Ice Cream Reasoning

I just came home…I didn’t kiss my cat, I didn’t eat…I had a really bad day at work…and I opened my mail box and beside my junk mail….a letter from my mother…that was too much for just a day….but if you don’t understand what I’m trying to said…do as I’m doing right now, eating ice cream and writing at the same time…as Jack the Ripper said “let’s go by parts”.

Last week was record store day, that means, you go to buy some vinyls (LP or acetate Long Plays), those big flat blakc circles with lines line channels on it. Those LP’s that the 80’s generation enjoyed that much. I had a couple when I was a kid but at the same time the tapes showed up and was its death sentence. I had like 2 or 3, my brother had tons. Now in 2013 I went to do some shopping. As the marketing in this country works “marketing: the art of selling things you don’t need with the money you don’t have” I bought some. The thing is not buying things I didn’t need but who was my accomplices in this adventure. I met Jeff when the little restaurant Mitla opened. I wrote about it. It was the first time I gave my Facebook to somebody just met. He was super nice, very sensitive with a hard life. That was like 3 months ago. I never thought we could meet again despite I wrote him some lines. Then he finally set up a meeting at the Bagel Shop. He explained me that shop before was a charismatic church, then we were there, worshiping bagels. I asked for a Lamberjack breakfast…huge, extra pancakes and 3 bottles of juices…he was really hungry at 10 am. He is tall, probably 1.80mt and of course, over weighted. We were talking about music, old records, 80’s and parties, parties and more gay parties.Then, the other Jeff arrived. This Jeff is Mitla’s friend owner, and he is a cheff in a downtown restaurant. With them, I went to records stores at Hintonburg in Ottawa. Being with them, making jokes, walking together and talking was just amazing, it reminded me my old days in Peru with my male (effeminate) friends. It was like transportation  to the 80’s 90’s. I didn’t feel freak at all, in fact, I felt totally normal because I love music, the only material/non material thing I love the most (well, I love bags too). But anyways, let’s face it, it’s 2013, MP3 killed the tapes and cd’s, and, in 2013, me, shopping vinyls? Do I need vinyls…of course not. Do I have a turntable? Defentibly not…so, why the hell I bought Pet Shop Boys and The Beatles? By the way, the LP’s were “Actually” and “St Peppers” in that order.Jeff pushed to by a 45 of David Bowie but I had to turned down. For those antiquities I paid like 30$. Jeff spent 72$. Why did I do that? I don’t know, was it fun? Yes, but I always wanted to buy that Pet Shop Boys album as a decoration for my future house…assuming one day I’ll be able to buy one….

Last Sunday I had my second girls night out (me, the camouflage dyke). In fact it was more like afternoon. When the boss told me I had to move to another section to do the most boring thing on earth, database, I went to see my friend Suzanne, leader of the girls night out committee. She encouraged me to go and then she dropped the bomb. She is getting divorce of his husband. That afternoon we went out with her second hand car. We went to a little restaurant and then more news were announced.(Intermezzo Ice cream) Suzanne said her husband cheated on her time ago and she forgave him because she took seriously (too much) married. I was staring at her as she had an infectious disease  “how could you that?”. And then Fatima said…”when you announce to your husband you’re leaving him be with your father or brother” She added “remember what happened to your cousin”. Of course, at this point, I was eating my French fries totally clueless. Anne, added “my cousin was murdered when she announced she was getting divorced 3 years ago and another cousin too, like 5 years ago”. (more ice cream). I stopped eating the fries and I started inquiring Anne about it….one was shot and the other literally chopped off. Suzanne’s husband goes hunting, he has guns…and I don’t know why but when she told me days before she was getting divorced I got scared for her. We supported her and we told her to call us anytime if she needed help for the moving or other things. She’ll move in July, Denis, her husband doesn’t know about it (ice cream break). The girls decided to watch a movie. In the commercial cinemas the options are brainless and quasi insulting to my intelligence. The only thing appealed to me was a funny title “My awkward sexual life” or something like that. Fatima and Suzanne decided for “The Host”. So boring, what a valium, 2 hours with that predictable plot and end. Then I went home…thinking…Geeezz “but they already read the book was based on….” Not happy with that Suzanne, who appears to like me a lot gave a Bollywood DVD to watch….(more ice cream). What have I done in my past life to be punished in this way, eh?

