Writing about writing.

Grieving is draining. I’ve been trying assorted distractions, mostly from the comfort of my camping chair. On Sunday night, I started on a new episode of Season 8 of Wentworth before deciding that it was too intense, so I switched to Avatar: The Last Airbender. When I couldn’t focus on the storyline, despite it being aimed at preteens, I switched to some garbage videos on YouTube. When that didn’t do the trick, I went to bed. It wasn’t even 10 pm.

Before I continue this post, I want to thank those who checked in with me after reading my last post. It made me feel supported. For future reference, I can also be reached at squaremeat at gmail or lkvy at hotmail. Yes, I can be trusted to transfer large amounts of money into an overseas bank account.

So, I still compose personal emails because I’m old fashioned. Last night, I took it a step further by breaking out the stationery and gel pens:

Sheets of stationery paper with "Hello old pal... old pen pal..." written in purple ink. The text printed on the stationery reads: Purple tears. The jewel of the shape of tears shines very much."

I love writing letters, especially on stationery purchased from Asian dollar stores. (My favourite store the one in the International Village Mall by the Main Street Skytrain station in Vancouver.) Letter writing is the only time when my ordinarily shoddy penmanship gets dressed to impress.

This old-timey activity turned out to be the distraction I needed. Eight pages later, I mailed the letter to András, somebody I consider a close friend even though we hardly text one another. We met twelve years ago when I worked at a call center in Vancouver, which was located above the retail outlet it supported. My job was to process returns on items ordered through the store’s website. The warranty and returns team and I would fill a bin and a rolling rack with returned items to then take down to the store. When we did this, we had to add signage to the items so that the store staff would know where the stock came from. This involved writing on a small square of cardboard, looping a rubber band through the top after reaming a hole in there, and then hanging the sign off the rack.

I saw this as an outlet for creativity, a respite from my otherwise mundane duty of refunding customers for unwanted merchandise. It wasn’t long before my handmade signs graduated from bubble lettering to doodles. After a few weeks of adopting a practice that was probably not the best use of company time, one of the store staff confronted me: “Are you the one who’s been making those signs?”

“Yes.”

He took me to the back room and showed me a collection of my cardboard art hanging off one of the fixed clothes racks. The back stock team had been saving them! I had inadvertently instigated a friendship, which is not easy to do as an adult. In András, I gained a hiking buddy, a Scrabble opponent, and a friend who enjoyed composing personal emails. When I moved away, how we kept in touch regressed to handwritten letters. It helps that András doesn’t like texting and prefers an offline update of my life.

Perhaps I should create a Patreon account and lend my epistolary mastery as a perk to cover the increase in my cost of living expenses caused by daring to be single and roommate-free in Victoria. The top tier perk could be photos of my feet. Random commenters on Flickr have led me to believe that some people really want to see my feet.

Here’s a real comment I got on Flickr years ago that I couldn’t bring myself to delete because it made me laugh:

“Hey there,well thought I’d mention that you’re not fat at all.You have some classic pics online,very cool.I saw you mentioned on another site that you had “veiny” feet too.Was curious to know if you have a pic of your feet or if you are able to take one.Am keen to see the vascularity.I don’t think they would be as veiny as mine but I am intrigued!hopefully hear from you soon.have a good one..cheers!!”

Some bozo on Flickr

As the letter will likely reach András around his birthday on the 28th, I kept it light. I did not mention my oma’s passing or even write about getting my upper front teeth whittled down into nubbins.

I mentioned, though, my bitter defeat in the gingerbread competition. The Cliffs of Insanity was too exciting for the masses to handle. All the winners’ creations were mostly fondant, AND I AM SALTY ABOUT IT. For the next competition, I’m going to submit a fondant model of… MY FEET. With licorice lace veins.

So, yeah, what’s left of my upper front teeth are sheathed by an acrylic, more uniform reproduction of my former teeth. They’re surprisingly realistic in appearance but feel far from real. In 2012, I had invisible braces for about six months: the sensation is the same, except I cannot snap the plastic off when I need to eat. I was concerned about having to adopt a soup-centric diet for January. Fortunately, I can still chew with my molars.

Biting into food is a no-go. I have to eat a banana by cutting it into discs and eating them with a fork. Tammy tells me this is probably how Gwyneth Paltrow eats bananas. According to Tammy, Gwyneth keeps her trim figure by putting down her utensils every time she chews her food, which would drive me mad. Let it be known that Tammy has a wealth of knowledge on celebrities and their quirks. Because of Tammy, I think about Mary Kate Olsen every time I eat cashews or pose for a photo.

Since I cannot hang out with her or András, or any of my other oddball friends, I’ve assigned the plushy formerly known as Pruce Warker to supervise my evening tokes under the carport.

A shadow holding a joint blows smoke out as a Spiderman plushy leans against the supports of a carport.
Aw, Pruce, I don’t feel so lonely anymore.

Who wouldn’t want me as a pen pal?

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