Halloween Rollercoaster

Oct 29, 2010

It was the first Halloween that I celebrated in full teenage fashion, complete with a bottle of vodka and not one but two parties to which both I was expected to make an appearance. Previous years, after I was too old to trick-or-treat, I would stay home and help my mom give out candy – so this was definitely going to be a much better night. I had bought a black short cut dress for a semi-formal a few months prior and I thought I would take the opportunity to take it out for another night on the town. I have to admit that I felt absolutely sexy in that dress. It had a crisscross ribbon lace-up all the way up the back and tucked me in and pushed me out in all the right places – Yeowza! The first time I put it on was for Jim. Did he like it? We ended up having sex right there on the kitchen counter, so I took that as a big ‘YES!’

This time around I camped it up a bit by slicking my hair back, putting on an obscene amount of make-up, got some fishnet stockings and a cheap pentagram necklace and... Voila! I became a sexy witch, and I felt a whole new level of confidence that was new to me; I loved every second of it.

I showed up at the first party – I had met the host, Kevin, at my karate class and he lived close to where I was staying at the time. When he opened the door, he looked me up and down like he desired a piece of well-done meat – and I fuckin’ loved it; it definitely wasn’t attention that I was use to. It wasn’t a large party, but I enjoyed myself with him and his friends. There was a lot of drinking and flirting going on and one thing led to another and my sexy dress ended up around my waist and I was deflowering Kevin. I felt like an empowered seductress, especially with my ‘Halloween’ costume. I didn’t know that it was his first time before hand, but the congratulatory clapping and cheering when we emerged from his bedroom was an obvious giveaway.

We partied for a while afterwards and more beverages were passed around and each subsequent one went down smoother and smoother. I managed to catch the last train to my next party destination, where I was planning to finish the night, so I showed up with my remaining booze in one hand and my sleeping bag in the other. I was still amazed that I found my way there, in the state I was in by that point. This party consisted mostly of people from school, although not the usual group I hung out with and there were a few that I had never met before that night. I had a couple relatively close friends in this group, but not many.

I was already stumbling over both my words and my feet when I arrived. I had time to have some slurred jokes and socializations with a few people and then I had to find somewhere to collapse. I wasn’t completely passed out – I was vaguely aware of my surroundings – but my head and every limb felt like they each weighed a tonne and I felt glued to the couch and sunk deeply into it.

The next thing I remember was the hot, stinky breath that was heating up the right side of my face. I heard a sleazy moan into my ear telling me I was gorgeous, but I could barely turn my head away, let alone muster up enough consciousness to tell this guy to ‘Fuck Off’. I then felt his hand start at my chest and quickly moved down to go up and under my dress. He dug his thick fingers under my stockings and underwear like a slimy eel lurching through the reeds. I tried to push him away but I was paralyzed. The thought of this guys fingers thrusting in and out of me made me want to vomit – it still does to this day. I managed to figure out who it was, which made it worse because even earlier, while I was still vertical I thought he was creepy; Dwayne. Even the sound of that name makes my skin crawl.

Luckily, one of the few people I knew at the party caught Dwayne in act and yelled at him to get away from me. I was infinitely grateful, even if I couldn’t verbalize it at that moment. A couple hours had passed and I managed to prop myself up on the couch; it must have been about 4am. That same friend noticed and came over with a nice glass of water and sat next to me. I put my head on his shoulder and cried; I had never felt so dirty in my entire life. It was at that moment that I understood why some rape victims scrub themselves in the shower until they are raw – that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I needed to scrub the Dwayne off of me.

So needless to say, it was a substantially eventful Halloween, but not like how I could ever had foreseen it when I first put on that dress earlier that afternoon. It was a Halloween rollercoaster that I would never forget, for both good reasons and some bad reasons that I wish I actually could forget – but instead they are permanently seared into my brain. Kevin and I went through a lot together and he remains a life-long friend of mine, whereas even the mere mention of someone with the name of ‘Dwayne’ makes me gag a little and I cross my legs; I never wore that dress again.

