..and then I go back further and think about how it felt when Ryan simply was not coming back. Not ever. My bed was empty and it was a fact that would never change. And people think- I couldn't do it.! But the question is, what do you do, then. As a human your reaction is to scream and shake and cry. But what I know, and this is more real than the other stuff, is that there comes a time when you get tired. And you are no longer crying, but just sitting there, in the silence. Exhausted and empty. Of everything. And it's in that moment that you realize that you are not the first person, nor the last person to lose. And that moment you are feeling is as real As being born and dying, and is common to all people.
And that's when you can sleep.
And you do that over and over again for as long as it takes until the storm quiets and the distraction sets in.
When I first moved to Calgary, I answered an ad offering a room for rent on Kijiji. The room was in a penthouse apartment by 17th ave, and my friend and I could live in it in exchange for 'light housekeeping'.
This is where we met Dennis. Dennis had tan hands from fake tanning and liked slushies from Mac's that made his mouth turn blue. He's not the kind of pimp you see in the movies. But he was a pimp.
Dennis wasn't offering a room for rent in exchange for light housekeeping after all. We spent two nights in the room then decided it would be best if we exited the entire situation. Dennis didn't frighten me, although maybe he should have. He was too stupid.
What frightened me upon learning of this world were the Johns.
The nameless, faceless men who use the services with complete disregard for the countless victims.
“The main users of women in prostitution are regular men who are in regular marriages, study in regular educational programs, and have regular jobs, some of whom are entrusted with upholding the very laws that they violate. In other words, studies indicate that prostitute-users in general are not marginalized men, unlike the women they use and abuse.”((Janice G. Raymond, 2004, Prostitution on Demand: Legalizing the Buyers as Sexual Consumers, Violence Against Women, http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/Raymond%20Prostitution%20on%20Demand.pdf).)
Soon after meeting Dennis, I saw in the newspaper an initiative in the city to catch 'johns'. If you were found soliciting prostitution your car would be towed for a week, thus disrupting your life, and forcing you to explain yourself.
I have no idea if it still happens.
I have no idea what happens to Johns because no one ever talks about them.
When a little girl went missing a few months ago, along with her mother, the whole city was inconsolable. It was later revealed that she had been working as an escort and the pimp was responsible for the murder.
Again, I wondered, why aren’t we talking about the John’s?
The name alone, is suspicious. A John. A man that could be anyone. Your brother, your father, your co-worker, your neighbour, your friend.
Well I'm not buying it.
I want the John's revealed for what they are.
I recently watched Michael Richards on Comedians in Cars
Getting Coffee. I adore him, long before Kramer he was Stanley Spadowski in UHF
and Fejos in Transylvannia 6-5000, a comedic genius.
He mentioned the "incident" from 2006 and it took
me a minute to realize what he was referring to. One quick google search and I
remember the headline "Michael Richards racist rant".
I hate hecklers.
Comedians are such fickle creatures, and there's nothing on
this planet worse then a heckler. Not even a moment of racist slurs.
Then I remembered I wrote an article after leaving the
comedy club I worked at for a year, about how to behave at a comedy club, cause
I was so fed up with the whole scene. The experience was surprisingly, an eye-opening study
on human behaviour.
Here it is: "So you got bad service at a comedy club...."
Having just left my position managing an anonymous club in
an anonymous city, I feel I could provide you with some insight into why you
received bad service at the comedy club, knowing nothing about you, the club, or
To start, let me explain what a comedy club isn't. It's not
a restaurant. It's not a theatre production. It's not a movie, or a rock
concert. It's an entirely different beast and should be treated as such.
Restaurants are open all day and evening, with a revolving
door of guests. Often there's a rush at lunch and dinner, but it's generally a
staggered event. You get seated where they put you, sometimes you can suggest a
table you'd prefer. A server comes around once you're seated and serves you
food and drink. A restaurant is a perfect place to have a great conversation
with your party.
At a theatre you line up to get in, maybe line up to get a
drink and can even pre-pay to get a drink at intermission, a great system to
avoid line-ups. Then you enter the theatre and sit in your assigned seats
without tables, located based on your date of purchase or the ticket price.
