09: Tectonic Plates, the Realm of Possibility, Overstanding

I am once again writing to you from the GO train, albeit long after I normally would have been getting home from work. It is 8:14 PM and I have just come from dinner and drinks with Joe, replicating after a fashion our Monahangs of old. Except now we are both 30, he is married and I co-habitating. We are not sad single people (he after a breakup and I after a sad long existence.)

It's remarkable that our lives differ so greatly from the way they were all those years ago but have wound up looking very much the same. We each would present an observation about my life - the dilemma of balancing a worklife routine, a relationship, and a desire to create, or about the push-pull of different family requirements within a relationship - and feel an intense sense of "Me Too," that he termed "Overstanding," as in "I not only understand that, I overstand it." I would like to think he coined it in the moment but if he had it ready in his back pocket I wouldn't blame him for utilizing it.

It is important in life to have people you can talk to not just about old times, but current times, ongoing subjects and current feelings. In fact I would say that Joe and I rarely discuss old times except in relation to our current scenarios - mostly not in a "Glory days, they'll pass you by" sense. That is probably because Joe's and me times never really involved having times together - we weren't adventurer-havers but storytellers, unburdeners, relaters. We are at a point - ten gat-danged years now - when our friendship has mostly been spent over pints discussing other things going on in our lives, and as those things have thankfully evolved, so have we.

Joe is blessed, it is a well-known fact, with numerous long-term friends with whom he can relate his innermost. I have only a few. Partly that's not naturally what happened with most of my friends from high school and partly I'm a very guarded person. I do have a very loving, caring partner, but mostly the things I am expressing, she is already aware, having lived through it with me. It would be somewhat redundant for me to sit down with her and say, "Man, let me tell you about my morning routine!"

Likewise, if I were to say, "Boy, I am not writing as much as I would like to," it is not inconceivable that she would take it as some kind of critique of our relationship, which it is not - I only with there were more hours in the day, or as I explained to Tony earlier today, that there were more of me so that I could experience it all at once.

That is what I would like to talk about, then. The realm of possibility. What can I imagine for myself? Last year I could not have imagined having a job where I sit down at a desk all day. That was no reason not to pursue it, but I had to bide my time for the proper opportunity. Years before that I could not have imagined moving out of my Mom's place successfully, or getting a driver's license, or being in a successful, stable, loving long-term relationship and somehow all of those things have come to pass, all those benchmarks of a happy, successful, productive life.

So. It would seem that anything I can't imagine turns out to be exactly what does. So I believe the next thing I will be unable to imagine is writing and publishing a novel. Completely impossible, just like driving, deskwork, and love. Nope, it will definitely not ever happen for me in my lifetime and certainly not in the next year or two, so I might as well give up, just like I gave up on all those other things.

Pardon me, I had one and a half drinks and am tidily buzzy.

We shared and told tales and as usual I was left with a somewhat raw throat. We discussed the importance of having an outlet, without making any sweeping proclamations. I caught him up on the situation at my work and inquired about his - so that I could finally say with certainty that I know just what he does, besides the fact that he does it for Telus. I told him about my stolen bike, and about the variously unsuccessful set-up schemes Mel and I have embarked upon.

"You spin a good yarn," he said, and I agreed it would be a tragedy if that skill were never to come to use. As is typical of our best Monahangs, my throat was quite sore from talking all night.

The realm of the possible. I stand around Union station and I see women and men and I wonder about them, what their lives are like. I think the thing that always spurred me as a writer was to imagine a life that wasn't my own, and the sadness I feel that no matter what I make of this life, this is still the only thing I will ever be, whatever I end up deciding that will be. I do, however, believe in reincarnation, and I think it will be a shame if I come back as, more or less, the same person. I like being me, my life and how I've lived it, but I expect I'll be done with it by the end.

But given that is the far-off-future, I owe it to myself to be as happy I can with one life, and I am definitely far more happy than I was a few years ago, a few months ago, or a few days ago.

After a busy weekend of balancing various needs (family obligs like a birthday-adjacent brunch, errands, our own exhaustion,) we took Monday for ourselves. The idea we settled on was apple-picking. Men don't willingly go apple-picking on their own, and it's safe to assume most don't harbour a secret yen to do so, but when you're a couple you find yourself agreeing to these things and just enjoying being out and about. We had gone to the big-name farm last year, paid the entry fee, seen the petting zoo, and picked apples to our hearts content. (Honey Crisps were extra.) This year we found the cool indie orchard, owned and operated by the brother of a friend from university. It was a Monday afternoon so we basically had the run of the place. It was swelteringly hot, so that was a downside, but it was a fun day of freedom. We went in the corn maze, which we got out of via the warp zone (I wasn't sure if we were supposed to go back to the front entry or if taking the side exit to the tractor path was okay.) On our wagon ride back, we rode with a woman, her daughter, and a cute little 8-year-old girl who wanted to sleep over. We all played in the corn pit, which was like a sandbox with dry corn feed, which was shockingly therapeutic. Then we drove home, our apples and cider rolling all around the trunk, had shawarma for lunch, and took a nap (which left Mel a bit sleepless later that night.) It was a lovely day.

The only problem with taking a day off is then you need to work twice as hard Tuesday. Well, I confided to Tony, it's different form a stat holiday where everybody gets the day off, because at least somebody is keeping the work from piling up too high. Still, our team is facing some issues, and the part of me that is a good soldier regrets taking a day for myself, but you know what, I never ever do that (the only days off I've taken all year were for weddings, fun but not necessarily "for me.")

