You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘everyday life’ category.

pumpkin lovewell i’m gonna tell you some things that you know and some things that you don’t. and yes, this is how i start my blog posts these days, with generalized assertions of nothingness. it is hot in vancouver lately and i gotta say, i stupid love it. it makes me miss the hot-thigh-sweatiness of humid summers in ottawa a little less. but it doesn’t make me miss the beer-soaked-afternoons-on-a patio-in-the-market any less, i must say. this means nothing to those of you who haven’t spent a canada day in an ottawa mob painted red. looking for your top.

anyhoo.

i am still in the thick of a summer of teaching and all i know – amidst piles of marking – is i love it. even when its too much. even when there is more to do than can seemingly be done. i also love camping – i know, wtf, eh? – and the new plants decorating my previously barren balcony. summer makes me happy. but it flies like nobody’s business.

i don’t want to get into an esoteric discussion about the brevity of time or life or joy because honestly, blogs aren’t really suppose to be all life-y and preachiness (according to me, the apparently judgey thoughtful spaz). but recent life events – illness in my family, the epiphany about teaching as key for me, and a milestone anniversary make me think about something a family member said to me in recent weeks about how life goes by so fast. i hadn’t seen this family member in roughly 9 nines, so it was an illustrative example of his point. last i’d seen him we were kids, poking the eyes out of fish and wrapping them up as presents for our mothers (sweet, i know). well, maybe not that long ago. but we were certainly awkward teens. and now we’re what are commonly referred to as adults replete with furry kids (cats all around), homes, and “real lives.” he was sharing sage advice from his father who’d said to him simply that it all goes by too fast. and it does. if we let it. we consistently forget as a people i think, that we can make our lives however we chose (that is, if we are privileged enough to make more than constrained choices in the world).

alls i’m saying folks, in an unoriginal sort of way, is that maybe, just maybe, all life is is texting love notes to t-bone with pumpkin scone icing fingers after class on a hot vancouver day.

hazmat-suitso i survived the plague. barely. what’s with rampant sickness taking over vancouver? seriously people, i need you to take some vitamins and stop passing your goddamn germs around. alrighty. that feels better. but seriously – i was sick for a whole week. like snotty-face, laying-prostrate-on-the-couch-sick. i even had to teach in that state and that was hella painful. i was teaching poststructural theory kids – a mindf*ck on any day of the week – let alone during plague week. so during my almost-death week i stumbled upon some crucial life lessons and i will fill you in asap!

  1. as the title of this post demonstrates – i am a full-fledged batshit crazy germaphobe. like, for reals. i am pretty sure i cont(r)acted this disease from a fellow conference-goer at a fabulous conference i attended a little over a week ago. fabulous except for the fact that it was ripe with human germs. this is the second time i have almost died after attending a conference. this leads to me to believe that i should stop shaking people’s hands. like EVER. i am currently working on a strategy to never touch strangers that will not turn me into a bonafide nutter (any suggestions would be appreciated). i figure it has made howie mandel more endearing so why not me? when someone goes in for the handshake i’ll just say, “you know that thing that howie mandel has? i totally have that too. so keep your fucking hands to yourself mister” or something equally entirely inappropriate.
  2. i am pretty good at feeling desperately sorry for myself. when people don’t manage to muster as much sympathy as i have for myself, i kinda hate them.
  3. i seriously had a virus and not even the norwalk (which my friend M. managed to get at her workplace) and i still questioned if i had the will to live.
  4. fortunately cadbury cream eggs are out because it is spring/easter-time and they restored my will to live. but just barely. i had to eat at least one a day to keep from seriously freaking out.
  5. my home became the den of sickness which basically means that due to a lack of cleaning (related to the lack of the will to live) cat fur started to engulf t-bone and me. seriously, if anyone wants cats who constantly shed and yell really loud after they take shits, we have the sweetest pair for you.
  6. pizza hut pizza also has the ability to restore the will to live. i think it is because it is basically cheese and pepperoni on top of a doughnut. yummy. doughnut pizza.
  7. i get really spastic when i get sick and become convinced that life will never be as it once was. t-bone tells me it is because i take too much over the counter cold medication but i think it is because demons possess me after the virus weakens my immune system. and no, i didn’t get that idea after watching almost the entire first season of true blood when i was sick.  so shut it.
  8. hbo really does make the wickest television serieses. and yes, i am aware that serieses is not a word.
  9. it was raining while i was sick and lead to the sickness-induced conviction that i was clinically depressed. t-bone opened the blinds and my clinical depression became more of a general malaise.
  10. i started to wonder how much a hazmat suit might cost.
  11. i made t-bone promise me that i would live. and if i didn’t it was so f*cking his fault. *shakes fist*
  12. i got really angry at oprah. because she never has anything good on her show any more. *throws cat at television while screaming “why are you doing this to me oprah?!!? what have i EVER done to you?!!?! no one cares about people’s dirty houses – you know why? because we ALL HAVE DIRTY HOUSES AND WE DON’T F*CKING CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S DIRTY HOUSES! either come clean ours or give us a car or shut the fuck up. now.”*
  13. t-bone is the bestest sick-person caregiver in the world! he didn’t even mind when i let food fall from my mouth while saying things like: “you call this fucking chicken soup? jesus dude, i’m fucking dying over here!”