Intellectual Dummies

Oct 26, 2010

Our generation is generally the first to have gone to some form of post-secondary schooling – on average. I know there are some families that are already on their 3rd generation of Harvard alumini – and to them, I say, “Piss Off” – this article isn’t about you – although my underlying point will likely apply to you as well, as you will see. For MOST of us, our parents completed maybe a year or two of Community College, if that, but it didn’t matter – these lucky baby-boomers still landed jobs that now pay in the upper regions of 75-100k per annum or more. My father is a prime example of this – his 2 years of College back in the early 70s landed him a sweet job for IBM, which, by today’s standards, one would need at least a Master’s Degree in Computer Science or Engineering before they even took a sniff at your résumé. Whether it is sheer progress or a case of supply & demand, it really has changed in the last 30 years.

Because of this shift, (and our parents being aware of this) they insisted that their children went to University to “have an opportunity that they didn’t have”. From a very early age, we were coached to understand that high school was just the beginning and that there was much more learning to do. Study, study, study! Even my school was on board – I’ll admit, it was a very middle-class-centric school that I attended and there were not many ‘practical’ classes to take. I think there was a Home Economics classroom somewhere... not that I ever entered it – it was not compulsory, not even in grade 9.

When my guidance counsellor suggested that with my interest in the Creative Arts, a good Art College could be an option for me (meaning NOT University). When my mother found this out, she went completely ballistic... OK, never mind... University it was.

So, we all went off to University – thousands of us – and after 4 years, what did we have to show for our $25,000-$60,000* education? I’ll tell you – poor eating habits, a stack of essays... and knowledge essentially good for nothing more than competing in Jeopardy. Yes, it nurtured our critical thinking, but if you didn’t have it to begin with, University doesn’t magically create it. Unless you were going to do more school in the form of Post-graduate certifications, Masters, PhD, etc, an Undergraduate Degree gets you sweet fuck all. The worst part, which is what I’m essentially observing these days, is that these thousands of University graduates cannot do ANYTHING that requires a practical everyday life skill.

We cannot fix anything, build anything or do anything that entails manual knowledge – we are fucking useless – and the guys back in high school that we stuck our noses up at because they were in the Wood Working class or other applied subjects are now the guys that are laughing their arses off – all the way to the bank. They are clearing $100k per annum because no one else knows how to do their job and they can charge extortionate prices for their services – knowing full well that we’d be screwed without them. Yes, my father was lucky and got a fantastic job back in the 70s, but even he can barely change a light bulb! The majority of us now are in high stress, under-paying jobs – most of which have little or nothing to do with what we originally went to University for. I am generally in the same field that I attended University for, but only with an additional 2 more years of Post-graduate studies and a lot of luck.

I don’t want to blame anyone – it’s just another one of many symptomatic back lashes from the baby boomer generation; I doubt anyone could have foreseen this. And of course, it’s not like as a 16 year old, we thought to ourselves, “Gee, when I’m 35, I sure would like to be able to sew and cook.” Of course we didn’t; if we had the gift of foresight at 16, we would all have done things differently, I’m sure of it. I also have to mention that there was also the strong feminist movement blowing through at that time and the idea of a young woman wanting to sew and cook instead of wanting to become an astronaut was like a crime against our sex.

Some people say, “Well, go back and learn that now!” OK, with what time, exactly? Between babies, mortgage & car payments, full-time job, laundry, groceries, hockey practice, swimming lessons, marriage and generally attempting to keep the house from falling apart, when is there time to do that, seriously? I’m happy when I get time to enjoy a coffee that is not served in a disposable cup! That is why we go to school when we are young – because it’s when we have time for it.

The sexiest man I have met in a very long time was the handyman that we hired to do some jobs around our house. He could lay flooring, install a tile back-splash and put up a railing – and it totally turned me on! I love my husband, but these are things I really wished he could do – or even myself – but we cannot; we are both intellectual dummies. I’m sure even that 3rd generation Harvard graduate wouldn’t know the difference between a drywall screw and a wood screw to save their life. The person they have to hire to do their manual labour is likely making more money than they are – so who’s laughing now?

