Masks, Masks, Masks

Masks are cool. I am not just saying that because masks are mandatory in my city. I’m also not saying that because wearing a mask means that I no longer have to put makeup on the lower half of my face. I am saying it because it’s cool to be kind to strangers. It’s cool to do something just to be nice. It’s also cool to do your part to try and help slow a global pandemic.

I’ve accumulated quite a collection over the past few weeks, both purchased and made. All reusable. Reusable masks were important for me to get my hands on because, if you remember, I really don’t like single use products. I completely understand that in the middle of a global pandemic, a mask is better than no mask, and for that reason there is a place for disposable masks right now. That being said, it was both within my budget, my resources and my means to get reusable masks. So I did.

Initially I just purchase a set of three. I did so thinking that if I left them by the door of my house, they’d be easy to grab before I headed out for errands. But, as time has unfolded, I’ve learned that it makes my life a lot simpler if I just have a mask anywhere I might need one. Masks at the front door. Masks int he glove box. Masks in my purse. Masks in my office (in two weeks when it reopens). If there’s a mask anywhere that I could possibly need one, I’ll never find myself without or have to say ‘I forgot’. I also won’t have to purchase disposable masks.

I plan on keeping these grey ones at my office. They’re neutral, so if I need one whilst I am at work, it really won’t matter what I am wearing, they’ll match.

These masks inspired a desire to have tie dye in my life. As of right now they’re hanging by the door. You know, I’m coming around to the idea that a little colour can be a good thing!

I bought these masks solely from a vanity perspective. I have blue eyes and my thought was that if I have to wear something on my face that covers half of my face, I might as well get something that matches my eyeballs. That’s accessorizing!

These Canadian themed masks I actually didn’t know were coming my way. My mom made them as a present for me after the mask mandate came into effect in my city. You know, if we’re still wearing masks when the snow starts to fall, I reckon these will be mighty cute during the Canadian winter.

Steps onto Soap Box: Masks are a simple and easy way for people to show they respect their community and their neighbours. Masks are a simple and easy way to help stop/slow the spread of germs. Masks are a simple and easy way to be a good person.

What I’ve learned over the past month (since the mandate came into effect) is that masks aren’t always cheap. I’ve seen them priced anywhere from $3 each to $145 each. And frankly, in the middle of a global pandemic, when people are trying to do their part but also trying to watch their spending, ain’t nobody got time for $145 a mask.

I wanted to share some excellent, affordable mask options, for if you’re looking and don’t have a mom to sew masks for you.

  1. Old Navy – If you are in Canada, Old Navy sells masks in a package of five for $15. If you are in the United States, I believe they are $12.50 for a package of 5. While they are quality masks, Old Navy is a fast fashion brand and I cannot tell you where they are made, by whom, or how little said person might be (is likely) being paid.
  2. Province of Canada – Province of Canada is a Canadian brand that manufactures all of it’s products in Canada. The masks are quite a bit more pricey than the Old Navy masks, but if you have the budget for it, $14 for ethical manufacturing is a great option.
  3. Hanes – These face masks are the ones that ‘everyone and their dogs’ are using for tie-dye from home. Right now the website is selling a 10 pack for less than $30. I’ve ordered some to test my tie-dye abilities but they haven’t arrived yet.

Do you need a ton of face masks? Definitely not. My collection is quite large, and I know that. I do believe that it’s good to have one or two, though. Two is a good number because you should be washing them and if one is in the washing machine, you will still have one available. I also believe that you shouldn’t have to spend your oodles of money on a mask. They’re supposed to help and if they’re deeply impacting your bank account, that’s not helping.

And of course, if you don’t have access to any reusable masks whatsoever, buy the disposable ones. As much as I hate seeing them littered all over streets and sidewalks and getting wrapped around seagull wings right now, seeing them is a reminder that people are wearing them. And that is important. It’s important that we make it through this year and that we all be as kind to one another as possible. Everyone has to work together to slow the spread. Since the CDC, WHO and most governments in the world are recommending masks, masks are cool.

I’ll be wearing them for the foreseeable future.

Get yourself a mask or two. Look at it as something you’re doing for right now, not forever. Lead by example. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Slow the spread.


*My mom says she’ll sell them to whomever wants one. All they have to do is pay the price of postage.

Posting pictures of people you don’t know

Marla (MarlaOnTheMove) and I have been chatting today about the idea of posting photos online that include people you don’t know and also, about posting photos of people you do know that you haven’t asked permission to share. I’ve briefly talked about this subject on my blog in the past and I got a lot crap for my opinions. What I never did, however, was share the story that largely shaped why my opinions are the way that they are.

