Stranger Than Fiction: Road Runner Sneakers

This past Friday, I attended a wedding. It was in another city, so I planned to stay in a hotel room overnight with friends. I was leaving the house an hour before the ceremony, so I made sure I was Spanxified, dressed, and had in place all of the finishing touches: hair, makeup and jewellery.

Except for the shoes. I decided to wear a pair of raspberry coloured casual flats en route, then, once checked in, I would switch them for the python patterned cork soled platform sandals I’d packed in my overnight bag.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I had failed to make the switch until just before the bride made her way down the aisle. Upon this discovery, I hissed a curse. One of the people I was sharing a hotel room with was sitting next to me, so, naturally, he asked what was the matter. As I quickly explained the situation to him, it triggered a particular childhood memory of mine, which happened, if I recall correctly, in third grade. Despite my notorious long-term memory, the details are sketchy, but I will do my best.

For some reason, I was a member of the school choir. Seriously, I don’t know why, because I really really can’t sing. Anyway, we were due to perform at a school recital that either happened during school hours or after school or at night. (Like I said – the details are sketchy.) What I know for sure is that this performance was to be taped, and that parents and other assorted family members would be included in the audience.

This performance required that we wear the same uniform that we always wore when we sang for an audience: a “light-coloured” (so, basically, white) top, dark (so, basically, black) bottoms, and black polished shoes, which usually meant loafers for boys and Mary Janes for girls.

In order to prevent my Mary Janes from getting scuffed on the way to school, I did the same thing then as I did for this wedding: pack them into the bag I was carrying with me, wear more functional shoes on the way there – and forget to switch them.

Said functional shoes were my Road Runner sneakers. From what I can remember they were pinkish – perhaps mauve or puce or something – with a decal of the Road Runner of Looney Tunes fame on each side, and I *think* the actual words “Road Runner” might have been included in the design.

While forgetting to switch shoes at a wedding where I am not the point of focus isn’t such a big deal. And I at least had time to shuttle back to the hotel and switch shoes before the reception. (The fact that they ended up killing my feet is another story.) But it’s kind of a big deal when every other kid but yourself is wearing black shoes and you are the sore thumb ruining the continuity by wearing sneakers in an obnoxious colour featuring an obnoxious cartoon character. Worse yet: you’re in the front row. Worser yet: you’re fucking being filmed. It was for a local TV station, but still.

God, I hope a tape of that performance does not exist, or if it does, that it’s been destroyed. I mean, it’s bad enough that I’m the one stupid kid not wearing the same type of shoes as the rest of the choir, but that I couldn’t keep my head still because I kept looking at the cameras, so I’m also the stupid kid with the constantly rotating head. Sigh.

Since we’re on the subject of Road Runner – which was one of my childhood obsessions, hence the shoes – I’ll love you and leave you with the theme song to one of the greatest shows of all time. OF ALL TIME! /kanyevoice.


Stranger Than Fiction: Drug Deals On Wheels

I take the bus to work ’cause I can’t afford a car. Since it’s such a long commute, I usually entertain myself with a book, and occasionally writing.

But sometimes the passengers themselves can provide in-house entertainment.

Now if you ask most bus patrons, they’ll probably tell you that aside from people who have their iPod volume up to deafening, loud cell phone talkers are their biggest pet peeve. ‘Specially when your conversations are about stuff like how your Jamaican boyfriend loves it when you’re pregnant because being pregnant gives you a big butt and your boyfriend loves big butts ’cause he’s Jamaican. (Unfortunately, this is an actual one-sided conversation I overheard – actually, it can’t be called overhearing when this chick might as well had been on the loudspeaker.)

Anyway, on the way home last week I was amused to be privy one of these loud cell phone talkers. He was especially loud because he was on a hands-free device. Which was a bizarre choice to make given that he was in the process of MAKING A DRUG DEAL IN PUBLIC. Not only was he loudly talking about how the stuff he had was especially potent because it was from Vancouver and stuff from Vancouver is 50% stronger – duh – but he also described the street name of where the exchange was going to be made. S-M-R-T!

I mean, guh. I’m definitely not buying my drugs from this genius. I mean, if I did buy drugs, it definitely wouldn’t be from this guy!


As seen on a homeless person’s sign a couple years back when I was living in downtown Toronto. I’m not one to give out change to people who make the street their humble abode, but I wanted to give this one money purely based on her wit.


Stranger Than Fiction: “MY SANDWICH! You threw away MY SANDWICH?!”(Now with update!)


