Fudgey Friday

Friday was a turd of a day. It’s usually a good mellow day at the office, but instead it was surprisingly busy. The To-Do List was really piling up all week, so I had a lot on my plate. Plus, my outfit was kind of dreadful, so that’s never good. But hey, you make the best of what you can with the only clean clothes you have left in the closet. Mood-wise, I was about even keel all day. Although I was busy, I was still in a decent mood.

That is, until I got on the subway.

The subway is busy at rush hour. It’s just a fact of life. And I’m totally cool with that. I am NOT, however, cool with rude ass bitches giving ME an impromptu lecture on subway etiquette when they’re the ones defying the standards of subway behaviour. I’m standing on the subway, just chillin’. This woman gets on, and proceeds to lean her whole body against mine. I was in a corner, so I couldn’t possibly make any room for her. And, it really wasn’t so crowded that you needed to be touching anyone else. So, when people lean up against me and I have nowhere to go, there’s not really a lot of give. I stand tough, because I’m not going to be mashed into a corner by some random bitch who clearly lacks human touch in her everyday life. Otherwise, why would she feel the need to rub all over me when there’s plenty of standing room on the train?

Out of nowhere, she turns to me in an overly put on “sweet” manner (and by that I mean condescending as fuck), and says “It’s really busy on the subway at rush hour, so you need to calm down”. WTF? I hadn’t said anything to her, I hadn’t even moved, I was just standing there minding my own business. But I guess if you’re as obnoxious and entitled as this woman was, it’s normal for you to get on the subway and squash your body against someone else’s and then be rude to them. That makes sense right?

So I said to her, “I don’t know what you’re talking about but you can back off”. And she continues on with this same bullshit attitude, “listen, you need to understand that the subway is busy and you need to be calm  and make room for others. I’m just trying to have a calm, mature conversation about this with you.” That really fucking pissed me off. I don’t know if I look like a pushover or something, but I most certainly am not. And as pleasant and easy-going as I usually am during my commute, you don’t start shit with me and think you’re going to come away unscathed. Smash don’t take no guff, people!

I, in my most menacingly calm manner, replied “yeah, well I don’t know why you think that I need to be having this conversion, but I don’t, so you can go fuck yourself!” To which, she visibly bristled and then puffed out her chest and said “Well, you’re welcome”. I mimicked that false sweetness with a very syrupy “mmmkay, thanks!” right back at her. Bitch turned around, stopped leaning on me and got off at the next station. So, I guess that shut her up.

In the event that you’re out there reading this you rude ass entitled subway bitch, I’ll reiterate once more: go fuck yourself. How dare you get on the subway, impose your body onto mine, invade my personal space when it wasn’t at all necessary and then try to look down your ugly ass nose at me. If anyone needs a lecture about manners on the subway and I would also venture about life in general, seems like it’s you. So go home to your lonely cat-filled shanty and stay the eff out of my face. Because if I ever see you pulling that shit with someone on the subway again, I won’t let you off so easy next time.

By the time I got off at my station, I was positively fuming. I’ve had some really strange experiences on the subway, but nothing quite like that. So I met up with D at the station and told him my harrowing tale. We then decided that the best course of action would be beer. D always knows the best way to deflate my rage! If we fight, he’s best advised to forego the flowers and come home with a 6-pack instead. So we went to the pub for dinner and drinks, which had the desired effect. But little did I know, there was something even better waiting for me at home…

looks like a normal Tupperware container, but it’s actually super-sized!

In the kitchen, my older sister had planted four colossal fudge brownies with cream cheese frosting. Mmmmm, brownies make for a very happy Smash!

oh, just delightful

Fudgey brownies and cream cheese frosting you don’t know how perfectly timed your arrival in my life really was! You make me want to be a better Smash. As much of a turd as Friday was, and as much of a bitch as that bitch was, nothing else matters when we’re together. Brownies, I love you!

And Fudgey Fridays is totally a thing in our household now, so I hope you’re prepared to make something just as tasty next week Mar. Because who knows what altercations I’ll have gotten into by then!

Subway Games

I have been living in the city for a couple of months now, and I feel like I’ve adapted very well. I’m a duck to water. I love the pace of the city. There’s always something happening, someone to meet up with, new events and friends around every corner.

