've hesitated to post this blog article in case it makes me look like an ogre.
When I think back to it all, I sort of feel like I was an ogre, but then I remember how scared I was at the time.

You're probably wondering why I couldn't come up with a clever title to my last blog article. Untitled Part I is a rather boring title. The reason is that I only posted that story as a prologue to this one, and so it is the first part in a story that I just could not think of a name for. The problem is that there are so many titles that run through my head right now. All of them fit, all of them introduce the story, but none of them are complete. If I had to pick though, I suppose two of the best titles are "Why You Should Always Call the Police", or "I Should Have Just Stayed Inside".

Saturday morning I was rushing to get ready to meet my sister. We were going to do our grocery shopping together. She showed up on schedule at the front door. I said I'd be right out, but I left through the back so I could toss out a bag of garbage. After tossing it, I walked up through the parking lot between the two buildings and I saw some maintenance people repairing the door at the main entrance to the building next door.

Later on when I got home I asked the maintenance guy what had happened. His name is Cliff and he has worked on a few things for me and I know him to be a man of few words. He didn't say anything at all, he just pointed down to apartment #1's window.

The view of apartment #1's window through my bedroom window

I said, "Those kids broke it?"

Cliff didn't say anything, he just smiled and nodded, then he raised his eyebrows, sighed, and shook his head. He had a helper that I recognized as one of the tenants in the building next door. Helper was thankfully a bit more vocal and said, "You didn't hear it?" He seemed like he didn't believe I couldn't hear it. "They had a party and sometime around 4am they were out here goofing around and shattered the door." I truly didn't hear it. It takes me a while to fall asleep, but when I do I am out like a light. I ended up talking with Helper and nodding with Cliff for a few minutes more and then I left them and forgot all about it until later that night.

At about ten o'clock I was in a marathon Warcraft session with Jenna, Caspers, Stubb, Nighel, Wynch, Boud and Chino when I realized how hot it was in my apartment. I opened the window and soon afterwards I realized there were more voices coming in my window than there were coming out of my computer speakers. I took a look outside and saw a small group of young adults standing outside my bedroom window.

After an hour they were still there. They were laughing and talking. It was only 11:00 and I was still playing the game, so I didn't mind.

After an hour they were still there. They were laughing and talking and smoking pot. I was still playing the game, so the voices didn't bother me... but I am a smell-o-phobe and the smell was getting on my nerves.

After an hour they were still there. They were laughing more and talking louder. They were still smoking pot and they started playing music. I was getting ready for bed, and so I stood at the window for a while so they could all see me. I hoped this would make them realize they were being too loud for 1:00am. If they did, they didn't care. I put my fan in the window and turned it on. It didn't do much to help me from the smoke, but it did cool off my room and partially drown out their voices. Then I laid down to go to sleep.

After another hour they were still there. I was in bed, but not yet asleep. I went to the window and said "Can you guys be quiet?" They thought I made funny joke. Despite my bedroom still being hot, and even though I didn't want them to think they had won, I closed my window.

After another hour they were still there. Even though my window was closed I could still hear them laughing and I could still hear their music. I was more than upset. I was very tired and very fed up. I opened the window and yelled "SHUT UP!" and then I slammed it shut again. I heard them all laugh.

It was a little before 4am when I decided I needed to make a larger imprint on their minds. I thought if I went outside and actually spoke to them it would do more good than yelling out my window. As it turned out this was not a good idea.

I went out the front door. Unlike my previous blog article where the sun was already coming up at 4am, this time it was still completely dark out. I walked around the side of the building and saw a dozen or so people standing in a loose circle in front of the entrance to the building. A couple of them were smoking. I saw a beer bottle or two. The music was coming from the Apartment #1's open window. All of the people in front of me were talking at the same time.

At first nobody noticed me. I wasn't trying to sneak up on them, I was just between two angle-parked cars, and I guess not easily seen. When I came out from between the cars I was seen immediately. I suspected a lull in their conversation where I could interject with my calm voice of reason and logic and perhaps some slightly veiled threats of calling the police. That isn't what happened.

I thought I must have been recognized as the woman in the window because as soon as I was visible one of the girls yelled at me. It took me by surprise how she skipped speaking and went straight to yelling. She told me to 'get the fuck back inside, fuckin white bitch'. Halfway through her question another girl yelled at me. I think she asked what the fuck I wanted, 'fuckin white bitch'. After this second question everyone was yelling at me so it was hard to determine what anyone was saying to me, other than they all ended their questions and comments with the words 'fuckin', 'white' and 'bitch'. I had managed to go almost 37 years without being called a fuckin white bitch at all, and here in just a few seconds I had been called one about thirty times.

From where I was I couldn't really see them except to say they were short or tall, skinny or fat. It scared me that I couldn't actually see their facial expressions, or what any of them were doing with their hands. I could see that the loose circle of once laughing, pot-smoking party-goers quickly changed to a perfect semi circle of angry young-toughs with me in the middle. Every muscle in my body tensed up and I felt both paralyzed and ready-to-spring at the same time.

As I look back on it all, time didn't seem to progress at a constant rate. At this point time felt like it was moving very slowly. I am sure the entire incident had only taken seconds up until this point, but standing there it felt like a very long time. A pretty, skinny girl with a pony tail stepped forward and stood right in front of me. The defiance in her body language and the anger in her verbal language made her seem extremely fierce despite her size. With her face close to mine she yelled, "What the fuck are you gonna do white bitch?" I heard some girl off to my side say, "Yeah, what're you gonna do white bitch?" I didn't answer either question. In fact I hadn't even said a word yet. I was completely speechless.

I don't think my posture was indicating how scared I was. I think I looked like I was ready to fight someone because the fierce skinny girl said, "I fuckin' dare you white bitch." Her backup singer friend to the side said, "Yeah, fuckin' dare you, white bitch."