And today….today….I should I took a plane to go Abu Dhabi. I worked in another group in a different location. I received an email from the boss asking me about 3 invoices I processed, each of 15,000$. I said “I left it on Cindy’s desk but that day she was sick”. He asked me again about the docs and I wrote “I swear I put the documents on Cindy’s desk”. Since I cannot release payments just posting them, Cindy can do the release and final verification (ice cream break). Again, he said to find out about the purchasing orders. I was…”what? what are you talking about?” I said I didn’t have much experience about it and I asked for help to find the supporting documents of those payments. He asked me to find duplicates for those invoices….how? I was totally petrified (ice cream). I sent an email to the responsible for those purchases and she didn’t want to help me, so I asked help to the boss because at this moment I wasn’t sure what my name was. Cindy helped me with some duplicates and information. We made a duplicate of 2 invoices but 1 is still missing and I guess I have to face that tomorrow. The boss said “I’m not blaming you those things happen”. It that would have happened at Price Water House I should have beheaded and thrown my body parts at the crows.

When the day was almost over, I saw the big boss, I wanted to complain, to be aggressive about my situation, to kill verbally to my boss about this unfair decision to be changed to another group…and I couldn’t, I just tried to change the topic saying I’d like to do more payments and experience (ice cream on my table). She told me not to be discourage, that this will help me in my career…blah blah blah…she seemed sincere and she added that I won’t be there for so long, she said to continue my studies and blah blah blah…I reminded her my contract will finish next March and I needed experience knowing more cuts will be applied to my office, more people will be fired…and bye bye money for buying useless things like vinyls. She said “don’t get discouraged”, she said that like 3 times…but I decided   I don’t want to be with that group, if there is an opportunity I’ll take in another place.

Just when I arrived home, dreaming of my Vanilla ice cream, I opened the mail box…a letter from Peru. Tiny little letters were written on the envelope…it was my mother…I haven’t spoke to her in years, I always destroy her letters and I keep the stamps but I collect them. She wrote something like “I love you, I will never forget you while I’m alive, you’ll always on my mind, I will always cry you for being so far, I look for you when I walk down the streets” She said “you’re my thoughts and my suffering”….she wrote I was her princess (I’m really dyke and nobody notices…I feel like a loser) and she hoped the birds sing for me because of my birthday.

This year, I read that letter, usually I put it directly on the recycling bin…this time I read it more than twice…and still that sensation of “I love you but under my conditions”, that “I love you, I want you for me” the toxicity was still there…I don’t hate her but if I were there I know how our dynamic will be…and I feel safe been far away from her. Again, I got nobody to talk about this…it’s better that way I guess, I cannot concentrate, I feel like a pitbull on a cage, I want to talk but I feel speechless. I want to breath through my nostrils and I’m dreaming of vodka. That game, I want you closer, I want you to love me this way, I want you forget all the past, that past that push me to repeat our relationship with my own ex girlfriend…

Not a good day for talking but writing, not a good day for reading but eating ice cream, probably a perfect day for alcohol.

Fighting For Equalities and Inequalities

It’s strange, the word Equality is a noun, has no plural when grammar corrector makes the orthographic verification in my blog, in fact, shows equalities as a grammar mistake. But its antonymous, Inequality can have plural. This omission or mistake  with the capability of the corrector is a reality in a workplace. I never wanted to write about my job, or the place I work, or my dreams about a good job. But today was the worst day ever in all the places I worked before.

But let’s make some analysis about where I work. In theory, what my contract says, I’m a financial transaction specialist. Ah? what? In simple English is…I’m a clerk in a finance office. Transactions means just you do payments or reverse payments. I work in that place for 3 year….and so far…I have done just 100 transactions. If you do the maths that means 33 per year. But the truth is I did 100 just last year in ….3 months. While my colleagues do more than 10000. When I arrived the first day, my boss, a handsome guy with blue eyes and fat ass told me that my duties will be to do the input of invoices that we receive in the database “in the future you will do payments and eventually you’ll have a letter to pay” (letter means all company name’s that starts let’s say with letter A or B or C). I said “it’s ok”, I applied to that job so hard…I wanted to leave the other place where I was working before where a BB (beautiful bitch) was bullying me all the time, I  never knew she did that because I’m gay, immigrant or just because I wasn’t impressed for her beauty. I learnt at 6 years old, when I had a crush with a little classmate that beauty doesn’t mean kindness or love. It’s not a rule that a physically speaking beautiful woman will be a wonderful person. It can be all the contrary, the BB had big breasts that it looked like she was pregnant of her thorax. And everybody liked her but she was evil, really evil. Well, that situation put me to my limits…I couldn’t stand anymore, she was selling cosmetics products and everybody even the big bosses let her do her business. It was hell on earth. My last salvation was to apply to this job I got now. And I made it.