The morning was off to a slow start, and just as I got to a good pace in the afternoon I was told to switch gears and focus on SF returns rather than LF, because SF is where the bulk of our vexation was. I had come in early (well, on-timeish) in anticipation of a possible 9 AM meeting, but it ended up being at 10. Still, better safe than sorry. Then it was a lot of waiting for stuff to be prepped and in the end I had to cram what could have been an all-afternoon project into the last 90 minutes or so. Which made me a bit late for Joe and kept me from stopping over to see Mel before that, but oh well. Things are how they are.

I also didn't get to go watch the staff baseball game like I'd hoped, which I felt oddly sad about.

There could be more. There could always be more precious, beautiful words, (and ugly, rotten, pedestrian ones!) but I think it good if - having reached home some time ago and settled in to listen to music in Mel's bed alone, while she is out at Rielle's, I have come to a good stopping place, and then some.

Keep on rockin'


08: The doors open but nobody gets off

Aka similarities and sames
Aka distinctions not necessary

So there's your sign of where my head is at... I walk around thinking up titles for potential entries but take forever to get around to them. And that isn't necessarily down to a lack of events on my part but perhaps an excess... Or a lack of time relative to them. Hrmph. I am working on finding the best balance of detailing the particulars of this summer without labouring over the unnecesaey minute things.

It has been a long week and change. Last weekend I was feeling like it was about time to emerge from our self imposed shell of inactivity following a decently busy June and July. August was a void, which is to say, for avoiding people. But by the time of last weekend I was openly saying "we've had so many weeks without plans, I'm starting to tire of the lazy thing!" Mind you we have had a nice rhythm this past month... Unwinding Friday nights, waking up late then having breakfast on Saturday morning, organizing our errands, finding ourselves back at my place for dinner. Long late hangs, Netflix or TiVo or bad movies. Sunday mornings there. Realizing I have forgotten once again to cut up the latest watermelon, leaving many dishes, scrambling at the last minute to get back to Mel's... Okay, that part could use improvement but what can I say.

Last weekend we were joined by Cristina, who had been coffeeing with Mel Sat afternoon, and came by on the promise of Mario Party. We had a good game, then a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity. And while I was anxious and fretful when I heard she would be joining, I got over it and had a good time. (Mel by contrast wondered, did she maybe stay a bit long? After all our bedtime is like 9!)

At the end of the weekend I suffered an intense panic attack... There was a huge variety of causes at play. I had been feeling tense all weekend because I had wanted to do some writing but lost/missed/squandered several opportunities. Mel was getting her hair done for several hours and rather than camp out in the food court I elected to catch up with Monika (and as you no doubt know she can gab!) I was feeling anxious after that, then on Sunday our timing was way off and we ended up eating late, which left us feeling dazed and if I had to put a fine point on it I would say that sometimes my emotional state is tightly entwined with that of my lovely girlfriend and I take it hard when I feel I have let her down. This, a frosty ride back to her place followed by several minutes of shaking, trembling, hyperventilating and sobbing. Perhaps I ought to seek help.

It is a measure of how badly I want to write that I am scribing this post on my phone on the train, over the course of (so far) two days. Please mind any typos found...

It was a long week after that. We have had to do a lot of aftercare for optimization including bandaging up the fiction triage situation. We spent a goodly amount of the last two weeks saying goodbye to Ibrahim. Maria and Rachael were both on vacation for his last week so we had a team lunch while we were all still together. Then on his last full day, he, Tony and I went for Greek food (it seemed like a more special thing than what it was, three guys picking up lunch then going back to sit where they normally do.)

Friday was a half day so after a lengthy but informative lesson on Ibrahim's Regression equation work, we finished up for the week, tidied up our sentimentality as best we could, then went to play ping pong at Spin, where Ibrahim had wanted to go all summer.

Ibrahim and Tony were very competitive (and very skilled!) Whereas I had very unpolished form and a tendency to overshoot the table... I insisted I wax still having fun, but it grates she you find yourself down 10-2 in a game to 11. (I actually won two early games before losing my mojo somewhat. Or because they had gained theirs, who can say.)

Mel came after about 2 hours, bringing her Aussie workmate friend Kayla. Kayla didn't seem like she cared for ping pong but afterward we adjourned to the Firkin. Tony seemed to be into her but it would appear not to have been mutual.

Finally we said our last goodbye, after trying to moderate conversation between five very different people.

For the last long weekend of summer we were very booked and sadly had to bail on Joe's annual ASSES shindig yet again... After a long day of running aroundwe were just too bushed to drive out to Brampton, so we got some chicken and watched Are You The One until Mel caught a near fatal case of hiccups and we retired.

That relationship life.

Sunday morning we went to brunch(?) with mom and Ross, who were down seeing friends ostensibly for Burlington Ribfest, but they had gone to a restaurant instead. We went to Sunset Grill, although they both got Tuna Salad, Eric got a Egg and Peameal bacon sandwich and B didn't eat at all. Eric complained vociferously afterward about the vibe of the place. Think we'll go somewhere else next time.

After that, we went to Port Credit, Mel's favourite place, and wandered around all afternoon, stopping for some veggies and dip we had brought, then picked up some dinner, a simple yet elegant stir fry.

