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do as i say (and i do?)

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it's sunny, but it's not warm outside. i made this discovery only after i'd arranged my lunch on the rickety table and set myself up with the intention to eat and read. a cool stiff wind blew in fits and starts that made this both impractical and unpleasant. such is the lure of sun. anything is better than the lunchroom in the basement of the building which is meatlocker cold all the time.

as i pulled out my frozen chili i smile in vague amusement at the crudely handwritten notes on both the freezer and the fridge. the message advises people to wash their hands BEFORE they open either. Since there's no convenient soap dispenser and seldom dish soap handy i wonder what our notewriter expects us all to do? run back upstairs expressly just to obey his or her bidding? my wish is hat we all wash our hands often and that's really the best that all of us including he/she can hope for. a liberal use of hand sanitizer might not hurt.

call me

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i called bell the other day about my wireless plan. now as anyone knows, dealing with the monoliths can be trying. the call was prompted by a short conversation with one of those keeners in a wireless provider kiosk. the kind that sells all of them. as a rule, these people are more knowledgeable and motivated than all the other 3 combined.

take the people in my local bell store. they often can't be bothered to lift their heads to acknowledge people entering their store, and seem downright offended if asked a question. my own queries have garnered me erroneous or outrageous information. take this little nugget: my blackberry was down and i had discontinued the data portion of my plan while it was being repaired. when it came time to add the data back on some 6 weeks later not only did they insult me by charging me $15 to add it back, suddenly the same plan now cost $5 a month more. (hey $5 is $5.) the reason according to the indifferent clerk: the 3G network upgrades, and the iphones. well my phone isn't 3G nor is it an iphone so i certainly don't enjoy the benefits of the perks of it, and what's more i don't care.

so when the young guy from telephone booth shot me a hello as i browsed the dizzying array of shiny new phones available i stopped to talk to him. it turns out virgin is entering the marketplace aggressively with an enticing offer that is worth a look at, and there are other hungry newcomers arriving all the time, but the big three still treat their current customers as if they don't want them. it used to be that the rewards for staying with bell meant that after a couple of years meant that you could upgrade your phone to avail yourself of the new technology without being significantly out of pocket, but bit by bit they've whittled it the moderate "loyalty" award down to virtually zero. written into the contract in teenytiny fine print, is a phrase that goes something like….." we reserve the right to change this at any time without telling the customer….". the justification being they only supply a user with the service not the hardware, so they can jack around with customers until they get fed up and call to yell at them or just jump ship; a punitive charge discourages the latter.

so i get on the phone to talk to customer retention. not customer service, they just slap you in the face and make you feel bad for calling. he works on the figures of my contract to arrive miraculously at a plan that will cost me less than my old contract. when he comes back on the line i say to him consider this: how about you offer your current customers some incentive to fend off wandering eyes, as it were, by way offering imaginative upgrades; use the same stuff being employed to lure new customers. how difficult would it be to roll over minutes? it is safe to assume if treated well, most people would be renewing their contracts anyway, so it's not like the co. is going to lose any money.

it has to be acknowledged that the pace of technology is moving at such a rate that it is making any long term contract seem like a forever and the associated hardware most certainly obsolete somewhere during the course of it, if it lasts the duration. i expound for a bit and he concedes that i have a point and says they are working towards it, but you can bet it won't be for a good many years. I sigh, and ring off. i'm saving a few dollars more a month and i got my point across, so i guess it hasn't been a total loss.

finding coffee and sunshine on a sunday morn

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down at the local s/bux. out of coffee at home. It's a mild and bright early morning. a bird trills a melody from somewhere in a tree i can't see. chwee-u-chwee-u-chwee-u—-chirup-chirup-chirup-chirup-chirup….i wonder what kind of bird it is. i've heard the call in other places other times.

i opt for drip coffee and it is bland, unusual for starbucks. brown water. makes me smile small and think of baghdad cafe. a memorable line (to me) attributable to the character of a stern german woman. i'll have to see the whole movie again to recall the rest.

a dapper man with his two daughters inhabit a bench down the way. he is as subdued as they are frenzied. they take off running and he begins a process of tedious shushing; warning them off this tree and that bush. they're not listening. after awhile he gets off his ass and makes a lame attempt at properly reining them in and they literally begin to run circles around him.there's a playground close by but he seems intent on sticking to the sterile confines of the concrete plaza.