So, of course, if my children know early on that they want to become doctors or teachers, or something of that capacity that genuinely requires a University education, they will be given that opportunity – no question. However, if they aren’t sure what they want to do, I would much prefer to see them go to College and learn a practical trade, rather than wasting 4 years getting a useless general arts degree – or worse, social science. What a joke.


(*based on Canadian tuition fees; the high end is including residence fees)

Manchildism

Oct 22, 2010

There has evolved a social symptom amongst the male population of Western society that I like to call Manchildism. Now, this isn’t a male bashing article, but merely a genuine observation and hypothesis. I began to notice this phenomenon a few years back when myself, along with 3 other women were dumped by guys that apparently ‘needed to find themselves’.

My experience was the least severe case, as I had only been dating the guy for a couple months, but the other women had been with their boyfriends/partners for years and in one instance, were living together. However, in all 4 cases it was totally out of the blue and completely bizarre. All these men were in their early 30s, had a good job, nice car and of course, each had a great lady. Then, out of nowhere, we all got a very similar speech that went something like this:

“I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I feel like I need to find myself and I don’t think I can take you with me on this journey; I have to take it on my own.”

WHEN YOU GROW UP? You are fucking 33! News flash: you grew up over a decade ago! The other women that this happened to – the similarity of their ‘dump speech’ was uncanny. These women were pretty much convinced that the men they were with were going to be their life partners/husbands and then... WHAM! It was hard enough for me to swallow, but I couldn’t even imagine what they went through.

At first, I thought it was the latest ‘go to’ dumping excuse, like the “Let’s be friends” or “It’s not you, it’s me” standard lines. I guess in a way, it’s an evolution of that later excuse, but with a soul searching twist. Then I started thinking about what has changed in the last generation – which is a biggie. Our fathers and their fathers before them and so on were given a strict road map of life to follow: School – Job (usually the same job as their father) – Wife – House – Kids – Work – Retire. Not many questioned it – it was just how it was done; they didn't have to think. Most of our fathers got a job straight out of high school or college and worked at that same job for 35 years and then retired. They didn’t necessarily all like their jobs, but it supported their families and that was good enough for them. They took pride in being the provider for their family, above all else.

After the baby-boomer generation had great personal success, they realized that their children could possibly have even more opportunities and success. They threw out their previous road map and told their sons that they could be anything they wanted to be – not even the sky was the limit! Now, their daughters got this speech as well, but women can usually process this easier and we can make our own life decisions fairly logically – we like having ‘a plan’. I’m not trying to be cruel, but even some men will admit that they are, in fact, simple creatures. By not telling all these boys exactly what they should be or what they need to do ‘when they grow up’ is making their heads explode. They are wandering aimlessly through their twenties waiting for that huge life-altering epiphany that is supposed to tell them what they have to do – and then they wake up one day and they are thirty.

At this point, even though they probably have a great life, some weird suppressed anxiety slaps them in the face and says, “But my mommy said I could be an astronaut, or a fireman, or a helicopter pilot, or anything I wanted – and I’m just another office flunky – Ahhhhhh!” POP! Their goes their head... along with their voice of reason. They have a little tantrum and question, "What about MEEEEEE?" They quit their jobs, dump their girlfriends (or wives) and go backpacking across Nepal. And there it is – Manchildism.

I don’t think there is anything that can be done for this generation – the damage was done a long time ago. Let’s hope the traditional mid-life crises that happen at around 55 aren’t too turbulent – which we won’t be able to see for another decade or two. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see what happens with their children, and if these men, as parents, will be able to learn from their unrealistic and aimless expectations and perhaps instil in their sons a sprinkle of realism; maybe somewhere that fits nicely between having their head in the clouds and their nose to the grindstone. Is there is such a place? I hope so.