these are my current realizations about the nature of my existence. if you too have recently undergone a near-death experience due to a mild illness, please share in the comments section.

chefas i sit lately between the dual screens of my computer and my beloved television, i try to come up with more reasons to whine. sometimes i think whining is the ultimate procrastination technique. or my genetic disposition. or my destiny. in any case, i am going to regale you with ridiculous stuff i am whining about today in order to um…well procrastinate. instead of my usual list however, i will present my whiny-ness as a series of conversation fragments in order to illustrate the silliness of my supposed ‘troubles.’

here goes.

SCHOOLWORK

me: “yeah. i have to revise my dissertation. it’s like editing but so.much.worse.”

unnamed voice of reason (who is currently writing their dissertation): “yeah but look at the position you are in – actually finished a draft and editing basically. i can’t wait to be there.”

me: “i’m not sure you heard me – i have to revise. and revising is like editing which i hate. you like editing, don’t you? you’re not that busy are you – wanna do it for fifty bucks?”

KITTY LOVE

me: “there are cats everywhere. they are on me all.the.time. they also have way to much soft fluffy irresistible fur. do you think [unnamed dissertation writing/fan of editing friend] would take them instead of the fifty bucks i offered her?”

t-bone: “um…are you okay?”

me: “do you think we could get more? i mean, they are pretty cute…”

t-bone: “so you want to sell our cats?”

me: “i’m not a terrible person! shut up! why would you want to get rid of the cats?!?!” *sobbing uncontrollably while squeezing hobbes too tightly*

LAUNDRY

me: “why do you even wear underwear? boxers are ridiculous anyway – they don’t do anything with regard to containment, protection, or general control-age of the junkage – maybe we should just throw all your underwear out and then i won’t have to wash them. EVER.”

t-bone: “i’m gonna just pretend you didn’t say that.”

CLEANING

me: “i have cleaned three times in the last week. wtf is with that?”

friend: “you should get rid of your cats – it is all their fur.”

me: “THAT’S WHAT I SAID! i’ll let you have one of them for fifty bucks.”

COOKING

me: “i’m on strike.”

t-bone: “yeah. i pretty much figured that out about five years ago.”

YOGA

me: “i don’t have time to be zen. i am too busy trying to line up someone to edit my dissertation, pawning my cats on unsuspecting friends, not cook and clean, and surreptitiously throw all your underwear out.”

t-bone: “i just asked if you wanted an omelet.”

SNOW

me: “why the f*ckballs is it snowing? yesterday i had allergic reactions to cherry blossom trees blossoming and NOW F-ING SNOW?!?! well, at least i can pretend it is xmas again.”

t-bone: “maybe i’ll get boxers from santa?”

DEADLINES

me: “time is relative. life is relative. just ask tom green. i mean – who ever thought he’d be on t.v. again – now look at him! i should prolly just pace myself. that is what tom would want me to do.”

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

me: “i’m so freaking tired. what the hell time is it? no – like the real time – like the time it was yesterday before nothing happened and we switched the clocks ahead an entire hour. yeah. that time.”

