Talk about – pop music

This won’t be an essay.

I love pop music. From the 1920s backward to folk music and early music of the Renaissance and beyond to classical times, and from the 1920s forward even to some rap music, I have taken great pleasure. But I’m also a word freak and I do hear the lyrics. I was an English teacher; when Paul McCartney said in one of his rare false moves, “world in which we live in,” it grated on my ear. But what really grates on my lately is objectification of humans.

In some shop today, the lovely Watching the detectives by Elvis Costello washed over me, causing me to start to twitch to the ska beat. He was writing ABOUT objectification in a clever way, as always. Sadly, the next song was Put a ring on it (I think that’s the title) by Beyonce. What a disgusting way to describe oneself. “I am an object; if you like IT put a ring on IT.” It’s right down there with, I’m in love with your body.  I have no idea who wrote or sang it, nor do I care, but I wish they had never existed to write such a vile lyric. But, I guess people really think this way. And, yes, the truth hurts.

Sexy

The title is wrong. Sexy means something that turns you on sexually, right? Or, maybe… maybe it’s just a feeling of being alive and fluid in your body, okay with it, enjoying it. My body ain’t perfect by far. Last post I called it FatBoringOld like the Monty Python sketch of Mr. and Mrs. Git.

Sexy is the sun on your back and a breeze on your sweaty lower back, cooling, despite the sun. Feeling free and comfortable in your body, despite its gross imperfections to those concerned with such things. It’s heat and cool in best proportions.

It’s fabric that hangs or clings comfortably, and I stumbled upon this the other day.

Ridiculously, we had an old piece of nightgown fabric to block the drafts from the door. It was the bottom half of a nightgown, the bodice cut out and thrown away. So, less than half a metre of cotton fabric, with a lettuce edge. After the separation and divorce, I inherited this scrap, which had been rolled up to block the door. I washed it, thinking it’d make a good cleaning rag, being cotton.

In some moment of whimsy I tied a knot in it and made a shoulder baring top out of it.  It’s my favourite cool summer top to wear. Should take a pic and post it. I actually walked around the mall in it, one day. I saw male eyes glancing at my shoulders or perhaps the audacity of Ms. FBO Git walking around half naked.

Cool cotton, and I love the way it drapes. The folds conceal the belly bulge. The knot enhances the chest. Despite being roly-poly, none of that is in my chest, proportionally. The knot does the trick, bulging outward, competing with the belly.  If I could make this into a product, I’d make millions.  Maybe I shouldn’t post this moneymaking secret!

But I sure enjoy it. I’m wearing it now. Gonna make more like it out of other fabric. It’ll be my uniform. Bare shoulders in the breeze. Mmm.

Dating?

Well, I have been pretty interested in carbon dating and things like that, during my life time. Isotopes are so neat. Alpha and beta particles, half-lives, and the odd deadly gamma radiation. Olav Lian at UFV, luminence dating. Cool! One of the coolest things in my geomorphology class.

Now I’m 55 and holding, old, grey, divorced, or as Monty Python would name it, “my ex-wife, FatBoringOld.” Out of the blue, a very nice and apparently sane man in my Scrabble group gave me his number so we could play Scrabble together without the PITA autistics running the group. People who are antisocial and staring at their phones, making strange noises and no eye contact, upset about things that no one else wants to hear about. A guy gave me his phone number, first time ever. Yes, really. No, it’s not a date, but still. A new experience.

Fast forward two days and there’s a goddamn knock on my door. What now? Holy crap, it’s a neighbour I’ve known for five years. Again wanting to be friends when I move. Gives me his phone number… not just that…and some chocolate… and… what? He asked me out for lunch? Today? No, I already had lunch.  Maybe tomorrow.

No guy has ever asked me out to lunch. I don’t need lunch. I don’t look like I need lunch.

More importantly, i just got divorced a month ago, am interested in fixing my life, not dating. So these guys’ gestures that would have been gratefully appreciated 35 years ago are at best anomalous. WTF, eh? I’m uncomfortable with this.

 

I hope it’s not too late

I hope it’s not too late

Sometimes it is hard to be good at a lot of different things. For me, it dovetails with indecisiveness. There’s no reason to choose one single thing. There’s never been one clear thing I should focus on, one clear path.

I’ve done artwork for various people who needed logos and things like that. “You missed your calling,” I was told. Yeah, well, I don’t see much excitement or meaning in commercial art, even though I don’t mind doing a logo for ya. And as far as the art scene, I didn’t see a place for myself there, either. I love music, too, but loathe the music scene. All of these scenes are about fashion, pecking orders, and politics, all things I don’t understand well. Those are my weak points, blind spots. I’m good at many things, but just uncomfortable with all that.

