Well, Merry post-Christmas to you all, and Happy anticipated New Year.

Sorry for freaking out so many of you with the last post, and thank you to those who called or emailed to question me as to just what the hell was going on. In short, I had come out of a meeting that angered me, and I just put down on paper (as it were) the thoughts that were running through my head -- something I've been doing less and less lately, which frustrates me sometimes.

I did start writing a story one day a few weeks ago, and who knows how that'll go. I really need to get around to actually fleshing out that story I had started so long ago. I have the characters, I have the setting, I have the 'rules' set out -- I just don't have the conflict for them to undergo. And, having finished a book that had no real conflict in it, that was just a screen capture of someone's life for a week (yeah, I'm a geek), I know that that isn't necessarily the nicest book to read... especially if you really don't care about the character being profiled and maybe want to smack him, but can't really justify the impulse.

Oh yeah, run-on sentences make me hot.

I think I've lost my previous fan base, which is pretty depressing. Maybe it's just the holidays, or maybe it's the fact that I'm not updating as regularly as I used to, but it saddens me. Part of my lack of updates stems from the fact that my current cubicle arrangement has people entering my cubicle behind me, and perfectly able to see everything I type -- which is not exactly conducive to the salacious updates that you've come to know and expect from me.

I've also been spending crazy amounts of time on the couch trying to finish various craft projects. I made mittens for my paternal grandfather, mittens for the Smooshy, a toque for the Smooshy, and a large mystery present that I can't talk about yet because it hasn't been delivered (or even finished, really; I have a buttload of ends to sew in).

Apparently the 'save as draft' function has changed, or it just hates me. Whatever. I'm going to wrap this up right now, 'cause I have bullshit to do. This ties into my last post.


Dear You,

Fuck. You.

No love,
I had a dream this morning that I was shopping in a CD store. I was looking through a rack of CDs, and there was a cat underneath the display poking at my toes. When I woke up, Thena was around my feet.

About a week ago, just before waking up (I could feel myself panting and my heart beating quickly as I came into consciousness/after I did wake up), I had a dream that I came home to my apartment and my door was partly open, as was the inside door (which in reality doesn't exist). Knowing it was the wrong thing to do, I opened the door and looked inside, to see my place being ransacked. I must've made a noise or something, because suddenly a large man with a head of curly blond-ish hair was at the door, holding an X-Acto knife like a dart. He didn't say anything, but the implication was clear, and I was afraid that he was going to throw this thing at me and get me someplace important.

Even in my dream, I wasn't concerned about my possessions; that's what insurance is for. I was more concerned that my cats were lying around the apartment, sliced open.

Although realistically, I know Venus would run and hide; Thena would probably hide also, but maybe not.

And no, when I awoke, I was not being menaced by anyone with pencils, pens, or other similar implements.

I just wanted to share that for now; more later.
My country is pretty awesome:

CBC.CA News - Full Story :
Swingers clubs not harmful to society: top court
Last Updated: Dec 21 2005 02:52 PM EST
Clubs that allow group sex and partner swapping do not harm Canadian society and should not be considered criminal, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Wednesday.

The high court, which was ruling on two Quebec cases, said Canadian standards can tolerate the activities, even when they are done amid spectators.

Interior of a Montreal swinger club
The judges, in a 7-2 ruling, said the test for indecency is the harm it causes, and not simply community standards.

The ruling says, for example, there was no evidence of anti-social attitudes toward women or men, no one was pressured to have sex, no one paid for sex and nobody was treated as a sexual object.

The cases involved two swingers clubs in Montreal that allowed sex acts that included swapping.

One case involved James Kouri, owner of a club called Coeur a Corps.

He was convicted by a lower court on two counts of keeping a common bawdy house and fined $7,500.

YOUR SPACE: Letters on the Supreme Court ruling

The other case involved Jean-Paul Labaye who ran a members-only club called L'Orage.

He was convicted of keeping a bawdy house and fined $2,500.

