Fast Forward

"You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven." ~ Jimi Hendrix (Musician, Best Guitar Player Ever)

I am operating at no less than 100 miles per hour at any given time of the day. 9am, 5pm, 3am....there is no differentiation or discepancy. I highly suspect that this is what people who experience manic states at least kinda feel like. I am not finding it overly enjoyable. Since quitting smoking, I've been experiencing absolute insomnia, which is adding to the ringing noise that rattles through my brain like I've just taken a hit off a crack pipe.

16 days from now, I will be flying to Africa.

Every day between this very moment and that 16th day is packed with things to do, people to see, paperwork to catch up on, planning, on-call for work (which is a fate worse than death), last minute purchases, phone calls, and so on and so forth.

All I want to do is lay around and get drunk in quiet solitude as I imagine that won't be easy to come by for the seven weeks I'm working in Africa surrounded by 70 children.

The First 144-Hours

"As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule to never smoke when asleep, and never refrain from smoking while awake." ~ Mark Twain (American Author).

No one likes a quitter, yet I have quit doing a lot of stuff over the past 16 months. One of the last items on the "things to figure out prior to going to Africa" list was to give up my love affair with my bestie, cigarettes. Given the very short length of time before my departure date (21 days, holy fuck), I had almost succumb to the fact that this goal would not be reached and started figuring out how many packs of cigarettes I would need to bring with me for my two month trip. Then I thought, well, I guess I could actually try or something instead of just hoping to wake up one morning a non-smoker.

I have always smoked. My older sister has frequently commented that I was likely born with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I quit once for four years - between 2000-2004 - which was a major accomplishment that sucked almost every single day. I did not drink any alcohol for three of those four years,  knowing it would completely derail my non-smoking super powers. That sucked even more because I quite enjoy drunkenness. I have smoked with vigor since reigniting my love affair in 2004 and have spent all of my days since basking in the warm glow of cigarette embers. Until now.

Many months ago, my naturopath suggested I try hypnosis and acupuncture to quit smoking, so I put those suggestions on the "when I'm ready" shelf to become dusty and forgotten. Very spontaneously, I recently yanked them off the shelf for inspection and made an appointment at the clinic for hypnosis. Hypnosis is something I have never totally understood despite my best efforts in researching it and talking to a variety of therapists that use it as part of their practice. It's a mystery to me. I have a few friends who have successfully quit smoking using hypnosis and I've listen to them describe their experience with the whole thing and this has not proven to clear up any of my questions. What I've learned since being hypnotized last Monday is, I don't have to understand everything so I should get the fuck over it and just let it be.

Over the past 144 smokeless hours, I have not freaked out or wanted to kill anyone. I have not been cranky, irritable, anxiety ridden or certifiably insane. I have felt strangely at peace with myself and the world. It's not like the hypnosis erased my memory nor did it eliminate all cravings for cigarettes. Rather, it's like it made being smokeless okay. I think to myself, oh yeah, smoking, that's what I'd like to do right now and then I think, hmmmm, I don't do that anymore so I should go do something else instead. I've been on approximately 20 zillion walks since I quit and listening to loud music (and car dancing) has become an integral part of my non-smoking success. I've had one acupuncture session and that made me feel light and calm. Ridiculous, eh?

My worldview tells me that nothing can be this easy but, here I am, not smoking after being hypnotized for 40 minutes. Go fucking figure. I have no idea how long the hypnosis spell will last but, as of right now, I am no longer calculating how many packs of cigarettes I need to bring to Africa. Weird.

Asshole, Part Deux

"The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest." ~ Henry David Thoreau (American Poet & Philosopher)

You go away for the weekend and your Asshole squirrel moves right in and parties his ass off. This morning, as I was once again pulled out of my slumber (albeit a little later than the usual 5am wake up call) to Asshole tap dancing on the air conditioner, I discovered this little nest-delight fully formed in my window. Oh wait....he's back! Yes, at this exact moment, Asshole just crawled back into his snuggley little home and he brought a MacDonald's bag with him. Every good home needs a MacDonald's bag as part of it's integral structure.

As I fully realized Asshole's intent of becoming a tenant, a room mate, an obnoxious pal....I thought to myself: I'm not living with an Asshole. This thought was followed by thinking: my good friend Donna needs to come over here and deal with this because I certainly can't. I don't know why I have this irrational fear of Asshole, but I do. I'm not afraid of other squirrels; however, in my defense, they are not trying to shack up with me. Upon more reflection, I thought to myself: if you cannot manage evicting an Asshole, how the fuck are you going to deal with pretty much anything in Africa? You know, like lions, tigers and bears. So, I mustered up my courage and a broom and evicted the Asshole. All of this occurred before 6:30am; his timing is impeccable, I'll give him that.

He'll be back.

It's 5 O'Clock in the Morning....

"You can't be friends with a squirrel. A squirrel is just a rat in a cuter outfit." ~ Sarah Jessica Parker (American Film/TV Actress)

I am being mocked by a fucking rodent. A rodent that looks exactly like the fucker in the adjacent picture. In my home town (in a different part of Canada) squirrels are small, cute woodland creatures that look like something from the movie Bambi. Where I presently live, they are huge black rats with bushy tails who apparently enjoy mocking humans. I remember when I first moved up here and saw one of these things, I almost had a heart attack. I was like, what the fuck is that? A squirrel. Yeah right.

