“I swear to every heaven ever imagined, if I hear one more dead-eyed hipster tell me that art is dead, I will personally summon Shakespeare from the grave so he can tell them every reason why he wishes he were born in a time where he could have a damn Gmail account. The day after I taught my mother how to send pictures over Iphone she texted me a blurry image of our cocker spaniel ten times in a row. Don’t you dare try to tell me that that is not beautiful. But whatever, go ahead and choose to stay in your backwards-hoping-all-inclusive club while the rest of us fall in love over Skype. Send angry letters to state representatives, as we record the years first sunrise so we can remember what beginning feels like when we are inches away from the trigger. Lock yourself away in your Antoinette castle while eat cake and tweet to the whole universe that we did. Hashtag you’re a pretentious ass hole. Van Gogh would have taken 20 selflies a day. Sylvia Plath would have texted her lovers nothing but heart eyed emojis when she ran out of words. Andy Warhol would have had the worlds weirdest Vine account, and we all would have checked it every morning while we Snap Chat our coffee orders to the people we wish were pressed against our lips instead of lattes. This life is spilling over with 85 year olds rewatching JFK’s assassination and 7 year olds teaching themselves guitar over Youtube videos. Never again do I have to be afraid of forgetting what my fathers voice sounds like. No longer must we sneak into our families phonebook to look up an eating disorder hotline for our best friend. No more must I wonder what people in Australia sound like or how grasshoppers procreate. I will gleefully continue to take pictures of tulips in public parks on my cellphone and you will continue to scoff and that is okay. But I hope, I pray, that one day you will realize how blessed you are to be alive in a moment where you can google search how to say I love you in 164 different languages.”
“When people say ‘I hate math’ what you’re really saying is, ‘I hate the way mathematics was taught to me.’ Imagine an art class, in which, they teach you only how to paint a fence or wall, but never show you the paintings of the great masters. Then, of course, years later you would say, ‘I hate art.’ What you would really be saying is ‘I hate painting the fence.’ And so it is with math. When people say ‘I hate math’ what they are really saying is ‘I hate painting the fence.’”—
One of the last lines on Erika M. Anderson’s debut as EMA was “if you won’t love me, someone will." One of the last lines on The Future’s Void is “who can judge us, who can love us?" The distance from one to the other, both bigger and smaller than it appears at first, is as good a way as any to sum up what Anderson has accomplished here. But there’s a reason written-down song lyrics tend to make lousy poetry; performance is what gives them their heft. The line from Past Life Martyred Saints’ “Red Star” is sung with the bruised doggedness of someone who isn’t so much convinced she’s telling the truth as she is willing to make it the truth by sheer force of will (that the sentiment expressed is-or-ought-to-be such a basic truth just makes it a little more heartbreaking). “Dead Celebrity,” on the other hand, ends The Future’s Void calmly, maybe even a bit distantly.
For some reason it took me forever to write this EMA review; probably partially because I kept wanting to write a personal essay about the internet instead (and I thought about doing so as the review, but ultimately decided I didn’t want to). This is a great record, and one that puts its finger pretty precisely on what 2014 feels like to me; I’m surprised it’s not being talked about more.
in the freakonomics’ people’s supposed “fix” for the NHS you get paid £1000 every year for medical care and then have to pay for medical care out of your pocket with the government paying for any costs over £5000 a year. so if you don’t need medical care you get £1000 extra but if you do then woah boy! things suddenly become extremely unaffordable.
let’s make a few assumptions to show how obscene this is. in 2011, the median income before tax was £19,600. 50% of the population of the uk has an income of this or below. The poverty line for a lone parent with a child under 14 and a child above 14 is £13,347 in the same year. So say in a single year someone in this household has a catastrophic illness that costs the full £5000 and then some. (although they get a £1000 gift at the start so the income cut is £4000) So even if you have a median wage, your yearly income is cut to £15,600. If you have less than that, you’re put below the poverty line. And then look at say an income that 25% of the population live at or below - £13000. This is *already* below the poverty line. Apply this whole £4000 cut to that. You’re looking at £9000 a year, often to look after a child as well. And when you go BELOW that (as 25% of the population do), things’d become impossible.
