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Being There 

The other evening, as I was putting the finishing touches on dinner and Lori was grazing through the tv menu, the unmistakeable sound of Deodato’s fabulously jazzy rendition of the Theme from 2001 burst into the room. ‘How great is this’, I thought, ‘one of my favourite movies of all time is just getting underway’ and on commercial-free TCM to boot. 

The movie I’m speaking of is Being There, the final work of that great comedic actor Peter Sellers. If you have never seen this movie by all means seek it out. I won’t go into a detailed plot description except to say that it revolves around a mid-fifties man who has never been outside of the compound of a house in central Washington DC. His life's work has been to care for the gardens. He has encountered no humans save for ‘the Old Man’ and a black woman who was the single all-purpose servant. His name is ‘Chance’…Chance the Gardener. He watches tv and tends the garden…and nothing else. 

The old man has just died, the house is being cleared out and Chance is put out on the winter streets of a now crumbling neighbourhood, dressed in gentleman’s clothing from the 1930’s…the old man’s. 

Chance is an innocent, a babe in the woods, unaware of the worlds dangers and so he is completely unafraid. 

As events unfold, he finds himself in the household of America’s wealthiest financier, who’s life is being sustained by his in-house hospital and the latest medical tech, and his much younger wife. 

How Chance finds himself in that situation and how the rest of the movie unfolds all happens because of Chance’s utter lack of guile, complete honesty and absolute fearlessness…AND the strangely believable misperceptions of him by every other character. 

Every time I watch this flick something new is revealed. The other night it was the idea that reality, as we think of it, is nothing much more than a projection of our own perceptions, of our own determination of what is real or true, and how those projections are contagious and thus affect the perceptions of everyone we encounter and so on and so on. 

I admit it’s a bit difficult to wrap one’s head around that…the idea that we bring ‘reality’ to the world rather than the other way around… but the more you think about it and reflect on your own moment to moment state of mind, the more you must realize that your state of mind is absolutely your own creation. Whose else could it possibly be? No matter what happens, our reaction is completely at the mercy of our perception of the event, and as we all know, one person’s perception of the world and it’s happenings will invariably be at odds with another’s. 

All perception is based on belief…on experience and learning and understanding yes…but those are the foundations of belief. 

It is the belief in something…the faith in it’s truth or reality that allows for the creation of that very reality. 

Yes? No? Maybe? 

Well, it does help to explain the mad mad mad mad world on which we live, don’t ya think? 

I mean, if we could all just agree, all the billions of us, on what is true…what is real…what has value… 

Well…then we wouldn’t really need the world anymore would we? 

Anyway, the movie is hilarious 

Cheers!

Valentine's Day 

I received two Valentine cards today. One from my number one Valentine, my dearest Lori, who has filled my life with love and fun and so much else. The other one came from an unexpected source…it came from my late mother. 

My Mom passed away last February at age 89…or 92…or 86. No one really knows how old she actually was as her birth records were burned in a fire at the Hall of Records in Cambridge Massachusetts sometime in the 1930’s…or 1920’s…no one really knows about that either…and of course no one really cares. 

The Valentine came by way of an email from my sister. She sent a video that two of my nieces had put together for Mom’s funeral, a kind of pictorial eulogy. The photos were chosen from the hundreds of pictures Mom had kept in her tall stack of albums, starting from her early teen years in Montreal right through to the end. There are no photos of her as a child. She was an orphan and was raised by an elderly widow who ran a small hotel in Cambridge. That hotel also went up in smoke and any childhood pictures with it. 

But from those early days in Montreal, where she had gone with another escapee from a Boston convent after the death of her guardian, she happily posed for the camera, stylishly dressed in the garb of the early 40’s. That’s where the video starts, with solo shots of her taken by girlfriends. 

She was just thirteen and had been in Montreal only a few months when she met my Dad, a Saskatchewan soldier on his way to war. Two weeks later they were married; shortly after that he shipped out. 

A few months later she was to discover her true calling, her reason for being, her life’s work. She was to be a mother. The lonely days of her childhood were over; she was to become the founder and steadfast anchor for the great enterprise of her life… her family. 

