Friday, February 22, 2008


Today I spent a train-ride visiting with a lovely elderly woman. She was very well dressed and wore a sparkly clip in her coiffed hair. As we chatted, I couldn't help but notice the crop of three-inch curly hairs sprouting from her chin. It was as though I was staring into the grey-haired face of my future.

I myself grow pretty mean crop of random face hairs. And they seem to increase every year. I'm a bit self-conscious about these dark, wiry buggers and try to keep them plucked. However, I will occasionally be mortified to find a long straggler on my chin and wonder who has noticed it.

I once tried to make Kyle promise that if I was ever in a coma, he would keep on top of the plucking regime. But even after I threatened to haunt him to avenge my hairy death, he only agreed to do it once. After that first time, I would be on my own. That was when I tried to enlist my sister to the task.

This afternoon, as I spoke with the elderly woman on the train, I found her chin hairs refreshing. There's nothing more liberated than a woman whose face says "Screw it. I'm not modifying my body any more." I really do believe that hairiness is just part of being alive and human. I also believe women should be more comfortable and open with the natural processes of their bodies.

Nevertheless, it's much easier to promote these values when the tufts of liberation are declaring freedom on someone else's face.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Urban Outdoorsmen

Last night I celebrated Valentine's Day by going on a ride-along with two of my friends who are outreach workers for CUPS (Calgary Urban Projects Society). We drove around the inner-city looking for people who might need condoms, food, or clothes. It was a pretty slow night but I enjoyed learning more about what my friends do at CUPS and how they interact with people living on the streets.

A lot of the people have really fun nicknames. For example, there's "Survivor Man" who when asked how he is, always says "I'm surving!" and rants to the workers about how they don't have what it takes to "survive" on the street. Or my favourite, Caveman, who loved to talk about his role as a Caveman extra in a 1980s Darryl Hannah movie.

I was reminded last night of when I worked with homeless people in England. Before I left for England I needed a rain coat. Because I didn't have much money, I bought one of those bright yellow plastic rain-coats. In addition to being cheap, I thought it was cool in an ironic, fisherman kind of way. However, when I got to England, it was more ridiculous than cool and one homeless man called me Paddington. In addition to having a weird coat, I had neglected to bring a hat, mittens, or a scarf. I borrowed these from friends and ended up with a very "eclectic" outfit.

One night, I approached a group of young homeless people and struck up a conversation. My intent was to see if they needed any food or referral to local shelters. But before I could ask, they asked me where I was sleeping that night and welcomed me to stay with them at a nearby parking garage. I was humbled by their honest generosity and their willingness to help a stranger. It was much more generous than my offer of tuna sandwhiches and hot chocolate that I hadn't prepared or paid for. But even so, I was a little taken aback at being mistaken for a homeless person by homeless people.

Anyway, after last night I have lots of thoughts about homelessness, which I'm still mulling over.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hierarchy of Needs

Yesterday I spent much of my morning at the medical clinic at the UofC, getting some immunizations. I brought along an article with the intent of studying while I waited but ended up people watching the whole time.

At one point, a cute little first-year wandered in. She looked fairly ill with her hair swept up into a really messy pony tail and outfitted in her pajamas and a hoodie. She wasn't wearing shoes but cushy slippers, which led me to believe that she must have walked from rez to the clinic through the underground tunnels. However, what made me smile was when I noticed that despite not being well enough to put on shoes, sickly first-year had taken the time to apply eye make-up.

Background by Jennifer Furlotte / Pixels and IceCream