Holiday Monday continued the trend of exceptionally busy weekend days. We were due to meet Mel's friend Amanda downtown for Snakes & Lattes. We slept probably later than we should have considering all we had wanted to get done (well, there was plenty of cleaning to do, and we wanted to make mini egg pies for breakfasts.) We headed out to the city around 4 after missing a train or two. The main inspiration behind the outing was to introduce Eric and Amanda... The previous week while hanging out with Cristina I had suggested to Mel - who is constantly keen to introduce Eric to every woman she possibly could - that they might make a good match. (I should note that I am usually reluctant to encourage these matchups, not wanting to waste anyone's time if I can't envision them together - hence an endorsement of the pairing on my part.) She's smart, educated, funny, energetic... A real catch, and while she's just recently single, she was apparently at least willing to meet someone.

The night started at Jack Astor's, where drinks were had, and we were joined by Amanda's roommate's boyfriend (the roommate, who had been called into work, was to join us later.) We gabbed a bit while trying to goad Eric out of her shell, I doodled a image of Mel that she found unflattering but which I was actually kind of proud of? Oh well, I am unappreciated.

Incidentally, we saw a certain former Degrassi cast member there, as she appears to be a manager (which, hey, good for her.)

From there we walked - a long way, largely through the rain - to Snakes & Lattes. Eric and Amanda walked well ahead and appeared to have an animated conversation, although E later downplayed it. I was pretty pooped and a little grumpy by the time we got there, but I tried not to let it show.  We ate, although in typical Scotto fashion I let Mel tell me we should get fries to share instead of the salad that I wanted (she's the one into healthy eating!) And then she ended up splitting a sandwich with Amanda, with salad. Well, the fries were good, (as were the chicken tenders, which appeared to be house made.)  And we all partook.

We played Jenga, as well as Survive, which I had played and enjoyed at Cary's back in late '15 when I last saw him, and which I have had a yen to play ever since... And now I probably don't ever need to (it was a tad more complicated than I recall, but I feel we'll all be ready for it should a next time occur.) We capped off the night with Cards Against Humanity, which I won much to Amanda's chagrin ("Williams Brothers!" She cursed cutely.)

Whether or not there was a love connection, it has made me grateful -more so than usual - to be off the market. I watch the women on the street coming to and from the station, as I wait for Mel, and I feel lucky not to have to meet a new one.

We called it a night before 10 but of course that only meant we got home and I'm bed around 11:30, and then, tormented by writing that was not to be, I could not sleep a wink until 3 am.

The alarm goes off at 6.

The days that have followed have been busy. I have had to do the work of two, essentially, on our last round of Optimization aftercare. We are sue to have a conversation about my future late this week, and that feels good.

I don't know, though.

Fall has come on hard and fast here, with the briefly sweltering summer heat evaporating well in advance of labour day. Sweaters in the morning, and some times at night. I have felt very wistful and sad as a result.

I wish I were writing more, but focus is hard to come by. Spilling my guts, when the opportunity arises (currently in my third session, on the train, at day's end) is a different matter since this is all unfiltered, unstudied, unpolished, for nobody but my future self, whom I trust will read between the lines capably enough that I don't have to say what I really mean.

Ever? Wink...

I am nearing my destination, whereupon I will fix a meatloaf for Mel, quietly post this, and contemplate the nature of my existence. The I will go to bed, wake up, go back to the city, finish posting returns for wave 3 stores, move on to some other task, eat lunch, and live possibly the rest of my life.
I'm fine, why do you ask?

Keep on rockin'


07: Light Under Water

I dream every night but most mornings I wake up not remembering them. It isn't the same has having no dreams, where you spend all night floating in a void before awakening. I am aware my mind conjured some images, I feel I have been busy dreaming, but I can't remember the content. Two or three nights ago I had the most vivid dream I can remember in a while, most plot-centric one... we had moved to mars. Initially this seemed like a true revolution, but Mars was already turned into a green second earth. So we were escaping and going far only to wind up in a place not that different from where we started, with all the same people and even some neighbors. I will not over-inflate the significance of this symbolism but it might mean something that I remembered this dream so well in daylight when they lately have been fading. Last night's involved a gruelling fistfight with an implacable shape-shifting foe whose final form was a chubby old man. Go figure.

Mel often remembers her dreams in great detail, often complaining in the morning of "weird dreams," which she then describes, and I unsympathetically tell her just sound like regular dreams to me. Imagine being so averse to dreaming.

The past few weeks have proceeded quietly, and I both cannot and can believe that I've gone two weeks between posts. Now we're way past the point where I should remark on the span of time between posts - any given one could be my last for two years - but I've wanted to post. But much of what I wanted to write about has faded.

Work has provided me with some unique anxieties. Say what you will about my old retail job but I enjoyed a low level of scrutiny. Which is not to say that I am being harshly or unfairly scrutinized here - if anything my performance is being taken as given shockingly too uncritically. In retail I had a job I knew I was good at and didn't really need to hear from others. At Home Office I am constantly fumbling my way through, afraid of being "found out" yet desperate for guidance and clarity - too self-conscious to stop sometimes and say "Wait, what is it I'm supposed to be doing?" Or to know when to do so. Because I worry that if they hear that too much it will amount to "You know what, let's just fire this guy."

