Monday, September 29, 2008

Democracy 250

I hadn't been to a "youth conference" in nearly 8 years, so I had no idea what to expect when I stepped through the hotel room door and put my bags down. I can tell you what I wasn't expecting, though--a 16-year-old roomate, doodling "ill Scarlet" all over the hotel stationary, with her two teenage friends in tow.

They didn't guess my age, though. I had dressed for the part, complete with dinosaur t-shirt, jeans and Converse sneakers.

My roomate, Ginger, was originally from a fly-in reserve north of Thunder Bay. "What's Toronto like?" she asked me, eyes big in awe. The TV in our room was always tuned to MuchMusic, she shared songs with me on her iPod and I knew that she couldn't possibly understand me when I told her that she was going to miss Thunder Bay someday--someday long after she gets out. (And I hope she gets out.)

So what's the point here? There really isn't one. There isn't a romantic story of how Ginger reminded me of my past self. (She didn't.) There isn't a story of personal elightenment or self-discovery here to share. (I got drunk, made politically incorrect jokes and forced guys in striped shirts to do cartwheels.) This isn't the tale of what a stone cold fox the Governor General is. (She is.)

Instead, there's this: In the last federal election, 1.2 million Canadian youth didn't vote.

That's appalling.

(Seriously, does it take that much effort to at least go and spoil your ballot? I voted in my first federal election when I was 16, not realizing at the time that it was a felony. I voted because I could, because of some glitch in the system. I voted because the ability to do so seemed like the greatest power. And although I barely believe in our democractic electoral system now, I still exercise that right because I have it.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Apathy IS boring.

This is my new friend Maya. I met Maya at a youth conference in Halifax this weekend. Maya and I quickly discovered that we have two key things in common: we both give in easily to peer pressure, and we both like to pressure our peers.

To quote Danny, "When I saw you sitting in between David and Maya during the dialogue, I thought, 'That's trouble.'" I'll admit, we were a dangerous combination.

The night started off like any other. We discussed what a stone cold fox the Governor General is (seriously, I want to have her babies) and admired the empty nature of the Dal "bar."

"I really wish I knew how to do cartwheels," I told Maya. "If I did, I'd do one in the bar right now." "I'll teach you," she offered. The result? Three very pathetic attempts caught on video. (If you're interested, I'll put one of them up.)

Turns out that we weren't the only ones interested in cartwheeling in the bar.

Around this point in time, Maya and I noticed that drunks guys wearing blue striped shirts really liked doing cartwheels. (I really liked this guy, who was definitely rocking some serious grey hair.)

In between harassing people to do cartwheels, we saw this bluegrass band. They didn't do cartwheels, but they agreed to vote in the federal election. (More on this later.)

In total, we got no less than 9 drunk guys in blue striped shirts to do cartwheels for us.

Seriously, how could one not love this girl?

But more importantly, how could one not love Nova Scotia? We woke up in the morning to wander downtown to find brunch. First though, we found free coffee and cinnamon buns which we consumed in the public gardens.

Then we found these free hugs.

And then we found some free love. . .

. . .in the shape and form of about 40 greyhounds in one tiny little park.

I told the lead singer of the bluegrass band that I was going to move to Nova Scotia. He sincerely believed me. "I'm actually kind of surprised you're not a Nova Scotian," he told me when I gushed about earth sheltered homes and cheap islands. "I think you'll fit right in."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Two years of breathing

I'm spending today doing the things you loved. I'm basking in the sun with old friends, I'm eating ice cream, I'm getting a new tattoo. I'm reading about religion, listening to loud music and writing about you. About the only thing I'm not doing is throwing crackers at old people.

It took me two years to reach this point, but today is for you. Today is for Mars.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Fun fact: the CN tower should be in the dead centre of this picture. Let's not kid ourselves into believing this is only the work of cloud cover.

Dear Toronto: You're like a lover with an STD.

You're making me sick, but I can't seem to stop this love/hate relationship I have with you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Will Cut Hair for Beer

Want a haircut in my home while I tell you about my pre-teen sexual misadventures? You're in luck. I will cut hair for beer.

Results may vary. Satisfaction is definitely not guaranteed.

(But seriously folks. If you want a haircut, I'm willing to barter my services for other goods and services.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The season of remorse

I'm moving through the days, humming, vibrating.

We're moving into the season of remembrance, the season of remorse. The air is thick with the time to remember to forget, and the time to wish we hadn't forgotten to remember.

I'm carrying words with me, both literally and figuratively. I'm repeating the verses in my head, out loud, whispering it into the last wave of heat, the last dying gasp of summer. Foreign to us and local to them.

It's been two years, but I feel like I only truly miss him now--now that I'm ready to write him the letter that he probably waited for. We promised that we'd reconnect in our mid-twenties. Well, here we are. Or rather, here I am. He didn't make it.

In these days, a lot of my thoughts are reserved for Kenny.

But the moments? The moments are for me.

Natty and I crashed a Toronto film fest pre-party tonight. We sat at the bar, drinking our drinks, but weren't innocuous enough--the organizer of the event came up to talk to us, trying to place us.

"Are you actresses?"

We both laughed awkwardly. "No." He waited for us to explain what it is that we actually do.

I looked to Natty, confused. How can we sum up what we do, easily, conveniently?

She looked back at me, before answering on our behalf, "She's a writer. I'm a photographer." Leave it to Natty, to sum up the situation, neatly, tidily, truthfully, yet somehow completely inaccurately.

"Really? What kind of a writer?"

"I'm a journalist," I answered, confidently. A lie. Yet not.

"Really? Who do you write for?"

I write for myself.