Two hundred and ninety-four

I’m still in awe of the amazing random of act of kindness I was witness to yesterday.  It still brings tears to my eyes.

Good deeds, however, don’t have to involve helping people directly.  You can do a good deed for the community as a whole or in the case of my good deed yesterday, for the environment.

Picking up trash is not a glamorous job, but it needs to be done  (or people could just stop littering and that would be even better, but unfortunately I can’t see that happening anytime soon).  As I walked around my neighbourhood and looked at the sidewalks and the parks, it was sad all the garbage lying around.  At one point I found a pop can within throwing distance of a recycling bin.  Really, that person couldn’t walk the four steps over to the bin to put it in there?!  They just decided to leave it on the park lawn instead. Who does that?!

It was definitely a gross job.  I wore gloves and carried a plastic bag to collect the rubbish in.  When I reached a garbage bin I emptied and continued.  The funniest thing was I was going to work straight after and was dressed in my supervising, fairly dressed-up attire.  I got a few funny looks in the heart of Parkdale from the crazies.  I’ll take the looks if it makes our community a little prettier.  I’m afraid to walk to work today, though, because I’m sure I’ll find all the places where I picked up garbage from to be littered again with McDonald’s paper bags and ripped newspaper.  Sad, but true.

It wasn’t as emotionally satisfying as doing a good deed directly for someone else (and picking up garbage is pretty close to a selfless act, although I did have pleasure from the beauty of clean streets), but if everyone picked up a few pieces every time they went outside, our environment would be cleaner, which in turn helps our mental and physical health.  And my friend (and reoccurring character on the blog) the Eco-comedian would be proud!

One hundred and sixty-four

“Dress like a total hussy!!!!” (suggestion from Leah) while shopping and having lunch in Yorkville

Photo by Josh Rachlis

I felt like a cross between Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Olivia Newton-John in Grease (at the end) and Mimi Marquez from the musical RENT.  Walking in to a designer store in Yorkville (for those of you who don’t know – exclusive shopping district in Toronto known for its upscale stores, restaurants, hotels and very conservatively-dressed people) wearing shiny black tights, high-heeled shoes, a bra, a see-through lace top and too much make-up was an experience out of a movie.

I wish I’d had someone filming other people’s reactions, because I could only see glances of them when I walked by.  Canadians are often too polite to stare and comment, until it’s behind someone’s back!  But here are some of the reactions I did witness:

  • I biked there and a truck driver honked at me twice, each time he passed me.
  • An older businessman stared at me with his mouth open.
  • Quite a few double takes and some evil looks from a few older women.
  • A woman in Yorkville turned to her friend as I walked by and said “oh, wow”.
  • A “hello” in a drawn out manner and a turn of his head from a young guy walking by me.
  • A man with his son, stopped what he was doing and said “oh yeah” to me.
  • The store clerk while I was trying things on counted how many items I had more than once to make sure I wasn’t stealing anything.
  • I went for lunch with the Eco-comedian and I didn’t remind him that it was ‘out of my comfort zone’ month.  He looked really uncomfortable (his words are “scared”, “is this the same person”, and “what?!”) until he figured out why I was dressed this way.
  • The server wouldn’t stop glancing down at my boobs – and it was a girl!
  • And my very favourite: a girl working at one of the designer shops told me she loved my outfit and said that it’s very “in” right now!

I am generally a fairly conservative dresser.  I like to wear clothes that are a little bigger and comfortable, although still look nice.  I wear a lot of dresses or jeans.  I won’t even wear a bikini.  Before yesterday, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in this outfit (even though I’m sure it could have been a lot worse).

I found out quite quickly that it’s all about confidence.  I just strutted around like I owned the look and no one questioned me.  Women obviously wear stuff like this and according to the store clerk, it’s really not that far from what’s in fashion right now.  And I only spent $10 on my outfit!  Despite appearing confident, though, I actually felt a mix between sexy and totally uncomfortable.  As I was cycling I wanted to cry – to crawl up in a ball and not let anyone see me.  My back-up t-shirt that was in my bag kept calling to me.  I just wanted to blend in with the crowd – I always have, being an average height and weight, brunette, white girl.  It took a lot of energy to have people notice me, and it was fun for awhile, but I’m happy to go back behind my computer and my summer dress and become anonymous again.

Day seventy-nine

The online-Facebook-blog-YouTube-text-finally-meeting-in-person date

The Eco-comedian. Yes, he picks up used batteries to recycle them.

The Eco-comedian first contacted me on OkCupid with a shameless plug for his YouTube page.  I watched some of his stuff and thought it was funny, so I became his fan on Facebook.  Then I plugged my blog.  He invited me to the Green Party party on election night, so we exchanged phone numbers to meet up (which we never did).  We became Facebook friends and either messaged or texted back and forth for the last few weeks.  He asks me how the dates are going.  I ask him how his mission to unite the political left in Canada by writing a song to Jack Layton is going (he’s written love songs to Green Party leader Elizabeth May and environmentalist Laurie David – see below).

Finally, after seventeen days, we met for pizza during his lunch hour from his job at an ad agency.  He wore dark sunglasses and a hat, so I didn’t recognize him at first, but I also felt like I already knew him.  He’s a pretty funny guy.  And really into eco issues.  He’s made a name for himself writing songs and doing videos that are fun and make people aware of environmental concerns.  He also does podcasts, interviews, and radio.  He’s a busy man.  And he’s going to help me make a couple of videos for 3hundred66days, which is awesome.

In honour of his constant shameless plugging of his work, and because I think this video is hilarious, The Eco-comedian will be my first non-anonymous date of the month.  Here is his video proposal to Laurie David, when she was divorcing from Larry David (of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame):

Tonight

Speed Dating!  I’m really nervous.  I was checking out the questions they suggest and they remind me of interview questions.  I hate interviews!

Try to find out about the person the things that you would need to know in order to want to pursue your connection further, or not. Here are a few fun questions below:

  1. What makes you happy, brings joy to your life?
  2. What do you do on a typical Saturday or Sunday?
  3. Do you believe in love at first sight?
  4. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?
  5. What was the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
  6. Have you ever had a life-changing experience?
  7. What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about your gender by the opposite sex?
  8. What positive quality do you possess that you also look for in others?
  9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  10. If you could only eat one food for 3 days in a row, what would it be?

Check out all their “fun” questions at 25dates.com