I changed the job and I stated to do database, filing and labels. Those were my transactions for my first year. I never paid anything. In my annual evaluation the boss told me I would do payments. Some other employees came to our office and they got formal training for do payments. I asked him why were paying invoices when me, I was before them. He said it was their managers asked for formal training. So, I said it was ok, but then, 3 more other employees came under the same policy. In my last evaluation my boss wrote and I quote “Hopefully, she will pay invoices”. Hopefully? I was shock when I read that and I encircled the word with my green pen. I put also I made like 100 transactions like 50 travel claims and 50 invoices. I asked I needed more experience because I got a contract that will expire next year. He said “ok, I will ask the supervisor to give you travel claims and Michael will give you some invoices, at the end of April you’ll have authority to release payments”. I told him “I don’t believe you”, he said “you got the right to be skeptical” .The truth is the group I work most of them are men, those guy do activities outside like playing soccer, BB, they call on the phone etc. Ok, I’m excluded of all that which is ok. The supervisor who had to give more more travel claim to process, never did it. Never gave me one since last year when the boss said to do it. This year the boss “reminded” it to give me claims and until 2 days ago, he didn’t. That’s why I said I didn’t believe it.

Suddenly, last week I had some invoices to pay because another supervisor game work to do which I really appreciated but last Thursday the boss called me to a meeting and he said” You’ll go to another section to replace a person who’s retiring”. I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. I said “they don’t do payments, I need experience to do payments, what if I loose my job?”. He had blood in his face to reply me “you asked for more experience”, I raised my voice like a tenor “I said payments no more database”. “I thought you were tired to do the mailing”. I said “I told you I don’t mind to do the data base or mailing as long as I can do payments”. He said “I don’t understand why are you upset, don’t take it personally, it seems you’re taking personally”. At that moment I wanted to grab my car, run over my boss back and forward, back and forward for at least 17 times. I was so furious, I was stamping the invoices violently, I was crying of anger. 3 years waiting for some payment experience…3 years doing label, filing, believing what the boss said about his promises…3 years for nothing… He said “you’ll start next Monday”.

Why me? I knew and you know, men and women are different. Even if the law says the contrary, we are different, even if in some parts of the world, gay marriage is legal, in the real world, when a gay partner is at the hospital the gay boyfriend or girlfriend despite to have the legal right to be there, will be kick out, the marriage certificate is a paper, just that, a paper. I got a contract to do finance and payments…I haven’t done anything much since then. What I didn’t know about inequalities is there is another difference: being permanent and being under contract. I got a contract, I’m just a little employee with, despite the union says I got rights, I don’t have them. I don’t have the privilege other have…I won’t pay invoices because of that difference. Because some employees feel scared I could steal work? I don’t know, maybe. I shouldn’t say I hate my boss but I hate the fact he doesn’t see or doesn’t want to see things in the office like some employees who doesn’t work, that the fact the supervisor who should give me work didn’t do anything and my boss will never ask him why because they’re friends. I know you have to keep distance between employees and he doesn’t.

What is my new job? Data entry of banking information. I mean, you want to be reimbursed directly, I have your banking info and I put it in a big database…that’s it. Great experience eh?. How long will I be there? Unknown…but I guess long time. Why am I that upset? You didn’t read it or what?. Being in this new position will be very difficult to get out of there. It’s in a open office, no privacy at all, my new colleague speaks too much and the new boss there is a control freak. I’m still thinking is a good idea to grab the car and run him over back and forward for minimum 1 hour.

Promises and promises…when a promise is a lie? does the time proves was it a lie? In which situation are really “equal”? under what circumstances we have “equal opportunities”? I worked in 4 tribunals and I never saw somebody with a reasonable case winning. In fact, nobody won any case. We are not equals, we must fight to reach that paper-equality, not even a contract warrants you’ll do what the paper says you will do.

What to do now…fight…more and more…after all, I’m in immigrant…born to fight endlessly.

The Writers Group

There are some ironies in life so cruel that you prefer just keep your mouth shut. But I won’t, not because I shouldn’t but because I’m not politically correct like the rest of Ottawa.