At the Court of Appeal, however, the cases took different turns. Labaye's conviction was upheld while Kouri's conviction was overturned. Now the Supreme Court has given a favourable ruling in both cases.


Copyright © 2005 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved


An article on the abortion issue that I thought was rather well-written:

From The Leader-Post (Regina):

Abortion issue should be personal, not political

Abortion came to the political forefront in the United States recently with President George W. Bush's nominations to the Supreme Court.

The battle was joined again.

Now, more than ever, we need to recognize that there is no single Christian perspective on abortion, no single ideology that passes scriptural muster, no one correct way for people of faith to think about this issue.

Some will try to make it simple, with slogans and shouted Bible verses, but that is just bullying. Like any other significant moral issue, the issue of abortion won't be resolved by demonizing those who hold opposing views, by making it artificially yes or no, or by bowing to the loudest shouter.

In my view, we must separate the decision to have an abortion from the politics of allowing legal abortion to occur.

Abortion is a personal and pastoral matter, more wrenching to the woman or couple involved than outsiders realize. Abortion isn't a casual form of birth control, but a difficult decision made by a variety of women for a variety of reasons, usually under stress.

My wish for any woman considering an abortion: a caring pastor, caring family, accurate information and a competent physician. By politicizing abortion, one sector of organized religion has abandoned its primary role as pastor and caregiver. How many women will seek religion's care when they know to expect the scorpion of judgment and condemnation? When abortion touches your life and your family, you need information, counsel and sound medical advice.

In my opinion, abortion doesn't merit the fury or political centrality being accorded it. Of the many moral issues that could merit our attention, abortion seems less frequent in occurrence than incest and addiction, and less damaging to the human community than, say, racism, systemic poverty and genocide. And yet, on this one issue, people square off angrily, and powerful institutions spend lavishly to sway public opinion and policy.

I think abortion is to our society what wearing the veil has become to Islamic fundamentalists: a way to balance a society's moral ledger by forcing something on women. I urge you to read Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi's poignant account of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, where morality police forced women to wear the veil and to give up personal freedom, arguing that the future of both religion and state depended on it.

In my opinion, something similar is going on with abortion. The focus is entirely on women (not the men who impregnate them), on denying women a personal freedom, and on punishing women who are poor and vulnerable.

I don't buy the notion that abortion, politically, is about the sanctity of human life. If that sanctity truly mattered to people, then we would hear similar outcries against capital punishment, alcohol and drugs, tobacco, guns, warfare and other known threats to life. I think the abortion issue is about women's freedom, not about theories of life.

Nor do I buy political arguments on behalf of children not born. If we truly cared about children, we wouldn't be reducing health-care benefits, chipping away at government safety nets, exposing children to exploitative entertainment, or allowing children to spend 61/2 hours a day being electronically amused and intellectually deadened.

I don't doubt the sincerity of most people who care about abortion. I do notice, however, that opposition to abortion centres based on improving someone else's morality, a practice that Jesus cautioned against. I wish the same zeal could be applied to larger and less safe issues, such as allocation of wealth.

I also notice that some religious and political leaders use abortion to amass power. They mislead their flocks by making abortion a litmus test on faith and belonging, not to mention distorting the political process by using abortion as a wedge issue to blur the separation of religion and state.

- Tom Ehrich is a writer, consultant and leader of workshops. His book, Just Wondering, Jesus: 100 Questions People Want to Ask, was published by Morehouse Publishing. An Episcopal priest, he lives in Durham, N.C. His Web site is www.onajourney.org


Sheesh, I try to do what the audience requests, and still I get nothing. That's it, 17-paragraph update about Buffy on the way for you guys.

Actually, I went out dress shopping with some of the ladies on Sunday, and I found a calendar of Spike, and a calendar of Buffy (the cast). I was tempted, but I think I might try my luck on the after-January 1st sales of calendars, as is my habit. I can't quite justify spending $20 on a calendar that I can get for anywhere from $5-10 a few days into the new year.

