Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I remember when I thought I saw the Easter Cat...

At the time, I had a boyfriend, Earl. He lived in the Farkle House, a house near Commercial Drive in Vancouver with a bunch of wonderfully weird roommates...I loved hanging out at the Farkle House. Something crazy was always happening!

Earl and I were hanging out in his room. I can't remember which drug we were on that night, but it was usually something or other. I know we weren't straight because we weren't fighting. Anyway...we were talking about life and music and art, when Mimi, the Farkle House cat, came strolling into the room. She was one of those all-white cats with one blue eye and one green eye, very mysterious and lovely. The lighting in the room was low, I think we only had a few candles burning, so it took awhile to register...but Mimi wasn't white anymore. She was rainbow! She looked like the Easter Bunny!

I recall wondering to myself if I was maybe hallucinating, but then Earl said, "Whoa! Mimi is like the Easter Bunny, what happened?"

The roommates had bought a box of Easter egg dye and decorated Mimi for the holiday. She was really beautiful.

It's funny...I sometimes wonder how Earl is, and if he settled down into a stable life like I somehow managed to, but I don't miss him. I certainly don't miss the drugs and the insanity. But I DO miss Mimi, and I do miss friends crazy enough to dye the cat for Easter. I miss that.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I remember wondering if I should jump...

I was living in a warehouse with my artist room-mate, Don. It was an old, empty warehouse that the landlord rented to artists for studio space. It wasn't zoned for habitation, but all six floors were full of artists, all living there, which the landlord conveniently chose not to notice. It was a beautiful old building, exposed brick inside, massive wooden beams along the twelve-foot high ceilings. Don and I rented one half of the very top floor.

One of my favorite things to do was sit in the open window and watch people go by on the sidewalk some seventy feet below. Unless I pulled out my guitar and started singing, they had no idea I was there. It was a free feeling, like I was unattached to the world, like an angel or a spirit or something.

One day, as I sat watching the people, I was overcome with a voice in my head, saying, "Why don't you just jump?"

As I sat there looking over the past few years of my life and what a failure they seemed, I couldn't think of a single reason why not. I began to wonder what it would feel like to float for five and a half stories, and would I feel anything during the sudden stop at the end...I imagined my funeral, and how none of my friends would probably bother to come. I wondered if any of the small tiny humans below would be in the way when I jumped, and would I kill them or just injure them? It was getting quite morbid, quite pathetic. Thankfully, Don came home in time to stop me from moving from pondering to action (I always knew procrastination was a good quality).

I talked things over with Don. Even with the usual propensity towards depression that any creative type suffers, this was abnormal behavior for me. We came to the brilliant conclusion that I should stop taking that new prescription of birth control pills until I talked to my doctor, who confirmed that a possible side effect of the Pill is suicidal tendencies. I guess if I was dead, I certainly wouldn't be getting pregnant, now, would I? Very effective method of birth control, that...

Friday, January 27, 2006

I remember saying this blog would be about memories...

...so this entry is elsewhere. Cuz it isn't really about memories at all!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I remember feeling uncomfortable in my shoes...

The time, late 1986. The place, a high-rise office building in Vancouver, BC.

I had acquired a job as a receptionist/secretary for a legal insurance company that was just getting off the ground. I had to dress "office" for work, which I didn't mind, but I usually managed to show some sort of individuality by wearing funky shoes with my boring secretary clothes. My favorite pair of pumps were a bright turquoise satin pair with very pointy toes, straight from the 1960's, and oh, so new wave! I bought them at a garage sale down in America for about fifty cents.

I was sitting at my desk one day when one of the lawyers that worked for us, a weasel-like short little man, wandered through the office. He stopped at my desk, looking down at my feet. Without moving his gaze, he said slowly, "Nice shoes."

I felt uncomfortable.

"Thanks," I said.

His gaze didn't lift. "No, really...I like your shoes," he almost muttered to himself.

I felt really uncomfortable. Small-town girl in the big city, I had never heard of a shoe fetish, but I found myself confronted with a man who was becoming very, VERY interested in my shoes. I felt violated, and I wasn't even sure why! I crossed my feet under my chair, as far under my chair as they would go. Sounding as bored as I could, I said, "Thanks. Don't you have some work to do?"

Finally he looked up at me, kind of chuckled sneeringly, if you can imagine what that sounds like, and wandered out. After that day, he always managed to slither through my section of the office and check out what shoes I was wearing, which, because of my love for shoes, were usually pointy or buckled or leather. In fact, I didn't own any boring shoes. I seriously considered buying some.