SPRING

me: “it’s f*cking snowing in vancouver and we are gonna set a record for snowfall. tonight. don’t talk to me about spring. it is just a teaser. a myth. like hairless cats and personal chefs. all lies.”

friend: “so that means you don’t want to go outside?”

me: “no for sure i do! i’ll go and get my catfur coat. be right with you!”

and there you have it – my muddled, whine-ass state of mind lately.

perhaps it’s paralyzed spring fever.

but here’s to shedding winter like an old catfur coat and un-needed boxers! jacks needs to bust out baby – so watch out!

no seriously – watch out. might try to sell you a cat or get you to edit my dissertation.

so seriously. um…watch out.

big-white-09-0511hi – it’s me! your favoritest blogger returned from the land of big white and mini skis (pictured left).  so i haven’t blogged in a while, so what? you also don’t do stuff your supposed to so get off my back. okay – i might be a little bitter because i am still getting over fuzzybrain that plagued me at the extact same time as it did last year. creepy? yes. methinks so. (please suggest possible reasons for this recurring cottonbrain conundrum in the comments section. especially if you are a doctor specializing in hypochondria and/or germaphobia. many thanks). anyhoo – a couple of days – in the deepest depths of my fuzzybrainness – i was going to regale you with all the minutiae of my life but then i began to have interesting conversations about a particular topic that kept coming up. and no, it wasn’t because of what t-bone suggests – that i have to tell the same story over and over again in his presence just to test the limits of his capacity for unconditional love and tolerance (okay the latter half of that was my inclusion but the first part – that i endlessly tell the same stories is all his – just ask him about it – he’ll rant for a good hour). i am going to call this topic ‘failure,’ although as we’ll see, this kind of failure is the new fantasticness. stay with me.

so i am turning 30 this year (and this will be one of my repetitive stories so brace yourselves and don’t bring it up to t-bone or he might have an aneurysm. oh – if your the doctor that is diagnosing my hypochondria could you tell me what an aneurysm is because i use it all the time and have no idea. many thanks.) and it has made me realize that if 40 is the new 30, then 30 is the new 20. by this i mean that myself and many of my friends are currently experiencing the thirties as a renewed moment of indecision, not unlike that moment you had just out of high school (pre-20s) when you begged your parents to let you live free and die young. or any other approximation of not-going-to-university. or was that just me? anyway, the thirties seem like this moment – when we have enough education, maybe have made enough money, and are perhaps pre- or post-marriage but definitely pre-children – were we step back and say wtf? what do we want out of life and how are we going to get it. it is like realizing anything is possible which we didn’t when we were begging our parents for travel funds to europe or a year off to ‘find ourselves’ (i.e., working at denny’s and then running for the nearest educational institution). see, we were dumb in our twenties. we figured everything would work out and that life wasn’t something to be worked at. instead it would just happen to us just like everything else had happened to us since birth. and it was gonna be good times.

so some of my friends have been working in interesting and challenging careers since before i started grad school. and while i kinda hate them for making the wise decision to start making money light years before me, i empathize with their concerns about if what they are doing is what they always want to be doing. their questioning about if this is ‘it’. since i am the cusp of finishing something that has kept me busy since 2001 when i started my m.a., i am asking the same questions – what do i want out of life, what is possible, what isn’t, what do i deserve out of life, what do i never, ever want? an interesting aspect of this questioning and decision-making is the diversity of what constitutes both achievements and failures for those of us making these decisions. over some sausage and eggs recently, my friend N. and i discussed our visions of the ‘failures’ of so-called social achievement. we questioned the social pressure to marry and procreate as ‘whose’ values – our own or more appropriately classified under the rubric of ‘social expectation?’ we wondered where social expectation ends and our own desires begin while trying to acknowledge the impossibility of somehow ‘living outside’ such expectation (and its inevitable impact on the shaping of our desires).

after too much coffee and a walk to air out the nauseating diner smell, i continued to think about how one person’s achievement is another person’s personal failure and how different valuations of values can result in both feelings of inadequacy and superiority. and i wondered if it wasn’t the people who engage in the flouting and touting of their so-called social achievements who really suffer. the ones who measure their worth against the perceived ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ of others that perpetuate the expected outcomes of social expectation. this is not meant to be self-righteous, but rather a consideration of the multitudes of valuation that exist but are ignored. that persist but are disrespected. deciding that marriage and children as ‘success’ is not only the privileged domain of a heteronormative value system (by and large) but it is necessarily exclusionary and intolerant. however, even those who live in difference need to heed the value systems of others as equal as long as they are not oppressive. my point – if i have one – is to suggest that we must acknowledge that our lives are a culmination of the values we privilege. and what is most interesting about those values is that, despite the notion or appearance that they are universal and uniform, are easily in/subverted by desires that move outside the realm of the expected. suburban dreams as failures. and achievement measured by how comfortably you can live in your skin and accept others regardless of how closely they fit what we were all once told to want.

