February 26, 2008

I can feel in the slowly tiring muscles just how much is left, maybe 2k. The sidewalk curves slightly and out of the corner of my eye I see lips moving, a hand waving, flagging me down. A petite bleached-blonde has just popped out of a cab, and I pull the headphones out of my ears in time to catch… “pour un marathon?”
“What?” I pant. “Pardon?”
She smiles, broad and sincere. “Are you training for a marathon?” she asks. “I see you all the time. You must be very good. Do you run twice a day?”
“No, maybe three or four times a week.” I know what she means. One of my aunts runs 15k a day, and in my mind she’s always running.
“For half an hour?”
“Just under an hour, usually. About 10k.”
“Why, if not for a marathon?”
It pops out, honestly and inadvertently. “I just really like it.”
She looks surprised. “But where can you go? Just up and down the street.”
I nod. “But not always. In the summer I run along the canal.”
She lights up. “Oui, la canal! I just bought, two months ago, this…” She gestures behind her at one of the new condos. “My place, it is in the back and the view of the canal, it is lovely. I cannot wait! Have you lived here long?”
“About ten months. It is lovely.”
She smiles again, extends her hand. “Marie-lynn.”
I shake back. “I will see you on the canal.”
“Bien sur! Salut!” She traipses up the salted stairs in her heels, waving over her shoulder. “We will run! In the spring!”
I wiggle the headphones back in place, pull my toque back down, and keep going.



February 24, 2008

I think I’ve had enough of winter. Shocking, I know – me, having enough of winter. It hit me today at Winners (an unseemly number of my revelations happen at Winners). I was there buying sweatpants. Yes, sweatpants. Don’t you judge me. When the weather gets marginally warmer, when the sun is out and the sidewalks are covered in that thin layer of slippery dirty water, my pants get very filthy very quickly, due in large part to splash-back from the dog’s four-legged prancing. I’m sick of seeing brown-from-the-knees-down pants drying in my bathroom, and of doing laundry every other day, so a pair of dedicated dog-walking pants just makes sense. I also eyed some cute hoodies, and imagined heading out early one quiet Sunday spring morning with the dog and a coffee when the reality hit me – sure, I’d wear the snug sweatpants and cute hoodie, but sprawled bra-less on the couch watching Six Feet Under and wondering where I could get a will notarized. I wouldn’t even bother doing up the drawstring on the pants. Because it’s still cold, because it’s reading week and most of my friends have left, are shacked up, or laid up, because I have a stack of essays to grade, a decent stash of red wine and Bailey’s, and a dog who doesn’t judge based on sweatpants.
True, I’m leaving. But briefly: a 36-hour working trip consisting of dinner, lecturing at York, dinner, and then back. It’ll be grey and grimy in Toronto too. Right now I want sunshine and dry sidewalks and wide-open windows and a breeze promising more warmth to come. I want to procrastinate on my porch again. I want to drink beer on patios and nap in parks. I want to leapfrog to the tail end of spring and avoid the need for dog-walking pants altogether.


February 20, 2008

I bundled up and took the dog out to see the lunar eclipse this evening. We headed to the relative darkness of the canal and stood staring at the sky (well, I stood; the dog’s not much for even amateur sky-gazing, but she did dig a few admirably deep holes in the hard-packed snow). Looking around I noticed we weren’t the only ones – more than a dozen other people were strewn along the banks and the bridge, some with cameras, most dancing lightly in place to keep warm. To my right a group of parka-clad teenagers passed around bottles and flasks and tried to impose a countdown on the eclipse. That took me back. The father of the boy I dated throughout highschool had a well-stocked observatory, and we had various astronomical parties with our friends. I watched the moon slowly turn reddish and, like Fievel, thought about my other friends now scattered everywhere marvelling at the same display.
As the last sliver of white disappeared everyone stopped moving. And after a minute we dispersed along well-lit streets, casting backwards glances as we fled the cold. The next total eclipse is in 2010. I wonder where I’ll be, and if those teenagers will still find somewhere to stand and cheer the moon on.

together at last! That’s right, predicting winter’s expiry date may no longer be a male’s job. The times they are a-changin’.

I noticed the other day that someone made their way here by the search phrase “what its [sic] like to have a vagina.” Interesting. They probably didn’t find an answer at the time, but I abhor dangling questions, so here goes…

It’s a mixed bag. Its sheer existence can be problematic. If you’re thinking of getting yourself one, be prepared to see its likeness objectified and commodified in remarkable ways.

Statistically speaking, you’re much more likely to be raped if you’ve got one. Too bad they’re not detachable.

Porn will tell you that your vagina will enjoy having any penis in it at any time, even if all you’re doing is sitting around being dejected that your cable/plumbing/air conditioning doesn’t work. And that if you don’t really want a penis in it, that doesn’t actually matter – your resistance is part of the fun.

Companies will tell you that it smells terrible, that it’s dirty, and will try to sell you a panoply of products to help you hide your shame.

The Right will reiterate that it’s a precious, precious treasure, really the only thing of value that you have. Don’t worry, you can attend a “purity ball,” at which your father will pledge to keep it safe – because, as the patriarch, it’s his until you’re married, at which point it becomes your husband’s.

Every 28 days or so it’ll bleed.

Its very name will be a problem, and you’ll need to tone that down a little.

That being said, and that was a mighty truncated litany, a vagina is in other ways a joy to have. It’s beautiful, it’s pleasurable, it doesn’t draw unwanted attention to itself at inopportune times, it has its own exercises. It responds to self-touch in ways that little else does, and that very few can rival. It’s self-cleansing, it’s soft and slick and silky. It’s in tune with your moods, your girlfriends’, and maybe even the moon. Truncated litany notwithstanding, I’m quite fond of mine and would recommend vaginas to all of my friends.