Christmas Songs Gone Wrong

From a post making its way around Facebook. ☃️❄️🎄

16. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: enforced levity, sexist.

17. Good King Wenceslas: TAX THE RICH, because once a year charity is not an appropriate response to destitution of the populace.

18. Little Drummer Boy: noise pollution. Possible child labour law violations.

It’s Not Even My Story

Today is the day Kavanaugh is either given or denied a place on the United States Supreme Court. I am a Canadian. Like millions upon millions of women around the world (and millions of men, I know), I have been disgusted with a certain grotesque slice of American Old Boy “Chuckle, Abuse, And Chuckle” While Robbing People And Stomping On Them Politics (and it’s chicken-hearted Canadian version, too).

I am physically ill. Frightened in my bones. Disgusted.

I am agitated.

My story is small. I am no one.

But I feel I will die the way I felt I would die when I was very small.

Broken to pieces. Never right in the head. All alone.

I am fifty seven years old and I cannot carry these evil people anymore. They’re in the room with me, all of them, today. It’s not even my story – I am in it, but it is someone else’s story that I have carried along with my own for over forty-seven years and today, I let her go. Right here, I set her down.

Today, this morning, in my car, in my mind, I lay her father down on a metal table and I began to cut the skin off him with a sharp pair of shears and the help of the white hot tip of a wire coat hanger to give the scissors some purchase. I am going to be doing that, over and over, in my mind, for some time. He makes a terrible noise, and I think that that is very ironic, and quite funny. Pitiful. Fitting. Pointless.

I am going to drown her mother in the blood and shit and piss running off the table, collecting in a large metal ash can. We had a coal furnace when I was a kid. It is of a sufficient size. Her mother will be watching us for some time. She will suffer a million agonizing heart attacks before I get to her.

I do not know if her father and mother are alive. My father is dead. But he’s there watching me, too. He cries and cries. He just cries for himself, the way he always did. I don’t want to touch him. His physical presence disgusts me. His lifelong sexual innuendos, sexual immaturity, sexual bullying, and beyond vulgar misogyny all roil my guts. I do want to beat him to death, but there is never any reckoning, no justice. He will disappear when I am done with the other two.

Today I give her up, and I kill them all.

My friend’s father raped her for years when she was a little girl, into adolescence. Her mother allowed it. I learned of this obliquely, as my childhood was a mire of ignorance, no useable vocabulary, and deep shame. But I came to know what she meant. I knew, and she told me more than once. I said nothing. I was not expected to talk. But I said nothing. I was paralyzed by the horror of how close that particular daddy demon lived in my own house, I was paralyzed by not knowing what to do, I was paralyzed by knowing that there was nothing that could be done.

She invited me camping when we were about 11, maybe 12. Oh, her dad was mad to see me with my little suitcase of clothes, and towel, and bathing suit. She invited me to protect her in the tent-trailer, because no one else would. He would never touch me.

He had to sleep on the other side. With his wife. So that was three nights my friend had, not being fucked as a child.

Alcoholics of different kinds, were our fathers. Hers, a small man, a raging, fist-throwing bruiser, flinging wife, and sons, and daughter, in front of others. In front of me. Two salaries they had in that family, and hardly any food, never any fresh fruit, always plenty of milky tea and cigarettes and booze. Mine, a mountain of an angry man, a bruise-hider, a man who would belt me on the head at the dinner table, fling me around the house by the upper arm so my blouses would cover the huge, perfectly purple hand print. A vile, vile, filthy mouth of a man. So nice! Said his pals, who came over for a beer. Such well-behaved children! Murmured the old ladies in church. A good provider, as one of my sisters recently said. (Our dead mother would want me to try to avoid expressing my thoughts on that. I have the vocabulary for everything now. You know what they are.)

We had food. After he died, the money he never spent on anything nice at all for my mother was divided among the four of us. I put a down payment on a house. In Toronto. He was a mistreated child, an angry, disappointed man, an alcoholic, a glutton, a bully, a child abuser. He made decisions. He was the adult.

