The better way

June 19, 2007 at 11:02 pm | Posted in family | 3 Comments

My parents were visiting for a few days, and overall, we had a lovely time: we went to Algonquin Park and went hiking and canoeing; they attended my graduation luncheon; we visited the Toronto Islands. We took the TTC a number of times, as my dad finds it difficult to walk long distances without resting (which is hilarious, cause on our 11 km hike in Algonquin, he was light years ahead of my mom and I). I even made my parents take public transit into town by themselves when I couldn’t meet them at the airport. Now, I consider both of them to be fairly intelligent people, but I swear to God, it’s as if they’d never been on public transportation before.

The Kipling station doesn’t have turnstiles, which means, essentially, that you don’t have to pay a fare if you’re coming directly from that station (if you’re coming from the airport or another bus route, you’ve paid on the bus). They could NOT wrap their minds around this, and we must’ve had the following conversation 50 times:

Mom: “So, when we take the Tube/Underground [subway; for some reason they thought we were in London] tomorrow [to Kipling], are we going to have to pay when we get off the subway?”
Dad: “You mean we’re going to have to pay twice?”
Me: “No. You’ll pay at Dupont station, then transfer at Spadina, then ride the subway all the out to the end of the line. You won’t pay at the bus.”
Mom (or Dad): “So how do they know that we’ve paid?”
Me: “Because you’re coming from the subway, but even if you weren’t, it doesn’t matter because that station doesn’t have turnstiles.”
Dad (or Mom): “But how do they know that we’ve paid?”
Me: “Because you’re coming from the…” ad nauseum infinitum

I swear, 90% of our conversations consisted of me explaining the TTC to them — or them asking me questions I couldn’t answer. Do any of you know the answers to the following?

Is the population of Montreal similar to that of Toronto?
What is the largest immigrant demographic in Toronto?
Is that the Toronto flag?
Is that the Ontario flag?
Are the provinces broken down into counties?
Does Lake Ontario get rough?
Why isn’t this lighthouse closer to the lake?

Daddy’s little girl

June 3, 2007 at 7:11 pm | Posted in boys, family | 6 Comments

I’ve sworn off men once again, people. I know, I know, not a huge surprise, and also a vow likely to be broken in a matter of days, given the course of my dating life so far. But if it doesn’t get broken, more power to me.

I mentioned this no-more-men vow to my father, who along with my mom usually gets the abbreviated version of my dating life (it’s not a love life, really, and I would be a fool to refer to it as such). My dad is vaguely supportive of me in my romantic spills and scrapes — he obviously doesn’t wish me any harm but also refuses to hand out advice on the matter; I’m not sure if this is because he thinks it would go unheeded and doesn’t wish to waste his breath, or if it’s because he doesn’t want to be held accountable for anything I do upon receiving advice. My frequent lament is that I haven’t had a really serious boyfriend since Vito, my college boyfriend, and I broke up four years ago (holy fuck). Since, I’ve dated plenty of guys and have entered into little pseudo-relationships with some that never last more than a couple of months. (This is certainly something I see as a failure. What, after all, is the point of trying on so many freakin’ hats if you never ever find one that you want to wear for more than half a season?) Anyway, I was discussing this with my father, and I mentioned that I put up with a lot of bullshit from Vito that I wouldn’t necessarily put up with from him or anyone else now. My father said, “Well, maybe that’s your problem. Maybe you need to lower your standards.”

I was floored. My father thinks I need to lower my standards? People, when your parents start telling you that you’re aiming too high, someone has a problem. Isn’t my dad supposed to say things like, “That bastard! His loss,” and, “No man is good enough for my little girl”?

Family, stupid drugs

May 3, 2007 at 11:00 pm | Posted in family, random | Leave a comment

So, some of my relatives are very devout Pentecostal Christians. Which means that not only was I not able to use alcohol as a social lubricant over the weekend while visiting, I also had to watch my mouth. I am pretty sure that I say ‘Oh my God’ once a minute, and ‘fuck’ is definitely my favorite word. While I can certainly be petty about stuff like that, and instead of respecting people’s boundaries I wouldn’t put it past me to flaunt my heathenness (is that a word?) by drinking and cursing like a sailor, I just cannot do that to my aunt and uncle. They are the nicest people in the world, and they have never once, in their entire lives, suggested to me that my lifestyle is inappropriate or wrong. They know full well that I do not adhere to the Christian faith and that my politics are super liberal — they think Canada is a perfect fit for me — but they never, ever judge me for it. So, I figure that the least I can do is attend their daughter’s bridal shower, put the old language filter on, and bow my head with the best of them for one measly weekend.

