Plastic Bags

A friend on Facebook posted a link to a site which wants people to boycott plastic bags. This is a US thing cause here in Canada it is already in effect.

Across Canada (as far as I know) almost every retailer makes you pay for plastic bags now. WalMart seems to be the only one holding out, giving bags free when you shop there.

It started with the grocery stores. It is the government’s way to get people using the cloth/ green bags instead. It’s also causing people to buy less. People don’t want to pay for bags so they buy what they can carry out in their hands, if they didn’t bring their own bags. I take the bus so I don’t have a car to store bags in. So I’m buying less and end up making more trips.

I expect it will also cause more shoplifting. People just bring their own bags and put stuff into them. Cashiers are not allowed to ask people to empty the bags they bring with them. I know this from my experience as a cashier in a department store.

I really think the plastic water bottle thing causes a lot more plastic waste which would be easier to fix by using green bottles.

There was talk of not using take out cups for coffee any longer. Everyone would have to bring their own. So someone like me would have to carry around a backpack instead of a purse so I could haul around my own bags, my own coffee cup.

The other issue they have been finding with bring your own bags (and would also be relevant to bring your own cups) is bacteria and pure grossness. People are not washing the bags. They use them for more than just groceries, store them in less than clean/ sterile ways. Cashiers have had to refuse to use some bags cause they could not stand the smell of them. At the coffee shops they shoot a spray of hot water into the cups but I doubt that really cleans them enough between coffees.

I’m waiting to see what we have to bring our own of next.

Just Empty Space

I think of space when I think of that day. Kind of odd I guess. But space as an element, a thing you can almost reach out and touch, something that you could hear if you listen during a quiet time.

An empty space is mysterious and unknown. That’s likely why we fear it. Around the corner, at the other side of a dark room, the backseat of the car when you know no one is sitting there. Our hitchhiker was like that. Something in the space that you could almost feel but not actually see, smell or touch. Just something sensed enough to give a creepy feeling and start us looking into dark corners expecting to see her there.

Her, was the girl who died, of course. Alone, in the rainstorm, under a bridge, she drowned in her over turned car. I thought it was a sad way to die. Hoping to be found and yet time passing with no help. Could she see the clock on her dashboard, watch the seconds and minutes pass as she died. The water rising but not filling the car quite enough to ease the pressure so she could force open a door and escape. Or was she already gone when she hit the water? Did she never even know she was dying until she was dead?

Did she now wait on the bridge, looking at the world of the living and want to come back, to join us again or just finally get home.

My husband parked the car there, at her bridge. He’d noticed the floral offerings at the side of the road and wanted to take a look. We often made road trips to cemeteries, abandoned farms and houses. He liked to put them in a more gruesome and haunted light. He’s into horror. I’m not a horror fan, not someone who’d stay up after midnight to watch movies about murderers, violence and gore.

He remembered hearing about the accident and her death on the news. We talked about it. I was sad for her. There was nothing left of the car of course, it had all been towed away, put away and dealt with. He wanted to take a better look, maybe find some car part left over or something of hers which had been overlooked. So he picked his way down the weeds and stepped around the muddy shore searching for a souvenir.

I took some photos of her flowers. They were looking pretty weathered and shabby but I was glad her family and friends had given her a memorial, a tribute. Then we got back in the car, thinking of how welcome a hot chocolate would be. The girl was in my mind, as any tragic figure lingers awhile before becoming just a memory and passing thought.

Did he look over his shoulder first or did I? I’m not sure. More likely my husband did, he was driving and had a reason to check the rear view mirror now and then. He didn’t say anything. Just drove on down those wet dirt country roads, splashing through puddles but not laughing about the spray of water as he usually would have. I decided he was feeling a bit somber, as I was myself. When I noticed he was a bit jumpy I laughed and asked if we were being followed, maybe he wanted to play at being secret agents and spies as he sometimes liked to do on drives along quiet roads.

He didn’t answer right away. Then he asked if I could see, or did I feel, anyone in the car, in the backseat. I gave a quick look, humouring him. I was all set to say “Of course not”, but I did catch something out of the corner of my eye. Just something in that space. I turned around in my seat, pushing the seat belt off my neck, for a better look. Nothing. Of course nothing. We hadn’t brought anyone else along, not a dog, not so much as a goldfish.

“No”, I said. I didn’t laugh or make a joke about it though.

We drove farther, closer to the road into town. Each of us would sneak backward looks. I could see him look in the rear view mirror several times on a road where we were the only traffic.