There’s also a lot of shit that you need to get used to, such as not being able to get to whatever your preferred grocery store is. We used to love going to Loblaws but now we’re in Metro hell every sunday. There’s also the city stink on really hot days. Mmmm, sewage filling your nostrils as you try to enjoy a nice stroll in the sunshine. Crazy crackheads eating a jar of Nutella with their fingers right beside you in a restaurant. That really happened by the way, saw it with my own eyes.

There’s also the matter of the subway. I take the subway to and from work everyday, and for the most part I quite enjoy it. It’s so much better than the fucking Go Train. I will take the subway over the fucking Go Train any day. Delays seem to be a routine thing for the subway, but the longest I’ve been held up so far is 15 minutes. You also have to get used to the sardine sensation when taking the subway during rush hour. You literally cram you way onto the train and have people touching or brushing up against you on all sides. It’s a sweaty, cramped, awkward mess. And people are ruthless! They don’t make any attempt to play nice when they think they might miss out on a spot on the train. I’ve had ladies mow me down with strollers, dudes basically use me for piggyback rides onto the train, and bitches stiletto stomp me on a rough turn then have the gall to act like it’s my fault they can’t balance themselves. I’ve also seen people do horrible things to each other in order to snag a recently freed up seat. It basically a jungle.

You really do see it all on the morning and evening commute. But this is my life now for the foreseeable future, so I’ve gotta make the best of it. I see people rocking their iPods, readers, magazines etc. to make the commute less boring. I have another strategy for making the commute fun…

I play my own little subway games. With a vivid imagination and a plethora of people surrounding me I’m all set. Let the people be my amusement and entertainment! I can’t control who gets on the same car as me or how they will comport themselves, but I can control my perception of them. Here are some of my favourite subway games to play:

Life Story

This one is easy enough, all I do is observe someone who captures my interest and then concoct an elaborate life story for them. The life story is rich with drama and emotion, uncontrollable circumstance and choices. I like to imagine what kind of childhood they had and how it has shaped who they are today. For instance, the dude in his late 20’s suited up all sharp and shit with designer duds. Privileged upbringing, nuclear family, beautiful arm-candy girlfriend right? Wrong. Instead, I see that dude suffering from uncontrollable pyromania! He set his little sister’s dollhouse on fire when he was 8, then when he was 15 burnt his math teacher’s house to the ground and had to do him some juvie or something. He’s gotten his life back on track, finished school and got a sweet gig downtown where nobody suspects the fire monster that lurks within. Just wait til he gets denied that big promotion he’s been working for, burn baby burn! See, I just made my way through 5 stops before I even knew it!

Which Animal?

Again, this game relies heavily on me observing someone with a particular look and deciding on what sort of animal they would be. There’s a woman cackling obnoxiously to her friend at 8:30am and despite what she may think, the rest of us don’t find her laugh to be particularly enchanting or bewitching. It’s just fucking annoying. That girl is definitely a hyena. There’s a chubby, sleepy 40-something taking up almost two whole seats, that guy is a hippo fo sho. A lanky, toothy, sly looking motherfucker with a backpack full of shrooms, he’s a ferret. I don’t really know if he’s got shrooms in his backpack, it’s just part of his image I guess.

What Station?

This one I’m not very experienced in yet, but I like to think that in a couple of years when I’ve ridden the rails from end to end countless times, I’ll have better judgement. But I like to size someone up and decide what stop they’re getting off at. It’s also hard because my commute isn’t from one end to another, it’s a good chunk of the Yonge line but not the whole thing. But there are certain neighbourhoods in Toronto that correspond with subway stations and I like to guess what station I think a person is going to, especially on the evening commute. That’s the most likely time that people are heading home, so it’s a little easier. For example, my neighbourhood Yonge and Eglinton is often called Young and Eligible by my co-workers because it’s heavily populated with yuppies. So it’s usually safe to assume that young, shiny, polished, designer clad men and women are headed that way. There’s also the Finchers. People who are commuting into the city everyday and connect to buses at Finch station. They can’t stand their surroundings. You just know that the subway is the worst part of their day, they hate crowds, and they change into comfortable shoes at the end of the day.