When I was 26, I woke up one morning and fell down. I had erased her father, the rapes, my friend, from my mind. Then I remembered. Those were years I had terrible trouble. No help from my family. None. And then I remembered hers. The further you fall, the more life kicks you.

That’s what it is like, today, waiting to see if a sexually abusive alcoholic is appointed to the American Supreme Court. To remember.

I did not hurt her. I stuck by her. She stuck by me.

I was not responsible for beating her, raping her, under-feeding her, handing her over to a husband, making her little life a hell on earth, proving that no one loved her.

I was not responsible for my own father’s outrageous explosions of fury, tearing clothing to pieces, throwing things, breaking things, swinging a belt at his small children, throwing my mother over the kitchen table.

I did not do anything, ever, to cause any of that.

I am at peace in my own home. I am safe in my own home. I have never had anyone love me. My parents didn’t really know me. My father didn’t like me, let alone have the capability to love anyone. I have never had anyone share me, or share my life. The broken down, tamped-down, petrified little girl in me did that, and I let her, so that I could be at peace and be safe in my own home.

Years ago, I found out my friend had married, and had many children. I bawled and bawled, because I could not. But she deserves all of it and more. I have made a family of friends, and a particularly wonderful sister-in-law. I have stubbornly pursued and verified my value, my worth, my abilities, my heart, my right to be my self and my right to be joyful and content. I refute the charges against me, a girl and a woman, lengthening from the day I was born. I am still here. They did not make me die.

I have to believe that she will be all right. That she shares her life with a man who has given her herself back, and more.

I cannot carry her any more.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry I did not even try to get help.

I have always believed that part of her ordeal was my fault.

I am sorry I hurt myself.

Today, I put that down.

North Star

I have never been, until very recently, anything resembling a night owl, but as I am retired, and as I seem to have found myself living in an, um, interesting and often noisy corner considered downtown in this smallish place, it’s 2:48 a.m,, and awake I am.

It was the car crash in the parking garage, the creasing thump and the smashing of lights, followed by the whoop and screeching tire of a getaway that woke me. And any number of others who were trying to sleep on this side of our apartment building. Nothing to do except wait until later to step out and gulp and hope it was their own car the perpetrators have dented and maimed.

It it did sound like careless destruction and gleeful crunching under some small duress of escape. In a vehicle not necessarily their own.

I got dressed and stood out on the balcony. Ship in the marina, white lights bright. Water dotted with reflections of orange sodium, waveless. Big Dipper up left, Cassiopeia up right, North Star – incredibly, as I see it – directly in front me, high, lone, certain.

My neighbour’s soundscape a puzzle. Voices on top of one another, disparate. Not a conversation. Unidentifiable, incomprehensible, mutedly barking. Perhaps a woman drunk or high talking back seriously to a tv, to someone reciting a serious monologue. In the time it’s taken to write this far, the cacophony has stopped.

While I was outside gazing about, a car came up onto the upper parking deck, drove a quick spin around one end, and backed tidily into a parking spot, killing its headlights at the same time. Police. Camouflaged entirely in a dim spot. My hope is that they have done a swoop around Level 2. My hope, of course, is that my car is unscathed.

The ship moored at the city docks hums. Some of them, loading, thrum – enough to shake sleep away. Tonight, though, aside from the rickety clickety bundle buggy somebody rattled up the street, and the occasional whoosh of tires, it has gone gently, mechanical whir quiet.

Light off, ease back on the couch, try again.

That star is there all of our days, too. Think about that.

Naming It Right For An Even Fight: Killing Misogyny, One Word At A Time.

It’s been written about all week, and it will be written and spoken about and studied for a long time to come by persons better educated and more well informed than I am, but I want to talk about the massacre of pedestrians on Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Monday, April 23rd, 2018.

In less than 10 minutes, 25 persons on the Yonge Street sidewalk between Finch and Sheppard Avenues were struck by a man driving over them in a rented van at high speed. Ten persons have died at the hands of this murderer. Fifteen have been cruelly mangled at the hands of this attempted murderer. Each of the 25 with a worthy life. Each with a family. Each with friends. Each with a purpose. Each with meaning.