bigsisterlast year at this time i was doing about the same thing – thinking through what i hoped a new year could/would bring. in a microcosmic example of history repeating itself, i want to talk about the same thing again. i waxed on about how adding something to my life, rather than making the usual i need to change/fix/remake myself resolutions, had really changed my life for the better. had given me something shiny and new. and in a way that getting “fitter” or not eating chocolate could never do. two years after i made the resolution to volunteer i am sitting in the same excited state. waiting to see what will come. what kind of newness and joy awaits me on the other side of tomorrow.

for a year and a half after i made the resolution the first time to volunteer with big sisters of BC lower mainland i spent quality time with a young woman who became my little sister about five months after i wrote the post linked above. i got to know her creative spirit, her joking manner, the way she knew i was a spaz and giggled when i recounted my geriatric falling in the shower episode (and dragging the curtain and curtain rod down with me when i managed to wedged myself between the toilet and the tub upon landing). she brought a lot to my life. and most importantly, stuff i didn’t even know was missing. we were matched for more than the required time commitment (one year) and recently decided to opt for a more informal friendship as our recent attempts to get together formally (the time commitment per week being 2-4 hours), with her now in high school and me writing a dissertation, were failing more often than not.

being part of C.’s life was an opportunity that gave me a lot of happiness. i thought i would never find the “right” volunteering opportunity. never quite meet the requirements or be driven enough to fulfill all the hoops volunteering agencies rightly put people through to demonstrate their commitment. but i did it. and i am still a bit in awe. not only of the drive i felt after i went to the first orientation meeting or the determination i felt getting my criminal record check and the honesty that kinda poured out in my meetings with the big sister’s counselor that matched us. big sisters itself is an amazing organization and the counselors are fantastic – always making you feel supported and appreciated. i am also in awe of the many women (and men) that do this kind of volunteering and make lasting differences in the lives of youth. and all the children and parents out there who are equally committed to having their children benefit from someone else in their lives.

anyhoo – before this sounds like any more of a commercial – i just want to let you in on why i am so excited this new year. i am sitting on this side of another little sister in my future. another little girl who is excited about having someone spend quality time with them. to make them feel important. special. and cared for. while i do have other personal goals this new year, the one i am proudest of, and most excited for, is the new little girl who will enter my life in 2009 and help me realize that we all have more to offer than we think. are better than we know. and have more to learn from little women than we could ever imagine possible.

as an epilogue to this post i want to say that if anyone is thinking about becoming a big sister i would *love* to talk more about my experiences or answer any questions. i know i had a lot of questions about whether or not i could make the time, what the matching process was like, what kind of stuff we would do together, and the list goes on. i know there are lots of little girls out there who need big sisters and i know that the women i know are fabulous so let me try to convince you to do it if you are interested!

also, tell me your resolutions. now.

eggnog2it’s true. i should be doing ANYTHING else right now besides blogging. there is a tree to put up, an apartment to clean, publications to write, relatives to call, cats to pet. but goddamit, what about time for jacks? i just got back from a whirlwind trip around holland (and belgium) to visit family (i have an aunt who resembles zsa zsa  in more ways that one who celebrated her 95th birthday – said birthday was celebrated in.a.castle. yeah, that’s right. holland has castles. who knew? and more importantly, how awesome is it to go to a party and then sleep in a castle. oh, and then go to another castle the next day for my cousin’s wedding reception. yup. two castles. two days. two parties. two different parts of holland. i barely survived the jetlag. i tell you this not to brag – because do people really get jealous of jacks randomly sleeping in castles? i think not. but rather to share my incredulity with you. dutch castles. things that make you go hmmm). anyhoo – trip was fun – family heavy which was just what i wanted. i got to celebrate sinterklaas day there which is sorta like christmas here – presents for kids, etc. – while christmas – the 25th – is celebrated more like a religious holiday without gifts. if you are looking for a trippy holiday though – sinterklaas day is one to check out – particularly the part about zwarte (translated as black) pete (or piet in dutch). can anyone say unselfconscious blackface? yowza. but in other, only tangentially related news, it seems that i am in blogging arrears and dr. beth (whose blog currently has snow! yay!) has sent me another meme so i must get to it because it makes me feel important.