idk it’s just absolutely obscene. like those stats probably aren’t that useful i just want to show just how huge this cost is
economists are awful people
what is it about modern Economists that makes them so terrible, intellectually and ethically? Is it some sort of misguided Utilitarianism? Is it the bounds of Neo-classical Econ and its tools? Is it an inability to view humans as something other than statistics or see any systemic model outside of Capital growth? do they learn to be terrible in University, is the prevailing knowledge taught in higher education Economics a basis on how to be terrible? you can read more about the how wrong the Freakonimics guys are (this time) if you want.
So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X’s message. My father got really angry at me. It wasn’t that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn’t accomplished anything as Dr. King had.
I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his “I have a dream speech.”
Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress. Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished. He gave this great speech. Or some people say, “he marched.” I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.
At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.
My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”
Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this. If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don’t know what my father was talking about.
But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.
He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.
I’m guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing The Help, may not understand what this was all about. But living in the south (and in parts of the midwest and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.
It wasn’t that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn’t sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.
You really must disabuse yourself of this idea. Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement used to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth’s.
It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them. You all know about lynching. But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.
This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running. It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.
White people also occasionally tried black people, especially black men, for crimes for which they could not conceivably be guilty. With the willing participation of white women, they often accused black men of “assault,” which could be anything from rape to not taking off one’s hat, to “reckless eyeballing.”
This is going to sound awful and perhaps a stain on my late father’s memory, but when I was little, before the civil rights movement, my father taught me many, many humiliating practices in order to prevent the random, terroristic, berserk behavior of white people. The one I remember most is that when walking down the street in New York City side by side, hand in hand with my hero-father, if a white woman approached on the same sidewalk, I was to take off my hat and walk behind my father, because he had been taught in the south that black males for some reason were supposed to walk single file in the presence of any white lady.
This was just one of many humiliating practices we were taught to prevent white people from going berserk.
I remember a huge family reunion one August with my aunts and uncles and cousins gathered around my grandparents’ vast breakfast table laden with food from the farm, and the state troopers drove up to the house with a car full of rifles and shotguns, and everyone went kind of weirdly blank. They put on the masks that black people used back then to not provoke white berserkness. My strong, valiant, self-educated, articulate uncles, whom I adored, became shuffling, Step-N-Fetchits to avoid provoking the white men. Fortunately the troopers were only looking for an escaped convict. Afterward, the women, my aunts, were furious at the humiliating performance of the men, and said so, something that even a child could understand.
This is the climate of fear that Dr. King ended.
If you didn’t get taught such things, let alone experience them, I caution you against invoking the memory of Dr. King as though he belongs exclusively to you and not primarily to African Americans.
The question is, how did Dr. King do this—and of course, he didn’t do it alone.
(Of all the other civil rights leaders who helped Dr. King end this reign of terror, I think the most under appreciated is James Farmer, who founded the Congress of Racial Equality and was a leader of nonviolent resistance, and taught the practices of nonviolent resistance.)
So what did they do?
They told us: Whatever you are most afraid of doing vis-a-vis white people, go do it. Go ahead down to city hall and try to register to vote, even if they say no, even if they take your name down.
Go ahead sit at that lunch counter. Sue the local school board. All things that most black people would have said back then, without exaggeration, were stark raving insane and would get you killed.
If we do it all together, we’ll be okay.
They made black people experience the worst of the worst, collectively, that white people could dish out, and discover that it wasn’t that bad. They taught black people how to take a beating—from the southern cops, from police dogs, from fire department hoses. They actually coached young people how to crouch, cover their heads with their arms and take the beating. They taught people how to go to jail, which terrified most decent people.
And you know what? The worst of the worst, wasn’t that bad.
Once people had been beaten, had dogs sicced on them, had fire hoses sprayed on them, and been thrown in jail, you know what happened?
These magnificent young black people began singing freedom songs in jail.