On April 23rd, many of us learned the word “incel” – short form for the concept of “involuntary celibate” and taken, ironically, from the writings of a woman who could not find a female sexual partner. I learned that the perpetrator of these deliberate vehicular murders and manglings of pedestrians on April 23rd was a man who felt he was an “incel”, but of a different branch. A branch that dwells on itself, that creeps in corners on the internet, that is composed of sullen young men with an awful lot of time on their hands, and that has decided, en masse, that women should be available to them sexually or should be prepared to be killed.

They have a “martyr”. They have a published system of grading women, assigning women to grades of men, and defining a social order based on an exceedingly limited, rather Eurocentric, cartoonish caste system of attractiveness and/or sexual availability.

I, too, read that with incredulity. Every time. Yet, there they are. They are purposefully detached from the myriad communities the rest of us find ourselves in, and they do not want to belong. They sneer at success, large or small, and at achievers of any kind, however mundane. They want. They want to have. They must have. They feel entitled to have. Sex. With women. Who do not want anything to do with them.

Surprise!

These stunted boy-men do not blame other men for denying them access to women, though. They blame women. In a twitter thread I followed yesterday, it was suggested that women who wear eyeshadow – makeup! – to improve their appearance had fooled men “above their grade” to have sex with them, thus limiting the pool of receptive vaginas for the men left over. I. Am. Not. Making. This. Up.

They are, in truth, not “involuntarily” celibate at all, and we shouldn’t call them that. They are willfully self-isolated, socially retarded, self-aggrandizing, misogynistic, immature misfits. They do not wish to do any work. They do not wish to do any self-examination. They do not wish to consult with friends, or family, or therapists. They do not wish to try to be the kind of men that women would like to spend time with.

I think we must take what power they think they have away from them, and we must start with words.

Painful as it is, I am with that excuse of an academic, Jordan Peterson, on this one. He is the fellow, basking now in popular infamy, who will not utter the self descriptive gender pronouns transgendered persons choose for themselves. In doing so, he thinks he denies their existence. He is a bigot. He is socially blind. He appears terribly afraid. He is profoundly wrong. But his method has applications useful to those of us trying to cope with senselessness and sexually immature callousness and truly incredible stupidity. We can name a tiny number of dangerous men out of their hiding places. We can call them what they are.

I suggest “incaso” – incapable of socialization. Hashtag #incaso on Twitter.

“Incameso” – incapable of meaningful socialization, is a little too long. “Mostiwibu” – mom still wipes bum, sounds like a tropical virus. “Badweatdos” – basement dweller eating Doritos (that his mother has purchased for him) will never be approved by that snack maker. “Scremas” – screen time masturbators, is slightly too vulgar for a younger audience.

So “incaso” it is. A group them is a collection of “incasos”.

Effective immediately, all formal and social media will use the term “incaso” or “incasos” to describe this kind of socially deformed man. The murderer of April 23rd will not be shown in photographs. We do not need to be reminded of what he looks like. Ever again.

The photographs and names and lives of the 10 murdered people is what we will concentrate on. Assisting the injured is what we will do. And we will call the murders and manglings what they are: pathetic, monstrous outbursts of irrational hatred towards others for flaws in the self.

We will name it.

We will push back.

Goodness and kindness always win.

CML: 2018.04.29

The Hester Pumpernickel Guide To The Real London For Middle-Aged Persons, Or, “Expect Delays: A Collection Of Amusing And Useful Observations Of Persons, Places and Things In A Foreign Land”. Part Two: Getting Around With Class.

After being home for over a week, and missing The Whole England Experience, I chanced upon an article about London, from the New York Times, reprinted in the Toronto Star. Keen to compare my excellent voyage with that of Shivani Vora, I dove in. I jumped out. I am still laughing.

I was going to call this chapter “First Class Comfort in Third Class,” but who am I kidding? Shivani Vora could teach me a thing or two. And I could teach her. I am, no doubt, a huge disappointment to the travel and tourism industry. But, boy, did I ever have an excellent holiday, and here are some things that made it great.

