Hot wings, chocolate, and the forgivable pervert

October 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm (Uncategorized)

Let’s face it.  Anyone who works in customer service sometimes HATES people. 

Now, I can see the good in almost ANYBODY.  In the grumpy old broad who is really just lonely.  In the drunk hockey fan who spills a pitcher of beer on my boots. In the whiny college kids who can’t afford more than one drink each… I mean ANYBODY. 

But sometimes I just don’t want to look that hard.  I will admit it: as much as I love people (all kinds) and can get along and have a conversation with anyone, sometimes I’m exhausted or my buttons have all been pushed, and I am not very tolerant in these times.

I work every Wednesday night – good ol’ Wing Wednesday – and I love my little spot.  Work is good, money is good, and I meet some great people (new and familiar) every time I go to work, which is one of the reasons why I bartend/serve.  You never know who will walk in the door and say hello.  But, last Wednesday, I didn’t have much patience for the 35ish year-old heavy-set guy with a thick accent and broken English who decided that “Hey, Sexy!” was the best way to greet me.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” No, I didn’t yell.  That’s just the first thing that came out of my mouth. I didn’t make a scene, it’s not a huge deal, yadda, yadda, yadda… but come on.  “Hey, Sexy”? Fuck that!  I was obviously over a decade younger than this guy.  I obviously hadn’t seduced him intentionally in the first 4.3 seconds I looked at him before he opened his mouth.  And no one would put up with this sort of shit at any other job.  So why should I?  I don’t work in a brothel or a strip club.  It may sound “a bit overkill” to some of you… but I don’t go to work every day expecting that it is normal to be objectified, degraded, and belittled with perverted comments/greetings/gropings, no matter the severity/intensity of the issue.  And neither should you.  And little comments and gestures like this are what make it seem entirely ACCEPTABLE for women in the workplace to be treated this way by anybody.  There are no exceptions.  While “Hey, Sexy”, complete with a full-body scan, may seem pretty harmless: I am at work.  Don’t do it.  Say Hello.  End of story. 

Pervy Pete was pretty surprised.  His eyes widened and I turned abruptly and walked away.  My friend served him while I ignored him for the hour he stayed in the bar (silently) until the time came to pay his bill. I took his credit card and ran it through and very calmly told him that he was in a bar, not a strip club, and to treat service industry employees with respect from now on.  He nodded, said nothing and left.

I groaned last night when this guy walked through the door again and sat down at a table.  I wasn’t in the mood to teach someone a second lesson in respect and manners.  He saw I was working and nervously got up and took a seat at the end of the bar.

“Miss? Miss, please?”  I stopped and stared at him.  He held out a blue bag with a shaky hand and pained expression on his face.  I glanced down to catch “Lindt” written on the front of the bag.

“Last week, I am sorry.  I am good man, good person.  I am good and I want to say sorry, very sorry.”

I was shocked… I told him it was okay, that I wasn’t still upset, and that it’s not necessary to give me anything, but he kept insisting “please accept, please, sorry miss”.

I could have ignored him and been rude, but I figured he had been waiting all week to come back to apologize, and it was such a decent thing to do, and to genuinely ask for me to accept his apology… So, I took the bag and smiled and introduced myself.  As I shook Alvin’s hand, I felt a twinge of guilt that I had been so quick to judge someone for a miscommunication, a stupid mistake.  He said he felt terrible.  I talked a bit with him and thanked him for the gift (Lindt milk chocolate bar with hazelnuts – damn good choice, Alvin).  I saw how sincerely he had wanted to apologize, and I sincerely forgave him. 

He looked so relieved. 

On his way out, he waved and said goodnight, and I smiled back, thanking him again.

I hope he stops in next week.

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I spy in the sky with my little eye…

October 8, 2010 at 12:02 am (Uncategorized)

My BBC homepage popped up today to reveal the headline:

”Pakistan criticizes ‘unjustified’ US drone attacks”.

I read it, browsed around some news articles for a while,and mentioned that headline to someone once it came up in conversation.  I was promptly asked: What the hell is a US drone?

Good question.

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), aircrafts that are controlled from a ground station.  As in, no pilot. They provide the military with a constant feed of information about the goings-on of a location.  They can stay in the air for about 17 hours at a time, and some are small and equipped with cameras, to be used for collecting information/intelligence, while others are bigger and armed with laser-guided missiles for attack.  These are some pretty smart machines: they are armed with radar, infra-red imaging, and can even pick up on mobile phone conversations.  They are linked up in a system with a satellite and ground control system, and a couple other drones.  The technology is progressing rapidly, and they can now be armed with heavy missiles to hunt and kill. (facts care of BBC.co.uk Military fact file: drones).

Whether you are up to date on current world news, or looking at the latest People magazine article covering another riveting story on Kate Gosselin, this is interesting to me as it is another example of how even in the US military, we can be so foolhardy as to make decisions in our safe haven away from death and destruction, through the wonder of a small machine.