I didn’t take my anti-depressant yesterday and there was hell to pay for that. I just forgot to take it in the morning cause I didn’t eat breakfast at home, and then I wasn’t able to take it later in the day. I’ve missed it before and I pretty much knew what I was in for, but I’ve never not taken it for that long. I started feeling dizzy yesterday afternoon, and that continued all day. I couldn’t even turn my head or move my eyes without feeling it. That was expected. What I didn’t expect were the extremely vivid, extremely weird and annoying dreams. I vaguely remember that from when I started taking Effexor, that I would have really vivid dreams that would just haunt me throughout the day. Last night was certainly no exception. Even though I took the stupid pill when I got home this morning, at 11:30, I didn’t feel better until this evening, after a major nap. What scares me about this is that if I ever had to stop taking it, I would be basically incapacitated for however long it takes the drug to leave my system. I wouldn’t be able to work; I was barely able to cross the street properly this afternoon. But taking it just makes such a huge difference in my ability to stabilize. Before I started it, I was a complete wreck, prone to bouts of depression pretty regularly, and also super nervous in social situations. I don’t know if I’ll ever be perfectly at ease in large groups of people — I sort of doubt it — but at least I can attend parties and meet people at bars without having a nervous breakdown beforehand.

Family ties

April 27, 2007 at 3:49 pm | Posted in family | 4 Comments

My mother’s family is from the Buffalo, NY, area. I have aunts and cousins who live in Rochester, NY, and tons of relatives in North Tonawanda, NY. I’ve lived in Toronto for going on two years and I’ve visited my relatives once — and they’re just a hop, skip and a jump across the lake. In the meantime, one of my cousins has gotten married, one has had a baby, one of my cousin’s wives is pregnant with twins, and there has been some kind of celebratory gathering surrounding each of those events. I’ve been invited to all of them and I just haven’t gone. I haven’t seen my grandparents in upwards of five years. So, this weekend it’s another cousin’s bridal shower, and I finally caved and said I’d go. It’s not that I dislike my relatives — on the contrary, this cousin, her parents, and her brother are some of my favorite people on earth — but just that family gatherings are such a challenge for me.

My nuclear family is just me, my brother, and our parents. My dad is a pretty solitary guy, and I like being alone, too. I guess we all do, really. Growing up, we just didn’t see any extended family members that often, as most of them live in New York or England. My uncle, who lives in West Palm Beach, FL, is the relative I’ve seen the most often, and even as a kid, I’d bring a book when we went to his place for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Before and after dinner, I’d retire to the living room or an empty bedroom to read while everyone else was in the pool or on the patio. When I got older, I still brought a book, but I also fortified myself with alcohol, which makes any social event that much more bearable. I guess I like to have a barrier, whether it’s textual, textile (I am so bringing my knitting this weekend), or alcoholic, between myself and others.

I know how that sounds, how it makes me seem like I don’t like people, and there’s a part of me that doesn’t, in the sense that I don’t love all people just because they happen to exist. I like being by myself, I’ve never been into team sports; I didn’t even want to join Daisies in kindergarten, I imagine because it meant that I’d have to spend lots of time with other kids. But the people I do like, I love. My friends are the most important people in the world to me, and I genuinely enjoy hanging out with my parents and, as we get older, my brother. It’s just so hard to have to perform for a group of people I don’t really know that well, to be outgoing and witty and charming, to have to watch my language and just generally be on my best behavior, when all I want to do is grab a beer and a book and sit in a corner.

What I love about my mother

December 19, 2006 at 8:32 am | Posted in family, life | Leave a comment

Is that she’s always willing to assume I’m thinking the worst of myself.

Case in point, this conversation, which occurred last night, when I called her to discuss my perpetual failure with boys and dating:

Me: And, Mom, I’m sick.

Mom: Well, you’re not sick.

Me: No, I am. I have a cold.

Mom: [Laughs.] Oh.

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