Post-pandemic tips

What a pleasure it is to have you visit my page! 

It's so nice you're here. I haven’t seen anyone in almost two years, so I wanted to take some time to write personally to you some tips for going out in a post-pandemic world:

1. Wear sunglasses and a hat. You can ditch the hat once you’ve had a proper haircut.

2. Wear light pants. If you are shorter like me, this will help you appear taller, giving the illusion of growth over the pandemic.

3. Keep your hands in your pockets at all times. This means you may have to eat and pee before you head out the door. Any seasoned road tripper knows this.

4. If you have to take your hands out of their pockets wash them; this will demonstrate significant personal growth thus leading to your maturity, success and overall happiness in life. 

Note: If you forget to wash your hands, the light pants will show your faults. Progress over perfectionism! 

How to type like a Royal

We common folk pretty well know what a typewriter is or was. More than a standard piece of office equipment, the typewriter was a portable tool for a modest writer like me.

It’s just about impossible to forget the sound of loud banging exuberant keys and the stinging metallic oakmoss smell of permanent black ink (which 20 years later is still stuck under my fingernails).

I remember carrying my pink 1957 Royal Typewriter daily to the Beaches. I would take Queen Elizabeth out of my Parkdale apartment down six flights of stairs onto the busy Toronto streets with cars splashing up the dusty midnight summer rain. Elizabeth and I would then cram onto the King East streetcar; She folded under my arm, me desperately clinging onto her and the rocking train, praying she wouldn’t drop on my foot or my Sally’s. 

Sally lived across the street from me and took the same 504 streetcar every morning. A once talkative, wide-eyed, curious person, Sally stopped talking to me after Elizabeth had crushed both her feet. I’ll admit, now knowing how to type like a Royal, I shouldn’t have tried to type and stand at the same time. It just makes for a dreadful commute. Typing like a Royal changed my life, but Sally still won’t hear it or accept my most profound apology. 

If you can get past her shrew-like stare, Sally is remarkably chic. She is dignified, carrying her space grey laptop and a clear sustainable silicone lunch bag stuffed with avocado toast. Like most good citizens, Sally is part of an assembly line of quiet typers, efficiently erasing and editing their work as they go without once stopping to think about what they should name their trusty friend or even if the misspelling of words like Google was indeed intentional. On the other hand, Elizabeth and I have significantly thought about this and our mistakes, including feeding a baloney sandwich between her silverplate and platen. I maybe should have tried putting it in backwards like my branded letterhead, but I am sure the results would have been similar: weeks spent cleaning out the keys and brushing off the excess butter.

Lizzy (as she sometimes likes to be called) and I have been through almost everything together; although mostly rejection, we have had a few small victories. 

Elizabeth came into my life at my lowest point. I had lost my job at the newspaper and was contemplating floating down the Don River out to Lake Ontario when I saw inside the window of Royal Type a proud, polished pink Royal De Luxe. She was adorned with black and red ribbon—her white keys standing, waiting at attention. I took out all my remaining bills in my pocket, including my severance cheque, and laid it out on the counter.

“I’ll take the Pink Royal De Luxe Manual Quiet Typewriter, please.”

“Are you prepared to purchase the Royal agreement as well?” The sales clerk pointed out.

“The Royal agreement?” I asked.

“Yes, to purchase this typewriter, you must sign the Royal agreement and take typing instruction from the Queen.”

The sales clerk presented a lengthy, typed agreement. The Queen of England demanded that if one was to purchase the Pink Royal De Luxe Manual Quiet Typewriter, her former trusty secretary, there would be specific regal rules to follow. The Royal typewriter also came with a lifetime guarantee that your life would be forever changed by it and the instruction. 

Having rolled up the bottom of my pants moments before in preparation for a point of no return walk out into the river, I signed the 600-page Royal document and commenced my lessons.

Royal Typing

First, we must always demonstrate proper posture. Sit with your back straight, unsupported. Never use the back of a chair for support. The head, neck, and back should all be in a vertical line. Relax your shoulders, hands together, left on the right, thumbs pressed, touching gently. Eyes should be focussed and intentional, yet soft. Lift your chin slightly but not too high as you don’t wish for people to think you are snobbish. Then take a deep breath from the diaphragm. The idea is to lower your center of gravity. Your ribcage now should be aligned in the middle and feet flat on the ground. 

