I finnnnally spoke to this man on my way home today. He’s one of the Dunn Ave. fixtures, holding down the fort on the white plastic patio set at the Convenience store at the end of the street. Kevin was the first one to spot him, described him to me one day, and occasionally checked in to see if I’d had the pleasure yet.  “He’s got sort of Viking-like red hair, wears a big jacket, colored stockings, a dress, and multicolored shoes. Oh, and he always has a purse,” Kevin explained. We gave him the name of Charlie, for easy reference; he came up a surprising amount in our discussions of the neighborhood.

I laid eyes on him for the first time last week, and managed to snag a decent shot of him. Today, I was en route home when I noticed him in his perch. It brought a smile to my face, I guess it was reassuring or something, and then I thought about our similarity in haircuts. As I was trying to steal a glimpse of his bangs, he head me off at the pass, looked me right in the eye and smiled saying, “Hey, do you want a smoke?”

“Yes I do. That would be great,” I said and walked over to collect his offerings. How could you say no? He reached in the small paper pack of cigarettes, slid two of them out saying, “Here, have two. Smoke one and try and think of some good things about yourself, and smoke the other and try and think of some good things about me.” I wonder if that’s what he’s up to while he gazes off in the distance, barely moving his hand from his face while he chain smokes for hours.

“I will do that. That’s such a nice thing. What’s your name?” I said, because now was my chance to know.

“Vala,” he says, and so I repeat it to make sure.

“No, Violet…” he enunciates, “like a flower.”
“Well thank you very much for these, Violet. My name is Cynthia and it was really great to meet you.”

And it was REALLY great to meet him. He has the kindest eyes I have ever seen. Yellow fingers, just soaked with nicotine, but seriously, the nicest, friendliest, warm your heart eyes I’ve ever had the pleasure to look into.

I even have half a mind to smoke the things.

One of the stupid stories I tell myself is that just because I haven’t published anything on this dumb blog in almost a year, it means that I’ll have to have some ‘grand re-entry’, like just write the best conglomeration of words I could ever imagine. Anyway, I just decided that my evening thus far, has been worth recording.

I was walking home from work, with my face planted in my fancy new space phone, and I was just browsing away, emails, facebook, texts, might of even checked my top score on the puzzle game I finally ‘wrapped’ (read: beat), and probably making some really dangerous street crossings – not really sure, wasn’t paying attention. Then, for some reason, my ears perked up when I overheard two construction workers I see regularly, say, “yeah, remember Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction…” and I coincidentally, simultaneously realized that my blouse was TOTALLY OPEN. Yep. My right boob was just out there, all heeeeey, what’s up, how d’ya like my bra? And I had definitely walked in that fashion, for the last 10 minutes, easily.

I made it home, changed out of that failure of a top, got my stuff together to head to class. On the way, I’m still back into my phone, but I definitely pick up sketchy dudes vibe and he stands there wiggling the handlebar of a bike, presumably not his, fiddling with the bell on it. Yeah right, buddy, I think to myself, as if you’re just standing here jangling “your” bike bell. So I stopped and just stared at him. Stood beside him and stared at him. Wouldn’t ya know it, he walked away from the bike? Stared right into his thieving little eyes, and said silently, I see you. Shame is a wonderful tool sometimes, so sad to say.

Well, the TTC certainly earned its moniker, “Take The Car” or “Takes Time Coming” tonight as I waited god knows how long really for a friggin’ train. Long story short, I cut my losses on the 3 dollar fare, and the class I was supposed to attend, and thought, screw it, I’m going home. Just in time to see old Thievey MacGee himself, riding in the opposite direction on a real nice bike, no hands styles, waving his arms around in some magical tai chi looking manner – havin’ a time. A cyclist stopped at the light (a fellow ginger, fyi) saw me laughing to myself, and wanted in on it. She just chuckled and shook her head and carried on.

Ah, whatever. And it’s only 7:30.

The cat’s out of the bag

There’s another confidante

Outlined in the same fashion

Wishy washy waste of time

 
Coming or going?