basically i have to do a bunch of fancy blog-related things that i am too lazy to figure out at the moment and i am distracted by t-bone filling up my eggnog bath (not really) so i will just write 6 random things about myself and ask you, dear readers to do the same in the comments. here goes:

  1. my nickname when i was six was popcorn head. i might have already talked about this and the way my mother cut and permed my hair like a geriatric’s, but who doesn’t want to revisit that pain over and over again? i know i do.
  2. i currently desperately want to write a short story. i thought i wanted to write a novel but now that just seems too ambitious what with the dissertation and all.
  3. i am currently sporting my natural haircolour which i haven’t seen since roughly 1995.
  4. i was born with three holes in my heart which were repaired by way of open-heart surgery when i was three. it didn’t strike me that i had actual holes in my heart until i was about 9 years old and my friend (susanne, if you read this blog, just know that i am outing out) asked me if i had any trouble with my feelings – you know, like love, because the carebears were advising us at that time in the late 1980s that without our hearts we were all just…i dunno mired in the land without feelings. fucking profound susie q. i must say.
  5. i got married when i was 25. i know! doesn’t that seem young? well i guess it does to me now that i am almost thirty. jeesh. such a little lamb back then before t-bone corrupted me with his love and proposals of marriage and such. aaaah.
  6. i love holland more than i think i would love the land of oz. however, there is no way of ever knowing that and i am aware of that.

yay! this is fun! i want to go on forever but i am afraid of how random this could get. for example i might spill about how i was a punk rocker for like my entire youth for halloween (badly approximating madonna in her like a virgin video (gawd – i STILL love that song!), or how i used to make boys i liked get down on their hands and knees so i could step on their backs getting onto the monkey bars at school (like, what was that about? can someone say control issues?). or how i love eating in random hole-in-the-wall chinese restaurants that smell suspiciously and taste deliciously. or how i love christmas far too much for someone approaching thirty. alright. i’m stopping. but i want to hear some random shit for all ya’ll and i will also be accepting ideas  for plots for my possible short story. perhaps i will blog some of it. or perhaps it will remain the untold story of a popcorn headed girl, dressed skankily like madonna, eating chinese food in the land without feelings.

um. whatevs.

pantyhosei went to godforsaken edmonton recently to interview for a teaching position. i want to pause here to apologize to everyone i know who lives in godforsaken edmonton, anyone who enjoys it there, and anyone who knows or loves someone who lives there. the prairies are…interesting. that aside, i survived my very first interview and i want to chronicle what went wrong, what went right, and what i learned. here goes.

first of all, my beautiful and wonderful friend L. came with, and that made everything lovely and delicious. she was even trying to be like “edmonton is nice,” “edmonton seems safe and friendly,” and my personal favourite, “i’m sure if you lived here long enough you would find food that was good…really.” needless to say, we both kissed the ground when we returned to vancity. and may the gods of karma strike me down, i can’t see myself as an edmontonian. but i grew up in a small town in ontario. i have perspective. i am not saying i’m better than all that. i am saying sometimes you can see yourself in a place. sometimes you can’t. such is life. that was what my eighth-grade teacher used to say. such is life.

whatever the f*ck that means.

as someone who exists mainly in sweats and the occasional fabulous (yes, i am going to grant myself some fabulousness, so there) outfit when i actually leave the house, i managed to begin the day by shoving my finger through my tights (which were more like pantyhose but i don’t want to admit that i was actually thinking about wearing pantyhose because they are seriously scarring as a fabric, a concept, and a crotch-dropping reality), thereby creating a massive run that could not be hidden. luckily, i had some knee sock thingys that did the trick but showed my knobby knee-caps when i sat. first point goes to murphy’s law. i managed to spend a total of ten seconds with the head of the department before blurting this fact out. i think i managed to hold out well.