From the birth of my older brother on, the pictures almost always included her children. There would be six of us eventually. She bore a seventh but he died shortly after his birth so there are no photos…just a small baby-doll, still in it’s packaging with his name written on it, which I discovered in her ‘trunk of treasures’ years later. 

So the pictorial journey through Mom’s life, as I viewed it this morning, is also a journey through my life and the lives of my siblings and everyone else in her family… and and a large family it has become. Grandchildren in the 70’s, and great-grandchildren in the 90’s. I can’t think of any great-greats yet, but surely it won’t be long. 

This morning I was treated to a Valentine’s trip through an entire lifetime of love. There are grainy black and whites of a young girl posing in front of an ancient automobile, of a young woman sitting on a rugged porch wearing short-shorts that must have given the neighbours something to talk about, of the same young woman with a swollen belly standing in a field of tall grass. There are color photos of a mother decorating  dozens of heart-shaped Valentine cookies, of a new grandmother holding her first grand-baby, of a mature woman in a huge hat holding a glass of wine and looking mischievously into the camera, and finally a little video of an ancient woman kissing a dog on the forehead and telling it “I love you”. 

So I am feeling very full today…full of love and gratitude. 

Thank you Lori, my beautiful wife, light of my life and eternal Valentine. 

And thank you Mom for your Valentine, it is of course, a Valentine from us to you as well. 

Valentine’s Day is all about love. 

LOVE! 

It’s what we write about, sing about, cry about and endlessly seek. 

Love, ultimately, is the only thing in the world that has value. 

Because ultimately, love is not of the world. 

It is the definition of the eternal. 

So…Here’s to Valentine’s Day.

SORE 

I’ve been sore for a week. Sore, as in spasming lower back and aching between the shoulder blades. These symptoms are not new to me; I’ve had lots of muscle strains and skeletal misalignments over the course of my years of lugging things that were too heavy, like double sheets of gyp-rock, stacks of lumber, bags of cement and all things associated with renovating houses. Yes, there is more to me than just a wimpy musician living on sex and drugs and rock ’n roll…I have indeed lived a very physical life and revelled in my strength and fitness for the majority of it. I have never spent a night in a hospital (save for the time my young son broke his leg and I slept in a chair beside him) and have contracted no long term diseases. 

So it is with great interest and occasional dismay that I now watch the inexorable slide from the speedy bounce-back that used to be, to the creep-back to an ‘almost as good as before’ status that is my new normal. 

I spent Sunday propped up on the couch watching the Super-bowl with a heating pad alternating between lower and upper back and feeling totally inadequate as I watched Lori pour 40 lb. bags of pellets into the stove…normally my job (the upside being that I now know she’s stronger than she has let on). 

Anyway, this went on for days and all because of the ***** snow. Yup…it was snow shovelling that did it. I know I know, shovelling snow is a big no-no for seniors…heart attacks and all that, but I’m careful not to over do it these days. If I get tired I rest, which is easy because it’s an excuse to just hang for a minute and take in the beauty of winter…all that thick fluffy on the roofs and trees, the silence that such a blanket lays on the world, the lung-fulls of fresh clean air…makes me feel good just thinking about it. 

But there have been mountains of snow this winter so it wasn’t any single shovel-a-thon that did me in, it was the daily scoop and pitch. The irony, of course, is that we moved to the sunny, dry Okanagan to escape the harsh winter, to enjoy those February flowers (mythical in my experience) and to NOT HAVE TO SHOVEL *&^%$#@! SNOW! 

On the other hand, I do still appreciate a good joke…even if it’s on me. 

So, anyway, Lori can only shlep pellets and water for so long so on Monday she phoned a chiropractor on my behalf and I got a nice adjustment yesterday. Now, I’m not new to the world of chiropractic. In my reno days I was a regular customer and can attest to the relief gained by having my skeleton crunched back into place. I actually enjoy the sensation of my vertebrae popping…it’s way more satisfying than cracking your knuckles… and I did walk out of there nice and straight and without the sensation that my upper body was about to collapse into my pelvic girdle. Last night I slept long and well and hurt a whole lot less today. 

Until just a minute ago. 

