X-ray

Lately I’ve been having more doctor type appointments than normal. Normal being a pretty constant point of (0,0) on the x and y graph. This post was written a few days ago, as a slightly petty venting of my feelings for the medical system which I normally don’t even notice. Two disclaimers: My health is just fine, thank you, and yes I’m grateful for the health care Canada has.

Today I had to go get an x-ray done at the hospital, which not including Dentist appointments, was my first time having anything x-rayed that I can recall. It was a slightly surreal experience. Although far from scared, I was very much aware of how vulnerable the entire procedure made me feel.
Firstly, you have to be at the mercy of the staff for what time things happen at. Without a family doctor the health system of this province is pretty annoying. A lot of places seem to cling to same day service, with specific procedures surrounding appointments. Either you can only place them via phone or you can’t place them at all, or what have you else. In other words, you have to take an unknown amount of time out of your schedule and hope that it works out- it’s rather hard to plan around. But is your time more important than that of the Doctors’, and ultimately, your health? Hah.
Then there is the matter of impersonal speed. Far from the chummy doctor out of cartoons, sitting you down to talk to you. “This sounds weird, but touch your toes,”he said, running his hand down my spine then- even as I straightened- he diagnosed me with, “Scoliosis.” Since they are professionals trying to get through as many people as quickly as possible it’s an in and out service which leaves me feeling a bit dizzy, and still formulating the questions I want to ask even as I’m told where to go to schedule my next appointment.
And then during the x-ray, stripped and curtained in shapeless, medicinal feeling, scrub-shirt-robe-things I had to lie in a concrete room, controlling my breathing and holding poses while the machine clicked away. In the lowlight pallor of the harsh, artificial room I was amused-perhaps a little gratefully bewildered- to notice that someone had put a crucified Jesus, a brutal symbol of love, above the door. It was a ludicrously personal touch in the otherwise cold room.

I feel kind of detached from it. I’m not worried about my back, though I think other people might be. I hope they aren’t. I feel nervous in waiting rooms, but not for myself. Rather, for that strange feeling of having briefly left my own life to be pushed and prodded at, then rewarded for jumping through the hoops with a slip of paper or some pills.

I don’t want this to sound whiny- I’m trying not to whine. The health system makes me feel small, that’s all. Really though, I just want this whole thing to be figured out so I can do stretches or swallow pills, then get on with the last year of school.

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Overthinking on City Transit

What do you do when you need to get somewhere fast, don’t feel like walking (for once in a blue moon), and don’t have the license you told everyone you were going to start studying for by getting your permit this summer (one step at a time), then didn’t? You take the bus.

I generally like the bus in the summer. It’s a nice change of pace from the public transport I take during the school year; overcrowded, awkward, smelly, and crushingly, overpoweringly, loud loud LOUD. In the summer I have to pay, I can’t just show my school given slip to the driver- but in the summer, things are a little better. There are always empty seats. Sometimes there are only empty seats. When people talk they are not obnoxious teenagers who are excited to get drunk or get in the girl’s pants or do any one of those things that drive home the stereotypes like nothing else can. The people on the bus are older, and they talk about their mutual acquaintances, or they snap at their children to hold still. However, even the snapping seems to be more placid in the summer, dulled by the heat or the quiet of the bus, or the slower pace- no rush; no screaming.

 The other day however, I had a bad bus experience. It started when I thought I had more time than I did. Not thinking, I glanced at the clock, did math, and decided I had time to kill. I had a plan- I would go to the bus stop early, get money out of the bank, break the bill at the conveniently placed convenience store (rhetorical, eh?), and board my bus. I would listen to Imagine Dragons and finish the last chapter of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

 Then I realized I had done my math wrong, that the twenty minutes was actually nine, and I ran very fast out of the house. My book was left behind, still waiting to be finished. I had no chance to go to the bank, much less break the bill, and I thought for sure I would miss my bus. But then, thanks to the tortoise like pace of the public transit system, miracle of slow miracles, I didn’t.