Talking during the show is generally frowned upon.
At a movie theatre you line up to get in, line up to get
popcorn, and take your table-less seat wherever you like based on how early you
arrived. Talking during the movie is frowned upon.
At a big concert you line up to get in, line up to get some
snacks and a drink, then take your seat located based on your date of purchase
or how much you were willing to spend on said ticket. Applauding and shouting
and talking is generally permitted, usually encouraged.
The Comedy Club
The club is only open for the shows; one or two shows a
night (an early show and a late show).
The guests line up at the door, then the doors open and
anywhere from 10-300 people enter the club at one time where they're seated at
a table. Being seated at a table doesn't automatically mean you are now in a
restaurant. This is because 300 people just came in.
Comedy Clubs have pre-arranged seating plans based on the time the ticket was purchased.
However, 75% of the time, the guest tries to TELL you where they want to sit. An attempt to sit them at the stage, and there's an outcry.
"I don't want to be heckled!"
"You mean you don't want the comedian to talk to you?"
"Ok, well then you'll have to sit back here"
"That's too far away! I won't be able to see!"
"It all sounds the same - from everywhere in the room"
"I want to sit right HERE"
"I'm sorry, you can't sit there."
"Well, you bought your tickets yesterday and the person whose sitting there bought his 3 months ago. "
Angry customer – bad customer service – bad review.
Depending on the size of the crowd this seating can sometimes take awhile (see: 300 people all walked in at once). Especially since so many people want to negotiate their spot.
Getting served can often take a little longer then a restaurant for these reasons.
"Where's my server?"
"Everyone just came in at once, she'll be over as soon as she can."
*eye roll* Angry customer – bad review.
The show begins, ideally, after everyone sitting has a drink in front of them.
The comics go up and they try their best to make you laugh. They judge you, the audience. If you're laughing a lot, they're validated. If you're not they're shitting their pants and planning ways to kill themselves later. If they sense you're uptight, they may try to shock you with an anal joke. If you're being rude and on your phone, they may make you part of their act.
Here's the number rule for a comedy club.
THERE IS NO TALKING DURING A COMEDY SHOW - *try telling this to a group of people who have been drinking and have forgotten there's even a show on
THERE IS NO TALKING DURING A COMEDY SHOW -* The people talking never realize they're being disruptive but everyone else in the room has
THERE IS NO TALKING DURING A COMEDY SHOW - *Often when a staff member tells you to stop talking, there has already been numerous complaints from other customers.
This otherwise simple rule is actually quite difficult to explain to people in the room. They do not understand - they are at a table, with their friends, surrounded by food and drink, and it's dark. It's just like every other bar they've ever been in and not being able to talk seems absurb.
But this is because they have forgotten. They are not in a bar, or a restaurant. They are in a comedy club. When you talk, you are missing vital parts to jokes, so you're not only ruining it for yourself, you're ruining it for the person you are talking to. If everyone were to talk it would drown out the comic entirely.
So I will say it one more time. THERE IS NO TALKING DURING A COMEDY SHOW.
Sometimes people like to have a few drinks before the show cause it's their big night out. Telling a drunk person they're not allowed to talk is almost always going to end in disaster. Kicking out a disruptive guest can also ruin an otherwise good show and make a comic very angry.
Actually, there's a more important rule then not talking. The more important rule is: DO NOT TALK TO THE COMEDIAN.
Do not try to add your two cents to a joke, do not tell him/her you liked his/her joke, do not tell him/her he/she's not funny (a popular one), do not talk to him. I don't think I should have to explain this any further because if you've gotten this far in my post, then you care enough to know.
Last call happens before the show is over, so the servers have time to get around to everyone. It goes like this: last call, payments, clean the room, reset the room, reseat the room, next show.
Payments sometimes take some time because everyone wants to pay with a card, and split a bill, and do all the things that have become the norm in a restaurant. The people with cash throw their money on the table and walk out.