Planes

Air Canada, through a subsidiary, flies a machine from small cities like mine to big airports like Toronto Pearson that Orville & Wilbur Wright would’ve drooled over, and Indiana Jones would’ve admired. I think this small plane service is great, because it takes a lot of complications out of the travel equation: one airline, one website, one place to watch your connecting flight disappear eastwards without you. Because, yes, the propellered rattling can was delayed beyond delay. I started crocheting my bedspread border. I missed my London flight.

In former days, anxiety would’ve overcome me. How I’ve ended up in a place where, “Huh!” and “Well! Now what, I wonder?!” are responses to glitches is a puzzle, an amazement, and a comfort. Sometime around midnight, in Toronto, I was handed a sheaf of stapled-together slips and sent off for a complimentary limo ride to a hotel far, far away in Brampton. I had a nice chat with my driver. I had a nice four-hour nap between one and five a.m., and took a free limo ride back to the airport, where a $10 meal voucher bought me two bottled juices and a regular coffee. No change.

I’d selected an aisle seat at the back for my late night flight, and was able to take the same for the morning departure. I prefer the window, but as I was originally going to fly all night, it didn’t matter so much if I had a view. More importantly, at 56, I need the toilet more frequently than I used to, and didn’t want to be a damned nuisance for someone else. Turns out that an aisle seat at the back is the First Class Of Third Class, especially when the seat beside you is vacant. No room in the overhead bins, but my carry-on is soft-sided, and fits neatly under the seat in front of the unoccupied chair. Please don’t tell anyone how comfortable it is back there, especially where the aisle widens so the food and beverage trolleys don’t knock your elbows.

And don’t you love how airlines make you walk through First Class, then Superior Economy, before you scuttle, sideways, to the chaos that is like Musical Chairs for the impossible pile of carry-on luggage at the back? Here’s the joy: the baby was in the expensive seats. The people up there paid up to $281 more for Comfort Economy. We hardly heard that infant at all.

Trains and Buses, Including the River

New York Times gal Shivani Vora recommends a self-directed Small Car Big City Tour Of London in a Mini Cooper, where a child-friendly Snakes & Ladders themed map will take your confined, lost, increasingly angry, and wealthy family through Kensington’s highlights, and set you back only £385.

I ordered a London Transit visitor’s “Oyster” Card for Zones 1-6 months before my trip, and put £50 on it. No tourist hop-on-hop-off for me, and no Mini Cooper tour, either. The transit system, and the internet, make getting around London, for the able-bodied, an exercise boot camp of stair appreciation and deft footwork on uneven surfaces, but it is an unbeatable way to see so much of this enormous metropolis with little expense and no fuss.

First, the Tube from Heathrow on the Piccadilly line is so easy as to be comical. Second, the Map It app and the London Transit webpage let you find a bus or train on the go, or in advance. Thirdly, you can use your Oyster card to ride the River Buses, and I highly recommend it: concession/tea stand, clean toilets, and the staff count the passengers so that EVERYONE GETS A SEAT!

The closest I got to family was sharing a laugh with a boy and his dad about two pigeons that rode the river bus from the Embankment to Westminster outside at the back with us, for free.

One afternoon, I rode the front seat upstairs on buses for four hours, seeing Notting Hill, stopping for lunch in Camden Town, finding the Monument to the Great Fire, and getting two great photos on the Waterloo Bridge in a sunshower. There’s a £9 daily cap on bus travel, no matter how many buses or where you go. I highly recommend seeing some places outside the core, where real people live.


Automobiles

Shivani’s got some other wildly expensive tour options, but the tip-top delight would seem to be the four-hour When Harry Met Meghan Royal Black Taxi Tour for those “hankering to know more about the couple”. Unlike me. You can “… see sights in London related to them, including Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace, where they will live, and Battersea Park, which they visited together. Stops at sites such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey are also included.” From $632 a person. Go, Shivani, go.

