Futon, Electrickery, and Running Water

2017 07 06 - 00:49

I was never much of a nature person. Whatever hippie gene my mother might have had, did not get passed on to me; although a love of Otis Redding seeped through the uteran wall during my gestation. Apparently she listened to a lot of Otis while I was baking.

I didn't ever enjoy camping - still don't have any craving for it - and a lot of what's involved does nothing for me. A lot of what's involved is also precluded by having a severe visual impairment. The most, for example, I'm ever going to notice about a bird, unless it's right at my feet, is that it's flying - a black dot in the sky. It could be an alien craft up there, for all I know. It's the same for walking in the woods. I have to spend all my time looking down, to make sure I don't fall on my face. Details are utterly lost on me. Green. Brown. Lighter brown. Wet brown. Grey. Blue. Possibly flower colours, but I woukldn't know they were flowers unless they were right in my face. Even though I'm short, that's all I see from the eye level of someone who's 5'4 1/2", are just fields of colour. I have the same problem with buffet tables. That could be cheese... or it could be melon. That could be tomato... or it could be red pepper. That could be sliced chicken... or it could be pork... or even fish.

Sometimes I've even had to get other people to get food for me, or at least tell me what everything is. It's kind of discouraging, but it's a necessity. I'm sure I've talked about all this before.

I don't hate nature, don't get me wrong. It's just that because of my vision, and having spent so much time (by necessity as well as exposure matters) living the urban life, my taste for nature is minimal, and very specific. Someone's back porch (in the shade) is sufficient for me. If I really crave trees, I can go stand in some for half an hour, and I'm good. There are several sufficiently enclosing groves of trees within ten minutes walk of me. If I really feel like a woodsy experience, I can hop a bus to the RBG and walk through Hendrie Valley - which has fisheries and lawns and gardens and woods - woods that have paved paths, which means I can walk and enjoy green, brown, and blue, and not have to worry so much about falling flat on my face. There are also not pathed woodsy parts, which are also quite lovely. The RBG is a great place for people who want nature in small and selective doses. I can enjoy nature for as much as I need to, and go home - where there is a futon, electrickery, and running water.

I think that part of the reason I don't like camping, is that I am trapped. I feel trapped. I am in a place that I can't get out of, with no options for entertainment other than things I have no enjoyment for or capability for. I am nowhere near a bus. I can't walk anywhere where there might be one. I am completely dependant on others for motor vehicle transportation since I can't drive, so anywhere outside of a bus drive away, means that I have no choice but to stay. I really don't like being in places that I can't leave at a moment's notice if I'm really inclined to. I have even avoided family functions because of that; because of people who live in places where there is no bus access. I think they probably thought I didn't like them, or wasn't interested; but here's the truth: I felt trapped. I just didn't know how to tell anyone that without feeling like a complete idiot. I've avoided other social functions for the same reason.

That's a funny thing, feeling trapped in the outdoors.

Oddly, and despite all this, I do have a fondness for certain kinds of desolate places - Death Valley, the summit of Kilimanjaro, Uluru. Actually, what I like the most, are abandoned places. There is an allure about them; I am fascinated. I've never been able to define, why; but those others who also enjoy abandoned places, will understand what I mean. I should get someone with a car to take me around some ghost towns.

I have also become such a solitary creature, that sometimes I just don't feel comfortable anywhere but home. I used to be able to sleep anywhere, but I can't do that anymore. I can't sleep well, or even at all, if I'm not in my own bed. Home is my sanctuary.

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The Hospital

2017 06 26 - 09:14

When I used to volunteer at the hospital I got very good at "not noticing" things. There are things you just don't see, in order to preserve what might be the last shreds of dignity a person has. People generally weren't there because they were having a good day. You needed to treat everyone like there was nothing wrong, but in such a way as to show understanding or compassion, because something generally was terribly wrong.

You always do see things, but it didn't sink in how adept I was at the above, until the day a lady came back a week after her initial visit to the ER, to thank me for not judging her because she'd come in still in her pyjamas.

That would be the last thing I'd judge anyone for in a hospital.

I hate hospital ERs. You see things there that just take the heart out of you.

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25 Things You Do as an Adult When You’ve Experienced Childhood Emotional Abuse

2017 06 22 - 13:23

Emotional abuse can manifest differently. It leaves scars, pain, and sorrows that you don’t remember having. Especially when it happens in your childhood. As an adult you have the stability to handle it, but as a kid? It stays with you for the rest of your life. But how exactly do you behave when you’re emotionally abused as a child? TheMighty recently asked their community about it and the results were heartbreaking.