Hoes Before Bros

Oct 18, 2010

There were only a handful of times that I had come close to throwing a punch in high school, but miraculously I never did – probably from fear more than anything else. There is only 1 time that I really wished I had though – and still to this day, I often think that in this rare instance, kicking the absolute crap out of this girl would have been entirely and fantastically therapeutic.

I’m sure every school has at least one – the tramp, skank, village bicycle or whatever choice description you might want to insert. Now I know I wasn’t a virginal kitten, but there was one huge difference and that was I never intentionally set out to hurt anyone, and to this day there was only 1 time that I accidentally hurt someone and I deeply regret it. Perhaps that is why I detested Jessie so much – it was that she would repeatedly sleep with other people’s boyfriends and not seem to show any remorse, nor did she ever reap any consequences. It wasn't like there were shallow pickings - there were MANY other guys she could have had instead. If she wanted to have random romps with countless unattached guys, then I would have said ‘Welcome to the Club’ but that wasn’t her style. She preferred guys that had been test driven already, or rather ones that were currently being driven by someone else.

She never ‘stole’ any boyfriend of mine, but there was a long list of relationship carnage that she created that involved most of my friends. Not only did she seem to have zero accountability for her hurtful actions, but most of my friends continued to be her friend! Did I miss something? How did that work? From my perspective, it was quite simple: You hurt me and I can’t trust you; therefore, we are not friends anymore. It's not even about the guy when it comes down to it - we all know they come and go - it's the TRUST that gets broken. Seemed simple enough to me – but there she was, everyday hanging out with us, like that nasty zit that keeps reappearing on your chin.

While recalling one of her many horizontal mishaps, I took a body count one day and she had had sex (or close enough to it) with SEVEN guys that had been with one of my friends – and I didn’t have a big circle of friends, so that covered almost every one of them (one girl she did 2 of her guys, once while she was passed out downstairs and the sound of Jessie screwing her boyfriend upstairs woke her up, classy!) But, they are still friends to this day – the world is going mad.

She finally had gone too far with unlucky number 6, in which after doing lord-knows-what with him, she accused him of sexual assault the next day. It was awful! This guy was gentle, dopey and harmless and his only fault was falling victim to the siren’s spell. His girlfriend was a tough chick, and frankly even I wouldn’t have wanted to cross her, but once again, she did nothing to Jessie, physically, verbally or anything of the sort. She just kicked the shit out of a garbage can instead. There was a whole dramatic scene in the parking lot (Jessie doing most of the flared-nose dramatics, as usual) and she came up to ME and challenged ME to a fight.

“Com’on Andrea! Hit me! I know you want to!”

She was damn right about that – and this triggered one of my ‘Ally McBeal’ moments to which the imaginary me grabbed her by her overly-coiffed Farah Fawcett hair and repetitively punch her in the face. Every fibre of my body was itching to take this girl on, but I coolly remained leaning on my friend’s truck. I gave out a huge forced grin and replied, “I would love to – but you’re not worth the effort.” She just stormed off like a deranged two year old having a tantrum. I guess I should be proud that I handled it that way, but the primal part of me would have loved to throw in one punch for every one of my friends’ hearts she broke.

The part that utterly bemuses me is that even after that horribly messy situation (there was a court case and everything, which of course got thrown out on character witnesses alone, but it was still unpleasant) she still managed to remain a part of our group. Ahhh! What did this girl have to do before people besides me would see her for who she really is? Apparently nothing. She even succeeded in hurting one more friend after that, my best friend... with her ex-boyfriend. She confronted Jessie and told her she was not cool with it and that she would have to choose between their friendship (of 8+ years) and the guy; Jessie looked her straight in the eye and said without hesitation, “Him”... It lasted 2 weeks. Awesome - I hope it was worth it.