I took a step back and suddenly the fierce skinny girl said, "That's right step BACK BITCH!" and then I think she thought it would be funny to make me flinch or jump or simply run because she abruptly lunged towards me. Time up until this point had been progressing so slowly, but when she lunged towards me everything sped up to the point I barely remember what happened. What I do know is that when she jumped forward, I didn't recoil from her. I grabbed her shirt at the shoulder and the collar and pulled her around in a circle leaving her flat on her ass in the middle of the semi-circle.

I must admit that even while the words 'what have I just done?' were running though my head, I felt some sort of satisfaction among the guilt. I don't mean to say I believe this was a good outcome though. The entire situation had become something very different than what I first imagined. Everything just seemed to have turned so sour and gone so bad. I turned around to go back inside. As I rounded the corner towards the entrance of the building I couldn't even hear what they were yelling anymore because all I could hear was the sound of my blood pounding through my head.

By the time I got inside my apartment I realized none of them were outside my window anymore. I stepped out onto my balcony to take a look around. Nobody. I had no idea where they went. I could still hear music from apartment #1's window, but no voices except for the sudden and unexpected voice to my right that said, "Are you OK?"

I looked to my right and to my surprise I saw Helper standing in the parking lot. I assumed he had seen the entire incident. I said I was ok and asked where they had gone. He took a cue from Cliff and said nothing and shrugged. Then he said "I was going to call the police there." I didn't know if he meant he was going to call the police on me or on the group of kids, but then he said "Those kids have no boundaries."

I didn't have a chance to comment because we heard the voices returning. The entire group was coming around the building and I heard someone say "That's not her, that's not her!" I took a step back inside my apartment, out of sight.

They were all talking at once again, this time yelling at Helper. I heard another voice say "fuckin' beat up my sister???" and among the yelling I heard 'white bitch' a couple times. It seemed half of them thought Helper was me, and the other half was saying "that's not her".

Helper put up his arms as if to ask what they wanted with him. Once they all realized that he was not me, the group settled back into their old spot and seemed to behave as if nothing happened. I covertly peeked out at them and saw the fierce skinny girl laughing and talking just a little bit louder than everyone else, letting everyone know that her bruises from hitting the asphalt didn't hurt.

I didn't sleep at all that night. The kids continued making noise until well after six in the morning at which point some of them went inside, and the rest walked en masse down the alley away from the morning sun.

If this ever happens again I'll know I will not be able to convince a group of kids to be quiet. If it is anything at all like this time, I won't even get a chance to say anything at all, so I shouldn't even try. Even though I'm the one that first and only one that laid hands on another, I still feel like I was pushed into it. I know that if this ever does happen again, I won't put myself into that situation again. I will not be going outside at all, I'll just stay inside and call the police.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Untitled Part I

This article describes the events of the first night I spent in my new apartment.

I didn't think much of this apartment when I moved here. I didn't really look around because after finding out from my landlady that Warren gave his notice without telling me, to having issues with him during the move-out, to finding a new roommate only to have him give notice because of evil spirits, to finding out my apartment was for sale, I was really sick of apartment related drama. When my landlady mentioned a place nearby that was available, I took it on the spot. It just seemed best to sign the papers and get on with life. Now that I've been here for a few months the place has grown on me, but at first I was beginning to regret not spending more time looking for a better place to live.

Perhaps if I did spend more time on the decision I wouldn't have overlooked a few problems with the layout of the building in relation to the building next door. The two buildings are oriented perpendicular to each other, and the entrance to the building nextdoor is directly opposite my bedroom window. The space between buildings isn't even large. There is enough room for a narrow roadway, and line of angled parking stalls. I don't know how many feet that amounts to, but it certainly isn't enough to prevent me from hearing every sound as people come and go through that entrance. I know now that this isn't usually a problem, but that first night my proximity to that door stressed me right out.

It was pretty late at night when she woke me up. It was a girl named Angela who appeared to be extremely drunk. I didn't know her name was Angela yet though. She was stumbling around and crying and yelling "LET ME IN!" over and over again. Every second or so she'd interrupt her mantra with a few sobs, so overall she was repeating, "Boo LET hoo ME hoo IN hoo hoo hoo!!!" When she'd pause to take a breather from all the sobbing she would grab the handle and rattle the door, as if in her drunken state she thought she could pull apart the locking mechanism.

This new bedroom window was twice as big as my old bedroom window and my curtains were far too small. All I had to do was sit up in bed and I could look through the window and see her stumbling around, barely able to walk. I didn't feel comfortable in my own bedroom. I felt exposed, and I felt like I didn't belong here yet. I just wished someone would do something, and suddenly someone yelled "Shut the fuck up!" I peeked out the window and saw Sobbing/Yelling Girl give up on getting inside the building and she walked away.

I fell asleep, so I don't know how long she was gone, but some time later I woke with a start to a resounding round of sobs plus a deafening cry of "LET ME IN!!!" Sobbing/Yelling Girl was back and she seemed just as drunk and just as upset as before. I looked out the window at her and this time she was dragging a bike behind her. It looked like it would have fit a ten year old. I assumed she stole it. Sobbing/Yelling/Thief Girl walked up to the door and I heard something new: I heard her actually buzz the apartment. It struck me as incredible that the entire time she was trying to get in before she hadn't buzzed the door even once. I guess she figured the sobs, door-rattling, and yelling would have been loud enough. I am really surprised it wasn't.

The buzzing clearly did the trick because I saw a light turn on in the window of that building's apartment #1. That window is a lot closer to all the sobbing and crying than my window is, yet it didn't seem to wake any of them up. The door-buzzer sounded, indicating to me that the occupants were now buzzing her in. I sat up to see Sobbing/Yelling/Thief Girl pull the door open and try to pull the bike inside with her. Try as she might, that darn bike was just not fitting, and after a minute or so of banging it around a guy with a mohawk-braided-ponytail came out to help her bring it in.

