Usually rainy days and Mondays get me down but now that I have a cat it seems like a great excuse to stay in, light some incense, make some tea and cuddle with her on the couch. The same couch that we searched for, deliberated on and finally bought after a year of searching just before christmas and now looks like it was in a fight with a shredding machine. I opted for the Organic orange smelling animal scratching deterrent at the Pet store instead of the industrial strength so it wouldn’t bother her, turns out it didn’t bother her enough and now it seems I’ve resigned myself to her furniture scratching, everywhere shedding and bare leg attacking behavior. According to my friends I am in for it when I have kids, if I can give into my cat so easily ( she is now lying next to me on my bed, a pretty big no no, hopefully my husband won’t read this) I will be steamrolled by little humans who know exactly where your heartstrings are and exactly how to play them, but for now I am “that” lady. The lady who lives for her cat, who should probably pluck her eyebrows a little and wears pearls around the house singing Broadway show tunes. In fact with the exception of the pearls( which I save to go to the grocery store) I sound a lot like Susan Boyle, Susan Boyle without the fourteen million hits on youtube and paparazzi staking out her house of course. I resisted watching her sing ” I Dreamed a Dream ” from Britain’s Got Talent because frankly I am usually touched by things no one else is touched by and rarely cry when everyone else is crying, case in point bawling at my wedding and laughing during eulogies at pretty much every funeral I’ve been at, so when I’d received fifteen emails from people saying they had cried and cried after watching it I finally broke down. I cried alright but not because she was so incredible, but because it was amazingly sad to see a room full of people go from being so mean and quite rude to someone they didn’t know because of how she looked, to doing a complete about face when she turned out to be good. After an hour or so I went back to youtube and fast forwarded the parts where the audience members and judges rolled their eyes when she walked onstage and skipped right to where she closed her eyes and started singing, half way through I realized I was crying for the right reasons and it felt great.
Canada has got the whole world talking. It’s sent shock waves through Europe, Russia, and America, pretty much any place that has shown “Sling Blade”, ” Bad Santa ” or God forbid ” The Astronaut Farmer”. I am not sure if it was after he let Angelina Jolie go or his appearance on Canadian radio last week, but it seems to be universally accepted that Billy Bob Thornton is a deluded, arrogant and self centered egomaniac. What people can’t get over is just how polite Canadians really are. By this point everybody who has seen “the grape lady” on Youtube ( if you haven’t already, type in those keywords now — blame your teachers. parents everybody you can for making you such a bad person that you can’t help but laugh at someone’s misfortune, because it is so, so , so funny) has seen Billy Bob’s appearance on CBC’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi and is overwhelmed by the spectacle of Jian’s restraint when faced with such an open dartboard. Anywhere else, the interviewer would have been name calling and below the belt hitting, blood vial taunting and Angelina dangling, but Jian played it cool and kept it out of the schoolyard when Billy Bob kept grabbing the ball and running back outside like it was recess. But I guess in a way I understand it, when I won my Oscar I refused to talk about it and would, in fact, kick anybody who dared mention it to me and when my parents put it on the mantel I threw it out the window. We are still not speaking. Seriously the man is such an incredible actor that he could have peeled back the alien mask for at least a minute and “acted” like he was a human being and no one would have been the wiser. Instead he refused to sing and made his already humiliated band play without him. Evidently not only does Canada not have gravy to warm him up but after a very chilly reception at Massey Hall last Thursday night, Billy Bob’s band was beset by the flu and they cancelled the rest of their Canadian dates with Willie Nelson. Thankfully they will be all better by the time the tour heads back into the States. Looks like it did turn into a schoolyard fight and Billy Bob ran home crying to mommy.
I am not sure about this weather, the cold biting through my gloves and up the sleeves of my jacket, settling in my lungs and making a marked exit out into the air. This is April, not December, haven’t we had enough? Apparently not, Canadians are paying for their niceness and passiveness with bad weather, It’s like someone up there is trying to shake us out of complacency and I can confirm that any complacency I had is long gone, I’ve got an edge that only the cold can bring. Today I ran into a gentleman who was in absolute horror about the new Afghani law that legalizes rape within a marriage, I couldn’t help but half scream” don’t you see this is a good thing?” and he looked at me as if I had eighteen heads. Figuring I had spent the last decade trying to promote polygamy or something, it took him a while to really hear what I was saying. I tried my best to explain that when I saw the headlines on the news i actually did a little “oh thank you Lord dance”, finally someone had the gall to put into writing the silent code that courts there have ruled by for centuries, with (as harsh as it may sound) women’s rights being about on par with livestock, because at least now people know. Harsher still are the statistics, the average woman’s life expectancy in Afghanistan is 44 years old, 87 percent are illiterate and denied an education, one in every three women suffers abuse and more often than not that abuse comes at the hands of their husbands, husbands they never chose in the first place as 70 to 80 percent of marriages are forced. Funny to think that the very law that was devised to keep women in their place is the one that has ignited the world into putting women’s rights on the front burner. Like most things, it is what is left unsaid, unwritten and undefined that is truly the most dangerous , hopefully this law will be the tipping point that begins to give women in Afghanistan the equality they deserve.
Last week after I read about the Pope’s impending trip to Africa and his views on condoms, I resolved to stop reading the news. I almost had to go to the hospital I was so infuriated, the Pope saying condoms are not an answer in the fight against AIDS in Africa is the most backwards, archaic and dangerous thing I’ve ever heard. I understand doctrine, I understand traditional thinking, I understand everything except reckless abandon, to be so irresponsible as to promote a way of thinking that could lose millions of lives I do not understand at all. Right now in Africa, half the battle is getting people to get tested for HIV, the other half is getting people to understand how to prevent it. The most prohibitive and all encompassing part of the disease is the social stigma, the trickle down effect of corrupt governments that have misinformed the population about how AIDS is spread in order to feed their own personal gain has affected how families and communities view each other. The most common chain of events is a male traveller sleeps with a prostitute, comes home to his unsuspecting wife, infects her, who in turn infects most children born after, and all of this in a society where men having several wives is the absolute norm. Inevitably, the father dies untreated and untested and the wife — who doesn’t have any idea he even had AIDS- - finds herself alone and falling ill. Even though now the global community has provided enough medicine to extend people’s lives, most refuse to get help, or even tested, because they will most likely be thrown out of their village. If the children are lucky, they still have a grandmother alive to take care of them after their mother dies. I wish I could say this is a sweeping generalization but, sadly it is not. Wide spread condom use would actually stop this disease in its tracks. Any group that doesn’t actively promote condom use in Africa not only doesn’t help the problem- it makes it much, much worse. I initially didn’t extend my news ban to TV and then I stumbled upon Fox News’ take on the Canadian Military and realized I need to sign out of the world for a while, because if that’s what people think I don’t want to know.