Now that some time has passed and I have moved away, I really only have to see the people that I choose to see, but she still comes up in conversation and appears at some social events; the aggravating zit prevails! The ironic part is that out of all the people we went to high school with, she hates ME the most and I find that downright amusing. It must be because she knows I was the one person that always saw right through her and never bought in to her dramatic bullshit. I once told her with true sincerity that she needed to seek professional psychiatric help. Yes, it’s true that I was tripping on mushrooms at the time, but nevertheless I tried to be as sincere as much as possible. Regardless, I still wish I had hit her that day, just once.

Would you like fries with that?

Oct 14, 2010

Although I have tried so hard over the years to be comfortable with my body, I think it was my ‘shame’ that has ultimately helped me to control many of my over-eating impulses. I would often imagine what other people were thinking when I was chowing down on some giant meal that was filled with poly-saturated fats and all other sorts of yummy disgustingness. I’m sure they really didn’t think these things, but I imagined that they were. “Should that girl be eating that? She should have opted for the salad!” I really did care about what people thought, and particularly what they thought of me. While in public, I would always eat less than I would actually want to – and with daintier bites. Even at home, I knew my mother would passively observe my eating habits and comment every so often. I know that some people that were to read this would say “Don’t give a fuck what other people think – Be strong!” But I really believe that it was this obsession that I developed that prevented me from giving in to my insatiable appetite all the time – and I am hungry... all the time.

I have often seen the weeping obese women on talk shows confessing that would go to a drive thru burger joint and buy 6 hamburgers, or 3 combo meals – eat them all and still be hungry. Although I related to these stories and their need for copious amounts of food, I would NEVER have had the guts to buy that (I still don’t)! I would have been too embarrassed. I have never had more than 1 combo meal in any given restaurant, and even that, I ordered ‘medium’ and always declined the option to “super size” my meal because in the back of mind, I would imagine the cashier looking me up and down and thinking “Ya right, like SHE needs the super size.”

Even today, I don’t like going though the drive thru or even going inside to order take-out by myself – if I am ordering for more than just me. (I don’t have an issue if it’s just for me) I usually change my language when I am ordering – so they know that it’s not all just for me. For example, I will say ‘He’ll have....’ and then ‘I’ll have...’; or I will think out loud and pretend I’ve forgotten what the other person wanted (this performance is mostly effective when I’m there in person) mumbling just loud enough for the cashier to hear me say “What did he want again? Hummm, oh yes...” I do all this song and dance because the idea that this person would think that I am ordering all this food just for myself makes me anxious and extremely self-conscious. I’m much more comfortable when the other person come along with me – they are my physical proof that I’m not being a gluttonous pig.

Even in the privacy of my own home, I never had as much as I really wanted. My mother would rarely offer me seconds anyway, but even if she did, I would turn it down. I’d like to think I have those little angel and devil versions of myself on each shoulder when I eat. I only had as much as I know I should have been having, even though that little devil fucker was always screaming, “MORE! MORE! MORE!” Every once and a while I would give in to my urges and sneak a giant bowl of cereal later on that night, or something like that. I tried so hard not to do this very often, but I had my private binges – and I enjoyed every glorious mouthful.

I think if I didn’t develop this paranoia of mine, I would likely be twice the size that I am today. Although it isn’t an ideal technique and I am fully aware that it’s probably a bit ‘psychiatrist-worthy’, I’ve come to the conclusion that these imaginary comments from people that I conjure up are all actually my conscious talking – and she just happens to be a nagging, judgemental, annoying bitch – but she means well.

The Hammock & the Zippo

Oct 10, 2010

The summer between University and my post-graduate studies, I once again moved back home – which saved me cash, but lost some sanity and freedom – it was a necessary trade-off. I had landed a job bartending at the 4-star restaurant just around the corner from my house – great score! On my first night, I was out having a smoke on my break and one of the hottest guys I have ever met came to join me, and he was friendly. Right then, I really, really liked my new job! He was like a version of Ray Liotta with his piercing blue eyes, but with softer features, better skin and a whole lot of yummy goodness. Even my mother had a hard time sucking back her drool when she came into the restaurant one day and met him. Yes... he was THAT hot.