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year. I happened upon a pretty good second gift for my sister yesterday, so the immediate family is all taken care of. All that remains are my grandfathers, my nanny, a few friends (who don't know they're getting gifts, so even better), and the Smooshy... although he's quite positive he's getting slippers for Christmas, so I'm going to get a good laugh when he and I do our gift exchanges.

I picked up a couple of books in order to try to use up one of my three Chapters gift certificates. I'm back into wanting to read critique-style books, so that was a bit more of my theme, although it did only account for one book (I was in a storefront Coles, instead of a Chapters). I finished reading "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs," by Chuck Klosterman, and it wasn't too bad. I also polished off "East of Eden," by John Steinbeck, and turned that into my book club pick for January. It's long, but good.

Right now I've picked up "The Catcher in the Rye" for about the fourth time and I've made some decent progress this time. I have the feeling I'm going to wind up disliking the character at the end, but we'll see. I have a problem with the disaffected youth that seems to saturate the market lately (and in years past; this isn't exactly a recent book), and I've ranted in the past about movies and books with these characters, so I won't bother. I'm trying to stay open-minded, but so far I think I just want to smack Holden Caulfield.

I've been compiling my list for Christmas cards, so if you get an email from me requesting your mailing address, that's probably why. Conversely, if you want a Christmas card from me, feel free to contact me at litterboxjen at yahoo dot ca and I'll see what I can do. I also have to pick up some gifts for a Secret Santa gift exchange I'm doing through an LJ community I belong to, and I have to get that done yesterday-ish.

Last week and a bit this morning, I spent time going through an ATIP request that we were releasing, checking to see if there were any issues that we might have to address. The ATIP was (or seems to have been for) emails received on a particular issue. These emails came from the general public, who comprise the usual assortment of folks who are educated on the issue and have valid points to make, and those who have read a hysterionics-inducing article here or there, and are reacting accordingly.

My time on these emails reinforced a few beliefs I have had:
* A tragic number of people in this world cannot write.
* A tragic number of people in this world believe that fucking swearing, CAPITAL letters, exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!! and condemning us to purgatory (instead of Hell, where it's reputed that all the cool folks go; I'm destined to never be cool), will somehow make us consider their remarks with extra weight and thought. It's like the guy who, when rebuffed by a lady he fancies, calls her a bitch and a dyke. Granted, swearing at the boys who turned me down got me where I am today, but I'm frequently the exception to the rule.
* What else? Oh yeah: people are fucking nuts.

I would quote examples, but although the information is now in the public domain, I've always made a point of keeping my work and this blog separate (more or less; I don't tell you where I work, although I do acknowledge that I work, and the general industry), and I don't feel right posting what are essential private comments. In addition, I'd have to edit them so much to keep my work out of it that the point would be more or less lost in some cases. Plus, I'm too lazy to go through 500+ pages of material to share the 5-6 gems of which I speak.

Because these emails are 'private', the folks who are associated with this issue had to contact each of the citizens who emailed or wrote in and ask if we could share their names with the ATIP requester. A vast majority said no (or their names were removed anyhow; I'm not sure how it worked), so there were a lot of greyed-out email addresses and names. That's cool, I respect a person's right to maintain their anonymity (and I practice this myself). What I did find somewhat funny were the few folks who asked to have their names blacked out, but then also had included newspaper articles or some such that they had written and had published that gave their name in the byline. Again, public domain information and so on, but why not just keep the first one open as well, and maybe just ask them to black out the second half of your email address (i.e., your ISP or whatnot). Ah well, probably more issues I just don't really know about, and that's okay.

I'd continue on in this vein, and with things I actually meant to write about, but it's now time for me to depart. I get to decide if I want to do more shopping, or just go home and be lumpy. I think lumpy wins tonight -- as it so often does. Here's also hoping my torrent download has completed! :)


As a follow-up to the post that no one has read (or so I am choosing to assume), the Hamilton Spectator has another article here.

