a bitchy fucking post AKA me in public with strangers

IMG_8727ONE:

A couple days ago I was waiting at the bus stop in this hot summer heat. I was wearing the dress pictured above and my hair was up, and I was feeling like quite a lady, actually. Girly shoes, cute bag, the whole bit.

I’ve been working on not having a panic attack every day on my way home. For those of you who don’t know I do get anxiety pretty badly in public places. The trip home is always when it gets me the worst, after a long day of being around people and knowing I’m going to have to be stuck in close proximity once again to screaming children, drunk and dirty construction workers, scab-picking hobos and pushy old ladies. I get a stomach ache nearly every single day on my way home, no lie. I thought it was the food I was eating, then I thought it might have been my restrictive tights squishing my guts but after years of experiments with diet and clothing options I’ve found the only common denominator in everything I do and getting stomach pains is my proximity to a stressful bus ride.

So each day I try and talk myself out of getting anxious. Don’t worry, me. Those people aren’t staring at you. Don’t worry me, that guy won’t try to talk to you. Don’t worry me, that guy isn’t coming over here to look at your legs. Don’t worry, me. He’s not standing directly beside you on purpose even though there’s a ton of room everywhere else.

Oh wait, yeah. You’re being “hunted”.

I call it that because it literally makes me feel like some slow-moving animal is sniffing me out of the pack of bus patrons, circling, about to make some kind of move. It can’t be only me who has experienced “the hunt”, I’m sure.

It’s that thing where you’re standing still out in public and a stranger sees you from afar and decides he/she wants to talk to you. For me, personally, it’s always men or crazy people who want to talk to me, and 95% of the time it’s when my tattoos are showing.

I *hate* being “hunted”. I can see it coming ten minutes before the person even decides to make a move. I see them do that weird stare-from-afar thing out of the corner of my eye. Then comes the oh so casual walk-over. Oh they just happen to be standing directly beside me? What a coincidence. It’s the equivalent to the yawn-and-stretch move in a movie theater. So. Obvious.

Then they don’t give a shit if I’m reading a book or not looking at them or listening to a super interesting podcast, they just start talking about their opinion of me in a condescending manner, like I should be flattered that they took the time out of their day to talk to me. It’s never like “hey, want to talk about interesting books or the local sports team?” It’s never a normal girl wondering where I got my shoes or a tourist asking if I have seen their bus go by.

It doesn’t matter if the person says a nice thing or a mean thing to me if I don’t want to talk. Because first of all, did I fucking ask them for their opinion? No. Second, I don’t feel like having a conversation so I am not going to be forced into one. Third, chatting me up about my tattoos is the ultimate cop-out of an opening line. It’s like if you see a super pregnant lady down the street and for some reason feel the need to walk up to her and be like “when are you due?” and then talk about your epesiotomy while she’s just trying to use the bank machine or something.

I’m a grown-ass woman, I should be able to just sit in peace without a bunch of pseudo-thugs and misinformed middle aged men trying to chat me up.

The guy in question that day, he was way down the sidewalk at a busy bus stop. I was sitting on a little ledge on the side of a bank, just waiting for my bus and listening to Nick Cave after a long hot day at work. Even though I was looking to the left, waiting for my bus, I could see him to my right doing the stare thing. He was kind of dorky looking, mid-20s in age. He had a new-ish looking sleeve of mediocre tattoo work and was wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, just dying for somebody to notice.

He slowly took two steps towards me, then hesitated. I pulled my iPod out of my bag and looked at my music selection intently. I wanted to look as busy as possible. Do not talk to me. I am busy. Do not talk to me. I am not interested.

Two more steps and he was in front of me but a sidewalk’s width away. I turned up the volume, changed the song and looked for my bus.

He stopped, just standing there, facing me, staring. It’s so awkward when you know somebody’s just waiting to catch your eye and you don’t want them to. I didn’t glance up from my iPod again, even though I wanted to see if my bus was coming. I didn’t want to accidentally send some kind of “come hither” signal over there.

After a few more moments of awkwardly standing in front of me, he ever so casually walked over and stood beside where I was sitting, propping his elbows up on the ledge and leaning back. It probably looked very cool in his mind.

“I like your tattoos.” He said, loudly, staring at my legs.

