PIECE of CAKE

30/12/2016

Every immigrant has a different tale to tell about relocation to another country, especially in today’s global climate of dramas. My disclosure is of a different time and diaspora, which has had its changes since my entry.

 

In coming to this new country, much was unexpected but accepted as with all goings on in my life. I was 13 years when I emigrated from a tropical isle to the Autumnal realm of Ontario, Canada, arriving after an 8 hour flight with a younger sibling to rendezvous with our parental unit with whom we had no experience in 5 years. Suffice to say, our reunion went well and I’ll skip ahead to what this portion of my tale concerns.

 

Winter was on the horizon, something about which we had no concept in the North American sense, and so clothing preparations had to be made.We were introduced to the immigrants shopping-friend, Honest Ed’s. The place where most, if not all, new Torontonians would acquire affordable gear of all sort. We received as much as our monies, I ought to clarify and say all our mother’s money, could acquire! All but a pair of winter boots for yours truly.

 

Having just arrived under uncertain conditions, there were a few unknowns under which I was functioning , the least of which had to do with parenting and its import. I was to play catch up for quite a few decades, especially since no on head a clue as to what I was and/or was unaware but a quick study I had to be. If I was to survive and progress as expected in spite of deficits unaware and not understood.

 

After 3 months in, I was informed I was to get an after-school job, although it was never made clear money was tight and, being the elder male child, it was incumbent upon me to pull whatever weight I was assigned. I also needed winter boots and this would be my contribution to its acquisition. One day upon coming home from school in grade 8, I was instructed to find my way to a particular corner drug-store where a job would be waiting.

 

I did as instructed, and reported to the man behind the counter by name. Not much was exchanged between us, save that my duties were to deliver prescription drugs after the order was filled. I was to do these deliveries by bicycle, even in the snow which had fallen over the pas few days. I was also wearing my mother’s winter boots, as I had none, and they were a mite tight!

 

Off I went, guided by directions I was given from the drug store owner. Suffice to say, being unclear as to N – S – E – W of the city, as well as being unfamiliar with the names of the streets, I became lost in short order. Much of my time was spend in the payphone on street corners to verify directions and my location.

 

The cold, the snow, the ill-fitting boots and getting lost made me unfit for duty, and I was summarily fired. An opportunity gone by the wayside due to being underprepared, yet no one seem to grasp the process by which I was operating. The inhabitants of where I resided had other issues on their minds. I was to adapt as best I could and keep up so as not to fall behind.

 

Next day, I reported for school to keep pace and graduate for what awaited the following year. I just had to survive the current school year and its lessons over the Winter through Spring and into Summer. Piece of cake!

 

8. Gunboat Beach c.'61

Another Turning Point

Christmas P A S T

20/12/2016

Do you have a memory of a bitter-sweet occurrence that made remembering what came before unimportant? Relate, but do not compare, yours to this little story.

 

Once upon a time there was a thought-free wandering 11yr old. One day, returning from one of his lengthy meanderings around town, he turns the corner of the street on which he lived and headed up the long road to the house where he lived. His destination was a boarding house in which he had lived for the past year with his younger sister. Living there he was accustomed to his unquestioned comings and goings, this being the third location in the four years of their mother’s departure in the care of a guardian. It was simply he and his younger sister, by twenty-and-two months, among a household of other ‘boarded’ children. At the end of each school year/term, all the boarded children returned to their parents; however, he and his sister, were to call the boarding house their home until their mother returned from an unknown foreign land. Their absent mother slowly began to slip from his memory, his mind sliding slowly into vagueness.

 

It was just the two of them in a predominantly matriarchal setting. The boarding house was commandeered by a school teacher and her mother. The mainstay were women of varying ages, ranging from teens to early adulthood. This left him out of the loop when it came to male directed activities. Simply, he was on his own. At varying junctures there were other boys added, but only one his age among them, and usually picked on by the older boys. He was either ignored, or mercilessly teased/pranked for being unaware of the predilection of the other younger boy. On one occasion, he was included in a night adventure resulting in him receiving corporal punishment for going along with the older boys. They somehow escaped this punishment.

 

On this return occasion, daytime, he may have been returning from the school he had earned a scholarship to attend. Fortunately, it was walking distance from where he lived. As he rounded the corner and began the long walk up the road, he spied a figure on a motorcycle coasting silently towards him. Its sound came only from collections of stones separated as it tires carved its path towards him. The stealth mode, a gas saving practice, was commonly used.

