Thursday, August 18, 2016

That Night in Toronto - August 12, 2016

This was originally posted on my Facebook on August 13, 2016.

Have you ever had that feeling of being part of something infinitely bigger than yourself?

I felt that last night.

We’re an odd country, in that we have such a relatively small population, spread out over such a large area. It can lead to a sort of disconnect with our fellow citizens.

Last night’s Tragically Hip concert left me with a lot of feelings. This is a last hurrah (for me) for a band that I have loved from my early teens. I became aware of them around the time that I discovered MuchMusic, and spent hours taping recording videos to VHS, painstakingly pausing and unpausing to edit out the commentary and commercials.

“At The Hundreth Meridian” was the weird, wonderful video that first caught my eye. When I started looking into this band more, I realized I already knew them, without actually knowing them (if that makes sense). I found myself singing along, knowing words to songs that I wasn’t aware I had even heard before.

But yeah. The show. It was both awe-inspiring and exceedingly difficult to watch. The giant screens that magnify the band for the audience members relegated to the nosebleed sections show a lot of detail, including a man who was putting in a lot of effort, but was straining. I wish I could say there was the same frenetic energy of say, 10 years ago, but goddamn, he sure tried, and for most of the show, it was close. But to watch as someone who has known illness, it was exhausting.

I’m eternally grateful to the band for this tour. People can be exceptionally possessive and entitled when it comes to the artists they adore. So I want to make sure I am clear about this. They didn’t have to do a final tour. But I am so, so glad they did. I am so thankful that everyone that has loved this band got a chance to say goodbye. I’m glad the band got a chance to say goodbye as well.

But my goodness.. How difficult must this be? How difficult must it be for a man who probably knows he is dying, to go on every other night and put on the best show he can, to make that effort to live up to the reputation as a showman he’s been cultivating for the last 30 years, while knowing that it’s taking that much more energy, that much more strain, that some of the notes are that much harder to hit.

How heartbreaking is this for Robby, Gord S, Paul, and Johnny, who have been together since high school, without a single change in lineup, to know that this will for all intents and purposes, be the last tour they all do as a group. How hard must it be for them to be on stage knowing that this is for all intents and purposes it and nothing will be the same, all the while knowing and watching while they lose a childhood friend.

I was amazed that they played a 2 hour show, with two encores.

I was inspired by the way, near the end of the show, Gord stood on stage and to thunderous applause that lasted five minutes or more, looked out over the audience and just also seemed both sad, awed, grateful, and generally moved to tears. That’s when I started to cry, thinking that this must be the scene that they’ve been greeted by every other night for the last week and a bit. And it’s bloody brilliant.

The last few weeks, since the band announced Gord’s cancer diagnosis, have had surreal media coverage. It’s been a weird kind of retrospective but also like a living obituary. This tour must have been kind of like attending your own wake. Which is morbid, but also really amazing. I’m glad that the band and Gord especially, gets to see just what they have meant to so many people.

I am glad I got to be there last night. I’m glad I got to share it with some of the most important people in my life, along with thousands of strangers who, for a few hours, were my fellow mourners but also my friends.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I am uncomfortable when not about me?

It really saddens me how angry people will get when the government tries to give a leg up to anyone that is not them.

Government wants to let a relative small number of refugees into the country so they can escape war and terror (and seriously.. 25,000 is the size of a town. A small town, at that.)

Nope, can't do that. We have to take care of our own. We have homeless people here that need the resources.

Okay. Well, we're going to raise welfare benefits so that a single person gets about 40 dollars more a month. 

Can't have that's because welfare people are just lazy moochers.  Why can't they just get a job??

Okay. Well we're going to increase tuition grants for low income people. That should help people get educated so they can get a job.

Well, that's not fair. I had to pay for MY education.  Why do kids these days not have to bust their ass to get through school like I did? Besides, education should be free for everyone.

Sigh.  Okay, what if we just start giving everybody an income. Of course we'll just start with low income people, because logically, low-income people would need it right? But essentially, everyone would have an income.

No, no. We can't just give people money.  People need to work for money (says someone whose spouse's income allows them to stay home with their kids).

We've got a working class who thinks they're middle class, who look on the poor and the working poor and blame them for taking their money when corporations are sucking at the government tit at levels that exponentially surpass any single mother and her kids.

I'd rather have my tax money go to people who are struggling, than to people who are already making two or three times what I make per annum.  I guess some people just prefer to say fuck you, I want mine to whoever is not them.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

And then the waiter stabbed me with a steak knife.

Once upon a time (and by once upon a time, I mean this past November) I went on a cruise with my kids and about 200 family members.

Okay, 20 family members, but sometimes it seemed like more.

On one of the last nights of the trip, my girls and I decided to go, just the three of us, to one of the boat's sit-down restaurants.

By the way, that thing about putting on 15 lbs on a cruise?  Totally not a myth. There's like, never-ending buffets.  Constant eating.  The only thing that ensured that my pants still fit at the end of the trip was walking my ass roughly 5000 km back and forth across the boat over the course of the week trying to meet up and keep up with our ridiculously large group.

But I digress.

We went to the restaurant where we were waited on by a lovely, genial man who had the misfortune of being saddled with a trio of hyperactive doofuses who should probably never be allowed in public ever (that'd be us). 

A lovely, genial waiter who stabbed me with a steak knife.

As he was clearing away our plates, one of the knifes was sitting precariously on the edge of a plate and brushed my arm in passing, serrated side out.

The waiter hurriedly brushed my arm and apologized.

My oldest, misinterpreting the gesture leaned over and whispered "Mom, was he making a pass at you??"

"No!" I whispered back, checking my upper arm for signs of blood. "He got me. With the knife."

The both blinked at me.

"The waiting friggin' stabbed me with the steak knife!"

This sent the girls, who had been laughing like hyenas throughout our meal (Not gonna lie, I was feeling pretty punchy myself) into renewed fits of hysterics, because having your mother get stabbed by a steak knife is fucking hilarious.

When he came back to the table he was much more quiet and subdued. I, for some reason attributed it to the fact that we were being so loud and boisterous, and for a moment felt bad that  he probably thought we were laughing at him.

In retrospect, he was probably feeling really shitty about stabbing me.  Also, probably worried, since that's the kind of thing I guess usually gets waiters fired.

All in all, it wasn't that bad, since I wasn't bleeding or anything.

Since we weren't carrying much cash, since most gratuities and costs were covered or billed to the room, I felt bad I couldn't tip him, thinking, again that we were terrible patrons laughing at this poor dude who was trying to do his job.

But then again, he did stab me, with a steak knife.  So, maybe I don't feel so bad, after all.