I didn’t acknowledge his existence. At all. Oh I heard him, and I saw him, but I just did not care. I wanted to say “Yeah? Who asked you?” Or use a super sarcastic tone, saying something like “Oh thank god, I did this all to impress you.” but I do have a bit of social grace engrained in my very being, and I could not bring myself to be *that* rude.

Anyway, I’m sure he’d have turned even something like that into an invitation to tell me about his “ink”. A lot of the time I feel like guys like him just want to talk to me just to let me know that hey, they also have tattoos so. Yeah. I guess we should probably make out now or something. I don’t know.

It felt really good to just ignore him. It turned into a really awkward moment … for him, not me. As far as he knew I didn’t even know he was there, but probably six or seven people standing around definitely saw the exchange. I’m not sure if it’s because my feelings are turned right off sometimes lately or what but I just wanted to show him that you can’t walk up to whomever you please and force them into talking about you and I didn’t care how embarrassing it was for him. Come on, he did’t want to talk to ME, he wanted to talk about the way I look and then segue into talking about himself and how cool he is.

I’ve just had enough of those conversations to last me a lifetime.

Just then, my bus came. Turns out it was his bus too. So I pretended it wasn’t mine until he got on and went upstairs. He actually waited a beat to see if I was getting on, too, looking back from the doorway. I got on at the last moment and sat downstairs near a screaming child. With a horrible stomach ache and a racing heart. Because being hunted is not good for anxiety, I tell you h’wut.

hwut

(me)

For comparison’s sake, I’ll tell you about a great experience I had, where the exchange was a pure compliment and the person didn’t expect anything back. The guy was…let’s say “rough and tumble” in appearance. And he was with his friends and his girl, but he didn’t try and put me down to show off or anything like that. He just said this:

kjhkhh

And he said it like he meant it. And that? Made my day. That’s a true compliment.

When I don’t want to talk, but you go in anyway with a false compliment and immediately segue into talking about yourself, you are a bore and are not respecting my privacy.

No thanks.

TWO:

Here is a letter I wrote to the new Indian restaurant just down the street from my work. They have not responded as of yet, and I will not go back until they make this right. If they don’t then they’ve lost my business forever.

Hi there. I’m writing to you from the tattoo shop down the road, as I’d like you to know my two experiences with your staff.

Yesterday we ordered a few small items for takeout. A woman (I think she might be a manager?) answered the phone and was very polite, and also helped me when I came by to pick it up. The service inside the restaurant by her was great. There was a young man working there as well who walked straight up to me while I was waiting for my food and asked me for a discount on tattoos. Not the most professional behaviour but whatever, I get rude questions all the time in public as I’m pretty heavily tattooed so I brushed it off. I paid with no problem and left. Everybody said the food was delicious.

Today one of the tattoo artists was very busy and asked me to call and order her a naan. I do this for the artists quite frequently and as such have developed a pretty good relationship with many of the nearby restaurant staff.

I called your place and a young-ish sounding man answered. I placed my order and before I could find out how much it was going to cost or when it would be ready he hung up on me. We all actually had a laugh at that, supposing he was very busy and forgot his manners.

I guessed that it would take around ten or fifteen minutes, and walked over there to pick up the food. There was a man standing out front who was very friendly (I guess the owner?) and I walked in to where the host was standing. He didn’t greet me at all, just stared. I said “Hi, I’m here to pick up a take-out order” and he walked straight to the back and got it, no smile or anything. (This was the same guy as yesterday who asked for a tattoo discount.)

I tried to pay with a $20 bill and he literally raised his voice at me, berating me, saying “YOU HAVE TO HAVE EXACT CHANGE” and was absolutely furious. He walked around very dramatically asking everybody in the restaurant if they had change for a $20 and finally another server came over. He also scolded me as if I did something wrong, saying I should pay with exact change. He handed me $15 even though my change was more than that, saying he’d give me the rest next time because they don’t have change.

I was so taken aback I didn’t say anything at the time, plus I’m not so great with being yelled at by complete strangers when I did nothing wrong, but I’ve been sitting here fuming about it for a couple hours.

First of all, even if this were a world in which patrons should always pay with exact change, maybe somebody should have told me how much the food was going to be instead of hanging up on me and expecting me to magically know the procedure.

Second, you cannot yell at customers or make them feel stupid. Ever. Period. Or hang up on them mid conversation.