Nest

I’ll wrap up by stating that I don’t travel much. I am positively ecstatic to travel, and even when I am fatigued to the point of intellectual impairment, I am happy in travelling. My Expedia.ca booking was perfect, and if you, too, prefer an apartment to a hotel, I cannot say enough about 18 Exeter Street. It is exactly like the pictures. It has a washer/dryer. It was, as promised, superb. The agency has many more properties, but I thought Aldwych near the Strand (Covent Garden Tube) was absolutely perfect.

Until next time,

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The Hester Pumpernickel Guide To The Real London For Real Middle-Aged Persons, Or, “Expect Delays: A Collection Of Amusing And Useful Observations Of Persons, Places, And Things In A Foreign Land”. Part One: Backwards

I travelled, by plane, from my small city to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. I travelled, by plane, from Toronto to London’s Heathrow Airport. One person with cross-body-strapped purse; light wool car coat and scarf; soft, medium-sized carry-on bag; and one small, wheeled suitcase in the hold as checked luggage. Practically packed and easily manageable. After a time, I reversed the journey and flew to Toronto from London. And there, dear Reader, It Was Discovered That I Was And Had Been A Dangerous Threat To The Safety And Security Of ALL Humanity!!! Yes. There is a woman on the luggage X-ray machine at Pearson International Airport who finally caught my nefarious plan to take over the world by bringing Dangerous and Forbidden Items Of Worldly Destruction onto the quirky Indiana-Jones-style propeller craft that flies anywhere except where you want to go late, delayed, later than delayed, and finally, really late, to the place I call Home.

Behold! The Lee Valley Tools ™ Credit Card Sized Multi-Tool!

To hell with Toronto! To Hell with London! Someone has to protect Sarnia from a woman who can measure, in millimeters, the tiny length of seatbelt extender she really needs*

*hmnn-dee-la-la-la-la, OKAY! CENTIMETERS!

and wished that seatbelt manufacturers would just add that on to their regular seatbelts so she doesn’t have other passengers twisting around and gawking to see Who The Fat Person Is, because you have to ask for a seatbelt extender and it is often met with a “Tsk” by flight attendants, over-worked as they are, but I don’t care in this particular instance. I am fastening myself in. I am not going to go off in all directions in the case of air turbulence. I am going to be comfortable. So I ask. I am particularly polite. I am more than particularly polite while travelling. And really friendly. I am a happy person. And here I am going somewhere, so I am really, really happy!

The attendants on the roaring putt-putt to and from Sarnia do not mind at all, by the way. The industrial nature of the great part of our economy has a lot of big, burly fellows flying in and out. They may be a little smaller in the hip than I am, but, whoo, it’s a tight fit for a big pair of shoulders and a set of matching legs. Seatbelt extenders galore. Take two?!

Anyway. The woman on the X-ray machine at Pearson shoofed all my belongings in their big trays over to another woman in blue nitrile gloves who said I could tell her where everything was but I couldn’t touch. Okay.

“Do you have a multi-tool?”

“What?”

I received this clever thing as a Christmas present a long time ago. I put it in my purse in case I ever need to MacGyver. My life being what it is, no MacGyvering. I had forgotten all about it. I knew – I know – where it is. If you are ever looking for the best purse in the world, Derek Alexander ™ makes a number of items so practical and long-wearing that I am amazed he is still in business. Pockets? Holders? Tabs? One front zippered section full of tucks and holders for car keys, phone, pen, TicTacs ™, notes, things, stuff, and sundry. One back zippered section that is my First Aid Department, and a second magnet-fastened section that is Beauty. And a deep, wide, main pocket, itself containing a zippered niche, big enough for a wallet and my iPad ™. I paid – for me – a lot of money for my first real designer purse, and remain in love with it. In love. I know what’s in there.

“Third card slot down, on your right, zippered section, front,” I said. She took the Evil Tool Of Worldly Destruction to her supervisor, whose eyes opened and rolled. Then it was time for my carry-on.

“Are you carrying scissors?”

“Toiletry bag inside the zipper-sealed plastic bag. Sewing scissors with a protective cap.”

Eyes opened. Eyes rolled.

