- by Alyson Shane
When I was a kid one of my summertime jobs was to wrangle all the kids that my mom babysat and walk them to the end of the street so we could all hang out at the playground for a few hours while the little kids had a nap.
I liked that job because I got to be in charge. Because this was pre-internet times I had a fancy watch on a leather strap that gave me the worst tan lines because I only ever took it off to go swimming.
I liked being the one in charge, even though it stressed me out sometimes when a kid would wander away from the playground toward the road or someone got hurt or some kids got into a dumb playground fight.
I liked knowing what was going on. When we needed to be there, when we needed to go back. How much candy and water were left from the backpack I'd bring along. Who needed to go to the bathroom.
Even though kids can be little shits and hate listening to anyone generally everything worked out just fine. A few bumps and scrapes, a few tears over unfair games of Tag and Grounders
(which is a game where everyone tries to stay off the ground while also avoiding whoever is 'It' who's walking around with their eyes closed. Super safe.)
but generally nothing a band-aid and a little talking-to couldn't resolve.
Adult problems are more difficult.
Adults have to hold down jobs and pay taxes and watch out for yr bad knee or yr bad back and drive to the store and save for the future and pay student debt and this, that, and the other thing.
Life comes at you full-tilt and let me tell you it doesn't stop anytime soon, friend.
Sometimes I feel like being an adult is like steering a ship through choppy, unsafe waters. You're navigating the best you can but who knows if there's a big swell coming or a rainstorm or if that damn iceberg is actually way bigger on the underside than you thought it was and now your whole ship is sinking into the ocean and now over 1,500 people have died.
Okay, maybe not quite that bad.
But my point is that most of the adults I talk to feel like we're just trying to steer our boats around whatever unforeseen calamity comes next. Whatever is hidden beneath the waves on a night that looks calm.
The same summer that I was in charge of the kids at the playground was also around the same time that the movie Titanic came out, and my brothers became obsessed with it. They just about memorized the 'Inside The Titanic' book at the library and would list off facts at the dinner table to the point where I would tell them to shut up about it, already.
Did you know that the Titanic was originally was designed to carry 64 lifeboats, but they were so worried about appearances and the deck looking cluttered that they only brought 20?
Did you know that the Titanic's lookout wasn't equipped with binoculars to see icebergs in time to avoid hitting the iceberg?
Did you know that the Titanic held no passenger lifeboat drills to prepare passengers for an emergency evacuation?
Did you know that the final SOS position the Titanic sent out was incorrect?
As a kid all these facts annoyed me because it seemed as though a bunch of stupid mistakes and oversight and hubris led to the sinking of an "unsinkable" ship and a huge and tragic loss of life.
"Why didn't they plan better?" I'd think "why didn't anyone speak up, or think critically, or assess all the potential ways this could have gone wrong so that it didn't happen?"
Which goes to show you how little kids understand about how the world works.
- by Alyson Shane
Never underestimate how much can be accomplished by having a positive, civil conversation with a stranger. I'm serious.
The VoteOpen storefront location opened up today at 201 Portage and so naturally yr girl was there to do interviews and hand out lawn signs and literature and tshirts, and also to talk to people walking by about what they thought about this polarizing issue.
I stood in the underground concourse for over an hour and changed the minds of nine of the "no" votes and talked to at least two dozen people who were already voting "yes" in the referendum in October.
Some people were rude and mean, but at least nobody told me to fuck off like the people at the First Friday event over the weekend.
Canvassing for a cause isn't for the thin-skinned, that's for sure.
I had a woman tell me that being assaulted in one of the stairwells when I was a teenager was "my fault" and that because she, personally, had never felt unsafe downtown then no woman should.
Which is an opinion she is entitled to.
Even if it's wrong.
But overwhelmingly the people I've spoken to have been open-minded and willing to engage in the discussion, which is rare and strange and to be honest not what I expected going into this campaign.
I under-estimated a lot of the people in my city, and that's okay.
Let's just hope the rest of the population proves to be as open-minded and progressive as the people I spoke to today.
Because those are the people who are going to move our city forward.
And, damn it, Winnipeg deserves to move forward.
- by Alyson Shane
It was at the Cinématheque down in The Exchange District and it was the first movie I've seen there in a long time. We ordered popcorn and an Orange Jones Soda, which is my favourite, and a bag of Skittles which are also my favourite.
Luckily for me John's favourite is popcorn so going to the movies together is always an easy experience since we never disagree on what to get. We sat in the second row which didn't matter much since the cinema is so small that there's no bad seats, really.
The movie was Won't You Be My Neighbor? and it was a documentary about Fred Rogers, who most people over 30 will recognize as Mister Rogers of the iconic children's program Mister Rogers Neighbourhood.
He was the guy who talked to you about divorce when your parents were trying to keep you in the dark. He was the adult who explained what it meant to die when everyone around you was saying "Grandma went to sleep forever." He was the adult who said "I like you just the way you are" to a lot of kids who needed to hear it. Me included.
I wore my glasses because I knew I was going to cry at least once, and I did but only a little. I heard a lot of other people sniffling though, so there were at least a few other misty-eyed viewers in the room.
It was weird to get emotional to clips of an old man telling us he liked us just the way we were.
Think about that: a whole room full of people, sniffling and trying to hold back tears, getting emotional about a man who went out of his way to tell them that they're special and deserve to be loved no matter what.
What an incredible impact to be able to have on people.
And how heartbreaking that so many of us still needed to hear it.
I still needed to hear it.
At the end of the film his wife and some of the other interviewees said that Mister Rogers struggled to believe that his show had made a meaningful impact on the world at large.
How he spent his career trying to heal a broken world that seemed to be getting worse, not better, and doubted whether his voice and message had any value in modern society.
Which was the most heartbreaking thing of all if you ask me.