That, my friends, is what ended the terrorism of the south. Confronting your worst fears, living through it, and breaking out in a deep throated freedom song. The jailers knew they had lost when they beat the crap out of these young Negroes and the jailed, beaten young people began to sing joyously, first in one town then in another. This is what the writer, James Baldwin, captured like no other writer of the era.
Please let this sink in. It wasn’t marches or speeches. It was taking a severe beating, surviving and realizing that our fears were mostly illusory and that we were free.
This was just one of many humiliating practices we were taught to prevent white people from going berserk.
I think this is a really important quote for white people to read. For anyone who is in any group that systematically oppresses another. You think that other group doesn’t have it that bad, but that’s only because you don’t know all the work that is going on behind the scenes - all the things they are doing to keep you thinking everything is OK.
All the things they are doing to keep you from going berserk.
And it really really doesn’t matter that not ALL white people (or not ALL men, or not ALL cis people etc.) were going to go berserk. The point is that a significant number probably would, and so black people had to do what they could to protect themselves.
I cannot imagine the bravery of standing up to that. And please don’t misunderstand me. I made a point that expands this to other oppressed groups. But that is not to say that the oppressions are the same. Each is different. And the way that black people were treated is quite horrifying. And the bravery of standing up to that is something I am ashamed to admit that I am not sure I could manage.
“Wherever perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun. Perfectionism is not about healthy striving, which you see all the time in successful leaders, it’s not about trying to set goals and being the best we can be, perfectionism is basically a cognitive behavioral process that says if I look perfect, work perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid shame, ridicule, and criticism. It’s a defense mechanism.”—
"When I interview leaders, artists, coaches, or athletes who are very successful, they never talk about perfectionism as being a vehicle for success. What they talk about is that perfectionism is a huge trigger, one they have to be aware of all the time, because it gets in the way of getting work done."
My [scattered] thoughts on Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. This was originally just a defence of the film’s ending—which I’ve seen widely criticised—because I think it’s brilliant and necessary and worth defending. But… then there’s everything else.
So Anaïs and our housemate and I watched Snowpiercer last night. We all liked it a lot; I haven’t watched a ton of movies this year, but this one is definitely my favourite so far. The analysis under the link is really good; as they say “This film is not remotely fucking around.”
how have so many academics basically become “how do you expect to survive in the real world” internet trolls re: trigger warnings
how many op ed pieces do you need to write in order to exhaust your need to whine about being asked to say smth like “this book has ____ in it jsyk”
the fact that several radical~ academics have expressed support for internet troll level of hostility towards trigger warning just goes to show that a) making their work accessible was never one of their main concerns (since tws are an accessibility issue), b) they’re very invested in maintaining classroom dynamics in which they have all the power and students can’t make any kind of decisions about how they learn (by asking your teacher to teach you in a different, more effective way, you’re threatening their “academic freedom”) and c) they never cared about disabled students specifically and probably said no to students asking for other kinds of reasonable accommodations in the past
If you really believe that representation doesn’t matter, then why the fuck are you threatened by it? If not seeing yourself depicted in stories has no negative psychological impact - if the breakdown of who we see on screen has no bearing on wider social issues - then what would it matter if nine stories out of ten were suddenly all about queer brown women? No big, right? It wouldn’t change anything important; just a few superficial details. Because YOU can identify with ANYONE.
So I guess the problem is that you just don’t want to. Because deep down, you think it’ll make stories worse. And why is that? Oh, yeah: because it means they wouldn’t all be about YOU.
The first time I ever came to visit Canada was a few years ago on Canada Day itself. I was really anxious about meeting Ian’s family and friends, annoying the crap out of my flight seat mate by shaking my leg for the whole trip. Ian and his dad picked me up from the airport and I felt a little more at ease but still internally freaking out for the most part that I was going to meet the rest of his family the next day. That night, Ian’s best friend Julia made me a beautiful turkey dinner (yes, in July) with help from their good friends Lauren and Charlotte to welcome me to Canada; I felt like I was at home with my friends and I could feel how much they loved Ian. Instead of being the kind of people to be wary of this person their good friend was in love with, they welcomed me with open arms. I have rarely felt as comfortable with new friends as quickly as I did with Lauren and Charlotte, primarily because they seemed so comfortable together, at ease and just so generous with their time and kindness.
