October 6th, 2006

Mark!

So my sister yells downstairs

"I really enjoyed the deep and meaningful conversation we had tonight!"

I didn't really hear her, so I said, "what?" And she repeated herself, and I said, "oh."

If I'd heard her the first time I might've said something like, "and I really enjoyed all your biting sarcastic remarks that implied I was somehow a terrible person for preferring to keep to myself in the basement while I was watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert instead of coming upstairs and having you interrupt all the punchlines with questions about my schoolwork that I've already answered and discussions about my life issues that we've gone over in magnified detail about a thousand times! That was a goddamn blast!"

So probably it's a good thing I didn't hear her the first time.

I actually like my sister, I really do. In fact, I love her, not just because she's related to me, but because she's a cool person. But sometimes she gets really needy. Weird-needy. The kind of needy that's personified in every women's magazine and every comedian who does the routine about the man asking what's wrong and the woman saying, "nothing."

I know it's not really her fault, because I know other people who do the same thing, except with more guilt attached. And she knows it's not really my fault that I don't instinctively know exactly what to do in every situation, because my personality sort of tends towards pragmatic whim fulfillment, which sometimes - but not always - results in random (or expected) acts of kindness. But I hate being attached to situations where I've been placed in some absurd double-blind sociological test without my knowledge, because it feels like - and sometimes is - a roundabout way for the test-giver to "train" me.

Example: a few years back, I went to hang out with my main man Shain at his cousin's place in Aylmer, QC. We stopped and picked up a friend of his cousin's: nice girl, red hair, I forget her name now. I was just coming off another unfortunate experiment in college life, so I was doing my damndest to stay good and not hit on every female with a pulse who came within fifteen feet of me. I played it cool, had some drinks, played some poker, and managed to come away from it feeling like I'd left a halfway decent reputation for a change. It felt like something that I could actually develop as a relationship if fate allowed. A very good first impression, if you will.

Back in Ontario, the cousin rolls into our next party. We have some drinks and play some poker, and the cousin mentions that he's assumed I'm gay because I didn't try to hit on the girl.

"She was single, and you were single, but you didn't seem to be going for it at all. We were trying to help you hook up, but you totally just dropped the ball. It was sort of like a test."

See the kind of stuff I have to deal with? I'd much rather live my life without having to second-guess everything I do on the off-chance that the people around me are either conducting bizarre experiments on my unwitting psyche, or just assuming that I'm psychic.
Mike vs. Acid Tim

Mike vs. Acid Tim: On The Ceiling

Tim's lying on the basement couch, trying to make the lights go back together and form a single solid light, when he catches a movement out of the corner of his eye. It's one of those creepy millipede-type bug things, not quite a silverfish but also not... well, the hell with what it isn't, that doesn't tell him what it is. He's toyed with the idea of bringing in some entymologists to figure it out someday.

"Okay," he says to it. "Here is the plan. I am going to roll off this couch and you are not going to fall on me." The whatever-it-is responds by skittering over to a position where, if it fell, it would land directly on Tim's groin. This is my fault, he can't help but think. If I hadn't turned on the light, it would never have felt threatened.

Threatened? What? Where'd that come from? This was his house, damnit, his and Mike's, and also possibly Mike's girlfriend. Did Mike have a girlfriend right now? They'd been stopped in the car the other day by a traffic cop. She spotted Ringo's reeling hippie head because he'd lowered his backseat window, and Mike was driving erratically because they didn't know the neighborhood that well. "Your registration's in the glove compartment, bro?"

"Bro?" she repeated. "Did you just call him 'bro?'"

"I suppose I did." Tim passed the necessary documents to Mike, who handed them in turn to the cop. "Why do you ask?"

"Just curious..." The cop studied Mike's out-of-province licence. Goddamn Manitoba cops. "Are you actually brothers?"

"Close enough." This was intended to be vague; there was no further line of questioning that the cop could pursue after such a loaded response that would convince any western jury to indict Mike or impound his car. At best they would be let off with a warning; at worst, the cop would proceed to question a given passenger's sexual orientation.

It smelled like a lawsuit and she knew it. "Okay. Just be careful on these roads. They don't maintain 'em as well as the ones in Toronto."

"What happened to the good old days when the cops laid out their prejudices right off the bat?" Murphy asked, idle in his speculation. The scenery of Winnipeg was too much for four youths of the national capital persuasion to fight against.

Tim slips off the couch and reaches for the light switch. Is it too late to begin anew? His body tells him that yes, it is. He cracks open a can of root beer and pours himself a bowlful of garlic pretzels. The nice thing about being free of Friday obligations is that you can use your Thursday night to the absolute fullest.