In my usual fashion, Carter and I hit it off right away and we even started to hang out outside of work. He was a couple years older than I was, so I took that into consideration when I dropped shameless hints about my true feelings and he didn’t respond. Carter must have known how I felt – he was a lot more worldly than most of the younger guys I had been interested in, so I concluded that he was indeed aware, but wasn’t interested. I still kept hanging out with him for a while though but it was difficult to not come off as ‘stalkerish’; he was like a drug and I constantly wanted a fix. Just being in his presence gave me this awesome high and I loved the feeling of it – even if it was only one-sided.

Surprisingly, this story isn’t actually about him, but I had to set the scene. We had been working together for about 3 months at this point, and there was a summer-end staff party at one of the employee’s farm. It wasn’t a huge gathering – maybe 20 people at the most – and the handful of us herbal enthusiasts easily found each other. There were about 4 of us and we gravitated to this fantastically quaint twin hammock set that were hung between 3 trees, away from the rest of the party. I had brought my lucky Zippo with me, as it had been everywhere else with me for the better part of a decade, but as we were smoking pipes, my Zippo was of no use so it got demoted to my back pocket. Carter and I cosily shared one of the hammocks like 2 stoned peas in a pod. Others came and went, but the two of us stayed there for a long while, together. In my fantasy universe, it was actually a pretty romantic setting and all it needed to be complete was for him to lean in and plant a big juicy one on me – but of course that didn’t happen.

When I got home I realized that my Zippo was gone. Shit! I really loved it. It had a magic mushroom on one side and my name engraved on the back. It must have fallen out of my back pocket when we were on the hammock. I quickly called the host of the party the next day and he was able to complete my sentences.

“Did you happen to find a Zippo by th...”

“By the hammocks? YES! And I’m afraid that I ran over it with my ride along lawnmower and gave me quite the fright!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry! By any chance did it happen to survive the lawn...”

“The lawnmower? Are you kidding? It’s in about 4 mangled pieces.”

“And just to make sure that it’s mine, can you make out what was on it?”

“Yes, it looks like it used to be a mushroom of some sort. Is that right?”

“Yes, that’s right. Thanks anyway. You can just throw it out if you haven’t already.”

I was dejected; it was one of the few objects of mine that I truly loved and felt a genuinely strong owner-to-object bond with it. I didn’t want to buy a new one; my Zippo days were done. I needed to quit smoking anyway.

About 6 months had past and I was going through my ‘junk drawer’. I rarely went through it – it was like all the crap that I didn’t use but still didn’t want to throw out just yet. I can’t even remember what I was doing in there to begin with, but while I was sifting through it I found an old blue bandana – I hadn’t worn it in a few years and it was tucked away in the back. Underneath the bandana was my Zippo – completely intact and as shiny as the day I bought it. I have absolutely no reasonable explanation as to what happened. It really freaked me out and even though I maintain to this day that it was truly my lucky Zippo, I never used it again.

Happy Fuckin' New Year (Part B)

Oct 7, 2010

The climax at the house of horrors occurred after New Year’s Eve. I had returned home from spending it with friends and Burt was suspiciously in a good mood and wanted to know about my night. “Did you have a fun New Year’s Eve?” he questioned me with a smile.

“Yes, it was great, thank you.”

He continued, still smiling, “Did you toast in the New Year with some bubbly?”

Of course, I got absolutely shit-faced, but since drinking was against the rules, I would have never revealed that detail, yet still I stupidly replied, “Just a sip, ya know, for the toast.”

His smile instantly turned into an angry frown. “That’s it! You have crossed the final line!” (I was trying to think of the other lines I skipped to get to this final one.) “You are going to be on the next plane home! I am calling your counsellor right now!” It was so utterly bizarre that I wasn’t sure what just happened; it was like entrapment by Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. Margaret had the most despicable smirk on her face, as if watching her husband try and ruin my life turned her on. Luckily, my counsellor was amazing and was quick to extinguish the fire on that phone call. I could tell that Burt’s lack of power to have me sent home annoyed him to the greatest extent. He looked up at me and ended with, “You are grounded until further notice!”