a woman with two dogs–a giant doberman who fairly drags her, and a tiny, ancient black chihuahua arrives–she apologizes in advance for…..and then the barking ensues….so much for peace. i'm familiar with them both, the doberman is most memorable because he let's off a series of bellowing barks as soon as his owner is out of sight and doesn't stop until she gets back. apparently, this is normal behaviour for him. i wonder idly what must happen when she, say, goes to work every day. the little chihuahua is far more cagey and subtle. he prances over to the door a few beats behind her and almost slips into the store when a couple of patrons leave. once she returns to the table the barking, a few people in the smoking circle strike up dog talk with her. the dobie is still a puppy and the greying chuhuahua is 8. he began to go salt and pepper when he was 3. he only looks like a senior citizen. i don't see dobermans very often.  most people have wandered off into designer dog territory or opted favour of other currently popular breeds like birnese water dogs. bubba is a majestic highstepper, and clearly a sweetheart, but i can see where they got their guard dog rep from. i'd definitely back off if he started roaring an earnest fuck off or die bark at me.

so what i said’s was, what i said……

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as much as i could piss around forever doing nothing and would like to, i will myself to just get out of the house. the destination is the gym, but until i get there i am only out of the house. i could opt out and go to starbucks, but i don't have any money with me, so *sigh* i may as well catch the bus….

the sky is as blue as the air is frigid. it aggressively paws at me; poking at my face and biting at my fingers. blustery, blustery day. the weather channel icon on my blackberry displays a lightning bolt but tells me of wind warnings. i concur. the streetlights are waving wildly on the wire. maybe the thunderstorm will come later. i hope this same violence doesn't knock out power.

coming home from the gym, the  bus smells like candyfloss. i get on the with a man i noticed waiting at the stop. he's wearing nylon pants that have been cut off as if in a messy hurry so the bottom hem runs in a jagged blue line across his calves. as we trundle onto the bus he receives a call and begins to talk very loudly to the person on the other end.

right away i can discern a few things: he is going to kamloops soon. he is broke and he feels slighted believing his current situation to be the fault of his mother. clearly he feels entitled to something that he didn't get. several times he says "as we speak i just found out….." considering he says he got this information before he took this call strikes me as odd. could be he likes the sound of the phrase rolling off his tongue. or perhaps it is to demonstrate to those around him that important things are happening in his life with every breath he takes. all i know is that it doesn't get any more novel after he has repeated it several times. i
wonder about the person on the other end of the phone. he speaks so loudly he hacks into my after gym glow and i want turn around to give him something of the hairy eyeball. i imagine he wouldn't notice it anyway. something tells me he is self absorbed as well as indiscreet. to speak so loudly about his private affairs. and though it is has become a commonplace practice, it seems so graceless and repugnant.

an unknown history in pictures

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in the vein of preparing for any event, along with finally putting together an emergency bag, i've been organizing all my old photos for scanning to DVD. i realize with some chagrin that i failed to note dates on any past the first few months of my son's life. now, some 24 years later. it is safe to say that details of the mundane daily events have disappeared into a vague black hole of yesteryear. i'm really struggling to put the pictures in some sort of order. i've been playing the detective, taking note of haircuts, certain clothing and shoe types to help me sort them out. occasions spark a glimmer. however, the images evoke such strong feelings i can't really place. it could just be the pull of nostalgia, because i can't actually remember most of it.

what would have i done differently had i a known better?

a big green rubbermaid tote holds most of the memorabilia of our small family. along with matt's old school projects and report cards, a baseball mitt and soccer trophies are photos rescued from my grandparents' apartment after my grandfather died.

i have done the same with these photos. attempting to arrange them in some sort of chronology; sifting through a visual history that is a complete mystery to me and has been rendered out of focus and inconsequential with the passing of time. even the vessel they are contained within seems to devalue their importance as a visual history. an old metal cigar box. most of the pictures are of my grandparents when they were much
younger. how younger i wouldn't know if it weren't for a photolab's
timestamp. my grandmother vamping it up; my grandfather the handsome
rake. we saw my stoic grandparents rarely and they used their broken english sparingly, so we had no oral history. i know differently now why. if only i had known them better. if only i'd had the chance.

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