You are probably wondering what a mohawk-braided-ponytail is. Well, imagine someone with a hairstyle that is a cross between this:

and this:

I watched them through the glass of the entrance door. They went down the stairs and made a right turn into apartment #1. Then I switched my view to the window. It has blinds on it, and they were closed, so I couldn't see anything. The window was open though, so I could sort of hear what was going on. I heard quiet, calm, concerned sounding murmurings followed by hysterical sobs. It appeared to me that the occupants of #1 were trying to ascertain what had happened to the Sobbing/Yelling/Thief Girl. I decided the show was over. I checked the clock to see it was 3am, and so I went laid back down and tried to fall asleep.

Shortly afterwards I heard the entrance door to the next building slam open. Yes, it was opened with such force that it made a huge bang when it could open no further. It startled me so much I sat upright in bed, not because I wanted to see what was happening through the window, but because in my half-asleep state I was ready to fight off attackers. I quickly realized what was going on though and I looked out the window to see a shirtless Mohawk-Braided-Ponytail Guy running full force down the parking lot in his bare feet. He got to the end of the lot and veered left.

Suddenly Sobbing/Yelling/Thief Girl came out of the apartment and was now yelling "Come BACK!!" and "NOOO!!!" as she staggered off down the parking lot and to the left. I was left with the impression that Mohawk-Braided-Ponytail Guy was off to get revenge on whoever made Sobbing/Yelling/Thief Girl sob so much, and that she didn't want him to.

Where Mohawk-Braided-Ponytail Guy was running at top barefoot speed, Sobbing/Yelling/Thief Girl was barely managing a stagger. It took her a good ten minutes to cover the distance he covered in one. After she was long gone two more girls came out of the apartment. Unlike Mohawk-Braided-Ponytail Guy they were not shirtless. I assumed they must have wanted to stop Sobbing/Yelling/Thief Girl from leaving, but decided to do their hair and makeup first.

When they came out they started yelling "ANGELA!! WHERE ARE YOU?!?!" from the entrance door. They continued to yell for a few more minutes, and then they formulated a plan. I heard one of them say "You go that way, I'll go this way." Then I watched them both head off in the same direction yelling "AANNGGEELLAA! WHERE ARE YOU!?!?". Unfortunately Angela had staggered off in the opposite direction fifteen minutes earlier.

I don't know what happened next. I fell asleep. When I woke up later it was a little after 4am and the sun was coming up. I didn't wake up because of the sun though. I woke up because of Mohawk-Braided-Ponytail Guy. Now he was outside staggering around, but not because he was drunk. It looked like he had the shit beat out of him.

You are probably wondering how a guy staggering around outside could possibly have woken me up. The answer is simple. If you run off to get revenge and don't take the time to put on a shirt or your shoes... well, you probably don't bother to grab your keys either. BeatenUp-Mohawk-Braided-Ponytail Guy was now rattling the door handle and yelling "LET ME IN!!!! GIRLS!!! WHERE ARE YOU??!?"

Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby Hood

When I was a kid I used to have the soundtrack for Disney's Robin Hood. Most of the songs featured Roger Miller whistling the melody. My dad was a whistler, and whistled that tune enough that it still reminds me of him. Not only that but it has apparently rubbed off on me and even now, decades later, I find myself whistling that tune almost on a daily basis. It seems as though I am now passing the song on to my bird.

Unlike my dad, my bird Baby isn't much of a whistler. She is more of a chirper, clucker or a screecher. In fact it is her morning ritual that she gets on her perch near the window and screeches for what seems like ages, talking to birds blocks away. After she settles down she is content to cluck away - unless I leave the room, at which point she screeches again to ask where I had gone. She rarely makes a true whistling sound though.

Today she was sitting on her perch looking out the window and from out of nowhere she whistled the first bar of the Robin Hood song. It blew my mind. She only got the first three notes right, but the rest of the notes seemed to me to be in time with the music.

I went to congratulate her awesome singing. I was hoping she'd appreciate the praise and sing some more, but instead she just flew to a lamp above my desk and started making a weird sustained gargling noise as she pecked at the lamp.

I decided to see what she'd do if she actually heard the song, so I loaded it up on YouTube. As the short introduction played she continued to gargle and peck - until Roger Miller started whistling. At this point she started listening intently. After a few seconds it seemed to me that she decided to whistle along, and she tried her best until the whistling ended on the song. Then she went back to the pecking.

We listened to the entire song and althought she wasn't whistling the melody, she was whistling loud and proud so I thought I'd give her another chance. I restarted the video and she gave me a few good notes, but then decided to leave while she was still on top.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


This is an email that Chino sent me this morning. I thought it was funny.

Yesterday Chino and I went to the River Trail after work for a walk. When we returned, I pulled into the garage and we both hopped out of the car like I do everyday. There is a single brick step that leads up to the back door to my house that is in the garage. So, Chino and I are walking to the step, I am about two feet from the step when something on the step moves and hisses. IT WAS A GOD DAMN FUCKING SNAKE! The snake was 25 feet long, black, slimy and fangy. It was a Anacondacobramoccasinboaconstrictor.

I flipped the fuck out. I started screaming at the top of my lungs and ran out into the back yard. It needs to be noted that my traitor of dog ran away in fear to the backyard instead of protecting me from the Anacondacobramoccasinboaconstrictor. Shannon, who heard me screaming, comes barreling out of the house--thank God he came out the front door because if he would have opened the back door the snake would have went into my house (which was obviously it's objective). I say "IT'S A ANACONDACOBRAMOCCASINBOACONSTRICTOR!!! KILL IT!" Well the sneaky 45 foot long bastard slithers behind some shelves in the garage and Shannon can't get to it. By then I have ran into the middle of the street (I needed distance from the snake infested house) and am screaming at my husband that either he locate and dispose of the Anacondacobramoccasinboaconstrictor or else I am never stepping foot in that house ever again! I was completely prepared to go live in a hotel---a snake free one that is.