Standing somewhere

Is better than nowhere.

Oh to be sprinkled with the fairy dust of maybe!

 
Maybe means might

Means practically is

Means how could it not be

Means nothing

Not a thing,

Girlfriend

 
It’s a mess.

The magical mystical maybes are everywhere.

Not so sacred after all.

Mademoiselles cash in where they can.

No one likes to feel like they’ve been duped.

 

“I’d like to buy some time?” said the grungy looking gentleman at the counter of the Rogers kiosk.

“How much?” he asked. Unlike me, the customer service representative wasn’t fazed by this phrase.

“A hundred dollars worth.”

One hundred dollars worth of time. Boom. Just like that. Easy done. Wouldn’t we all like that ability? Just to waltz up to some counter in the ghetto ass Dufferin Mall and get a couple of 20’s worth of time?

Sometimes I hear people nonchalantly talking about space or memory or time in reference to their machines, and it’s like it transports me to another meta-view; it’s like sometimes the mention of it triggers an out of body experience and I think, “This is the future, man.” Time and space miniaturized onto a metal stick, or a little chip, holding our precious memories and ever-important ‘data.’

I was struggling with technology yesterday and I got all frustrated with the speed at which my info was moving through the airwaves. “Come on! SO slow…” and then, when it just quit transmitting altogether, and I got real good and sour, I had to stop myself and think, “This is kind of weird and unbelievable this is even happening. Relax, lady.”

Cameras? How do they work, really though? I don’t know. An image of a moment captured and kept in our digital file folders? Huh? Airplanes? Really? A herd of humans seated comfortably, orderly, calmly as they’re transported THROUGH THE SKY, while complaining about the movies that aren’t working or their food that isn’t to prepared to taste? It’s bananas, people. Bananas.

All these things we’ve created, participate in, take for granted, and we still can’t manage to figure out how to love each other. Yeah, that’s where I was going with that. Surprise, surprise.

“One ticket to the 13th dimension, please.”

“Will you be scanning your retinas or using your fingerprints to pay for that today, Mam?”

I was wandering around a house in a dream world, and came across a baby girl sitting on the floor. She was so irresistably adorable, so I laid down and started playing with her. She crawled up and nestled right in the middle of my stomach, looked down at me and said, as clear as day, “Yep.”

The next night I tossed and turned, and didn’t do much eventful dreaming, but woke up to the news that my best friend gave birth to a baby girl, Violet. She told me she was ready to join us, I should’ve known it was her.

Obviously, dreams or no dreams, I’d known she was about to arrive any day now, but some things you can’t anticipate the feeling for. I was dying to meet her straight away, even moreso than I thought I would. When my friends finally brought her home and got somewhat settled, I made my first visit. Laden with gifts, and food and overwhelmed with wonder, I walked into their house, and saw my beautiful friend sitting on the couch, breastfeeding Violet. I turned to her husband (both of whom I’ve known for 15 years before either one of them had an inkling they’d be making babies together) and started excitedly bawling on his shoulder. It was too much emotion to handle. What an incredible sight. They made a human! She’s real. She’s here. And she’s feeding from her mother’s breast. Weird. Awesome!

“Can you get your head around this?” Violet’s father asked me, “Because we can’t. It’s crazy.”

“I know.” I said, as I held her. She’s an actual human being. And this little body swaddled all nice and cozy and snoozing in my arms is the same one she’s going to have for the rest of her life. She’s perfect and innocent and untainted by anything in this world.

Her father told me about his experience of cutting the umbilical cord. “I didn’t quite get it in the initial go, so I had to give it a couple of slices…it was all squishy and so strange. What a thing, this cord, it’s like god’s little afterthought, ‘And we’ll just attach the two of you together with this cord on your belly, I guess’…what a system,” he marveled.

Then he talked about the myth of the process that unfolds after the birth. “You know, you just assume that the baby comes out, and it latches on to the breast and away you go, and everything is just easy, but it’s so the opposite. From the minute you’re born, you have to fight to survive in this world. The mother and the baby have to figure out how the breastfeeding thing works together and then find their rhythm, the whole thing is pretty traumatic really. It’s a struggle from the get go.”

