The Escalator/Elevator Survival Guide

If there are two things that are pretty much guaranteed to make anybody’s blood boil on a daily basis, they are as follows: 1) Escalators. 2. Elevators. More specifically, it’s the lack of consistent etiquette that accompanies them.

I won’t lie, I’ve unintentionally been the culprit in many of these scenarios, and it’s likely induced much wrath and many a stink eye!

So, for your reference and mine, here is a Coles Notes guide on how to survive in the increasingly impatient world of pedestrians:


Unless you’re elder, pregnant, injured, wearing an extremely high pair of heels, or legitimately unable to do so, YOU MUST WALK ON THE ESCALATOR. It is not the time to check your Facebook very important emails, and most definitely not the place to extend your final moments of freedom before work. You know why? Because there is a group of people behind you whose collective rage is about to make you believe that Harry Potter was a documentary.

The same rules apply to travelators — a name the always adorable Brits have given to the moving walkways in airports. These walkways were very specifically designed for people like me — people every airline HATES because we arrive ten minutes before boarding and desperately depend on any conveyor that will help project us to the finish line before the plane pulls away from the gate.

If you’re standing on a moving walkway for more than five seconds and you’re still alive, you’ve probably accidentally taken a ride on the baggage carousel. Otherwise, my advice is as follows: TUCK AND ROLL! Because it’s only a matter of time before the perpetually late person behind you catches up. If they’re carrying a Blackberry/briefcase combo, the stakes just went up, my friend. There’s probably a double dropkick that’s already been launched in your direction.


When an elevator arrives to whisk you off your feet to your next errand, obligation or activity, you must first STEP AWAY FROM THE DOORS. There is a group of people inside that elevator who just had to avoid conversation and watch the weather network screen for an entire ride. Needless to say, they are equally as happy for those doors to open, and any interference in their exit will promptly unite them for your defeat.

On the flip side, if you wait several seconds for somebody to step out of an elevator when the doors open and nobody moves? STROLL ON IN, PAL. Your new travel buddy may burn you with their laser eyes when they awake from their trance to realize they just missed their only chance of escape, but it’s too late. They’re now accompanying you to whatever damn floor you need to go to. You just better pray they weren’t en route to buy their morning coffee. Or that they don’t have a knife in their boot.

Finally, when you’re standing at the front of an elevator and it stops on a floor before yours without picking anybody up, don’t be fooled into believing that somebody on said floor changed their mind. There are people BEHIND you that need to get out, and they’re probably about to crumple you into a ball and throw you down the scary crack by the elevator doors that leads to the core of the earth. To avoid this scenario, swiftly move to your immediate right. Or left. Either way, you’ll always move to the wrong side first, but it’s the effort that counts.

Alas, when it comes to the topic of escalators and elevators, this video makes it to the top of my list. Here is my absolute FAVORITE Rick Mercer rant:


Big City, Little City

After eight years of living in the same city, I’ve finally decided that it’s time for me to move somewhere new.

Sure, Halifax is a great place, and I’ve definitely enjoyed my stay here. It’s green, clean, home to some of my dearest friends, and full of friendly strangers who will wish you a good morning every day on your way to work. It’s just that…I’ve completely outgrown it. In every respect.

There are definitely some pros and cons of living in a bigger city, but here are a few things I am most looking forward to:

Places to Go

There are three streets in my city where any form of entertainment can be found. Sure, there are benefits to this: anywhere you want to go in one night is within a ten minute walk, which means that you can wander to all of your favourite restaurants, pubs and bars without ever having to hail a cab. If you live downtown, you’re also only a short stumble away from home. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a favourite place to consistently frequent. Other times, you have a favourite place because there is NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.

At this point, it’s almost hard to imagine living in a city where there are restaurants I HAVEN’T been to, and I’m looking forward to the distance travelled and money spent to experience all of these new places. You mean it would take 40 minutes to walk to our next establishment if we don’t get in this cab? And we won’t fall off the edge of the earth?! MOVE OVER.

People to See

I’m not sure I’ve ever gone out in Halifax without seeing somebody I know, went to school with, or cross paths with on a daily basis in our very tiny “business district”. The anticipation of seeing a familiar face can sometimes be exciting but, more often than not, it’s downright annoying. Don’t you people have anywhere else to go? The answer, as indicated in the previous section, is no.

I love meeting new people, and walking into an establishment where I am a complete stranger to everybody in the room. Especially on the rare occasion when my drink of choice encourages me to get up and “dance”. A sight to be seen, my friends, a sight to be seen… But only by the unfamiliar faces of my new city.

