Subway Ad-Antics

I was reading on the subway ride home yesterday evening, minding my own business, when I heard this clattering sound behind me, followed by some snickering and someone stage-whispering, “Shh! Don’t tell anyone!”

I turned around and didn’t really notice anything, so I turned around again. A moment later, I hear some talking and the same voice saying, “Shh! Don’t tell anyone!”

I turned around and this time held my gaze, only to see the owner of the voice rolling up one of the overhead subway ads he and his buddies filched from its casing, and putting it in his bag. I looked right at him, and he again said, “Shh! Don’t tell anyone!” putting his finger to his lips in a joking manner.

I shook my head and turned around, trying to immerse myself in my book.

The subway pulled into the next stop, and the ad thief and his cronies got off the train and proceeded to go into the next car. I turned to two girls beside me, who also saw this and asked, “Are they just going into the next car to steal more ads?”

“Looks like it,” the one sitting next to me said.

“All right,” I replied with my if-you-say-so, sing-song tone.

Just then, the driver announced on the P.A. system, “Would the person who took the ad please leave the train immediately.”

I could just see the thief and his friends as they scampered past our train car. Some of us started smirking and snickering.

And a moment later: “Give that back, you MORONS!”

Musings of a Boomerang Kid

(**Warning: Epic Post**)

“So, when are you moving out?”

I think I may have heard this at least three times in the last week, if not phrased as that exact question, then either as a variation of that question, or a declarative statement that I should move out.

This recently came up – within a 48-hour period – while out with work colleagues and close friends, respectively. The latter case was actually an entire conversation about the subject.

Last Saturday night, while out for dinner with a couple of friends, one of them announced she’d be moving out of the home she shared with her parents and brother and finding a place to live, probably in late October or early November. She declared it was time; she needed her own space, and the idea of living at home at age 30 depressed her.

The other mentioned that she’d made up her mind and would be moving in with her boyfriend at a future, unspecified date. It only made sense, she said. She was practically at his place most of the time, and she talked to her dad, who wholeheartedly supported her. She just had to find an appropriate time to sit down and tell her mother.

Me? I was happy for my friends, but I wasn’t really planning on budging anytime soon. I mean, yeah, the distance to get to work blew chunks, but everything else was good. Why change if I wasn’t ready?

And herein lies the continuous struggle, the dilemma of a Boomerang Kid.

Like a number people my age, I had the privilege of going away to school and, at some point during my university career, living on my own. Granted, I had financial help from my parents, but the feeling of independence was there.

When I did my first (and only) internship after finishing school, I lived on my own for four months in a basement apartment, and essentially paid for it myself. When the work ended, so did my stay. I moved back home that September.

Fast forward about six years later. I’m still at home. And while it’s a long commute to work by public transit (approximately 1 hour 20 minutes each way, on a good day), I made up my mind a couple of years ago to stick it out for a few years longer, because I thought it would be smarter to save up my money until I’d squirrelled enough together to put a sizeable downpayment on a place I could call my own – “the best investment a person can ever make”, and all that.

My first vision was to put it towards a freehold townhome. With prices still being what they are, I’d be happy for a decent-sized “starter” condo. And even that mental vision is starting to flicker and fritter away, pixel by pixel, as the housing market gets astronomically more ridiculous.

Sure, I’ve thought about the idea of me moving out, somewhere, anywhere that would get me closer to work. But the feeling subsides sometimes as quickly as it comes on. My parents, I’m sure, would totally understand if I wanted to move out. But I’m just not moved enough to take the plunge. So I put up with that and the stigma – real, imagined, or otherwise – of being a twenty-something who still lives at home.

I’m not sure if my friend said this, but I remember somebody saying to me, something to the effect of, “Who wants to be 35 and living at home with their parents?”

Wait a second. First of all, I don’t have a problem with turning 30, never mind being 30 years old and still living with my folks, so there’s no use in getting all depressed about it. I know people older than me living at home with their parents. And there’s nothing wrong with them. I have a friend whose entire family – herself, her mother, two older siblings and a niece – all live under one roof. Families like that actually exist. And secondly, who said anything about living at home for the rest of my young adult life? I didn’t.

There are pros and cons to living on your own and living at home. My friend made very valid points about renting. Like, for example, being closer to not only work, but things to do and the people you hang out with. And your lifestyle is different – you can entertain friends; if you have a boyfriend, you don’t have to worry about spending your time over at his place all the time – you can alternate. And just general independence. You have more of a life.

And I understand that. But I’d like to think, for someone who lives out with her folks in the sticks (by public transit standards), I think I have a pretty good social life. And yeah, the commute can be a bitch, but that’s the trade-off for not having to pay rent or utilities, which is more money saved. And what if, one day in the near future, I get a job in another city or country? Just think of all the hassle avoided with trying to ship things to a new place.

On top of which, I have things I want accomplish before I finally move out, that I don’t think I can handle if I were living on my own, giving one paycheque a month to a landlord for rent.

Yes, living on your own as an adult and dealing with these things is a fact of life. But so is being an adult child living with your parents. More kids in my generation are doing it. And in a city where lots of people come from their homes in other cities and countries to live here, I consider myself one of the lucky ones who can do that until she’s good and ready fly the coop.

And when I move out, it’ll be on my own terms, and hopefully when people least expect it … or stop asking.