UPDATE: The note worked! It was the long weekend and it looks like my desk wasn’t even used! But it was probably avoided not because they got scared of me like they were of Ross, but because they rolled their eyes at my high-maintenance ass, thinking “What a neurotic bitch.” I also just fucked up and lost the video of Ross screaming “My sandwich!” Since I can’t access YouTube at work, I will have to put it back when I get home.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m highly neurotic – well, in general, but quite particularly about neatness & cleanliness (ask my ex-roommate;  I was the Felix Unger to her Oscar Madison) of Monica Gellar proportions.

But I was more like Ross Gellar this past Monday morning when I got to work, discovering the state of my desk. My workstation was used by a co-worker over the weekend. Not that I minded. I just minded that things were not left in the orderly fashion it had been when I left work the previous Friday.

So I left them a kind reminder.


Feel free to make use of it, as long as you keep in mind that it belongs to someone, so things should be left as you found them.

Please remember:

  • It’s OK to adjust the chair to your comfort level, as long as it’s put back at its original level when you’re done.
  • It’s OK to use the office supplies in the drawer, as long as everything is put back in its place. If you use up one of these items, please be sure to replenish it.
  • Same goes for the items on the desk. If you knock something over, please pick it up and put it back where you found it. And it’s fine if you prefer to use the mouse without the mouse pad, as long it’s back on the mouse pad when you’re done.
  • Naturally, personal items are off-limits.
  • There’s no need to remove any items tacked to the wall, so please leave them be.
  • It’s also ok to use the radio, but please handle it with care or be prepared to replace it. You can even change it to your preferred station – as long as it’s tuned back in to the original one when you’re done. Also, please remember to turn it off.
  • Take your belongings with you when you go.


Call me anal, call me an asshole; call me brusque, call me bitchy, or whatever insult from the rest of the alphabet you please. (Just no C words, thanks!) But I likes my shit tidy, so they’d betta recognize.

But apparently, the note was far too polite, as per today’s discovery. So this time I had to let out my inner Pheobe Buffay with this addendum:


I swear on my Wonder Woman paraphernalia – all six T-shirts included – that this note is currently tacked to my cubicle wall.

There will be employees coming in to work again this weekend, as to do so is a common occurrence, so it’ll be interesting to see the state of my desk on Tuesday. (Woo-hoo! Three-day weekend!) So if you hear: “MY DESK! They messed up MY DESK!” complete with birds outside flying away in fright echoing towards wherever you are. you’ll know what happened: they didn’t recognize.

And if this results in a psychiatric evaluation, stress leave with pay, and access to Valium, it just might be worth it!

Note: I  SO did NOT march around the office asking people if they were the culprit who fucked my shit up. I walked. And I said “messed up” and did not  in fact say “shit.” Also, I realize I’m aging my self with my reference to The Odd Couple, and Friends, which ended their series seven years ago this May. Can you believe it?!

ETA: Here’s the actual note!

Stranger Than Fiction: Boozing My Religion

A few Saturday nights ago, my mother and I went to a party. It was a milestone birthday for our family friend, which took place in a banquet hall. Our friend is very religious, so there was lots of preaching, praying, and even a couple of live gospel singers. Also: no alcohol or secular music. Unlike the party in the room next to ours, where a company Christmas party was in full swing. Both parties occupied one big room split into two smaller rooms with one of those accordion dividers that fold into the wall – and made for poor soundproofing. So when the guest of honour stepped up to the podium to make a speech, its religious content was interspersed with words such as “pussywagon”, “shittin'” and “the chicks’ll cream” courtesy of the Grease Megamix.

But that wasn’t the funniest part of the evening.

That happened when one of the hedonists mistook our wholesome party for the one happening next to us. He stumbled in, then stood on the dance floor right next to the table where my mother and I sat with the rest of our tablemates. He staggered on his feet, smiling as though he knew us; then, slowly, his expression changed as he realized his mistake. And promptly stumbled the hell out from where he came, leaving us to our non-alcoholic wine. Which, by the way, I enjoyed so much that I was NOT tempted to follow the drunk, crash the party, and abuse the (hopefully open) bar. Because God lead me away from it. Geddit? “Lead us not into…”

Yeah, I’ll shut up.

Stranger Than Fiction: Snow Excuse

The school day had ended. It was particularly cold  – below zero, at least – and the front lawn on which we were standing was covered in snow. Not enough for a “snow day”, but just enough to make the buses that we were waiting for late.

Very late.

If I can recall correctly, there were three or four separate lines, dependent on the district or neighborhood in which we lived. My sister and I were lucky enough to be in the one whose bus was the last to show up.

We waited. And waited. And waited.