But all that self-consciousness and worry is just in my head, a Scotto original... if anything, Murray is exceedingly pleased with my performance no matter how much my self-sabotaging side wants him not to be. We had a one on one this past week whose theme was to be my future with the company... and he was exceptionally positive in requesting it but in the lead-up, my mind envisioned him sitting me down and saying "Hey man, you're dropping the ball in the following ways." In reality, he was passing along some information on a role that might be vacant in the near future - Bryant's departure has opened room for some shuffling, and while we don't know the result of that, it's likely we know what job will be open. He reminded me this was all hypothetical, no job offer on the table, but to be prepared... he was talking to Penny about me.

I should be chuffed, you know, but being under a microscope doesn't suit my personality.

The other drama this week - still ongoing - is our need to justify what we have done in optimization to the head of Fiction, who will be losing a great deal of shelf-space because of our work. He doubts the math, doubts the process. I have my own take on why this is the right thing to do and I hope I am not kidding myself that it boils down to more than "Oh a computer told me to do it." I feel guilty (and self-conscious) about my role in reducing the presence of general fiction in small format stacks across the country, but looking at the numbers it felt very right to do. Ira has actually been quite nice about it and forthright about wanting to know more (and directly or not, poke at our process and see what gives.) Personally I feel slightly out of my element attempting to justify coming in my first month at home office and irrevocably changing (for a year at least) the dynamic of the business, to someone who has worked there for so many years. I'm not alone though... we've got Martin, Ibrahim and Tony and Maria and of course Murray... it's a good team.

A week ago, Mel and I had our other social engagement of the season, Dan and Shannon's wedding. It was a really good time, we sat with all the expected people, which worked for me since I know where I stand with everyone in that group, shared some laughs and many drinks, and hit the dance floor hard. Shannon in particular seems to have an affinity for big group scenes - she led her bridesmaids, and then Dan, through a choreographed routine to get the party started. She also led the charge in the conga line and was quick to hit the floor for the Cha Cha Slide (Per Wikiepdia: "a song by American artist DJ Casper, often played at dance clubs, school PE/dances/proms, parties, ice and roller skating rinks, bar mitzvahs and weddings in the United States and the United Kingdom, where the song reached number one in March 2004.[2]") as well as Cotton-Eye Joe, and the Macarena. In the year 2017 I witnessed a large group of people doing the Macarena. What a time we live in. I personally requested "Mr. Brightside" as a palate cleanser, following a round of the Time Warp, because yelling and screaming to a only-somewhat-dancey rock song is a good way to blow off steam, and everyone under 40 loves that song and somehow knows all the words.

There were lots of speeches,each one specifically ending with everyone raising a glass, which got a bit tiring, but the speeches were often funny and moving... not really being close with Dan and Shannon it was nice to get to know them through their friends. The wedding was mostly put together as a reflection on the time when they met, the first week of University, and of course all the Uni friends they had then remain part of their present (but for the fact they now live in Swift Current, SK.). It's not a dynamic I have, ever had, or could imagine for myself... that tight knit friend group with a ton of enduring in jokes and fond memories. I was always just me, passing through. Now I'm "us." We have our people, our connections, but few who could gush they "knew us when."

But that's okay. We've got us.

The workweek progressed, as noted above, and we went to dad's for Wednesday night dinner for the first time in a while. (We had gone a few weekends ago, and met Alex's dog Zeus, for Deb's birthday,) which was nice and quaint return to an old routine. And then yesterday we came home, that is to my place, did some light gardening to pull weeds. We had dinner with Eric (B took the food and returned to his gaming,) chatted into the evening, played Mario Party and GoldenEye. It was good, in fact it was great, it was like that last-year feeling I've been chasing. We have spent much of the summer away from 471 Postridge, largely because we have had so much going on that returning to Mel's after one of our outings (weddings, the trailer, whatever) often just seems more natural. We can't go back to the summer of 2016 - when Mel was out of work and desperate to be away from her place. And those fond memories that could have been traditions are the casualties of that. We've eaten out back on our patio like twice, and though we often make smores in the microwave we haven't used our makeshift fire pit once. (We have twice, however, lit the mini fireplace accent torch thingy that Mama H got me for my birthday, it was very nice.) I'm ambivalent and torn about all that but this is life.

While preparing dinner, Eric and I even had a nice talk about creativity. We both are just in places now where we don't have the time to indulge as much as we'd like. I'm doodling a bit, but nothing concrete, nothing the world will see.

Not yet anyway.

I've got schemes. The ideas will never disappear and the drive, the need, simply has not died.

We'll see.

Keep on rockin'


06: Reminders and remembrances

There's a hornet's nest under the umbrella of my backyard patio set. That feels like a strong visual metaphor for the issues surrounding the place right now. We want carefree and casual but there are sharp, menacing bugs underneath the surface.

We can't really go backwards. And I am neither here nor there.

I'll keep that vague on the premise that, someday, sensitive eyes might see these words. You know, there's a reason why I always kept an online journal instead of a private one. It never caught on with me because somehow it never felt like the words were properly escaping into the world, they just sat in a book on my shelf. A message is partly the sender and partly the receiver. But there's the rub because I'm not being true to this blog if I'm not candid, but my being candid inherently involves not just me now but someone whose life is deeply intertwined with mine -- a situation I never faced (hoped for sure but never realistically anticipated) during the initial 8 or 9 or 10 years of this blog.