What a creep.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I remember winning the "Good Sportsmanship" award.

Every year they'd make us elementary students compete in a Track and Field day. Every year I'd try my hardest, come in just about last in every event, feel like crying but manage to somehow hide it...and then be called up in front of everybody in the gym later at the awards ceremony and given the public humiliation of the Good Sportsmanship award. They only ever give that ribbon to losers, even little kids know that. I certainly knew it. So up to the front of the whole school I'd go, again feeling like crying but managing not to, shake the teacher's hand and take my ribbon. They may as well have written "Loser" on my forehead with a Sharpie.

I think I won four of those stupid ribbons. I didn't save them.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I remember my first "punk rock" gig.

I think it was my friend, Sandi, who suggested we go see The Enigmas, GoForThree, and Slow do a gig at the Commodore. I was very excited, nervous about what to wear, how to behave, all of that stuff. We got duded up and drove into Vancouver.

The Commodore, as I learned later, is a beautiful, fabulous place to see bands play, and this night was no exception. The place was about full, and every person was so different from who I was usually surrounded with at my Christian college campus, it was like a sparkling adventure. Spiky black hair, the smell of sweaty leather, the boots, the eyeliner!! It was probably 1984, but I'm not sure of the year.

The first band, GoForThree (or however that's written) weren't very exciting. The next band, Slow, was amazing, really energetic and creative. The final band of the night was the Enigmas, a garage-type band.

Sandi took me by the hand and dragged me right up to the front when Slow started, and we stayed there, squished up against the stage as the slam-dancing (that's what "moshing" used to be called, kids) raged at our backs. The press of bodies against us, the "accidental" groping, began to be overwhelming, so we hopped up on stage and sat cross-legged to watch the music. Nobody stopped us! We had a fabulous view of Paul Mackenzie, the lead singer, going through his mad gyrations and contortions. As the show really heated up, he grabbed a knife and pretended to disembowel himself--he must of had a bag of raw liver taped to his stomach--and it spilled out all over the stage. Sandi and I figured this was punk rock, so we grabbed it and started hurling it at the rest of the crowd. Really, there was no other course of action even worth considering! You would have done the same thing.

I remember looking over the sweaty, young crowd, looking at the mad bands, and thinking "This is where I belong! This makes sense to me." By 1987, I played the Commodore, opening for the Scramblers. As I stood on stage for the sound check, I vividly remembered the gig a few years before where I had decided this was where I should be. And there I was. It was quite unfulfilling, actually. Maybe I should have brought raw liver, maybe that would have helped.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

I remember the year my mom discovered Snow in a Can.

Remember the old farm house I lived in, the one I just mentioned in the previous post? It was the parsonage for Mount Olive Church, back when this church was a country church six miles west of a small town in Alberta. As the church could afford, the house was slowly updated. I remember when the coal furnace was removed and replaced with gas, I remember when the ringer washing machine was replaced with a modern top-loader...

...I digress, but with a purpose. I want you to understand how quaint and old this house was. You need to be able to picture that in the winter, we could draw patterns in the frost on our bedroom window just like Laura did in Little House on the Prairie.

I remember Mom bringing out this blue can with a red lid one day as we were preparing for Christmas. "It's decorative snow!" she said. "We can make pretty patterns using stencils on our windows..." She seemed very excited. First she used the can to spray the white foam all over our real Christmas tree...the pine smell was replaced with the odour of propellants, and if you squinted, our tree almost looked fake. In my childishness, I thought this was very clever! We could never afford a REAL fake tree.

Then Mom used the can to spray white foam into all the angled corners of the window, covering all the real frost with a nubbly sheen of faux frost. This was not quite as clever, in my opinion. What window could I draw on now? Only my bedroom window upstairs, all the others were out of reach! Oh well. Mom knew best. My little sister and I begged to be allowed to do some of the spraying, and I think we were allowed to try...but we sprayed it on unevenly. The can went back to Mom.

She still uses that Snow in a Can stuff. I don't get it. Maybe if we lived somewhere hot like Arizona and frost was something we dreamed about along with the sugar plums and other Christmas visions, then it would make sense to fabricate it on our windows. But real frost is so pretty, and here in Alberta (especially in our old poorly heated farm house) we had plenty of it! No sir, I don't get it.