We were so thrilled when they got engaged last year and I was so glad to be in Canada last year for their engagement party. When they asked me to not only come to their wedding but to be their stylist for the big day, I was so honored; thank god immigration made it so I got here in time! Much like our big day almost two years ago, Lauren and Charlotte were so calm and at peace when their wedding day rolled around. I headed over to their house to help them and Julia get ready and Lauren was the picture of calmness, much like Ian was on our wedding day; Charlotte had a bit more nerves which I could definitely relate to. Not because of the idea of getting married, of course, but just because you want everything to go so perfectly. Helping them all get ready was a pleasure, there’s nothing I love more than helping people feel beautiful on this kind of day. And I got Julia to not only wear but love how she looked in a bright lip which is obviously my main mission in life.
The ceremony and reception were at the Belwood Lake Conservation Area, specifically in Hampton Barn which overlooks a beautiful wooded area and lake. Lauren and Charlotte spent a year thrifting for all the vintage floral plates they used and it looked darling with the bunting and handpainted signs done by their good friend. The ceremony was outside in a grassy area and was short and sweet but lovely. The clouds had looked threatening all day but the light misting rain we got didn’t start until the ceremony was over thank goodness. We quickly took photos and headed inside the barn; lawn games would have to wait till brunch the next day.
Their wedding had so many touches that were just lovely and personal. In order to find your table number, you had to find your photo on this table covered with frames and it would reveal your number on the back. Everyone got to take their photos home too which is such a nice way to always think of the day as well as Lauren and Charlotte. I love how they included their friends and family in every part of the overall design from having me do hair and makeup to their friend who designed the invites and signs to their friend who brews beer providing two delicious beers including a brown ale (“Where the Mild Things Are” it was called) and a hefeweizen that was so, so good; Ian was shocked because he’s not normally a wheaty beer lover. The other beer they had came from a small local brewery called Royal City which had a tasting just the night before the wedding that Ian and I attended. I’m in love with the Morning Stout which has coffee and oatmeal flavors in it.
They had this amazing First Nations food truck do the food and appetizers did not disappoint: asparagus wrapped in wild boar bacon, venison meatballs with a blueberry reduction, and rice paper rolls. All the local Ontario flavors were incredible and the food design was surprising but also just so right once you tasted it. Dinner didn’t disappoint either with deconstructed Indian tacos (fry bread with chili and vegetables and basil creme fraiche), bison sliders with caramelized onions and cheddar on beer/onion/cheddar buns, and heirloom tomato and cucumber salad. I wanted to eat a billion more bison sliders but I knew I’d explode.
I’m a sucker for speeches at weddings. It’s the main reason Ian and I are planning on having a belated wedding reception/anniversary party next year; there’s just something so wonderful about having the people you care about so much telling funny and embarrassing and loving stories about you. I teared up a bit during some of the speeches because I’m generally a crier and because there was just such a beautiful feeling in the room of togetherness and love for these two awesome people. Lauren and Charlotte took such a personal interest in putting together this beautiful day for everyone and their speech definitely made me tear up; I full on started crying when they thanked me for helping with their styling. I told you, I’m a crier.
The night finished with coffee from the lovely coffee truck parked outside the barn (what a great idea!), cupcakes that literally shocked me and Ian, like shocked us out of our previous beliefs about cupcakes (FILLED WITH CARAMEL), and dancing to tons of great music but specifically Faded by Soul Decision which just confirmed how much I am meant to live in Canada due to my shameless love for it. In fact, I danced so aggressively to it that I unbuttoned Ian’s shirt with my shoulder somehow. This day would have been enough to be the most perfect wedding ever but then they hosted us all at the barn the next day for brunch where we ate peanut butter & jelly muffins, sausage rolls the size of my damn head from Eric the Baker, and a rosé/orange juice combination Ian created that was shockingly delicious. Lawn games were on thankfully and we had a great game of croquet in which I not only beat Ian but came in third overall so not bad for someone who hasn’t played since she was six. I think I’d like to get a croquet set so I can play in High Park with friends and also have a picnic with cheese and wine. Any takers?
It was a beautiful weekend and Ian and I are so happy we were able to be a part of Lauren and Charlotte’s day. They are honestly one of the most meant couples I’ve ever met and I’m so excited to see and be a part of the rest of their beautiful life together. Also, the weekend has kind of led to Ian and I beginning to think more seriously about our own belated wedding reception/anniversary party but narrowing down a date/place at the very least: Ontario, November 2015, get ready!
I worry that Anaïs is making me too lazy to write up stuff we do together, but she does it so well! It was also lovely that we were able to stay with my brother and his family this weekend, including having breakfast with my mother when she came to pick up my niece for a weekend together (I had a smoked salmon and goat cheese omelette and if financial and nutritional concerns didn’t prevent it I’d have one of those most mornings). While Anaïs was doing hair and makeup before the wedding I got to hang out with Ben and watch (most of) a charming South Korean movie called The Thieves (think the Ocean’s # series, but less predictable, at least to our sensibilities). I had to leave before the last series of twists, and he tells me it went to some interesting places, so hopefully Anaïs and I can find time to watch it soon.
It was a really great weekend for a lot of reasons, chief among them this great wedding and seeing my friends so happy. We’ve got a number of social things going on this week, but thankfully the weekend is mostly free (and when not free, doesn’t involve quite so much travel), so we might just spend the whole time napping.
Do people really think that refusing to buy non-organic products, for example, is going to eliminate the use of pesticides? Or that not buying meat will get rid of animal cruelty in factory farming?
People have this weird view of corporations like they take a big poll of their customers and then they go: oh wait, some customers don’t like that, I guess we won’t do it anymore and then they stop doing that thing forever.
But that’s not what happens! Corporations are not a democracy! Voting with your dollar isn’t going to set policy. They want ALL the dollars. They don’t just want your business. They want to target everybody. So they’re going to keep right on taking dollars for the harmful polluting cruel stuff alongside your moral kind green stuff. They won’t stop the other stuff. They do it the bad way in the first place because it’s cheap and easy and they make a lot of money doing it, and now you’re giving them your money too.
It’s all branding to them. Green is a brand. Fair trade is a brand. Sweatshop-free is a brand. These are not moral decisions, they’re labels. They will slap them on products and there is no guarantee whatsoever that it means what you think it means.
The only thing that will make corporations stop doing terrible things to make more money is when the law forces them to stop. And all this “activism” does is convince people that they’re making a difference by shopping, of all things, rather than demanding the government to step in and regulate this stuff.
It’s weird, it’s almost like the unrestricted profit motive is cancerous and deforming.
The work week has come to an end! A busy one for me, near the end; I’m just starting my first book, the first project I’ve got where I’m the editor from soup to nuts. It’s a new book, too. So sometime in… December, I think? I’ll be able to look at a physical book that people actually buy and use and think “I helped make that happen” (and I’ve already been published in one of those, so that’s two things that were apparently on my unconsciously-kept bucket list).
Anaïs and I are going to Guelph for the weekend for the wedding of some good friends of ours. We’re staying with my brother and his family. It is going to be, I think, a pretty great weekend; and I don’t even have to wear a suit (nobody does)! Not sure how online I’ll be, hope you all have a good weekend and good weather for whatever you’re planning.
Since this blog is like one fetus away from a mommy blog, I figured I’d share my landing story, rather the day I finally moved to Canada. On US to Canada immigration message boards, which were a huge help to me in this whole process in figuring out things government websites made complicated for no reason, there’s always a landing thread where you post the story of the day you finally land. It’s a big deal, even in the easiest of cases (ours) this is a long and expensive and difficult process so when you make it, it’s just huge.
Zach made the trip with me and it was a good trip although I could feel my stress levels peak sometimes. The morning we left, I threw up and the morning I was supposed to officially land, I threw up. I tend to throw up when I’m nervous and this might be the thing I’ve been most anxious about in my life. I’m the kind of person whose anxiety will not let up until something is official and done and over. Despite outward appearances, I’m a wreck before then. Zach knows so thank god he was the one there with me to keep me not only calm but to give me real talk when I needed it.
We made it Buffalo so fast, on our second day of driving and stayed there for the night because you have to export your car and do your landing during business hours. The next morning, we woke up and got ready to go. Zach made me a hotel waffle and made me eat some even though I really thought I was going to puke. We printed a bunch of extra paperwork I was told to bring and then we hit the road for the Lewiston Bridge (note: the only place in Western NY to export your car to Canada.) Siri gave us directions for the US Customs and Border Protection office where you export your car and as we are passing Niagara, we see this sign that says just that, US Customs and Border Protection.
Maybe that’s where we should go, we think.
Nah, Siri wouldn’t lead us wrong.
Pretty soon, Siri tells us we have arrived and we are on the side of a mountain road. Thanks for nothing, Siri.
We turn around and go back to the original place we saw which to be fair was right by the border where you actually cross. It is an actual maze of parking and I am driving figure 8’s to get over to where the office is. We finally park and I am gathering myself and my things when someone bangs on the window. Zach and I shriek and roll down the window.
"Passport and vehicle title," this guy who I swear to god walked out of bear porn 30 seconds earlier says.
I hand it to him with shaky hands.
This is the part where I should also mention that exporting my car had become my main source of distress in the week leading up the move because they have recently changed the laws surrounding this where you have to have a shipping/freighter ID code and like, a bunch of other shit to do it. Until October of this year, it’s an informed consent period so they aren’t making people do that or penalizing them but I wasn’t sure what to expect at the border. In other words, I was very afraid I was going to have to walk over the border or something.
We follow this guy upstairs and sit. He is at his computer typing in stuff about me and my car. His coworker comes and sits next to him while he does this and is showing him photos of her dumb dog on instagram. Read the room, lady. I keep waiting and rocking back and forth and expecting him to ask me for info I don’t have or for something bad to happen but instead he gets up after maybe four minutes, hands me my passport and title, and says that I’m all set.
"That’s it?" I squeak.
"What else did you want?" he said.
"I just thought it would be more complicated or something, I don’t know, I—"
Zach pulled me out of the room before I could fuck anything up.
So we get back in the car only to have to once again navigate the dumbest fucking series of parking lots and exits to get to a place twenty feet away. We get our passports out, I get my certificate of permanent residency out, and we wait at one of those toll booth thingies for maybe 4 minutes. The guy in the booth looked maybe fourteen and he seems very irritated with my overly enthusiastic smile as I tell him I’m landing. Like, as a permanent resident. He approves Zach to come in as a visitor and sends us over to the building marked Canada. Zach and I gather my things and go inside, immediately giving Canada points over its governmental typeface choices even though we aren’t serif people.
We walk in and there is no one there. Now, I knew it would be not as busy as let’s say a weekend at the border but I expected like, Ellis Island lite or just a dash of Fievel Mouskowitz but no, there was literally one other person who didn’t work there in the building and they were just sitting on a bench so who knows what that story is. I walk up to the counter and the hot bearded man sends me over to a hot unbearded man. Also, yes, the majority of Canada’s border agents? Super hot. If you want to move to a different country, I recommend Canada when it comes to border agent hotness.
So anyways, I give this guy my paperwork and he is really nice and helpful. He asks if we are both landing and we said no but in hindsight maybe they would have just let Zach if we kept our big mouths shut. We blew it. So this guy looks over my documents and sees everything is in order and prepared them for me to sign.
"Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" He asks.
"No," I reply. "Well, not yet." Because anxiety makes me a jokester.
Luckily the hot border agent guy laughed along with Zach. I signed and became a permanent resident of Canada. I’m pretty sure I gripped Zach’s hand or something. I was then sent back to the hot bearded border agent who had me fill out forms about my car to import it and looked over my list of belongings (books: value $500 cosmetics: value PRICELESS.) Zach was the best as always and ran to my car to get some number they needed and then I signed more stuff and that was that. They then sent us to the next desk over where the people weren’t so hot but they were nice so there’s that. I didn’t have to pay a thing because I was a settler which of course gave me so many Oregon Trail vibes. I sort of hopped in the air when it was all done because oh my god, it was done! And nothing went wrong! And I could now breathe oxygen into my lungs again!