Last Week’s Word: Showmance

Technically this was supposed to be the word of the week, but I didn’t have time, so oh well …

So, my favourite new slang word of last week is “showmance”. Apparently it originated on Big Brother (the U.S. version, I think), and it’s supposed to mean a crush – possibly real, but mostly publicly generated – between two single people, usually (a) of somewhat public stature and (b) in a public venue, ie. in front of the cameras (digital, video, take your pick).

This is apparently something that happens from time to time. The most current – and craziest – showmance happened last week, when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came north of the border to meet our foreign minister, Peter MacKay. It was a big love-in between the two — both greeting each other with double-kisses on the cheek; MacKay taking Rice to a Tim Horton’s for beverages (total photo-op), introducing her to his family, etc. She also spent the night in his riding – at a hotel, of course.

MacKay apparently is the closest thing we have to single and studly under 40 in Parliament (I’m just repeating hearsay), so it was only a matter of time before the jokes about him and the perpetually single Rice (made out of pure boredom) turned into innuendo-laden gossip.

Rice has been said to have a good chuckle at all the goss a-flyin’, and MacKay has probably been too busy burying his nose in other matters to take on the gossip hounds.

But the pinnacle of the “MacKay-Rice” affair had to be on Thursday, when Stephen Colbert got ahold of it with both of his truthy little hands.

My favourite part:
“Kiss me.”
“We can’t!
“Jimmy, make them kiss!”

Dutty WHUT?!

Sign # 1 that I’m Getting Older:

So while I was out having a life this summer (or hitting the Captain-Morgan-and-Cokes, take your pick), North America was apparently hit with the phenomenon known as the Dutty Wine.

It’s basically this dance that goes along with the song of the same name that’s performed by reggae dancehall artist Tony Matterhorn. Now, I’m sure I’ve heard the song on the radio a handful of times, but never really stopped to notice.

But my ears perked up late one night about a week and a half ago watching (I ain’t ‘shamed) and there was this discussion going on about what’s hot on the ‘Net. This girl in the audience got handed the mic and said, “The Colombian dutty wine video on You Tube. This guy does it better than most black girls. It’s crazy.”

Say whaaat? A guy who wines better than most black girls? Not possible.

So the other night, I was surfing around online and tried to track down the video in question. I didn’t find it at first (because I can’t spell), but I did discover there were other versions of other people doing the Dutty Wine. Like, 1,704 of them. Probably not counting the repeats, there’s probably still over 1,500 out there.

I’m not kidding. Over the last several months, people actually took up cameras and videotaped themselves doing this thing. Teenage girls. Dudes. Video girl-wannabes. Kids. Friends just joking around. White people. Babies. Puppets. Stuffed animals. There was even one girl who was doing it crazily at a party outdoors, in the dust. At different points of the video, she lost both her balance (the beginning) and her hairpiece (the end).

But of all the Dutty Wines I’ve seen, this one is the craziest – and the one I was originally looking for. Say “hola” the Columbian Dutty Wine.

I guess the key to doing this dance correctly is the neck-roll — you have to feel as if you’re giving yourself whiplash. If you get whiplash, you’ve either overdone it or have done it wrong.

And the splits?! I love dancing, but after watching all those videos, lawd! I need to go out and order a pair of canes and a neckbrace.

La-la-la-labour Day Weekend …

Okay, now I officially suck for not writing sooner. Things since the beginning of September have been a complete blur for me.

So, lemme rewind a bit. Nine days ago, I went camping with a bunch of friends up at a provincial park about an hour and a half north of Toronto. I was originally of two minds about it. On one hand, I wasn’t entirely sure, because the weather hadn’t been stellar lately, and it was threatening to rain. On the other, the last time I’d gone camping was July of last year, and I really felt a burning desire to do it. The burning desire won out; I asked my friend if I could borrow her tent and sleeping bag, and I was in like Flynn.

So we loaded up two cars and headed for the campground. It was pitch-black when we arrived, but we flicked on the flashlights and assembled our tents and air mattresses (hey, people still need a bit of comfort, nuh?). So far the rain was holding off. It was just a tad cold.

That changed the next day. It started raining in the morning; when it let up a bit, that’s when two of the friends – responsible for organizing the trip, and the most prepared – brought out the shelter for the picnic bench and other small appliances needed for cooking.

It still rained throughout the weekend, but it was great nonetheless. More people dropped by the site to visit; we took a walk over to the beach, where a couple of them swam; a friend cooked some awesome chilli for dinner that night. Later on in the weekend we went on a couple walks around the campground. We listened to the classic rock countdown that was on for most of the weekend. We even had a slingshot contest, trying to shoot down empty beer cans we put on a nearby bush. I could go on, but it was great.

Of course, it finally stopped raining the day we left, after we tore down our tents. But isn’t that the way things usually work?

That weekend left me wishing (a) the weekend didn’t have to end so soon, and (b) I could go camping more often. I’d like to eventually rough it – or get as close as possible – at least once.

But, baby steps. First on my shopping list: my own sleeping bag.

A sad end to summer

I was going to post about how sad it is that it’s the end of August and summer.

But today, I received a shock and a real reason for a sombre mood.

My friend’s father – who was admitted to hospital almost two weeks ago becuase of difficulties breathing – passed away yesterday. She is part of a tight-knit family, so this is understandably an unbearably difficult time for them.

My deepest sympathies go out to her and her family at this time.

I will also be out of town this Labour Day weekend – which is also threatening to be miserable – so hopefully I’ll have things to post about when I return.