Insidious sexism in everyday life

So I’m a feminist. Duh. I firmly believe that if you’re not a feminist, you’re just not a good person. As it stands, I understand that the rest of the world is still getting used to the idea that lady-humans are actually quite as capable of doing things that man-humans can do, but that doesn’t excuse the atrociously subtle sexism I came up against today in the music store.

I’m not going to mention what music store it is, as I have no motivation for vengeance or discrediting a strong establishment. Suffice it to say it is a large chain which should have better trained staff. Not training in the actual knowledge of gear – which this person had quite a lot of – but training in the customer area of customer service.

I have a gig tonight. It’s at Rancho Relaxo, I’m super stoked, etc. etc. I’ve been nervous for days, but tonight is the night, so I’ve gotta get over it and get my rock n roll on. I went into the music store this morning to pick up a pickup, which I thought would’ve been a pretty straightforward venture. Bring guitar. Put pickup in it. Test pickup. Rent pickup.

The gentleman helping me out was of an older persuasion, perhaps from a time when it was considered high scandal for a lady to know what a guitar looks like and how it works. When I asked for a pickup, he looked halfway shocked that I knew what that even was, or that I needed one. “I have a gig tonight” I said. “Do you!” he exclaimed, as if it were the most adorable thing a lady has ever done.

He looked at my strings and was confused momentarily, since I opt out of using standard bronze. “And what have we here?” he asked me. “Silk and steel,” I replied, automatically.

“Well! She even knows what kind of strings she uses.”

Well.

She even knows.

How completely unexpected that she would know the components of her own instrument.

The one that’s in “impressively good shape for a 3-4 year old guitar.”

Yes, impressively. We expected the lady-human to be incredibly indelicate with the guitar, seeing as she doesn’t know what she’s doing with it. She knows to store it with the proper humidity over the winter? How could that be?

Be it noted that this gentleman strayed several times from the rental agreement I was attempting to pursue in favour of aiding other (male) customers. Not to sound like a woebegone sufferer of female inequality, but it can’t be coincidence that you’d rather help a male customer when you’re continually surprised by the simple, basic knowledge that your female customer possesses. Shock.

It still surprises me when I come up against this subtle but very ingrained sexism in society. We still have a long way to go.

Spam, spam, spam, scammers and spam

So I have a thing about spambots, as you may have noticed (seeing as “spam” is one of my most-used tags). Recently I’ve been searching for apartments, as my lease is up as of July 1st. I’ve made the big decision to move out on my own, sans roommates, but I’m beginning to regret that decision, as it’s nigh impossible to find a good, affordably-priced apartment suitable for one occupant in a major metropolitan city (as I’m finding out). I don’t blame the cost of utilities, location, demand, or any other factor for that difficulty more than I blame spambots.

Every time I find an affordable bachelor or one-bedroom apartment in a desirable location (i.e. not Scarborough), I begin a conversation with the person who posted the ad. (I should mention that I am searching online classifieds, and am probably just asking to be scammed.) Here is what it looks like when I email the poster:

Hello, my name is Kate and I am interested in renting your apartment at [location]. Are the utilities included? Is a July 1st move in date okay? And when will you be available this week to show me the unit?

Thanks so much!

~Kate

And this is the general email I’ve gotten in return (from about a dozen different people, at this point, and I’ve only been searching for just over a week):

Hello,

I got a contract job in an engineering company/missionary service/consulting firm for a construction project/religious retreat/big huge job deal thing as part of the structural engineers/dalai lama/royal anteater to build a highrise building/eat some moon pies/pee on boats in London, United Kingdom/Kuala Lumpur/Africa. I am a Building tech specialist/June bug/circus clown, so my accommodation period in [wherever, who even cares] will be about 4 years, so that’s the reason why i am renting out the unit. I do not intend to make profit out of it all i want is to find a good and clean person to take good care of the place/keep the apartment tidy/fill it with bees. I`m the owner of the unit and it is furnished but if you want you can make use of your furnitures and help keep mine in the storage locker which is situated both in the unit and in the building and these does not attracts any funds. [what does this even mean?!]

The monthly rent that am requesting for is $600/$550/$400 and some cheese and these rent is to service the bills which includes all utilities (water, electricity, Internet, cable, 1 parking spots, air conditioning, dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave, refrigerator, stove, laundry in-suite, washer and dryer) the monthly rent you will be paying includes all this and they will be taken care of as soon as you pay your rent/give me all your money.

Everything in this unit is functional and in good working conditions. Once you started staying in the unit and there is any case of any repairs which is as a result of normal faults like leakages, you will get in touch with me and i will get it fixed, i am in possession of the keys to the apartment which makes hard for you to view the unit [unless you are Superman and have x-ray vision]. You can move into the unit when you receive the keys [NO REALLY??] but the only problem is that am the only person who has the keys but i hope that we will be able to reach a compromise on this. [in plain speak: give me money and hope like hell that I’ll give you keys.]

TERMS AND CONDITION:
~The lease is month to month , 6 month or 1yrs and can be renewed ~It can be rented furnished or unfurnished ~ You will have to take good care of my unit ~Utilities are included in the rent ~Pets Allowed Any further questions please contact and get back to me for the pics and address of the unit. Thank you for your interest and i`m awaiting your response/money.

Thanks.

A lot of the time, the sign off paragraph is loaded with attempts at inducing guilt. “I am haveing for hard times trusting those that wouldst rent of my apartments” and that sort of thing. As if I’m the one that might swindle the person who has six hundred of my dollars and much of my personal cheese collection. As if, after sending them money on good faith, I might somehow get keys to this magically cheap apartment and… what? Never pay them rent again? Which would be hard to do in the first place, seeing as they don’t own any apartments in real life anyway.

