Friday, April 09, 2021

Twenty Six Things About Me


My former colleague Liam posted one of those Facebook surveys called "Brutal Honesty Hour": the idea is supposed to be that his friends give him a letter, and he comes back with a corresponding question for the friend to answer.  Incidentally, I don't like that phrase "brutal honesty". Honesty I live by: "brutal" is unnecessary. Okay, some of the questions looked juicy and new, so without further ado, here we go.

A Am I in love?

I can't see this without VIVIDLY recalling telling a friend I loved her (because I did and do), and she blanched and said, "wait, hold up, do you LOVE me or are you IN LOVE with me?" in a tone of voice that suggested there was only one possible answer. Which I gave, truthfully. But at the same time, it's a tricky distinction with me. The only thing that keeps me from being IN love with a whole bunch of friends at once: their boundaries. Please don't assume this means I am forever in danger of confessing undying romantic humina humina to all manner of people: I respect those boundaries.
That said, yeah, I'm in love. 

B. Who was the last person I talked to on the phone? 

A tech support agent at my ISP, back in March. I'd talk every night if people still liked to hear other people's voices. Nobody does, anymore.

C. how long has it been since I've kissed

Half an hour. Kissed with intent? a week.

D. do I prefer boys or girls

And what about people this excludes? Sigh. Pretty firmly hetero. I can be bent if there's enough emotion present, but that's a tall, tall bar. Probably a Kinsey 2 or so -- but here's a weird confession: I need that emotional closeness for sex to even be on the table (or the bed, or the floor)...but I can't imagine myself being romantic with someone of my own gender. I just can't. Any fleeting fantasy I ever do have along that line is purely carnal -- but would likely never come to fruition on account of that emotional requirement I need but have no hope of returning. 

E. How many holes do I have in my ears? 
Just the one, the ear canal. My hole grew over. My earring hole, not my asshole...what, are you crazy? Your asshole grows over, you're going to spend a lot of time wandering around the beach wondering why you're getting larger. And people noticed this! People actually said, "are you gaining weight?" Yes, I am, my earring hole grew over, and aren't you a keen observer of detail?

God, I miss you, George Carlin.

I'll get that hole re-punched if frivolous money ever is a thing again. I may not be a stud, but I'd like to have one. 

F. Hot or cold?

Cold,  every day and twice on Tuesdays. If you're cold, you can put clothing on or you can move faster. If you're hot, polite society won't let you strip and it doesn't help anyway....hey, maybe if I strip off a few layers of SKIN I might bloody well cool down, waddaya say? Ugh. I HATE HEAT.

G. The last person I said 'I love you' to?

was Eva.  She just went to bed. I missed a couple of other check-ins tonight where those words get said and meant. Damn shift. Working til 11 is going to SUCK when the Leafs are in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since five years before I was born.

H. The last person I hugged

was also Eva. Though Bubbles the cat wants a hug right now. Are cats people? I love both dogs and cats -- a bunch of dogs saved my life, once, when I nearly drowned in that septic tank, and cats are just so squee, or at least Bubbles is...

I. The last time I felt jealous, and why.

While I wait for these times to once again become precedented, I find myself battling low-grade jealousy at all the people who have still managed to maintain a social life, safely, and especially of all those people who have got their shots. They just announced anyone 50 or over with health conditions can "pre-register" if they live in certain neighbourhoods in my city, none of which is mine and I'm 49 anyway. Just because I'll be able to "pre-register" in likely a few weeks doesn't mean I'll be vaccinated and acceptable in society again any time soon. Supply issues continue to dog us here. Actually, no, I take that back. That's envy, not jealousy. Recall the difference? Envy is wanting what someone else has. Jealousy is wanting what someone else has, such that they can't have it anymore.  I want everybody vaccinated, yesterday, so that I no longer have to worry about plague.  But put that way...the last time I felt actual jealousy was in March of 2019. Why? Sorry, too personal. Coming from me, that ought to mean something to you. 

J. Am I insecure? What about?

Yes. Everything. Next question.

Okay, that's maybe exaggerating a bit. But I don't like my physical appearance at all and it goes well past being a chub; I still worry what other people think, and if the connections I have made will stand the test of time, and whether I can perform a damned shipping investigation properly, and...and...and...

K. My full name:

Kenneth Cecil Joseph Breadner. I'm also Ken Jr...don't do that to your kid, okay? Half the world calls my dad Kenny and me Ken; the other half calls him Ken and me Kenny, and I haven't liked being called Kenny since about fifth grade. "Little Kenny", which is what I got from family, rankled even worse: Kenny already means "little Ken". I'm being diminished twice over. 

L. Do I have siblings?

I did. Baby Boy A Breadner, otherwise named Monty after my dad's best friend. Monty was my identical twin, first born, and he lasted all of two days before he succumbed to a variety of ailments. I like to think he saw me safe out, and then went to be born and grow up somewhere else. I think about him often: his absence has shaped my life in ways you might not imagine. As a for-instance, without a brother to teach me the ropes, I had one hell of a time making friends.

M. Do I forgive betrayal?

Yes, after I rant and rave about it for a while. Holding on to hate is toxic. That said, if people don't want me in their lives... just frigging tell me. Leaving me will hurt enough. Betraying me in the bargain is just overkill. 

N. How do I treat my friends?

Shouldn't that be for them to answer? That said, I don't think I treat them well enough. But I struggle with this -- another insecurity, yay! -- because how to treat them better is a nontrivial question. Nobody's complained, but a few people have seen fit to distance themselves in the last couple of years. Friends, if there's something you want or need from me that I am not providing, please, please TELL ME. 