Reaper unmanned aircraft

Remember the days of the pilot going down with the plane? Remember having to risk lives in order to make such a huge decision? I somehow think that having an unmanned machine carry out “dirty work” (fire missiles) for us makes us less cautious to press that “deploy” button.  It makes us more reckless so we can say “fire!” more often.  If your coworker – your friend – was in that machine that was about to fire, wouldn’t you hesitate and hover over that red button, and really consider the severity of this decision? Remember being accountable for your fellow brothers and sisters, your fellow citizens? Having a sense of humility, and accepting the melancholy fact that these choices will never really be rewarded, because they are not heroic.  They are choices made in do-or-die situations, under the authority of someone who knows you only as a serial number.  War is awful. War is terrible. Fathers and mothers are lost, and someday, we will remember why we are fighting and forget the whole thing, and what’s more, we will wonder why we let history repeat itself so many times.  We will talk. More importantly, we will listen.  Maybe someday the children of North and South Waziristan (and all of Pakistan and Afghanistan) will look up at the sky and count stars, find constellations….instead of check for UAV’s. 

All of these fancy buttons seem very easy to push.  I think we may be pushing way too many buttons lately.  If we had the ability to take these situations more personally and less technically… we could try to rediscover the pause button. The stop button.

Do you see the irony that for any machine to perform any task, you have to press a “power” button before you can do anything at all?  Who gets this power, where does it go?  What about your power?

I’d like to just press “off” for awhile, and see how things turn out.

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When “sorry” isn’t good enough…

October 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s one hell of a task to apologize to approximately 700 people for infecting them with awful diseases.

Nope, I’m not talking about some busy Casanova here.  This is too big of a project for anyone to carry out single-handedly. 

Unless you would like to consider the government of the United States one big, sick, powerful Casanova.

I thought the headline was a joke, or the terrible result of a bunch of horny, reckless tourists: “US sorry over deliberate sex infections in Guatemala” (care of www.bbc.co.uk, my news source and reference point for this blog).

In actual fact, I was shocked to read that the U.S. government had deliberately infected approximately 700 people in Guatemala with syphilis and gonorrhea as part of a medical experiment.  Those who were infected did not consent to these experiments – they were prisoners, or mentally ill.  The study took place between 1946-1948. 

It is difficult to determine who is the lesser of the two evils – is it the U.S government for conducting such inexcusably horrid experiments without patient consent, OR the Guatemalan government for giving permission for the tests? 

Is it such a big surprise that these experiments were not conducted on American soil, with American patients?

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has accused the U.S. (and rightfully so) of crimes against humanity, and I whole-heartedly agee.  While there has been no offer of compensation yet, I wonder how there could possibly be any compensation for something so deliberate and criminal.  Money?  I don’t think cash is a very good cure for syphilis.

According to Robert Gibbs (a Whitehouse spokesperson), President Obama is apparently planning to call President Colom to apologize “personally.” Of course, this is the least that can be done and the least that can be expected, but I somehow don’t think this will help any of the patients, their families, or the dignity of these people and Guatemala.  How can Obama possibly apologize for something that happened before he could even spell his own name?

None of the patients were aware they were being used for experiments.

” The doctors used prostitutes with syphilis to infect them, or inoculation, as they tried to determine whether penicillin could prevent syphilis, not just cure it.”

I can not imagine anything that disgusts me more than this.  How could the Guatemalan government agree to such experiments?  And how could those employed by the U.S. government live with this terrible secret, knowing that they had infected so many people with a painful disease that can ultimately cause death?  In other words, there must have been MANY sleepless nights in those days.  How any doctor could agree to be a part of something that it so inherently wrong is beyond me.  I have a few friends who are embarking on the journey to become medical professionals, to spend their lives curing patients and preserving the health of their fellow brothers and sisters.  To perform the task of making hundreds of patients sick without their knowledge of this so-called “experiment” seems to be the opposite task of a doctor. 

I wonder how many experiments similar to this are being conducted right now?  Will it take over 60 years to find out?  Or are they just getting better at keeping secrets?

On a much smaller note, I have seen at least one doctor, at least once a week, for the past 3 months.  And after my most recent blood test results are discussed, I will stop.  I will not waste my time with so many doctors who do not care about my health, well-being, or even the value of my time.  I have been called in for follow-up appointments only to have my doctor look at me dumb-founded and ask “what seems to be the trouble? We called YOU? Really?” Oops.  How hard could it possibly be to find out why a person has been having dizzy spells daily for years?  I am finished with being poked, prodded, and referred three times over and having NO ONE begin to help me.  I feel no better nor worse than my first doctor’s appointment.  In deciding to use my ($50/month for basic coverage, it’s NOT free in Canada) healthcare to it’s fullest, I have wasted many hours running around like a chicken with its head cut off, simply trying to feel like a healthy 23-year-old.  And I am finished.  I will somehow find out how to cure MYSELF, since I have to remind my doctors of everything when they lose my files or can’t read their own handwriting. 

In the past few months, I have had enough blood drawn to satisfy Team Edward AND Team Jacob.  I somehow don’t see how taking more of my blood will provide any new information.

I will risk sounding slightly arrogant and say that I can do a better job of taking care of my health than any of these doctors who can not remember my name or why they even called me for an appointment. 