 

The figure astride the motorcycle was recognized as he approached the young boy, who was pleasantly surprised! He had seldom seen his father during the four years since his mother’s departure. He may have visited but, as it was this boy’s practice to wander off whenever possible, it was conceivable that his younger sister was the beneficiary of his other timely visits. But this was his lucky day! He was beginning to feel that unfamiliar elation that accompanied excitement.

 

The approaching motorcycle slowed, and stopped. His father’s familiar speech pattern on this occasion began a no-nonsense discourse. His words bullet-like. “I see you have not been keeping up with your school work, as your marks are unsatisfactory.” He may have said something else, but the boy didn’t recall what, except what followed piercing his opened heart. “You will not be getting a Christmas present this year. Make sure you improve your grades from now on.”

 

That said, he started his Triumph Bonneville motorcycle and rode off toward the main road.

 

The young boy, wounded and stunned, watched his father ride off into the downing sun. He turned, faced the direction in which he was headed and collected what remained of his fading sensibilities. Holding back the tears so as not to raise questions upon entering the boarding house, he opened the gate and walked along the path towards another of many evenings. No one but he knew this would be a very different Christmas; no words were exchanged during the festive times save the customary greeting of, ‘Merry Christmas!’

 

Later, he learned his father had visited with news of he and his sister’s relocation to their grandparents home, which will be their fourth home in the five years of their mother’s study quest abroad. No worries, this was simply one Christmas P a s t!

 

1-paganchristian-overlay

About Trust

07/12/2016

I had written this to describe a segment in Time/Space which was of no consequence to anyone save those involved, the players in this drama as you might say, or so I thought.

 

When I was young, very much like you, I took everything to heart trusting there was no falsehood. In fact, falsehood didn’t as yet exist because speaking of things as they are was all that I knew. Somewhere along the way I learned that everything I was told was not altogether as they are/were. Still, being unsocialized I kept to myself, most of the time, with temporary forays in the company of family relations and friendlies. I was one who most often kept his own company, with regular forays into Nature where I learned to internalize/reflect about goings on. Observing in favour of speaking was my way of growth.

 

I fell into a scenario that nurtured this behaviour throughout my formative years and into adolescence. Of course, things got complicated as I grew into adolescence due to filial and economic conditions. Nearing adulthood I ventured to spread my wings into society in spite of the shortcomings of the social order not being favourable. It was this decision that put me in harms way and I learned in no uncertain terms, as my mother once said to me, “People didn’t go to the same Sunday School as you”. This was her answer to a question about being assaulted by people I’d considered friends. I took to learning how-to-defend myself, which had dramas of its own.

 

Throughout this process of learning I gained a focus and direction, unplanned and unexpected. I fell into the vocation of education about which I was told nearing graduation. I applied and was accepted into Teachers College. It liked me, and in turn I liked it; until, as all things are a process, it appeared inhospitable after a time. As in all things, there are changes to human progress over Time. There is a downside to progress where momentum increases and all thought of caution is overridden in favour of the principle of risk-for-gain. Eventually, thoughtless errors surface and scapegoats instead of responsibility are sought claiming accountability as the reason.

 

I got caught up in the hype as my undiagnosed issues (ADHD-Asthma-Dyslexia-etc.), aided by other development oversights, as are the failings of many others. Due to my natural conditionings to observe, I was able to formulate coping-strategies which carried me throughout my early education years. It was a rough ride, especially living through the changing social conditions of the sixties/seventies. I made it through somehow, and was to operate on the suggestion of giving Teaching a try. This was a matter of timing, where the conditions of right time – right place – skill set to match coincided.

 

Over time, through those career years, conditions changed and I was unable/unwilling to go with the flow of the things I deemed unfavourable in support of acceptable human interaction. Self-Interest took centre stage in society at large, while I still operated under the premise of collaboration, co-operation towards harmonious co-existence. Through it all I forgot to include myself in the milieu of goings on, giving over my personal care and accommodated the desires/requests of others I interpreted as mutually beneficial. Fact, the mutual benefits were not equitable, in fact they weighed on the side of others which I accepted as fair, not realizing the growing distress to my psyche.

 

The result is where I am today, addressing multi-dimensional exhaustion while coping with Life in all its vicissitudes accompanied by ongoing expectations of a smile.

 

21. Ocean World DR '12

G L O S S Y

01/12/2016

What do you mean when you speak of ‘being in control’? Have you ever deciphered your intention each time you use that term?