This blog was the invention of a perennially single 16-going-on-17-year-old and was able to continue in the fashion it did because I remained perennially single for many, many years. Now that I am not, is it regression to try to start it up again, or do I trust myself to refit my language for it? After all, there was always the possibility I could speak too loosely and offend a friend who would read it, but I feel like I walked the line pretty well.

I do trust my judgment. And if I feel like something is worth putting out there it probably is.

I leave myself hints and breadcrumbs, and work to piece it all together later because I know no full story will ever be told.

I was reading old posts again (there's regression for you) and came across this intriguing quote from August 2008: "This blog, with its fantastic treasure trove of descriptions of scenes wherein nothing happens, and feelings about nothing in particular, provide me some basis to say "This is what it was like." I might not otherwise remember that, week after week, we keep going back to Wendy's after grocery shopping, and my body doesn't seem to like it very much; nor that I keep going for these night-walks just to leave the house and be free for a while. It's boring now, but someday, maybe I'll look back and think "Those were the days."

And if that's the case, I'd hate to see what my life has become by that point. Mwerf.

Dang, Past-Scotto! I am roasted. No, but seriously, I do well not to think of those as the "good old days." I had potential (I even described it as "The Summer of Wasted Potential") but I was trapped in my psyche and things were not good. On my worst day today I am better by far.

That ties nicely in to what we have done this weekend. At the end of a rather tough week at work - which got off to a slow start and felt heavier as it went on, with lots of actioning needed for SF Wave 1 and 2 stores' returns, I left work on Thursday knowing I had to delegate my work out to the rest of the team, which I didn't want to have to do, but Murray encouraged me to do. I had Friday off for a wedding - specifically the wedding of Joe and Viki. Appropriately enough I had recently read my post from the first time I met Viki, which refers to her as "the love on Joe's life [sic]." There was nothing tepid about their romance; one could see even then. It seemed clearly very passionate and all-consuming from the start, and I am glad they have tied the knot at last.

You know, they split up for a while there, which falls in the lost years of this blog. We will probably never speak of it again, but for a while there, a year or two, Joe and I were hitting Monaghan's (for "Monahangs") every month or so to commiserate over the lack of female attention in our lives. Then he and Viki patched things up, and I met Mel, and that was that.

Mel and I even make a cameo in their engagement story, because Joe was able to choose the night he did to propose because we had sadly had to bail on a planned night out with them because Mel was feeling ill. That detail did not, however, make it into the version of the story that was told at the wedding.

It was a nice ceremony, a beautiful outdoor scene at the Woodbine golf course. I was worried about the air traffic since it was by the airport, but there were no serious issues or awkward moments. The bride looked beautiful. The groom looked handsome. Or maybe even beautiful, sure, it's 2017, a man can be beautiful. They wrote some lovely vows - Joe later noted to me that they were not "template" people, which is good. We met up with our friends who were not in the wedding party and sat with them. After, there were some impressive hors d'oeuvres, although they were a bit hard to get ahold of.

Mel looked beautiful, of course. She had gotten her hair done earlier that day and I picked up my newly-altered suit, the first properly-fitting jacket I have owned, the first suit I have owned. I got lots of positive notices on it, including from Joe, which was very kind since everyone all over was dressed nicely and I didn't think I stood out on that front.

We were seated with people I didn't really know, but tried to engage them a bit. Two couples I didn't realize immediately but I must have met at some point before, Dan's wife Crystal, Alicia, and Cristina's boyfriend Stephan - so, a few strays, which was healthy I think and the group was mostly quite charming. Stephan kept to himself but struck up a conversation about Spider-Man Homecoming. I haven't seen it yet but we were able to mold that into a more substantial convo about Marvel movies and even comics a little.

The night wore on. The ladies all changed into their flipflops. Many courses were served, several drinks were poured, even one shot was consumed. We hit the photo booth (a few times) for the photo guest book. Joe and Viki performed "Lucky" because I think they weren't allowed not to. The dancefloor was hopping but the hour was getting late so by the time they finally got to 90s jams (ie after he Italian and Middle Eastern Music and the Latin club bangers) we were just about ready to get back to the Hotel and flop down.

Anyway, it was all marvelous. Honestly, my heart is so full for them.

The next morning (ie, today), we woke up and partook in some breakfast buffet. It wasn't terrific but it was there and I was hungry.

I'm looking forward to the next chance I have to have a one-on-one convo with Joe. It's true that at any wedding your face time with the bride and groom is going to be limited... unless you're part of the head table I suppose. Even these days we mostly see each other in the context of double dates and group hangs, which is all good too, but nothing replaces a good heart to heart.

I stopped in at Coles the other day to check in with Monika and Will... Monika reminded me of all the stuff I need to catch up on. (Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Twin Peaks, Leftovers, American Gods... I should also watch Stranger Things sometime, and maybe Black Mirror, and definitely make time for the new Game of Thrones.) There will be time, I am sure, for everything.

Keep on rockin'


05: If you trust me

I suppose my current objective is to bop out one of these per week. I think that's a good valance between clearing my plate and keeping the readers of this blog (various future scottos) up to date on my situation, and not devoting too much time or obsessing too much. I will say that I'm now in the long lost mindset of constantly looking at my life through the lens of "will this make a good post later?" I have indeed missed this.