You see, in order for me to set up for writing I have to shift my work space from recording mode to writing mode which entails moving my laptop from behind the drums to my desk…the one that has the nice yellow vinyl-covered regular old fashioned kitchen chair in front of it. Well, a couple of days ago, in order to accommodate my sore back, I had moved my nice yellow vinyl-covered kitchen chair into my recording space. At the same time I had moved my drummers throne in front of the desk in case I needed to sit there. Now some of the more high-end thrones have a back…my does not. 

So there’s the set-up, which brings me to yet another annoying aspect of aging…absent-mindedness. 

When I came into my studio today, intent on writing my weekly blog, I noticed that I had left unfinished the copying of some lyrics to a clean sheet of paper. Immediately I decide to finish that simple task before diving into my blog… so I reach down between my legs and grab the seat of what I thought was the yellow vinyl-covered old fashioned kitchen chair and pull it forward and drop my ass onto it. 

Except it’s not the chair that greets my rear as it drops, it’s the drum throne…which is much smaller than the chair…and which I miss almost completely. I catch just enough of it to turn my fall into an angular back-flop, legs flailing upwards to knock my desk sideways sending my lamp crashing to the floor as my newly straightened spine regains its previous subluxations (I don’t actually know what that means but it’s a chiropractic term for fucked-up). 

Oh well. As I sit here I don’t feel too much worse for the fall…just an increasing tenderness between the shoulders…and the awareness that it sometimes takes awhile for the pain to kick in. 

I used to pride myself on my ability to take a fall… even did a few pratfalls in my theatre days…yes, on purpose. 

I remember talking years ago to a radio jock who was quite famous in the 60’s; he was twenty years older than me and was bemoaning what he called ‘the graceless slide into decrepitude’. At the time I thought, ’Well, it doesn’t have to be graceless.’ Overall, I think I still believe that…then again…. 

The chiro suggested that I book an appointment for next week just in case…so I did. 

She must have a few older clients.

What's Up Today? 

Let’s see now…what’s on my mind today? Hmmm…? 

Nothing much really…I mean I did watch the Trumpster on tv last eve and I admit to being somewhat perplexed by the circus that the State of the Union address seems to have devolved to. It took me back to my childhood and the many Sunday mornings spent at St Josephs Catholic church in Dawson Creek; stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. Of course at church we didn’t applaud…Jesus apparently does not require applause… and we did do a lot of kneeling in between all the standup-sitdowns. Which has left me wondering; will there be kneeling rails installed for next years SOTU if saint Donaldo is still hanging in? It seems to me that kneeling in supplication may be the only sycophantic symbol of adoration left for Republicans to turn to. For never have so many aging faces shone with the rapturous glory of gazing upon their dear leader as he enumerated the stunning achievements and countless victories of his first year of making America groan again; never before have they cheered so enthusiastically for the master as he clapped endlessly for his own banal bullshit, never before have the victims of heinous crimes been put on display as evidence of the evil nature of immigrants…in a nation of immigrants. 

Ah well… 

It’s all showbiz folks! 

On the other side of the room the Dems sat stone faced except for the obligatory salute to the nation’s warriors and other randomly selected heroes. 

So today it feels good to be a Canadian; to be a member of a small quiet society that does not generally get a lot of attention from America’s big boss man. That being said, we are having some issues over NAFTA because, apparently, the Don thinks we are much smarter than Americans and have scooped them on trade while quietly slipping under the protective cloak of their mighty military FOR FREE. 

Tee hee hee…I think he’s right. 

But really, I haven’t been thinking about all that at all today, at least not consciously. It’s often surprising to me what comes up when faced with a blank page. 

So anyway, we’re back to me having nothing on my mind. Nothing on one’s  mind is a much sought after state…just ask anyone who’s attempted to meditate. Perhaps I ought to suggest, as a new meditation technique, that one way to empty the head is to sit down in front of a blank page with an intention to write something. In the wee space between the intending and the movement of fingers there will be a space of utter emptiness, a recognizable emptiness, when every chattering monkey in the tree has it’s hands clamped tightly over it’s mouth. Aah…silence. But silence is not the mind’s natural state, in fact, it abhors a thought vacuum and will usually fill it instantly with the nearest piece of mental detritus it can grasp…in my case today, the great yankee clown. I apologize, but on the other hand, my blank page now has writing on it, which was my objective when I sat down. So…. 

