Archive for April, 2011

Going Dark

Bad news guys, and I’ll have to be brief here as I only have 10 minutes of Internet time left.

I know I said that I’d be able to update this place from my phone, but that won’t be happening due to some unexpected financial issues. As such, the only way I can update this place is by paying for the Internet at the various places that I’m staying. Alas, this also costs money, and I don’t really have the time or money needed to keep this place regularly updated while on the road.

Long story short, you probably won’t hear from me until I get back home.

The good news is that that’s only two weeks away. Until then, try to survive without me.

Summer ’11

Well, it looks like this is the end. My room, once the central hang out spot on Floor 12, is now barren and lifeless.

Last year at around this time I greeted summer ’10 with endless joy. Not so much this year. This year I feel much the way that I felt when grade 12 concluded: Happy to have had such an awesome year, but utterly devastated to see it come to an end.

That said, it’s not all bad. You might recall last time that I said that I would go to great lengths to extend Floor 12. Well, as it happens, the price for doing so is around $1500 for a three week extension. Tomorrow I shall be embarking on a three week journey across the Northeastern United States with a few fine individuals.

I initially feared that I would have to shut this place down for three weeks, but as this blog proves, I am actually able to write blogs from my phone, though it’s more cumbersome than using a computer and could result in some stange formatting errors. Nevertheless I shall try to keep you all updated from time to time.

Let Summer ’11 commence.

Floor 12

“You know it’s going to be the same next year,” she said, her voice dripping with venom. “You’ll be alone there too.”

That’s what a friend of mine said to me at about this time last year.

First off, what the hell kind of friend would say something like that? How could anyone with a soul say that at a time when I was enduring a very difficult year and my confidence was ringing up a zero? I was just beginning to feel happy about the end of the year and the coming summer, and then I had to hear something like that. And although I brushed off the comment at the time, it created that little seed of doubt in my head. ‘What if next year isn’t better? What if it’s somehow worse?’

This was a really crucial year for me. I was coming off a less than thrilling experience at Queen’s, but moreover I was coming off the worst summer ever.

In theory, this past summer should have kicked ass. I mean, four months of nothing but good friends, good food, and good times.

But something went wrong. I’m still not sure what, exactly. But that combination of recovering from surgery and arm pain sent me into this awful downward spiral in June from which I didn’t fully recover until around October. I can’t explain what happened. All I know is that I was in a really bad place. For a few weeks there I spent half the night wide awake, praying that I would fall asleep, and then I would spend the day waiting for it to get dark so that I could go to sleep again. Even when I was with my friends, I’d be laughing and outwardly appearing to be enjoying myself, but on the inside I wasn’t having fun. Really crappy times all around.

So this year was critical. On the whole I was positive, I think. I knew that I had Fridays off, so I figured I’d spend Monday-Thursday hanging out with old friends from high school, and then go  home for the weekend every Thursday night.

I did not anticipate Floor 12 occurring.

And really, how could I have? Living in residence had been somewhat underwhelming at Queen’s. Why would U of T be any better?

Well, it has been. And to my credit, I realized this very early on. After one week I posted a blog detailing, among other things, the great connection that I had developed with the people on my floor. I recognized very early that Floor 12 was a good thing.

Since that first week, things have changed somewhat on Floor 12. Despite all my warnings and ranting, floorcest has occurred on the floor. And you know what? I was damned right about what it would do to the unity of the floor. It used to be that we all ate dinner together in a big group of twelve or more. Now the average group is about half that size. People have splintered off due to their inability to separate their personal lives from their social lives. It’s really unfortunate, but that’s how the chips have fallen.

Nevertheless, the people who have remained in my inner circle have all gotten a lot closer together, and that’s obviously a good thing. After Christmas I think the realization that we would all be  going our separate ways in a few months began to set in, and this has had the effect of bringing us all a lot closer together.