“And you can’t take this water with you.”

“I just got it with my snack on an Air Canada flight and couldn’t drink it then.”

“You have to drink it here.”

(Remember, I am on my way to what starts out as a two-hour layover for another Air Canada flight in an airport lounge where other bottles of water are for sale.)

“You can have it!”

And that is why Humanity Lived To See Another Day!!!

Sarnia. Safest city In The World.

And that X-ray agent? Wasted. A hawk-eyed talent utterly wasted. She should be looking for scientific advances in cancer treatments in a university lab. And yet, what about the little wooden crochet hook I bought especially for travelling, worried my metal one would get me in trouble? What about my nail clippers? What about my strong, bare hands?!?!

I had a marvellous time on a marvellous trip.

Next: Part Two.

Jingle Quietly: I am hanging on by a thread over here

This is the hardest month. It has been the hardest month for me for a long, long, long time; the reasons have changed and grown and changed and grown again. Slowly but surely, from bad times to better, I believe I have gotten better at coping – and enjoying – first Christmas, and now the entire work-up to that day and what I used to consider its ugly finale, New Year’s Eve. Like an awful lot of people, I get through December and early January and breathe a thousand sighs of immense relief. Like a lot of single people, I dread the scrutiny and impolite queries of others this month in particular. I am 56 years old, and I am relatively new in town. There never was and never is any licence for judgemental snooping, and those of you who poke around where you don’t belong really, really need to stop. It isn’t friendly, it isn’t christmassy. And I haven’t snapped yet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.

Now: Yule. I enjoy the aroma of pine and the joy of little kids. I like special Christmas foods. I sing along to some of the carols on the radio. I will probably send cards, and a few gifts. I buy myself gifts, and I give to those in much greater need.

And everything else can leave me alone.

Everyone can leave me alone.

Leave me alone, please.

It is not your fault I feel this way. It’s how I manage. There is absolutely nothing you may or can fix.

I am writing because I am frazzled, and I am frazzled because I am feeling pressure to be and do things that make me very unhappy. I forgot to lock my car overnight last week, and today I tried to open my apartment door with my car key. I am falling asleep at odd times, probably because my nights are presenting me with the scariest, illogical and plain old mean nightmares, after which I do not want to lie down again. And to tell you the truth, the #MeToo movement has been great in a lot of ways and an absolute misery at the same time.

I am the one who is having the problem with extra hypersensitivity this year. I am the one who is slouching, crouching, sneaking out the back in the middle of the celebration planning meeting. I am just not into it this go-round.

If I say so – if I admit this – I hope you will forgive me my own impoliteness.

The anxiety that overcomes me causes me to feel shame, and I am writing here to admit it and to stop it. I have roughly planned my month. I may wake up tomorrow and feel the need to make some changes, and I may not. I think life is good. May you find yourself feeling the same.

I wish you a lovely holiday season.

I wish you a very happy new year.

Jingle Quietly!

“An Orthodox Jew, Rabbi Freundel was fixated on the minutiae of Jewish law. He drilled his converts in the proper blessings to say over a banana or a pretzel, and the order in which they should be recited should we happen to eat both at the same meal. This kind of knowledge was the bedrock of my conversion experience. But how could I continue to make myself care about such details when it became clear that the man who taught them to me valued knowing the blessing for a specific food group over behaving like a decent human being?” Bethany Mandel, The New York Times, November 15,2017

For this atheist, the idea that people think there is a “proper” blessing for a banana or a pretzel is utterly and completely insane.

Religious observance of banana and pretzel prayer etiquette is why I think, on my dark days, that humans are irredeemably stupid.

Please understand that I was raised catholic, and my eyes roll and my heart aches at the nonsense and horrors entailed therein. Or in any religious sect, cult, or fad. You quartz crystal lovers and astrologers, you, too. East and west, north and south, devotion to ritual and superstition horrifies me.

Obedience is not a virtue. But what is this desire, in some, to follow slavishly, unquestioningly, absurdly down that path? Why throw your heart and intellect away for what you KNOW is “the man behind the curtain”? Behind the camera lens? A man? An ordinary man?

