Saturday, 6 August 2011

Pop Goes The Weasel

Since I started updating this blog again I've had almost six people tell me how much they enjoy reading it. And here I thought the only active reader was my mom. Will this new found popularity change the way I write? Will it be like when Glee became unwatchable after they knew people loved what they were doing? I doubt it.

Here is the background music for today's entry - "Beating On A Better Drum" by Tove Styrke.

I'm not used to feeling like an outsider anymore. Sometimes I forget that there are bigoted people in the world who would discriminate against me for no good reason. When I express disbelief that people like that still exist my mom sometimes makes it sound like I've tried to create this fantasy world of unicorns and rainbows around me, almost as if I am the ignorant one. Maybe it's true. If you lined up everyone in my circle of friends it wouldn't take long to figure out what they have in common. They are generally a group of bright, open, accepting, artistically minded individuals. But isn't that what life is about? Maybe not necessarily surrounding yourself with like-minded people - if everyone thinks the same the thoughts probably don't go very far...but about surrounding yourself with similar energies and with individuals who have something that you might like to emulate. That's what I try to do. My friends are stylish, engaging, driven, and smart. I don't think I should have to apologize for that. We all want to have an environment that makes us feel safe.

So it's no wonder I've felt out of place on the streets of NYC in search of a place to call home. The first few days were the worst - I was eying everyone suspiciously as if they were about to cut the straps off my bag and take it from my shoulder or ride by on their bike and snatch my iPhone from my hand (apparently that kind of thing actually happens!) I've gotten more relaxed already though - last night on my way to see a place in Brooklyn I noticed an area surrounded with yellow tape in front of me. Instead of thinking "oh, I probably shouldn't be looking to live in a place where that kind of thing happens" I thought "Hmm, I wonder if that means the building is free now?" As if the landlord would show the place while it was still a crime scene - in NYC, I wouldn't be surprised.

This all turned out to be null and void because when I got closer I found out it was simply CAUTION tape around a section of the sidewalk that was being replaced. I knew this neighborhood would be ok - I just passed a freaking ice cream truck that was playing a twinkly version of "Pop Goes The Weasel."

More surprising is the experience I had when I was home last month in Carman. In case you don't know what Carman is, it's a small southern Manitoba town, home to about 2,500 people. When driving up to it you see 3 signs - one to tell you that famed NHL goalie Eddie Belfour is from Carman, one to tell you Olympic athlete Kelly Hand is from Carman, and one to warn you about the evils of abortion - LIFE: From Conception On.  I have an overpowering urge to set that particular sign on fire, but perhaps that is another blog entry.

Every summer Carman holds an annual fair - rides and mini donuts and fireworks and beer gardens. I hadn't been in at least five years, since I'd moved to Vancouver. I thought it would be a nostalgia filled blast from the past, and for the most part it was. At the beer gardens there were more shirtless guys dancing that I'd seen the previous weekend at the gay bar - though I suppose it has to be mentioned that I was related to all three of them. One of these shirtless wonders is a first cousin of mine, a few years older than me and a pretty macho dude. Later in the evening as things were winding down I was having a conversation with him when two of his dude friends came over. I remember in high school when people would see us talking they would always ask my cousin "why are you talking to HIM?"  If we weren't related would we be able to find any common ground?

One of his friends made a joke about how much dick my cousin sucks. He then demonstrated the size of this theoretical dick, dubbed it Culvert Cock and decided to see if I would be able to open my mouth wide enough to accommodate it - and I could. It was hilarious. I was surprised how much I was enjoying myself. Then this DB looked at me and said "you know, I really want to hate you - but you're actually a pretty good guy."

There's a backhanded compliment if I've ever heard one. It was spoken so casually too - like he'd been meaning to say it to me for a while, but not too long. It popped out just like that weasel in the song. A black, dirty, ugly weasel. I didn't know what to say. Why would this guy have decided that I was not a good person? My response was to mention the fact that we'd probably never even spoken before - trying to point out that he had no basis for this opinion. He said "Well of course - what would we talk about?" I reminded him that we were talking at that very moment, and he got on the defensive. Saying that he's not the only one who feels that way about people like me and that I can't hold it against him.

Why he thinks it's ok for him to be prejudiced against me for no reason but doesn't think I should be allowed to look down on him after he expresses an offensive opinion is beyond me. I left shortly after - though not before the police officer nearby took my half-empty bottle of vodka away and poured it out into the street.

I told my mom this story the next day and she couldn't believe I was surprised. She told me she had recently gone golfing with this particular guy's father and that he had pointed out something pink and spoken about it as if it was lesser because of what colour it was. As if it was inferior because it was girly. You know what they say about apples and trees. I know some people like to pretend that they are not like their parents, but here I am proud to say that my mother and I had the exact same gut reaction - to yell "WE KNOW YOU'RE STRAIGHT. YOU'RE MARRIED TO A WOMAN - WHO THE FUCK CARES? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO PROVE, BUDDY?"

 My mom doesn't like it when I use the word douchebag, but in this scenario I can't think of anything more appropriate.

Love you mom.

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