Let’s hope this next generation of doctor’s (the kind and intelligent individuals I have met) doesn’t repeat all the mistakes (big and small) of the past.  Until then, I trust and take care of myself.

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Boozing or losing: the fine art of public drinking etiquette

September 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm (Uncategorized)

Sometimes I think that there is no possible way to shock or surprise me anymore.  But, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

In case any of you are new (greetings!) to “going out”, here’s a couple real quick tips to keep in mind.  As we all know: sometimes it can be really tough to get off on the right foot with people if you vomit on them or grope them!

1) Just because it is your birthday/bachelorette/bachelor party, please don’t ask everyone around you to buy you shots/drinks.  It makes you look just like the cheap, tacky bastard that you are.  Showing one nipple does not entitle you to free Jack Daniels.  Some places have birthday specials, and some nice people may be happy for you and buy you a drink… but don’t whine and beg for free drinks. And if you don’t get anything, it’s even cheaper, ruder, and tackier to be short on your bill or tip nothing.  It’s your own fault you don’t want to pay for shit and are a self-entitled Lindsay Lohan wannabe.  Don’t take it out on someone else.

2) It’s not very polite to put your jacket, scarf, mittens, hipster hat, moustache comb, tiny dog, and bag of your own douce on top of someone else’s table/chair, especially when they are still sitting there.  You may be okay with standing and drinking and sharing everything… but maybe someone doesn’t WANT your nice bomber coat on their lap.  The world is not your coat rack.

3) People in Vancouver are generally well-mannered. Thank you goes a long way to anyone (other patrons, staff), and I do love this city for their “please and thank you” attitude.  It’s always nice to hear 🙂

4) If something is spilled on you… please don’t freak out.  I’m sure the spiller feels worse in this situation than you do, and will probably apologize profusely, and usually offer to buy you a new drink etc, so even if you have to dry clean your outfit and it costs, like, $12.75… well, shit happens.  Don’t wear your Prada sweater out in public if it is so easily damaged, and if this could potentially ruin your life.  Lighten up a bit.  If it’s a jerk who didn’t apologize or was rude, then feel free to dump a cocktail in the jerk’s lap.  Or just forget about it and have a good time anyways.

5) I do happen to love meeting new people from all over the world, and seeing everyone get along and make new friends… but if you are not from here, you still need to respect how a restaurant/lounge/bar works.  If you have a tab with one server/bartender, they may not be sharing a cash-till/register with another co-worker.  If you are sitting down and someone has been serving you, it’s pretty rude to refuse their service, order from the bar because you think it means you won’t be expected to tip anyone, and then sit back down, blocking your server’s section for hours.  This means that your server will be working for their $8 – tax that night and thus require welfare. Which brings me too…

6) Always pay and tip whoever has been serving you.  Leave your money in a billfold – crowding in a huddle around the bar/door when most bars now have portable debit, and servers offer to bring change to YOU, is pretty inconvenient.  I think servers have had many nights where they have to pay their establishment (tip out) to serve someone, because they dropped their tip in whichever random jar they saw…which means you just tipped someone else for my work.  And a server may have to tip the bar out at the end of a shift on top of that. 

7) Don’t steal glassware. There are cameras everywhere.  Sometimes in a big chain restaurant, they have a couple extra cool glasses lying around, and you can ask to buy one (they sometimes may give one to you, but don’t expect something for free).  Your grandmother told you that stealing is wrong, and she knew what she was talking about.

8) If someone tells you that you look nice/pretty/handsome, don’t immediately turn your nose up and be a self-absorbed ass.  If they are being polite, courteous, and sincere… it might just be a nice compliment.  You can just smile and say thanks – you don’t have to sleep with this person just because you didn’t rudely reject their comment.  Not everyone goes to a bar/restaurant to look for poon.

9) When you go swimming, some people like to dip their toes in the pool before jumping right in to the deep end.  When you see an attractive member of the opposite sex in a bar, think of this pool analogy, and maybe touch their arm first BEFORE touching their ass/underneath their skirt/pull a zipper.  I think I may have mentioned this before in some other ranting blog…. but just to enlighten you. PROCEED WITH CAUTION when groping.  And never, never, NEVER touch the bartender/server/host/general staff.  You might be the last person to push their buttons on a long night, and you might deserve to get bottled.

10) Don’t pee on a wall. Any wall. That’s never okay. Not even if you have an audience.

11) Don’t take off your shirt and play with/flop your man-boobs around because it is “too humid” indoors. (Really. This shouldn’t have to be said.)

Otherwise… enjoy your next Friday night! And keep your shirt on.

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The butterfly tattoo

September 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm (Uncategorized)

“For an all-expense paid, one-week vacation anywhere in the world, would you be willing to kill a beautiful butterfly by pulling off its wings?

What about stepping on a cockroach?”

This question ran through my mind in a dream last night for no apparent reason. Literally, it just passed through like words on a teleprompter.  I woke up this morning and had to dig out the wee little book in which I first read this interesting question.  The Book of Questions was written by Gregory Stock – it’s pretty interesting to flip through over a few cups of espresso, with a friend or by yourself (it depends on whether you want a friendly debate, or just a few quiet moments to look deep inside your own mind).