I was prone to frostbite, more than any other kid I knew, for some reason. My fingers were REALLY starting to hurt. And it seemed like the bus was never going to come.So my sister and I decided we would go to the principal’s office to call our parents so they could pick us up. But when we mentioned our intentions to the teacher who was supervising our line, she refused. With a sharp angry “No!” as though we’d asked to play in traffic.

By then I think I was crying because the frostbite hurt so badly. My sister said as much to the supervisor, making note of my distress, but still, she refused to let us call our parents. The refusal was bad enough, but she was also so indignant and angry about it. You would think anyone in the care of children would be looking out for their best interests, not trying to use their place as a means to wield some sort of perverse power over elementary school students.

Forgive me; that statement comes from a bitter place, because to this day I don’t know why she was so insistent on not letting us call our parents. But how else could I explain her behaviour? In my opinion, it’s either what I just mentioned or she was a flat-out sociopath. (Or it could have been something that starts with an “r”, ends with an “ism” and has “ac” in the middle?)

Guess I’ll never know.

Anyway, I can’t remember if the bus finally came, or my parents, seeing that my sister and I had yet to come home, picked us up. But I do remember screaming and crying because my hands were fully frostbitten; that it was a long, painful while before they warmed up.

Then the next day, my dad went down to the school and cussed the bitch out. She nearly pissed her pants and apologized profusely. (I actually found this out not too long ago, so I didn’t realize he had done so at the time. Unless I had and just forgot.)

Every time I think of this incident, it never fails to boggle my mind, but I don’t spend too much time trying to understand the motivations of people like that supervisor. Instead I focus my energy on appreciating people such as the transit driver from yesterday who stopped for my fellow passengers and I as we stood freezing in snow, ice and a subzero windchill, even though his bus was not in service.

Now people like that, I can get on board with.

Stranger Than Fiction: “Who’s John Lennon?”

This happened about five or six years ago when I worked at a music store.

On this particular day we had received delivery and were putting away the merchandise we’d unpacked in its appropriate section. Whenever we did this, if we weren’t sure of which section the CDs we’d stock went, we’d either consult the inventory database on a computer (which, at the time, was so ancient it took forever) or we asked one another. While this usually only happened with obscure artists, ambiguous artists (i.e. who could fit into pop/rock or alternative) sometimes this could happen – depending on the employee’s taste in music – with genres with which they weren’t familiar.

Now when you work in a music store it helps (obviously) to have a broad knowledge of music, particularly the top 40, since listeners of current, mainstream music are usually the dominant buyers (or at least they were in our store.) You’re not expected to know every type of music, which is why it helps (again, obviously) to have a staff with diverse tastes in music, so if one person doesn’t know what the customer is looking for, they can hand it off to their co-worker.

And then there’s the music artists that everyone knows, regardless of their tastes in music, because they’re icons. Even if you haven’t heard much of their music (which is unlikely), even if you don’t like their music (which you don’t have to just because they are icons) even if you don’t even think about them until you have to, you know who they are, because they aren’t just a part of music history: they have made it.



Because they are music staples. Elvis. Bob Marley. Michael Jackson. The Rolling Stones.

Or, say, the Beatles.

So there we were, putting away stock when my twenty-one-year-old (at the time) co-worker had one of those “Which section does this CD go” questions….while holding up a John Lennon CD.

“Um…pop/rock?” I responded, unable to say it, regrettably, in anything other than a condescending tone.

“But I don’t know who he is!” she protested, thankfully not insulted by the way I spoke to her, just petulant.

“But-but- he was in the Beatles!” I spluttered.

“But how am I supposed to know their names?”

Ok. Maybe I could have accepted not knowing Ringo Starr’s name…maybe even George Harrison, as the combination of the Lennon-McCartney ego made them the Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland of the group, respectively. But not knowing John Lennon?

Who uttered the infamous – and  misinterpreted – soundbite “Bigger Than Jesus”? (Calm down everyone, he was pointing out the ridiculousness of worshipping them rather than Him).

Who had a nekkid sit-in with his wife (who inspired a quirky – well, they all are – unforgettable song by the Barenaked Ladies?)

Who went on to a very successful solo career, which spawned many hits, including “Imagine”? (I know, no one knows that song, and it’s no “I Got My Mind Set On You“, but that’s  all I have to work with)

Who was gunned down in New York right in front of his apartment by a Catcher In The Rye-obssessed, mentally disturbed, morbidly obese man, who had only that morning taken a picture with Mr. Lennon and had the singer sign a copy of his latest (and last) album, Double Fantasy?!

Yeah, I could see how she hadn’t heard of him.