He pulled the mirror down to focus on the back seat. I scrunched down to watch the back from the passenger side mirror. It began to feel really creepy in that car. Something was in that space of nothingness, something we couldn’t see.

Just behind my head I could feel eyes, keeping silent, soundless as the dead, ironically. We hardly dared to breathe ourselves. I wished my husband could find the bravery I lacked and flip on the radio. Surely something as normal and ordinary as the radio could chase away the skin crawling creepiness of whatever lurked in the backseat.

She must have been so cold, dying in that deeply chilled water. How desperate she must be now to find some warmth, something human, to not be alone and quite so dead. If you believe in ghosts surely you could see how she might want to sit in our warm backseat with the heater making the car so toasty warm. Only now I was getting chilled just thinking about heat sucking ghosts sitting just out of sight, right behind me.

Another quick flick of my eyes to the backseat. My imagination pictured her sitting there. Her eyes dark and haunted, bruised looking. Her body so cold, right through, unable to feel warmth. Dripping water. I imagined hearing the little plop, plop, plop of water as it dripped from her cold, dead self. Maybe she would shiver, not knowing that a ghost isn’t alive and wouldn’t need to shiver.

It was a long trip back to town, we didn’t speak again. How can you speak about what isn’t there.

At the coffee shop, back in the living world where the spaces are all filled with artificial light, noise from the living and the smell of bacon and eggs, it was very easy to shake off the creepy feeling and put it down to just imagination. But, the feeling came with us when we got back in the car. I feel it still.

It’s been days since we took that road trip. I’m often alone in our apartment after my husband takes the car to work. Those spaces of time which I used to do laundry, make dinner, wash dishes and vacuum are no longer just the passing of time. My space is captured by something I only feel, see out of the corner of my eye. It’s her I’m sure. I think she is sad, missing the people she knew and the things she liked to do.

Since that day at the bridge I’ve stopped looking in the backseat when I’m in the car. I avoid mirrors especially, they give me a very creepy feeling. When I brush my teeth each morning I look down, avoiding my own eyes and anything that might be in that space behind me. I never take that space for granted any more.

You see, she isn’t the only one there now. I think they followed her to our home. Someday they’ll fill all that space. Taking it all. I hardly dare to take a real breath any more. I never look into corners and I always have the lights on. Someday they will suck out all the space around me. I don’t know what will happen then, when the dead fill the space of the living. My husband thinks I’m crazy so I just don’t talk to him about it any more. But I can see he gets nervous too, sometimes after dark when the apartment is quiet and he gets that creepy sense of something else, something that hitchhiked back into the living world with us and won’t now let us go.

My Halloween story. By me.

Get 31 Days of Halloween chills and thrills on Calpurnius.

Urban Exploring at KoL

Found an abandoned building on KoL last night. I’m getting just that good at tracking them down. 🙂

My four days off are over. Have to get back to the work week today. Wish I could have found the web development/ design books I was looking for. Would have been a great time to fix up my site. It is pretty half-baked at the moment.

Of course, having four days off I am going into work tired, again. You would think I would have slept in each day and feel great now. But no. I kept getting early morning phone calls from the mystery company who must only talk to my Mother. She is down in Florida. If they cant’ tell me what it is about I just can’t see myself giving them her phone number down there. Especially when I have told them I work nights and they keep waking me up when they phone. Jerks.

I used this time of having most of the snow being rained away to put out food in the bird feeder in the back yard. Will see if the squirrels can get into it or not now. Looks like they didn’t before, but that was when there was no temptation.

Thinking about getting into work early, or at least having time to poke around and go to Mcdonalds for a coffee (its close to work). That would mean I’d have to actually get dressed now and catch the bus in a few minutes. So I should actually not still be sitting here.

Happy Work Grind… I mean Week!

Coffee and More Coffee

Meeting another rural explorer for coffee this afternoon. The Navigator as she is known on Flickr. Then off to work, another Saturday listening to the lunatics. You can’t have it all, apparently.

I’m looking forward to the coffee and chat. The Navigator has some of the best old house pictures. She is one of my top favourites. Admittedly it’s not a short list. Still, she has been to places I have yet to see and her pictures are very well done.

