Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something in the water?

As everyone got up to break for lunch at a recent council meeting I was covering, I had an embarrassing moment of feeling as if I might faint. Apparently it showed on my face, because before I could sit myself back down, several councilors were kindly offering me water, a cool cloth etc.

I quickly felt better and chalked it up to dehydration, hunger or most likely, the sheer oxygen absorbing ennui of sitting through yet another 6-hour meeting detailing how many rogue wild turkeys were apprehended by animal control this month, council's difficulties with their email system and other fun facts.

One of the councilors, however, took a flying leap to quite another conclusion.

"You'd tell Auntie *Mabel if you were pregnant, right?"

Um, no relative stranger/ council woman, I would not. *Goes home and burns empire waist top.

I don't know if it's just a small-town phenomenon or if it's specific to where I am or maybe just something that goes along with being 23, but since I've arrived here, the activity of my womb has been an apparently acceptable conversation topic in more instances than I'm comfortable with.

The women at my office seem especially anxious to induct me into their ranks of motherhood.

Seemingly innocuous comments such as, "I'm a little tired," "I could really go for a sandwich," or "Hey look, a spider!" prompt exclamations of "OMG! You're pregnant!"

I've tried explaining that I don't plan on having kids anytime soon. But my protestations of debt, long-distance/not-interested-in-having-kids boyfriend, serious health risks (like death), or you know, the fact that I don't feel like it right now, are, for the most part met with a quick blink and: "But you're the perfect age to start having babies!"

Ohhhhh. The perfect age, well, when you put it that way...No.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Luckiest Person Alive

When I was little, one of my favourite books was The Lucky Old Woman by Robin Muller. It was a beautifully illustrated story about a hardworking peasant and the meanspirited and magical "Grumpleteaser" who amuses himself by trying to torment her.

One day on her way home from work she finds a pot of gold and thinks her monetary woes are over. However, as she drags the thing home in her apron or whatever, the grumpleteaser transforms it into items of lesser and lesser value until eventually she's left dragging a rock. But the grumplejerk's attempts to systematically break her spirit fail, as every time she looks back to see the gold, turned to copper etc., she comes up with some reason why it's actually better than what she had before and continues merrily on her way. "'Moon and stars,' she cried. 'I must be the luckiest person alive!'"

Eventually he gets so fed up with her chipper attitude that he just goes ahead and smashes all the stuff in her little cottage (a little over the top if you ask me). So she finally cries and he feels bad and gives her cottage an extreme makeover and they have tea by the fire.

I'm not really sure if the moral of the story was supposed to be something about how grumpleteasers sometimes need tea and sympathy too, but what stuck with me was the way the woman in the story just adapted to whatever was thrown her way with good humour and grace.

I've spent the past month talking myself out of then in to then out of and now back into staying on as the reporter here all while having very little control of the situation, and it's been exhausting. But if I've learned anything from that lucky old woman, it's that no matter what situation you find yourself in, (with a few exceptions, ie, having your cottage wrecked by a gremlin with anger management problems) there are always advantages. Looking for them can be exhausting as well, but it's worth it, and it's necessary.

Last weekend I got to see at least 5 of my favourite people, one of whom was the ballerina I've mentioned before. She recently had a bad fall and had just had surgery on her elbow to repair several fractures when we met up on Sunday. Despite the fact that she must be crushed to be missing out on the final dance showcase of her University career, we laughed our heads off just as much as we always do. Granted, she was on some serious pain medication, but still. I have to figure, as long as we can find something to laugh at, we've got to be all right.

"Moon and Stars!" indeed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

I am off to the city for a long-weekend with at least 40% of the people I love most! I know the blog has been a little lacklustre of late, but I promise to have some cheerier things to share when I get back!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Comedy and Tragedy

After weeks of trying to calm myself down and convince myself that it was a good thing that I'm about to be forced to search for a new job and home with a bank balance leaning frighteninly into the negatives, today I found out that I will not have to leave so soon after all. It's always such a weird feeling when you've worked hard to accept a reality, only to have it pulled out from under you like a magic tablecloth. So dear blog friends, it looks like you will be able to continue vicariously living small-town reporter life through yours truly for a little while longer. So that's the funny.