Dr. Stock elaborates on this with a few follow-up questions, such as “Why does a beautiful creature merit more compassion than an ugly one? Does it damage us psychologically when we destroy something we find beautiful?”

On a more light-hearted note, this all reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry has such a drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend, they discuss how she can get away with absolutely anything – she gets him and his buddies any table in any packed restaurant, she even gets Jerry out of an insane speeding ticket, as he laughs it up in the driver’s seat, knowing she will be able to smooth things over in less than two sentences.  Now, I happen to think that Seinfeld is the most clever sitcom ever written and have seen EVERY episode, and this is one of my favorites.  It’s hilarious – and so true in regard to how society feels about appearances.

 

Do you have more empathy and patience for beautiful things, and more importantly, for beautiful people, than those who are less attractive?  The butterfly vs. cockroach example is pretty simple to consider.  I recall how a group of us sat very still on a houseboat in Shuswap as a huge, colorful butterfly floated past, holding our breath in hopes that it would land near one of us.  I wanted to be closer to it, to examine it’s colorful wings and natural beauty.  Flashback to a few years ago in NYC: my roommate and I would drop a phonebook on a gigantic, wriggling cockroach, step on it through the book, and then wait a few days to peel it back and throw out the whole book after it had been contaminated with the remains of such a vile creature.

But they are both insects.  I felt it was my obligation to kill something so ugly and dirty (okay, cockroaches are dirty and disgusting.  However, I also feel this way about spiders, ants, beetles, etc)… but I hold my breath so that I don’t disturb the path of a delicate butterfly.   But they are both basically the same species…

Do you treat people this way, too?  Will you tip your bartender a significant amount more if he/she is very attractive?  Of course, sexual attraction is hard-wired, and we can not help who we are attracted to.  But anything sexual aside, do you treat beautiful people better than those whom you find less attractive?  Is it okay for a strange man to put his arm around your shoulder  if he’s a Cristiano Ronaldo look-alike?  What if his slightly overweight, shorter friend with the crooked teeth (and nice personality) acted the same way?  If a beautiful woman asked to borrow your phone to call a friend for a ride home, would you lend it to her faster than if a less beautiful woman asked you for the same favour?  Our society places so much importance on appearances (especially for women), more so than intelligence, creativity, financial success, and compassion, along with many other valuable qualities.  No wonder we judge and treat people based on this factor alone, and feel the need to work endlessly on our looks so that we may be treated more kindly by all.  Would you go out of your way to lend a hand to an attractive person – including jump starting his/her car, helping them up after falling down in public, and/or holding the door open? 

Are you more patient with an attractive person when teaching or explaining something to him/her? Are you more forgiving of his/her mistakes?

 I don’t know why this entered my unconscious mind last night, but everything happens for a reason. With the exception of crawling creatures that invade my home… I hope that I treat them all the same (human or insect or other).  And still, I will try to capture them (the insects) in a glass – the terrifying catch-and-release! 

I hope we all strive to look a bit closer in our everyday interactions.  The cockroachs have just as much right to life and liberty as the butterflies.

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One love?

September 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm (Uncategorized)

One heart. Let’s get together and feel alright.

I wonder where Bob Marley was when he wrote this song?  For all of the hardship Jamaica has faced (and still faces), this man must have had so much love in his heart to extend towards everyone across the world.  His message has reached millions of people.  I’m sure it’s cracked many smiles, and caused many hugs and tears.  It’s so simple.  The lyrics and the music are pretty straightforward. But aside from the song’s simplicity, it’s not that easy for some to understand and practice. 

bob-marley.jpg

Extending your love, respect and gratitude feels great when you are receiving these sentiments in return.  We all know what this feels like: on a great day, you could kiss the ground for how amazing it feels under your feet, you could hug the junkie who begs you for a dollar and buy him pizza, and you can make a funny face at a screaming, crying baby to cheer him up.  You can help hopelessly lost tourists by pointing them in the right direction with patience.  You can perform random acts of kindness.  You can say sweet things, smile and compliment strangers, and laugh at everyone’s jokes.  And damn, it all feels so good.

What about the other few days, when you don’t think you can “get together and feel alright”?  The day you get fired from your job.  The day you get hurt by someone you love.  The day someone you love passes away.  That day where there is nothing in your bank account, nothing in your fridge, nobody to talk to, and you are running on empty.  What next?

It seems as though it is all too easy to practice kindness, patience, love, and empathy on only our good days.  And as soon as something happens to upset you, do you throw all of these lovely qualities out the window?  It doesn’t matter how many “self-help” books you read, or how much you meditate.  We are not measured by how great we are when we are up – our true strength of character is measured by how consistently, and under what extreme conditions, we can still uphold these values.  You may try to love your stubborn father or insensitive partner on all of your good days… but how do you treat these people when you are feeling down?

My guess it that it is easy to get selfish.  To be sarcastic and rude.  To gossip, and say mean things about someone who may not be there to defend himself. To try to bring everyone down to your level, and condemn others for disagreeing with you, or simply just for being different from you.  To tear someone apart because they don’t think, act, or look like you.

Where is your one love now?