I have still been reading lots of my old posts. I started near the beginning of my first year of university and have finished up to where I was fired from my house painting job the following summer. I wonder about myself - not about 2008 scotto of course, poor kid is a lost cause - but about my current day self, retreating into old blog entries, fixating on side projects like comic rereads, waxing nostalgic about wrestling... I wonder if IMT pining for youth as a way of escaping my present, which seems absurd because on the outside of feels like my present is ideal. I have a loving girlfriend and a solid job. But I'm not writing much anymore and both my girlfriend and job sometimes come with rough patches that leave me reeling and conteplating how much bad we should tolerate in our good. Also how much is simply me being unable to enjoy and keep my mind in the here and now.

The weekend began with drinks after work. Well, somebody was having drinks, but as established at lunch that day, it wasn't going to be Ibrahim, who started out not drinking due to religious prohibition but adopted it as a personal policy anyway, or Tony, who is allergic to all forms of alcohol and anyway is the kind of person who enjoys a good moral high ground. (Things Tony has boasted since I have been at head office: he has never taken the elevator and does not drink coffee, among probably other things.) We have a bit of a group going, I suppose, although I am trying to circulate more. Hence, drinks...

It was farewell drinks for Bryant, a higher up who is moving on. I haven't been there long and I don't know Bryant well but I could tell it was very meaningful. For my part, I wanted to be seen there because my commute has this far made me pretty skittish about participating in extra curriculars. But the shindig was starting at 4, so I went (a tad later than that) and even stayed later than some who had to jet by 5.

I have made friends, and ywt I'm still in this "new guy" rut where people don't automatically chat me up or find out about me. I want to change that a bit.

I pbrought flowers, which were a gesture for Mel, from the previous day's farmer's market. They made a nice conversation piece... Although if I can be honest, while Mel was happy to receive them, she wasn't as gaga over them as I'd hoped. I mean, no-reason flowers, that's the dream isn't it? (For certain women, Mel vocally among them.)

She was happy, don't get me wrong, but she hasn't looked at them since we got home and they'll wilt soon.

Saturday we had some errands to run but got a bit off track. I got a haircut, she got her nails done, we went grocery shopping, and then we headed to my place for a snack but I got caught up dealing with the air conditioning guy who just haaaaad to stop by when we were on the way put and I couldn't get away. So we were a bit late for our planned dinner with Meagan, and his gave her new fuel for our ongoing issue regarding my brothers and... I dunno man, I'm really sick of that one.

It was a really solid visit with Meghan and her boyfriend Danny. They were attempting to put together some patio furniture, which Meagan said every couple should have to do at some point. Mel and I reflected on some of our furniture misadventures. The bench whose frame we got backwards, so it became a 2 day job. I also did the kitchen island card myself. Then today, I got to worm on the nightstand she bought a month ago and we just haven't had time to get to.

It isn't done yet... It's proven stressful. I'm working with her dads tools and while one screwdriver fit most of the screws needed, one part had an oddly sized slot and I couldn't find the correct tool for it. Then I realized I got the top and bottom surfaces backwards, meaning I had to take it apart, and well, that lead to some wood breakage, so I am currently waiting for some glue to dry.

Men making (or assembling) furniture for women. It's almost too cliché. I feel all this pressure to be perfect and chivilrous and sometimes I feel like the stakes are too high when my faults are revealed. I never wanted to be that guy whose girlfriend/partner/wife? was always rolling her eyes over in barely concealed resentment. "That man of mine, he's so dumb and incompetent. Why do I bother?"

I am not here to live in an episode of what I assume According To Jim was like.

I'm doing my best.

I think she understands.

The rest of the evening was very nice. I get on quite well with Danny, far better then I did with Meagan's ex, Alex. Not that he wasn't OK, we just had nothing in common. (I noted this - intended as a value-neutral statement - which led to a very concerted effort on Alex's part to try to prove we could hold a conversation.) For a length period, Meagan and Mel were in the kitchen catching up and Danny and I were left to bond in the living room. I struck up some small talk and we actually managed to craft some really solid medium talk by the end. It wasnt eve that we had much common ground, but he had enough going on that I was curious about and vice versa. What's more - most impressive - he had as many inquiries for me as I did him, if not more. I noted to Mel that I really hate when you get caught in a one sided conversation and the other party won't politely flip it back to you. I also hate realizing that I have monopolized a conversation. (This is less common but not unheard of.) She seemed startled by my conviction, at the end of the night as we headed to the car, and perhaps I have only recently been able to pinpoint this pet peeve. I won't specify examples I have encountered over the years.

I had more to say, about furniture building and gender roles, but lets leave that behind. The end of the nightstand saga - so far - is that her dad bailed me out. I was not bitter about it and wanted to be a good sport. "He's good at dad things," she beamed. I nodded. Perhaps there was a time when he was not. I reckon that by the time your kids are old enough to notice you are good at that stuff, you've had years of practice. I remember my dad putting my lego together for me as a kid...

I feel very out of touch with my parents lately; Over got some real cats in the cradle stuff going on.

There's more - man, there's really alway as more - but I'm pooped. If you see typos in this post, it's because I did it on my phone. I was feeling too lazy to get my tablet out, and yet my sore fingers are saying I really should have.

Keep on rockin'


04: A Distant Rain

I am writing this because I have been staring at some sales figures all afternoon an my eyes could use a rest. I don't quite have enough time now, at the end of my day, to do anything "productive" (hah, as if I ever could) for myself or really, for my work. Right now I'm just pushing some numbers around trying to wring data out of a very expansive spreadsheet. It's actually kind of fun but I don't feel that I have made it live up to its potential for informative...ness.