So Shannon moves the shelves and finds the 50 foot snake, takes the shovel and slays the beast. He then proceeds to pick it up and inspect it to prove to me that is was dead.I determined (from the middle of the street) that is was dead, but all night long I expected to find a snake somewhere in my house.

Shannon "claims" that the snake was only 18 inches long, non-venomous black runner. Well he is just deluded! He was a fucking 60 foot long poisonous Anacondacobramoccasinboaconstrictor!

I will never be able to go in my garage again. I honestly couldn’t sleep last night because I was worried that one of its family members and made it inside my house! I can't live there any longer. I am calling a realtor today.

- Kara C.

P.S. Don't be confused. In her story she refers to 'Chino'. Chino is actually her dog's name, but I call her Chino too.
P.P.S. Don't worry. There wasn't a 90 foot long Anacondacobramoccasinboafuckingconstrictor loose in Saskatchewan. Chino lives in North Carolina.
P.P.P.S. I like how she combined all the different snake names into one, but she must have more snake knowledge than me because to me a moccasin is a shoe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Holy Fuckin Shit I Hate Censorship!

Why do people get so upset over words? What is so wrong with swears? I am talking about words like fuck and shit and piss. Hell, I learned those words from my mother.

What are swear words really? Aren't they are just words that represent places or things or actions? We almost always have a non-swear to mean the same thing, but if it is the same meaning, what is the difference?

Is there really any difference between the word shit and the word poop? Both words describe the same thing, yet one is said repeatedly to kids of any age, and one isn't allowed for them to hear until they are fourteen. Why does a different set of letters make such a difference?

There is a TV show called Battlestar Galactica. The writers wanted their characters to be able to swear, but it is a TV show so they couldn't. They decided that since it was a science fiction show, and the characters are all from a different planet, they could feasibly substitute the fake word 'frak' for the real word 'fuck' and the viewers would buy it. On this show it isn't uncommon to hear frak used as an expletive, or to hear that someone is frakking someone else. I am not completely sure, but I think they have even said "frak off!" They use it in an exact one to one replacement. Everyone watching the show understands the sentiment or action behind frak is exactly the same sentiment or action conveyed by the word fuck - yet it clears the censors. Once again, it isn't the meaning of the word... it is just the arbitrary letters that make up the word that are offensive.

Speaking of offensive, you may recall that I swore off the dating site (abbreviated from here on as PoF). I had been on the site for at least a year and I enjoyed using it. The only problem is that nobody knew what 'transgender' meant and I was getting sick of explaining it all the time. I decided it might clear things up for people if I changed it to read 'transsexual' instead. The next day my profile was gone.

I had no idea what had happened, so I just created a new profile. The next day that profile was gone too! Over the next few days every profile I made containing 'transsexual' was automatically deleted within minutes after creation. I could only imagine that the owners of the PoF website considered the word transsexual so vulgar and so offensive that any profile containing the word would be removed without warning (even though I had been using 'transgender' for a year and the definition of transgender includes the definition of transsexual).

At first I decided to forget the site and never return, but the injustice of it pissed me off so much I wasn't content to walk away for longer than an hour. As a test I made a new profile without the word and it was allowed to persist more than a day. I started sending messages to the moderators of the site. Nobody I spoke to could tell me why I was removed once, let alone multiple times. I presented my theory that the word transsexual was somehow deemed too vulgar and any profile with that word was auto-deleted. I was assured this was not the case. They said they had no explanation for why dozens of 'transsexual' profiles were removed when an otherwise identical profile was allowed to stay.

After a month or so my profile was still there, and I changed it to include 'transsexual'. Whatever the reason was, apparently transsexual is not a foul word to them anymore, but after using the site for a while I've discovered that many words still are.

Tonight I was on PoF chatting with a guy who said he was a big animal lover. We sent several messages back and forth and he mentioned having a dog, a cat and a bird. I mentioned that I had a cockatiel and suddenly he stopped replying. After a few minutes I made a joke, "I guess you are not a cockatiel lover!" No reply again.

About five minutes later he sent a message, "Hey where did you go?" I thought it odd since I had sent him two messages since his last one. I decided to check out what messages actually went through, and it looked like both messages containing the word cockatiel had been blocked. I decided to resend the first message, substituting c0ckatiel (note the zero instead of the 'o') for cockatiel and it went through.

Cockatiel is a fowl word, but not a foul word (oh that was a terrible, terrible joke). I don't think the problem was the entire word, but with it's constituent parts. It looked to me that the owners of PoF are upset by the letters 'c', 'o', 'c', and 'k'. They them so offensive that they won't even let any part of a message through if it contains that simple combination of three little letters in that specific sequence.

I couldn't help but notice that the word wasn't bleeped out. I would have thought the message would carry through, but 'cock' would have been turned into 'c**k', or something similar, but it wasn't. Instead though, the entire message was just blocked and deleted. This says to me that at some point a decision must have been made that no amount of information can redeem a message that contains a couple 'c's and an 'o' and a 'k' in some particular sequence. I now know the policy, but I just can't wrap my head around it. If indeed I wanted to say cock in the vernacular definition of the word, now that I know it is blocked there are other terms I could use instead that mean the exact same thing (I tried as many as I could think of*, and they all got through). Once again they are not concerned about blocking meaning, just those particular letters are censored.

I wonder how many broken hearts there have been after a shy man gathers up the courage to ask a woman out for cocktails only to have her never reply - because the PoF blocked the message for containing an arbitrary set of letters that they find offensive.

Right about now I find the letters PoF offensive.