It is much easier to judge than to understand.  It’s faster.  It’s easier to join an angry mob than to risk stepping outside and really seeing what is happening.  But how do you feel about the choices you have made?

Bob knew it wasn’t that easy to live this way everyday.  That’s why he says to let them pass their remarks.  The people who say hurtful or mean things only make themselves look bad in the end.  It is self-destructive.  He suggested that we get together, because we are not human if we are alone – because we need each other more than we possibly know.

Thank you, Mr. Marley.  For inspiring us to keep one love in our hearts.  By his kind message, I hope we can all try to avoid hypocrisy and keep our love alive every day.  Treat others with respect, even if you feel rotten.  Try not to judge others because it is so much faster and easier to be close-minded and jump to conclusions.  Practice love EVERY DAY – not just the days when you finish a great chapter in your new self-help bestseller.  Put the book down and see for yourself.  Have your own thoughts and ideas about the world, and stay strong when the going gets tough.  We don’t need to buy books to teach us these principles.  Practice makes perfect. 

The next song on my playlist as I write this is “Is This Love”, my all-time favorite song.  I notice for the first time that there is no question mark at the end.  I think that means that it should never be a question.  “I wanna love ya, and treat you right”… and no questions need to be asked.  I hope we all feel the same way the next time we are tempted to be destructive and hurtful in our actions and words… and think about how to sustain your love “every day and every night”. 

Who needs philosophy class when good ol’ Bob is around?

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Better shopping = better YOU.

September 2, 2010 at 6:31 pm (Uncategorized)

A few days ago, I was looking for a magazine in Shopper’s Drug Mart.  Every magazine that was targeted towards men (i.e. Mens Health, GQ, Maxim, Tech magazines, Young Entrepreneur, Life, Fortune, etc) had messages of positivity.  How to eat right, be FIT and healthy, how to save money and invest, how to get promoted and make more money, the latest inventions, buying your first home, travel, how to nail the chick you want, etc.  Wow!  Pretty nice.  How to be successful and healthy and wealthy and happy.  And all the guys on the cover’s of these magazines were smiling (not pouting or looking like they want to suck a dick), and they were healthy, successful SOMEBODYS. 

I took a look at the ladies section.  About 80% of the covers had pictures of women in bikinis, lingerie, aprons, or wedding gowns.  Why don’t men have wedding magazines? Dumb question.  Because marriage is still considered to be the happy end of the little lady’s “career”, and now she can pop out some kids (it’s her duty!) and forget about being self-sufficient.  Every fucking magazine had either the “how to get great cleavage and lose weight by eating 200 calories a day!” article, or the “how to give the best blow job ever!”, or the “ice cream feels good when you’ve just been dumped” article advertised on the front, or all 3.   No wonder eating disorders and low-self esteem are more common in women than men.  No wonder women spend time running around finding “mr. right”, instead of making themselves “miss upright and alright”.  From 5 minutes of looking at this bullshit, I decided I will NEVER buy another female-targeted magazine ever again.  I will not be told that I am only worth what I look like.  I will NOT be told that I am not worth anything without a man.  I will NOT be told that it would be useful to get some girlfriends together for a “good blowjobber” workshop, complete with bananas and jaw-unhinging.

{—Why do I see this……

So much more often than I see this? 

Why do more women look up to Megan Fox than Princess Diana, or Anita Roddick? Or Amy Biehl, or Barbara McClintock?

That afternoon, I bought the special edition of Life magazine: The Most Notorious Crimes in American History.  It cost me $15.  And it was pretty damn interesting – short and sweet articles divided into a few categories (passion, politics, etc) with some amazing photos – worth every penny.  I hope that one day I will look at the magazine wall in a store and see more magazines with financially and politically successful women on the cover.  I hope that there will be more female CEO’s and CFO’s featured in articles.  I hope there will be a female President of the U.S.A, and another (more successful) female Prime Minister of Canada. 

I read a few newspaper articles this week stating that reported sexual assault has risen about 20% since 2008.  Only about 6-10% of sexual assaults/harassments are even reported… so maybe that just means that more women are standing up for themselves and reporting these incidences.  Or maybe there are more incidences of sexual assault taking place.

Look at the world around you.  Women are constantly being treated as second-class citizens (media, workplace, at home, etc) and this is a global issue.  Women everywhere are a minority.  We need to start at home and treat women equally.  All around the world, we are depriving our society of the talent, intelligence, and creativity of HALF of our population by treating and seeing women as second-class citizens.  Religious or cultural reasons are not good excuses for this – but in my opinion, any country that mixes politics and religion is doomed from the start.  Accountability and reality starts with our world in our present time.  We need to become responsible for our actions globally.

Guys, it’s not so bad on your end.  The workplace is more competitive, sure.  And maybe your wife or girlfriend makes more money than you and you do her laundry or take care of the kids.  But can’t you see how wonderful it is to have an equal partner? Both of you contribute financially and at home.  You share everything. You take care of each other.  She opens the door and picks up the cheque about 50% of the time.  And she’s free and happy, and most of all, she has the freedom to be happy with you: she has a choice. 