I have been reading a lot of old entries lately, which is perhaps why I have been in the mindset to write here again. Some of these entries capture extremely memorable moments in my life - in fact, I've been targeting my first year of university which naturally was very eventful. And there's a lot of quotidian "Then I ate a chicken sandwich and went to class, then I came home and watched TV until I went over to Chris' to play Risk." Which I actually also find fascinating. I will probably never have another time in my life where even the minutiae provides such entertainment value.

I've said it before, I think, but I do wish I had written more between 2012 and 2016. I have no proof, now, that every day back then was not exactly the same. But I don't recall ever wanting to talk about it when I was just working in a store, you know? Unless something spectacular happened. Some of that is on Tumblr but not much. I was growing out of my overshare days, and my life was, accordingly, becoming less worth sharing. I remember days spent behind a cash register. I remember putting out stock and helping customers find things, and occasionally help them choose things. I remember filling sections and restocking reports and conversations with Meg where she would describe Downton Abbey to me. But the specifics are lost to time and I'm not sure I mind, except for posterity. I am particularly prone to the all-too-human fear of losing access to things. Losing memories, losing touch. I am a packrat for junk I accumulate because I just don't want to not have it.

Is it possible that nothing from those days is truly worth having? It's too late. It's gone.

What is it about these days that makes them worth remarking? Differentiation, I suppose. The work ebbs and flows, the people I mix with change slightly. Or I'm just here, with a mind to write it down, like I used to.

Canada Day weekend... I have been meaning to jot down my mixed feelings about nationalism lately but here is not the place and I don't want to get off track. But it was as good an excuse as any for barbecues, too much sun, and a road trip. Saturday we spent at Mel's family's place. Sunday we were at the Trailer. Oh, didn't I say? A few years ago Mom and Ross got a new trailer at Spring Valley. At the time we were very for it because we were all still living together and those weekends where they were away felt like a good release. Then they just flat-out moved to Mount Forest for some reason.

Aunt Lori (and Gail and Karen, I suppose) got a trailer the next year, which they still have and use for summertime gatherings. There were flaws - E and B didn't come, which definitely disappointed Mom. Liz and her group stayed a bit long into the evening, and Adam's parents were in tow. After everyone had cleared out, Mel and I were staying the night so we made s'mores and watched fireworks and slept on the futon in the sunroom. The next day, after a lovely long morning chat with the Aunts, we went for a swim, although it was cool and breezy, and thus not "Damn I need to swim!" weather. We laid out afterward to dry off and both got burned because our sunscreen had washed off. Then we went for a paddleboat ride, which has in the past tested the limits of our relationship. Okay, that's exaggerating. Yes, sometimes the matter of steering cuases friction but we got our rhythm back.

If I seemed a bit distracted over the weekend, it was that the trailer park has a way of making me nostalgic. I hate it, but I end up getting drunk on it. Those were not necessarily great years to live through but your mind puts rose-tinted glasses on it, sepia photos of a simpler time, walking around in endless circles with the same four people, too nervous to really talk about what's on your mind because you haven't quite figured it out yet yourself. Bottomless teen angst, straining against the cages of your underdeveloped mind and body, wanting more life but not knowing what that means. Then you get older, and you have it all, and you yearn for the time when - not that you want things to be different - but before it was settled. Before you knew which direction time was going. Possibilities. Not that reality was ever going to be anything but this. Certainly not anything better than this. And yet, you get that pang of, "What if I was young again and still had the world in front of me?" Oh well. Grass, green, etc.

We drove home and picked up pizza for dinner and hung around watching Netflix at my place.

If I had time, I would parse out for you how my place, my brothers, and the concept of doing things for them has become something of a flashpoint for the relationship, something I feel I personally need to work on. I feel like I live in two worlds, and I feel like I have this nagging need to advocate for the person who is not around, which is often frustrating for the person who is. And also has a side effect of making both sides kind of mad at me, which is opposite what I want.

The past two years I have dedicated a lot of time to growth. I have these moments where I think, "I am like this, but it would maybe be better to change that." That's hard to put into action but it's good to be able to know it. Sometimes I wish the stakes weren't so high.

I am not perfect, and sometimes I feel very bad about that. Worse than I probably should.

Sometimes my mind goes astray. Sometimes I blunder. Sometimes I don't know how to proceed. Sometimes my best intentions are somehow not enough. And I hate being a cause of frustration to someone else.

I have said more than I meant to and yet nothing concrete at all. I really am back to this blog.

Keep on rockin'

-PS one really appealing aspect of reading old entries, and a strangely creatively satisfying aspect of coming back to it, are the post titles. I live for those.


03: What Amn't I

Last night, Mel, Eric and I, along with Mel's fam, went to Ribfest. We had all done so last year and it was an extremely memorable outing - we did a few rides, won various stuffed animals at the Midway games, Eric sprung for a blooming onion that everyone enjoyed, and there was a Bruce Springsteen cover band (Glory Days). This year was much the same pattern, except the Springsteen band was a Fleetwood Mac cover band (Fleetwood Nicks.) Fleetwood Mac has a ton of great songs although I feel like there isn't the excess of potential material that Glory Days was working with - all the hits, plus some Nicks solo stuff and if I'm not mistaken at least one Tom Petty song. Mel and I danced to some songs I didn't recognize. I think they closed with Don't Stop.

