“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory that is within us. As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Written by Marianne Williamson
Read by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 Inaugural Speech
*I edited the title because it was too aggressive*
You know today was the first time I felt actual fear from another human being. Fearful for my safety. I don’t fear the dark or dark pathways at night. I don’t fear walking home alone. I can take a lot of verbal abuse and will sooner become frustrated and irritated long before I become upset. For the most part I just don’t care. This is second to the fact that there haven’t been many times in my life where I’ve actually been subjected to the darkest place of anger coming from another person. Maybe I’ve been lucky.
But today I was actually scared.
It went down like this:
There is an industrial alleyway, if you will, that I take during the first leg of my trip home from work every day. It bypasses much of the traffic on East Hastings as it’s not really a road, but not really an alley either. It’s just the stretch where the delivery trucks would enter the rear of the businesses. Myself and a few other people know of this route so it’s often well travelled.
As I emerge from every block I meet a one-way stop sign that requires me to check for oncoming traffic. I do the same thing every time I head home. Drive. Stop. Go again. On this particular day I approached one of the stop signs and looked left, then right, then left again and proceeded. I don’t need to tell you I’m a good driver. I’m an alert and incredibly perceptive driver. I am an eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head driver so I know… I know that when that old, CR-V came up fast on my left, the driver must have accelerated quickly around the corner.
I carried on into the next industrial alley.
And so did he…
He was about one foot from my rear bumper, swerving to the left then to the right. He would drive up right onto my bumper, back off, then ride up again; swerving side-to-side. At this point I didn’t know if I should call 9-1-1. I was watching him in my rearview mirror. He swerved quickly to the left and drove up along side me. He must have been within inches from my side mirror on his right and the same on his left where a brick wall ran. He did it anyway. He didn’t seem to care if he scraped my car or the wall. I slowed down and he passed me, quickly jerking his car in front of mine and slamming on his brakes. I did the same to avoid hitting him and my purse went lunging forward.
I saw his reverse lights flicker as he put his car in park and his driver’s side door opened then was slammed shut. He marched over to my car and screamed the following expletives that floored and petrified me. And, believe me when I say it takes a lot:
“You f!cking cow c^nt, are you f!cking crazy? What the f!ck is wrong with you, c^nt? Eh? Do you realise I nearly tee-boned you back there? You crazy c^nt, you crazy bitch cow driver.”
To which I responded, while trying to swallow my rapidly beating heart back down into my chest:
“Don’t you think what you did back there was a little more crazy?”
He screamed again:
“You’re the crazy driver bitch, you bitch! I obviously can’t talk to you because you’re such a crazy driver bitch.”
I was scared. It wasn’t only how enraged he was it was the evil in his eyes. Let’s just say I had carelessly driven from the stop sign, no one was hurt, he didn’t need to slam on his breaks, mistakes happen. But to follow me down that alleyway and to tailgate me in that way… Terrorizing me like that – that takes a certain level of rage. There I was, completely trapped and the only way I could get out was to reverse. I remember a DHL delivery car with two men inside on my right up ahead a bit watching this all go down. They sat, mouths hanging open, I kept looking over at them… they seemed ready to jump out of their car if needed but never did. He took another step closer to my window and I put my trusty Fo’ in reverse and inched back just enough to be able to quickly maneuver around his vehicle. At that point I didn’t think I had enough clearance but I was so scared I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could even if I lost a mirror in the process.
The DHL delivery guys came right behind me and the crazy man followed behind them. He turned down one of the side streets and was gone.
It was at that point that my adrenaline slowed down a bit and I started thinking: What if those delivery guys hadn’t been there?
I alternated between my own fury and the urge to cry in the aftermath. I let myself feel both. Driving for a bit my eyes started to well and it was hard to see, so I pulled down a side street and sat at the side of the road and sobbed. That situation was something I have never experienced in my life. I wasn’t used to that measure of distress and my body had literally been in a state of panic.
I began to think how fucking dare he? How dare that man follow me into an alley. We’re all equal in this world but damn him I’m a woman. Damn him for instilling such a fear in me like that. What a coward.
I don’t fucking care how mad you are… it is not your right to subject me to that kind of fear.
It’s been a busy week that felt long which is always the worst. The highlight of the week though was having someone’s blood dripping from their mouth onto my counter. Shortly thereafter I sent a love letter to Plexiglass inventor, Otto Röhm.
I experienced gastro euphoria for lunch on Thursday which could have very well redeemed my week because good food tends to fix everything. There are bright sides to working in the Downtown East Side and that’s being so close to Gastown. For my visiting readers from cities aplenty please forget not to experience Gastown if you’re in the neighbourhood. Then find The Black Frog and call me, damn it.