As for you ladies: I don’t understand why sometimes you PUT yourself in a position to be treated poorly.  By downplaying your assets other than your looks, you aren’t doing yourself or a man any favours.  Please stop speaking about yourself in such a self-deprecating way.  Be proud to be intelligent.  Be proud to have a great career with a fat pay cheque.  Be proud of your hard work, your laugh lines, your ability to run fast and lift heavy. And when you are angry or upset, please don’t resort to telling yourself that you have problems because you are “fat” and “ugly”.  Everyone goes through hard times.  This all seems so obvious, but when I see my friend crying about how stressed out she is regarding school, work, family, or a man, and she tells me she is just having a “fat day”?  I take a step back and try to think about how far we have come since the Suffragist movement, and wonder just how far we have really moved…

It is up to us to make a change.  You can rant all you want, but if you do not take action, your voice may not always be heard.  Continue to speak up and stand up for yourself.  You can start with… the next swipe of your Visa.  It’s a small change that can make a huge difference in how you see yourself…and that’s only the beginning.  You can influence others through how you feel and what you buy.  Stop buying Cosmopolitan, Chatelaine , and the sexist fitness magazines, and let these people know that you are interested in yourself as a human being, and not as a cute blow-up doll.  Take care of your finances, and even if you have Mr.Right and he has a great job – make sure that you can always take care of yourself.  You should WANT to be self-sufficient, financially and – more importantly – emotionally.  Read newspapers – from Vancouver and across the world.  Buy Maclean’s and Life and National Geographic, and fill your head with knowledge, and positive images and thoughts.  Don’t buy female-specific weight loss products unless they motivate you in only the most positive way.  Don’t buy into the guilt of not being the perfect arm-candy, because there is a lot of money to be made from your lack of self-worth.  

Let’s redesign our place in the world.  And the next time you tell a younger woman or little girl that she is beautiful/pretty/hot, make sure to remind her of her other gifts, too.

(images from eng.feministblogs.org/tag/sex-sexism/ and www.jaunted.com/…/diana_with_survivors.jpg)

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…because yoga can’t give you everything.

August 31, 2010 at 1:50 pm (Uncategorized)

We have created the world we live in.  The choices we made yesterday have created who we are today. Blah, blah, blah, self-help secret Dr.Phil, blah, blah.  We all know this, it’s nothing new.  There are thousands of books that have been published on the vastly explored topic of self-help.  So what have you learned? 

Think about this for just a moment.  How are you a different, better person now that you have read all the books, gone to all the seminars, and listened to all the speeches and audiobooks?  Have you absorbed enough of how important you are, and put into practice your me, me, ME philosophy? Are you happier, and more fulfilled?  How much self-exploring have you really done? Now think about your friends, lover, family, coworkers, and the world around you.  How do you treat them and how are your relationships? 

dr_phil.jpg image by THEDAYIWENTMADdotcom (thedayiwentmad.com)

Because the truth is, you aren’t much by yourself.  Yes, I know that one person can make a difference (hey, I vote), but you have to look outside yourself to see what kind of difference is needed, and to understand your own place in the world, it is necessary to include other human beings in your life and in your thoughts. 

I discovered an interesting book in Chapters a few weeks ago.  I have yet to read the whole thing (The Narcissism Epidemic – next on my book list), but I just read the first chapter or so and it reinforced my discomfort with our 2010 time of extreme self-entitlement.  I have a lot of respect for my father, and when I was younger, I didn’t always agree with him, but I learned the value of hard work, the value of a dollar, and respect for myself and others.  He was always kind, always fair, and he has a great sense of humour, but would NEVER have let me get away with bad manners, cheating, slacking off, disrespect, etc.  Lucky kid, he cared enough to try to influence me to be a kind, well-mannered, gracious, self-sufficient woman.  He told me that I could do whatever I wanted in life, and that I should be able to take care of myself. 

All of that being said, I was spoiled with attention and affection, but not with unnecessary frivolous things.  I was privileged enough to attend dance classes, soccer camps, and my education in NYC was paid for by my parents.  But no mountains of presents on holidays.  No begging and pleading for the latest gadgets and toys and clothes. Not a chance.  I could save my allowance and work for what I wanted.  Thank Buddha, because I am fully capable of taking care of myself at 23.  And damn it, I work hard for what I have.  I may go back to school in a year, I may not.  I am going to Brazil in February, because I worked for hours and hours to save for the trip.  But I do not believe that I am entitled to these things because I simply “think positive”.  The universe does not owe me anything.  Hard work and passion = success.  It is a timeless formula.

I am all about the power of positive thinking.  But, holy shit.  At some point, action will be necessary.  To sit around and believe that you deserve a million dollars by the time you turn 35 because you think REALLY hard about it, looking for every get-rich-quick scheme you can find, trying to take the easy way out because you feel that you are too important and special to work hard like the rest of us… is an utterly ridiculous and foolish way of thinking.  I’m a firm believer in action.  If you want something, MAKE IT HAPPEN.  Don’t wait and think that the universe owes you something because you had an extra-sweaty yoga class. 