In 2014 whilst working PR for large event, two coworkers and myself stopped off for a breather in the media scrum room. For anyone who’s not aware, at large events that have groups of journalists come to them, the hosts will often have private rooms for the journalists to meet, talk, eat and relax between speeches or games or whatever is happening that day.

The food in this room on this day was a hot dog, pasta and potato bar. We grabbed some food, sat down in the far corner of the room and I secretly took off the world’s most uncomfortable heels for a few minutes. (I wear heels once in a blue moon, and when I do, I very much regret doing so)

While in the corner, minding our own business at our own table, a journalist that was sitting at a table about forty feet away from us, took a photo of my coworkers and I eating. He was far enough away that we didn’t know this photo was being taken. Not until after the fact.

We were eating hot dogs. It was a gourmet hot dog bar, with different types of meat and probably forty different items for toppings. I don’t make it a regular occurrence to eat hot dogs, but I mean… when in Rome… or when there’s a gourmet hot dog bar, why not right?

So, this journalist took a photo of us eating hot dogs without our knowing about it. This journalist proceeded to post this photo of us eating hot dogs to his Twitter account and make a lewd comment that compared the hot dogs we were eating to a penis.

He took a photo of three women who were minding their own business, eating their lunch in the middle of a busy work day, posted the photo to the internet and made a lewd comment as the caption.

We didn’t find out about the photo until probably close to midnight that night. It was actually our boss who showed us the photo. This journalist, not thinking about the reach that he had with his social media platforms, thought that it was completely appropriate to take our photo without our knowing about it and share it as a means to turn us into a joke.

That is why I don’t eat hot dogs anymore.

But also, this is largely why I have a firm, hard stance on people posting photos of someone they don’t know.

People deserve privacy.

In a world where there’s a camera on every phone (and likely to be a camera on every watch soon enough) finding privacy seems to be a harder feat with each passing day.

I’m of the firm belief that just because you can take a picture of someone doesn’t mean that you should. And, if for some reason someone has ended up in a photograph of yours on accident, you do not have permission to share that photo online without asking them first. If you want to blur them out, or crop them out, then go ahead and post the picture. But, if you can clearly identify someone in your photograph and they haven’t provided you permission to post said photo online, then you shouldn’t be posting it.

This counts for people you know, this counts for people you don’t know. This very much counts for EVERYONE under the age of 18. In my personal opinion it’s especially important if someone is under the age of 18 to either not share photographs, or seek permission from them (if they’re old enough to provide it) or their parents if they’re too young to provide permission.

If you don’t have permission to post a photo of the person in your photo then don’t post it. It’s as simple as that.

Do I think that everyone in this world is seeking to go out and take photos of people at vulnerable moments to post them online and turn them into a joke and humiliate them? No.

But, that doesn’t change my stance that people deserve privacy. They deserve the right to wander the bookstore without you taking their photo. They deserve the right to drop their kids off at school without you taking their photo. They deserve the right to privacy, no matter the circumstance or reason that saw them wind up in your photograph. They deserve the right to privacy no matter what you plan on doing with the photo. Even if your account only has ten followers.

I also believe this applies to everyone. Public figure or random nobody. If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the guests of honour and speakers for a public event, go ahead and take their photo on stage while they’re speaking. They know what happens at these events and they sign up for them, likely signing a contract that agrees to their photo being taken. If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are out for a walk with their son on a quiet trail on a Sunday afternoon and they can’t see you, or even if they can, don’t take their photo. It’s rude. It’s uncalled for.

People deserve the right to privacy in their lives. Walking out of your front door each morning is not a free pass for the world to use or share your likeness anywhere you go. Whether they’re Joe Schmoe from Timbuktu or the most famous person on earth. Whether you know someone or you don’t. Whether they’re in the photo purposefully (on your part or theirs) or they’re in the photo accidentally, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have the right to share it.

If your intentions are innocent and you just think it’s a cool photo that you’d like to share, get permission from the people you do know and crop out the people you don’t. It’s not that hard to figure out.

And, to the people in this world who argue there’s no such thing as privacy in 2020, there can be. If you choose to be a decent human being, there definitely can be. It’s all a matter of choice. Who do you want to be? What kind of legacy do you want to lead?

I’m sure I’ll get harsh critique of these opinions, but that’s okay. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and I get that not everyone thinks the same way as I do. That journalist seemed to think it was a completely okay thing to do to take a photo of us eating hot dogs and post it to Twitter with a lewd comment. Myself, my coworkers, my boss, we all did not.

