Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a celebrity, photographed by the paparazzi at the most inopportune times? I imagine it would feel like running into an ex for the first time in decades when you have dirty hair and no makeup and you just needed to get one ingredient from the grocery store, but times a thousand. I’m not pitying the famous, not really, because I’m sure the piles of money would help the pain go away, but still it would be very weird to be photographed constantly, with people speculating pregnancies when really you just had a big lunch. Imagine going out for groceries, and then later seeing a photo of yourself with a headline about how you’ve let yourself go, or speculation that you have a terminal illness or drug problem, when really, you were just tired.

As is the usual order of business in September, a cold virus has visited our house. It’s just an irritant, certainly not debilitating, but yesterday I came down with it and felt plagued by general malaise and total exhaustion. Luckily for me I had no classes to teach; I did, however, have to get groceries and that in itself felt like I had accidentally entered myself into the Ironman competition. It didn’t help that Superstore is currently rearranging things in the cosmetics and skin care section; I stood staring at the four aisles filled entirely with tissue boxes and – oddly – cotton balls, wondering what happened to the liquid soap. I was probably frozen in space for a good three minutes before a woman wheeled her cart up next to me and stared around her. It’s good to have a companion in this kind of thing. Where do you think the deodorant is? she asked me, snapping me out of my Where am I what happened reverie. Eventually we both came to our senses and started to slowly mill around, finding deodorant in with the shampoo and liquid soap with the toothpaste.

If I had to teach yesterday, I think it would have been entirely one long savasana. I briefly wondered if it wasn’t so much LUCKY to be sick on a day with no classes, but rather my body letting down its guard. I’m a big believer in yin and yang, and when you’ve had a lot of yang, your body craves yin. In other words, adrenaline can keep you going when you need to, but then your body revolts and makes sure you get the rest that you need, after a busy period. It’s why, I think, I always would get sick right after final exams in university, or after any kind of period when I burned the candle at both ends.

Fortunately today I am almost back to my Energizer Bunny self; two nights of ten hour sleeps and a totally unexpected afternoon nap will do that. I say totally unexpected because I sat down to rest after bringing in all the groceries and woke up an hour later. I am not totally back to normal, but neither do I feel like crying at the prospect of folding a basket of laundry.

Circling back to my original point: yesterday I found myself too tired to get dressed before taking the boys to school, so I left the house in my pajamas. I know many people will be like what is the big deal, I do that every day, to which I say I do not. As much as I love my pajamas, leaving the house in soft grey pants that have pictures of mice on them is not something I want to do. I mean, I rarely leave the house without lipstick on, let alone unshowered and undressed. As a slight digression, I posted a photo of myself and my younger son, a few months ago, when he surpassed me in height. One of my friends immediately commented “You’re not wearing lipstick!” which shows that, other than the 5:00 am yoga crew, no one really sees me without My Face On. For someone who put makeup on before going to the hospital to give birth, leaving the house in pajamas is a non-starter. Honestly, how hard is it to put on pants? Well, yesterday that felt like a bridge too far, and I briefly thanked the powers that be that I have never achieved celebrity and so there were no paparazzi hiding out behind the garage to photograph me with circles under my eyes, unwashed hair, and pajama pants. Drug problems? Sources close to Nicole say yes. 

I often feel like walking with Barkley is like walking with a celebrity because it is rare that I go unnoticed. Or, rather, it’s rare that HE goes unnoticed. This is what it’s come down to: if I only have twenty to thirty minutes for a walk, like I have to quickly zip one in between classes, I try to take quiet sidewalks in the neighbourhood that have little foot traffic. I am a person who at the very least nods and smiles when passing people on the sidewalk, and frequently that means I get into extensive conversations with strangers about what breed he is, how old he is, and how he is a very, very good dog. Sometimes these conversations turn to the heartbreaking, like the many lonely seniors I encounter who pet Barkley and talk about how very much they miss their old canine companions, and then I can never break off the conversation because it’s just too wrenching to pull away. Often, though, I will run into a group of kids and then things get wild. The other day I walked by a school group apparently walking back after swimming lessons at the local pool, and of maybe sixty kids, at least fifty-five of them squealed and waved at me. “Hi! Hi! Hi! Your dog is so cute! Hi! Hi! I like your dog!” ad infinitum. My very favourite are teenage girls, as they often unintentionally turn into the little girls from Despicable Me, “Oh my godddddd your dog look at your dog he’s so flufffffffyyyyyy! Oh my goddddddddd!”

Not that I am one to talk. Today Barkley and I were out walking, and he tried to chase and capture a leaf blowing on the sidewalk. “Oh Barkley!” I squealed, “You’re such a Silly Billy! That’s just a leaf! Yes it is! You’re a good doggy! It’s a leaf!” At that moment, I looked up and saw a man standing in his driveway, holding a rake and a compost bag, with the kind of look on his face you might imagine someone to have after witnessing a mid-forties woman talking in a high-pitched baby voice to her dog about chasing a leaf.

Speaking of leaves, I am enjoying the fall colours very much right now. I think that if I lived in a place that had three months of sunny, crisp days with warm-coloured leaves and – while I’m fantasizing – actual non-crab-apple trees, I would be one of those women who embrace fall with open arms. As it is, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so we can bid these colours adieu for now, and look out the snow shovels and toques. Happy Fall, everyone! xo



  1. I think about that paparazzi thing all the time. It’s a weird obsession. Every time I leave the house I imagine what the tabloid headlines would speculate. I suppose it means I need to take better care of myself. But also, I 100% support the dropping off of children whlie wearing PJs (doens’t it feel realy weird to put shoes on, when you are wearing your jammies?), so I guess I’ve made peace with it? Who can say.

  2. That is how I am about leaving the house without contact lenses. I don’t mind having bed-head or 16 year old jammies on – but dear God please let no one see me in my ridiculous glasses!

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