I may have a bug in my ear, literally. I can hear something that makes a soft thud noise inside my head in the area of my ear. It started at work last night, while I was wearing the headset. I don’t think it could be a bug, how would it crawl through the ear pads? But that is what my Mom said. She had a bug in her ear once when she was out gardening. So maybe that is what it is. It only thuds around once in awhile. Seemed to be doing more last night. I don’t really think it is a bug though. I think something is just a bit swollen from the standard work type of headache and it will be fine on it’s own. Maybe over my next weekend, this Tuesday/ Wednesday, it will go away. Still, a bug would be interesting in a kind of yucky way. What kind of bug is it and what did it think it would find when it crawled in there? Only the bug can tell.

For the Canadians and the odd American… have you heard about the new Tim Cards at Tim Hortons? I bought one last night. Saves me scrounging through the mess at the bottom of my purse for spare change each time. But, doesn’t it seem a bit backwards? Tims stopped letting us use the debit cards cause they wanted to provide faster service (so the signs say). Now they come out with their own private debit type of card. Faster than the bank debit card? I don’t see that working out for great leaps of speedy service. Might not be so bad once it gets going. Even then people will be in line reloading it, taking longer than it would have to just use the usual debit card.

I want to find new boots. A pair that I can mostly just slip on, without a lot of lacing up. Ankle boots like we used to have in the 80’s would be nice. I had a great pair of low cowboy style boots which are exactly what I’d like to find now. Not much chance. They all seem to be high rise ankle breakers or hiking style boots now.

Time for New Things

I was downtown again today. Just a trip out for coffee and a stroll around. No photos this time. It’s funny how you can get intimidated and not take photos at times. I saw a few things and I thought about how I would take the picture but there were several people around and I let the chance pass by. I don’t know why I cared that anyone was there. After all, what would anyone do, stop me from taking a picture. Not like it’s illegal or immoral. I’m going to try to work on that.

Yesterday I read a good article in another blog about writers who have blogs. She said most of us just write blogs about writing. I guess that is what we think we know and have thougths about most often. I think anything to do with blog publishing and SEO (search engine optimization for sites) comes a close second if not first even. But it is true that writers tend to make their blogs pretty predictable, topical blogs. I’m not counting this as a topical blog it doesn’t have any real focus.

She said we should write about something else, a personal interest, hobby or cause. I think that is really a good plan. For myself especially as I really do like having a project on the go and I really do need to have a plan and keep myself stuck to it. So, I am coming up with ideas. I do have plenty to choose from, lots of things I am interested in. Too many and some which turn out to be short term or abandoned along the way. I am thinking most about a blog with photos of old things in Toronto. I really do like taking the photos of old buildings and there isn’t any shortage of places and bits of places to choose from. I could have a backlog of photos on hand and just post one a day for a very long time. So that does seem like the idea with the most potential.

Makes me think about Skye and her blog for the town she is in. I check on her now and then. I would be lucky cause Toronto is massively big and a centre for a lot of events and traffic of people in general. I think she is finding that a problem for her smaller area.

Other topics I could write about are Pagan or women’s issues/ culture/ something or other. I think the Pagan would be good for drawing traffic BUT I don’t think I really have enough I want to say to make that a weekly column let alone a daily thing. Unless I added a wider focus for it, including some history and culture which would be borderline on focus for the Wicca/ Pagan topic. Still, it is something I am not passing off on. The women’s thing I am passing on. I really don’t want to blab on and on about online dating, periods, being a grrl or whatever else that direction would take me. I don’t see that being a direction I want to go in. Besides, I see a ton of sites like that which are submitted to Dmoz and most of them are pretty trashy with spam and light/ lame on content.

I am still going to put thought into the Pagan thing. Even though I can’t see it as a weekly column I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea. It’s important to have someone out there talking about Paganism from a real prespective, not all about quick fixes with spells and worshipping gods. I don’t believe in any gods and I am anti-spellcraft. Both seem really phony to me. You can’t say you are for life and free choice and such and then try to force things to your will with ‘spells’ and blame it all on ‘gods or goddesses’. Of course it is more complicated than that. I might try it and see how it goes. If I get into it or get wound out and have nothing left to say after a month.

I think I will keep the writing blog going. I renamed it Word Grrls this past week. So far it just has all my old articles with another dozen or so still in drafts to be stuck out there. I’ve been updating it each Monday. I’m not doing anything else cause I don’t feel right to really grow it till I’m out of old content. For now it is fine. As with the Pagan plan, it gives me time to decide if I want to keep it going as a weekly thing. To see what committment I really have to it all.

I do think the Something Old in Toronto idea is good, good for me as well as something I could turn into a popular site. People do seem to enjoy the photos I have done of old buildings. Although most are still the farmhouses from outside of Toronto. Anyway, it seems like a good plan.