Last Night Things

Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get their fast
Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’
They just show on up with their big old heart

I don’t know how I got so lucky. Last night, in my anxious ridden moments of weakness, panic and sadness, you showed up. The support you presented, support that you gave me, it’s support that people could only ever dream of finding in their lifetime and I have it in stride. I feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world. And, you know, I also feel like I don’t deserve it, but I am thankful. So thankful. Last night meant the world to me, and I want you to know that.

*Reference: https://millenniallifecrisis.org/2020/08/18/when-panic-attacks-attack/

When panic attacks attack

I had a panic attack at the end of work today.

My three month probationary period review is on Thursday. It was supposed to be last week, but it got moved to this week, so I’ve had to carry that nervousness around with me for an extra seven days.

I’ve been very anxious about the review.

If I make it through this review without getting fired, I’ll have passed the probationary period, I’ll be an official employee with benefits and holiday time and get a work credit card and all that jazz.

But I keep telling myself ‘if’. ‘If’. ‘If’. It’s a word that can really eat away at you if you let it. And, for some reason, I’ve been letting it eat away at me since my review was rescheduled from last week to this week.

I’m worried.

What if they fire me?

What if they say ‘hasta la vista’ and they just don’t give a damn?

What if this all ends and comes crashing down around me as quickly as it started?

I’ve been doing really good with respect to my anxiety for the past two months. I’ve had very few major issues and, for the most part, when I get anxious, I’ve been able to be reasonable and calm myself down.

This afternoon I sent my boss a message on Microsoft Teams chat and they read it and didn’t respond. They didn’t respond and my mind just started racing.

‘What if I’ve failed?’

‘What if this all ends on Thursday?’

‘What if I’m fired?’

It didn’t take long before I was struggling to breathe and found myself curled up in a ball unsure of what to do. I’d like to think I’m calmer and a lot more collected than having a panic attack because my boss left me on read.

All that being said, perhaps if I survive Thursday then I will be.

Here’s to hoping they don’t fire me. Confident me says they won’t. Anxious me says that the worst case scenario is always possible, no matter how confident I am.

Let’s talk about Twitter’s ‘Report Tweet’ Function

Through my blogging, personal life and work responsibilities, I have a social media profile on virtually every platform. What I’ve found over the years is that Twitter is largely the platform/home for racists to spew their racism and to recruit people into their racist circles.

I have a few theories as to why. Firstly, I believe racists aren’t going to be as vocally racist on Instagram because they don’t want to put a face to their racism through their photos. Secondly, I think that Donald Trump has given racists more of a voice on Twitter over the past three and somewhat years. Please don’t misunderstand that statement, because I am not saying that the racism started when he became president. I am merely stating that racists got a lot more vocal and a lot more prominent when he became president.

Racism has always been a part of our society. It has just, in recent years, become a lot more prevalent than any other time I can remember in my 31 years of life. I do believe that Donald Trump has played a role in that. I do believe he has emboldened racists to believe that their behaviour is moral, just, acceptable and completely okay.

Why am I talking about this today?

I spent a decent amount of time over the past week reporting tweets for racism and hate speech on Twitter.

This past Monday a horrifying incident happened in a nearby city where a Doctor was bludgeoned to death in an examination room in his own clinic. Within just a few hours of the attack, video footage of the suspect being put into the back of a police car was circulating Twitter. The only characteristic that racist Twitter could take from the video was that the suspect had dark skin.

Racist Twitter went off. I mean they unloaded.

They didn’t know a single fucking thing about the suspect other than he had dark skin and they took that and they ran with that. Reading the comments from racist Twitter made me angry, upset and frustrated that I have to call myself the same species as these people. I don’t really want to repeat too much of what was said because it was so disgusting but it included comments (on the least awful end of the spectrum) like ‘this city has gone to hell since the blacks invaded’ and ‘Trudeau lets in these druggie, criminal gangsters and they murder our doctors. End immigration now.”

Hundreds, if not thousands, of comments directed towards insulting, demeaning and devaluing people of colour in our country circulated to the point that it was trending nationally. It was racist and a lot of it was hate speech.

I’ve been in a lot of discussions, arguments and full blown fights with racist twitter over the years. What I’ve learned is that, if someone is being racist on Twitter, you’re not going to change their mind no matter how much logic, kindness and reasoning you provide.

So, seeing these comments and feeling bad for this doctor and his family, I decided to take a different route.

I reported the tweets.

If I saw it and it was racism or direct hate speech against people of colour I reported the tweet. I did so because, and I cannot stress this enough, SOMEONE’S SKIN COLOUR HAS NOT A SINGLE FUCKING THING TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT THEY WILL COMMIT A CRIME.

Whew, sorry for yelling. I just needed to get that out.