  Being absent minded and forgetting the time, for some reason, didn’t really bug me. I’ve become accustomed to my occasionally dysfunctional memory I suppose. The first thing to happen at the bus that gave me a slightly twisted feeling in my stomach was when a lady, standing by the doors of the bus, gave me what I thought was a go ahead to get on before she got off. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t. But instead of looking like mild teenage jerk, I looked like an obnoxious teenage jerk, only lacking the shouting about getting drunk and in girl’s pants. The lady was on crutches.

 And yes, this would probably have been enough to make me apologize profusely in a highly Canadian manner. Except then the bus driver- older, heavy set, with an aura of brusque manners that comes with being very tired of driving a bus on a very nice day- told me off in a special tone of voice that I assume was reserved for “teenagers who piss me off because they run over physically disabled people and then proceed to shout about their drunken sexual activity.” Righto then.

The second stomach set of cringes began when, having boarded the bus without getting in anyone’s way, I had to pay my fare. This was where the “bank and bill breaking” part of my plan came into play. I dropped coins in the slot, and began the walk of bad-person-who-didn’t-pay-the-fare shame to a seat when I heard brusque, very tired of stupid teenagers like me, tones inquire, “Is that $2.75?”

Nervously, “…um…crap..It should be?”

Brusquely, “O.K.”

It was actually $1.20.

I promised myself that I would pay the correct fare, plus the imbalance, on my ride home. However, in order to get the change for the ride home, I had to break a bill. Which I did by buying Jones Soda. Which leaves you with only ten cents over the bus fare if you pay from a five dollar bill. A ten cents which I placatingly told my conscience I would put in the till.

Guess what hid in a corner of my wallet when I went to put my money in the till?

Some days I realize that I really over think extremely small social situations. That I justify things that don’t particularly matter in strange ways: “Karmic Balancing- the buses were late and not on time, but I will not complain about this as much as I usually would, especially seeing as it was to my advantage for once.” So, I blog about it, because what else do you do in situations like that?

Well, what else but promise to put the extra $1.55 in next time you ride the bus.

Kaelen

PS: I also regularly jay-walk, lick the butter knife clean of jam, pick my teeth in public, and make people feel uncomfortable by cracking my joints. I don’t shout about drunk sex. Balance?

“Safe as Houses”

I used to think a lot about what kind of house I would make for myself when I grew up.  I still have the sketches and everything, some of them less practical than others. (The  underground cavern in which the furniture is made out of protruding roots and the plumbing is provided by a stream is something I have- mostly- grown out of wanting.)  For a while I spent large amounts of time reading about earth ships and hand built homes, ala Tasha Tudor. The concept of having a space of my own that has always engaged me. After all, what’s more grown up than having a home completely of your own? Six (Seven, Eight, Eleven, Thirteen…) year old Kaelen couldn’t think of anything.

GreenSagesHut

Not very surprisingly, I never could get it right.

…This caused me to spend far too many hours on the Sims painstakingly recreating the Green Sage’s hut from Jak and Daxter: Precursor Legend.

A factor of this continuous fascination with my eventual “grown up” house is because I associate places with emotions. Memories of my great grandparents’ old house are synonymous with memories of eating berries, feeling loved, and running around in an old, oversized skirt that transformed me into a fairy princess. When I think of that house I also think of the time there was a large fire that, if the wind had blown the wrong way, threatened to move into the trees: in typical child fashion I ran around, feeling brave and helpful by tipping teacups of water into the blaze, while my grandparents actually put out the flames. I think of the swings that they had right outside their door. Nowadays, if I have free time, I’ll culmatively spend a couple of hours a week on the swing set close to my house.

