Sunday, October 23, 2005

When Everything is a Smear: What Goes Through your Head, Come Sunday Morning?

I did my training as a food sampler yesterday, which was quite low-key. It will get a lot more hectic this week when I start my other two jobs as a security guard and a wireless phone package salesman. An older woman took me for a tour of the grocery store, in the freezers, in the storage rooms, showed me where the appliances were, and pointed out the faults of the other sampler: "She puts her spoons in her sample cups. That's a big no no. Someone will come along and make a mess of it all!" I wasn't very nervous and I didn't need to be. I just tried to ask questions so that I'd have things together for when I did it on my own. My trainer was an award-winning salesperson, but she had trouble remembering what it was we were about to do. She had difficulty finding the right carton of orange juice on the shelf, so my hawk eyes helped out.

I felt more capable and less senile than usual, dealing with someone who's daughter was old enough to be working in the make-up department. My trainer said just be friendly to the people and make them laugh. She even told me a personal story about a customer who was trying to hit on her and ask her name, at which point she told him she was Jane, just like the name of the woman who's pancakes were being sampled. After the two hours of training were up, she shook my hand and wished me the best of luck. Then I drove to Guelph.

Odd and I jammed, working on my most disturbing song. I taught him to do the bass-line that goes along with my guitar part, or rather, complimenting it. It's not polka music, but when I play the "oom's" Odd would play that "pa's" on the off-beat like "Oom-pa! Oom-pa! Ooom-pa! Oom-pa!" (You see what I mean.) It sounds really good. It will sound even better when I add the vocals. As the afternoon progressed, we started just fooling around and experimenting, going off on certain themes and turning our amps and reverb up high to fill the room with sound. Paul would come out for a cigarette in between songs for a break from painting. Yusuf was at a funeral.

At night, Odd had had too much to drink and he started cutting everyone up. He was out of control and everyone knew he wasn't talking sense. He was too generous in offering to fight everyone. We would simply have to tell him "No thanks. Dude, just chill out." The situation was at it's pinnacle when he knocked over his drink, then fumed at Rick for using a towel to mop it up, screaming: "how would you like it if someone used your towel, you idiot!?" This went on past the point of incredulity until Sarah went to her room and got her towel, started mopping and said "This is how I would feel if someone were to use my towel." It made me sad to think that my friends who could be such good people and such good musicians sometimes were turned into such sour people with the addition of a little alcohol. One of my friends was mourning the loss of his dead friend while another made us squander our time fighting over spilled gin.

When we all cooled our nerves and came back together, we went to a hypocrite masquerade party, where people were supposed to wear a mask of someone or something that they weren't. I know several people were thinking of printing a picture of their ex's off and going as them, but no one did. Hardly anyone had a mask, except a few who had feathery masks, or socks with holes in them tied around their eyes. In a way, it was fitting to try to use our own faces to represent hypocrisy.

I felt alone there and anti-social. I couldn't talk to anyone or engage a conversation. They just didn't seem to catch. I was delighted when a very attractive girl came up to me and put a brush in my hand and asked me "Do you feel like painting?" So she took me into a separate room where there was a large canvas and some paint, and we got to work. Others joined in, putting their fingers right in the paint and smearing it on the canvas, rubbing combinations of colour together. At one point my host and I became a little playful after having accidently encroached on eachother's artistic space. I reached out and dabbed a bit of red on her finger then she put a glob on the back of my hand.

I wanted to talk to a friend of mine that I hadn't really talked to for awhile, because so much is going on. She is a wonderful girl with a very cool attitude and a rustic physique as a result of her training for years as an acrobat. She skateboards and breaks fingers and bounces back from it as if it were nothing, but she's also sensitive inside. I could tell she was hurt in some way, so I asked her. She said "yes" but didn't say what, then I reminded myself. It's a delicate situation because she's such a sweetheart. Everyone loves her. She's very close and has been very close with another friend of mine who met her through his ex boyfriend. Since him and his boyfriend aren't together any more, it's different, because she was always the third wheel. Now I know that she likes him. He's single now, but he's gay. Things have happened to escalate the situation that could never be, and so I think she realizes that and feels guilty for liking someone she cannot have. He feels helpless because he likes her too, but not quite like that.

I woke up this morning and felt like I couldn't arrange all the pieces of my life and the lives of my friends. There are just too many pieces. Seeing any of them was confusion, so I laid back and let myself dream some more. Then, barely able to coerce myself into the shower, my mind turned to the errands and things that I needed to do today, feeling overwhelmed and apathetic at the same time. I wanted to feel less dispassionate, then I found something that made everything else real again and made me feel a little better: a smear of paint on my hand.

2 Comments:

Blogger Allegria_du_soleil said...

No spoons in the cup? Does she think that everyone will come hurdling towards her, knocking all the spoons out from the sample cups in their path?? Anyway, that was good for a laugh.

I hope you get to sample a popular food-like lasagna, sausage rolls, or pizza pockets. I always feel kind of bad for the samplers that have stand there and sample the more "boring" foods (ie.sunflower seeds, saltine crackers)as customers bypass them.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

It sounds complicated, but not all that bad.

I used to play drums as a "weekend warrior" kind of thing in college and through my early twenties. It's possible to attend one too many weddings...

3:00 PM  

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