Ridiculous Debates and Second Hand Underpants

I’m currently preparing to leave Quebec, which means only one thing; it’s time to put all of my possessions into a suitcase that seems to shrink in size with each passing second. Packing also leads to one of my most loathed activities; lifting objects. My deep seated hatred of carrying anything heavier than a bag of marshmallows leads to bizarre thoughts because I will go to any lengths to lighten my load.

Around the time that my suitcase was half full, I started to question the utility of garments like underwear and whether I could justify donating them to Goodwill.

Underpants are like cars right? They’re better value when they’re used. (Photo Credit : copyblogger.com)

Underpants are like cars right? They’re better value when they’re used. (Photo Credit : copyblogger.com)

Or whether I actually needed hygienic items like my toothbrush. After all, I only use it twice a day- are clean teeth truly necessary? Bulky or oddly shaped objects were subject to the most scrutiny. Staring at my hairbrush, I weighed the utility of looking like a swamp monster against the additional room and decreased weight of my luggage.

So worth not carrying a hairbrush. (Photo Credit :sodahead.com)

So worth not carrying a hairbrush. (Photo Credit :sodahead.com)

When my suitcase was almost full, I contemplated becoming a fully-fledged hippie and going braless, however I figured this freewheeling lifestyle might not go over well at my work, thus the horror that is brassiere shopping to replace said bras won out over the reduced weight and bulk of getting rid of them.

As I laid across my suitcase, willing my body to be larger and thus able to make the zipper close, I had a long debate with myself over whether I actually needed my sweater and coat. Who needs body warmth when you can happily wheel a light suitcase through a train station? I also came |thisclose| to leaving my second pair of shoes at the Salvation Army in the name of carrying less.

Even after I dropped off all of the books I brought with me at the local second hand store, my suitcase still weighed an ungodly amount.  Scouring my possessions for anything that I could be rid of, I spotted them; my shampoo and conditioner. What right do I have to call myself the Great Unwashed when I’m schlepping cleaning products back and forth between provinces? Into the recycling bin they went. With that final act, I realized I had chucked, donated and compressed everything that I could and for better or worse my elephant sized suitcase was packed.

My suitcases once I finished packing. (Photo Credit: trekearth.com)

My suitcases once I finished packing. (Photo Credit: trekearth.com)

Dear Rob Ford, Let’s Get Hitched

It’s important to keep your options open, which is why I routinely send written marriage proposals to any number of men that I’ve never met. In these letters I cite the reasons why holy matrimony is perfect for the two of us.

Dear Rob Ford,

Please marry me. I’m a minimalist hippie, hence I don’t buy items like fancy glass paperweights, and as a result whenever I open the windows on a blustery day, my documents fly everywhere. If you were my husband, I’d have you sit on these unruly stacks of paper, thus saving myself from redoing hours of filing. Based on how your weight loss challenge went, I’m assuming you don’t like to move much, so I feel this would be a match made in sedentary marital heaven.

In the event that you did want to move about, we could get you a wheelie desk that would double as a chair. I’m quite short so this lowered desk concept would work well for me when you aren’t sitting on it. This would also serve the dual purpose of allowing you to relive your glory days of elementary school gym.

I’ve enclosed a photo of a scooter board to give you an idea of how the desk cum scooter board cum chair would look.

The desk would be just like this, only a little higher, also larger obviously to accommodate my electricity and gas bills. You could lie on your stomach I suppose, sometimes I feel too lazy to sit up too. (Photo Credit: www.thinkingtoys.ie)

The desk would be just like this, only a little higher, also larger obviously to accommodate my electricity and gas bills. You could lie on your stomach I suppose, sometimes I feel too lazy to sit up too. (Photo Credit: http://www.thinkingtoys.ie)

Please write me back if you’re interested.  Just a heads up, I’m not willing to move to Toronto, so you would have to quit your job and move here. Based on what I’ve heard on the news, that might not be the worst thing in the world.

Much future love,

The Great Unwashed

The Summer of My Amazing Luck

I broke another bicycle. Well actually if we’re being specific I broke three bicycles. With the latest bike, the chain got caught in between the gears and the frame. This of course occurred at the most opportune moment; in the middle of the night in the pouring rain. After trying in vain to fix it and covering myself in bicycle grease up to the elbows, I concluded I needed help, or at the very least a Kleenex. So I walked home.

Or perhaps a paper towel. (Photo Credit: andreafrazetta.com)

Or perhaps a paper towel. (Photo Credit: andreafrazetta.com)

The next day, for the third time during the program, I diligently walked the bicycle back to the home of the man who rented it to me. Tragically the man wasn’t home, however his wife was, she was prepared to lend me my fourth bicycle in four weeks. But then another student with more skills than either of us, swooped in and saved the day. And off I rode. Ostensibly happily ever after into the sunset.

