Apparently, beggars can be chosers
Posted by saedigh
at 04:48 PM on November 14, 2005
As some of you may already know, I am moving out of Ottawa at the end of the month. As a result, I have quite a bit of downsizing to do and some furniture to find a new, loving home for.
I tried calling around some of the more well-known charity establishments in the city to see if anyone would accept a donation. Apparently, Ottawa has no one in need of couches, coffee tables, end tables, kitchen tables, chairs, or small kitchen appliances, nor is there anyone to benefit from the proceeds of the sale of such items. No, sorry, not at this time. Perhaps I should try calling back at the end of December? Have I considered making a cash donation instead?
All I can say is that I hope the seagulls at the local landfill appreciate their new, retro, looseback perch and the fine scandinavian design of their new roost.
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The Alanis Morissette School of Irony and the Road Less Travelled
Posted by saedigh
at 07:47 PM on May 16, 2005
I think I have mentioned my neighbo(u)rhood before. By Ottawa standards, it's the wrong side of the tracks. It's urban. Gritty. The hood.
Actually, most (50%) of the people in my part of the neighbo(u)rhood are like me: living in the cheapest (read: most reasonably priced) part of the city so they can someday move out and buy a dog. Okay, maybe I am the only one working towards the dog-related goal, but you get the idea. About 49% are people trying to raise their families and make ends meet the best ways they know how. I may not walk down my street alone at midnight, but I also think that walking down any street alone at midnight in this day and age is just a really stupid idea wherever you live. However, there is a small segment (1%) of the population who I don't really consider to be my peers and for whom I have very little respect. Namely, the couple who live nextdoor who insist on having domestic disputes on the front lawn.
My parents were here for Easter. On Easter Sunday morning, shortly after the eggs had been hunted and the chocolate bunnies had met their proverbial makers, my dad was treated to an introductory short course on domestic bliss, courtesy the Eminem impersonator in the building next door and his beloved..., um, beloved. Now, I am not a particularly religious person, but I do think that there is something to be said for quiet reflection on a sunny spring morning, and quiet reflection was not what the couple nextdoor had in mind. The screaming went on for a good 15 minutes, right there on the front lawn, for all the pious citizens of Vanier (a historically Catholic centre) to hear on their way to Easter mass.
I had heard their arguments before, but this one was definitely an escalation in aggression.
Since then, I have been woken up no less than a dozen times to a drunken brawl in the streets. They both give as good as they get, and I plea bystander apathy by not phoning it in as a noise disturbance.
"You &*%$#ing @$$hole!"
"You &*%$#ing wh0r3!"
Accusations of infidelity fly, but the English language is the only real victim of abuse. They sober up, and continue playing happy families until the next weekend. I have almost come to set my clocks by it.
This afternoon, I was treated to the following snippet of conversation:
Eminem Impersonator: Man, I don't &*%$#ing know why they [I assume he means the other people living in their building] think that whenever they [I assume he means the police] show up here it's over some domestic s#|+.
Beloved: Wha? [There was no "T" sound in her utterance]
Impersonator: Yeah. I was like[[mumbling]] and they [neighbo(u)rs] thought they [police] were here because of our argument last week, but [takes long drag on cigarette] that's bull s#|+! Like, [[mumbling]].
I wanted to yell out the window. I wanted to run downstairs and scream at them. You Idiots! Maybe if you weren't threatening to kill each other every week people wouldn't think you were trying to kill each other every week! Why the hell are you staying together? For the pitbull? (They really do own one.) I don't get it. I really don't get it. Okay, maybe I have my suspicions: neither of them seem to be gainfully employed, since they can spend the entire summer in the alley way barbecuing and drinking beer; neither of them seem particularly intelligentk, since their vocabularies are heavily subsidized by variations of the term "to fornicate"; they spend an aful lot of time (ergo money) binge drinking. But what makes two people stay together in spite of such apparent misery? I have never heard uncontrollable laughter tumble out of their doorway. When they smoke on the front porch, they don't share the cigarette; they don't even look at one another when they talk. I can only assume that they air their dirty laundry in public, but keep their fresh clean linens to themselves. I just know that wouldn't be enough for me.
Disclaimer: Life throws curveballs. I am intimately familiar with this. Things don't always work out the way you planned, and I understand that. But I cannot respect the person who doesn't try to make the most of what they have. The person who simply does not try. I realise that our pasts shape who we are, but I also believe in free will and human resilience. At the end of the day, we all make choices. And we are all capable of making sacrifices to make better choices. I am hopeful that the young Mr. and Mrs. Eminem will eventually make the right choice, but I also have a right to be skeptical.
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If I wanted water, I'd ask for water
Posted by saedigh
at 04:00 PM on April 30, 2005
It's been raining for over a week and a half here in Ottawa. At first, it wasn't so bad. We'd had a pretty warm, sunny, dry spring so far, and could use the precipitation. But now it's just excessive. And oppressive. And muggy.
I don't mind some kinds of rain. Summer cloudbursts are the best. Short, and to the point, but nonetheless impressive. Especially when followed by a rainbow. Spring rain, typically, can be refreshing. The way the light reflects off the droplets clinging to new buds. But this isn't typical spring rain. It's more like fall rain. Cold, and grey with the faint scent of worm. You know, kind of like fish and mildew, with a slight bouquet of damp wool. It's everywhere.
Looking the the long-range forecast, it doesn't look like things will dry out until midweek.
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These are the people in your neighbourhood: 1
Posted by saedigh
at 04:37 PM on April 17, 2005
If you've ever overindulged on Elgin St. and decided that it would be best to leave your car downtown and take a taxi home, chances are that when you returned to your car the next morning you would find a flyer on your windsheild. A simple, photocopied, type-written piece of paper addressed to "192 heads of nation" and signed "Harold C. Funk", also known as The Voice of the Voiceless.
I've never met Harold, but I am familiar with his writing. I've amassed quite a collection from my windsheild and others. I am not entirely sure as to the pace at which he publishes his works, but the most recent installment was Letter No. 726 of his Beat on the Street manifesto. The letters usually alternate between right justified and centred text, whimsically bold-faced in places for no apparent reason, and are typed in block capitals with little to no punctuation. I am not sure as to Harold's mental stability, but he does seem to be a bit of a conspiracy theorist, and is not particularly fond of the government, the Catholic church, or the military. Harold has his own web site, a fax number, and publishes his home phone and address on each issue. I don't know how many visitors he gets, but considering his opinions on some of the topics he has covered (one section of his Web site is entitled "Catholic Pervert Empire"), I can't see how publishing his place of residence is a particularly good idea.
Harold C. Funk, the elusive Ottawa institution.
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DQ Something Delinquent
Posted by saedigh
at 10:16 PM on October 08, 2004
My local Dairy Queen is apparently a hot spot for young offenders. What better way to acquint my parents with my neighbourhood than by witnessing not one, but two arrests in the parking lot. That leaves a wonderful impression.
I'd never seen someone handcuffed before. It's pretty much what I expected.
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