MONOLOGUE

“When someone makes a claim of oppression,” I said, pushing the keyboard away and standing up with a stretch, “they typically cast some vast blanket over a complex issue in order to simplify it. Issues of inequality, discrimination, or power imbalance complaints are common in this.

“The trouble arises when such claims are looked at for longer than it takes to scroll through your social network feed or wherever you’re exposed to such information. For one thing, the person or persons making such statements need to be brought into question. Are they, in fact, an expert who can make factual statements, having absorbed all relevant, current, and true data related to their claim? Or are they just repeating what someone else has said or written? And if so can that source be verified?

“What’s usually happening when someone cries ‘this group is being taken advantage of’ is that they’re saying that they themselves are being taken advantage of. People who’ve been mistreated tend to see only mistreatment around them, even when potentially none exists.

“We must be absolutely critical in our thinking when facing such claims, lest they alter our perception of the world and lead us down paths of little to no benefit. There is no sense in fighting imaginary wars, for they are just as costly yet yield no eventual victory. One can only die waving a banner to a cause that wasn’t there.”

THE SOUND OF FALLING

That sound that dominoes make as they tumble over in well-ordered rows? That’s the sound a life makes as it runs out. An analogue to the grains of sand squeezing their way through the neck of an hourglass, so too the picoseconds of life flee with an incessant click-clack of a falling tile knocking asunder the next in line.

PREPARED FOUNDATION

It was raining. This was the Vancouver morning I’d been waiting for for nearly 5 years, wet and dark and cold.

It was perfect.

I sat in a small café near my new apartment, surfing the Internet and plugging away at minor creative endeavours. I could feel the engine of my creativity re-igniting, cycling up as it usually did around this time of year. It was fall, October 20, 2008. It was Monday, the day of my orientation into Vancouver Film School for a year of Foundation Arts. I was ready.

I’d gotten up at five, two hours earlier, and done my routine. Those days it consisted of an hour’s worth of Ashtanga yoga. I’d put a couple of cups of brown rice on to cook and lit a candle, and immersed myself in the golden and nutty scent of the boiling rice as it mingled with the tart apple of the burning candle, and the sharp cut of my own clean sweat.

Each morning I was taking the time I needed to feel alive. This particular morning I’d taken it nice and slow, allowing my body the space and freedom it needed to release all the stress and tension I’d been carrying up to that point.

After the yoga I’d taken a leisurely towel-bath, massaging Doctor Bronner’s Magic Peppermint Soap into every pore of my body. This not only conserved water but also gave me an extra fifteen minutes of relaxation, and more time to get in touch with where I was at at that point in time.

I’d then swallowed half a serving of protein powder mixed with cool water, and brushed my teeth with aniseed paste.

I’d dressed, choosing from the limited selection of clothing I’d managed to bring over from Japan. Cargo pants, a loose t-shirt, a heavy hooded pullover, the winter hooded jacket, and a pair of heavy boots, all blacks and deep navy blues.

I’d put an old rubber tension ball into my pocket, along with my keys and wallet, armed the portable music player, and stepped out the door.

It had been raining, and I’d turned my face up into the dark pre-dawn sky and let the drops fall on me. Taking a deep breath, I’d turned and headed up the dim rain-slicked street to the café.

And there I sat, at a table near the window, watching the traffic, the weather, the people, and the screen. Feeling my anxiety ebb and flow through my nervous system, and not buying into it. Letting those emotions run their course.

I was ready.