Cost of Living

One great thing about Halifax is that I can affordably live in the downtown core. I’m a fifteen minute walk to work, and a five minute walk to the waterfront, the grocery store, and a variety of restaurants and pubs. The convenience of this is something I will definitely miss.

Though I’d love to live a five minute walk away from the Air Canada Centre, I know this is NOT going to happen unless I shack up with a sugar daddy. Just kidding (kind of). That being said, I’m comforted by the fact that a city like Toronto has great…


There are two modes of public transportation in Halifax — taxis, and BUSES. If I can avoid the latter at any cost, I will. They’re consistently off schedule, painfully slow, and entirely inconvenient. The only time I catch a bus is if I have to go to the mall. The mall, which is NOT downtown (like EVERY OTHER CITY), but rather a torturous 35 minute ride away….

Some people find subway stations annoying. The crowds, the rush, the stampedes, the inability of anybody to watch where they’re going and, if you’re like me, the irrational (rational?) fear that somebody is going to come out of nowhere and push you onto the tracks. But I LOVE IT. Despite the fact that there will surely be somebody breathing down my neck for the entire ride, I know that I’ll get to where I need to be in minutes. MINUTES.

Live Entertainment

I’ll admit, I don’t watch a lot of professional sports on TV, but nothing excites me more than watching them in live venues. In Halifax, my main motivation to attend a Mooseheads game is buying a 50/50 ticket and hoping that I win the $5,000 during the third period — my chances are definitely higher in an arena with a capacity of 11,000, right?

You read that right. 11,000. Which is the primary reason why I attend a concert in Halifax about once every three years. NOBODY PERFORMS HERE.

It seems surreal to me that you can live in a city that hosts NHL games, MLB games, AND any artist who tours in Canada. Does anybody ever stay home on weekends?! I’m already preparing myself to live in poverty.

See you soon, big city life!


Living with a Doomie

Since I’ve moved to Halifax, I’ve had my fair share of roommates — ten, to be exact — but until last year, I hadn’t ever considered living with a guy (who I wasn’t dating). I’m not really sure why, but I think it may have been highly influenced by the fact that I’d have to wear something other than a towel for my walk from the shower back to my room. Hey, it takes effort to put on pants.

All of this changed in September, when I started living with Chadwick Van Der Woodsen (name has been changed to protect privacy). I’m here to tell you that living with a platonic dude roomie — henceforth known as the doomie — is pretty much the best living situation EVER. Here are just a few reasons why…

The Decor

I’m no interior designer, but I AM a chick. That means that my shower curtain is purple, my walls are decorated with mirrors that serve no other purpose than to look pretty, and my living area is strewn with decorative candles that have never encountered a flame. Tehe!

Do you know how many shits a guy gives about decor? ZERO. That means that, aside from the guitars (which give the illusion to outsiders that I have some form of talent) and TWO pairs of shoes at our front door, our general living space remains completely unaltered.

No Bruce Lee posters for us!

The Clutter

In the past four years, my bathroom has resembled an 8×6 beauty store. I’ve seen products I didn’t even know EXISTED, and every surface has been cluttered with makeup, gels, foams, sprays, powders, pastes and accessories.

My doomie owns four things in our bathroom: a toothbrush, tooth paste, an electric shaver, and a bottle of two-in-one shampoo/conditioner. This never ceases to make me smile….especially when I’m cleaning the shower.

Speaking of cleaning the shower… Not ONE hair in the drains, my friends. NOT ONE. No hair in the drains, no hair on the bathroom floor, no hair on any furniture. It’s like living with Jean Luc-Picard. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate this has clearly never plunged the equivalent of a Dementor out of their pipes or swept up enough hair to weave a rug for a room in Buckingham Palace.

Sure, I might clean more often than my doomie, but the pain is definitely worth the gain.

The Hangouts

Hangouts with a doomie involves two things: beer and cards. Maybe some TV. There will be no gossip, no painting nails, no flipping through Cosmo, and (especially) no team Facebook stalking.

Don’t get me wrong, I love ALL of the aforementioned activities. But sometimes, hanging out with a dude is just so…simple.

If we ever do decide to venture out of the house (generally due to lack of food…or booze), we’re not going ANYWHERE that requires makeup. Or even a shower.

Clearly, living with a guy suits my lifestyle.