We exchanged money at the border, marveling at how fake it looked and laughing at the fact there was not only a white guy on it but a snowflake and a hockey player! Zach took a photo of me in front of the welcome to Ontario sign and we hit the road to Toronto (not very far, maybe an hour.) I tried to show the hills-obsessed (not The Hills obsessed) Zach that Canada had lovely hills as well but he sulked at this. At one point, as we were about to cross a bridge, we passed what looked like water but with a weird barrier that was up kind of looked like a field of lavender.
"Is that water?" I asked.
"That’s Lake Ontario," Zach replied.
And just like that, I doomed myself to this being my Canadian Heritage Moment. In 2014, Anaïs Mathers discovered that Lake Ontario was in fact made of water. Damn.
We made it to Toronto, we parked by my new apartment, and since Ian was still at work and we were actually starving, we walked down the street to get sushi. Zach and I were excited to discover that it was all you can eat and we set about making our list of what we wanted, eating with our eyes as we hadn’t had much for breakfast. What we didn’t realize is that this is not America, land of waste and gluttony where all you can eat means if you don’t finish what’s on your plate, no big deal. So we order like 8 thousand things and start eating, slowing down pretty quickly because no one actually needs as much food as we ordered. At this point, the waitress comes over and shows us the fine print on the bottom of the menu which says that you will pay entree price for whatever you don’t finish. You cannot imagine the horror we felt.
We eat as much as we can but a huge problem here is, I ordered stuff that has gluten and dairy and meat in it, three things Zach cannot eat. So I am stuffing it all in my mouth, tears in my eyes, literally coughing some up that just would not fit down my food hole. I start putting things in my napkin so I can put it in my purse. Finally, with one or two pieces of things left on some plates, we gave up. The waitress brings over the check and luckily it’s just for the lunch price. The problem now is walking up the hill back home. Zach and I very slowly begin our ascent, looking like footage of people climbing Everest in a blizzard when really it’s a lovely warm day in the summer. We have never felt more useless and American as we did climbing that hill.
We don’t attempt to unpack at this point, instead going inside and lying next to each other on my marital bed. We watched basically all of the Canadian Heritage Moments on youtube in order to get into the Canadian spirit and waited for Ian to come home and find us, American flag scarves strewn all over. And at that moment, I was so grateful to have crossed the border and been there with Zach, my gusband, who would not judge me for puking into my napkin at a sushi restaurant and who would also think it weird that Superman was invented by a Canadian. And that is how I became someone who gets to live in Canada forever.
Okay, I know I’m married to her and in love and everything, but I laughed out loud while reading this several times. And they’re stories I’d heard before!
Paste Magazine just premiered our latest video, a short piece directed by Alex Lubliner, with visual effects and editing by William Zoe Fitzgerald (and with homage paid Peter Ravn’s album artwork). It’s dedicated to the crisis of authority, the failures of your once favorite institutions, teenage mob logic, white men foreign to doubt, and the ever popular gang war dance-off vibe sadly missing from popular films and videos today. Kids today. It made us giggle, it creeped us out, it rattled our nerve endings, and felt more or less right for the song. Confusion, spontaneous samba, nightmares (the real kind that make no sense in the waking hours, not the Hollywood variety) and laughter are welcome and acceptable responses. It’s your body, but you are scarcely as in charge of it as you think. Here’s a love letter to doubt.
I meant to post this a while ago (the video is gr8, and funny to boot), but today I’ve got “Night Falls on the General Assembly” stuck in my head anyway, so it’s extra appropriate. This bit from the link is too good not to share, but click through and watch the video too:
“The vignettes in the song all pivot around this central anxiety: that is, a fear of mob logic,” said Fields in describing the music video. “Specifically male, specifically young. Alex took these ideas and inspiration from Peter Ravn’s cover art and drew a line between the practiced, self-assured dominating gaze of a mock CEO in a MerrilLynch commercial and the narrative ambiguities in Peter’s paintings that make those characters haunting, sad, and funny.”