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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

midnight fire alarms burn your self esteem

The first fire alarm was at 8. We ran down 14 flights of stares and stood in the cold. You have to give it to Chris, another 14th floor resident, who salvaged his guitar, just in case. He played and helped pass the time.

The second time I was lying in bed falling asleep. Shorts and a tee-shirt. No make-up. Large pimple on my chin.

I grabbed my camouflage hat in an attempt to camouflage myself. Although irritable the guitar helped. I danced around and kept warm. Danced big and awkwardly as if invisible: there is no dancing more enjoyable then this kind.

Luckily someone let us into the journalism building. It was getting cold, and I was growing more and more tired. The worst shock was looking in the bathroom mirror. My attempts to hide my face, hat tucked down, hood over my head, only made me look strange. I didn't look like myself. Hat off my clean face didn't look as bad. As much as I didn't care, I didn't really like what I saw. An hour and a half later we were allowed back up. By then I was cursing and cold, happy to go back to bed.

Today I felt better. Hard news hit me softly. To follow up our forum on youth homelessness we had a young couple come in from Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC). They told their stories, both having been homeless in the past. From abuse, to stripping, from cigarettes to cocaine. The young man smoked crack for his first time as a teenager: with the help of his dad. The girl started dancing in a New York city strip club for extra money. They were honest. They didn't blame society and were aware of their mistakes.

They talked about the ease of being homeless. How you can get up to six or seven meals a day: "Fuck, I was getting fat". How it's possible to make more money panhandling than in a real job.

I also had to re-write my last reporting article, along with most of the class. I was the last one there. Scrumming with words. Trying to sound like a newspaper. Like someone who might actually read the newspaper.

But I liked it. I liked my teacher egging me on. She liked that I couldn't stop asking questions to one of the speakers. Even though my paper, a sea of red marker x's, made me want to bash my head in. Even though I was getting dizzy by the computer screens. We talked about getting into stories. Calling people. Getting in on the inside. The passion and curiosity needed for a lot of this is invigorating.

A midnight fire alarm may burn my self extreme but screw it.

A reflection can't tell you anything.

DSCN0070, originally uploaded by gill.


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