* When I said I tried as many as I could think of, I meant it. I picked someone who had emailed me previously and I replied to him several times. Each reply contained one word that can mean the same as cock. Luckily I could only think of three alternative words, but even so... next time he logs in he will have three messages from me: "Penis", "Dick" and "Schlong".

P.S. Something shocking happened on PoF a couple weeks ago. I wish it had been censored so I wouldn't have had to see it. I logged in to see a picture of my ex-friend Rob smack in the middle of the screen. It was really upsetting to see his picture there... I mean come on, that picture is five years old! BTW, best line ever from a dating site profile: "first date? well that would probably be after a while of e-mailing, maybe talking on the phone eventually." Oh don't aim too high Rob!

P.P.S. I know why I don't often go on dates. I just got a message from a guy who said "I like to try different things, if you are interested." I replied with "As in food? I've always wanted to try ostrich burgers." It was a glib answer, but I just hate it when a first-time message cuts to the chase like that. I can't help but read his message like so "Hey, I am only talking to you because you are different and I want to try having sex with you." Am I wrong on that?

P.P.P.S. I still have a lot of resentment towards Rob. I am trying to get over it. Granted today's comments aren't exactly going to rekindle a friendship, but I've extended the olive branch at least a dozen times over the years. I do it by sending an email every so often after a particularly good episode of Doctor Who or Battlestar Galactica. I just want to discuss the program, but he has never replied. I guess where I harbour resentment Rob harbours something much stronger. Am I wrong on that?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Baby Wonder

Is it my imagination, or is she singing along? There is one part where it sounds like she is improvising on the melody and it fits in perfectly.

I like the end where she seems to notice I am watching her and then says hi with a couple clucks.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


It was seven years ago. It was a Friday. I had just finished the last of my finals at SIAST and I was looking forward to the summer. That evening my dad needed a ride home from work. He was a lawyer and had an office in a building downtown. I went to pick him up. I pulled into the alley behind his office building and he was waiting there for me. He had on a dark suit and was carrying a heavy looking briefcase. I don't remember if it was overcast, if it was just dark from the shadow of the tall building, or if it is just my memory making the scene seem so bleak. I can honestly say that he wearily got into my car. I mentioned I was all done school for the year and he tried to look happy, but his eyes still told me he was very tired. I was so absorbed in school I didn't even know this was the last day before his vacation too. He too was looking forward to the summer, and looking forward to a well-deserved rest.

That weekend Dad asked me to help him out. He was going to build a patio using paving stones. I said I couldn't. I had already committed myself to helping a friend move. I didn't see him much that weekend. If I had only known it would have been his last.

On Tuesday morning I was laying half-asleep in my parent's basement when my mom burst into the room. She was extremely upset and said that dad had suffered a heart attack while out picking up more paving stones.

We rushed to the hospital. To be honest I don't know how or when my sister arrived, I just know we were all at the emergency room at the same time. We gave our name at the desk and the nurse said to follow her and she'd get the doctor. Someone, I don't know who, asked if he was alright. The nurse said she'd get the doctor to speak to us right away. My mom said "Is my husband dead?". The nurse said "Yes he is."


There is nothing worse than thinking about the 'what ifs'. What if I had helped him? Maybe he wouldn't have been so strained. If I was involved maybe I'd have been with him to help load more paving stones. What if I had been there to tell him to take a break? What if I had just taken that last chance to spend time with him?

I thought about things like this for years. I thought about it so much that every time I was reminded of my dad, my heart would sink. I'd think of what I might have had if he lived longer - what I should have had. He was only in his 50s, he should have had more time. I'd think about what I was missing. I'd think of the what ifs instead of thinking about him.

Over the years thinking about dad became easier. I was better able to think about the happy memories with my dad instead of dwelling on his death, but it was still really hard to get past that sinking feeling.


Quite a while ago now I was on Facebook and saw a person who I hadn't spoken to since elementary school. His name is Glen N. I actually met him sometime in the 70's when we were both in 'Beavers'. This is when he met my dad too, as my dad was a Beaver leader. (Beavers is the group that comes before 'Cub Scouts' which is the group that comes before 'Boy Scouts'.) After Beavers Glen and I went to different elementary schools for years. When his school closed he came to my school (and we may have even gone to highschool together).

When he came to my school we were not exactly friends. We not only hung out in different groups, but the only time I remember spending time with him was one afternoon when he was repeatedly hitting me over the head until his hand hurt and he had to quit.

That being the case I was apprehensive about saying hi to him, but I realized this isn't the playground anymore. He wrote back and he didn't realize who I was at first. He said he went to school with my brother Andrew. I explained that I am actually that same person with a new name.

He didn't react poorly at all to either my transsexuality or to the fact that we didn't part on good company years ago. In fact the only thing he said was that he had heard about my dad's death. He said that my dad helped him out through a lot of tough times when he was younger and in trouble. He said he owed my dad a lot. Glen's words seemed so real and heartfelt, they really affected me.

I haven't seen him on Facebook since. It was like he came on just briefly enough to say something great about my dad and then he disappeared.


I think about dad a lot. The day we lost him was the worst day of my life. It is taking me a long time to get over that day. It has taken a long time for me to think about that day without crying. Lately happy memories of 30 years of life with my dad have replaced the sad memories involving his death. I know I'm his kid so I am biased, but my dad was a great guy. I've always been proud of him, the things he did when he was around, and I'm proud of what he has left in me. I have a lot of qualities in myself that came directly from him and I am better for them all. Being proud of my dad is nothing new, but thanks to Glen I was given a chance to hear something new about him that I didn't know, and another reason to be proud.


I remember my very first day of Beavers. I didn't know what Beavers was but I knew there'd be a bunch of kids there and I was very excited that *my* dad was going to be a leader. He said he was probably going to be called 'Rusty' because of his hair colour. I didn't know yet that they gave the leaders special names. I couldn't figure out why anyone'd call him Rusty at all, but sure enough he was introduced to everyone as Rusty, and that is what all the kids called him - except me.