But that’s the part that’s the so unfathomable to me about the whole thing. “I look at her head, and just think ‘there’s no way…’” my friend said to me, in an attempt at comprehension. What the female body has to endure for the better part of a year, what everyone has to go through, there’s loads of difficulty inherent in the whole thing of it, but man, it’s just so heartbreakingly beautiful. Life, right? Just like life. We start out attached, right from the belly button, suddenly, we’re detached, then we’re attached to our mothers, then we spend the rest of our lives going through a series of attaching and detaching ourselves to people, thoughts, desires, it goes on and on. And so much of it is painful, trying, traumatic, but somehow it’s all insanely beautiful.

Thinking of Violet, and how much love exists in her home between her Mom and Dad, and all of those around them, I honest to goodness get choked up even thinking of it. People are having babies every second of every day, and there was a time when I’d be like, “Yeah, yeah, ok, I get it, no big deal people. I think it’s pretty obvious that having a baby isn’t all that special,” but goodness gracious, how wrong was I. It IS special, it is sacred, it is all the best feelings you could imagine in the world rolled up into one overflowing sensation of awesomeness (and she’s not even my baby).

Not only does Violet have the good fortune of having appropriately chosen a pretty stellar household to make her life in, but she chose some damn good-looking parents to get her DNA from too. “I can’t stop staring at her, I’m so in love with her…” her Mom said. No kidding. If she’s this gorgeous as a 7 pound newborn, I can’t even begin to think about how stunning she’ll be as a 7 month, 7 year, or 17 year old. Good looks aside, they’re lucky ducks, all of them. And I’m so blessed to be able to look on and to bask in the joy that is her being.

Smiley McGee. That’s me. I’m walking down the street, not with a grin, but with a huge unmistakeable smile, coupled with numerous audible laughs. What’s got me so sunshiney? Oh, just the wonders of the world and all the ways it turns. Let me rewind about five years to give you some back story.

It’s November, 2005, and I’ve just moved to Toronto for the first time. I’d been out for a few drinks with a friend, back when I used to do that kind of thing, you know, drink, and so I was a little tipsy as I got outta the cab on my street. As I start walking home, I notice a man on the other side of the road that I had seen earlier that day while I was on the streetcar. “It’s that guy from today!” I thought. “Good god he’s handsome.” So I looked at him, and he looked at me. And we kept looking at each other. Within a matter of moments he walked towards me for a closer look. “Hello,” I said to him. “Hello,” he said to me, and that was that. Away we went. Huggin’ and kissin’ pretty hardcore. It was intense, and surreal and incredibly exciting. “What’s your name?” We eventually thought to ask. I asked him to repeat himself about 4 times, and I still couldn’t decipher what he was saying, but I didn’t particularly care. Names were irrelevant at that point.

“Sooo, is this your place?” he pointed to my house behind me.

“Yeah.”

“Well are you going to invite me in?”

“Hmmm, welllll….I promised myself I’d be good tonight,” I debated. I was new to the big city and was feeling particularly footloose and fancy-free. Those days entailed lots of drinking and lots of caution to the wind. I was aware of this, and figured I’d better reel myself in. Perhaps develop some inhibitions for a change.

“I think we’re beyond that.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Who am I kidding?” and there goes caution again, away with the wind.

So we walked to the door, and as I’m fumbling with my keys, he looks at me and says, “You’re a Scorpio, aren’t you?”

“Sure am. So are you?”

“Yep. Oh fuck,” he said. If we didn’t already know we were in for it, we certainly did now. Scorpios are known to be especially sexual beings, and when 2 of them come together, from my experience, it’s nothing but trouble. Insane amounts of fun, but Trouble with a capital “T.”

We didn’t take things to the place we might have liked to, “I want to see you again…” he said, and he feared that if we got too carried away, he wouldn’t. It wasn’t until he wrote his name and number on the notepad at my desk before he left that I finally figured out his unusual name. I’ve not heard it before or since. Fitting.