Okay, so I know this is sounding like I’m pretty much the most judgemental and awful person on the planet, but I don’t do this out of a mean-spirit. I simply try to pass the time on the train in the morning, and mentally escape the nasty armpit stink in my face. I think that I’m very unexpected. I’ve been sized up and judged my whole life, pigeonholed and stereotyped. And I honestly hope that all the people I play my subway games with are unexpected too and would prove me wrong given a 5 minute chat. Sometimes people surprise you, sometimes they turn out to be exactly what you expected… that’s the fun of subway games, what you see in others has a lot to do with what you yourself are bringing to the table.

Last Page

I spend a lot of free time reading, which has always been one of my favourite things. But with so much going on lately, I haven’t had as much time for reading as I’d like. This is why it took me about four months to finish 11/22/63 by Stephen King. In true King fashion, the book is enormous. It’s an 800+ page behemoth that worked ardently at turning me into a hunchback every time it was deposited into my backpack. I seriously started to feel that if this book was to become part of my daily arsenal then maybe I was going to need a back brace.

This is the book in my hand. It’s a hard cover, which puts it at about 2.5 to 3 lbs by my rough, and probably very wrong estimate.

And this is the book dwarfing my 14lb cat. He’s not impressed by the size of it either.

When I started this book in January, I was still at my old job. I was working 11 hour days because of the bus strike. The YRT went on strike mid-October 2011 and didn’t come back to service until February 2012, which is beyond ridiculous. I would have to get a ride into work at 630am every morning, and work until 6pm when my boyfriend was able to come get me. He would drop me off at the office, drive to the train station and commute downtown for his job in the morning. Then after the commute home in the evening, he would hop in the car and pick me up from work. This absurd arrangement persisted for about three months and was taking quite the toll on both of us.

The days were impossibly long, and I started out thinking that it was a good thing to work longer hours because I was so busy. But of course, after 3 months of working like this it got old. In January, when I got fed up with the ridiculous hours and realized that nobody was taking notice anyways, I thought “fuck it” and I started leaving when my 8 hours was up. I’d walk to the local coffee shop and enjoy my book for an hour or so every night. My boyfriend would meet me there instead of the office, and it felt good to have a little me time to unwind every night.

The thing is, I need at least 30 minutes after work to unwind by myself and I wasn’t getting that initially. I’d work right up until 6pm and still have a hard time pulling away from the desk after 3 extra hours per workday. When it was time to go home, I’d get in the car at the absolute peak of stressfulness. I was wound so tightly that the smallest provocation would unleash all the rage accrued throughout the day that I had taken great pains to internalize.

My boyfriend was a total basket of stress at this point in the day too. He’d spend an hour on the train, surrounded by a bunch of smelly, annoying fuck-tard commuters (by the way, I can call them that because I did a brief stint commuting on the train so I know what really goes down on those things) and then he’d have to race to the car, tear out of the parking lot ahead of everyone else, and fight the masses of rush hour traffic to get to my office.

At the end of the workday when our stresses were combined, we were a powder keg ready to blow. And trust me, there were some spectacular blow outs! Instead of two mature young professionals, two starved wild dogs out for blood were getting into the car every night.

Plus, as soon as you’ve finished work and you’re all wired with stress, should the first interaction you have be with your significant other? No it should not. If you have unresolved stresses you should have the opportunity to take them out on innocent bystanders instead. Rip the server a new one for getting your order wrong, tell some douche in the elevator to shut the fuck up and quit humming that shit in your ear, or flip off that dickbag driver cutting suddenly in front of you. I’m a firm believer in venting before going home. If you’re pissed off let it out on someone who doesn’t matter, or some inanimate object even. I am partial pushing the elevator buttons really hard and slamming desk drawers shut. Letting it out in these ways means that there’s a smaller chance of that crap coming home with me.

After a particularly scarring battle royale on the car ride home one night, I decided for the sake of my health, my sanity, and my relationship that I needed to start leaving at the right time even if I couldn’t get home quite yet. So I’d take my book and enjoy some me time at the end of the day. When it was time to go home, I’d get in the car much more my normal self and I’d be able to listen sympathetically to my poor boyfriend instead of exacerbating his stress by adding all of my own to the mix.

Eventually the bus strike ended and I got to commute to and from work like a normal human being. However, this slowed down my reading time a lot. It took me forever to finish this book, even though it was really quite riveting.

I was nearing the end around 10:30 one night and it was getting so good that I decided to stay up until I was finished. I only had another 75 pages or so to go, so why not? I dug deep into my reserves of wakefulness and kept going. When I finally got to the last page it was 12:45am and my eyes were getting heavy but my heart was getting lighter.

