thirty days of truth: day 3

Day 3: Something you must be forgiven for.

Blog project, you think you're clever. You think you can prod some names out of me, get me between the lockers and the showers and kick a confession from my lungs. But I have nothing I need to be forgiven for, aside from the casual scraping up of the Earth's resources that we've all perfected over the last two hundred years or so. The time I was a child and made my mother cry? I can't even remember what I said, but I vaguely recall that I felt like shouting for the pure absurdity of it, the strange joy of putting on a different face for a moment. I'm probably the only person who remembers it now.

There's the period of my life between fifteen and twenty-five when I was basically a self-absorbed twit with poor impulse control - but that hardly sets me apart from the rest of my developmentally delayed generation. I picture asking for forgiveness from the usual roster of people I wronged - family, friends, girlfriends, etc. - or apologizing, but that seems awkward now. It's all just mulch and trash, the compacted and fertile ground out of which my adult self has grown.

There was the time in the Bay cafeteria in downtown Calgary, when I slid by an elderly woman and grabbed the last available table. I took it because I was younger and faster, and I'd be damned if I was going to eat my lunch standing up. That was 1993? I sat down and started eating, and I could see - from the corner of my eye - how incredibly angry the woman was. She summoned a security employee, but no one approached me as I sat and ate some whole wheat something for my lunch. I threw aside my customary courtesy and took what I wanted. But I think this is what people do all the time.

Another woman used to visit that cafeteria, a homeless person who piloted a shopping cart piled with trash bags. I had no doubt that those lumpy green bags held her every last possession. The woman had even dressed herself in trash: garbage bags were wrapped around her stained winter clothing and stuffed with newspapers, giving her the appearance of animated dumpster overflow. Every so often she would shuffle through the cafeteria line, buy a plate of food and make her way to a table where she could eat in peace and keep an eye on her shopping cart.

I think of that woman and wonder what kind of person I would have to be scoot in front of her to grab a table. Would I want to be forgiven for that? Chances are that if I could take a lunch table from a homeless woman then I wouldn't give a rat's ass about forgiveness.

And then there's the matter of moral calculus. I would never have scooted ahead of that woman to grab a table. But then, I never spoke to her, never offered her a place to stay or handed over my paycheque so that she might have a little extra warmth or cash. I was making minimum wage in an expensive city at the time, but I was young and had connections that basically meant I never had to spend any time without the protection of a home. The question of whether I should be forgiven for ignoring her would be ridiculous to the other customers in the cafeteria - after all, I was doing exactly what everyone else was doing. But that could be said of nearly everything I do. Or you do. So to sum up, I forgive you for ignoring a homeless woman dressed in garbage.

And lastly, I should be forgiven for posting Paul Young's 1978 Top 20 hit with Streetband, "Toast".


These entries are part of the Thirty Days of Truth Project, which I agreed to do with several friends, because apparently we're shy about our masochism.

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself