Tag Archives: humour

COVID life and eccentricity

I said to a friend the other day, I have nothing to say about COVID life. I have nothing to contribute. I really can’t figure out what to write on my blog. Garbage in. Garbage out. There is nothing of any interest coming in, not really, so what can you expect me to write about here?

I live alone. I see my coworkers on a Zoom call precisely one day a week. Sometimes I see my bubble buddy for a meal out. I talk on the phone. My stuffed animal, Rory the lion, brings me joy. My walks bring me contentment and relief. Reading brings me escape. Occasionally my friend from Mayne Island comes to town. This is not the lifestyle of the rich, famous, or come to think of it, even the living by pre-COVID standards.

Well, maybe I need more culture, I thought. So last night I tuned into Eventbrite on a Zoom call to hear Lisa See, a writer, and the author of my very favourite book of 2020 which was The Island of Sea Women. She was being presented by the Los Angeles Times Book Club. It’s free. Do it here. Good conversation in. That’s what I’m really craving. In person. She was coming to us from her home in California and she was as interesting as I expected her to be. Even more interesting.

Then today I wondered, What would David Sedaris say? And I’d really like to know because I had a ticket to his show here in Victoria which was scheduled for May 16, 2020 at the Royal Theatre. The ticket is still on my fridge. It’s like the kind of artefact you might find after the armageddon when the Martians arrive and every single thing is frozen in time but there are no people. The dishes aren’t done. The calendar on the wall is on the month when it all stopped. The bed isn’t made. It’s a Twilight Zone rerun. It’s creepy. 2021 is the new 2020 as they say.

The other night, I flicked across a show on Netflix with Martin Scorsese interviewing Fran Lebowitz. I actually only checked it out because I thought it was referring to that famous photographer, Annie Leibovitz. I didn’t care about Fran Lebowitz, but then I couldn’t stop watching her because it blows me away that some people, because of their fame, are allowed to just do monologues to Martin Scorsese. That’s my new definition of success. I loved how Scorsese was just this giggling, guffawing sidekick to her nonstop opinions. Where else could a woman over 50 be on a Netflix series just to spout opinions?

May 2020 is a lifetime ago in COVID time. Have you noticed there is such a thing as COVID time?  Some days it’s like somebody put on the cartoon speed-up-time roadrunner clock. And other days it’s as if you’ve fallen into the Groundhog Day of your existence. You walk into another room, forgetting why you went in there and when you come out four hours have passed.

I feel like instead of becoming more comfortable as time passes, I am becoming more paranoid, more anxiety ridden. There’s more at stake. I haven’t got COVID in 10 months and I’M NOT GETTING IT NOW! Get away from me. Maybe it’s the tone of the government press conferences foreshadowing even tighter restrictions due to THE VARIANTS. Good name for a band by the way. Maybe that’s what has set me off.

The other day, I was walking down the sidewalk and I could hear footsteps getting closer and closer behind me. Now, in the little village where I live, the city stole a strip of the road and made it into a larger sidewalk-like area because the sidewalks are so narrow that two people can’t pass.

I was getting really uptight about this person getting closer and closer to me, behind me, and the only way I could have avoided them not overtaking me was to jump onto the road, to start running, or to stop. I chose to stop. Then I turned around and said, “Have you heard of the 6.5 feet thing?” holding up my hands like I was lying about the size of the fish I’d just caught.  That’s how articulate I am when I’m pissed off. And I proceeded to say, pointing to the large area of road beside the sidewalk. “There’s this thing they created. You could go around me,” I said.

“Oh,” she said, as her dog came up to lick my pantleg, “I didn’t know I was that close.”

I didn’t say a thing. I just turned in my annoyance and kept on walking. Point made. Period. You are dead to me, lady.

Be kind. Be Calm. Be Safe.  These are the words of Dr. Henry, our public health officer celebrity. They rang across my atrophying pre-frontal cortex. But afterwards when I relayed this incident to a friend, I became fixated on the fact that I’d actually said 6.5 feet. I mean, really? Not 6.4 feet? Not 6 feet? Six. Point. Five. Feet. EXACTLY! Two metres to be exact. As if I carry around a tape measure in my brain because that’s how exacting I am as an individual (not!).  I find that hysterical now. NICE! I can only imagine her relaying that story to her husband when she got home, completely indignant.

And don’t even get me started on her dog. Of course, it was on one of those retractable leashes. Is it even possible to be considered human now without owning a dog? Isn’t it enough to have brought children into the world? Now every human can only be verified as human if they also have a dog apparently.

There. There you go. Now you know why I have not written anything since I posted about the book, The Plague. We are all the plague now, Baby.

Famous funny people getting coffee and drinking it like the rest of us

ford-pinto-photo-365085-s-986x603About a week ago, I got detoured by a tweet that led me to Comedians in Cars getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld.   O.k. So I’m a bit out of touch. It’s only been around for 7 seasons on the digital network Crackle. And I’d never heard of Crackle either so there you go. I’ve always been a pop culture alien so no big surprise.

I loved the beautiful classic cars he was driving but here’s the thing about this show. It really wasn’t very funny. How two people who are comedians in hot cars in Hollywood could be less funny was kind of shocking to me. And the only thing that proves is just how much work it takes to prepare to actually BE funny. Still, it was kind of addictive in a So that’s how other people interact kind of way. Not that much different than you and I really.

In some other altered reality, if I got to ride in a beautiful car with Jerry Seinfeld, I can think of one or two maybe three people from my past who would be funny enough to bring along. The first person who comes to mind is a woman named Kama I knew about 20 years ago. I wonder whatever happened to Kama? I remember she once said that Jerry Seinfeld was the only man she’d ever marry. ford pintoPersonally, I’d want Jerry Seinfeld to show up in the Steve McQueen 1968 Green Ford Mustang GT, or at the other extreme, the 1975 Uncle Rico van from Napolean Dynamite. How about a lookalike of the White getaway Bronco that O.J. was driving that crazy day way back in 1994? Maybe a 1971 yellow Ford Pinto would be fun. I think super crappy cars lend themselves to humour more than lifestyles of the rich and famous. To be fair, he did show up in a Pacer and some ratty Volkswagen van.

Warner-Brothers-Pictures-bullit-steve-mcqueen-ford-mustang_0-100_1If you watch the series, I’m guessing you might enjoy it as well because isn’t that who we are now? We’re all just voyeurs of the rich and famous. Even in death. R.I.P. David Bowie. Watching the show became a bit like drinking coffee with the video images of making coffee interspersed throughout.  It was interesting to interlope on some of the conversations he had with his guests about the comedy biz.Cw_640

I enjoyed the Steve Harvey episode mostly because of his laugh and because he was funny! I know Steve Harvey really  heaped up the Miss Universe Pageant recently but I really hope he can make a whole comedy routine out of that screw up.  Because. It really is pretty damned funny when you think about it in hindsight.

I liked the conversation with Bill Burr. I liked Sarah Silverman. Michael Richards was interesting. I found the conversation with Trevor Noah really interesting. You might want to watch the episode with President Obama. And I’m a big fan of Steve Martin not because of his stand up from the past but because he’s such an intelligent, versatile guy –  comedian,  writer, actor, musician, knowledgeable art collector – so that one was a thumbs up for me just because of the curiosity factor.

It would just be wrong not to take a look at the Julia Louis-Dreyfus episode. I loved her line in response to Jerry asking if he was nice. “I think you CAN be nice.” I could totally relate to that line.

You have to watch the Jimmy Fallon episode to see Jerry’s awesome little boat.  I was wondering what Jerry would have shown up in if Robin Williams was still alive. That would have been a great episode.

But honestly, Rick Mercer could do a fantastic paraody on this show complete with mouth fulls of corn beef being spewed across a table. His first guest? Jann Arden of course!carfrom1982

This is me in 1982 with the first car I ever owned, a Chevette Scooter that lasted FOREVER. The Coquihalla Highway finally took her down. I couldn’t risk driving those hills in a 20 year old Chevette.

If you were going to be interviewed by Seinfeld, I wonder what car would you’d choose and why?

Heart Attack False Alarm

I thought I was having a heart attack on Saturday night. There is only one thing worse than thinking that you’re having a heart attack and that’s having a heart attack. Just guessing.

It might have been the fried calamari that I devoured at The Libra Room where I was earlier in the evening. Or the three drinks. Or just general anxiety, but I was woken up out of a sound sleep with a feeling of congestion that moved to full blown pressure and pain right in the middle of my chest. There were no other symptoms. I tossed and turned. Surely it would go away. I was freezing. It was getting stronger. I waited 15 then 20 minutes. I became really alarmed. The clock said 1:49 am. But, that wasn’t right. I’d forgot to rewind an hour in honour of daylight savings. I got into a yoga pose on my bed. Maybe that would help. Why would I think that?

I got up. I paced. I pushed my hands against the middle of my chest. I picked up the phone. Should I? Shouldn’t I? I put the phone down. I picked up the phone again. Female. Over 50. Sedentary. Women’s heart attacks unique. The script was running in my head. Would I rather be dead or proven wrong in my self diagnosis?