To illustrate my point, I’m going to tell you how I spent one particular Saturday, from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed:

I woke up at 11:00 AM, showered, and dressed. I went on my computer for about 20 minutes. Then, at noon, a knock on my door. “Brunch?”, the person asked. “Sounds good,” I replied. We went to eat brunch together. Following what was a most delicious meal, we all sat down in the hallway to chat. It was 1:00 when we sat down in the hallway. We stayed there for about five hours. At 6:00, we went to eat dinner. After dinner, we once again returned to the hallway to chat. At 7:45, we decided to return to our rooms for a bit to get some work done. Then at 9:00, another knock. “Cards?” the person asked. “Sounds good,” I replied. And so we sat in the hallway again and played cards. At 11:00, the dons came by and told us to disperse. Everyone then entered my room, where we remained until 4:00 AM. Then everyone left and I went to bed.

For those of you keeping count, I was awake for 17 hours that day. 14.75 of those hours were spent with other people on the floor.

What I’ve just laid out isn’t an atypical day on Floor 12. Indeed, some nights have extended well beyond the 4:00 AM mark.

Like I’ve said, I can’t really explain what Floor 12 is. Suffice to say that it’s something really great.

Now we’re just about at the end of the year. What’s interesting is that despite the fact that we’re less than a week away from the end, no one seems to be talking about it. I think there’s a beautiful sort of sadness in that. We’re all trying to carry on with life as if nothing’s happening. We’re not in denial. We know what’s about to happen. We just don’t want to talk about it. Occasionally someone will make a comment about the end, and the room will go silent until someone changes the subject. But I can count the number of times that’s happened on one hand. For the most part we just try to avoid the subject entirely.

Sadly, Floor 12 is just one of those things that are too good to last. Time is cruel like that. It’ll give you something nice before wrenching it out of your hands, in spite of whatever futile protests you can muster. I’m not happy about Floor 12 ending, and would be willing to go to great lengths to extend it for another year, or a month, or even a week. But I am powerless to do anything to combat Time. As Dylan would put it:

Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

RANT #17: Peaceful Protest

I’ve never been a fan of peaceful protest, to be honest.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for democracy and free speech and all that palaver, but there are better ways to do it.

The problem with peaceful protest is that it usually isn’t peaceful. Yes, it’s peaceful in the sense that it’s non-violent, but it’s not peaceful in the sense of being tranquil. That’s where I have a problem.

See, I’m something of a utilitarian in the fact that I don’t really give a shit what you do as long as you’re not fucking with anyone. Take throwing bricks, for example. I have no problem with someone whose idea of a good time is throwing bricks into the air, so long as:

  1. The person owns the bricks which he is throwing.
  2. The person does not disturb other people with his brick-throwing.
  3. The person does not throw bricks at other people.

The brick thrower might claim “Hey, it’s a free country. I can do whatever the hell I want.” But that’s not how it works. Your freedom to throw bricks into the air ends where it negatively impacts other people. That’s just how life works. In the same way, my freedom to flail my arms wildly through the air ends where your face begins. Simple, right?

So, with regards to peaceful protest, your freedom to yell at the top of your lungs ends where my ears begin. If you’re angry about some shit that’s going down in Ethiopia, go yell at the people involved. Do not, for example, start shouting “SHAME ON YOU!” in front of a student residence where hundreds of students are busy preparing for exams. I assure you that by doing so you will make many more enemies than friends.

And you might say “How else are we supposed to affect change in society?”, to which I reply “Dude, this is Canada.”

I mean, think about it. How often does something actually worth protesting occur in this country? Very rarely. I mean, the most divisive thing in this country is probably Jack Layton’s moustache. I mean seriously, look at that thing. Is he evil? Is he just misunderstood? Perhaps we’ll never know. The point is that this is a very boring country, politically speaking. That’s a good thing, mind you. The alternative to being boring is being exciting, like Libya and Egypt.

But this is Canada, and I’ll guarantee you two things. First, that whatever you’re protesting isn’t worth protesting, and second, that your protesting will almost certainly have no effect at all other than to piss people off.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sabotage some angry Ethiopians, for I am a cruel and vindictive man.