i failed my road test (praktische prüfung)

I had an acutely crappy day today. Acutely crappy days are pretty rare for me; more often I feel a vague sense of anxiety, restlessness, dissatisfaction, unfulfilment, or even ennui, but only once in a while does something specific happen that adds a focused type of anger, disappointment, frustration, confusion or helplessness to the general unhappiness. Today was one of those days: today I failed my road test.Read More »

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bringing up boys

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Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) and Maude Dowley/Lewis (Sally Hawkins) in Maudie

Men are in need of improvement. This opinion is surely shared by all women. How many times have I heard female friends speak – only half in jest – of their boyfriends, partners and husbands as if they were pets to be trained, or as another ‘child’ in the house, or as projects? Inherent in this approach is the idea that the man is currently not meeting (her) expectations. And how many times have I heard that the girlfriend/partner/wife is the best thing that’s happened to him, that she straightened him out, that she tamed and domesticated him? And how many times more have I myself wished for certain underdeveloped, socially inept men to find a partner who would teach him and improve him so that I no longer had to interact with a Neanderthal?Read More »

dear canada

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Golden Ears Park, BC – July 2010

This isn’t one of those letters where I first list what’s wrong in our relationship and then go on to say that despite those problems we’re still good or whatever. I mean, yes, but when we dig deeper it’s choppy waters for us. I want to be honest about that. Just for today I want to shed the two semi-true pretences (or semi-false realities?) that I’ve unintentionally built up over the past sixteen years:

1. That I understand you because I know something of your politics
2. That you are the absolute best and there’s nowhere else I feel more at homeRead More »

imagine me and eu

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Midsummer garden party under the auspices of an EU flag | Photo: probably my colleague Thomas

Here’s a secret: I’m obsessed with Facebook’s On This Day blasts to the past. It’s narcissism, but so is reading old diaries, right? So seven years ago last week I was in Germany for the first time and my 20-year-old self was blown away by the ultra-coolness that was Berlin. I’m not going to romanticise it into a “and at that moment I knew I would be back” thing, but it sure was the perfect icing on my exchange semester cake. (Carrot cake. Obviously.)

Many years ago a Canadian friend opined, with innocent gravity after his cliche of a summer trip backpacking through Europe:

Europe changes lives.

The statement itself is a cliche as well but it keeps cropping up, even among my friends now who are 30 rather than 20 years old who are on the continent for the first time. Because it’s true! I don’t know if Europeans can appreciate what a special place this is.Read More »

stasis

stasis gets a bad rap these days. between a culture of self-help, insecure peer-comparing narcissism, obsessive consumerism, discontent of the privileged and general millennial anxiety, we’re trained to want more and expected to achieve more. we demand more of ourselves. and this is generally a good thing. stagnation is not only boring, it’s lazy. mundane. banal. common. also-ran. we should surround ourselves with people who make us better people. we should strive. one of the great lessons i learned from star trek is that being human means seeking self-improvement.

i support all of that! but (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming)…

sometimes it’s all very tiring. sometimes i want to just be. now, for example. i’m surprisingly content with life right now. at the moment i’m sitting on my window sill with the window wide open, slither of a crescent moon in front of me, refreshingly cool night air tickling my skin. on the material and physical planes i’m very comfortable. mentally and emotionally it’s going all right.

there are many ways i could improve myself, my situation, my life, others’ lives, the world. but at the moment, i want to say forget that. i’m content and the world could stand still and it’d all be good. could it be that stasis isn’t necessarily stagnation? could stasis simply be… simply being? that is, savouring and enjoying ‘the moment’ – what’s already good.