Here is the first little bit. Go to the link to get the full article:

Stop quizzing women: College
By Dianne Rinehart
Special to The Hamilton Spectator
(Dec 8, 2005)
The Ontario College of Pharmacists has advised its members to stop asking invasive and personal questions of women seeking the morning-after pill.

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian met with the college yesterday and it agreed to stop using the controversial guidelines issued by the Canadian Pharmacist Association.


Ranty, ranty...

It’s very possible that I smell pretty today, although I’m not entirely sure I can tell. I bought a new body wash and lotion yesterday, and they smell like toffee – a bit like slightly burnt toffee when I use the body wash, but still very tasty nonetheless. The body butter is pretty nice, too; it seems to be helping my poor winter-sucking legs out.

This is my shallow post, in response to my more in-depth one, it would seem. However, I could always get into issues.

Let’s see… latest news I’ve read has some pharmacists who were refusing to issue birth control to their clients (here and here were the original sources I used), which I wrote about back here, are now being punished (reference here). What can I say, but that this encouraging at least for Illinois-area women. Although I should clarify; these pharmacists are being taken to task for not selling the morning-after pill; other pharmacists were refusing to sell birth control pills.

Now, one line in particular from the article confuses me somewhat: ”Walgreen policy says pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions to which they are morally opposed — except where state law prohibits — but they must take steps to have the prescription filled by another pharmacist or store, Bruce said.”
I’m curious… what other prescriptions, aside from perhaps Viagra or its derivatives, would be something to which people would be “morally opposed’? I mean, it’s not as though pharmacists are dispensing medications made from clubbed baby seals, or ground-up baby parts, or anything of the sort, right? Why is it that moral opposition always seems to concentrate on sexuality? Would there be pharmacists (perhaps Jehovah’s Witnesses?) who were morally opposed to dispensing anti-rejection drugs for someone who had had an organ transplant, and would refuse to dispense them? Wouldn’t the outrage and furor be loud in a case like that? Why is there only a murmur when it only affects one gender, or happens to be something that affects sexuality?

Grr. Getting myself somewhat worked up here. I wonder if these same pharmacists happen to keep the condoms behind the pharmacy shelf and require their patrons to request them, so that they can then deny them. I wonder if these pharmacists ‘allow’ their wives to use birth control pills. I wonder if they use condoms in order to prevent pregnancy.

I understand that some people consider life to begin at conception, or some people even consider the egg and sperm to be living, and so they feel that birth control pills, by preventing an egg from implanting, to be impeding life. I’m not about to get into an argument with someone over when ‘life’ begins. But I have to wonder… for those people who believe that life begins before conception – do they mourn when they have a wet dream? Do they mourn a woman’s period? Am I just talking out of my ass without properly looking up anything I’m talking about and only working off of vague recollections?

Yeah, sorry. I haven’t spent as much time writing this missive as I did the last one on this subject. :) Needless to say… I’m cheering the fact that Walgreens is punishing these pharmacists. For a woman in need of the morning-after pill, time is of the essence, and being denied access to the medication, or not being told where else she might be able to obtain it, is terrible.

Speaking of morning-after pills… the Canadians aren’t entirely blameless in this situation, either. There have been several articles I have read on this subject, but the link I’m providing is to the Hamilton Spectator’s article, because it’s the one I bookmarked from work. I can’t guarantee how long the link is going to be active, I’m afraid, but if it disappears, well… there are plenty of places to find similar information, I’m sure.

Anyhow, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, who, if I’m interpreting this correctly, design the guidelines for the pharmacists across Canada, which requires pharmacists ask women for: their name, address, the date of their last menstrual period (as opposed to what other kind?), when you had unprotected sex, and your customary method of birth control. Not to mention, this information is going to be stored in a computer, and as the editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal points out, can be subpoenaed.
Now. On the one hand, I don’t really care too much about people reading my medical history. For the most part, it’s a pretty boring litany of the regular complaints – occasional ear infections, a personal history of benign skin staph infections that all babies get and some simply don’t get rid of (yay me), colds that went on to long, annual checkups, and lately, the dreaded PAP smear. Whoop-de-shit. Granted, there is some information in there that I choose to reveal to a very short list of people that I wouldn’t necessarily feel like having emblazoned wherever this kind of stuff was going to be emblazoned (I imagine it would be more of a problem if I wanted to become a political figure, or a religious one), but on this same one hand, I overall don’t care too much about it becoming public knowledge.

