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Write Every Day

The Zipper Incident

swag

“What’s with the open fly Mr Salmon Pants?” he said while pointing towards my crotch. Like Houdini, this man had everyone’s eyes in the audience transfixed to my open fly, about to reveal his next trick.

“Jean would never miss an opportunity like that,” Andrea chimed in, only pausing briefly to add, “He’s always looking to make people laugh and be the centre of attention!”

It appeared as we had this all planned out from before and that I was in on the act. Like in the movie, The Prestige, starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman.

“Have you seen it?” I asked, pausing the story to take a bite out of my donut. Except it was nothing like that because no one was going to jump out, on this set, and yell “CUT!” to my saving grace.

I didn’t even know this man’s name or what he was doing at the convention. Yet, we were standing face to face, surrounded by elementary school teachers, puzzled over an open fly.

In the moment, I felt time slow down as I watched all the faces in the room locked to my crotch hoping for a surprise. I mean, were people expecting a rabbit to miraculously appear from my pants? Or have me pull out endless pieces of ribbon, as they continued to cheer and applaud, to their dismay?

Andrea lets out her first smile of the evening.

As I stood there, laughing awkwardly, embarrassed and confused — whether to restore my zipper’s dignity or to let the peep show continue, I realised something. Had I spent all evening “networking” oblivious to what my zipper’s metaphorical teeth had said?

But before I lost my window, I decided to do something quickly but at the same time shift the focus back to this man. I took a deep breath, and with both hands in place, ready to pull back my zip, I replied, “A teacher’s pet would know!” closing my fly shut.

To which laughter erupted and I had, for the first time, caught the man off guard. Little had I known, the zipper incident would bring us together that night. And Jean would go on to become one of my closest friends.

Categories
Write Every Day

We Bonded Poolside

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I pour a glass of wine and go outside; there, on my patio, a beautiful woman lays peacefully reclined in a pool chair. The evening sun has set the mood to Instagram filter “Crema.”

On seeing me walk over, in her typical hungover husky voice, she asks, “Where’s my coffee?”

“Look, I know how much you detest caffeine after 6 pm,” to which she responds with deadpan silence, taking the glass of wine from my hand.

“I can’t believe your husband didn’t come over last night and, instead, sent you over, without ever having to introduce us.” But that’s Jean. He can send his wife accompanied by a letter written by hand and get away with it.

I snap my fingers and pretend to make an announcement, “Hello! Earth to Andrea,” “You’ve spaced out again.” She isn’t showing signs off life except for the occasional hand bringing the glass of wine to her lips.

All he wrote, in the middle, of the white piece of paper with an ink pen, are the words, “Andrea is in one of her moods today. Jean.”

He never fails to humour me. We have a code, and I guess he just trusts me with his favourite person. Jean has talked about Andrea at lengths on most of our flights to Asia. I know his wife like a person I’ve to know for decades because Jean’s storytelling is Noble Prize worthy.

“If I were you I wouldn’t gaze too long into the horizon — not the best time to get reacquainted with overly melodramatic, sad and nostalgic version of Andrea,” poking the alligator.

“How did you know that? Did Jean tell you? He’s such a dick sometimes, you know…” she responds coming out her long silence.

Oh, look at the time. It’s almost midnight.

Where were we? Oh, yeah. I had inched my way into the middle of the group; at arm’s length from this man. Now, stay with me on this because I’m not repeating myself — even if you beg and plead afterwards.

I know about the look, okay. No wine-induced puppy dog sparkle eyes, please.

Categories
Write Every Day

Meeting Your Husband

Smug

Don’t tell me you never think about it — a cheat day sanctioned by your beloved husband himself. Doesn’t the thought turn you on, the slightest? He wouldn’t flag that behaviour, knowing his past antics, would he?

I remember meeting him for the first time in Toronto at a convention. We were attending a dinner organised by Elementary Teacher’s Federation, a union representing seventy-six thousand elementary school teachers.

Till date, I don’t know how the two of you got involved. You’re what I call a polar paradox — head meet heart. But, your husband is an eccentric character I have learned to admire and respect over time for his efforts pushing education reforms.

And, we both know, you’ve allowed him a free pass and put up with all his “secretaries” over the years. By the way, for a 32-year-old woman, you look astonishingly fit, despite your fetish for sugary treats. Are you still the CrossFit nerd I met a decade ago?

You haven’t said a word all morning. I’m little worried and beginning to think you’re only here because you want to find out what happened that night. Are you not convinced with your husband’s explanation of how the evening unfolded?

Okay, I will tell you my side, and you can decide for yourself.

That evening, Toronto’s teachers were, for the first time, actively lobbying to repeal the controversial Bill 115 and oust Stephen Harper in the coming federal elections on behalf of national labour groups.

Your husband was doing a story on Sam Hammond, President of ETF, who was being cheered and applauded for encouraging unionised workers and voters across the nation to cast ballots removing Harper from office.

I was there representing a lobbying agency looking to make inroads with top brass and senior political leaders — a networking opportunity to get in on an insider office connection for the companies the agency represented.

Bored and looking for a chance to make it past the general public and into the inner-circle where all the action was I eased my way towards security.

The company had arranged for an “all-access” pass, leaving me no room to post-rationalise with my introvert self — volunteering my Saturday evening, in an effort, to get out of the house.

If it weren’t for these affairs, I’d be home, at my desk, writing.