About 2 long weeks had gone by – being grounded during school holidays was torture in that house, especially when Margaret was there ALL-THE-TIME, ready to degrade me whenever it suited her needs. I actually began to develop suicidal thoughts after awhile. I felt like those 4 months would never end and it would be easier to just kill myself. All I did was get up, eat, check the mailbox, and then go to my room to lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling; I had way too much time to think and I went a little nuts.

Did I mention it was my 17th birthday? Right... it didn't exist, really. Apart from my parents calling, I spent it in my room. My boyfriend delivered flower to the house, which was sweet, but I'm sure that was some kind of punishable offence as well.

After the third week, the student that had gone to my school back home (and became one of my good friends), was arriving home – which happened to be about 2 hours from where I was staying. I mentioned to Margaret that my friend was coming home and she actually sat down with me and helped me plan out how I was to get to my friend’s town. It was probably the only time Margaret ever showed interest in anything I did.

The morning came when I was to go; I had gotten ready early and was on my way out the door when Margaret cut me off. “WHERE THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?”

“To my friend’s welcome home party; it’s today.”

Her triple chin wobbled like a rooster as she yelled at me, “I never said you could ‘actually’ go! Get back to your room! You aren’t going anywhere today!”

WHAT THE FUCK? This woman was seriously sociopathic! I honestly thought that she must suffer from split personality disorder, or something! I couldn’t explain why she got off on being so evil to me. Something inside me snapped that moment. I didn’t get to go see my friend that day, but I did run out of the house and down the street. I could her Margaret yelling at me to get back in the house. She was so furious that her warbling voice was cracking. I needed to breathe fresh air. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t remember ever experiencing such anger and detest for anyone or anything before; it was over-whelming. It must have been a panic attack. After about 10 minutes of pacing around the block, I was able to calm down enough to return back to the house and go to my room. Margaret must have heard me return, as I slammed the door as hard as I possibly could, but she never came after me again... that day.

The week after that, school started and the last few weeks of my sentence with them went a lot quicker. When they delivered me to my next family, I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. The new family offered them to stay for a coffee and my eyes widened in panic. Luckily, they declined and if was up to me, I would have never seen the pair of those fucked up people ever again in my entire life.

The drama with them didn’t end that day, however. Their vendetta against me continued long after I had left their house. Why? Where their lives that pathetic? Apparently so! When I was away on a school trip, they had gone behind my counsellor’s back and called an emergency meeting with the Board. They told the Board that I was a dangerous person that tried to stab them with a knife and threw furniture at them! I’m not exaggerating – these were real people! My counsellor had revealed all this drama to me after I returned from my trip. Luckily, only the two of them were insane, and the Board didn’t believe them, nor did they appreciate their sneaky methods by going over my counsellor’s head, but still – what was wrong with these people?!

I had to see Burt every week at the club meetings, but I only ever saw Margaret once more. It was at a dinner function and usually she was very calculated at hiding her true nature in public, but I guess she hated me so much that she slipped up this time. I was sitting at a circular table with 7 other adults from the club when she came over and forcefully flicked some letters right at my face - trying to physically hurt me with paper. With a tone of repugnance, she simply snarled, “Here’s your mail!” Everyone’s jaws at the table dropped in silence. FINALLY! It took her own doing, but finally there was proof (apart from the hearsay sobbing of a 16 year old) that this woman was deranged.

Sometimes I think that having to live with them was karma punishing me for falling in love with my host-brother at my previous house. Does it work that way? Who knows! What I did know was that no one knew about my relationship with Jim – not even my counsellor (at that point), so I still had no explanation as to why this certifiably insane couple agreed to take me in. I was going to mail them some pamphlets on schizophrenia as a joke, but I chickened out. I told my counsellor that what was done was done, but that he had to promise me that they would NEVER be allowed to host another student, NOT FUCKING EVER! He undoubtedly agreed.