However… on the other hand, I do care to keep my personal information personal, I don’t like the U.S. policy of huge openness and transparency (a favourite government buzzphrase now) in the interests of protecting myself from apparent terrorist threat, and I don’t feel that anyone has the need to or ought to know when my last period was, when I had unprotected sex, and what, if any, form of birth control I regularly use.

On the one hand, I can see that this might be a ‘good’ way of tracking women who are irresponsible and regularly have unprotected sex, and maybe trying to convince them that using condoms or some other form of birth control might be in their better interest.

However, on the other hand, this type of risky behaviour is not something women engage in alone. Men are typically very eager and willing participants in the sex act, and if this is consensual partner sex, then fucking make sure you are using something.

It’s one thing if the woman fucks up on her birth control – be it the pill, the patch, the sponge, or whatnot – or takes some medication or herbal supplements that interfere with a hormonal birth control product. This type of thing does happen, women are human, and mistakes get made.

But if you know for a fact that your partner is not on any kind of hormonal birth control, then ‘just risking it this once’ is a dumb fucking idea. Use a condom. If you can’t come easily with a condom on, their either fuck until you want to come and get a blowjob/handjob/finish yourself off, or practice beating off with a condom on so that you can manage it. Try different condoms. Try putting lube in the condom. Get more foreplay before you start fucking. Experiment. But don’t just risk it, because in the end, I’m sorry, but I do believe that it is easier in one sense for men to walk away from a pregnancy or a baby than it is for women. That’s another point I could go off on, but that’s not my current rant.

If a woman is raped, then I fully support her in her quest for the morning-after pill, an abortion, or any other type of recourse she might choose to take. If she chose to keep her baby, then I fully support that notion, too. I don’t know if I would want to in that situation, but, and I knock wood as I say this, it’s thankfully not an issue I have had to deal with up to this stage in my life.

From the information I have read on rape victims, it’s my understanding that it’s difficult enough to pick up and go on with your life. Reporting it to the police and having to repeat your story over and over again is difficult enough, let alone suddenly be presented with a pharmacist who – though they may be only following guidelines – is asking you when you had this unprotected sex, and what birth control you usually use. This is being done as a way to ‘counsel’ women. Does this mean that the pharmacist, or the CPhA is going to take on responsibility to counsel the women who have been raped? What do they see as ‘counselling’ anyhow? Talking to women about responsible birth control? Does this include the women who are already well-versed in birth control and maybe forgot to take a pill one day for whatever reason? Or is this being reserved for the women who use nothing? Will there be a seminar that women are forced to endure before being dispensed their medication, or simply a pamphlet? A sermon from a pious pharmacist who only knows the answers you give him or her, and not the possibly mitigating circumstances?

I like to think that if I had been raped, and a pharmacist started asking me these kinds of questions, I'd get angry and yell at them. "When I had this unprotected sex? Oh, I didn't have sex. I was fucking raped. And no, it wasn't because I asked for it, I wasn't wearing a short skirt, I didn't flirt with the guys, etc... Rape isn't about sex, it's about power. This asshole felt he needed to have power over me, and so he took his cock and he fucked me without my permission. When did this happen? Two days ago. And as you can see, I'm just over the moon about it. Thank you very much. Can I have my fucking drugs now, so that I can reduce the chance that in addition to violating me, making me go through rounds of personal questions with strangers such as yourself, making me go through sexually transmitted disease testing to ensure that he didn't give me something that could fuck up my chances of having children with a future husband or of having something like HIV or AIDS, and making me feel like shit, this asshole didn't also impregnate me with a child I didn't choose to have at this time?!?"

