Wednesday, September 29, 2010

morality wars

Yesterday a Superior Court justice in Ontario decriminalized prostitution, or so most headlines put it. Actually prostitution was already legal. It's just that all the laws around it made it impossible to perform this legal act without breaking the law. Can you spell hypocrisy?

I am not happy that prostitution exists. Not because I have any great problem with people having sex with whoever they want, nor with how many, nor with whatever kind of economic agreement they might arrange around the act, as long as everyone is a consenting adult. (Actually I can think of a few unfortunate occasions in my own life, when money changing hands would have been more honest, and oddly enough, might have left me feeling less used.)

What I don't like is coercion. I don't like it that the sexworker, female or male, is usually the coercee. And I don't like that the world views such people as somehow lesser beings and therefore unworthy of our protection. I am tired of the good girl/bad girl dichotomy. I am tired of restrictions on women's (and men's) choices of what to do with our own bodies.

Laws based on morality have over the years criminalized all kinds of behaviours that we now accept. Interracial, gay/lesbian, oral sex. They've all been against the law (and still are in some places around the world). If you think it's sinful, don't do it, but don't tell someone else they must live by your code. I think that is sinful.

Yes, I think it's a crime that some women are driven through poverty and a lack of choice to choose prostitution, but I don't agree that this should make the act itself criminal, or any more despicable than any other service desired and provided. I think it's the poverty that is the crime, and the lack of addiction support that traps people in lives they don't want. (And what is not really a digression in this discussion, I also think that drugs should be decriminalized, regulated and taxed, just as we deal with the legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco.)

The law, as it now precariously stands, does nothing to protect women in the sex trade. It forces them to operate in dark corners with no protection, and results in horrid, and sometimes spectacularly gruesome scenes like that found at serial killer Pickton's farm in Coquitlam.

And whether we like it or not, prostitution will never go away. Why not start to deal with it in the light?

Friday, September 24, 2010


When things are getting to me I like to go hiking. Spur of the moment hiking isn't a bright idea when you are alone, but the Grouse Grind is a reasonable compromise. There are so many people slogging up that hill, that it is rare to have the forest to myself, and when I do it is anxiety-free (if sweat filled) bliss.

On Wednesday just past, a glorious sunny day (I refuse to think it's the last), I put on my shoes and socks and headed into the woods. I find the hike is getting more doable, though I'm not going any faster. On top I wanted a bit more so went for a walk around the resort. I meant to walk up to the windmill, but there was a sign warning of a bear in the area, and really, I'm not a fool. So I turned around, and saw this:

I did a little amateur photoshopping to bring in the distance.     

And that did the trick.


Friday, September 17, 2010

bit of a schemozzle

I had to look up the spelling of schemozzle; it's a variant of shemozzle, according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, which is my favourite for checking out words. It's a Yiddish expression, which is why I favour the variant spelling. If the logic of that eludes you, well, it eludes me too. But I think it's because, even if I don't pronounce it differently it has a different feel in my brain.

I've been in a kerfuffle lately too. That's another word I looked up, just to be sure. The spell check on this site is happy with it (though it doesn't recognize schemozzle). I expect this is because kerfuffle has a British Isles origin. Makes sense, given that that's where English comes from. Mind you, this spell check doesn't recognize favour either, even though it's the British Isles spelling. So I guess English is only English when it feels like it. But spelling with the u has a different feel in my brain too. These things are kind of strange. I know that so-called Canadian spelling is a schemozzle of English and American, and includes local-to-Canada (imagine!) words tossed in.

Anyway, this should illustrate to you the schemozzle I'm in. One thing leads to another with no apparent direction. I have to-do lists building, and am on task with a few things. My calendar is full of appointments and events. I know I have some deadlines. I will likely meet them. But my house is a mess, and I feel kind of rudderless.

Sounds like a pretty typical life, doesn't it?

Some things are going quite well. I decided early this summer that I needed to lost some weight, and I've managed to shed between five and ten pounds. I'm hazy as to the exact amount, as I was in denial about the upper number. But my clothes are loosening up, and that's always a good indicator of success. My winter coat will fit me this winter. Hurray!

The reason I decided to lose weight was because I've got a (laparoscopic) surgery coming up, and I thought the surgeon might have an easier time of it if there was a bit  less of me. I saw the surgeon in June, found out this week that my surgery will be in December. Healthcare takes its time, doesn't it?

It's kind of funny, because I'm generally very healthy. It's just that I have a gall bladder that is jammed with pebbles and stones, and when I slip up and eat the wrong foods (too much fat mainly, which means no fish & chips) it lets me know loud and clear. It's quite unnerving, because I can't tell how long an attack will last. They've ranged from fifteen minutes, to fifteen hours (that's the one that got me to the doctor).

So I've been eating differently, which is not a bad thing. Everything I read tells me to eat less, and in particular to eat less fat, so this is all good. It's become a bit of a habit, which is something. More veggies, more fruit. All good. Not much booze. Also good.

But anticipation of this thing maybe is what leaves me feeling rudderless. I've been hesitating about some travel plans, because of it. It's harder to avoid fat foods when away from home.

And I still haven't got the writing habit nailed down. That's probably the biggest source of my rudderless feeling. I am a writer, and I don't write, much. I can make a case that reading is part of the process, but I've got that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I'm supposed to be doing something. Being just never seems enough. It's weird. Even though I can be busy all day, nothing shows.

Maybe I need to imagine some upcoming surgery for that. Get my writer's blockage removed, that massive sack of fretfulness and indirection.

We'll see. The gall bladder may be the source of all this, in more ways than one. It's a reasonable metaphor, I suppose.