Once proper posture has been achieved, you are able to think and express yourself more clearly. Please and thank you are words that never go out of fashion, as well as words that align with compliments and praise.

If someone distracts you in your typing endeavours, engage in light conversation. Suggestions include the weather, good books, travel and dogs. Always be graceful with your time and incorporate more words into your vocabulary as you converse or type. Never should the two be done simultaneously. Talking while you are working or to yourself is not Royal behaviour. 

When the conversation has naturally ended, return to typing. Keep your hands perched even when paused to think. This will show others you are immersed in your work and are mindfully connected to your surroundings and the present.

Continue until you have completed at least 100 consecutive pages. Only then, you are worthy and able to type like a Royal. It takes time and patience, much like a good cup of tea. 

Some additional considerations:

If a mistake is made on the page, do not correct it with correction fluid or an x. The offensive typo must be corrected when the page is completed and ready to be edited. A Royal typist always proceeds forward. Your feet (if pointed correctly forward) will remind you of this. 

Again, I’m sorry Sally.

Extraterrestrial Mooning

Extraterrestrial Mooning

I never liked going to the hospital. In fact, I haven't been inside a hospital in over ten years, but somehow today, I woke up on an operating table blinded by bright surgical lights. Pulling off a white sheet, I noticed I was dressed in a purple hospital gown. Not my favourite colour, but this was the least of my worries as when I lept off the table, I could feel cold air hit my bare bum. Determined to cover up my flapping behind, I looked for a large safety pin or even my cozy flannel pyjamas. 

The last thing I remember was drifting off to sleep. It was a stormy winter night, so I went to bed early with a cup of herbal camomile tea, and somehow I ended up in this peculiar hospital. Peculiar because there was no way I could afford a room this spacious being unemployed and without healthcare but also because slime started to seep through the bottom of the large white steel door. 

I grabbed a bucket and stood my ground as a shape began to take form. I watched as the slime built up, imitating me and then split into two. Waving and gurgling, four eyeballs popped, looked at each other, then back at me. “Umm, have you seen my pyjamas?” I asked. The purple blobs shook, laughing, and one burped. A tiny piece of red and black flannel floated out from its mouth and landed softly on my big right toe. I carefully bent down and felt the softness of my beloved pyjamas. Memories of home came over me. What I would give to be still sleeping in my comfortable bed and finishing my total eight hours of sleep! 

Seeing, these two had nothing to offer but the destruction of my only belonging; I committed this would be war. In hindsight, the lack of coffee could have influenced my decision, but I no longer cared. I took the purple bucket, threw it on my head and turned around, opening the flap of my gown and exposing my buttocks as a sign of great disrespect. Flabbergasted, the slime splashed to the ground. It moved like water flowing downstream, looking for a waterfall. I used the opportunity to burst out of this twisted operating room and into an empty hallway. 

I looked left and right. A neon sign flashed EXIT on one end, and the on the opposite there was running man. Perhaps it was the washroom? Did I need to go now? I shook my head. Stay focussed. I ran down to the exit and saw a modest spaceship with keys still inside. The seat was cold as I sat down. Behind the visor, I noticed a map. To Earth, it said. After setting the coordinates, I lifted myself ever so slightly and slipped the map padding my chair. That’s better, but maybe I should have gone to the washroom first? Four hours to Earth and no bladder to spare. 

The Thug of Tumbleweed

shutterstock/ creative cloud express
The Thug of Tumbleweed 

The tumbleweed blows by the front of the saloon door. 
I gaze back at my past and for a moment hesitate to push time to the future.

Behind these doors, I know there exists a world where women are laughing, flirting, and men are eager to entertain.

I burst through, and the Thug, weathered by the sun, looks up from under the wide brim of his black cowboy hat.

“Do you belong here, miss?” he said with a curious lifted brow and one hand on his gun.

“Oh yes,” I said with great certainty and blew off his head.

Chicken and Cat

Mamma said today would be the day I could learn to fly! 
So, I flapped my wings and jumped out of the nest, landing in front of a big fat feral orange cat. Its giant green eyes, closing in on me. Simultaneously, my eyes cross at the edge of my beak, and I pass out. 

It’s dark now, and that fat cat is still here. 
He paws; I play dead. He licks my forehead. My eyes pulled open wide. 

“There you are,” the cat says “could you teach me how to fly?"