1 - Conflict - Hearing other people's fights kind of... freezes me up. I feel stuck sometimes, too; like a fly trapped on paper it can't get off of. Or, rather, a deer trapped in a car's headlights.

2 - Compliments - Sometimes I have no idea what to do with them. I think that with some kinds of compliments, I just have no idea how to attach to it or have contact with it.

3 - Achievements - With me, I just try to never get myself into situations where I might be forced to ask for evaluation. That way, I'll never have to know. I just don't ask people's opinions. If they offer, I take it; but I do my best not to openly fish for it.

4 - Asocial - Sort of. I don't like parties, large groups of people, I always feel lost in them. I end up hiding in a corner at parties, feeling that I'm not a part of the group, that no one will be interested in my company. I like small groups, or one-on-one.

5 - Trust issues - Well I'm sure not very good at having faith in people.

11 - Rejecting love - As desperate as might be for it, I avoid situations where it might happen.

14 - Don't ask for help - I used to be terrible for it; I didn't want anyone to think I was stupid. I still don't want to be thought of as stupid. My life is so solitary most of the time, though, that being self-sufficient is sort of necessary.

15 - Growing attached - I have an issue that way, but I'm not going into that openly. But yeah, attachment issues. They're there.

16 - Shy - I was horribly timid as a child; so much so that my one Aunt nick-named me "Mousie". I'm better at talking with people now, but I'm still not ... forward.

17 - Hiding parts of yourself - All the time, every day.

18/19 - Low self-esteem/self-worth - Well, it's hard to have that when you grew up with an alcoholic who had no problem calling you a cunt. It's also hard to find value in yourself when you grew up with someone who spent all their time talking about how great other people were, but never said good things to you. It happened so rarely, in fact, that I received compliments from the people who raised me, that it would shock me when it happaned.

22 - Pacifism - I used to avoid conflict like it was an unholy plague.

24 - Don't know the kind of person you are - That's for damned sure. I feel, sometimes, that whatever is on the outside does not match whatever is on the inside. More specifically, I don't know who this external person is; and, a great deal of the time, I don't want to be it, or it appears like a stranger to me.

When growing up, the raising that we receive has much to do with our coping skills as an adult. And I have noticed that I, and other victims of emotional abuse, have certain behaviors that separate us from the rest. If you, or someone you know was a victim of abuse, then you may want to read through these. Just being able to understand where another person is coming from, or understanding yourself better, can make all the difference.

4 - You Are Tough, But Also Very Sensitive - Gawd I can take a lot - sarcasm, ribbing, crap - but not all the time, not every day. Sometimes I wish people would just be chill and quiet and say something nice to me.

6 - You Are Self-Disciplined - Not really, but I sure have gotten used to a life where I don't take certain kinds of help from people.

9 - You Have a Defensive Nature - I won't deny that. I don't take well to being thought of as stupid. I don't always understand a person's motives in what they say to me.

13 - Constantly Beating Yourself Up - I take on a lot of gut-rotting guilt for simple things sometimes, misperceived slights or offences I only think I've caused - generally there's no basis. The other party's forgotten about it.

14 - Having Issues Getting Close to Others - I do very well at things when I can keep people at arm's length, keep control of the situation.

15 - You Are Quiet - No, talkative, sharing, but a friend once said that I was very good at talking about myself without saying anything. I do like my down time though.

18 - You Don't Feel Valid - No, never.

20 - You Are Angry - I'm not a violent person, not that kind of angry. I'm... frustrated angry, crying angry, sad angry. Lost time, lost opportunities, opportunities that I never got but should have.

26 - You Are Humble - No, I don't think so; but I don't deal well with people complimenting me for having been so tough, or how I deal with my disability, or anything like that. My life was my life. I don't feel like I've done anything special or noble. Especially since I'm far from perfect and have many flaws.

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Preservation

2017 06 14 - 11:54

A friend of mine is looking for a copy of yesterday's Toronto Star because there's a picture of her in it and her mom wants it as a keepsake. I'm of a generation, and so is she, that did this sort of thing as a matter of course - if something important was in the paper, something that we wanted to keep, we'd clip it out and put it in a scrapbook, fold it inside the front cover of a book, frame it and hang it on the wall. It was the only way we had of preserving certain kinds of memories.

This was, of course, prior to the Internet.