The day following the attack, after next of kin had been notified, the identity of the Doctor was released to the public. And again, racist twitter went off. This time it wasn’t so much in the form of hate speech, but more in the form of proving themselves to be complete fucking idiots.

The Doctor was a Caucasian man who had immigrated to Canada from South Africa. Racist Twitter, doing what racist twitter does, began making comments like ‘Naw, he’s not from Africa, he’s white’. There was a lot of confusion from racist twitter about how someone from Africa could be white. I’ve long been of the belief that racism stems from lack of intelligence, lack of awareness, lack of education. Feel free to disagree with that belief if you would like, but, hearing people confused because about the fact that all people from Africa aren’t black really hammers that point home for me.

On this day I again took to reporting tweets that were racist and contained hate speech. Why? I know I’m not going to change the opinion of someone who is a racist by reporting their tweets. I just think that perhaps if enough of us reported tweets containing racism and hate speech to Twitter, they’d realize the platform of racism and hate speech they’re cultivating and do something about it.

I know I’m only one person and I know people will disagree with my reporting the tweets or tell me I’m wasting my time, but I have to try.

Well, anyways, fast forward to today. I was given notification from twitter for every single tweet, every single fucking tweet that I reported, that Twitter did not deem them to be racist, harmful or believe that these tweets were promoting hate speech.

To me, this 100% proves my point that Twitter is a platform for racists to be racists, for it to be okay. Racist twitter isn’t just the people making racist tweets, it’s the people who read reported tweets and deem them okay and appropriate and say they do not violate Twitter’s community guidelines.

If racism, hate speech, threats of violence against people of colour don’t violate Twitter’s community guidelines, what does? How bad does something have to get before they actually do something about it? Because whether you’re a keyboard warrior in middle of nowhere Canada raging on people of colour because of one man committing a horrendous and heinous crime, or you’re the President of the United States, I don’t fucking care. You should be held accountable for the things you say. And, it says a lot about the beliefs Twitter stands for when they believe it’s more important to promote hate speech then to denounce hate speech.

I’m so angry as I right this. I can’t even come up with a conclusion to this other than saying that the ‘Report Tweet’ button on Twitter doesn’t do a damn thing. Twitter is a place for racists to be celebrated, apparently.

A man lost his life. Kids lost their father. A woman lost her husband. That’s what matters. Anyone who thinks the colour of the suspect’s skin is important or the birth place of the doctor is important is absolutely in the wrong.

It looks like I robbed a bank!

After five months of putting it off, I have caved to the quarantine cliche of tie-dye. That’s right, I defied my stubbornness, bought fabric dye and made one hell of a mess.

I opted for blue, as it’s my favourite colour. I opted to not buy gloves because, again, I’m extremely stubborn. Initially the plan was to purchase the dye and give a little flare to my face masks. However, whilst I was at the store they had white t-shirts right next to the fabric dye (marketing on point) that were screaming my name. As a result, the plan changed.

Next week is my mom’s birthday and she happens to love all things 70’s fashion – bell bottoms, patches on everything, permed hair and especially tie-dye. So, when I bought the shirt, I thought I could turn it into something she might love, and then I could add it to her birthday present.

The plan, turn a boring white t-shirt into a crystal sea of blue tie-dye. I bought a big shirt so that if it turns out crappy, she can pretend that she likes it (like moms do) and wear it as pajamas.

It seemed easy enough:

  1. Crinkle Shirt.
  2. Put elastics around shirt to keep it crinkled
  3. Line sink with trash bag
  4. Put shirt in trash bag
  5. Cover shirt in dye
  6. Tie a knot in trash bag and leave it to sit for several hours
  7. Rinse shirt thoroughly and then put in washing machine
  8. Wash shirt in cold water
  9. Give to mom

What actually happened? I made a huge mess. Damn. did I ever make a mess. The bottle of dye dumped all over my counter (which if you’ve seen pictures of my counter it is a very light cream colour) and I had to wipe it up in a hurry because I also have wood floors and I did not want the dye to drip onto the floors too.

In the process of cleaning the spilled dye, all of my dish towels and one bath towel got covered in a sea of blue. The good news is that it came off the counter. The bad news? I didn’t buy gloves. My hands look like a dye-pack exploded all over them. Please say a prayer for me that there are no banks in this neighbourhood that are robbed in the next few days.

I may or may not also have dye on my nose and my ear. I’m just going to pretend that was intentional.

Everything is presently in the washing machine. After cleaning the dye off the counter, I did the shirt for my mom and had a tiny little bit left, so I dyed a white shirt of mine. As I type this there’s 32 minutes left on the washing machine. So I’ll have to update later as to how it turns out.