The very next day I was attending the Christmas party at the agency I’d been temping with, and I ended up sitting next to a magnetic and gregarious girl that I immediately hit it off with. We were laughing and carrying on and had an instant rapport, so we started sharing a bit about ourselves, more than you usually would with what amounts to a perfect stranger. (Seems a theme was developing with me…) She was wearing big gold earrings that said, “Leo” and when we were exchanging numbers, she pulled out her notebook also adorned with her astrological sign. “So, you’re a Leo, I see,” and we carried on a conversation about our horoscopes.

“I have a funny horoscope related story that happened to me just last night,” and I proceed to tell her my tale.

“Oh shit, girl!” she laughed. “That’s unreal. So who is this guy anyway? What’s his name?”

For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him Mr. Hello. “*Mr. Hello*??” she questioned, “*Mr. Hello*???? Is he a tall Jamaican guy? A model? An actor?” she implored.

“Yeeeess??”

“He’s my ex-boyfriend’s best friend,” small friggin’ world. So, not only have I shared this incredible connection with this gentleman, but now he’s somehow connected to other people I’m immediately connecting with. Too strange.

Mr. Hello and I saw each other a few more times. Firey and fun and nothing but Scorpio trouble. Unfortunately, in the meantime, I made tracks back to PEI for the holidays and rekindled with my ex, which meant the next time he came calling, I had to put the kybosh to it. I remember one night, just as I crawled into bed with my boyfriend, my phone rang. “Who’s that??” he asked me, knowing that it likely wasn’t my mother. “Just somebody I met once.” I called him back the next day to say, “Dude, I’m in a relationship. I’d LOVE to see you, but alas…” Fair enough, he resigned.

A few months later I was coming out of a party at a bar on Queen St. and right there, at the bottom of the stairs stood Mr. Hello himself. I poked him in the ribs as I walked past with my boyfriend, and I turned to see his reaction. He stood there in amazement, with his hands in the air. I gestured to my mate, and gave him the salute. He waved in return. Nice to see you, we both thought.

I recall two more Mr. Hello spottings over the years that followed. Once during Nuit Blanche in Trinity Bellwoods Park. I was with someone and so was he. He didn’t see me, and I didn’t make myself known. The next time I was waiting at the crosswalk on Havelock St., yet again late at night, and he zoomed past on his bike, not noticing me bundled up in my winter gear. “Was that really who I think it was? Nah, couldn’t be…” But yeah. It was him. You can’t forget a face like that.

So, it’s November 2010. Five years later. I’ve been here, there and everywhere, but have just moved back into my old neighborhood. I’d been reminiscing about this scenario a lot lately, doing the old “what ifs” and “coulda wouldas” so I sent him a message stating simply, “Pssst.” Just a, “Hey, remember me, remember THAT?” kind of thing, and it doesn’t take long for him to respond with a, “Well, well, well…as the Scorpio season descends upon us, I find myself thinking of you. Dundas St. has never been the same for me.”

A few brief texts and messages later, he’s at my doorstep this morning. Let’s go for coffee. So civilized. We walk and talk. What’s up with you, what’s up with me, la la la, let me buy you a coffee, did you want a muffin with that, nice, nice, nice.

“So, you live alone?” I ask him.

“Actually, I live with my wife.”

Dun, dun, dun. The descending, disappointing music ensues. I feel like turning on my heels and heading straight back home, but we are being civilized after all, so I sit, and enjoy my coffee since he’s gone to the trouble of paying for it and everything. I’m oh so curious where this conversation is going to head now. He shares some things with me, and yeah, I know, lots of people feel like they can tell me things, so really, I’m not surprised. I’m an open book, so it’s no big mystery that you feel you can open yours too. But really, when you said, “I do” to that lady of yours, whoever she is, maybe it didn’t mean much to you, but newsflash, it does mean something to me. “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” Really? Really. Realllly? So this is how it happens, eh? This is what people do.