These scammers must think they sound convincing, but I’ve yet to find one with a functional grasp of English sentence structure, let alone a convincing reason why they’re asking for money to be wired via Western Union to MALAYSIA or TEXAS, USA. I even had one scammer tell me “Moreover,i would have love to show the apartment to you in person because you have every right to see the apartment you are renting because a lot of fake landlords are on the internet but my friend who ought to handle the deal on my behalf is presently running a management course in Australia.” That is copied and pasted directly from my email.

I am simultaneously frustrated by and amused at the scammers I’ve found while trying to find my next home. While they’re certainly not helping me find a place to sleep/store my useless crap, they’re at least entertaining me (albeit in the least entertaining way possible) while I struggle. So, thanks?

Max

This is how he usually acts. This is how I currently feel.

(Limping) Life Lessons

Last Monday my left foot decided it’d had enough of this crap and stopped working. More specifically, it developed shooting pain from the fascia to my heel. Naturally, I assumed the worst (plantar fasciitis) and all trips to the clinic and x-rays have so far proved inconclusive. I’ve been limping all week – even Tuesday, when I worked a double – and I’ve learned things about how the world views people. I’m just not sure what the things I’ve learned mean.

For example: With a limp, most people actively ignore me. Panhandlers, buskers, solicitors, those annoying money-gatherers from Sick Kids, even guys who were about to catcall. All silenced when they notice my uneven gait.

The people who don’t ignore me stare at me, as if they’re trying to diagnose me with their eyes. (If only.)

I also learned that if you walk with a limp, with a double-scoop of Honey Crunch on a sugar cone, at 10 p.m. by yourself on a Friday night in February, people are really going to look at you funny.

Monty Python’s “Medical Love Song”

While I won’t waste your time writing out the lyrics to this epic love ballad here, I will  post a link if you feel like wasting time later (and that way you can’t blame me because I clearly gave you a choice):

http://www.metrolyrics.com/medical-love-song-lyrics-monty-python.html

This (without all the VD) is what my body is singing to me right this very minute. It’s very romantic. (Except again, I will repeat for emphasis, without all the VD.) (Or penises.)

So we’ve already gone over my dental trauma. Wisdom teeth, 30 kajillion cavities, and now they’ve gone and only filled the ones on the left side so the molars are too big and keep giving me a headache. Plus, my blood test for diabetes came back negative, so I have no idea what caused me to go from 0-30 in a year and a half.

But enough about gross things like teeth and mouths.

Yesterday, for no reason whatsoever, my left foot just up and stopped working. Well, it stopped wanting me to be able to work it. So it stabbed me in the fascia and now I can’t bear weight. I had two shifts today at two different restaurants with a 10-minute walk between them that turned into an 18-minute hobble. I am 22 years old. Why is my body treating me like a 90-year-old??

So, in conclusion, best Valentine’s day ever? I think so. Pardon me, I’m going to go sleep until Family Day.

 

 

(and as a post script, shouldn’t Valentine’s day be, oh, about 9 months before Family Day, instead of six days?)

Two things.

First: THIS.

Second: Been drugged all day. I guess that’s what happens when you have 2 wisdom teeth removed – teeth that, for your whole life, you were told did not exist. Teeth that nobody believed you had, even when you were 22 and one started poking through the gums. Teeth that are not a bone spur or calcification, thank you Dr. MomGoogle.

Also 9 cavities filled and 21 more to go. I s#it you not.

How I feel…

…when I think about my poor stolen bike. It’s been almost 2 months, but I’ll never forget you, Rusty…

I feel ya, bro.

T’is the season…

…for holiday parties. I feel like I’m too young to be going to potlucks in Hamilton and Mississauga; traveling an hour out of the city bringing a covered dish feels like something my parents should be doing. I guess I’ll know I’m really old when the hosts are able to afford to throw an entire dinner party on their own dime, and all I have to bring is a bottle of wine or some flowers; but still, having dinner parties just feels old. Mature, yes (which is probably why I feel out of place with the idea, ha), but having a sit-down dinner feels oddly formal with the kids with whom I used to just hang out.

Could be worse, I guess. At least none of my friends are playing Santa at a mall yet.

Victory post

So it’s a little late (4:36 a.m. by my watch) but this post is absolutely necessary.

[Dramatic pause]

[/Dramatic pause]

I just finished writing my last undergraduate English essay! And the people who live above me ALMOST complied with my iffy writing schedule. Usually they thump and bang and move furniture and go bowling and compete in the lumberjack games from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., my normal writing time. But today, because I was hungover and started writing late, they managed to hold off until JUST NOW! Which is super, because I’m no longer writing – only trying to sleep! I’m super glad they decided to go out on the clangy metal fire escape and start yelling at each other at 4:39 a.m. It’s just the best. So thanks, upstairs neighbours, for kind of helping me write my last undergraduate English essay but not at all helping me sleep.

If there’s anything undergrad has taught me, it’s that sleep is for the weak. Also that student lounges are for the nap.

With that, I rush merrily off to the printer this eve morn and whip off my last undergraduate English essay to hand in in approximately six hours! HUZZAH!

SOMEONE STOLE MY BIKE

…Well, that’s about all I have to say about that, actually. Except that the joke’s on them, because for weeks I’ve been procrastinating on getting the brakes fixed. That bike was called Rusty for a reason.