I can’t stand going to the doctor, let alone calling an ambulance. I picked up the phone one more time. Do you know how hard it is to call an ambulance for yourself?

Police? Fire? Ambulance?


For which city?

New West!

“Do you have any baby aspirin?” asked the woman on the phone. She sounded a little frightened.

How would I get them to her? I thought.

Nope. Tylenol. Ibruprofen. Will those do?

“No. Stay on the line. Don’t hang up. If something changes, let me know. The fire truck’s coming.”

Holy mother of Mary. Firemen? In my apartment? Would you look at yourself? I have firemen coming into my messy apartment while I’m wearing checkered flannel pajama bottoms. That should have been the first clue that I wasn’t actually having a heart attack. I suspect people who are having a full blown heart attack aren’t especially concerned with fashion.

I managed to buzz them in and answered the door. First words out of my mouth? “I’m sorry.” It didn’t matter that I might be having a heart attack.  I’m still Canadian. We have a reputation to uphold. Let’s get the apology out up front and quickly.

They got right to work. Shortly after arriving, more people came in. It was like a party. I’m not sure I’ve had so many good looking guys in my apartment at one time. No, I’m positive. I haven’t. The advanced care paramedic unit arrived next. Crikey! I knew I should have shaved my legs. A guy is sticking those white tabs on me that hooks me up to a portable EKG machine. I’m beyond humiliation at this point.

Their leader, a woman, is barking questions at me. I don’t know about you but as someone who pretty much exists mainly above the neck, when people ask urgent questions about where you feel it and how it feels, I have to think about it for just a minute. I’m not so in tune with my body that I can answer that definitively and quickly while under stress. It might as well have been calculus.

Finally a third team, the regular paramedics, show up. They’re taking me to the hospital. I ask them if I can get dressed. They cart me off. It’s practically empty in there. I’m seated almost on top of a guy who’s lying on a stretcher in a neck brace. I’m so close to him I’m almost breathing on his forehead. I imagine the warm rush of garlic from the calamari I’d eaten earlier wafting over him. They take me to the waiting area. It’s uncharacteristically empty.

“This shouldn’t take too long,” said the paramedic. Famous last words. Right up there with “I’ll call you.” I wait and I wait. The waiting room was empty. A nurse comes in and takes my blood pressure. Takes my temperature. A woman with incredible skin does another EKG. The nurse comes back and hands me a jar to pee in and two wipes. I look at those packages. What are those for? Are those for me? Have they no toilet paper? Why do they think I’ll know what to do with these? I wipe the jar with them.

“The doctor won’t be too long,” says the nurse.

I wait and I wait. An hour passes.

“I think he’s in trauma,” she says. So am I, I think to myself.

Another hour passes.

“Actually, I just saw him in front of a computer,” she says. Another 20 minutes pass.

Finally, I just get up. “Maybe I’ll just leave,” I say to the nurses. “False alarm,” I say.

“It’s up to you,” says the one with the long black hair. “I can’t tell you exactly how long he’ll be. He’s the only one on right now.” I look again at the empty waiting room.

Another 30 minutes passes. I was torn then. I felt like I was on the phone with Telus or Rogers or maybe Shaw. I was trapped. I didn’t want to hang up. I didn’t want to lose my place in line. Maybe hospitals need that callback feature. I went back to my chair. Pulled on my coat. Leaned against the wall. Closed my eyes.

Where else would this happen? Could you ever go to a restaurant and have them look at you, size you up, and not bother to serve you because, well, look at you, you’re not starving. You can wait. Look at that guy over there. He’s only 110 pounds. He’s emaciated. Nope. That would never happen.

I mean, I have great sympathy for hospital workers but there’s a limit. Where was the doctor? Was he having sex in a supply room? Was he napping? Was he playing that popular video game, Metal Gear?

Yes. I get it. I wasn’t an emergency after all. Sorry to disappoint. I’m not going to heaven or hell tonight. Thankfully, I won’t be forced to witness my entire life flash before my eyes. Still, I’d rather not sit in a grungy waiting room at 3:00 am, especially when it seemed like a slow night. Was there a whole other ward hidden to me that was lined to the rafters with puking, cancerous, heart attack, super bug degenerating Canadians on their deathbeds?

Finally, a guy walks in. I can’t stop staring at his shiny bald head. I wonder if he’s actually just pretending to be a doctor. He asks me a few questions, the kind he could have easily stolen from Grey’s Anatomy. He pushes on my stomach and says something about gall bladder. Ultrasound. Wait here for a piece of paper. He’s gone.