At the beginning of the night, Mel, Eric and I had to save everyone's seats, which was tough and it took so long to get for that our already late start really got pushed back, but the ribs at the fortuitously named Kansas City Bad Wolf were the best I've had from Ribfest ever.

Another difference was that Eric didn't won us any huge stuffed animals, as he missed out the games. I won Mel a pug at the water gun game and we won a penguin together at the dart balloon game. It was chilly, I wish I'd brought my sweater. Eric spent much of the later point of the evening waiting in line to pick ribs up for Brandon, and frequently choosing the wrong line - when he wasn't in the latrine. He did  join us on the Ferris Wheel though, which Mel agreed to go on after I had told her it was OK if she didn't want to do rides (Eric had bought tickets thinking they were for games but not realizing they were in fact literally just tickets to ride.) Mel and I also did the merry go round and while we considered bumper cars, or me doing the Gravitron myself when we were down to 3 tickets, I chose to ride the spinny arm ride myself because it had the least wait.

I sprung for Tiny Toms doughnuts, four dozen for $20.

The week had had its ups and downs. This was the thickest part of our optimization project, with my being charged with actioning a bunch of large format stores as well as filling in the template for small format ones. At points I felt like I was keeping myself in a tunnel, unable to interact with others because I had so much work to do - it was lonely. Friday I had technical difficulties that prevented me from getting as much done, so I spent a lot of time talking to Isaiah about comics. When I do that I seem so bitter because I love comics as a medium but have totally fallen out of love with Marvel. My current position is that I want to someday be coaxed back.

Monday had been the Drive to 25 conference where Indigo touted all its successes this year and the way it was building toward the future. I've got go say it really does feel good to work with a company on an upward trajectory after all those years at HMV. It also feels like my own life is on an upward trajectory, which is new.

At the conference (assembly? Show?) I ran into Bruce, my old RD, and he expressed the belief that I was doing very well and they would want to keep me here, and while I don't know where he might be hearing that from, it was borne out a few days later at my one-on-one with Murray. We agreed I was past the learning curve in good time, and now it was time to expand a little bit. Of course, the next day revealed that I'm not exactly 100% all the time in this role, yet, so maybe we're jumping the gun a bit. But it's nice to be perceived as excelling.

It was a rainy week, and although the weather was clear for Ribfest, it was a chilly night. Poured the next morning and a light sprinkling today. What a dreary start to summer.

I've been reading old posts - hence this one mimicking the format - from way, way, way back around first year of U of T. Even then I was talking about how I was not posting as much as I used to! Incredible how things change/stay the same. Also I was, like, suuuuper into How I Met Your Mother (which I am almost done re-watching with Mel as we speak, as it so happens) and Guitar Hero.

I kinda love my habit back then of just dropping in the various names like everyone is expected to be acquainted. I don't love, as much, those times when I had to keep names secret or hadn't felt comfortable naming them yet, because it's so far on now I have to guess. But that's in itself something of a fun exercise.

I think about where I was then, how I was down on myself, how I would blow with the wind depending on whether it was a good day or bad. I recognize it all as myself, as things I had thought or noticed, but obviously I'm not him anymore. Ten years can do a lot! And that person to some degree really wanted to be who I am now, couldn't imagine being him, and yet would probably also have a few choice words of concern if we were being honest with each other.

And yet, we're not so different. He beamed over good marks and stressed over whether he was faking his way through school. I beam over kind words from my boss and stress over whether I'm just faking my way through this job.

He also let a lot of typos go through - holy shit was I in a hurry to flush out all these thoughts.

Not long after I started here, it was my birthday and I made everyone guess how old I now was. Everyone underestimated by a range of 2-5 years, which felt nice but also not - like, I have maintained a steady, youthful appearance, which is cool. But that also makes me look inexperienced (which I suppose I am!) Crying out loud, my boss is my same age! Yet because he wears a suit to work and has a wedding band I can't help but regard him as older, wiser, more authoritative. Strange.

I got a late start, but perhaps I'm off and running now.

Here's what life is like, for the five-years-from-now Scotto who can't remember. The alarm goes off at 5:30, but she snoozes until 5:45, and then she either gets up for her workout or she sleeps in. I stay in bed until about 6:25 or 6:30, grab a shower and get dressed. Lately I've been making her shake for her, as a kindness. And a timesaver. For the time being we're both commuting to the city so it behooves us to co-ordinate. We get the bus at 7:25 usually, which gets us to the train well ahead of the 7:47. They've opened a Tim Hortons on the platform and every day is a struggle to resist it. Occasionally but not so much lately we get a seat on the train.

We get to the city about a quarter after 8. I walk with her up to Bay and King and then we part ways and I walk far down King to Spadina, where I walk up to the fourth floor, sit down at my desk (I have a desk! Which is where I'm typing this now!) and work, or stall. Lunch is at noon. I can leave before 5 if I want to but usually I'll end up waiting a while for her anyway.

We get home at 6 or 6:30. I make dinner. We've developed a stable of recipes we occasionally add to. Sometimes we collaborate but let's face it, it stresses her out too much to see me do it. We watch Netflix. I do the dishes. We are in bed by 10, usually. Sometimes well before.

It's a quiet life.

I like it.

And yet...............

Keep on rockin