And I did nothing…

This blog post does not have a humorous tone, so if you came here to read tales of my 24 year old (man I am clinging to that, even though i’ll be 25 in 26 days) shenanigans then I am sorry to disappoint you.

Because sometimes things that aren’t hilarious happen, and no matter how much you try to fill your life up with sunshine, and see the bright side of a situation, there are still sad things in the world.

And such was Friday evening.

I was on my way to film my first ever live report. I was nervous (understandably) but pretty confident (I’ve done quite a bit of On-Air pre-recorded stuff recently).

The shoot was miles away, and because I work as a Temp at the moment, I was going straight from the office job (that pays my bills) to the Shoot (which fulfills my dreams). I had the timing perfect, with a little buffer even. I had to take the street car waaaaaaay far west from the Downtown core of Toronto – an area I am not at all familair with. I had my iPhone maps open and was watching that blue dot move towards the red drop pin with quiet intensity.

We were pretty close, and I was right on schedule, when someone on the streetcar slumped over and passed out.

I didn’t notice at first (I was staring at my phone, and doing that annoying thing Ron Burgundy does meeeemeeemee *stretching face* – not really but sortof).

We were at a stop, and someone raced up to the driver of the streetcar and said, someone is in trouble. I turned around and a metre behind me was a women slumped face first on the ground.

“She’s passed out” “she’s breathing” “she’s not responding”.

The streetcar driver moved forward, looked at her, shook her, shook his head and went to call dispatch. Everyone remained where they were.

Including me.

One woman reached down and kept trying to wake her (it should be noted that a pungent alcohol smell was coming off her) but everyone else pretty much did nothing.

Including me.

Some people shuffled off the Streetcar in frustration (it’s a one track deal, so it’s not like any other streetcars were getting past us) and people started to harumph and mutter and show signs of irritation.

Including me.

Finally an ambulance arrived and paramedics came onto the streetcar, administered oxygen and managed to get the (obviously drug fucked) person to move. One of the Paramedics looked around and said “no one got off the streetcar?!”

No. No one did. In fact several people had moved forward to watch. my seat was close to where the woman was collapsed, and I just sat there and watched too.

They took the women away and put her on a stretcher and I arrived at my destination at 6.30, not 6pm, like I had planned, for my broadcast at 7 (a piano-a-thon, breaking news story).

Because I was nervous and focused on myself, it wasn’t until later that night – back on the streetcar and headed home after a long day, that my inaction started to bother me.

Yes, She was drunk, and high. Yes, the fact that she passed out was a result of her own actions. Yes, this kind of thing happens frequently on the delay-plagued Toronto Transit Commission.

But she was still a person in distress, and although my First Aide training is not so current, I do have it. I am naturally a leader and someone who remains calm in a crisis. And I reacted to this person, who is somebodies friend, daughter, sister, with detachment and frustration.

How dare she impede my day.

I had to have a really hard think about that one. Because I am better than that. And maybe I couldn’t have helped, but I damn sure could have had some compassion.

What if that was my friend? Or my Brother?

What if that were me?

Life isn’t always easy, and people make stupid decisions but they are still people.

How different would my reaction have been if someone had passed out having an epileptic fit? Or a heart attack?

I don’t want to be so jaded that I don’t even react in a situation like that.

Something to think about.

Tell me I’m Pretty

If there is one saving grace to retail (and it’s a stretch to even suggest there is) it is not, as may be expected, the 50% discount on clothes (because it just makes it that much easier to SPEND your hard-earned cash there), for me, it is in fact the customers.

I guess I haven’t been working in customer service long enough to have a horror story about a crazy that walked off the street and into a rage at me because they were having a bad day (although there was a lady a few days ago who yelled at a co-worker of mine when she tried to “return” a pair of pants my store doesn’t carry with the tags snipped off).

I am a people person, a curious writer, and generally a nosy mole, who likes to try and find out what makes people tick. Don’t worry, I have already quizzed all my co-workers about their life stories (and stealthily tried to figure out how they got stuck in retail after having degrees…more out of horrified fascination than anything else…like looking at the blue flame welders use..bad for the senses but impossible to look away) and a part of the selling gig is to try and figure out what the client wants and how to get it.

The shop/chain I work for sells only women’s clothes and accessories and they are kind of corporate, but on the reasonably priced side. The shop is also located in an underground shopping mall on the PATH system (a rabbit warren-like affair that stretches underground through parts of downtown Toronto to prevent people from having to go outside in the freezing cold. It is like an underground city with clothing stores, banks, food courts…waxing places…juice bars…there’s probably a car dealership down there somewhere. I’m not sure why there would be…but I’m sure there is) and most of the customers we get work in the corporate offices stacked on top of us.

The ladies range in age from Intern-types fresh out of Uni, to the older working woman. And while there are customers I have connected with, and those that I haven’t, my favourite age group is the late thirties to mid forties/early fifties. These are women who ACTUALLY listen to what I have to say, ask my opinion, want to open the fitting room door and show me what they got.

Some of these women remind me of my Mum. They are mostly patient and not used to shopping for themselves so they are willing to listen to suggestions. They have money so they aren’t horrified by a sweater that costs $30.

A lot of them have body issues. A lady today who was gorgeous, Indian skin but with a cool British accent, told me she’d recently lost 19 pounds on some German diet I think she called the “Dukan”? She liked a little black corporate dress and she tried on the Small and the XS. She had a petite frame but you know what? She had a bit of a wobbly bit on front.