But I can't know that, since I haven't been raped. But I'd like to think I'd do something like that. Of course, I often think of having conversations like that, but I rarely do. I'm actually a lot nicer than most people realize, surprising as that is going to sound. I think of many worse things than I ever actually do or say... much as I'd like to. But moving on.

I took the morning-after pill once. It’s a bit of a misnomer; there are two pills that you take 12 hours apart. Guess what? They’re not fun. It’s essentially a huge dose of birth control pills, and it made me nauseous enough to spend a day at home. Most women are not doing this sort of thing for fun, I will go out on a limb and assure you.

Finally… I’m frustrated with the blame and judgement that seems to get assigned to women for taking responsibility of their sexuality. People make mistakes, and fuck up on their birth control. It happens, don’t judge them. If it happens often enough, then sure, I think they should switch methods of birth control. I applaud my girlfriend who recognizes that she would never remember to take the pill, and uses other methods of birth control. Good for her.

Someone who has unprotected sex. Okay, they’re dumb. But as I said, it’s not just the woman’s fault. The guy needs to take responsibility and put on a condom, even if it might affect the sex. Guess what? It can affect the sex for us, too. But there are men I know who have never had sex without a condom, even if the woman is on the pill. Good for them; they’re being responsible.

Someone who has been raped. Don’t even get me started. It’s not your business to know this. The question of when you last had sex may be medically necessary, in order to ensure the pill is being used when it would still be effective – up to 72 hours after sex has occurred – but that can be achieved with a simple caution or advisory from the pharmacist before they dispense it: “I need to tell you that this is only going to be effective up to 3 days/72 hours after sex has taken place. If it has been longer than that time, then this pill may not/will not help you.” Then, depending on their response or lack thereof, dispense it anyways. It’s not as though this is a drug that can be used recreationally (to my knowledge, at least).

And although I’m sure I have more to say on the matter, I’m going to wrap this up with one final point. I find it ironic that the CPhA wants to counsel women who want the morning-after pill, but they publish a patient guide that includes, in the 2006 guide at least, tips for better sex in later life. That somehow just strikes me as … not quite right. Maybe I’m reading too much into this.

The moral:

Men: you are also responsible for birth control. Use condoms, or make sure your partner is on something.

Women: speak the fuck up. If you’re not on something that will prevent babies, make sure you use condoms. Insist on it! If he won’t, then either do other things or nothing at all.


On friendship

I’ve wondered at various times what it is that makes someone a good friend, and how much we happen to owe our friends.

I like to think – as does everyone, I’m sure – that I’m a fairly good friend. I’m loyal and honest to my friends, and I support them in the things they choose to do, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the path they’re taking. Sometimes I’m the first person to speak critically about my friends, which I think confuses people. I believe – I know? – that no one’s perfect. I have a list of faults a mile and a half long. But I think that being able to see and speak to someone’s faults and care for them regardless of how much they drive you crazy sometimes is an important element of friendship. You’re friends with someone because of their good qualities, and you accept them with their bad ones – you just learn how to deal with them, or ignore them as works for you and your friend.

When I disagree with something that one of my friends is doing, I will usually not say so to them. I feel that it’s their life and their choices, and it’s not necessarily my place to speak out. If pressed, or if I feel it’s very important, I will tell my friends once how I feel. Whether it’s saying that someone’s significant other treats them poorly, or that maybe they should save up more money before doing this or that, or whether they should stop sleeping with that person and here’s the reasons why I feel that way… I say it once. I figure after once, you know how I feel on the issue, and I don’t want to be that friend who’s harping at you. Plus, if I go off on a tear about how much I hate my friend’s significant other after they break up, and they get back together again… won’t I feel like an ass.

But sometimes, friends need support. This is normal, and part of being a friend is to be there for them. But I’ve always wondered where that line is meant to be drawn. While I would be there for any of my friends in a minute, that also depends on my ability to be there for them. I believe that first and foremost, you have to look out for yourself, because when it comes down to it, everyone looks out for themselves first. I will be there for the Smooshy anytime he needs me, and I am there for any of my other friends should they need me, but if my life is going through hell, and your life is going through hell, I’m very sorry, but I have to ultimately look out for me first.