The Three Circles of Automatic Dispenser Hell

I love a sterile bathroom as much as the next person. When automatic dispensers were introduced into public arenas, I was just as thankful as anyone else to not have to touch anymore germ-infested faucet handles before getting back to eating my nachos.

But convenience comes with a cost, my friends, and it requires the patience of a sanitary saint. I like to think of this journey as the three circles of automatic dispenser hell.

First Circle 

Can anybody tell me where the elusive tap sensor is, or do I need to blow into a conch to summon the water deities, because NOTHING IS COMING OUT. Just as I conclude that this modern device must be out of commission and move on to the next, it will start to run. The cycle continues.

As if washing your hands with a sensor-operated tap is challenging, try brushing your teeth with one. If you can strategically use your magical tooth-brushing wand to trick the faucet into giving you enough water to wet, brush and rinse without any significant delays, you’ve probably saved yourself the prison time for turning your toothbrush into a shiv and stabbing the next person that walks through the door.

Second Circle 

If you use a soap dispenser that actually still HAS SOAP on your first attempt, you’re already one step ahead of everybody else. I find it hard to believe that these tiny soap wells ever run dry, considering the pea-sized amount of liquid they dispense. Unless my name is Jiminy Cricket, there is no way I’m getting a lather here. So I’ll stoically wait for this dispenser to deem me worthy of more soap. As I’m rinsing off the suds, it will show its disapproval of my greedy use of its precious supply by randomly spewing an extra pump on the sleeve of my shirt.

Third Circle 

The paper towel dispenser must be good friends with the soap dispenser. It doesn’t just require patience, it demands entertainment. You want me to WAVE for my paper? Well, okay. After several horizontal and vertical waving attempts and leaving all dignity at the bathroom door, it will slowly roll out a five inch piece of towel. Thank you, kind sir, I’ll just go ahead and use this scrap of material to DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Unfortunately, this dispenser doesn’t take too kindly to the attitude, and will promptly suffer from a paper jam so it can gleefully watch as I begrudgingly dry my hands on my jeans. And proceed to open the bathroom door with my soap-stained sleeve.

And thus concludes the journey through dispenser hell.

Being Canadian

Ask anyone, and they’ll probably find it’s pretty easy to rhyme off a list of Canadian stereotypes. And AREN’T THEY ALL HILARIOUS.

Sure, a lot of us love hockey. And Tim Hortons. And some of us even live in igloos! But the majority of these clichés are total mooseshit bullshit. For example: NOBODY SAYS “ABOOT”!

That being said, there are some general observations of Canadians that tend to be true across the board…

1) We are profusely apologetic

We are essentially sorry for EVERYTHING, okay? And we’ll tell you so before we even realize that it was YOUR cart that ran over OUR ankle.

A prime example of Canadians being Canadians is when they enter into a “sorry-off”. It goes a little something like this…

SCENE: Two Canadians walking towards one another in aisle. Both try to cross paths on same side. Plot thickens.

Canadian 1: “I’m sor…”

Canadian 2: “Oh, sorry!”

Canadian 1: “I’m so sorry!”

Canadian 2: “Sorry about that!”

Which Canadian is most sorry? I guess we’ll never know.

2) We are obnoxiously polite

We say please, we say thank you, and we tell you to have a nice day. DEAL WITH IT. And if you don’t like it, you can go straight to hell. But we’ll hold the gates open for you as you enter.

We’re also so eager to reciprocate every well wishing that we’re occasionally part of THESE scenarios:

A:     Barista: “Here’s your coffee…enjoy!”

Canadian: “Thanks, you too!”

B:     Friend: “Have a GREAT birthday!”

Canadian: “I will, you too!”


3) We say “eh!”

Oh, shut your toque-wearin’, poutine lovin’ pie holes, it’s TRUE. The frequency with which this charming interjection is used varies from province to province (and probably also with blood alcohol content).

Unfortunately, the “outsiders” that mock us don’t understand the proper usage of this highly, HIGHLY sophisticated exclamation.

Time for some CANADIAN LEARNIN’!

A.     “I know, eh?” — Translation: “I know, right?”

B.     “She’s forty, eh?” — Translation: “She’s forty, did you know that?”

C.     “Thanks for the ride, eh” — Translation: “Thanks for the ride, by the way!”

D.     “Eh?” — Translation: “What?”

Now you’re fully equipped to trick the CSIS or sneak past the Canadian border. Good luck, friends!

4) We take off our damn shoes

Hardy har har… You knew we were Canadians because we took our shoes off at the door. WHY WOULDN’T WE?! Think of all the figurative and literal crap we walk in every day.