I was going to the Grieving Group at Church. It was leaded by my American friend and Ellen, both lesbians. The American girl has a transsexual boyfriend FTM. Ellen had a special girlfriend….had? Yes; had, past time. What I remember the most of the meetings was me asking Ellen what to do, what to say, always in the Canadian standards, to somebody who lost a dear one. She was explaining me basically to say “my deepest condolences or if you’re closer to that person offering help”. I spoke to her several times. It was always pleasant to talk and exchanges ideas about this society that I never finish to understand, of course, in my Peruvian totally politically incorrect way of thinking. When I marched at the gay pride in Ottawa I saw her beside the curb with her girlfriend. Ellen is short, shorter than me, short white hair and a problem with her back but very active. She is chaplain in a hospital. I remember I sat beside her girlfriend in one of the LGBT welcoming parties. She seemed out of this world, avoiding eye contact with almost everybody, silent, non talkative. I thought she was autistic but that picture of her was smashed when I saw her in the parade. There, she was waiving her hands, shouting, moving North to South, East to West the gay flag hugging Ellen.  In one of the grieving meetings she told openly her girlfriend was under medication, apparently she had panic attacks or anxiety or both. Also, she said last year during the week of mental health awareness that many people looked or treated not very well the patients who said to the nurse in the front desk they were under medication, but her, because she was the chaplain at that particular hospital, her girlfriend had “fast and special attention”. Just last November, before Christmas, she said in the famous email for the bloody potluck I didn’t want to go, that Marlene, her girlfriend, had a mini stroke. Just in February I asked Ellen if  Marlene was ok. She said “her doctor told her not to do so much physical activity but she’s skiing, walking all the time, living her life”. I was glad to hear that. The day I decided to quit the group I sent emails to Ellen and the American girl saying I was not going, no reason in particular, that was a Friday. On Saturday at noon I received an email from the American girl that Ellen’s girlfriend, Marlene, died in her sleep. I was surprised and in shock. Also, was this the greatest bitchy irony of destiny? I mean, she was the leader of the grieving group and there she was. Like everybody else, with a dead on her shoulders. I saw her Facebook, just 3 weeks later, it was Ellen’s birthday. And just in April, it would have been Marlene’s 56 birthday. I hope their wedding anniversary won’t be in May…I found until now too heavy with all those dates and memories to remember and trying to forget them all at the same time.

We are still waiting for the funeral service. As she told me once, I sent her an email giving her my condolences and offering my help if needed, which it was really weird. Isn’t ironic? And as a chaplain, she knows literature to read about it that she suggested us for grieving. And I always complained that what people need when they grieve is not a paper with authors and titles, but good friends and people to talk to. She has 3 children…will she grieve like the others? will she grieve reading books or over reading books? Will she talk to anybody? Once I told her, talking about death or grieving was taboo in this society. Even crying. She agreed…but I don’t know if their own children will want to listen about loneliness, abandon, fear when they want just this thing goes fast without disturbing their lives.

I went to another group at Church, the writing group. It was really nice. The leader is a woman from Jamaica. At this time, there were 6 people including me. Chuck, in his 80’s, who writes interesting poems, Jocelyne, the leader, who brings books or prompts, to read and after we write freely about the text, a woman with a German background, a guy who works with inmates and an old woman from Church. What Jocelyn read was so hard, heavy, sad, and I don’t know how many adjectives can describe the text about a woman dying of cancer and her friend who was taking care of her for a couple of days when those days became endless. Just when she was reading those depressing lines I felt a wall of emotions and Ellen’s recent experience lived in a different way. The exercise was to write no matter what about the prompt. The book’s title is The Spare Room by Helen Garner And this is what I wrote:

“Is this a real spare room? Just a room and then suddenly can become an universe of pain an agony. Probably more blindness than sadness will fill the empty space in this room.

In the mornings can be expansive and stretches with every sunbeam that crashes the windows and at nights shrinks in slow motion..in the rhythm of pain, of denial . The time is measured by drops of sweating, no tear drops. Are they useful or just useless?

I just saw her eyes….with that look that wants to catch, to grab, to memorize the space in that spare room universe. There were nights, there were mornings, there pain, there were last minute hope and undeniable hopeless.

Even between friends you can develop a false mother-daughter relationship. And not necessarily being the most supportive but toxic. Like taking care of the careless, like taking care of an agony”.