Third, you should give your servers a big enough float to deal with big bills on the regular. This is a city full of rich people and tourists. They’re not all going to be carrying around exact change. I work with tattoo artists who use $50s and $100s regularly. I’m lucky she handed me a $20. This is not my problem. Go to the bank OR make it apparent that you have no change for some reason. Tell the people over the phone BEFORE they come pick up their orders. I do not think it’s unreasonable to expect you to be able to change any bill I bring in. Everybody else on the street can do it.

Fourth, you can’t say you’ll give somebody the rest of their change later. That’s not okay. That money belongs to the person I was picking up the lunch for, not you.

I really want to like you guys, but your staff is making it difficult to say the least. I really hope you take my criticism in a constructive manner, I know it’s in an aggressive tone but I am still very angry about what happened today. I can see by your Facebook wall I’m not the only one who has had a terrible experience lately.

Nova
Tattoo Zoo shop manager

THREE:

crackhead

Basic human kindness quiz: So say you see somebody in the street whose appearance you find, oh, I don’t know, revolting. For me, it’s skeleton-looking dirty stringy-haired crackheads who have obviously thrown away their lives to booze and drugs. What do you do?

A) Do nothing and keep on walking, pretending you don’t see them.

B) Give them a smile, they probably could use a stranger’s kindness.

C) SCREAM at them that they’re “fucking disgusting” while they’re standing at the bus stop minding their own business, until your friends have to literally drag you away, while everybody at the bus stop stares at you and the person you were screaming at.

This lady yesterday? She chose C.

Good times.

What would you do?

It’s like serendipity that I didn’t schedule a post for today and then was witness to some outrageous behavior and felt like blogging about it. I’m at work and actually have to start actually working in about three minutes so this is gonna have to be a quick one. Sorry if my syntax is crazy or anything.

So on some weekday mornings I catch a super early bus to downtown, go to a nice warm cozy coffee shop and study for my medical terminology class for a few hours before work. I really like it because I’m quite the morning person and have no distractions in the coffee shop. Until lately.

This big fat ugly gross man and an equally big fat gross ugly woman have started having pre-work coffee dates in MY coffee shop. And they always sit really near me.

The purpose of their coffee dates, from what I can ascertain, is to talk loudly and rudely about their co-workers. It’s a super negative bitchfest. Every morning. Which, yeah whatever, maybe their workplace is terrible. But from being forced to overhear their conversations for days on end, I have discovered that the man is in some kind of power position in their company and is extremely horribly misogynistic.

The woman is sexist too. Against herself. If you know what I mean. She LOLs at all his terrible jokes and nods and agrees loudly. Yes, that secretary shouldn’t have given him that look about all the paperwork, she sure does need a hot beef injection.

That’s right, he said “hot beef injection” today. And she agreed.

In fact, he has basically threatened to rape his secretary multiple times over the conversations I’ve listened to. And the woman agrees. I can not believe my ears sometimes. Today I make a disgusted sound and turned around and got a real good look at the both of them, just in case I read something in the newspaper about a secretary being given a “protein injection”. “A big one” that he has for her. That thing “she needs”.

You get the point. I mean it’s horrible. What can you do though? I want to ask them where they work and then write to the HR department on behalf of this poor woman, whoever she is.

Anyway I don’t know where I’m going with this but OH MY GOD what would you do if you overheard conversations like that?

So yesterday was pretty rad!

I mean…the weather was crap. Frickin’ monsoon-like rain and near zero temperatures, and wind. Oh the wind.It was c-c-c-cold out.And that’s coming from someone who takes pride in being able to weather the…weather…you know what I mean.

But I was distracted…I was on my way to get my chest tattooed. I was more nervous than you can imagine. Like, more nervous than for any tattoo I have ever gotten before, really! I guess because everybody I have ever talked to about it has made crazy pain faces even at the mention of it, and so many people have said it was the most painful tattoo they’ve ever gotten.

In actuality, mostly because I was prepared for it, it wasn’t so bad. It still hurt, don’t get me wrong, but it was like, just another tattoo kind of hurt. Also? I took like three advil just before we started which probably had something to do with it. 🙂

I don’t want to put pictures of the entire thing up here, because you know how people are with stealing crap from the internet, and it’s not finished yet…I just feel really protective over it. And Colin hates the internet…I’d be so bummed if someone stole his hard work.  Here are a couple sort of semi-pictures of it with really fancy watermarks, haha.