Or you could watch a stinkbug walking, like a fossil come to life, for an inch or two.

Ninety-nine 

Lori and I went to Kelowna yesterday on the news that an old friend/distant relative of hers had taken ill and was in hospital. We had gotten word that it was serious and so we headed out first thing. 

Hospitals are not one of my favourite places but neither do I find them dreadful or scary, and when someone is wounded or pitifully sick it seems like a good idea to be in one. 

We arrived at about 10 in the morning. The five level parkade was completely full with half a dozen cars making their way up and down searching. As luck would have it, as we were making our turn around at the top, a young woman emerged from the elevator and proceeded to her car and we slipped into her spot just as the procession of ever circling space hunters once again rounded the last turn. As I slipped coins into the ticket machine a man beside us commented on how lucky we were to only be buying only one hours worth of parking…he was paying for six. I guess that’s why the lot was so full; many people visit for hours…and often do so on a daily basis. 

We found Lyle sitting up on the side of his bed finishing some juice and taking a shot of oxygen with help from a young woman. He didn’t look great but then again Lyle is six weeks shy of his ninety-ninth birthday so, as he would say, just to look alive is to look great. The fact that he was sitting up and able to talk to us seemed a good sign indeed. You see, last time we saw him he had announced his longevity goal to be one hundred and five and so we are naturally pulling for him. He had told us that at age one hundred he would receive a note of congratulations from non other than the queen herself…unless of course, she croaked in the meantime, in which case a note from the king would have to suffice…he would prefer the queen though. 

As we were chatting, a woman came in and introduced herself as his niece. She lives in Kelowna and has taken on being his ’go-to’ girl. She said she was planning a long visit so left us with him while she waited in the lounge. After a minute or two Lori excused herself and disappeared for twenty minutes or so. Lyle and I carried on. As it turns out his date of birth was a mere two weeks before my fathers. My father died in 1988 a few weeks shy of his sixty-ninth…younger than I am now…and he was a veteran of WW2 as was Lyle. I like to think that if my dad had lived to be Lyles age I would have gotten to know him better. 

So we had a good chat. He asked me how I was holding up and recommended taking vitamin B-12 ‘because your kidneys stop producing it right around your age.’ He demonstrated how he still worked at getting his arms over his head, something he’d been having trouble with since this latest annoyance. ’They say it’s my heart’ he said, ‘But I’ve never had any heart problems…I don’t believe ‘em. Still and all, I can’t go home until I get my strength back. I just get so damn tired for no reason.’ 

I suggested that being on the cusp of ninety-nine might have something to do with it. ‘Hmm, I suppose,’ he said with a smile. 

Lori came back in and we stayed until it became obvious that he needed some rest. 

On the way out she told me that she had gone out to get a full report on his condition from his niece. It was sad to hear. He has congestive heart failure. He won’t be going home again. He can go into a care facility when a space becomes available. Until then he’ll be in the geriatric wing of the hospital. He won’t like that. It is strange to think that just six months ago he took both cognitive and road tests in order to maintain his drivers licence…he passed. But now things have changed and this lovely man, so strong for so long, will decide just how much he really cares about congratulations from the queen. 

We’ll be visiting again soon.

White 

White. 

That’s all I can see out my window. A wall of white from shoreline to sky, unbroken, no shades, no interruptions, no variation. A fog, thick and gloomy, obliterating the snow covered lake and the mountain across it and the sky above it. Blinded by the white. But it’s not really white at all. It’s a dull grey, cold and forbidding, daring me to go out and poke around in it, discover it’s secret, test it’s authority. 

What if it goes on forever? What if I am to spend the rest of my life wandering in this omnipresent mist waiting and watching as things materialize mere feet in front of me allowing no time or space for reaction or avoidance? A bear, a wolf, a hole in the ice…terror…all of my senses are on high alert, listening and sniffing, praying for the breeze that never comes to blow it all away. 