“My Kids did that”

She told me. And she tried on both sizes, got a belt to try to jazz it up, put a cardigan over it to see…and she just couldn’t sell it to herself. My approach to this crappy job is that I never want to be pushy. I am a natural talker and I’m honest. I am competitive so, I want to do well in any situation, but I REFUSE to lie and act like a simpering idiot. I was straight with her and told her it looked great but that it was a personal preference. I too happened to be wearing a little black corporate number and you know what? I have a jiggle round the middle too. AND I HAVEN’T EVEN HAD KIDS! No excuse.

This lady, who was super nice and interested in my Aussie accent told me that she hadn’t worn form-fitting clothes in a long time. She was getting used to her body again. She didn’t buy the dress, but I think she felt a little bit confident and sexier having tried it on.

Same deal with the lady who came in on Friday and need an after work drinks type shirt for a last-minute reunion at a pub. She grabbed an XL shirt and I made her get a large. She was shocked. I made her try it on and it wasn’t even tight. It was more form-fitting for sure. I told her the truth, that she had a great waist and that she should emphasize it. We chatted for quite a while and when she left, (after buying the shirt) she turned to my manager and said “I hate shopping, but i’ll be back because of her”, and she smiled and waved, even gave me a cheeky wink!

These women, who are still attractive, functioning, smart, hardworking people, come into a shop for 15-20 minutes and talk to me – blah, under functioning, retail-bum, Masters-holding random (who by the way used to dress appallingly), and they can walk away feeling good because somebody told them that something looked good on them?

I want to stand on the street corner stopping random people and tell them they look nice today, or that that colour suits them. If an item of clothing can put a spring back in their step, then maybe retail ain’t so bad.

Anyway, I’ll keep getting up and going back because I need to support myself while I do this internship and figure out WTF I am doing with my life…but if these ladies keep coming back…then maybe I’ll even learn to smile about it…

a bit…

Paris

5 problems we would face if we could have a pet dragon

Those that see me during the week know that I am currently reading the second book in the Game of Thrones series: A Clash of Kings. The book weighs a shit tonne* and is causing me to grow additional muscles in one of my shoulder blades, thereby creating the coveted Hunchback of Notre Dame look.

I regret taking the advice of a friend to begin reading this series, as it is extremely addictive and hard to put down – thereby necessitating that the hardcover book come with me wherever I go, lest I have a few moments of peace to read a few pages.

The book and a half I have read of this series has been uplifting, devastating, dramatic, emotional, terrifying and angering. The best part of it all however has been the introduction of three of my favorite characters.

Three Dragons.

I LOVE dragons. My Chinese astrology sign is a dragon…there is really nothing I could say against dragons. I wish they existed. And if they did it would be glorious indeed. I would have one as a pet and all who went before me would tremble…

However we would face some challenges as Dragon-owners, you and I (because I know you’d want one too).

This is the truth. So it is.

Below are 5 problems I would face if I could have a pet Dragon.

5. Finding hilarious outfits for My Dragon.
In Hong Kong Markets, and in boutique pet stores across the globe, you can find hysterical little outfits for your pets. My cranky-ass cat, Guinness, has been wrestled and bullied into a number of outfits, much to our amusement and his displeasure. Finding a funny outfit for a Dragon would be beyond difficult. I mean, not only would the Dragon get pissed and slash you with their razor-sharp claws, it’s hard to choose what to dress them as, come on…it’s already a dragon! What are you going to dress him/her as? A lobster?

4. Giant Dragon Craps
When we had dogs growing up, one of the worst possible fucking things I had to do after school, was pick up the dogs poo from the backyard and move it (to the rubbish bin or into the neighbors garden…by flinging it over the wall). Can you IMAGINE the clean up required for a full grown Dragon? It would be insane and literary FLOOD the park you were walking through if your Dragon had an accident. Just visualize the rude stares from the other pet owners.

3. Stopping Pet Dragon from terrorizing other Pets
I love the dog Park at the Trinity Bell at Dundas and Ossington, but I can imagine being severely reproached if my Pet Dragon scorched the cute little Corgi I always see, in his excitement and rough-housing. And what about the poor squirrels in the park? Their hearts would actually explode from their chests if a Dragon tried to chase them up a tree.

2. “We’ve just had these floors re-done!”
My cat Guinness back in Hongkers, loves to sharpen his nails on my Mum’s walls. He’ll also scratch the floor, the couch and your leg. Everything basically, except the scratching post we have. So imagine what a dragon would do to your wall, floor or leg if she tried to claw at it. That would be bad indeed.

And the number One problem in having a Dragon as a Pet is…

  1. Finding somewhere to house your Dragon while you go away on Holiday.
    There are so few vacation Dragon-sitting services (google it, I did) and as much as you love your pets, you can’t let them stop you from going away. A Dragon is a big responsibility to dump on your friends so… If you’re trying to get to Coachella (like I am) you’re going to need the professionals.

And so concludes this edition of “It’s Friday and I am sapped of creative juices.”

Paris

*Shittonne is an accepted measurement for recording things that are ginourmous

Picture shanked from http://blog.advocate-art.com/index.php/archives/3240/victoria-maderna-advocate-art-illustration-agency-cartoon-greetings-cards-childrens-booksboy-and-dragon-pet