I looked exactly like this. Only I didn't have a horse, or cowboy boots and I don't own a lasso. And my bike made "SCCCCREEEEEE" noises every time I changed gears which marred the fairy tale vibe. (Photo Credit: iamtemp.tumblr.com)

I looked exactly like this. Only I didn’t have a horse, or cowboy boots, also I don’t own a lasso. And my bike made “SCCCCREEEEEE” noises every time I changed gears which marred the fairy tale vibe. (Photo Credit: iamtemp.tumblr.com)

Only not really, because I got a flat tire two days later. For the record this was my third flat tire. I’m not entirely sure what is causing this problem. I wish I could tell you I was performing derring-dos on my two wheelers

I take curb jumping to a new level. (Photo Credit: tumblr.com)

I take curb jumping to a new level. (Photo Credit: tumblr.com)

but the more likely explanation is that I’m a magnet for nails and other sharp objects. Once again I wheeled my bicycle back to the garage of the owners, this time expecting some sort of speech about proper treatment of bicycles. Fortunately they merely gave me yet another bicycle. As soon as I hopped on the new bicycle, the handle bars fell forward and nearly off.  Rushing towards me with a screwdriver in hand the bicycle lender said “I’ll just fix that for you”.

Of course, two hours later the handles were flopping about like a fish on the bottom of a boat while I peddled along. Given that I could still ride the bike, I decided to just live with the wiggly steering.

Goodbye Cruel World

Dear Readers,

I had great intentions of writing a post today however that idea, along with brushing my hair and drying my shoes which were soaked by the torrential rain yesterday, fell by the wayside. At eight pm, otherwise known as my Unwashed bedtime, I find myself in the library, taken prisoner by a merciless and punishing villain. Some call this creature a French essay, I prefer to call it by its true name “My Doom”.

*Any errors or random words from other languages found in this post can be attributed to the fact that I’m drunk, or possibly French, or maybe that’s the same thing. Regardless, this was written from under a table. The essay has vanquished me. I bid you all adieu.

The Reset Button

(Photo Credit lukeroland.com)

(Photo Credit lukeroland.com)

Most people ignore the button on the right. After all, it’s the “Power” button that turns the game on, and the one that shuts everything down when it’s finished. “Power” is what people use most often.

“Reset” is reserved for those desperate times, near the end of the game, when Mario has come so far but just can’t make it anymore; he’s losing lives because those angry flowers keep pelting him with fire. Worse still, the creatures that look like mushrooms grew legs are falling out of the sky and smushing the poor little plumber. (Full disclosure, it may have been twenty years since I last played any type of Nintendo game.) At those times the tally of points in the corner of the screen is so impressive that you could cry from the exertion of getting your video game character this far. But the flowers keep breathing their hot angry breath and suddenly fish start jumping out of nowhere. There are two options, you can push onward and eventually watch Mario’s little figure drop out of the screen, clutching his hat in distress, or you can end it on your terms, knowing that there will be a next time, another set of flying fish, more angry flowers, but in that game, both you and Mario will come out swinging, so you reach for the “Reset” button.

I pushed “Reset” today, the small switch that makes my life start over. It was nerve wracking, and briefly I wondered whether it was the right decision. But what one needs to remember is; you’re never truly starting over, all those skills and tricks that were learned the first time around, make the following attempts that much easier and faster. However in that moment, when you’ve given up everything that you’ve worked for, before the next game has begun, life can feel like a free fall. Occasionally in Nintendo, and the real world, there are times where nothing more can be gained from following a particular path, even if it is possible to move forward. In that terrifying and exhilarating psychological drop, it’s important to reach for the good things, as you push the button and let the bad road fall away.

We Need To Talk About Hygiene

Although I’ve long since passed my Unwashed glory days of bathing once every moon cycle, my daily routine still averages only half a shower. For the most part, this works well, any untoward odors can quickly be covered up by a statement about spotting a dead skunk in the vicinity, or passing the blame onto a slovenly coworker, preferably the one who sports a perpetual mustard stain on their shirt. However, in the summer, two days often stretches to three or four, until I’ve become a ripe dirt-squirrel.

This summer, out of deference to my hosts I’ve kept to my usual routine of showering once every two days. That is until yesterday. I had decided in advance that I would have a leisurely Unwashed style weekend; lots of cooking, quiet activities and of course no bathing. It was delightful, exquisite even, I luxuriated in my own grime. Then came the evening, and with it the moment of critical dirt mass.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of critical dirt mass, it is the point when it becomes just as easy to remain filthy as it is to bathe. Choosing to ignore this moment and remain in an unwashed state can lead to living in the forest, growing a beard and being mistaken for a sasquatch. In essence this dirty path is my life’s dream. If left to my own devices I’d likely be sporting a Duck Dynasty style beard and eating roasted mice in the wilds of Canada.

This man clearly has his priorities in order. (Photo Credit: sekvoice.com)

This man clearly has his priorities in order. (Photo Credit: sekvoice.com)

When I stay at with my parents my mother seems to be able to sense this moment, as well as my desire to remain in my disgusting, filthy state. The morning before the critical dirt mass, my mother will make statements like “Think about bathing today, Unwashed”, or “The shower has been reserved just for you”. As the critical dirt mass moment approaches and I begin holding up the cat at funny angles in front of my face to imagine what I’d look like with a beard, my mother gets serious. Standing outside the bathroom she will threaten to get out the hose if I don’t bathe. Sitting coated in grime yesterday evening, I realized that there was no one here to spray me with water for my own good.