I have high hopes. But also, I don’t.

Almost done…

Okay, it’s been a few hours since I left this post. I have to admit, I really don’t love this. Considering the colour I bought was royal blue, I’m a little disappointed that I used so much dye and got only a pale blue and so much white. I’m not really sure if I even want to add this to the package for my mom.

What I did learn though is that different types of fabric soak up the dye differently. This second set of pictures is an old shirt of mine that I’ve had for several years. With this shirt I literally had less than a third of the dye left and just decided to try it to see what happened. I have to say, I like this one a lot better.

All that being said, I definitely can’t give a several year old shirt to my mom for her birthday. So, I will be keeping this one. I kind of dig it. It’s crazy that I only bought one colour of dye and there’s distinctly different colours in each of these shirts.

As for the towels and the dish towels, they definitely look like crap.

It’s a good thing that I really don’t care what my dish towels look like, as long as they work.

TIE DYE ADVICE:

  1. Buy gloves.
  2. Seriously, buy some gloves. Spare your hands.
  3. Use 100% cotton clothing if you have access to it.
  4. Don’t do this on, or near, your white counters or wood floors. Garage? Great! Deck? Great! Kitchen? Avoid if you can.

Okay, that’s it for the tie-dye experiment. I’m not sure that it’s worth all the hype that everyone has given it over the past few months. Although, I do reserve the right to change my mind. Let’s hope I don’t start dying everything I own in the next few days. You really never know what’s going to happen when I get bored.

Story time: The office frat-boy

So, I work for a company filled with computer programmers and scientists. It’s actually a reality that’s quite similar to the Big Bang Theory if you’ve ever seen that show. Most people in the office put me to shame from an intelligence standpoint, but from a social skills standpoint, holding conversations with them is often quite hard.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re all extremely good people. Well, most of them are extremely good people. But they’re scientists and programmers, so they’re awkward. Awkward and hard to carry on conversations with.

Anyways, there’s one guy, Axel (cool name, I know…) who is one of the rare creatures in the office blessed with intelligence and social interaction skills. Axel has not one but TWO PhDs, and upon first glance can seem quite charismatic. The problem with Axel lies within going beyond what’s at the surface to realize that he’s a fucking asshole, and, surprisingly, a massive idiot for having two PhDs.

Axel has terrible luck with women. He doesn’t realize that the terrible luck that he has with women has to do with him being an idiot when it comes to anything that isn’t related to either of his PhDs, and also, the fact that he’s an asshole. So every morning we have to hear stories about how dating is so hard for him and how he understands why men just sleep around because women are so difficult.

Because, you know, respect and kindness is a whole lot to ask for from a man…

Anyways, we have this internal forum for our staff that serves a multitude of purposes, some work related, some not. It’s like a discord server but it was built by our programmers so it’s got a lot more functionality geared towards our company (several dozen people in offices in three different countries). For the purpose of this story, let’s just call it a discord. One of the functions that Axel likes to take advantage of on the discord is the blog.

He’s created this series called ‘Forever alone with Axel’ in which he makes blog posts all about his dating life. In these blog posts he goes into painstakingly stupid detail all about how awful his dating life is.

Keeping in mind that these posts are seen by dozens of employees from three different offices in three different countries, Axel tells stories about how he was afraid to call one girl back because he went to her house to hook up with her, got a sudden case of explosive diarrhea and made a mess of her bathroom then left without saying goodbye while she was laying naked in her room waiting for him. He also tells stories like a somewhat recent blog post he made in which he went on a date with a girl who he felt had bad breath. He asked if they could stop at the store on their way to where they were headed and he proceeded to go and buy mouth wash, give it to her in the car and say ‘A present for you! Don’t say that I never bought you anything’.

His most recent story is about how he took a girl on a date this past weekend and they went to a cafe and sat on the patio, socially distanced style. Whilst on this patio chatting a girl that he’s previously hooked up with was walking by and she stopped to exchange pleasantries. Axel invited her to stay and sit and chat with them (yes, he interrupted their date by inviting a girl to stay whom he’d previously had sex with). I’m 150% certain the way that he tells the story is not the reality of what happened, but either way, the girl who he was supposed to be on a date with went home. So, he took the girl he’d previously hooked up with home with him and hooked up with her. After sex, whilst he was asleep, she got up and left. And she’s been ghosting him since. So, when he couldn’t get in contact with her, he decided he was going to call the girl he originally went on a date with to ask if she wanted to go on a second date. The post goes on to explain that he doesn’t understand why the girl wouldn’t agree to a second date and that he also doesn’t understand why she was mad. At the end of the post he suggests that perhaps the hook-up who left him in the middle of the night is just busy and she plans on calling him back later this week, and that he hopes that’s the case because she is ‘amazing in the sack’.

