Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Metropolitan Preparatory Academy

I sit too hot to be comfortable on a dark blue plastic school chair with cut tennis balls on the bottom of each leg. Three other students sit in similar places behind laminate wood desks turned around so students can’t vandalize inside. Nineteen desks sat empty scattered between the four of us. It was a small class. Senora Goldstein, she took on her husband’s name, dressed casually in jeans, made an appearance at the front of the classroom. Up until now, on the other side of the hotter than usual classroom David, with his curly brown head of hair and Ben dressed to the nines worked diligently on the assigned class work. Judy, one of four asian students in attendance atour high school, sat close but not beside me, struggling on her work.
“ Atencion por favor. Ahora vamous a trabajar en una gropa de ‘skits’ con palabras de esta semana.”
We all let out a slight grown, personally not wanting to move in this heat, not knowing why the others wouldn’t want to work in groups.
“ Aright, so we have: el cine, la escuela, la iglesia, y el supermercado. Want to write a skit about someone’s daily activities?”
“Dave, I don’t care, it’s too hot in here to work.”
“Ohh, you guys feel that too. I’m dying.” Apparently we had some common ground between us, the heat.
Judy says nothing.
“ Senora, por favor turn down the heat. It’s so hot in here I’m shvitzing, Dave’s shvitzing, Nicole’s shvitzing...”
“ No Ben, Nicole can’t shvitz, she’s not a Jew.”

“ Lo siento Ben, no puedo bajar el termómetro, I can’t turn down the thermometer, it’s broken.” Senora explained.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


We all cope with death in different ways. For many of us time heals all. For others, we cherish the old memories. Often people go through the cyclical process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. However, one thing remains the same, death is a bridge eventually everyone crosses.
My sister and I were very close as children, and remain close to this day despite our many differences. We are only a minor eighteen months apart with Natalie being older. As an older sister, one would assume she would be protective and nurturing of her younger sister, look out for me in good times and bad, however my sister often had an ulterior agenda. When I was around four years old, Natalie would have been six, we experienced our first tragic event. Clarence and Eleanor were a pair of goldfish my mother had purchased for us as our first real pet, our first real responsibility. We loved those fish, fed them daily, watched them swim, kept them company, everything young children can do with their tiny pet fish.

“ Get up girls it’s time for breakfast!”
We rushed down from our rooms to enjoy the hot pancakes my mom had waiting for us.

“ Nic, after breakfast want to go feed the fishies?” Nat asked like she did every morning.

After eating breakfast Nat and I went downstairs to stare at our underwater friends and give them some of their own breakfast.

“ Oh no…” Natalie stated.

“ Mom!” I yelled in a worried tone.
To our utter sadness, laying limp at the top of the tank, was one of our pet fish who had passed away. My mother, on edge about our first death experience prepared the bathroom for the funeral. We picked the fish out of the tank, sombrely brought him to his grave and placed him inside.

“ I loved you fish, we had fun together and I’ll miss you.” Natalie said.

“ Yea, I’m going to miss the fishy too.” I agreed.
With a flush of the toilet the funeral was finished.
My mother was impressed, we were holding up, as we both waved bye to Clarence. Then, just as we were about to turn and leave our makeshift funeral home, my older sister turned to me and matter-of-factly said,

“That was your fish”.

My first experience with this whole topic was difficult, although my subsequent encounters have not become much easier. It’s strange the things we learn from our family.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lunch Time Lessons

As many young children at the age of four, right before you’re officially educated in kindergarten, I was living in a world of curiosity. My mother and I spent our days together, filled with exciting activities, crafts and errands, The Young and the Restless and Mr. Dress-up. I was experiencing life and my mom, well, she was running a house, watching her child,and enjoying life as she could. On one particular afternoon as I sat patiently waiting for my lunch, a tuna sandwich, the gears in my little head began to turn. I thought to myself, then asked,
“Mom, what happens to the eyes of the tuna when they put it into the can?”
My mother responded with a similar complexity to my own and advised that I check today.
So, my mother prepared and I waited, anxious and hungry for my sandwich. When my toasted white bread layered with tuna salad was placed in front of my hungry curious self I could barely wait. As I removed the top half of my sandwich, my life would never be the same again. There, gazing up at me, were a set of giant googly eyes that my mom had placed inside. I shot straight out of my seat, tears rolling uncontrollably down my face as I got my answer.
Looking back now I applaud my mother for creating an entertaining meal that day, for keeping me on my toes as she taught me the precious things she could before I would be off on my own. She always told me that life wouldn’t be easy but it didn’t have to be hard, there is so much that can be learned by just enjoying each moment. Whether we are learning through our experiences, or simply scaring the knowledge right into our children, there remains an important point that each situation is what you make of it and by seizing the moment and taking it for all it’s worth we our giving ourselves the greatest lesson of all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Being the Asshole

It always begins when I’m walking. Generally I have forgotten my music source, although sometimes I think through the music. My head is filled with amazing ideas, stories that go on for hours and could be best sellers. But when I sit down to write them, they’re gone and all I have left are the meaningless occurrences that are my life.

Take for example my pride and joy, my Peugeot pronounced “pueh- go”. A bicycle in case you were wondering, which was rudely removed from my possession a few weeks ago. The gears were very difficult, it was almost a standard bike, if there is such a thing, because I would have to manually move each gear with the shifter using a lot of strength and a lot of hope that it would work. The cup holder was gone, previously stolen. It was a junior bike, my knees would often hit my elbows and my feet on occasion grazing the asphalt. As shitty as it sounds it had won a place in my heart, which is quite the feat. And some person who thought or perhaps didn’t think, decided to sit on my seat and ride it away while I had left it unchained to buy eggs. Maybe they were punishing me, teaching me a lesson for leaving it unlocked. Or maybe they were in some strange circumstance where taking my Peugeot was their only option. Either way it’s gone and I am left feeling utterly depressed. A similar feeling to when my landlord’s son/ the landscaper tore out another small piece of my heart.

My garden, which might as well be called “my child”, is a beautiful piece of art. My first attempt, grown totally from seeds and developed into a lush haven of fruits and vegetables. Early one Saturday morning after being awoken by, lets call him Steven, struggling to start the whipper snipper, who then began his rounds. Boring I’m sure, his job was to remove weeds around my apartment building. As Steven made his way to my front door I assumed he would stay clear of my picturesque garden. This, however, was not the case. Steven approached the 3ft tall giant Atlantic pumpkin plant, that was just about to start producing it’s fruit, and pummelled the 3 inch stalk, the heart of the plant. I was standing inside, in shock as to what was happening, disbelief as it took him several attempts to fully cut it down. I flung open my front door, ran outside screaming as one of my babies had been raped from the garden. I reamed him, told him exactly how I felt, where he should go and where he could shove that whipper snipper. His defence: ‘I thought it was a weed’. Yea right, like I would let a weed grow 3 ft tall in my wonderfully lush garden. I went inside, and paced up and down my small hallway, counted to ten twenty times, took deep breaths and realized what I had done.

The police auction was conveniently being held the day after my bike was stolen. I attended and purchased an eighteen speed Canadian made Supercycle. It has fully functioning gears, and rides a lot taller and smoother than my last bike. My helmet even matches the color.

I apologized to the novice landscaper, expressed my regret for telling a twelve year old boy to ‘fuck off’. I planted three new seeds and am currently crossing my fingers that they will produce before the fall.That’s all we can do… cross our fingers and know that we are all a part of it, one way or another we each take our turn being the asshole.