musings of an aquarian age counterculturist

When Hindsight is Foresight

Nothing brings up the sense of intense discomfort or mind-blowing insight (or both!) quite like re-reading an old bit of writing.  Circumstances and perspectives are constantly changing so looking back can sometimes feel like trying on a pair of jeans once loved but are now way too tight.

Today I came across a piece that I wrote back in February 2009.  It was in response to one of those endless “answer and pass along to 10 friends” emails.  My habit was (and is) generally to auto-junk stuff like that.  For whatever reason, I gave this one some expression time.  Interesting to me is that aside from possibly #11 and #23, the observations made then stand today.   It amuses me that this is pretty much a testament to a myriad of my quirks and smirks, compiled neatly in one list.  Here’s what I wrote:

25 Random Things About Me

  1. I have it on personal authority that Michael Jackson’s excuse of suddenly becoming “light” skinned is not due to vitilago. I know it because I have it. Four small pure white marks: one on each knee and ankle. There is NO WAY MJ uniformly lost pigment!!!
  2. Sources say that the “Harrington’s of England” were generally rum runners, pirates and horse thieves. Well…some of us had to have some fun right?
  3. I have worn every size of pants between 4-14 between the ages of 20 and 41.
  4. Glasses have been an extension of my face since I was 14. Contacts are a big pain in the ass and I’m not getting surgery until the day there is 100% guarantee it will work without still needing reading glasses. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  5. I’m a commitment-phobe and one of my biggest fears in life is to feel trapped or stuck.
  6. I was a vegan in my heart long before I chose that path in life.
  7. The only reason I never joined Greenpeace is that I could never quite envision myself tied naked to a tree swatting away flies. But…I happily sponsored someone else to do it for me.
  8. Lenny Kravitz consistently turns me on.
  9. When I was around 14 my friend Kathryn and I decided to take my parents’ car for a joyride. We backed out of the driveway and realized the car was out of gas.
  10. I am very spiritual in a non-traditional way. Into the mystic so to speak. And it has nothing to do with organized religion.
  11. Despite my non-traditional life, I would still consider marriage in the right circumstances.
  12. Every single time I travel over the Brooklyn bridge toward Manhattan I get tingles.
  13. Jane Goodall is my hero.
  14. On my 40th birthday I felt as though my “real” life was finally beginning. I was right.
  15.  Generally I am a serious reader, but I admit to reading Diana Gabaldon’s fluffy time traveller series 3 times. And I could read it again.
  16. My dream is to travel the world meeting people of all cultures and backgrounds, learning from the old world masters.
  17. When I was in school I always wanted to be a journalist. I looked up to Mike Wallace until the day he sold out on the “Big Tobacco” story.
  18. The documentary “Earthlings” changed my life forever.
  19. My dad always said “if you can dance, you can drive a stick”. I still can’t dance, and I still can’t drive a stick.
  20. Most of my decisions are made by answering yes or no to the question “Will I regret it if I don’t try this?”
  21. Sometimes I think an eyelift might be a really good idea.
  22. I have an irrational fear of bees. Yet snakes, spiders and rats are no biggie.
  23. When I leave the apartment I double check that I locked the door 3 times. Every time.
  24. The day I got hit by the taxi I truly woke up to the fact life is too short to fuck around.
  25. When I think that things could not possibly get worse, I remember that I once thought Leif Garrett was my soul mate. A little comedy goes a long way.


Have you done this exercise before?  If not, go ahead and try it.  Write out 25 things about your life that come to mind in a stream of consciousness.  File it away.  Who knows, maybe a few years from now you will stumble across it and realize the same thing.  Hindsight is sometimes also foresight.


The Epic Disconnect

The horrifying Bangladesh factory fire that killed over 500 people weighs heavily in my thoughts.

Following the various media articles in the days after the tragedy has raised more questions than answers for me.  We are all consumers, and as such, it seems to me that we all play a direct role in one way or another.

One angle the news coverage focuses on is corporations continuing production in Bangladesh with a view to raising standards for factory workers.  Another angle focuses on companies withdrawing completely from factory production in Bangladesh.  Reviewing the arguments presented in favour of either approach leaves me more confused than ever.  It seems to me that both paths court an unsavoury shadow side.  Which also gets me thinking with great concern about the companies involved that have said nothing at all.

The whole thing is a complicated and emotional topic, and clearly I’m no expert.  All I know for certain is that I don’t want anyone to suffer or die making clothes for me to buy cheap or otherwise.

I felt somewhat heartened to notice a few solution based commentaries appearing here and there in Canadian media with the intent of instructing readers how to become  “ethical” consumers.  Which sounds all well and good on paper, but I found myself wondering how “ethical consumerism” can possibly be achieved when the term is already a conflict in and of itself.  Avoiding the lowest price tags can by no means guarantee that a product is not sweat-shop derived.  Reading further, I found the Canadian press machine essentially promoting the purchase of local-centric Canadian made products as a form of direct consumer action.  Then, along that very “buy local” line of thinking, I encountered an opinion piece that absolutely floored me.  Why?

Said article recommended purchasing from Canadian manufacturers such as Stanfields underwear and …wait for it … Canada Goose jackets. (!!!!!!)

Hold up.  REALLY?????

I went into rewind mode on that one a few times to make sure I hadn’t misread it.  Yep.  That’s right folks.  Canada Goose and ETHICAL were actually uttered in the same sentence.

My head is still exploding with disbelief.  The disconnect here is beyond epic.  What can possibly be ethical, or compassionate, or decent or moral about this:  Deconstructing Canada Goose

Perhaps there is no one absolutely right answer to ensuring we are not directly supporting factory sweatshop conditions with our purchases.  It is true that we can always make better choices and inform ourselves as much as possible based on the information available.  But a discussion of ethics centred around the idea of exchanging one killing field for another?   This makes absolutely no reasonable sense to me.  How could it?

Ignorance is most assuredly not bliss.