O. Do I like school?

Yeah, I do. Always have. Learning is fun and showing what I've learned is even funner. (Why didn't my spellcheck flag that? I was taught 'funner' isn't a word. Pfft, just learned something.)

Shout out and hat tip to just a few of the great teachers I have had:

Mr. Allard, grade two, who brought his own Commodore PET to school -- this would have been 1978. My first exposure to computers and computer games.

Mr. Gord Sackville, grade five, whom I'm still friends with on Facebook and whom I respect, admire and love. This man taught generations of kids how to take those first tentative steps into adulthood...and he was always there with a hug and encouragement when we fell flat on our asses.

Mrs. Claire Martineau, née Panter, grade 13 Music: I need more than a few words here. I've written them already.

Rev. Roger McCombe, grade 13 Classical Civilizations: a giant of a man, who taught me more about spirtuality -- and myself -- than probably anyone up to that point. He was another hugger, and he was also an excitable and exciting professor, of faith and of fact (and he never mixed the two, not once). His lessons were unpredictable, personal, and highly effective. 

Mrs. Carolyn McCluskie, French V at Conestoga College-- I knew her as Carolyn Cresswell, or really just Carolyn. Loved her to bits. Any teacher who injects so much music into a French classroom gets high marks from me automatically. But she was full of interesting stories and she taught the language with flair and panache. 

P. What kind of music do I like?

You've doubtless now figured it out: Ken likes some weird shit. I can't say I like everything: in fact, there's a lot I don't like. Three-chord (or less) pop doesn't do it for me; violent, misogynist lyrics are a turn-off; I've already expressed my disdain for things like this...that whisper-growl-scream makes all this music sound the same to me and Jesus, guys, take some Ex-Lax! Old country is hit and miss (that heavy twang makes me cringe) and I have random artists I can't stand, many of whom are beloved by millions. Willie Nelson sounds like a robot with a head cold to me and Gord Downie, RIP, sounds like a chainsaw. Geddy Lee almost ruins Rush for me with that nasal nails-on-chalkboard screech. 

Classical is my first love, but others include soft jazz, classic rock, Celtic, Broadway, brass band, and quite a lot of world and easy listening stuff. Whatever you have, I'll give it an honest listen, and more than likely appreciate it at least a little.

Q. When was the last party I went to, and when will the next one be?

The last was Eva's fiftieth, September 2019. The next? I have no idea. I don't get invited to many and who knows when we'll even be able to have them again?

R. Ten things I'm curious about. 

Some of these overlap.

People; places; music; words; books (which are just collections of words, but 'words' means etymologies and usages); history; spirituality (but not religion, thank you); love, sex and relationships; politics; life (which includes the stage of life called 'death').

S. Two habits.

This is maybe the hardest one to answer. Many of mine are unconscious from the start and many others become that way once I've drilled them into being. However, two food habits/quirks come to mind. One, I very, very rarely drink anything with my meal. If I'm in a restaurant, one of two things will happen with the drink I order: I'll drain it immediately, or it'll sit there until dinner is done. Two, after I'm finished eating, I will have to use the bathroom. This was originally an ill-fated tactic I employed to attempt to get out of doing dishes. My bowels learned to evacuate in the post-prandial moment, and they urge my attention every time now. 

T. Five things I love unconditionally:

Three of them aren't things but people. The other two: road trips and comfort food.

U. How many texts do I send daily? 

Actual texts, much less than one. Facebook Messenger messages: don't ask. Though that number has decreased dramatically as I have pulled back from some relationships for fear of smothering people. But it's still dozens, scores, some rare days now into the hundreds. 

V. Three big dreams.

One is travel. There are many, many places I want to see. The three biggest are Hawaii, Pompeii, and Scotland.  Two would be enough money to be comfortable without having to punch a clock. Three would be and end to war and poverty. ("Big" was specified, right?) I live by the maxim that dreams can be made real. There are some big dreams of mine that could be made real if I knew how to start -- if I have to earn a living, for instance, I'd love to do it as a writer. But that's three full time jobs, writing, editing, and marketing. I can do the first two; the third is a complete and utter enigma. And I'm only one person.

W. An idol. 

I really had to think about this, and having thought about it, I have none. There are quite a few people I highly respect, but idolatry? That's a mite strong. 

X.  Have I done something I regret very much?

Hoo, baby.

I regret pretty much everything about the years 1990-1998. My lost decade. I lived for the moment, with less than zero discipline, and it carved a hole in my soul it took Eva to fill. In that decade, I hurt pretty much everyone who cared about me, and I utterly derailed my life. I had to pick up the pieces and fashion an existence out of what's left. I think I've done okay at that, all things considered, but there is no telling where I would be right now if I (a) fought my parents tooth and nail to stay home a year or two longer; (b) went to university for something else;  (c) either found better partners for myself or recognized sooner that they should go find better partners for THEMselves and (d) made plans and stuck to them. 

Do I like my hometown?

Yeah, I kinda do. For the third time in the last fifty years, Kitchener-Waterloo is the fastest growing community in Canada. But here in this north-end neighbourhood, I am a five minute walk from farmland, a two minute walk from parkland, and a single minute's walk to a not-half-bad public transit system. It's not a perfect place: the rents are beyond insane and the local paper is not fit to line a birdcage. But there are some damn fine things about this little town. We have the best vet around, the best eye doctor in the known universe, and a local pizza joint that took the cake until I learned about Woodstock Pizza and Pasta. 

Z is "ask me anything". Go ahead. If it doesn't violate somebody else's privacy, I'll answer fully and truthfully. 

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