I called him Dad.


I miss you Dad!

Perch Baby Perch

Today I went over to my mom's house to help her, Old Bob, Jenn and Nick build a fence. I didn't make it that far though because I was distracted by a huge pile of chopped-down crab apple tree branches. I had already been thinking about making a big perch for Baby, and this was the perfect place to start.

I picked out a good chunk of tree and trimmed down it's branches. It was about four and a half feet tall and the branches I left had good angles for perching on and landing on. Mom and I went to Home Depot and picked up a big flower pot and a bag of rocks. All I had to do was put the branch in the pot and anchor it with the rocks.

Baby watched me as I was putting it together, and as I dragged it into place. As soon as it was done she flew straight to it and just hung out for about an hour. Here are a couple pictures of her on it.

Playing with the twist-tie hilding up the toy
(instead of the toy)


Checking out the bark

Looking out the window
(from her angle she can see out)

Finally playing with the toy
(I had to re-hang it, she untied the twist-tie shortly after the first picture)

Coming to find out what all these flashes were coming from.

Wasn't What I Thought.

I used to think that Warren was uncommunicative. I'd speak to him and he'd silently stare off into whatever world he could see in mind's eye. It would take a few seconds of verbal prodding before he'd jolt back to life. He'd actually physically jolt too, as if the last verbal prod came with a slap in the face. Sometimes I found it amusing. Most often it was irritating. All the time though I considered it to uncommunicative and rude. Then along came Aaron. I had no idea how wrong I was. Aaron showed me what uncommunicative and rude really means.

Aaron wouldn't pretend to be lost in thought when I spoke. He wouldn't pretend to not hear me either. He'd just ignore me. I found it odd that'd he'd ignore me since I am not much of a talker to begin with. Not only that but we so rarely saw each other that even if I spoke to him everytime I saw him it would be three days since we last spoke.

At first our conversations went like this:
Sarah would be in the kitchen making supper and Aaron'd walk in the door.
Sarah: "Hi, how are you?"
Aaron would take off his shoes.
Sarah: "How was work?
Aaron would walk into the hallway into his bedroom. Sarah would hear the door close.
Sarah: "...oookay."

After he got to know me better our conversations went like this:
Sarah would be in the living room on the laptop and Aaron would walk in.
Sarah: "Hey, how's it going?"
Aaron would sit down on the chair and turn on the TV
Sarah: "Anything good on right now?"
Aaron: "Fuck! Enough questions."
Sarah: "...oookay."

Fuck was actually Aaron's most oft-used word. It was applied to every scenario where he felt words were unnecessary - which was every scenario. I don't know why it annoyed him so. Granted, sometimes I'd speak to him while he was watching TV and he'd say "Fuck, I'm watching TV" Unfortunately by this time I had limited my questions to matters of money, and I guess he didn't think that the question "Can I get the bill money on Friday?" trumped his movie. I certainly did.

I guess he thought that I didn't need to ask. He did always pay me on the day he said he would, but apparently I didn't trust him to pay without reminding him and perhaps he sensed that distrust. I didn't give him an opportunity to pay me without having asked him first. I didn't give him a chance to reap the benefit of the doubt. Maybe always having to confirm his unspoken intentions like that got under his skin. He probably felt he was nonverbally conveying his intentions well enough and felt insulted when I asked him.

In the short periods of time I did see him, if he was conveying anything nonverbally I was completely incapable of reading it. It seemed to me that I knew nothing about him and nothing about his intentions toward anything. Still, I was aware that every time I spoke to him now it was about money or some sort of chore. I forgot that he got just as annoyed when I'd say "Wow it's nice out today" as he did when I'd say "Can I get that $30?" and I began to think I should go a little easier on him.

When we were down to four days left in the apartment I braved pissing him off by speaking to him. He was watching an anime DVD in the living room. I said, "Well, we almost have to leave here soon." He didn't take his eyes off the TV. "What are your plans?"

Aaron looked annoyed and still keeping his eyes on the TV said, "Plans about what?"

"About the apartment" I said.

"I aint got no plans about the apartment." Aaron was not well-spoken.

"Well you should, we have to leave here in a few days. Like my plans are that I am going to pack over the next couple days, the movers are coming on Wednesday, and I'll do clean up Thursday and Friday. Friday will be my last day here."

Aaron said, eyes still on the TV, "Friday will be my last day here too." If it was possible his eyes seem to become more focused on the TV and in some subliminal way ended the conversation.

That answer didn't satisfy me. Conspicuously absent to me was the mention of when he was going to do clean up. I knew the 'fuck' was coming soon if I kept talking, but I had to ask... "So do you think you are going to do any clean up?"

And then it came. "Fuck! What do you think?" I decided this was it. Nearing the end of our relationship I'd finally give him the benefit of the doubt right here right now. My instinct was screaming at me to nail him down on a yes or no, but I decided to ignore it. I concluded that his answer meant that he would do some clean up. I then nodded, said ok, and walked away.

Well, I thought wrong. Aaron not only didn't clean, he left garbage in his room for my sister and I to take out for him. That'll teach me for giving someone like him the benefit of the doubt.


P.S. You may wonder why I chose him to be a roommate in the first place. The answer is: He initially showed up with his older sister. In her presence he was completely polite and well-mannered. On his own though he was a nightmare.

P.P.S. I actually had to clean spit off his walls. Spit.

P.P.P.S. On Wednesday he texted me, "Did u find a roommate yet". On Thursday I asked him if he was asking to be my roommate in my new place. He said he was. I was dying to laugh at his face... but at this point I didn't know yet he wasn't going to clean, and he also owed me $64 so I didn't. If you ever get a chance to read my blog Aaron, then know that my thoughts at the time were "Hahahahaha AS IF! You're the WORST!"