Completely appropriate things to be sharing on a public forum for all of your coworkers to see, right?

Several times a week we hear remarks about how women are so difficult, smack dab in the middle of our meetings. Or he’ll ask passive aggressive questions to the females in the conversation asking us why we’re so difficult or why we make things so hard for men.

He needs an intervention.

  1. To tell him to stop sharing all of this information in a company forum for all of his coworkers to see because it’s both not appropriate and people don’t care about his shitty love life, or lack thereof. (I guess you could say that I do care based on this post and my admitting to reading it, but I would suggest that I read his posts because it’s a lot like a car accident… you don’t want to look but you can’t look away)
  2. To tell him that he’s a fucking idiot and if he tried common sense, respect, kindness, he’d probably have a lot more luck with the female gender.
  3. To tell him that we’re(females) not that hard to figure out so long as you’re not talking to us in the passive aggressive equivalent of a subtweet.
  4. To remind him that it really doesn’t matter how many PhDs he has, if he’s an asshole people aren’t going to like him.

He really may just end up being one of those men who is ‘forever alone’. I don’t mean that in the dramatic sense, I just mean that in the… ‘there comes a point in life when you have to realize you’re a fucking idiot’ sense, and I don’t know that he ever will. He’s this weird mix of overly-cocky, overly-intelligent, overly-social but completely inept at understanding social cues.

He’s a weird mixture of Sheldon, Howard and Penny’s ex-boyfriend Zack from the Big Bang Theory. Intelligent, cocky and really fucking stupid.

lol

Someone from our Middle East office asked if he was living in a romantic comedy and he said ‘No. I can’t be. At least in the romantic comedy the guy ends up with the girl in the end. Me, I never get the girl’.

I wonder why…

It couldn’t be because you go on a date with a girl and take a completely different girl home that night to have sex with, could it?

Story time: The time I was spit on

A man spit in my face once. Actually, I shouldn’t really call him a man. He was 20, exceptionally immature and generally a disgusting human being. Calling him a man seems like a disservice to men in this world. Then again, calling him a boy seems like I’m making an excuse for his behaviour. There’s no excuse for spitting on people.

It was March 2018. I was having a discussion with my friend Rob about another crazy story from his work-life. Rob was the chief of police. Though he never told me anything that was confidential, I did hear some crazy stories from the man over the years that I knew him. We’d just grabbed some coffee and we were waiting for players to return from the intermission of the game we were watching. Rob was telling me a story about how a few nights prior he was working the graveyard shift and he found himself, at 2:00 in the morning, chasing a man in his tighty-whiteys yielding a machete high off some sort of illegal substance through the courtyard of city hall. He uh, well he has no fears.

Rob is tower of a human being. He stands at 6 feet 7 inches tall. He has an extremely intimidating presence. Had he not been married to one of my coworkers, I likely would have feared him just based on his presence. Nevertheless, I digress. Cop life was a fit for him.

So, the explanation of Rob is important to the story because Rob actually plays a pretty integral role into what came from the rest of that evening.

During the third period a fight broke out. This was a bad fight. One of the players actually attempted to use a piece of his equipment to inflict dangerous, physical harm that could disable another player for life during this fight.

Typically, though a player is going to be kicked out of the game for such actions, they’re put in the penalty box while the referee reviews the play, what happened and what lead to the dangerous actions to ensure they have everything correct for expulsion from the game because they will have to file a report after.

This player was minutes from being kicked out. He was mad. He got into the penalty box and started using his equipment to try and break the penalty box. Which… physically speaking isn’t possible. But, he was angry and being an idiot, trying to inflict damage and throwing around threats to anyone he laid his eyes on.

Rob being Rob, well he stepped in. He stood in front of this player, towering at least 6 or 7 inches over him, and told him to sit down and calm down. This player didn’t.

I needed to collect some information from this player for the incident report so I asked Rob to get it for me.

Ohhhhhh, let me just say no one was prepared for what happened next.

This player got mad. He got up and in his fit of fury decided he was going to come after me. Problem was, even with all of his equipment on, he was still a lot shorter and smaller than Rob and Rob was standing between him and I. Rob was literally holding this player back from trying to jump at me and swing punches as he hurled insults my direction and shouted some pretty vulgar things.

I’ve been around sports most of my life so hearing vulgar things doesn’t really phase me. I don’t like. I don’t think it’s acceptable. But, I also can’t control the things that people say, so, I don’t let it get to me when disgusting things are said to me. Especially if it’s coming from someone like a 20 year old brat with a bad temper, no social skills and clear anger issues.

