Tempest In A (Summer) Teapot

It’s been sunny and hot which means one thing:  I’m at the pool or the beach.  Summer is my bestest, favourite time of year.

Every year the complex gets a new contingent of young lifeguards for our outdoor pool. The seniors love them and waste no time befriending them.  The lifeguards think it’s a hoot–and a pretty easy gig. This year, however, might be interesting.

One of the lifeguards appears decidedly male, but wears a pink bathsuit bottom beneath her lifeguard shirt. Her name is Ann*.  I assumed she might be transgendered, and hoped that she wouldn’t encounter a problem with the senior residents.  After a few weeks of no controversy, I was happy.  The seniors were befriending her like they did all the other lifeguards. Yay progress.

But then.

One day while I was paddling around in the pool I saw a young woman talking to Jennifer, one of our other lifeguards, gesturing madly toward the washroom.  Afterwards I asked Jennifer what the fuss was about.

Turns out that Ann was spending her breaks and lunch hour in the relative coolness of the women’s washroom during a particularly intense heat wave, and the young woman was uncomfortable showering with her there.  The young woman insisted that Ann be told to use the handicapped washroom instead.

Jennifer and Oliver, the other lifeguard on duty at the time, were having none of it.  They believe that Ann should use the washroom which corresponds to her identified gender and informed the young woman that they were not inclined to direct Ann otherwise. The young woman was politely told to take her concerns to management.

Transgendered persons are legally protected in Canada, so it might be a more productive use of this young woman’s time to educate herself about the trans community rather than issue nonsensical complaints about them. If she starts complaining again, I might just tell her that–and email management in support of Ann.

For now, I’m hoping it’s a tempest in a teapot. The good news is that the young woman is in the minority, and the seniors, god bless `em, are going with the flow.

As I said:  Yay progress.

[*Ann is a pseudonym. I felt obliged to protect her privacy.]





I’ve been on twitter for about a year, following news feeds, adding commentary here and there, and slowly building my (like-minded) follower base.

Last night, after responding in an innocuous way to an innocuous tweet, my account suddenly was frozen.  A warning box popped up and told me I was a bot. Say what?

I attempted to contact twitter support but was unable to send a message because, you guessed it, my account was frozen.  I had to log out of twitter in order for the message to go through.  Within the hour, I received an automated response:



So I changed my password three times and my account was still frozen.  I deactivated my account and reactivated it–still frozen. (The deactivation did manage, however, to delete all of my followers.)

I sent Twitter Support a snot-o-gram and told them what I thought about their customer service–which is, incidentally, non-existent.

To commemorate the occasion of my banishment I changed my twitter photo to outer space and my personal pic to an inukshuk.  An inukshuk is a stone structure build by the Inuit of the Canadian North. They are built on shorelines as navigational guides for other travellers.

I’m hoping the fools who developed the algorithms which froze me out find their way–and my followers.



In early April, a bus carrying members of the Humboldt junior hockey team collided with a tractor-trailer in rural Saskatchewan, killing 15 of the 29 aboard.  The kids ranged in age between 16 and 21.

It’s hard to explain what hockey is to North America, especially to Canadians. It’s backyard hockey rinks in the winter and road hockey in the summer. It’s those early morning hockey practices your mom wakes you up for at some ungodly hour in the morning because playoffs are around the corner. It’s watching Hockey Night in Canada on a Saturday night and listening to the familiar voice of Ron Maclean do the play-by- play. It’s as quintessentially Canadian as the frigid winter air and coffee double-double.

So Canadians–and many Americans–are leaving their hockey sticks out for Humboldt.  Rest easy, fellas. This game is yours.


Photo courtesy of Mike Carter