second point goes to me because i kicked ass in my interview and i am going to go so far as to say that i kicked ass during the entire TEN HOUR interview day. yeah, that’s right kids. i had all the answers. i was my spastic self. and it all seemed to come together in this glorious performance that by the end of the day i was convinced i couldn’t replicate. but, after my 9 ounce glass of wine (everything is big in alberta), i was sure i could withstand another full day of attention with ease. since seriously it is how i try to negotiate my whole life – that is, trying to attract copious amounts of jacks-attention – it really should (and apparently does) come naturally. points to jacks. for reals.

third point goes to thai food. i don’t think i have to remind anyone that i have a baby stomach, but needless to say, nerves, baby stomach, and thai food is a toxic nauseating mix that almost killed me. yeah, that’s right. i almost died a spicy death. sounds hot. but not.

the last billion points go to me. just cause i am proud of my kickass self. and job hunting is fun, albeit ridiculously stressful.

tell me great interview tales – i would love to hear the chronicles of your pantyhose ripping and such.

okay. go.

not everyone likes looking for a job but i dig it. it’s kinda like winning something. and being in a contest that you can win, unlike every other contest out there. i mean, i did snag five dollars in that recent lottery that was $43 million so maybe i’m super lucky and CAN win any contest out there. we’ll see.

the part people particularly hate – resume writing – is the part i like the most. i know. how messed up is that? but it is fun. especially when i write resumes for other people. so then, when i make shit up about them, i don’t feel so bad cause i don’t know it’s not true. do i? i often initiate the question game – like the one where you ask questions and then everyone has to answer in an attempt to learn interesting and unknown facts about the people you know. [note: this game works best under these two conditions: 1) there is nothing else to play or you are trapped in a car; and 2) there are copious amounts of alcohol. play at your own risk]. anyhoo – during the question game people often ask what the worst job you have ever had was and this normally results in uproarious laughter because you find out someone you know and love wiped old people’s bums or posed nude for art classes (the latter is less funny and more an opportunity to picture that person naked). alas, i have no good answer for this because i have had so few jobs and even though one required me to wear a dress from the 1840s, it is simply not that funny. nor dramatic. nor tragic.

maybe it is because i have been lucky with the jobs i have had which makes me excited about the process of job-getting or maybe it is my naivetee about all the shit jobs out there. i have this weird idea – that i swears is not ekhart tolle inspired – that you throw shit out there and see what sticks. and what sticks is usually the right thing because it is what is (okay – that last part was tolle – i admit it!). but i mean, as cliche as it sounds/is, where you end up teaches you something , if only about yourself.

i have also been thinking a lot about the misrecognition of self, not only because my most recent dissertation chapter is about it, but because i think many of us misrecognize ourselves as not enough or too much – whatever form that might take. i’m too fat, not smart enough, too critical/negative, not ambitious enough, etc. we can’t see past the past that no longer defines us. has become outside our lived experience but exists within us as a cancer. a plague of doubt. you know what people never hear enough of? praise. and the sentence that they are enough. better, they are perfect just as they are. fine. good. complete.

a job doesn’t give us fulfillment, but it offers a chance to live fully through our doubts and fears. through and beyond the nothingness that is the phrase: “i am not good enough.”

anyhoodle – what was your worst job? tell me. now. cause i want to laugh and possibly picture you naked.

(and forgive me for the help wanted poster. i couldn’t resist!).

i have been thinking a lot about babies lately. and kids. and not in the way one might imagine. these thoughts are giving me icky feelings. and pee-inducing nightmares.

it all started when i had a dream about t-bone being preggers. i mean, sweet, right? turns out, not so sweet. i think he was just a vehicle for my own messed up ideas about what pregnancy would be like. read: f*ckin’ scary as shit. all he did was whine. and he wasn’t sexy pregnant either. sorry, dude. but pregnancy doesn’t become you. next it was the proliferance (is that even a word? methinks, no) of babies in my life. i mean babies are cute. darling even. but i can’t EVER imagine being responsible for one. like. EVER. and then there is the fact that they never go away. as my mother always tells me (and something that i have internalized as a threat): “once a mother, always a mother.”

this also could have something to do with two other factors. 1) someone recently called me “unconventional” and after i almost punched them i realized that it was meant as a compliment; and 2) i am going on the job market. the “unconventional” nature of my life means that not only have i been living like an undergrad since 1997 but i have possibly also been thinking, acting, and being generally irresponsible like one since around then too. also, how is it possible to work and have children? i know women do it. but i am convinced that they are magical. like unicorns. and leprechauns. or magical the way matthew mcconaughey having a career is magical. and we all know how i feel about him.