They’re not the best pictures but you can get the general idea of what it’s going to be like anyway. On the other shoulder it meets up with my mummy/My Little Pony sleeve and goes kind of behind the mummy’s head. Thanks a billion COLIN! I feel all proud, it’s so pretty and he has been working like fourteen hour days every day for the past two weeks. It was so nice of him to fit me into his schedule.

After I left the tattoo shop, I went to the photo place and picked up some photos I dropped off a few days ago. I have finally figured out my lomography fisheye camera! This time the majority of my photos actually worked out, which is great news. Usually they’re underexposed or my hand was covering the flash or something. This bunch of  photos totally ruled. Here’s a preview:

Pretty good, right? I’m going to be posting more throughout the next month or two. 

 —

And so I took the bus home wearing a ridiculous chest bandage…I put a couple pictures of it on my Tumblr here. Check it out for a laugh. I looked ridiculous in that v-neck sweater and a big blue thing taped to my chest. I went to the grocery store looking like that because getting tattooed turns me into a ravenous freak. A couple chocolate bars made it into my grocery basket…the cashier asked if I was going to eat both of them myself, and I smiled and told her “As soon as I get home” and she said

“You go girl.”

Hahaha. Yes. I do go. I eat two chocolate bars whenever I want. Girl power!

When I got home I found mother effin’ TOMS shoes waiting for me. They must have come in the mail while I was out. I tried them on and they fit like a glove. I know everyone on the internet keeps saying how great they are, but I’m going to add my voice to the chorus…AMAAAAAZING!

What a great day!

We went out on Saturday. The end of the night got kinda weird.

Ryan and I went to a dubstep show on Saturday. Yeah, you heard right. At least I think it was dubstep. I get totally lost every time someone starts talking musical subgenres. And I’ll be honest, I went into the show with a super negative attitude; if there’s not guitars, punching and yelling I’m usually not anywhere near live music. But Ryan really likes these guys, and he promised to buy me drinks so we went together.
I was pleasantly surprised. It’s still not really my cup’o’tea but it wasn’t terrible, and there were way less hippies than I was expecting. Here’s some examples of the music…PK Sound did the sound, and if you don’t know who they are then never mind, but they’re like, the best sound guys in Canada. So imagine this music louder than any music you’ve ever heard live. It’s kind of heavy and evil sounding.

This is Mark Instinct (who I actually thought was kind of cool):
 
This is Subvert (who I didn’t care for, we left halfway through his set…just too dance-music-y):
Here’s a picture of us watching Mark Instinct. We’re way up on the balcony. There’s a bar up there and a phenomenal view. But uh, it looks like I was more interested in talking to Ryan, haha. We stayed up there most of the night because everywhere else was completely packed with people dancing way too hard and/or slutty. I was scared. 🙂

We were offered MDMA like a thousand times at that show. I guess that’s the cool thing to do these days? And I was all like “Hugs, not drugs.” A local graffiti guy, PESTO, designed the stage, it’s hard to tell from this photo but it’s built out of a bunch of tree branches and in the back there were dancers?

Photo stolen from Charlotte Dobre’s facebook pics. 
She is a fantastic photographer by the way! Check out her website HERE
She has the best job. Ever.
 