Maybe this is a selfish position, I’ve never really been sure. But I also think that surrounding yourself with emotionally needy people is a sure-fire way to wind up exhausted, drained, and with nothing left over for you… which in the end means nothing left over for your friends. If you want to look at it that way.

Most of my friends are, technically speaking, adults. I have friends who are soon-to-be parents, I have friends that are married or engaged, I have friends that live on their own or with roommates, and I have friends who still live at home. Most of these friends are within a few years on either side of being my age (25, if you haven’t been keeping track). On a grand scale, I don’t try to judge my friends’ situations; everyone has their reasons for living at home/with roommates/on their own, and everyone has their reasons to be parents/married/living with someone. I’m very happy for many of my friends, have no doubt. But there are also others that concern me.

I believe in independence, regardless of gender. I believe that anyone who is regularly employed and living out of their parents’ home should be able to manage their financial situation with some measure of success. This means being able to pay your bills on time, and ideally pay down debts and even put aside some savings. I’ve never presented myself as the picture of fiscal responsibility, but I’ve never had a month where I feared being kicked out of my apartment or losing any of my utilities or luxuries. I know I’ve been very fortunate in the employment situation, but having seen many friends go through different employment situations (and having worked a minimum of two jobs since I was 17), I think that being employed is usually not a difficult thing to do. I’ve had friends with very unfortunate situations, and I have sympathy for them, but that’s partly because they are also independent and spent many days straight looking for work.

I guess I’m a tough friend. My sympathies tend more naturally towards those who try to help themselves. Whether this means going on EI; working a shit job to have an income; living with roommates because you can’t afford a place on your own; working outside of your industry in order to have an income; breaking up with someone who isn’t a right match for you; taking your medications, whatever they might be (no babies here!); whatever… you have to look out for you.

Yes, friends are there to support you. Yes, friends are there to provide a shoulder for you to lean on when you need it, or advice when you want it, or even just a kick in the ass when you need it (or they think you do)… but what it all boils down to is, after a certain point in time, you’re considered, for better or worse, to be an adult. You have to look after you. You have to pay your bills, find yourself a new apartment, pick up your groceries, see your doctor, see your dentist, go to work, get your bus pass, shave your face, wash your clothes, and so on and so forth, all by yourself.

It’s not your friends’ responsibility to hold your hand while you do laundry. It shouldn’t be up to any of my friends to remind me to take my birth control pills (although the Smooshy is certainly within his rights to remind me, if he wants to. I don’t need it, but he’s allowed). If I fuck up and forget to pay a bill on time, or don’t put the money in the right bank account, or forget to get the cats to the vet… well, ultimately that’s my problem, and no one else’s.

I don’t know, maybe I have a cynical view of friendship, maybe I have low expectations for what kind of support to receive from my friends, or maybe I’m just more independent than I think. But I think that being an independent person allows you to be a good friend, because you know how to look after your own stuff and can help them look after theirs – but not do it for them.

Friends are wonderful. Friends are necessary. Friends are great to have around you when you need them. But sometimes, they have their own stuff to deal with, and I think it’s perfectly justifiable for them to look after themselves first, and me second. Or third, or fourth… or whatever. That’s why I like to have several close friends around me. One, it feels nice, and two, it means that I’m not relying on one or two people to be everything for me. Hell, I can even lean on my folks if the need should arise, but I’m fortunate enough to have a fairly good relationship with them.

Of course, I’m also fairly introverted, and there are plenty of times that I haven’t really wanted to talk about bad stuff that’s going on. Sometimes I prefer to just process it internally, or write about it. Whatever, I’m going off-topic.

For those of you that made it this far… what are your thoughts on friendship? Am I way out on my own in this, or am I, as I frequently do, just rambling and enjoying the sound of my own voice?