What did phase me though, was that in that moment when the player couldn’t overpower Rob, he decided to spit on me. He knew that he couldn’t get past Rob so he hocked a loogie and spit directly into my face.

It was one of the most disgusting moments of my life.

I was shocked. I was embarrassed. I was immediately scared. This idiot’s saliva had just landed in my eye and on my face.

This player does not know that the man he’s been trying to overpower to come at me is actually the Chief of Police. No one ever really knew what Rob did because it wasn’t something that Rob broadcasted to anyone outside of his circles. He just did his job and lived his life.

Well, in the moment when he spit on me, everyone knew it. Largely because everyone heard him hocking a loogie and then because everyone heard me scream in terror when the spit hit my face.

Here in Canada spitting on someone is a form of assault. This player, not realizing that he’s just committed a form of assault in front of the city’s chief of police, kept on shouting vulgar things at me as I started to cry and pull off my jacket and sweatshirt and scrape away at my skin with said clothing because I felt disgusting due to their being spit on me.

I kid you not, Rob grabbed this player by the back of his neck, walked him out of the penalty box and down the hall to the dressing room. He didn’t ask the referees, he didn’t wait for anyone, he just walked him down the hall and put him in the dressing room.

He came back to check on me. I was crying at this point in time. It was just such a disgusting feeling. I felt like I needed a shower. I felt like I’d been violated in a sense. I just felt… unclean. People say that I completely overreacted when it happened, but I really don’t think that I did. Until you’ve been spit at, in the face, you really can’t understand just how disgusting it feels. And by a stranger… someone you don’t know. It’s just… it really does leave you with this sense of feeling like you want to crawl out of your skin.

Rob’s a cop. He’d just watched this entire thing unfold. He got on his phone and he called some cops, who were on duty, to come on down and help this get sorted out. He made a statement, he vouched about what happened on the ice, and then about what happened to me when I got spat on. Because the police were there, I had to make a statement about getting spit on.

The police were waiting for this player when he came out of the dressing room. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a good sight. So Rob stayed back next to me, and the two police officers that came waited for this player to walk out of the dressing room to inform him they’d been told of what happened. This player got angry again, screaming down the hall at Rob and myself ‘You called the fucking cops on me, you pieces of shit!’

At this point the player proceeded to walk past the cops saying that everything they were told was a lie and that they were wasting their time and should go back to the donut shop. (Classy, I know)

When the two on-duty police officers pointed out that they had statements from an off-duty police officer that he witnessed the player spit on someone and that’s a form of assault, the player got angry.

‘You’re a fucking pig?’ He yelled in our direction. Then he tried to run at us again. The two on-duty police officers held him back. Like, this player has a serious anger issue. So, the police officers were holding him back and he hit one of the police officers in the face, which is a form of assault against a police officer.

So, they handcuffed him and took him off to the station.

It took three months following, but this player was actually charged with three counts of assault.

  1. For using his equipment to inflict harm upon one of the players on the ice.
  2. For spitting on me.
  3. For hitting a police officer in the face.

The initial count of assault ended up being thrown out because, reviewing the video of the game, they could not prove intent to harm based on what the player had done. The crown prosecutor argued that he could have accidentally tried to use his skate blade to cut the other player’s neck. Which… was complete and utter bullshit, but whatever, I don’t control the justice system.

He was charged with assault for spitting on me and he was charged with assault for hitting the police officer when they were trying to hold him back from running at Rob and I after he learned that Rob was a police officer.

Nothing ended up going to trial. He admitted guilt. I think he realized he had no choice but to admit guilt because he knew that he spit on someone in front of the chief of police and proceed to hit a police officer in front of two other police officers and a crowd of people.

He was given a fine and probation and forced to take anger management classes.

In a weird twist of events, though the player pleaded guilty to two charges of assault, the league actually never punished him. The league said that we could not prove that the player intended to injure the other player his skate blade and that there was no video footage of me being spit on, so it could have been any one of the six people around at that moment who decided to spit on me.

The league took zero ownership of the incident that involved the police officer being hit because they said they cannot control the actions of said players once they leave the ice, and therefore he cannot be held accountable by the league for something that could’ve very well happened on a sidewalk anywhere in the city on any day of the week.

Rob kept working games after that.

I think it was good for him. He loves hockey and he has a commanding enough presence that, when players pull bullshit like what happened that night, he played an integral role in calming down situations.

I didn’t keep working games.