In the crowd, beyond the reporters and top clergy, I could see a man in his mid-thirties with an audience. I could tell he had natural charisma — someone who routinely speaks in front of thousands and gets his way.

To avoid looking like a creep, I walked over and eased my way into the back of the group. I slowly began to chime in on the conversation, noticing others, who were like me, had joined in expanding the circle.

It looked like a hockey team, huddled around their coach, listening to words of inspiration and motivation. Except, the man was, at the time, talking about an ostrich stuck between the hind legs of a hippopotamus.

He had us all glued in on his African adventure.

Well, do you love him? He’s always rambled and professed his love for you after having had a scotch. Six large ones, to be accurate. Oh, look, the coffee has gone cold. Here, let me get you a fresh cup — plus, I need to pee.

Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.

Categories
Write Every Day

Did You Bring Donuts?

donuts

I had a hunch you’d forget.

Can you recall last night? You left my place in an inebriated state. You were angry. Where did you end up going last night? Hopefully not the Trash Bar down the street.

Who knew expensive hipster hookers, yacht dealers, public school teachers and single parents are crowd pullers? Frankly, I don’t like the music volume, set to deaf, over there.

You can’t talk or hear a thing even if someone was kissing-nibbling-your-ear-close, yelling their sad life away or offering a lap dance in the bathroom.

Wait, that wasn’t a hipster hooker? Was she the English teacher? *Takes a sip of whisky, neat.

Are you’re hungover?

Did you take a bath this morning? Your eyes have an old sea captain’s saggy ball sacks latching on for life. I know you’ve been upset, with life, lately. And you don’t like talking about it.

But I’m glad you made it. That means a lot to me.

There’s freshly brewed coffee and a dozen donuts waiting on the kitchen counter. Double glazed and chocolate dip — your favourite. Grab your sugar and caffeine, and meet me outside.

Sitting, on the patio overlooking the city skyline, under the morning sun will do us both some good. This view never gets tiring — even after a decade, I’m left with a ‘first-time’ feeling every time I step out here.

The caveat of being on top, at this vantage point, is being swallowed by the scale — feeling small, knowing at any time, as a law of the jungle, the concrete landscape preys on the weak but also knowing it offers the world at your feet — to be a lion.

A cliche, my friend.

I know we only met a day ago, but it feels like we’ve known each other for years, even decades. I can’t quite pinpoint what it was that got us chatting and hooked, at my party last night, but it was instant ease and familiarity.

You ended up staying for hours beyond the party. If I remember correctly, it was 2:15 in the morning when I hailed an Uber for you. I had requested and pleaded with the driver, sporting a flannel shirt and long beard, to make no stops on the way and to escort you to your door.

Was he a lumberjack? Oh! That explains the axe resting peacefully in the co-passenger seat.

I only do donuts on Saturdays, my weekly cheat day, followed by pancakes for lunch and a triple meat patty burger for supper. A pint of beer to take it all down gently — swallowing calories like a newborn.

“Cheating on one day of the week” wouldn’t exactly be considered appropriate in any other facet of life. Could you imagine having “cheat days” in all personal and professional relationships? Boy, would that be a crazy idea? I’d leave these writing shenanigans and join a bank.

Okay, maybe not a bank. They are poor. An insurance company maybe? What do you think? You said what? “You don’t care about that and only want to know the subject and topic of what I’m going to write every day?” I mean, would anybody get married? Could monogamy become a thing of the past?

Hmmm…

Why the poker face? Are you serious all the time? Oh look, you haven’t touched your chocolate dip or had a sip of coffee, yet. How about we start there.

Categories
Write Every Day

Tell your story

seriously

Note: I wrote this first piece in the browser on Medium.

Okay, Medium, that is exactly what I am going to do beginning today — writing every day. The truth is, you had me sold at the page title “Tell you story” set in Sentence case, done bold and treated grey.

Mmm…

Maybe you want this as much as I need it. You’re the canvas and I the brush and paint. But only less poetic. By writing every day, I’m embarking on a new and second journey.

Did I tell you about T — S — F?

Every day, one dedicated and focused hour, early in the morning. A challenge this is going to be. Oh boy! Shitting. In. Pants. Already. But I’m just, fucking, doing it. I’m not overcomplicating something I love — writing, reading too.

Hand me a dictionary, please.

What are you going to write? Frankly, I don’t know. Come to think of it; I haven’t cherry picked a topic. Experts have me believe one must narrow their focus, tunnel thy vision, grab a subject by the balls, tickle and play with it — drawing an imaginary boundary around a niche.

R-i-g-h-t.

You should be THE guy people think of when they’re thinking about the topic. Become one with an eloquent pursuit — synonymous with a cause you care about, and believe in and can rally behind. I wouldn’t lie, but they could be onto something here.

Who the fuck are they?

Something I can own, champion a cause — they say. Hmmm… Okay. Tell you what; we’ll make this up as we go along. Building-a-parachute-as-I-fall-out-of-a-plane sort of analogy here. Get it?

No, no, no! I don’t care what your plans are Paul. I want my subjects fair and square. I’m here now, and my attention span isn’t giving you chance number two.

Make me an offer I can’t resist. Either tell me now or I am walking out this minute. I’m heading next door. Everything is perfectly sorted and stacked in boxes there. Pigeons are in holes getting watered out of their senses.

Huh!

Geez! You’re pushy! Okay, fine. Here’s my offer. How about you come back tomorrow, and we’ll figure this out, together. Sound like a deal? Oh, yeah, one more thing — get some donuts.

It’s a date. Go on a date.