I live in a ghetto apartment with no central air conditioning. To keep with the overall ghetto ambiance of the place, I have ghetto window beaters that do little to cool it down in the +40 summer heat. Because I am a ghetto tenant, my window beaters are not securely and properly fastened in the window and are merely hanging on by a tread by the cheap, plastic accordion like things that protrude from either side. For the past couple weeks one of these black squirrels, who I've unaffectionately named Asshole, has been attempting to break into my apartment via my bedroom air conditioner. And not only is Asshole trying to break in, he's doing it at the ungodly hour of 5:00am. Here's how the scenario plays out:

I am asleep.
I wake up due to hearing a disturbing scratching noise.
I wonder what the hell the noise is because, while I slumber, I seemingly forget that this occurs every morning.
I realize it's Asshole.
I get out of bed and try to shoo Asshole away from the cheap, plastic accordion things that he is eventually and undoubtedly going to get through.
He looks at me, totally unafraid, and continues to tap dance all over the air conditioner while laughing. Yes, he is laughing.
I start to freak out, thinking of the meltdown I will have should Asshole successfully make it into my apartment.
I continue to make noise via hitting the window, turning the air conditioner on and off (which, by the way, sounds like a fucking diesel truck blaring through my bedroom), and yelling like a lunatic.
He continues to laugh while staring into my eyes. He is mocking me and enjoys this little interaction we have every morning.
I finally succumb to the fact that he is not afraid of my antics (and not only is he not afraid, he is amused) and get back into bed. I cannot, however, fall back asleep because I am too busy thinking through the scene that will happen when Asshole gets into my apartment.

I fucking hate that squirrel.
Fuck you Asshole.

Being Dumb is Fun Sometimes

"Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid." ~ John Wayne (American Film Actor)

Sometimes, I like to do dumb things....particularly during the over consumption of alcohol. I don't know how to consume alcohol in any other way then what falls into the overly excessive category. It's not that I drink frequently but when I do, it can get messy - or rowdy, which is the adjective I prefer to use.

This past weekend, which also happened to be Canada Day, I traveled home for four days to see the man I am dating. I have briefly met his family once....and I mean brief, as it was a ten minute introduction. This weekend we decided to spend our Canada Day at his Dad's annual party, which involves a lot of alcohol and BBQ. Given that I don't eat meat, it only involved a lot of alcohol for me (dumb decision #1). After arriving and feeling out my environment for about five to six seconds, I started pounding what my boyfriend calls "Bloody Jamie's" (his name is Jamie) into me at a pace that would make most Olympic runners envious. After about seven of those, I was "dragged" into a shed full of women I did not know (which was weird but funny) where I was "forced" into doing numerous shots of some delicious but unknown liquor. As I stumbled out of the shed I noticed some people wandering off to a different part of the property and felt the need to investigate, only to stumble upon some peaceful potheads smoking a joint (something I gave up eight months ago). In a flash of brilliant decision making, I decided that smoking a joint was a fabulous idea (dumb decision #2) so I indulged. The drinks continued, a merry time ensued.

At some point, I found myself laying on the lawn. I'm not quite sure how this happened or what came right before laying on the lawn, but, that's where I was. My boyfriend's Dad came to join me on the lawn for what I'm sure he expected to be genius conversation and to be completely honest, I have absolutely zero idea what we talked about. None. I'm going to tell myself it was witty but we all know that's inaccurate. It was approximately 9pm when the lawn-laying debacle occurred. And between the merry time ensuing and the lawn-laying debacle, there was at least two more joints (dumb decision #3 & 4).

I then made the decision that my boyfriend and I should venture out to another party around 10pm. After three liquor runs back to his place to get more "Bloody Jamie" ingredients, it was time to go. I have absolutely no recollection of how we got from his Dad's place to his best friend's place (who I've also only met once) but I know neither of us was, that's a good thing. I brought a bottle of wine with me because wine is awesome to start drinking when you are already plowed from drinking vodka drinks all evening on a totally empty stomach. I believe it took me about an hour to drink 3/4 of the bottle of wine (dumb decision #5), which is when the idea of food popped into my hazy, liquor saturated, bad decision making brain. On the menu: hot dogs. Now, I don't eat meat and I don't eat bread (gluten) but the combination of these two things suddenly seemed very appealing to me. "I'll have two" (dumb decision #6 & 7). For some reason, I clearly recall not being able to get the ketchup from the bottle onto the hot dogs but rather got the ketchup over the entire bun of the hot dog instead (it's a mystery that shall never be solved). This did not stop me, although it should have served as a clear indication that hot dog eating was not in my best interests.

I have no idea how much time passed between the hot dog eating and the behind-a-hedge-barfing but I am guesstimating it was about 30 minutes. Was it the Blood Jamie's, the joints, the wine, the hot dogs....who the fuck knows? All I know is that I felt much better after it happened. And then my man had to drag my drunk ass home and put me to bed, which he did without complaining.

I woke up the next morning feeling like a hot dog truck had run me over and yet I thought to myself, I don't think I'm ever going to grow out of this "stage." Like, you know...mature past the point of doing these things. And I realized, I'm okay with that. Fuck it.