Then a sound, faint, distant but unmistakably human. I turn toward it, moving faster and faster until the sound becomes music and the music becomes laughter and the laughter becomes a party and I hear singing and the stomping of feet and the clinking of glasses and a murmur of romance and it’s all around me and I spin around and around racing back and forth in the fog but I can’t find it. I can’t find anything…or anyone. I stand there, sweaty from running, my chest heaving, my mind reeling as the sounds drift away, slowly, until silence once again reigns. 

And then…and then… 

And then I don’t know. But it was a fun little romp…kinda like writing a Twilight Zone episode…except for the hard part, which would be to resolve the mystery of my fog-world and fill another twenty pages…which I’m not into right now ‘cause this is my blog…which, to be sure, is free form so I can do anything I want but I have a feeling that doing any actual writing would require long periods of sitting and waiting for input from ‘who-knows-where’ and I’m having way to much fun recording and playing around with a new song to get into that space. So…someday maybe. 

Still, there are a few places to go from that opening scene. I could shift around and talk about how it may be that most of us live in a Fog-world right now but aren’t aware of it. I mean terrifying things do pop up without warning on a regular basis. And quite often we don’t actually see the party we’re attending because our minds are are too busy sniffing and listening for warning signs of the impending disasters we imagine await us. 

Or, let me see, what else? It could always just be a nightmare but that’s such an easy device…unless, of course, one were to wake up to a world even more terrifying than Fog-world. Now that would be true Twilight Zone. 

Speaking of which…are you watching the Black Mirror series on Netflix? T’is a worthy successor to TZ. Every episode is a stand alone piece, all set in a relatively near future and centred on technologies which we all know are on the verge of existence…if they aren’t already here. Check it out. 

Got to run. It’s 2 o’clock and I want to get in some work on the bass part on my new song before I have to knock off to make dinner(I’m no bass player…that’s for sure). I’ve constructed a simple line but my sloppy fingers have left me with some patching to do. 

I miss David…he was the real deal.

Here We Go Again 

Well here we go again; another new year takes its first infant steps. Nothing better than a fresh start eh? OK…maybe not so fresh but still, there is always a feeling of renewal that comes with every new year, don’t you think?… a reboot of our battered hopes that humankind will wise up fast enough to counter the onslaught of the utter freaking madness that fear on a rampage spawns. 

Then, on the other hand, the rich are gettin’ richer, so what’s the problem? 

Well, the poor are gettin’ poorer, that’s what… and the middle class is stressed to the max, acutely aware that most do not have enough cash to carry them for two weeks should an income dry up. And political life in the worlds most powerful, and therefore most dangerous, nation has degenerated to theatre of the absurd…no, not absurd…insane! 

It all makes a highly volatile concoction set to explode should a couple of raging assholes rub too hard and make a spark. 

When there is fear in the air people get afraid and they act and react as if they are fighting  for their lives. Fear lashes out. It attacks blindly, cruelly, carelessly and stupidly. Bad things happen. 

But on the other hand… 

it seems to me that there is another more powerful energy extending itself in the world. Suddenly we have this new ability to share our stories, our hearts and our knowledge, to participate in everything. Our new tech is facilitating a great coming together of people from random tribes all over the world. 

Minds are changing, hearts are opening, an awareness that new rules are in order is blossoming. New rules that allow for actual freedom, not enslavement to  the dead idea that those who have for so long held the wealth of the world somehow have earned the right to absolute power. 

We are beginning to imagine that we really are the creators of our experience… and that ultimately no experience is greater or lesser than another…that we are, indeed, each other and all others and thus there is no ‘other’. 

A bit much to wrap ones head around without some serious contemplation…but hey, it sure feels good. 

The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. 

Get out your flashlights. 

and Happy New Year!!

Winter 

Woke up this morning to a chilly house. The pellet stove was burning on low as it has been for a month now but one look out the window told me that it would be running a lot higher for the next while. 

Winter has landed. 