I wrote an angry letter to the league explaining that I went home wearing someone else’s clothing that evening because I was so disgusted and felt so unclean I couldn’t bear to wear my jacket and sweatshirt. I actually threw away that jacket and sweatshirt. I remember crying my eyes out in the arena bathroom trying to scrub my skin, to try and make myself feel clean. It wasn’t like a small spit wad. It was like… a mouth full of disgusting spit that hit my face and ran down my face onto my neck and my clothing because there was so much of it.

I told the league they shouldn’t expect people to be there if they cannot protect the people who are there. I told the league that if they don’t take hard stances on behaviour like that, they’re as culpable for the behaviour as the person who commits it. Yeah, behaviour might be learned, but that doesn’t mean it has to be accepted.

The league basically black-listed me. Which was fine. I wasn’t going back there again.

As for what happened to the player… in late 2018 he was arrested for pushing his pregnant girlfriend down a flight of stairs.

In 2019 he was arrested again for kidnapping his child causing a nation-wide amber alert to go out and ended up ‘on the run’ for just 48 hours before they police caught up with him.

Currently he’s serving a two year jail sentence. After he was arrested for kidnapping his baby, his girlfriend came forward with allegations of continued physical assault throughout the relationship that included statements like her saying she was punched so hard she actually lost two of her teeth.

In 2019 when he went to jail the league, who had allowed him to play all throughout his troubles with the law (spitting, hitting a police officer, pushing his girlfriend down the stairs), finally made a public statement about him.

It was your standard run of the mill PR Bullshit.

‘We’re so shocked to learn of the actions of [player’s name]. We’re sending our complete support to [his ex-girlfriend] and [his child] during this troubling time and we want everyone to know that we do not condone these actions, or domestic violence of any kind.’

Now, I’m not saying this night set off a chain reaction of events in his life that led to him pushing his pregnant girlfriend down the stairs and subsequently kidnapping his baby. He clearly has anger issues and has clearly had them for a lot longer than I’ve ever bared witness to. That being said, an arena full of people watched him take his skate off of his foot and use the blade to physically try and slice someone’s neck. The chief of police watched him spit directly into my face as a form of trying to intimidate me, and two police officers had to physically hold him back, one of which ended up getting punched in the process.

If a league isn’t willing to take a stance on that behaviour, why do they get to play the ‘we had no idea it was this bad’ after this player’s behaviour makes national news.

They knew what he was like. They made excuses for it. They continued to pay him and cover his actions, that continued to the point where a pregnant woman was pushed down a flight of stairs and a baby was kidnapped.

You know that saying ‘birds of a feather flock together’? I kind of feel like this applies to people. If you’re covering up someone’s shiteous actions for years, quite literally until it makes national news and you just can’t anymore, are you not culpable? I mean, you might not have committed the actions yourself but you knew what was happening you saw hard evidence as to what was happening and heard what was going on behind the scenes… hell WE ALL HEARD. Rather than giving the player ramifications for his actions, they covered them. They swept them under the rug. They kept paying him and making him feel as though his behaviour was okay.

Quite frankly I think he got off easy only getting two years. I really hope that his ex-girlfriend has taken their child and started over somewhere new. I hope she’s not waiting for him to get out. People like that… they need more help than any one person can provide. People like that, they will likely continue to be a part of ‘the system’ for the rest of their life. People like that never seem to think they have a problem.

Anyways, that’s the story of the time someone spit in my face.

People say I overreacted. I really don’t think I did. Some people think being spit on is not a big deal, I personally think it’s one of the most disrespectful and degrading things you can do to a person. Also, it’s disgusting. It is. It makes you feel unclean. It makes you feel gross and it makes you feel less than human.

Releasing thoughts from my brain so they don’t control the rest of my day.

Debt scares me.

When I was a kid my family did not have a lot of money. Often we barely had enough to get by. My parents always made sure that we had food to eat., but I do remember instances where I was wearing my shoes until they had holes in them, and then continuing to wear them past that point. I do remember my siblings and I having to go out on our bikes to the nearby recreation centres and ball parks to look for cans so that we could collect enough money to hopefully put five dollars worth of gas in the vehicle so my father could get to work. I do remember a few times when the collection of cans did not provide enough and my dad actually hitch-hiked to work.

Debt scares me. I don’t ever want to go back to that place.

Now that I’m an adult, I am really good at living within my means. I’m really good at not getting something unless I absolutely need it. I’m really good at going without. I know the difference between needs and wants and I know how to stretch a dollar. I’m very careful with what I purchase. I’m very careful with how I choose to live because debt scares me.

I want a plan.

I want to know that everything is going to be okay. I want safety and security in a world that can provide anything but.