BZZZZZZZzzzzzzzZZZZZ!! and MEEP! MEEP!!

What could be better than a two-hour endodontic treatment to re-do a root canal that costs as much as your monthly budget?

Why, the second part of the appointment next week for another two hours, and my first speeding ticket!

Everybody drives like they’re escaping the zombie apocalypse on the highway between London, Ontario and Sarnia. Then, suddenly, just inside the city limits, almost everybody slows right down to that posted 100 kmh. Because they know what’s going to happen. Except the woman with the lucky dice. And they are lucky: my ticket is for 20 kliks over the limit instead of the 30 I was doing passing that huge truck.

And now that woman knows, too.

I will confess to no more without a lawyer versed in the stress of dental treatments, the temptations of old Van Halen songs, a smooth road on a sunny day, and a not-fast-enough transport truck.

What do you do when you have had dental work and the joy of a speeding ticket on the same day?

I sprung for the “medium care” car wash, and bought a sack of potato chips to eat for lunch, with the bottle of cola I’ve been saving since my birthday. I have also gone amok and now have soft pitas and hummus for supper. With another glass of cola, no doubt.

It’s 31 degrees Celsius outside, with a humidex of 40.

My mouth is still partly frozen. I have spilled pop down the right side of me.

Je ne regrette rien.

Meep! Meep!

BANANAS! And a Head Transplant

For two days now, my Del Monte breakfast banana has announced, by way of a very small sticker, that I could WIN a FREE BANANA COSTUME. I have given this some thought, and I have some questions for the fine folks at Del Monte, and for you!

First of all, who has ever heard of winning anything that one then has to pay for? I am not caffeinated sufficiently before breakfast, but even then I’d know that if this prize wasn’t FREE, there would be a scam brewing. Second, why would anyone want a banana costume? Thirdly, if I went online (after securing the use of an electron microscope to read the exact web address) what guarantee would there be – if I were the lucky recipient of this largesse – that I’d receive one in the appropriate plus size?

Maybe you have always dreamed of wearing a banana costume. If so, go to the Del Monte banana website and get in on the draw. I’m telling you now that your desire might be a mistake. You can’t get up or down stairs in a banana costume. You can’t use a toilet. Your arms, constricted, are as useful as the mitts on a Tyrannosaurus rex. No leaving the house without banging your stem on the doorframe, either, and you’ll be rolling yourself into brown bruises down the stairs. And forget the bus. Forget driving a car.

All you would be, friend, is enslaved in the plastic wrap and padding of an advertisement for Del Monte bananas.

I eat bananas, cut up in a bowl, with toasted bagels, for breakfast, because potassium is good for me. I cannot abide the aroma (I would be more honest calling it the stench) of a ripe specimen of this fruit. I’m lucky my local No Frills sells them green. They taste fine to me the way I like them. Odourless. Two or three mornings a week.

Something else that’s odourless is whatever it is that’s causing me and a few other persons I’ve heard hither and yon to find ourselves in a sudden, desert-dry, eye-popping, tear-inducing, gritty-twine-around-the-windpipe, death-grip, choking cough, precipitated, my doctor and pharmacist say, by allergic post-nasal drainage gone awry. I’ve had to spend a chunk of change on a prescription for a night-time nasal spray. I have had to double up my 24-hour over-the-counter morning tablets. I’ve been spending large portions of the night upright on my couch.

And do you know what provides the most relief? Werther’s hard candies. Whenever the tickle starts.

Which is why sleeping’s been a problem. Who’s awake to unwrap and suck on a candy when they’re sleeping?

But things are looking up. I have been on the new nasal spray and allergy meds regimen for a week now, and my cough is diminishing. All the muscles involved in clearing blockages and inhaling large quantities of oxygen are tip-top, too, and my ribs don’t hurt anymore. Most days now, I don’t even cough hard enough to pee my pants even once.

I give it one more week, and then I’m calling my physician to ask for one of those newfangled head transplants.

If you see me around in a banana costume, breathing easy all day and night, you know I got one.