After the bills are paid some guests sit around in their chairs chatting and drinking, unaware that there's another show coming in, despite being told by the MC.
Once the final stragglers leave, the staff do an impressive sweep of the room in record time and do it all over again.
So what did you get out of this, what rules can you follow when going to a comedy club? I made you a list.
How to be a good customer at a comedy club.
1. Sit where they seat you, and say thank-you.
2. Remember it may take up to 15 minutes before you get your first drink. Just pretend you're waiting in line while you sit comfortably. Maybe take the time to chat with your party as you won't be able to later.
3. Watch the show. Laugh. Or don't. It's up to you. Just don't talk or use your phone or interrupt the comedian.
4. Pay the bill with cash, thank your server, shake the comics hand and thank him then exit the room.
As for Michael Richards, I believe the group he yelled at came in late, ordered drinks loudly, then yelled at him that he wasn't funny. And he was sick and tired of the whole charade.
On my way to work this morning I saw this in the Calgary Sun box.
Michael Platt. I know that name. He's a man who has a platform to speak about anything that relates to the city, as a representative of the people of Calgary.
I'll read the story when I get to work.
Then I walked by this intersection.
It's the intersection where my love was killed 6 years ago on the coldest morning of the year. -40 or so. It's only -2 this morning, so my walk should be quite nice.
The walk is nice, but my mind is racing.
I wonder if Michael Platt drives to work and parks. I wonder if he lives in the suburbs and takes a highway everyday - twice a day. I wonder how our lives are different and how they are similar.
I walk or bike or bus or car2go or drive my own car to work. I can choose. I live in the inner city. If it's rush hour I avoid driving at all costs, due to congestion, and because I live near Deerfoot, the most used highway of all.
When Ryan was walking to work that morning, we didn't have a car, and he had just missed the bus. It was 6:59 am. I told him before kissing his warm face and telling him I loved him that we'd get a car soon, next month. Minutes later he was hit. I saw traffic backed up on my street and wondered what was happening. I turned on the radio and the news said a woman had been hit.
They were wrong.
Nowadays, I pick up the paper some mornings and see pedestrians have been hit, some killed, and there's an awful lot of blame. On the pedestrian, on the driver. The comments section is sickening.
I wasn't there that morning. I don't know how it happened, although I can imagine. I've tried. What it comes down to is that we are human beings; that's how it happens. We step out distracted, not always looking. We check our phone for a second while driving. We don't always clear our windshield as thoroughly as we could. It simply happens. In inclement weather, it happens more often.
As a resident of this city I love, and a frequent pedestrian, I welcome this new initiative.
I'd like to know how many other people welcome the forward-thinking plan to make the streets safer for those of us that live right in the thick of it, while the rush hour cars race home past us, we are already home.
There is one place where her absence comes locally home to me, and it is a place I can't avoid. I mean my own body. It had such a different importance while it was the body of H.'s lover. Now it's like an empty house.
Newfoundland. The rocky terrain; the violent wind wreaking havoc on
everyone's hair; the cemetery in the middle of town way
up on the hill; the ambulance parked in Rick's driveway Monday
through Thursday, and Terry's driveway Friday through Sunday. The
earth and the sky felt different than any place I'd been. We buried my Nan's ashes next to her parents.
Her husband was way across the cemetery, the weeds grown over his
grave like some sort of movie villain. “Oh Grandfather, what in the
hell is going on here, somebody's got to clean you up”. My cousin
Heather gardened his plot with her bare hands until it looked almost
acceptable. I remember saying the wrong thing, a few times, to
relatives I hadn't seen in years. I never know what to do or say at
funerals; where to put my hands. We went to a dinner thing, and then
each to our respectable lodging. Ours was a an old motel with a
smoking room. My dad told a story about breaking into the winter
house of his aunt Hannah's in Daniel's Harbour and filling his pockets with chicken feed.
When he saw her later that day she was onto him, but he couldn't figure
out how. He later noticed a hole in his pants, a chicken feed trail
following him wherever he went.
What's a winter house? It's a house set back from the ocean so the storms aren't so bad. It's smaller than your summer house.