Yes, he’s hands down the most beautiful man I’ve ever laid eyes on, and yes, I agree, as he pleads with me in the text messages that follow my dismissal of any possibility there will be a repeat performance, you’re right, it was absolutely memorable, unlike any other, but gosh darn it, I’ve just been cursed with this big, bad conscience of mine. You can call me a lot of things, but home wrecker is not one of them, tempting as it may be. I might be spontaneous and fun, and do lots of adventurous kinds of things, but not at someone else’s expense. Nevermind the fact that I don’t even drink anymore and can’t even use the tipsy excuse. Sound, sober mind here, saying thanks, but no thanks.

And so I walk along the street, and I’m laughing. I’m smiling a great, big goofy smile, and I honestly don’t know why I find the whole scenario to be so damned hilarious. What they say is true, smiling is contagious, because loads of people are remarking, “How are you today?!” and “Hey there, Smiley.” It’s infecting everyone, and you know, I’m glad. I’m glad that my friggin’ hilarious love life can at least be the source of some happiness in the morning of these random strangers.

The texting ensues, and try as he might to convince me otherwise, I’m not somebody’s mistress, nor do I plan on it anytime soon. So, while it was nice to catch up with you, my dear, old, Mr. Hello, I believe I shall finally have to call you Mr. Goodbye. Another case closed. Another story for the books.

 

My friend Shane, a warm and loving young gentleman I met almost 2 years ago while traveling in Byron Bay, Australia, has found his way to this hemisphere and is continuing his journey in a big, old van across this Northern land. He phoned me last weekend and said, “Hey Cynth, my friend Charlotte and I are in Moncton, we’re gonna swing by PEI tomorrow. You gonna be around?” Hells yes. He’d been living in Alberta for over a year now, and was talking about making a trek East, but you know, lots of people do lots of talking. I wasn’t sure if he’d actually make it. After all, it’s a long, long way. But there he was, on the other side of the bridge, fulfilling his promise. I love people who do what they say they’re gonna do.

Byron Bay was a real magical kind of place, and people making a stop there have a tendency to have less guards around their hearts, so during our shared time and space in that place, we’d exchanged a number of meaningful, thoughtful ideas that let me know he was on the level. Love, and the idea of living it, isn’t foreign to Shane, and considering that along his cross Canada travels he’d made a stop in Scarborough to get initiated by my Reiki Master I’d told him about oh so long ago, is further evidence of his commitment to the cause.

Their showing up at my parent’s place on PEI was such perfect timing. I had a car rented and was all ready to make the solo journey to Upper Canada with my meager belongings to start the next chapter, but after reading my horoscope that told me I would come up with a creative plan to help move me to the next phase, it dawned on me that instead of hauling two vehicles, we should team up. “Hey, dude, we’re both going west. You have a van. You can carry my stuff, I can fund the journey, and we’ll all benefit. Yeah? You down?” Yep. So we packed up the 1983 Dodge Ram Van he’d bought for $1500 bucks after a ‘coincidental’ meeting in Kelowna, and away we went.

By all accounts this machine should not have been purring like a kitten, but man oh man, there must be a force field of positivity around the thing because not only was it amazing on gas, nothing seems to ever go wrong with it (knock wood).

Shane’s been doing some interesting reading/thinking, “The Mayan Code”, “The Purposeful Universe” and such, thoughts not far from my frequency, so just like back in the day in Byron, we shared some provocative conversation surrounding themes of attachment, detachment, perception, Love and consciousness.

“All you are is consciousness./It’s about how you perceive yourself./Thoughts have the power to change matter./Everything we see is delusion./We look for patterns, but we don’t look for change./Stop looking./Every single problem in this world can be solved by Love (I say with a capital “L”)./You don’t need someone to tell you how to do things, you already know what you need./Just give love and compassion to others./Why is it so hard to just be nice?/It’s funny that we look at people like the Dalai Lama, and ‘worship’ him without the realization that we could also be the Dalai Lama. It’s in our choices for ourselves. We are constantly looking outward instead of turning in. Knowing what you want on the inside is what matters.”  Small snippits from our meandering trail of thoughts…