A house my family used to occupy in the suburbs of Greater Vancouver brings back memories. My second story bedroom’s small  patio, which I used to fantasize jumping out of if there was ever a house fire,wondering which order to save my stuffies in. The tree in the yard over, where I would play with the neighbour’s kids, and first hear, “He likes you.” The kiddie pool on the deck, where I spent the majority of my summer, gaining my first really bad sun burn, my skin peeling off in surprisingly painless sheets. The giant pillow fort I built right before we moved out of that house, which still remains one of my favourite structures, amplified by the glamour of recall.

secret

 Pillow forts were a big part of being a kid. And when not a pillow fort, a whole house visualized in a room. My bed was the cottage of a jungle peasant who stalked the wild savannahs of the room I shared with my brother. A closet was the tent we took shelter in the sand storms from. My living room was the nursery in which “Katherine Tyler the eighteenth century British nanny” made her siblings and various stuffed animals play pretend. My bedroom was a room in the house of Mr. Craven of “The Secret Garden,” in which I had to escape to explore the many other levels, nooks and crannies of the house.

 Looking back on how much I attach to the structures that things take place in, I’m really grateful my Mom homeschooled me, giving me the time to play pretend to an age where most girls were more concerned with boys and makeup. Staying at home was a big plus for me with my learning. (Incidentally, I don’t think I’ll have too much emotional attachment to my school’s building when it’s time to graduate.)I got the time to make up these amazing feats of architecture, which never existed outside of my head, but were more real to me than a lot of what I was actually living.

The other day, a friend and I were discussing what we would have in our “dream houses.”

  • A room entirely devoted to crafting: painting, knitting, sewing, and instruments.
  • Lots of music playing devices in various nooks and crannies. Maybe a juke box somewhere, just for the heck of it.
  • A tower, containing my bedroom, a spiral staircase, and a fire-man’s pole.
  • A personal library.
  • Cats.
  • Hammocks.
  • A claw foot bath tub.
  • An indeterminate amount of other people. Sometimes it’s just me I visualise in my “house of dreams” (Thanks for the phrase, Anne of Green Gables), other times there’s shadowy ideas of nieces and nephews and an eventual partner.

I’ve no idea when I’ll actually own a house to myself, and it will certainly be no time soon. Twenty years? Thirty? Forty? Perhaps never, in the form I’m thinking of. But in the meanwhile, it remains an important concept to me, for reasons of solidity and day dreaming.

Odds and Ends

Some of my personal highlights from the last little while include:

-Finding a large pile of gravel on the East side, climbing said pile of gravel, and briefly feeling the sense of victory that a small child feels on having done something wondrous- ie. making toast unsupervised for the first time. Then I realized that I had to get down without hurting myself or my I-pod.

-One of my favorite (deceased) authors wrote a bunch of books I didn’t know existed. My library card has been a busy bee.

Image

Click to make the doodles bigger.

-While swimming in a pond where life-jackets were compulsory I couldn’t fit into any but the children’s size. From thence came a lot of snickering when I realized that I -sixteen years old, studying for my permit, highschool senior- looked more or less like a nine year old. In keeping with this fantastic image, I then went and enthusiastically jumped (flailed) 0n the water trampoline.

-Naps.

IMG_9374

Hope life is swell.

Kaelen.

Thought-Spew

Broadcasting from tech class, where it’s Monday and I’m tired. Nothing new here.

Our tech teacher is forcing his music taste upon us…sadly I can’t take “Lady In Red” seriously after having watched certain Doctor  Who parodies.

Last week was our last full five day week of school until our impending exams. On the one hand, any mention of exams throws me into a minor panic attack. On the other hand, four day weekend in just few days, YES PLEASE.

Last night I had three different conversations about the; yumminess of 100% wool yarn, what kind of bread I would prefer to be (ended up settling with 12 grain) and the awesomeness of kittens, respectively. I like to use social media working tools for important things…

I got the house to myself for twenty four hours over the weekend, which was pretty sweet. Me being me, I did rebellious things like eating sugar toast, listening to disney songs, playing music loudly with my bedroom door open and using my ipod and the family laptop at the same time.

I think my family may be adopting a new cat. As in, “look there’s a cat in my house and people are arguing about possible names” adopting. Between this new addition to my household and my Mom’s new cat I feel that ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS ARE BEING FULFILLED. (never too early to start my crazy cat lady training my dears, never too early.)*

And on that note of fluffy happiness,

Kaelen.

*Fun fact: as I finished typing this one of the guys in my tech class just went on a rant about how much he hates cats. I hope his back felt that fully deserved wrathful glare.

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