As I was looking at her request, it occurred to me that we are now facing generations of young people who might have absolutely no understanding of why we'd want to do this, since the Internet allows them to acquire and save anything and everything, for posterity, for the next five minutes, for the length of a Snapchat memory. The Internet might have an attention span of only a day, but its memory is as eternal as your harddrive's viability and your proximity to a delete key.

We are also facing generations of people who live a kind of ephemera that we of older generations might never quite understand, even though we live it too. We put a lot of stock in physical manifestations of things, finding them to be the only 'real' version of a thing - a picture is only real if its in a frame on a wall, a book is only real if you can hold it in your hand. I still struggle with this idea a little, of seeing digital material as being 'real'. I think, in some cases, it has a lot to do with control - we can control what happens to things we can hold in our hands, but it's hard for us to trust in the reality of something that we, in essense, have no control over at all because it's not in front of us.

We also have a far different notion of privacy than the Ephemera Generation, because we grew up without being exposed to things that could allow us to share every thought every day, to put our lives on display for the world. You can't escape the long memory of the Internet though, so I think the oversharing might end one day, when folks realise just how much it can come back to bite you in the ass - or, they just might grow up not caring that it will.

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Former Hamilton bank employee speaks for thousands who can't over sales pressures

2017 06 13 - 22:56

"Canada's big bank employees who are speaking out against the questionable sales tactics and pressures they face"

Having worked for a bank offshoot sales program, I can honestly tell you that the pressure is tremendous. Mind you, I was in a call centre not affiliated with the bank in any way other than having been hired to sell its products, and sales centres are there only to do one thing - but the bank, and the insurance company they partnered with, were there all the time, pushing; and when they aren't, the team leads are.

Sales is an insidious thing, nasty at its core, and I'll have none of it. It does ugly things to people. The people at the centre who became good at it, and liked it, became unlikeable people - with only a few, very rare, exceptions. The environment in that place, and in every call centre I've ever worked at (for one reason or another), is... gossipy, smarmy.

I don't like selling things to people - I find it cheap (in the low-rent sense), dishonest, and invasive; and it's even worse when you're being pushed to sell something that you couldn't possibly believe in, or even buy yourself, but you're there because there's no other job to have. That kind of sales is nothing less than verbal, adult bullying, with the bulk of its victims being vulnerable people - the elderly, the poor. Every time I managed to make a sale, I felt dirty. I hated it; I hated it so much that the second HR came around the call centre talking about a work-from-home position that didn't involve sales, I leapt on it. I leapt on it so fast that I got in shit from my team lead for leaving the floor to apply for it.

On the note of selling things to people that aren't worth being bought, don't ever get credit card balance protection insurance. It's bullshit. You'd be better off having your balances protected under mortgage insurance, which is cheaper.

Also on that note, in Canada at least, it's not legal for a bank to sell insurance - this is why call centres are hired to do it. So if someone says they're from TD or CIBC or Scotiabank and they're calling to sell you insurance, they aren't in the bank at all. They're in some anonymous call centre somewhere.

And on the note of banks specifically, judging from the calls I got in that call centre, I'm fairly sure that CIBC has the worst credit card security in this country.

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Autonomy

2017 06 07 - 10:53

Customer service shows you a number of things about people, not the least of which is how readily vast swaths of the public will abdicate their autonomy. They seem far more bent on having the opportunity to complain about how it's someone else's fault, than they are on solving their own problems; and far more intent on being personally lazy, than on making an effort to be part of the solution, or any effort in the first place to even try to know something. Google is your friend, my friend. A little creative searching - or even reading the manual - will yield near magical results.

As a young girl I would have been mortified to be seen as this incapable, inept, or ignorant. It's, in fact, still a bit of an issue for me. I don't... react well to being thought stupid. I feel a great deal of shame sometimes, and embarrassment when I think folks think I'm an idiot. My issue with it probably has a lot to do with growing up with someone who regularly called me a stupid cunt.

That's not a joke. It's a thing that happened.

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Margaret Atwood says it's "a form of slavery to force women to have children they can't afford"

2017 06 05 - 08:55

"Speaking at New York City's Book Con on Saturday, Atwood argued that when states obligate women into childbearing, they institute "a form of slavery," Insider reported. State-mandated reproduction has two outcomes, she said: That women die, and that orphanages fill up. [...] "If you're drafted into the army, the other situation in which the state seizes control of your body, at least you get three meals a day, clothing, and a place to sleep," she said. "So, if you're going to do that to women, pay up."
 