i had a recent debate with a friend about whether or not it is “okay” for employers to punish their female employees based on non-performance at work due to family commitments. i mean, obviously, it is not but it seemed to me like we we speaking within the confines of popular discourse that still, let me stress: STILL encourages women to think of working as a choice. as though we would all be happier – oh, and have better adjusted children – if we just stayed home. as though that “choice” doesn’t also exist in a land of fairy tales and privilege that not only doesn’t exist but doesn’t take into account women’s RIGHT to work, be ambitious, successful, f*cking fabulous, and the like. choice is a tricky word when it comes to women. and everybody seems to be all about “giving” women the choice between this and that. between attractive options like double shifts of work meaning work, then kids and home, and triple shifts, such as work, kids, home, and care of extended family and/or child-like spouse. i mean come on people! choice is a fantasy created by those who don’t have to choose. who can live in the comfort and safety of knowing that their “role” doesn’t involve housework, child-rearing, and caring for elderly relatives. whew. jacks is on ranty roll kids. watch out.

i guess this sums up my perspective on children. i guess i think that being unconventional can’t work with little ones. because then you are mother. and with an academic career looming, that is a scary prospect.

however, if one can have an unconventional egalitarian marriage, perhaps there is hope for procreation. cause we could all use little jacks’s running around, no?

in the infamous words of marx: “in bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.” we live then, according to marx, in a deindividuated world of capital gain, dependence [on the “man?”], and bourgeois comfort that medi[c]ates the masses. similarly, in the infamous words of my friend B.: “jacks, you might be a little bougie.” though he said it in the sweetest way, and in relation to his own more overt bougieness (take that!), it got me thinking – is jacks bougie? thus, this is a little meditation on “bougieness,” that is, the comfort that comes with excess, the attempts to “deviduate” ourselves, and an explanation for why the website stuff white people like is so friggin’ popular. despite the quote from marx, this post is not meant to be serious. for reals.

when i entered grad school, i realized – despite knowing it intellectually – that my colleagues were perhaps in a different “class.” had different backgrounds. basically they were oozing coin. not a problem i have ever been faced with. i am part of those endless canadian “middle” classes, which extend from the upper-lower to the higher-middle and everything in between. i looked around after my first year and realized i was playing on a different field. was in a different realm. of financial fluidity. however, like most “white” kids in the small towns, hamlets, and suburbs of canada, i was raised a little bougie. to be more refined. to value travel. fine food. delicious wine. i was groomed to be significantly upwardly mobile. a path not paved for all.

being “bougie,” in my own estimation, and perhaps my friend B.’s, has more to do with the nuances of life than the overt display of pretentious pettiness. it is about preferring this brand to that. knowing which restaurant is the best in the city for this kind of food. knowing how to order and consume wee little plates of flamboyantly fractured food in a place you can barely afford but believe, truly believe, you deserve to frequent. if you believe/feel/have done these things, you’re bougie dude. face it.

but don’t fret. a lot of us white folk are like this. we pretend to discern. we describe. we debate. we deliberate. we think we are entitled to opinions. to options. to being individuals. but this individuality comes with a price. it takes cash. capital. we haven’t separated the meaning of personhood – of this presupposed right to individuality – from capital as it appears in marx’s formulation. we have merely embraced it. made it our own. become bougie.

stuff white people like recognizes this. it takes all white people’s demarcations of insignificance and lays it bare. makes it meaningful in its expose of its profound meaningless. white people need stuff to make them significant. and often that means buying stuff to have stuff. to create meaning. consuming to be something. everybody’s gotta have a thing. and white folk want a lotta things. we haven’t shifting the discourse of meaning-making around being and having. we have merely tried to be more through having without doing too much. we exist in entitlement. which is hilarious. and why stuff white people like is now a book. a cult classic. a pop(ular) sensation.

entitlement is a tricky thing. it is ugly in its overt state. and it spills out on all sides. consistently getting farther from its originary point. the quest for stuff. entitlement – while born out of a mommy and daddy get me everything attitude – quickly morphs into something more insidious. and more banal. the misrecognition of others. and their worth. being bougie is funny. but only when we recognize that everyone’s right to be is equal. and to stop stealing each others’ seats on the free shuttle in stanley park.

so there.