Here are some random conversations I overheard/was part of that night:
(Standing in line to go into the show, there were 20 year old boys behind us who kept somehow butting in front of us, one by one, and were talking over our heads.)
Boy 1: Remember that party at Jeff’s house? And you had that Garbage Pail Kids jacket on? That was hilarious.
Boy 2: Garbage Pa…no, that wasn’t me.
Boy 1: No, yeah. I’m pretty sure it was.
Boy 2: Listen, I’m pretty sure I’d remember having a Garbage Pail kids jacket.
Boy 1: Oh wait, no, it wasn’t you. That was Ian (insert last name of guy I know here)
Me: LOL (Because of course he has a Garbage Pail Kids jacket, why wouldn’t he?)
Boy 1: (To Ryan and I) Hey do you girls have a pen in your purse?
Me: (Glaring at him, because um, Ryan’s a man and I didn’t even have a damn purse.)
Ryan: Oh yeah, I think I saw one at the back of the line!
Boy 1: (Oblivious) Huh. Well thanks anyway.
(Outside, 2AM-ish, Ryan and I were just about to leave when we ran into our hilarious friend who was just on his way back in to find somebody. He wants to smoke a cigarette and we decide to stand with him and wait for a taxi to drive by. A kid in a t-shirt walks up to us.)
Kid: Why are you outside? Don’t you like the music?
Ryan: Yeah man, but I don’t like the direction Subvert is taking the music (technical words I don’t understand).
Me: Not really.(I’m tired and kind of grouchy because 50 taxis are pulling up, looking at us and leaving.)
Kid: (Turns to me.) WHAT? YOU DON’T LIKE DUBSTEP? What do you like? Hakuna Matata?
Me: Hahaha. Yep. That’s what I like. 
Kid: You guys have a light? 
Me: (Picking up a matchbook off the sidewalk with one match left in it.) Here ya go.
Kid: Thanks. 
Ryan: You only have ONE CHANCE!
Friend of ours: Yeah! Light it or you have to suck our dicks.
Me: (WTF look on my face)
Ryan: (Laughing) (He had a lot more to drink than I did)
Kid: Well….how about just his? (Gestures to Ryan.)
Me: You’re considering it?
Kid: My girlfriend just had an abortion and we broke up.
Us all: (Tugging on our collars, Simpsons style, because suddenly he’s not so funny.)
(In the taxi home)
Taxi driver: I’m just glad you guys are like, normal people for once.
Ryan: Yeah I bet you get drunk assholes all the time.
Taxi driver: Don’t even get me started.
(We sit in silence for a minute.)
Taxi Driver: You wouldn’t believe the week I’ve had.
Me: Oh, really?
Taxi driver: Yeah. Fucking crazy.
Me: Mmhm?
Taxi driver: Like, the worst week of my life.
Ryan: What happened?
Taxi driver: You don’t even want to know.
(We sit in silence for a minute.)
Taxi driver: I really need to get this off my chest. Can I tell you guys something?
Ryan: Sure, man.
Me: Yeah, totally. What’s up?
Taxi driver: My friend, well no, not my friend. This guy I know from a long time back…you know when it was snowing a few weeks ago? 
Me: Yeah.
Taxi driver: Well I found out he had nowhere to stay, he was on the streets, so I told him he could come stay with me. You know, do something nice for the guy.
Ryan: Mhm.
Taxi driver: So anyway he was just like, staying on my couch and then one day he was gone and the cops come to my door at like eight in the morning and it turns out he fucking murdered somebody and they had him in custody and they want me to come in for questioning. 
Me: Wait, what?
Taxi driver: And I mean, like he woke up one morning in my house, went out, fucking murdered somebody, came back and then I took him shopping at Walmart.
Ryan: Uh…
Taxi driver: It was like, he walked in just as I was leaving and I said “Hey I’m going to the store” and he was like “Can I come with you? I need to pick up a few things.” And then we went shopping together just like everything was normal. How can I ever trust anybody ever again?
Me: Uh…holy shit.
Taxi driver: And now they want me to go to court at eight in the morning as like, a witness. I never get out of bed until like two in the afternoon, I’m gonna be all tired in court. Well, here we are, you guys have a good night. 
Me: Yeah. Good luck with that…murder…investigation…
Also? That murder happened in my neighborhood. Sweet.

Actual conversation I just had at the coffee shop:

(It’s 8:30 in the morning.)
Me: (Just making conversation.) What time do you guys open?
Super Italian Coffee Shop Owner: Seven thirty. What time do you open?
Me: Eleven.
Italian guy: So what are you doing here?
Me: Well, somebody stole our mailbox and on Friday the mailman got mad at me so I thought I should get here before he does.
Italian guy: Why did he get mad at you?
Me: I think it wrecked his whole morning routine.
Italian guy: (in super thick Italian accent) Well I’m-a mad at him. He-a keeps-a bringing me bills.

Do you ever walk away from a conversation and think about how weird and funny it is?

And now I’m sitting here at the tattoo shop, hours early, with all the blinds drawn, even though it’s still dark out so all the passers-by and looky-loos can look right in at me, so I can see when the mailman comes.

And I taped a sign where the mailbox used to be that says “I’m here, mailman.” With a smiley face underneath.

Uh, yeah. This is my life. ?