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Re-posted for Wicked Wednesdays, Dec 29, 2010

A 4 Month Sentence (Part A)

Oct 4, 2010

They were technically my host-parents, but having the word ‘parent’ in the title is insulting to my real parents, and even the term ‘housemate’ implies that they were my friends; let’s just say they were people that I had the extreme misfortune of cohabitating with for the longest 4 months of my life. The husband, Burt, was of a medium build with bushy everything; his hair was so full it looked like an ill-fitted wig and his eyebrows and moustache appeared to be 3 giant hairy caterpillars that were devouring his face. Margaret was about 5 foot nothing in both directions – almost perfectly round – with a hooked nose and beady eyes. Even to look at them wasn’t a pleasurable experience.

The first thing they showed me was a framed photograph of a previous student that they had taken in a few years prior. They almost salivated when talking about her and pointing to the photo on the wall. It was particularly odd since I knew they had 4 grown children – to which none of them owned any photographic real estate on their walls. I should have known right then that I was never going to live up to this apparently perfect girl they had live with them previously. It was downhill from the moment I walked through the door.

The strange part was that I hadn’t even done anything to trigger the hatred that was focused upon me, except for being Canadian, apparently. Burt hated all things American – and to him, I was guilty by association. (Why they hell would you agree to take in a student from a part of the world you hate in the first place?!) I wasn’t allowed to watch anything on TV that was American, which didn’t really leave much to watch apart from ‘Neighbours’ and the Cricket. I think even hearing my accent angered him, because he would snap at me and cut me off mid-sentence whenever he got the chance. The ironic part was that he was the nicer one of the pair!

Margaret was the one that was home the most, and the one I would unfortunately have to go to for permission to do anything. After a few verbally abusive confrontations early on in my stay (for things as simple as asking for a ride to my basketball game), I quickly learned that I needed to give them at least 3-4 days notice if I required anything from them. Knowing that, this one instance I did give the allotted 4 days notice and it still wasn’t enough. Margaret huffed and grunted the entire way to the car, muttering angry things under her breath just enough that I couldn’t decipher it. After she squeezed herself into the car and we were about ½ way to the gym, I realized I miscalculated and was 5 cents short for my admission fee... 5 CENTS! Oh crap! I dreaded having to ask her, but I had no other choice.

“FIRST YOU MAKE ME DRIVE YOU ALL THE WAY TO YOUR GAME AND NOW YOU WANT ME TO GIVE YOU MONEY? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? YOU THINK THE WHOLE DAMN WORLD REVOLVES AROUND YOU, MISSY, BUT IT DOESN’T! YOU ARE THE MOST SELFISH, UNGRATEFUL GIRL I HAVE EVER MET AND YOU DISGUST ME!”

I started to cry and I knew she was taking pleasure in that. She violently rummaged into her purse when we arrived at the sports’ complex and threw a 5 cent piece at my face. In defence, I turned my face away so it would hit my cheek and it fell to my lap. Can you believe it? I even said, “Thank you!”

There were parts of their home life that were fucked up long before I came around as well. The fridge was full of food that was all labelled as to whom it belonged to – even the fruit! Shockingly (sarcasm), nothing ever had my name on it. The only thing I was allowed to eat was what was put on my plate. I made the catastrophic mistake of drinking one of Margaret’s diet sodas one day – and she made me go and buy SIX to replace the ONE I drank.

I was stuck with this family during the worst part of the year – which included Christmas, New Years and my birthday. It was so depressing! I missed my mom so much! I shared a room with their second youngest daughter, who was 23, and she was a complete mental case as well – a whole other story! During the holidays, I spent as much time as possible at friends’ homes. One night I forgot my house key and although 4 of them were sitting in the living room watching TV, they made me sit on the porch for 2 hours to ‘teach me a lesson’; it was pouring rain.

to be continued...

 
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