As I write this I’m looking out at the waves, blown to a good roll by a stiff nor-easter. A wet snow has smothered my two deck chairs and by evening I expect they’ll be buried in six or seven inches of fluffy white. This storm is supposed to last all day. It’s getting colder too. My weather app tells me not to bother wishing for a melt in the foreseeable future, daily highs will stay below freezing until the new year. 

Sigh! 

As you must know by now, I’m just not a winter guy. Sure, when I was a kid in Dawson Creek I was all about winter. I had to be, we all had to be, winter was the longest season, and there was no tv. Hard to imagine a time before tv, but the flickering screen didn’t come to Dawson until I was nine years old. From my perspective now, I’m so glad to have lived my formative years tv free. But it was a loooong winter; we would go ‘trick-or-treating’ in foot deep snow and would not see the mud again until late April. 

I was a pretty good skater and loved to shoot a puck around. The gravel road in front of our house was usually so snow packed that lightweights like us kids could skate on it, which was definitely rough on the skate blades. So much so that one winter Dad flooded the backyard into an actual rink. Now that was cool. It attracted so many kids that actual hockey teams could be formed. 

We also had, of course, sleds and toboggans and pieces of cardboard and old inner tubes with which to brave the steep hill that doubled as the Soap Box Derby track in summer and ran down right to the creek itself. There were a few spots where, if you aimed your craft just right, you could hit an embankment and and catch an exhilarating instant of air before landing on the iced-over creek. On occasion the creek ice would be thin and it would give way and some unlucky rider would be treated to a splashdown and a wet ass. Fortunately the creek was no more than a foot deep so the penalty for bad timing was nothing much more than having to go home to change your pants or, if you were having just too much fun, it was possible to ignore the stiffness and carry on. But it’s a long walk home when your pants are stiff as a board and crunch at the knee with every step. 

Certainly we were no strangers to frozen body parts. Fingers, cheeks, toes and noses were regularly brought home for thawing over the heat vents in our old house. The pain of thawing toes I will never forget, the heat was comforting on the one hand but hurt like hell on the other. Yet, in spite of knowing what awaited us, we could never bring ourselves to give up the game and head inside. I don’t think we even felt our feet until the skates or boots came off and then it was too late, a rush of pain would sweep through your tender tootsies… nothing to do but sit on the floor with feet stretched out over the heat register and moan. If we were particularly pathetic, Mom would kneel down beside us and give brisk foot massages to help get the blood moving. We would then limp to the supper table, eat our hamburger with cream corn and mashed potatoes, then bundle up and go out again. How strange and wonderful was life before tv. 

I survived eleven Dawson Creek winters, going to school before sunrise and returning just as the northern night settled in. Then the family moved to Calgary. I had imagined that heading south for seven hours would result in a balmy winter…ah the innocence of youth. But…there was tv and not just the one crummy channel we had in DC that came on at three in the afternoon with sucky CBC kid shows. No indeed. I was in the big city and we had two channels which were both up and running by the time we got home for lunch…Lipton’s chicken noodle soup and white bread slurped while mesmerized by ancient movie serials like Hop-a-long Cassidy and Roy Rogers. 

Oh sure, there where still toboggans and skates but not so much; tv gets to be a habit. 

So maybe I’ve done my share of winter after all…and I know that the secret to loving winter is no secret at all, you simply have to go out and PLAY in it. 

And, to be honest, there is no comfort quite as exquisite as a settling back with a drink in front of a blazing wood stove after a winter’s day outdoors. 

Nothing like the silence and mystery of a full moonlit snow-covered night in the Ontario woods. 

Hmmm? 

So maybe I am a winter guy after all…and in fact, later this very day I will be hunkering down with a hot drink in front of a blazing pellet stove…watching tv 

after having shovelled the driveway, the landing and thirty-one steps. 

Well…at least I won’t freeze my toes. 

OK…the snow is already two inches deep on the deck chairs

Rooms 

Rooms. 

How many rooms have I worked in, lived in, stayed in? Thousands is my guess. If you take a decade on the road at two hundred nights away per year that’s 2000 hotel rooms, give or take a few hundred, and that’s only one decade. That’s my story. But there are many people, so I’m told, that remember every single room they’ve ever lived in, or at least every house. Either they have exceptional memories or they haven’t moved much, as in from house to house…room to room, town to city to bigger city and back. 