A lot of people have assumed, told me, or asked if I’m on the autism spectrum. Well, maybe I am, but I never had a diagnosis or any help, so technically I’m not, as no clinician has weighed in on that. Plus I’m female, so we women don’t fit the typical autism categories which were based on males. Plus, I’m obviously very high functioning, so even if I’m a complete fucking freak, I’m not exactly disabled the way a low functioning autistic person is. I like my ivory tower, so maybe I’m INTP.

So, what to do in life? I am acquainted with a couple people who have experienced what I dearly wanted all along: to have a specific direction, dream, and goal from an early age.

Of course there is my favourite artistic fusion bellydancer, Bagoas, who explained in the short documentary film about male bellydancers that he has been doing this since he was 15. I guess he’s in his mid-20s or something now. Certainly under 30. He does such wonderful, original, skilled, beautiful, joyful, playful, and expressive things that I so envy that I never had a life like that. I never belonged anywhere that I could pursue anything that interested me. I’m sort of acquainted with him because he’s a Facebook friend. Maybe in the next year I’ll go see him dance in Seattle. But basically I’ve watched his videos over and over because I’ve been going through the toughest time in my life with my divorce and all, and his expressive art always beings smiles to my face. Smiles, plural, never just one smile. His playfulness is absolutely golden, and wrapped in musical expressiveness and artistic precision.

Then there is a guy I know from the Scrabble group, a retired cop. This week he told me he had tried to get into the RCMP at age 21. It was what he always wanted. He was a cop  all his life and then a bylaw officer. I’ve heard of a lot of cops who get messed up from the conflict, violence, and tragedy involved in their work, but somehow th is guy came through unscathed, apparently. He doesn’t seem troubled, unhealthy, overweight, or anything. He seems very light at heart, playful, open, and able to hear others. In a man, those are all nice qualities, and in a cop they aren’t exactly the stereotype.

And I have nothing.  I can do all kinds of things – visual art, statistics, applied math, writing, research, teaching . . . and I am completely lost.

Funny little strawberries

Funny little strawberries

That’s what I grow in my garden – funny little strawberries. They aren’t much to look at, not like the huge store ones, but they have 10x the flavour. A lot of soil up here in BC is pretty acid because of all the conifers around, I suppose. Our yard is full of moss and surrounded by conifers, so it’s no surprise the strawberries grow well. They like acid soil and have crawled all over the place. They’d take over the entire apartment lot if I would let them.

This year, I found a way to keep them off the dirt without buying straw or other mulch. I just used pinecones. There are plenty of them everywhere around here, because of the conifers – pines – that are on the property. And it works! A couple of baskets of pinecones fixed my strawberry plot.

When I leave, my neighbours will eat the berries. One neighbour, in particular, I expect, who cleaned up that plot and ate the berries when I was away for a year.  The other gardener.

Which reminds me of another gardener, or so I thought. These people moved in next to me and I noticed they had a lot of plants on their balcony. Almost like a hedge, a privacy screen. When I saw them arriving home one day, I said a friendly “Hi” and “We’re gardeners, too.” I didn’t see much of them over the years, though.

Then something weird happened. I had a run-in with someone. She was blocking the door to the freezer room where the kind landlord has allowed people to keep freezers and in my case allowed me to use his extra freezer. Nice! Is this because he’s a nice guy or because I’m responsible? I guess a bit of both. I took over the garden when someone else who was supposed to didn’t get to it and weed it.

So, anyway, this person blocked the freezer room door open with her cart.  I said something like, “Hi – I’d like to come in.” But I didn’t want to move her cart, so I waited. I said something just to fill the time. Suddenly she snapped and accused me of saying something wrong, basically told me to shut up. “You made another comment.” Damn right – this ain’t a Russian firing squad. She was so hostile. She said, “You’re always so rude.” WTF? I donno. I called her a bad name.

Then I went and told the manager that I did that and that I was confused why this happened. He said I probably did nothing because this person basically did the same to him. She is the one who’s always rude, she said. She was trying to blame him for something. I’m sorry, he’s a pretty decent guy, and he is also the manager so there is no point trying to blame him. He’s just doing his job.  Cut him some slack. He doesn’t create the policies, man. I’m probably biased because I got a free freezer and two free gardens, but even so doesn’t that make it seem like he’s a decent and kind guy?

Oh, yeah, and he lent me a battery charger and found a neighbour to help me charge my crappy old truck. More about that on another day. I need to sell that damn thing.

The kicker – I said I didn’t know her, but the manager pointed out, based on my description, that she lived right next to us. Oh, yeah, she does vaguely match the dimension and coloration and age of my neighbour. Thing is, I wear glasses and if you aren’t within a metre of me, I might not recognize you. Apparently, then, I don’t acknowledge people, and that’s rude. Why don’t people assume I’m semi-blind, distracted, autistic, or a ditz and say, “Hi – I’m your neighbour, we’ve met.” But they don’t. They’re passive til they blow up like a psycho and say, “You’re rude.” Okay, lady – but that’s not the female word I called her, though.