I don’t think anything is accidental in this world. And I don’t believe that my meeting with Shane and Charlotte, the timing of it and the energy we shared is at all insignificant. They’ve carried on, heading all the way west to settle down in the mountains of Fernie, BC, and I’m here, back in my old neighbourhood in Toronto, eager to shift onto the next challenge. These are our prospective plans anyhow, and I have no idea what will indeed happen with either party, but I think the only thing that really matters is I have absolutely NO attachment to the outcome. I’m along for the ride, just like in the big, old painted van, and the only thing that I can gather really makes any kind of difference is the awareness that no matter how we go forth, the important thing is that we do so with peace and love in our hearts. Shine on, my beautiful friends; I look forward to the next encounter.


I’ve never dreamt about you before, well, countless daydreams, but never the night ones, and then just when I’ve managed to stop fantasizing about you, there you are, visiting me at night. I was standing downstream on one side of the river, and you were upstream on the other. The sun was behind you, and when you joyfully jumped into the water, I took my camera out to capture you floating by, arms in the air, glorious sunrays beaming out making you look especially delightful. My camera was on the wrong setting, I didn’t want to use the flash, but I was committed at that point, so I strongly held the button down and waited, frustrated, for the picture to take. Just as you splashed past me, I heard the click and I got a disappointing and different photo of what I could see was a much more beautiful moment. And then you went floating on. And I woke up.

I’m no expert or anything, but if my spidey senses are correct, and often they are, I will take this as a sign that it’s time to let go. Let go of thoughts of you. Away you go, along the river. I’m left to edit my memories and be content that even though the camera couldn’t capture it, and perhaps you couldn’t see it the way I could see it, it was a truly special thing down there by that water. Perhaps I’ll catch you downstream sometime…

I was sitting at a desk in the corner of a tiny, dimly lit room, and I was doing a test of some sort. I flipped through the pages reading paragraphs of information I find impossible to absorb and understand. I thought to myself, “I’ve done this before, this is really boring. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. Why am I doing this again?”

Then there is a person sitting right next to me, and another crammed up too close behind me. They’re both making a series of passive aggressive comments where I can’t tell if they like me or hate me (compliment or a dig? who can be sure anymore?).

It’s just too much then. Boring, same old, same old I have no connection to, and crowded by frenemies. I say to the guy next to me, “You’re going to have to move, because I have to get out of here,” and I get up and get the hell out of there.

It was a dream, but it was only a metaphor for exactly what is real in my life. I need out. I need change. Bigtime.

A selection of phrases taunt my brain, providing background noise during the occasion of this milestone – (yeah! You’ve been on earth for thirty years!)

A man who I was once deeply in love with, we floated around until we realized there was no soil for our seed to take root, he once told me very matter of factly, “If you think you’re easy to deal with, Cynthia, you’re not.”

A man I’ve had a mere handful of encounters with over the years, didn’t have to know me very well to confidently, yet jokingly inform me once, “there’s no winning with you is there?”

And to top it all off, my boss called me a perfectionist the other day, and not the good kind I take it.

Since they’ve found themselves in combination in my consciousness, I’ll take this triage of insight to the watcher watching the watcher in my brain and implore myself to tell myself to go easy as I forge ahead. New decade, new rules.

I come across as Tough McGruff most times, which is hilarious because I’m probably the most sensitive person you know. My feelings will get hurt if you even think about looking at them the wrong way. My only saving grace is some measure of resiliency that’s been instilled in my soul. Sure, sure, you’re hurt, suck it up, Sister. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole new system for measuring what’s what in the first place?

My yoga teacher spends a lot of time lately talking about paying attention to your mind. So I’m listening, and not just while I’m standing on my head. What rules am I playing by? What standards do I hold myself and others up against? What kind of person am I to “deal with”? How does one “win” with me? What constitutes “perfection”?

Easy peasy, you win, and everything exactly as it should be. Perfectly, perfect right this very moment. Happy Birthday, little girl. You’re alright with me.

June 2017
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