I overhauled my living room last weekend (which is really two weekends ago now, this has taken me that long to write). This will be my fifth arrangement since October 2007. I’m not sure how normal that is but normal doesn’t usually apply to me anyway so I’m not going to worry.
I did acquire a new piece of furniture as well and that is a big, IKEA Billy shelving unit with glass doors that Gg handed down to yours truly. Ghetto me could never afford such a thing brand new so hookups are nice. Now that I think about it, this may have all started when I sold my IKEA Benno shelves on Craigslist. For approx 5 nights 140 DVDs and probably an equal amount of CDs were actually taking up space on my living room floor. If you know me then you know how devastating this disorganization was to me. At the same time, those who know me will also know that it makes perfect sense that I sell the shelves on a whim without any sort of plan regarding where the DVDs and CDs will go when the shelves are actually sold. I lament the disorganization I bring upon myself. Go figure.
So to recover from this not-very-well-thought-out situation that was my living room, I reorganized, shuffled, and rearranged my furniture just to prove something to myself. As a side note, I never feel wholeheartedly lonely because I seem to be perpetually in a state of autonomous interaction with my conflicting personality idiosyncrasies. In this case it was the impractical visionary vs the disciplinary and the end result, fittingly, was a living room I love and one that so far Cathy and Gg are not so fond of. It only makes perfect sense.
What do you make of it:
Here’s why I like it:
1. Previously my computer was against the wall behind where it is now. I faced … the wall. Again, for those who know me, they know I can’t face walls – especially in restaurants – and while also sitting at my computer desk. It’s not claustrophobia, it’s neurosis.
2. I like feeling cozy and workstations are sometimes hard to make cozy. But tell me you wouldn’t curl up into a ball right on top of my desk now and fall asleep there.
3) I spend most of my reading, scheming, escaping, daydreaming, and playing crossword puzzles on that there sofa. There’s something very tranquil about lying down on it and having those wide open windows in front of me. Previously they were behind me and what kind of purpose does that serve? None other than to make me wonder what’s going on in the world. Pointless; I need to know everything at all times.
4) Other than three glasses of red wine, Gravol, or Coronation Street, there is not much else that turns my mind off other than flames from a fire with a flavouring of José Feliciano from the vinyl.
Oh come on, you appreciate the effect and secretly wish you were sitting in my living room too.
5) The wall that now stands to support my books, DVDs, and CDs is the only wall long enough to keep them together as a family.
And with that I will not justify my logic any longer. You will either enjoy it, dislike it, or not really give a shit either way so there really isn’t much more to discuss.
I’ve now been composing this post for two weeks and four days. My new year’s resolution really should have been to finish my blog posts in a reasonable time frame…
Last weekend Mandy bunny and I made a fairly spontaneous plan to go to Whistler. The last time I was there they had the peak express lift closed because it was miserable and torrential. But this time, although it wasn’t a clear day, the snow conditions were probably the best I’ve skied in my 22 years of skiing. It was abundant and frigging fast and this is perfection to me.
In the words of whistlerblackcomb.com: “Whistler’s Peak Express offers some of the planet’s most rugged high alpine.” Now tell me that doesn’t send a shiver down your spine in all the right ways. We reached the peak and were submerged in heavy clouds. It was blustery and dark making the ground impossible to decipher from the atmosphere. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t scared shitless and that’s simply because when you’re on a sharp decline and you can’t see even ten feet ahead of you, you’re pulling guts from areas other than the pit of your stomach. In fact we were stealing guts from each other. We swore the whole way down to the first ridge and upon survival we masochistically wanted to do it all over again just for the thrill of it.
Isn’t Mandy the cutest thing?
On one of our lift rides we started talking about what the hills in Ottawa were like. Myself, I learned to ski at Edelweiss in Gatineau. We thought of all our favourite hills and how sadly they pale in comparison to what we are so lucky to have here. Just to put it into perspective, I did some quick calculations and came up with this very roughly scaled example of how Edelweiss might compare to Whistler. Technically speaking, Whistler has a top elevation of 2,182 metres compared to Edelweiss’s 350 metres.
Oh yes, here’s the car that’s going to replace my Ford Fo’ once my lease is up. Thirteen more days to go, by the way, and my last car payment comes out. Then I will be car-payment free. Free! Fr.EE! F|r|e|E! f:r/EE!
Cute isn’t it? Rando found me this little gem and I couldn’t be happier. I introduce you to my 1991 Civic Si.