I took the situation into my own hands long ago; which most of you know. For those of you who don't, I had surgery - a lap-tubal - done to make sure I wouldn't get pregnant. I didn't want to have children, and I didn't want to parent. So, I made use of my choice; a choice all women should have - safely.
 
A couple of thoughts.
 
Not all women are maternal, most of the ones who aren't know that, but have few choices in dealing with it, not even the respect of knowing their own minds, and when they do deal with it, they get crapped on, vilified at times. I know women who were much older than I was, Americans, who weren't allowed to have the surgery I had - you'll regret it, you'll change your mind, you should want children, what if you meet someone who wants babies - none of these things are going to change the fact that a person isn't maternal, and shouldn't have children if they don't want them or find themselves incapable of parenting. One of those things recognises only a biological fact, and not the myriad human mind and nature, which makes every single person on this planet different. Some of us are born straight, just like some are not. Some know they want to be parents, just like some know they don't. The last, yet again, tells a woman she has no autonomy, that she exists only as her presence applies to the needs of a man.
 
I am completely on board with the idea that if the state mandates a course of action by law, then the state should assist in the means by which that law is carried out. If you force a woman to have children, then help her have them, and help her keep the children you forced her to have. When you draft someone into the army, as was pointed out, you train them, you feed and clothe them, you house them, you give them work. Even people in prison get fed. And yes, we are all responsible for each other. We're all on the same boat, riding in the same car, breathing the same air. If you make choices for other people, you increase your responsibility for them. Of course, I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon, that people will become as globally minded as they need to be, in order for us not to crack this planet in two like an egg by the weight of our egos.
 
There are those who argue against abortion, saying that women use it as a method of birth control. I'm sure there are a few women out there who do, but the needs of the many outweigh the actions of a few. I can't imagine that most women who go for that procedure, do so with a light heart and spring in their step. They do so because they have to, not because they want to, and it's not a simple or easy choice to make. Making abortion legal and safe, is not going to cause hordes of women to flock to clinics to have it done, but providing planning choices before - like free or affordable birth control and the education on its proper use - might just end up with fewer unwanted children born, healthier mothers and infants later on, and less of a drain on the public coffers in general - if that's your worry, which it does seem to be with many most of the time.
 
But, it became very clear to me a long while since, that these people are not pro-life - they're pro-birth. They don't want to bother themselves with the quality of life after; they're just concerned with a morality that has nothing to do with modern needs. To quote the band Consolidated: "if you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one." But don't take away that choice from those who do. It's also clear that folks are looking for control, rather than caring about the actual needs of the populace.
 
Regret, by the way, is not a thing to avoid - it is a thing you choose the possibility of every single day of your life. It is a choice you make based on what your intellect and heart tell you that you need in the life you are leading, not one you may or may not lead later. And I have not once, by the way, ever regretted my choice to be childfree.
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Tree

2017 04 02 - 22:49

I took this about three years ago, methinks. I don't like doing photography at night normally. Because of my vision I just don't see enough to take pictures of; but this presented itself, in the middle of a field.

I like trees.

I'm going to have to dust off my camera this year, I think. It's been too long.

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Almost blue

2017 04 02 - 22:45

The very first cameraphone I ever had - oh, about 12 or so years ago now - used to put this horrendous blue cast on everything. I eventually grew to like it; and now, sometimes I miss it. I took this about the winter of 2005/2006, I think. The blue cast worked for it, methinks.

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The cock crows three times

2017 04 02 - 22:40

I think of astrology as, mainly, bullshit - or, indeed, total bullshit.

I don't give it any more validity than I would the idea that I can tell my fortune via the entrails of a goat, or the predominance of addled eggs any clutch of chickens lays. I think your fortune, and your future, are largely yours to make.

That said, every once in a while I catch myself reading descriptions of my sign, and quietly marvelling at their sometime precision in describing me - doesn't like to take centre stage, overly critical of self (and others), loves orderliness and things that are methodical - though I know that's coincidental. All things can describe all of us at any given time of life. You may be a centre-stage loving ego today, but tomorrow you might need to shy away from over-adulation and the public eye; you might need quiet. Today I am careful; tomorrow, maybe not so much.

I don't like that which feeds superstition overmuch. We all have our ceremonies, of course; but the fact that every time I ate sausage that one year, Michael Schumacher would lose the F1 race, was purely coincidental.

I ate a lot of sausage that year.

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