The Final Roommate

- Ok, I know I said this article was going to be called "The Big Move", but in the interests of civility, I just didn't want to call it by it's real title or post it until after my roommate and I parted ways - just in case. So now that he has gone, let's read "The Final Roommate".
I hope you like it.

As I round out my last few weeks living in this apartment I have a lot of mixed feelings. On one hand I absolutely love this place, and I will be extremely sad to move on. I will miss that huge balcony and all the naps I had out there on my balcony futon. I'll miss my cozy living room, and I will miss my neighbourhood. I can't imagine ever choosing to move away under any different circumstances. On the other hand I think maybe my feelings of happiness probably come from inside me and not from my apartment. I am still very reluctant to move, but very excited at the same time because I think that it is very possible that it won't matter where I live, I'll end up being just as happy anywhere. On the third hand, I am anticipating having a wonderful time living someplace without a roommate.

If you are familiar with my blog you may know that I have had troubles with my last three roommates. My most recent roommate Warren, well... he was just too 'Warren' for me (see previous blog article). The guy before that, Mark, didn't have a job, never cleaned himself, watched Lord of the Rings several times a day, and faked a suicide attempt one night for attention. Before that was Curtis. Curtis was my best 'guy friend'. We got along great. We had similar interests, we hung out, we fixed cars*, went camping and fishing, and played video games together. I miss him a lot... but he hated transsexuals, so he had to leave.

I believe the way to go, when choosing a roommate, is to move in with a stranger or semi-stranger. It worked out great for me when I agreed to be Michelle's roommate. She and I went from being casual work friends to being lifelong friends**. Living with someone really puts a strain on the relationship. Even though I knew both Mark and Warren before they moved in, it was only as acquaintances, so now that I've parted company with them I have no regrets. If I ever moved in with a good friend again, like Curtis was, it is scary to think that something might happen that causes us to never talk again. So despite my lack of success living with strangers, when it came to finding a new roommate last month I didn't think twice about putting an ad in the paper.

Aaron was one of the first people to respond to the ad and he was the first person to show interest in living here. He is a 20 year old native man who, prior to moving in here, lived on a reserve. I was sure he wouldn't have much in common with an ethnically unremarkable 36 year old transsexual woman, but at the same time his situation and mine complimented each other. He needed a room, and I had one. He didn't have any furniture and I do. He didn't need the parking spot, and I did. Best of all, he worked nights and I worked days.

I would spend my days quietly working, and he'd spend his days quietly sleeping. Shortly before I was off work he would leave for his. By the time he arrived home I'd already be in bed. I was a bit sad not to have the social aspect of having a roommate, but after a few weeks I realized this was probably the best arrangement ever. I had no complaints, and as far as I knew, neither did he.

As it turns out he did have a complaint, and it was a big one.

Aaron and I do have periods of interaction on weekends and on his days off. He would still sleep all day and stay awake all night, but we'd usually both be around in the evenings. It was during this time that I began to learn about some of his eccentricities. It started off one day last week when Aaron was telling me about how he had just spent four hours reading the bible. I'm sure you all know by now that I can't imagine any reason for reading the bible, but even I will admit that there are reasons out there that are way better than Aaron's.

Aaron sat down at the computer that day to check his Facebook page. For those not familiar with Facebook, you can add 'applications' to it that give your page added functionality. One of these is called Funwall, and it allows anyone on your friend list to post items to your wall. These items are mostly funny pictures or videos. What happened on this day was that someone posted a video about a Britney Spears' song that when played backwards reveals a hidden message. The video is intentionally quiet so that the viewer has to turn up the sound. The video plays legitimately for 20 seconds or so longer, then suddenly a scary face appears and you hear a very loud (because you just turned your sound all the way up) and terrifying shriek. This demonic face is supposed to scare the viewer and give him or her a good laugh, but in Aaron's case it scared him so much he had to retreat to the safety of his room and read the bible for a few hours.

When he told me a demon appeared to him on Facebook I didn't know what to say. Even if I did know what to say, I didn't get a chance to say it because he started talking about how he had to talk to his sister's exboyfriend, the drug-dealer psychic. I don't know his name, but let's call him Larry. Aaron explained to me that although Larry calls himself a psychic, he can't actually see into the future. What he can do is talk to animals, Dr-Doolittle-Style. According to Larry, the animals of course, can see the future. These animals then relay the future back to him and that is how Larry is able to counsel people in matters of the future.

I just want to pause here from the main story to talk about something very interesting and possibly scary about the animal kingdom. Aaron tells me that Larry is a very successful drug-dealer because he can never get caught. Oh sure, the police try to catch him, but the animals are always on the lookout and send warning with plenty of time for Larry to escape. Clearly these animals like Larry a lot, but why not just predict him up a winning lottery number? I think the animals want man to spread drugs around to bring about mankind's downfall that much sooner. Once we are out of the way, then they can take over. I can't imagine fighting a cocker spaniel as it is, but imagine fighting one when you're high and the cocker spaniel is precognizant! That'd be impossible!!

I just want to take another pause here to say that I am very disappointed with my lot in life. Not only was I burdened with being a transsexual, but my only super-power is being able to smell things from far away, and that is a really sucky super-power. I'd way rather be able to talk to animals than smell them.

Anyway, after Aaron spoke to Larry for a while he came out of his room with a worried look. The animals told Larry to warn Aaron to be on the lookout for danger. It appears they have spotted The Devil here in Saskatoon. It reminds me of a few years ago when Bill Cosby was scheduled to do a show in town, and a couple days earlier someone purportedly spotted him buying a pair of shoes from a store on Broadway. Was it really 'The Cos', or just some random black guy? Did those animals really see Satan, or maybe it was just a guy with a sunburn? I can't say for sure, but I imagine those animals are not all that smart. Whatever they saw though, it had Aaron on edge. (I should point out that the animals also saw God, but Aaron didn't seem concerned about that. Probably because who has God ever hurt eh?)