Me at 8pm last night (Photo Credit: www.peanuts.com)

Me at 8pm last night (Photo Credit: http://www.peanuts.com)

At the beginning of the program, one of the directors made a speech about how the students were to make our beds, never be openly smashed in our hosts’ homes and that we were absolutely not allowed to have members of the opposite sex in our bedrooms. As much as I was delighting in my unwashed state, I didn’t want to be the reason why “You must adhere to a basic standard of hygiene” was added to the list of rules at the beginning of the program. Hence, I bathed. It wasn’t pretty, I didn’t enjoy it, but it had to be done.

I’m Supposed to Enjoy This

It always starts with me taking off my clothes. Normally I’m all for getting naked in public however the combination of sterile linens and neutral wallpaper reminds me of a doctor’s office, so at the back of my mind, I spend the whole time waiting for the speculum to appear.

Of course there’s the music, piping softly into the room. Clearly the person who mandated that the natural soundtrack be played at all times, was never woken up by birds. Sometimes I curse those chirping harbringers of the morning.

Then in walks a stranger. This is the part that consistently throws me for a loop, As children, we’re taught not to talk to people we don’t know, not to get into their cars, never to take any sort of foodstuffs from them, but then we become adults and suddenly it’s a clothes-off, pants-off, dance-off. Not really, I haven’t ever actually danced during one of these things. But you get the drift.

This is followed by pleasantries. As I am a hero of small talk, this regularly is a smashing success. And by success I mean, now not only am I uncomfortable but so is the masseuse. At some point the massage starts, and the real discomfort begins. Supposedly other people relax when they receive a massage, by contrast my mind lurches into action, trying to figure out why I’ve chosen to do this.

Questions start rolling through my head like; why is it acceptable for random people to knead my buttocks while Enya plays in the background? Or, I wonder if in another dimension Pink Floyd is played while people throw themselves against walls for enjoyment rather than having underpaid workers rub their bodies?

Don’t even ask what they do in the fifth dimension when they play the Rolling Stones during a massage. (Photo Credit: madebyolmlo.wordpress.com)

Don’t even ask what they do in the fifth dimension when they play the Rolling Stones during a massage. (Photo Credit: madebyolmlo.wordpress.com)

Or I contemplate whether the answer “I prefer no pressure at all, in fact you can probably stop now” is an acceptable response to the massage therapist’s question of “How’s the pressure?”

Once my brain has accepted the fact that another person will be touching me for an hour, I try to focus on enjoying the massage. My thoughts start to resemble a pep talk before a big football game. “Unwashed, you’ve trained hard, you hugged three people whom you felt ambivalent about last week, hence this massage will be a piece of cake. Three separate co-workers were convinced that you were normal yesterday. Unwashed, you are a pro at pretending to like normal activities like eating ice cream and paying strangers to touch you.”

This kind of thinking works for a while but after three or so body parts have been fondled by a person who would no doubt rather be baking or knitting or doing anything but touching my extremely tense limbs, I try and figure out the most subtle way that I can check the time. Since I’ve never been able to fake a sigh of enjoyment while at a spa, I tend to go for the fake violent sneeze rather than the sigh-head-turn combo. The sneeze trick also has the added benefit of unnerving the massage therapist into thinking that I’m potentially contagious, and perhaps they should end the massage early.

Afterwards of course I smile, thank the massage therapist nicely, and swear never to return. At least until the next time someone convinces me that I’m going to love getting a massage.

A Use For Small Talk Part Two: The Stalker Edition

A while ago, my mother gave me the number for her friend who is a contractor. Or at least she gave me a collection of numbers that if ordered properly would have been the contractor’s phone number. What followed was an awkward conversation with a stranger in which I talked about my desire to raise frogs in the rapidly growing puddle in my basement.

Because it’s not enough to randomly harass strangers with wrong number phone calls, I sent him the following texts after I wrote the post.

The Great Unwashed to Random Understanding Guy: Hi, I randomly called you earlier this week?

Random and Understanding Guy Who Isn’t A Contractor : Silence

The Great Unwashed : There shouldn’t have been a question mark there, I am certain that I called you; however I wasn’t sure whether you remembered me.

Random Guy : Still no texts

The Great Unwashed : Anyway I’m Unwashed. Online I’m known as The Great Unwashed.

Understanding Guy : No texts. Is obviously digesting the fact that I’m great because I imagine he thought I was the Crazy Unwashed.

The Great Unwashed : I just thought you should know you’re famous.

Wrong Number Guy : Crickets

The Great Unwashed : Well not famous like Kim Kardashian famous, more like, my friends and family including my great aunts know about you famous.

Random Guy : The silence continues. Probably I should have held off a while before introducing my family to a wrong number .

The Great Unwashed:  I featured you on my blog. Ok, not so much you as our conversation. Thanks for being so helpful by the way.

And because that wasn’t a long enough series of answered text messages, I sent this one off too.

The Great Unwashed : Oh! I almost forgot the link!  https://iamthegreatunwashed.com/2014/06/27/a-use-for-small-talk/