Unfortunately, the only reason I know this is because one of my co-workers wanted to cheer me up. Last night I found out that a girl I went to high school with was killed in a hit and run. She and her boyfriend had just been out for dinner where he apparently proposed to her and they were walking home when they were struck by a drunk 18 year old driving an SUV.

She wasn't one of my best friends, and I don't think I had seen or talked to her since high school, where she was a couple of years ahead of me. But we were in a couple of plays together, and hung out with the same crowd. And I remember when I'd talk in this annoying gremlin voice I used to do all the time, she'd laugh and talk to me in her own gremlin voice. She was sweet and stylish and kind of weird and i liked her.

I read that she was hoping to be a social worker and called herself a femininja. Her fiance was a doctor. Now, instead of planning a wedding, their families are planning two funerals. I guess I don't need to point out the tragedy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh the places I'll go...for a story

So this morning I was assigned to cover a- drumroll please- curling championship (ta-daa!) in a nearby town that makes where I live now look like a bustling metropoilis. After getting directions to the curling club from some woman who happened to be standing at the counter in the office, I set out to get it over with... I the best curling reporter I can be?

Now, you'd think, in a former air base with a population of approximately 100 people, I'd be able to find the lone curling club in the area without too much trouble. And that might have been the case if not for the ridiculous amount of fog bear-hugging the entire area or the fact that the streets seem to have been designed by Dr. Seuss.

Anyway, when I finally found the actual building, after mistaking a large row of trees in the fog for it, the championship was cancelled. Presumeably due to fog, but I'd kind of like to think it was cancelled due to no one being able to find the place.

On my way out of that one-ghost town, I couldn't resist snapping a couple of photos. You know, in case I need to think of a location for my next horror movie. Perfect, yes?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Town Hall-iday

Tonight was quite possibly the last council meeting I will get (have) to cover here. It's amazing that it was only a year ago that I first walked into the pretty town hall with my notebook, a bundle of nerves and no idea what I was getting myself into. I walked out at the end, thoroughly bewildered and irritated that not one of my college classes was a crash course in agriculture or small-town politics.

I remember telling my mom, " I SWEAR I'm a fairly bright person, but I just spent three hours with the words 'What? Wait what? with the....who???' playing on repeat/shuffle in my head." I was pretty sure I'd never be able to comprehend anything that was said in those chambers.

As months passed, I learned what to listen for so that I didn't feel I had to frantically scribble every word that was said. I learned that the advantage of small-town councilors is that they're in the phone book and that the phrase "No seriously, explain it to my like I'm 5." can be most helpful.

I made mistakes. And while slightly worse than making mistakes in many other professions, due to the public humiliation and permanent record factor, none of them killed me (or anyone else -seriously, how often do doctors have heart attacks?)

I learned to relax. A lot. I learned to turn the most mundane topics into something that people might find interesting to read. Really bored people, but still.

I also learned which animals I think each of the council members most resemble and I learned that the most inconspicuous thing to sketch in great detail (if not the least bit of accuracy) during a council meeting is my own hand. I learned to hide a gigglefit when meetings were interrupted by, say, rooster-crow ringtones.

While I wouldn't say my council coverage has become the stuff of brilliant journalism, I'm proud to say that I've certainly learned a lot from it. I might only have about a thimbleful of collected knowledge in the grand scheme of things, but it's a thimbleful more than I had a year ago and that's something to be proud of.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Racerback beetle

You know those bras with the little hooks on the straps that let you convert them into a racerback? (guys just nod along sagely).

Well I was lying on the floor in my apartment, you know, just trying to get some perspective on things, (and maybe some kind of do-it-yourself chiropractic adjustment) when my fancypants convertible bra pulled yet another showstopping trick out of its ...sleeve?

While I was lolling around on my back, those helpful little hooks snuck out from behind my tank top and hooked themselves neatly into my carpet.

If you ever find yourself in a bit of a funk (like the one I've been in lately) I highly recommend getting pinned to the floor by your own undergarments. Because let me tell you, if struggling like a bewildered beetle to get up from such a ridiculous trap doesn't crack you up, I just don't know what will.