I have no one to talk to, I’m lonely as hell, I still want to be friends with my crazy ex even though he divorced me, and I am going to be moving to a new area soon. Hopefully, I can make some real friends one day. Actually, I have a few friends up in the Okanagan. People who are actually happy to see me and are kind to me. It’s too bad they’re all religious. We atheists aren’t all nasty like the freezer-room-lady. No idea if she believes in anything, either, except that everyone else is the problem.

Bike lanes

Bike lanes

So, all the hullaballoo on the street the last few nights was about painting on these new bike lanes. The bike symbol, though is not new. I donno if you can see that it’s slightly yellowish or faded compared the other other white lines, but in person it’s more obvious than in my photo.

Now the bike symbol is in a place where people are actually supposed to park. The drivers of cars int he back of the picture haven’t figured that out yet. I see my neighbour’s old truck is there, too, on the opposite side of the street. Maybe it didn’t get towe “away” last night but just out of the way – across the street. So, yeah, my interference was not needed. Hmm!

I didn’t understand the new bike lanes at first either. I thought, wow, that looks like a good way to be doored, if you cycle on the new paint. But that’s because people are parked in the bike lane.

I think this’ll function as traffic calming, too, because the road has been greatly narrowed and it’ll be less easy to go speeding through at 60 kmh, which is not uncommon. Or faster. Or maybe there’ll be more accidents now.

I’m a cyclist, and it seems like a bizarre way to make a bike lane, but maybe it’ll work. I donno.

Parking has been decreased on the street now. Since parking was already tight here much of the time, I’m sure drivers will complain, possibly blaming it on cyclists.

 

Tow time

Right now, while I’m typing this, my neighbour’s crummy old pickup truck is being towed away. I wondered if this was going to happen. It’s because the city is doing some road work. There have been signs posted for days, and there’s been a flyer on his windshield. Had I known exactly which apartment he lived in, I would have said something to him days ago. Probably would’ve left him a note. I had the nagging thought of saying something to the manager, for the owner’s sake.

And it would have helped me, too, because then I wouldn’t be listening to this noise at 10 p.m. and the road painting might have been completed by now, too. His is the only vehicle out there. Maybe he’s dead. He’s old enough that that is a possibility. But for once I didn’t interfere. I see myself as the kind of super-conscientious person always butting in to give unasked-for assistance. Noticing problems in the building and letting the manager know before they get bigger. Mostly he’s been quite appreciative.

When it’s been something in my interest, he’s a bit less responsive, but back to the truck that is now on the tow hook and heading away. How very odd to know I could have done the usual, saved the workers some trouble, saved myself some trouble, and saved the owner some trouble.  If he’s not dead, that is.

Apparently I am changing. How very odd. I’m taking care of me instead of everyone else. Does it have to be either/or? Well, it’s not just that. I felt I had become almost a busybody of some kind and wanted to refocus my interests. Back off and try on the “None of my business” attitude. Not like me, I assure you.

I have a garden at this apartment. A couple years ago we had a terrible drought, and I would make the effort to water this row of little rhododendrons or rhododendron-like plants that were shrivelling next to my veggie patch. Watering this year’s veggies recently, I noticed there is no longer any sign of those plants. Many larger dead-looking shrubs and small trees have been hacked down, too. I got it: this landscaping is not important. It was put there at a time of higher moisture, and they are not adapted to the current climate change and higher water demand. Actually, there’s another big local change that might have bigger effects than both of those, in this small yard area.

A neighbouring tower building redid its garden a couple years ago. Our yard used to be swampy and mushy to walk on, but when the other place cleaned up its standing water, our place became much drier. Hard as a rock much of the time. I had a good view of the works during the process. Not a pleasant experience at all, but I did notice their garden with its standing water was built over their parking garage, just like ours is. Not much drainage, at least not straight down. I guess their land is a tiny bit lower than ours, because when they “pulled the plug” to dry their land, the water in our mushy mossy “lawn” drained away. The installed a lot of big river rocks below the surface landscaping. The drainage is rapid, and there are no more pools there.

So, our place is dry. The plants are drying out and dying. And the management quite reasonably is not concerned about that. It’s the multimillion dollar 10+ storey building that matters, and not breaking watering rules so you don’t get fined. Money down the drain.

Dramatic little changes. The big picture is important to consider, and let some of the small changes happen. I still kinda wish I had said something about the truck before it got towed, but I’m experimenting with new paths, and that was the result. Putting my energy into things that are important to me. I’ve made some big changes this week, and I hope they pay off.