If things were not already bad enough Aaron had more troubles. I have two lamps in my living room that were putting Aaron on Spiritual-Def-Con 4. Yes, my lamps were stressing him out. I have one weirdly shaped lamp that doesn't really shed light, it just has a pinky-reddish glow about it. Aaron feels the glow is just too reminscent of Hell for his tastes. I figure Hell, being fiery and all, is probably more of a flickery-yellow-orange, but I don't read the bible, so what do I know?

The other lamp is one of my favorite possessions. It is an iron sculpture of a woman with stained glass butterfly wings that my mom gave me after I told her I was a transsexual. This lamp also casts a reddish glow, but the problem with this lamp isn't the glow so much as the wings. Aaron feels they look a little too much like wings of a demon.
Personally, I feel that demons are probably less colourful and butterfly-y, but again, what do I know?

(I took a picture of both lamps, but I couldn't figure out how to turn off the flash, so everything looks bright and the glow is washed out. In reality the room is dark except for the reddish glow from both of these lamps. Note the evil spikes on the bottom of the demon wings. I've totally pretty much never poked myself with them)

Anyway, that night Aaron was distressed. He made a pot of coffee and started writing notes into a notebook. (Oh what I wouldn't give to read that notebook!) I left him to his zealous writings and came to my room to play with my cockatiel. (That sentence has a really unfortunate ring to it doesn't it?)

A few minutes later Aaron knocked on my door and hurriedly mumbled something at me. I had to ask him several times because he was not only using his patented mumble, but he was speaking really fast. Finally I understood that he was asking if I had any sleeping pills. He said his mind was racing and he just drank a pot of coffee, but all he wanted to do is go to sleep. I said I had some benadryl that would do the trick and I handed him the bottle. He asked how many he should take and I said one or two. He asked how long it takes and I said to give it an hour.

Ten minutes later he came back to my room and said that nothing was happening. He asked if he could take some more. I know that every now and then when I wanted to be particularly mindless for a night I have taken up to four of them at once, so I said, "I guess, but no more than four."

I guess he misunderstood me because in one lucky flick of the bottle four pills landed in the palm of his hand. I expected to see him put two of them back, but instead he swung his arm up and tossed all four pills into his mouth at once. I had time to say '... uh' and then I saw him swallow. About half an hour after that I heard him stumble into his room.

The next day I waited and waited for him to wake up. Aaron told me he hadn't paid his rent yet because pay day is Friday, and rent was due on Thursday. I wanted to make sure he paid before the weekend. Sixteen hours after Aaron went to bed he groggily came out of his room. He said,
"There's something in here..."

I started sniffing the air. I thought he meant that he could also smell that empty can of tuna in the garbage. I was about to tell him that we should take out the garbage, but then he said, "... something evil... I can feel it... I felt its presence all night. I dreamed about it."

I am a smellophobe, so I would argue that the smell of a old tuna can is evil, but after last night's conversation about demonic lamps and facebook videos I knew that isn't what he meant. I told him there is nothing evil here, and that perhaps the six sleeping pills had something to do with his trippy dreams, but then he said, "No. That Facebook Demon came back last night. ... there's something here alright... I've got to get out of here. How much do you want for one day's rent? Ten bucks?"

I said "What??"

He explained that it was the second of the month, so he has only been here for one day, and he had to leave immediately to get away from whatever the evil thing was in the apartment. I was told him that he owed for the entire month and that he needed to give one month's notice before he could move out. He went into negotiation mode at this point and repeatedly gave me a firm counter-offer of "I'll pay half, not full" but eventually after an hour or so I managed to convince him that this wasn't a negotiation, and that there are legalities to consider. I got the entire month's rent out of him, but he was firm that no matter what, he wants to leave and get away from the demonic presence so he gave his one month's notice to me.

I didn't know when the place would be sold, but I understand I get several months notice if the new owners need me to move out. There is a chance they may have wanted to rent out the place too, but I didn't want to live with the uncertainty of it all. I called the owners of this place and gave my notice as well. It was a day late, and the owners grudgingly accepted it, as if somehow that one day was a huge deal to them but they are willing to throw me a bone***. Giving notice was a sad thing to do, but at this point I had to do it. The owners are selling this place, and I just don't want to sit around waiting for that to happen, and I certainly don't want to find a new roommate only to find out the place is sold a month or two later. I really have no choice but to leave now.

I've had a lot of good times here. This place just gives me a happy feeling all over. From the huge balcony to the cozy red glow in the living room, and even, believe it or not, to the experiences I've had with roommates, this place means a lot to me. There is nothing about living here the last five years that I won't miss. I know I should look at the bright side, but right now I'm having trouble finding it. My new place is bigger inside, but it costs almost twice as much to rent. It does have a balcony, but it is tiny with a crappy view of the parking lot. About the only thing I can definitely say is positive is that my new place is a one bedroom and has no room for any roommates.
Aaron is the last one.
I'm so relieved.

* When I say Curtis and I fixed cars together, it was more like Curtis would ask for a tool, and I'd hand it to him. If ever the engine needed to be turned over I'd do that too.

** I think that we are closing in on 14 years since I lived with Michelle, and I still talk to her every week. Thanks for sticking around Shelly!

*** Yes it is true. Rent must be given on the first of the month. He is within his rights to our notice was too late and force us to stay another month. I just have to say it was almost sickening to hear him use that tone with me, as if he is doing me a huge favour. He bought the place three years ago for $75,000 and is selling it for $190,000, and in the process making me leave my home of the last five years. I'm sure not being a stickler on a technicality isn't going to be a problem financially, in my opinion it is the least he could do.