When I finally leave, the nurses say goodbye to me in unison as if I’m a relative leaving on a long trip and they’re WestJet flight attendants. I walk home. A homeless guy approaches me. It’s now about 5:00 am.

“Do you know what time it is?” he asks.

I think it’s about 3:30, I tell him in  my disorientation.

“No way. It can’t be that early,” says the poor guy, thinking he’s can’t possibly have five more hours of aimless wandering before he can grab a coffee.

And you know what I really think? I think he may be right.  I think it may be later than we all think.

Top Ten Bad Mood Busters

bumperstickerThis bumpersticker can be purchased here: 

I admit it. I’ve been in a pretty bad mood lately. I know this for sure when people who have teeny weeny dogs sitting on the patio at Starbucks, who speak to those mutant things like they are newborns,  make me want to walk over to them and slap them. The person that is, not the dog, although I’m really only saying that as an attempt at being P.C.

When their mommy leaves them for a second to grab her Matcha Latte, and after the mutant has practically turned itself inside out, its nail filing bark getting on my last nerve and making me want to bite my own hand, mommy returns always oblivious and gushing.   I know I probably have some friends like this, in fact, I can think of two without much effort, perfectly nice people, but honestly. Really? You’re not kidding are you? I ask you, Who needs a leash now?

It made me begin to think (based on perusing too many magazines trying to think of how to write a query for an article I wouldn’t even want to write), what tips I might give myself and anyone else for getting out of a bad mood. I mean, women’s magazines seem to thrive on Top 10 lists or Twitter in Print as I like to call them, as if the whole world is a Tony Robbins conspiracy and the adult female attention span hasn’t shifted  since we were all six years old, which in my case, may actually be true. Here’s my list.


  1. Go somewhere you’ve never been before.  That way you’ll trick yourself into believing that you haven’t seen and done everything there is to do in the Lower Mainland even though you believe that you have because you’re in a bad mood and that’s how you think when you’re like this.
  2. Walk into the Vancouver Public Library and take an immediate left to peruse the zines on the main floor. Hone in on the funny ones with really hilarious (read RUDE) commentary.  Here’s one in particular that really cheered me up. Mary Van Note’s Guide to Dating. I especially loved Tip #9.  No, I’m not going to share it.  This is a G-rated Blog. I also took out, I was a Teenage Mormon, Fat is Beautiful, Women Got me Drinking and Coffee shop Crushes.
  3. Remind yourself what your favourite over the top treat was when you were a kid and eat it. Mine was a Peanut Buster Parfait from Dairy Queen. Now, at this point, I need a Peanut Buster Parfait as much as the whole world needs canned tuna but you know what? Screw it. Fat is beautiful. Repeat it out loud. It’s an exercise from the zine above. Acceptance is the fastest route out of anger and denial.
  4.  Have sex. No. Correction. Not just sex but good sex. A critical distinction. Bad sex is worse than no sex which describes my rationale for celibacy ever since oh, I don’t know, the age of 39 or thereabouts. (This may or may not be accurate).  Okay, so have sex with yourself.
  5. Drink. Beer preferably. Not Lucky Lager mind you.  Just sayin. Here’s beer-loving Gwen’s current fav’s: Driftwood (Victoria, BC), New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO), Elysian Brewing (Seattle, WA).
  6. Go for a walk if you must. Wear dark sunglasses to dim the ugly. The problem with returning from Paradise to here, where I am at present, is that my soul’s eyes have been distorted by the overwhelming natural beauty that was Paradise and call me crazy but lines of commuter traffic backed up to get onto two bridges and a really big Toy Wooden Soldier as a failed tourist attraction pale in comparison.
  7. Yarn bomb. Pick a place and give a railing a sweater. If anyone’s game, I have a bunch of really ugly railings right outside my apartment windows and I’d love someone to yarn bomb them, preferably in Sunburst yellow. I’m just not sure how my landlord, the former prison guard, will feel about this. He doesn’t fit the profile of a crafting enthusiast. You’re on your own when it comes to him.
  8. Go find the dorkiest pictures of yourself as a kid. Remind yourself that, no matter how hard this is to believe,  you actually look better now than you did then.  See, you’re improving with age. Sort of. Smile.
  9. Think about all the times you’ve had a really spectacular public wipe-out, the humiliation that resulted, and how much joy in the form of gales of snort-filled laughter this gave you after the fact.
  10. Take a pill.