It’s a very strange sensation to finish a book when you’ve invested so much time. If it was enjoyable, there’s a small feeling of disappointment that there isn’t more to look forward to. If it was terrible, there’s a sense of accomplishment for sticking it out to the end. But if it’s really good… there’s this bizarre feeling euphoria coupled with a harsh comedown. I was buzzing with excitement when my eyes swept over the last word on the very last page. The good feeling of finishing a book was magnified tenfold on this one because of how long it took, how incredible the story was, and how reaching the end of this book so closely paralleled the end of my woes with the transit strike, and my life at the time.

I consider finishing this book a tremendous success for me. Finishing a book may be a small joy for some, but finally closing this one is definitely the brightest spot in my week. I’ve heard that some people will read the last page of a book first, just to know what they’re getting into. That’s pure craziness! The best part of a book is building to the end and being totally surprised, or having your predictions validated.

Or sometimes, that last page might just be the thing you need to help you to realize how far you’ve come from beginning to end.

The Perfect Week (and a half!)

A few weeks ago it was a horrendously rainy morning. This does not bode well for someone who takes two buses to get to work. Two buses with a very small window of connection, especially in the morning. The evening buses usually work out, but for some reason the morning ones are an absolute nightmare. So on that particularly rainy day it seemed as though the fates had smiled down upon me because my buses actually connected and I was able to get to work relatively dry.

This totally made my day, naturally. So I thought to myself I ought to write a post all about how incredible it is when the buses actually connect. Then something even more remarkable happened. For the next 8 working days after that, ALL of my morning buses connected! Not only did they connect, but they connected with brilliant timing. I didn’t need to chase a single one of them down.

I’m someone who is notoriously early for work, school, events, etc. I’m always the first on the scene. Needless to say, when my timely arrival is dependent on the ill-conceived public transit schedule the anxiety I feel is unbearable. I’m constantly looking at my watch and leaning forward in my seat ready to jump off at every passing stop. I’m desperately hoping that my impatient huffs and long suffering sighs will actually make the bus go faster.

More often than not my attempts to defy the laws of traffic with a single discontented glare fail and I miss that crucial connection. When this happens, I’m that person frantically pacing the bus stop waiting for the next one to roll up and disappoint me. My good vibes are all very quickly cast asunder when I see that connecting bus go rolling along down the road without me on board.

Even more frustrating is the fact that sometimes I have to watch the connecting bus drive off without from my seat on the first bus! The intersection at which the buses connect is an annex of headache and traffic in the morning. The first bus comes down a slight hill towards the main intersection. Between the hill and the intersection are two pointless sets of traffic lights. To merely allow ease of access to a shopping plaza for the feint of heart motorists who think being courteous and polite is the best way to get where you’re going.

Sometimes the bus will get stopped at both sets of lights while trying to get to the bottom of the hill to reach the connecting bus. This is absolutely enraging! Especially when the red light hits, and not a single car goes through the intersection. ARAAGGGHH!!!! WHY?!? Why does the red light have to hit in rush hour for not even so much as a scooter? Sometimes I hop off the bus preemptively because I’m convinced that I can sprint to the connecting bus faster than the first bus will be able to get through the lights. More than once I’ve done this only to watch the first bus fly past me in my mad dash to the bottom of the hill. I’ll try any means necessary to make that connection happen. Desperate times call for desperate, poorly planned measures.

So you can imagine how remarkable it felt to have one connection go as planned on that rainy Tuesday.

Now imagine eight simultaneous work days of connecting buses. I’ve never felt such joy! My connection anxiety would be silently brewing inside me during the first bus ride, and then maddening euphoria would reverberate throughout my soul while cruising down to work on the second bus. I’d catch that second bus with ease and then float into work as if I were going to be spending the day playing with kittens or honing up my yo-yo skills. As opposed to my normal day which consists of lengthy meetings, aneurysm inducing phone calls, and trying to circumvent tons of red tape at all ends. The good vibes were going to my head, man.

However, as one Mr. Frost knows, nothing gold can stay. Such is the case with my spectacular week and a half of connecting buses. I missed the connection the following Friday. Although, it was sunny and warm so I did get to enjoy the morning sunlight for 20 minutes before the next bus ushered me into the office.

We had a hell of a run though!