The rooms of childhood I can feel still ; the rickety walkway to the back door, which I think was the only door we used. That’s the first house I remember, standing with my chin level to the seat of the kitchen chair, tasting some buttery substance I found on a spoon on the floor. I can see it in front of me, hair and dust and god-knows-what, I remember it was wretched, I remember crying. 

The living room was dark brown linoleum., shining under the gaily wrapped gifts covering it on Christmas morning…and my Mother’s shimmering red house coat, her kimono she called it.  And I remember standing looking out the screen door with my mother, a summer rain and the smell of the old wood pile, damp and organic. 

I remember playing in the backyard when angry voices drew my attention to the screen door just in time to see a salesman come exploding out of it, my Dad’s right hand launching him from the collar. Mom never had the heart to turn them away…Dad, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed bouncing them out the door. 

Yeah, rooms. 

I’ve seen a lot of them. 

I seem to have been on the move most of my life. That little four room house gave way to The Pink House when I was five, I think. It was no larger, just a different shaped space… square, and instead of offering indoor plumbing it offered an outhouse and a rain barrel. That living room floor leaves a reddish hue in my memory, maybe paint, maybe old linoleum; it was partitioned with a curtain to form separate sleeping quarters for me and my two brothers. My Dad fashioned an indoor potty in the only closet, which was in my parents bedroom. There where piss-pots under the beds in the kids room. 

She had him paint it Pink, the house that is, (I capitalize because that’s the shade of pink it was), a bright hot Pink…with white gables. It was on a huge corner lot next to Dr. Watson’s house. 

One more move in Dawson Creek, more rooms, three upstairs. To the left were two sets of bunk-beds, all occupied, to the right Lil’ Albert, now a teenager, finally got his own room… and in the middle was an actual play room. The living room was dark blue paint, more dark brown linoleum, Mom still wearing the same satiny red kimono. The kitchen walls were bright yellow masonite panels of fake tiles, the four burner gas stove had an oven. My mother’s quarter-pound christmas doughnut was conceived and brought forth from that very stove;  my parents still kissed in front of us. We lived there until I was twelve.

Not So You'd Notice 

OK, so here’s how it went down with The Phone Co. 

(If you haven’t read last weeks blog you’ll need to if you want to keep up) 

I can report today, much to my relief really, that no sculduggery was happening with TPC…well,hardly any. 

What I found was that, other than the cash that I may (or may not) put down on the phone when I upgrade, I don’t pay anything for it. Nothing, Nada. Basically, what’s going on here is that TPC makes so much money on my monthly service fee that they can afford to give me a $500.00 iPhone for just two years worth of my business. So… I don’t get a reduction in my bill when my phone is paid for because I was never paying for it in the first place. It’s a gift from Big Daddy Telus for the pleasure of my company for another couple of years. 

Let’s dance. 

Admittedly there’s a little vigorish there for TPC if I don’t immediately roll over for a new model on the expiration of my contract but, as was so elegantly stated in ’The Grifters’, not so you’d notice. 

It seems, however, that I am not the only customer to have inquired about this mildly murky practice. 

A new plan has just been introduced (so says the ever-so-pleasant female voice that’s been laying out for me just exactly how the dippsy-doodle does work) to satisfy those of us feeling somewhat misled. It’s for people who wish to continue using their antiquated technology, for those of us who tend to become personally attached to expensive devices that are paid for but still work, indeed, for all of us who want to use our old phones until they completely crap out. Old Phonies, that’s what we are. 

Anyway, the plan is called BYOP…Bring Your Own (or old) Phone. The idea is that, if you raise a fuss, they’ll give you a discount on your rate of from 5 to 25 dollars. The $25 is only for those who have ‘premium’ contracts. 

 I could have saved $5. 

Still, over a year and a half, that’s ninety bucks. 

But what’s a man to do? You see I have three phones on my bill, all expiring at different times. Do I shell out or sell out? 

…aww shit! 

I wish I’d never asked. 

It’s not that I feel ripped off…I’ve been gently torn that’s all. 

A little here, a little there…not so you’d notice. 

T