Normally, when people speak of ‘control’ they are in fact speaking of ‘dominating’ given situations and, that being the interpretation, their statement may not be accurate. We may have dominance over goings on, but where is the ‘control’ that is meant? On what do we have control? This is where our behaviour may be at cross-purposes, in light of the losses we are moving to improve in our life-passage. Dominance of conditions and circumstances is varied, control is another act altogether.
Looking back along Life’s road I’ve noticed numerous occasions that could have been opportunities, relegated to not-too-simple learning experiences contributing to the unexpected career path in which I found myself for over two-decades. Added to this career path were females carrying me through phases that ushered me along the way my life flowed. Their number is substantial, weaving throughout my life and occupations. Some were engaging on more that one level; but, all in all, they were encounters biased in mutual ignorance. Not for the want of trying, but for the cause of misplaced Romanticism in our unrecognized biased worlds.

Not being told the realities, the true meaning of stereotyping and social dynamics relating to ethnicity/nationality/race, class/status and gender conditioning, we behaved reflexively believing we knew what we were truly doing.

Speaking for myself, I felt I was dropped unprepared into a soft milieu, left to sink or swim, or simply roll around so as not to smother myself. It is a wonder I survived as I did, and am, albeit alone without prospects, and uncertain about having and/or desiring any.

There is a list of noted situations where my life could have had a different outcome, notably more fortuitous upon realizing what was not in place or operational, and what was kept from me by those nearby for whatever reasonings. Analysis showed, often their reasons included envy and/or jealousy from ill-conceived perceptions, biases resulting from imaginings void of communication, dialogue and/or discussion. One aspect where I am led to take blame, if not share, is an unusual related aspect of appearance claimed I projected. Somewhat like Hollywood movie stars many love-to-hate for being famous. I have no fame of which I am aware, but I have been told I project a ‘presence’ which can be off-putting and/or intimidating. Arrogance, if one’s unfamiliar with my persona, and many even afterwards, twisting their knowledge to suit some disaffected imagining.

 

One experience I can cite occurred upon resuming my university education, after the designated one-year ruling for unsuccessfully completing my probationary first year. I extended it to two-years for a myriad of reasons, not the least being a lack-of-funding. I was solely responsible for my post-secondary studies, which was a process in itself. This was almost stifled at the onset of my second year, another story not altogether dissimilar to what I’m about to relate. However, this particular incident involved a fellow student who had a sibling working in the acting/modelling world.

In her perceptive eyes it appeared I had-a-look that was worth the Molly Petty Agency’s once over, and she recommended an appointment with her sister, an agent there, that they may decide if her observations of me as a prospect was indeed accurate.

This was to be my career path in the Fashion and Television industry, in 1972 Toronto. Oh, this is where I inform you that ‘the look’ was a combined appearance of the boxer Joe Lewis and the actor Sydney Poitier; and, being a winning martial artist with a height ranging six-feet one inch, I was an anomaly with potential. This potential was lost on me. Being in the industry and having many talents come and go, my ignorance did not occur to them.

Suffice to say, my appearance passed the muster and I was soon doing catalogue work, and the odd TV commercial. It was fast paced since my life involved school, martial arts training and competitions, as well as part-time employment wherever I was able to acquire them.

Fast-forward about two years amidst the flurry of activities about which I gave little thought, so long as I could pay-my-bills. It was then I was asked to sign with Constance Ford Agency in Chicago. This also meaning nothing to me and, being caught up in the discovery of my place in the bigotry/racism in Toronto, the antics of our neighbours to the south fine tuned my focus in securing my university education. Plus, without a mentor, or counsel to sort the social ramifications that time of life in Chicago, I declined their offer in favour of continuing on into third year university ever foregoing what might have been.

Being single-minded has its benefits, but so does the ability to make changes and accept opportunities that happens along. Yet, they are only opportunities if one has the wherewithal to perceive, along with the knowledge base, with which to grasp said opportunities. Along the Way, I acquired information on the import of that decision but, as usual, there was no going back. My pathway into other arenas beckoned according to my knowledge bias, and onward I went. Therein was my control.

I may appear self-destructive musing on losses of things past on which I had no control. A fact, or truism depending on your perspective. However, I contend control is fluid, not an end. More accurately, things could not have been otherwise. The world might have been a different place, and I might have been better or worse off than I am, where I am. Nevertheless, I am still dealing with biased perceptions and beliefs of others. At least, I am now aware of their existence/import, and to what degree I am to slalom them in this Life.

Control

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