Eat, pray, love = me, me, me.  Grow up.  It’s not your 5th birthday party every day. I knew I disliked that book for a reason. What a nice, unrealistic fairytale it would be to pleasure your poor soul because you had a relationship problem.  Boo hoo. We ALL hurt sometimes.

I agree that everyone should love him/herself unconditionally.  But in all honesty, self-love has grown into complete narcissism these days.  There is a huge difference between the two.  Self-love means having confidence, self-respect, and the desire to succeed and be happy, and to give love to others and be a positive influence.  In The Narcissism Epidemic, it states quite accurately that “narcissists believe they are better than others, lack emotionally warm and caring relationships, constantly seek attention, and treasure material wealth and physical appearance.”  Narcissists are actually very destructive to our society.  “A narcissist might brag, turn all conversations back to himself, try to associate only with important people, want to have the best and newest of everything, or steal credit from others. When things don’t go his way, the narcissist might get angry or even violent.”

Now this is an interesting self-help book!  It seems for once to be concerned with the actual self-HELP, not just self-importance and ego-inflation.  They discuss a multitude of reasons why this is an actual epidemic, like the increase in materialism, credit card debts, plastic surgeries on the rise, the use of the words “me, my, myself”, music, media (reality TV especially), etc.  Just look at how many people Photoshop their Facebook pictures and enhance their appearance in strange and painful and expensive ways…

“You have to love yourself first”.  Agreed.  But make sure you can share some around, too.  The veil of narcissism is very thin, and if you can not care about the world around you, it will be very obvious to others in short time.

You CAN have whatever you want in life.  But stop shooting your mouth off to everyone how important and unique you are.  Because so is everyone else.  You are not a delicate snowflake.  You deserve just as much happiness as the next person.  You are not more important than another human being.  Take some action; go out into the real world and sweat a little. You may not sleep some nights, and you may cry and rage and eat too many M&M’s because you are stressed out.  But hard work is rewarding.  When you achieve something great, doesn’t it feel amazing to know that you deserve it because you are getting back what you gave?

It is a dangerously selfish world we live in.   Many students in my generation are entering law school, med school, university in general and politicians too, are incredibly narcissistic and have no work ethic.  These people will run our society and be responsible for our health, safety, civil rights… we had better hope the future doctors, lawyers, senators, directors, etc value hard work and don’t slack off because they think they are smarter than everyone else. 

I am worried.  Our society’s intellectual standards are being lowered at an alarming rate, and our tolerance for bad behavior (crime included) is too high.  (sexual assault tried as a summary conviction offence: 6 months in prison or a $2000 fine.  A woman’s dignity for about the same price as a new laptop.  What a deal!)  How many people see a movie or read a book for education?  Speak another language? Read the news? “The news makes ME sad. I don’t want to know about OTHER people’s problems, because it has nothing to do with ME, ME, GLORIOUS ME!” This is pathetic and ignorant.  You live in Canada (or the U.S.A.)?  You are privileged enough to be able to read and have some information about the outside world.  It is our global responsibility to be educated about the world around us.  And it is a slap in the face to the less-privileged people in our world if you are a narcissistic, ungrateful little twat. 

In summary, love yourself.  Think about yourself, think positive.  But save room in your giant head for others, and be careful you don’t cross the line from beautiful self-love into being self-absorbed.  Even in our highly competitive world, nice people always finish first.

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Step into my office. Shut up and have some tequila.

August 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm (Uncategorized)

A round of applause for those of you who work the 9-5 daily grind in a cubicle with fluorescent lighting, glowing screens, and clicking heels all around.  I will freely admit that I could not do it under most circumstances.  I would probably go insane.  The great thing about our generation is that there are so many different types of jobs available – we have so many career options nowadays, and there is something for everyone out there. 

I’ll start off by saying that I do love my job.  It’s not a career and it’s not long-term, but it’s a lot of fun and I work with some of the best people in the service industry. I bartend/serve 4 nights a week at a lively Irish bar downtown.  I have made friends there, enjoy the company of our regulars, make decent money, my bosses care about our small staff, and are very approachable, funny, and helpful (we like having them around), and I am generally happy to go to work.  I have nothing to complain about, aside from the occasional puke puddle that needs to be cleaned up, or a runner (“dine-n-dash” – pretty rare at my place though).  All in all, it’s an awesome place to spend 40+ hours a week.

I’m sure a lot of you out there enjoy your job.  It may be rewarding, it may make you a lot of money.  But at the end of your day, do you ever just feel like kicking back and going to… another office? Another construction site? Another courtroom?  Probably not. 

Now, I understand for my friends who work in offices, classrooms, stores, and the great outdoors that you like to unwind with a couple of drinks and some music, and some people who are unwinding just like you.  That’s where you see my happy face, hear my dirty joke, and thank me kindly for serving you a drink.  Hey, I aim to please.  I love to be social.  I like loud music.  But when I am at the bar unwinding all of you for 40+ hours a week…. I don’t want to see the inside of a bar on some of my precious nights off.  Please understand, and imagine if all your friends decided one night that they want to change plans for the evening and go to…. a place that looks like your office on your day off. 

– (flufflebuns.files.wordpress.com/…/gangsta.jpg, https://clairela.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/a-weird-ugly-people-exist-3s-12.jpg?w=300)

(I don’t want to see these guys on my night off…)

Bars are fun. I enjoy a Guinness or a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon once in a while.  But on my nights off… I typically don’t want to go to a bar.  I especially don’t want to go to a nightclub.  Now, I love going to see concerts and shows, but this is different. This is an event, with a purpose!  To spend my long worknights in a drinking establishment, and then spend my time off inside one? This is not fun for me.  I want time outdoors.  I want to go to the beach, go to a concert or live event, see a movie, stroll around the city eating ice cream or drinking hot chocolate (depending on which season!), go to a gallery or exhibit indoors or outdoors, work out or go for a run or to a dance/yoga class, or chill out at a friend’s place or my place where we get to choose the music and the company.  Or read a book! Or have dinner, or a BBQ chez moi, by myself or with friends. Or get out of downtown.

You get the picture.  So when I have friends who try to drag me to a crowded, noisy nightclub/bar (probably one that I never liked in the first place) and tell me I’m “NO FUN” when I protest a little: well, fuck off, a little.  YOU spend 40+ hours a week inside one. YOU clean up puke. YOU deal with assholes who don’t tip, cheap jerks who complain about prices and taxes, perverts who try to grope you, retards who wont move out of the way when you are painfully trying to change a keg (they weigh approximately as much as ME), high-maintenance floozies who expect you to give them hundreds of dollars of free shit because it’s some bitch’s 19th birthday, and the generally shitty pop music mash-up poison for your ears. 

Don’t get me wrong. This industry is fun to work in, we all make good money and meet a lot of great people.  But in order to keep my love for my job, I need a break from all this sometimes.  Which is why I don’t work 7 days a week.  It gets tiring, especially being on your feet for all this time, running around because it is packed and busy. And on my days/time off, I like to recharge and see the outside world.  And maybe I don’t want to taste, smell, or even LOOK AT booze.  And people: bars are great places to meet new people (I have met so many amazing people and made wonderful friends in the past couple years in this industry), or if you want to find a fun hook-up.  But please remove your head from Cinderella’s ass and forget meeting the man/woman of your dreams in one.   It probably won’t happen, you are pretty gullible for believing it will, and even if you meet your charming soul-mate in a bar or club… he/she will probably be wasted and smell like cigarettes and urine, and look like a wreck and have nothing to say but “hiccup”.

                                                                                                   

(tremendousnews.com/…/2009/10/drunk-urinal.jpg)

There are a few bars in Vancouver that I adore.  Mine is one of them.  I will sometimes go to work early to chat to my lovely co-workers while I eat dinner, or come by for a fight or a game, or just show up for a good pint and some laughs.  But please don’t be an ignorant jackass and tell me that I am lame for wanting to go to bed before 3 a.m. for one night during the week.  Or whine and tug my sleeve because you want to wait in line to get inside some shitty club where the horrible Katy Perry/Lady Gaga remixes and the steroid-obsessed, Jazzy Jewelry T-shirt men await you.  I don’t like these places.  I will not waste my time inside one.  And if I do go out with you and you bitch at me for drinking cranberry juice?  It will probably be the last time I agree to go out with you.  If you need me to be drunk to enjoy my company, then I don’t want to be around you.

Next time you step inside my office (or any bar or nightclub), please remember that workplace etiquette still applies, even if alcohol is present.  Have respect for the patrons and the bartenders/servers, tip 15-20% ( you know this is how it works in North America, we make $8/hr and then have to pay tax on that – so, less than $7/hr), and have some self-respect, too. 

And next time you try to pull me away from the sun setting on the beach, on my night off, to get ready for a big night out at The Roxy… be nice when I pry your hands off me and say no, thank you.  I will be at the bar all night tomorrow and would like to enjoy a change of scenery.

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Press play: to a better day!

August 16, 2010 at 1:37 am (Uncategorized)

I’ve written up a list of my all-time favorite songs before.  My happy song playlist, way back when.  Here’s a new playlist for an attitude adjustment – I am listening to some of this right now after dealing with some ridiculous things/people in the past week.  If you need a pick me up, this is espresso for your ears! I hope you like it.

1) Better Things – Sharon Jones (probably the best one on here. Listen to it on repeat and remind people that you got better things to do!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtt7F_yEcy0 

2) Tell Me Something Good AND All Good – Chaka Khan

3) Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley

4) Wanna Be Loved – Buju Banton

5) Mean to Me – Sarah Vaughn (because she is so lovely.)

6) Got to Give it Up – Marvin Gaye

7) Window Shopping – Sharon Jones (this is a STORY! This one’s for all the ladies with man troubles.)

8) I’ll Be Your Man – Black Keys

9)Don’t Worry Be Happy! – Bobby McFerrin

10) One Love – Bob Marley

11) They Can’t Take That Away (old standard, many versions!)

12) Pata Pata – Miriam Makeba

13) Sidestep – Robin Thicke

14) September – Earth, Wind, and Fire

15) Fantasy AND Dreamlover – Mariah Carey. Of course.

Have a great day, don’t let anyone get you down.  There’s room for everyone on top of the world. 

Cheers 🙂

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