I walk into a Canadian home and I’m willing to bet I can extend the “five second rule” by at LEAST another five seconds. #NomNom.

Yeah, I might still eat that fallen snack in, say, America, but I’d be bracing for a case of salmonella poisoning after I left.

5) We are extremely patriotic

We embrace every silly Canadian stereotype because we know we are adorable, and we proudly proclaim to the world that we’re from Canada because we know EVERYBODY LOVES US.

Yeah, that means we can subtly incorporate a flag into our traveling goods and BENEFIT from it.

I guess that’s what happens when you trade the melting pot for a keg.


Discovering Your Dream Job

The average person will work for about forty years before they’re eligible for retirement. Yay!

Unfortunately, the majority of us have to plan our career path before we can even vote. Or drink. Or experience life whatsoever. There are, of course, the fortunate few who have always known exactly what this path will entail. The rest of us choose what looks good on paper, throw ourselves into university, incur tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and emerge with a semi-functioning liver, a piece of paper that certifies that we passed four years’ worth of courses, and a whole lot of confusion about what comes next.

I’ll tell you what comes next: 1) You land a relevant job through a student internship, a family connection, or an incredibly fortunate series of events. 2) You realize that having a Bachelors degree isn’t worth shit, and continue on to complete a Masters. 3) You end up working in a field that has absolutely nothing to do with the $60,000 you just spent on learning, and start over again.

I landed in option three.

In high school, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. A corporate lawyer, to be exact. Doesn’t that sound fancy?! I remember standing in front of Dalhousie University, determined that THIS was where I would go to law school. But then I realized I had no fucking clue why I wanted to be a lawyer. Dodged that bullet!

Next stop: “Judging Amy”. This TV series ran for six years — the length of time I would ultimately spend in university as a direct result of watching it. This was a pretty good show, but there was one character in particular who intrigued me: Maxine Gray, the social worker. This lady was a total BOSS — she’d rip you a new one before you even realized she was in the same room. Career decision made!

I probably should have known that social work wasn’t what I TRULY wanted to do when I got my acceptance letter in the mail and cried. Alas, I moved to Halifax, completed two more years of school (+ twelve months of unpaid work placements…), and started working for a company I am still employed with to this day: Aon.

Cue: record scratch.

Just to be clear, this is an INSURANCE BROKERAGE. I landed here through a placement agency while I was looking for social work jobs. Until, of course, I came to the slow realization that I didn’t WANT a social work job. Needless to say, this makes for an interesting story at networking events…

I’m not going to lie, insurance is definitely NOT my thing. I think I work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever known, but I’d rather be repeatedly punched in the face than have to study for another insurance designation. That being said, if there is one thing I can credit Aon for, it’s helping me to realize exactly what I DO want to do, and giving me the opportunity to excel at it.

I should have known when I was 18. I love grammar. I love words. I love poems, lyrics, articles, and books. In university, I actually LIKED writing papers. I want to work in communications, so I’m taking Public Relations.

Unfortunately, there were two road blocks to this path when I began university: 1) I wasn’t well informed. I didn’t know HOW I could communicate. At the time, I thought having a career in writing meant being an author or a journalist. I had no idea what Public Relations was, or how integral a role communications plays within any company. 2) We’re programmed to recognize the careers that earn the most money or sound the most important: doctors, nurses, lawyers, dentists, engineers, architects, etc. If we want to be successful in life, we ought to aim high! Many of us end up neglecting our passion along the way and investing ourselves in a job that looks good on paper. Why did I want to be a lawyer? Because it sounded good. Why did I want to be a social worker? Because I wanted to be Maxine Gray.

Why do I want to write? Because I absolutely LOVE it.

There’s a great video that went viral in 2012, featuring an excerpt from a lecture by British professor Alan Watts. I think that maybe, if I had watched it at 18, it might have saved me a lot of time.

That being said, watching it at ANY age might just change the course of your career. Are you doing what you love to do? And, more importantly, are you willing to dedicate the next 40 years of your life to it?


I consider the people who created Songza to be some of the great heroes of our time.

It’s the perfect app for people like me, who haven’t updated their iTunes in about a year and a half and are otherwise stuck listening to songs that Justin Bieber wrote before he could grow facial hair. Oh, wait a second…

Not only does it keep me up-to-date with all the music the cool kids are listening to (apparently Foster the People are OLD NEWS?!), but it provides me with a play list for every era, hour, activity or task that I could ever want or need. For example: “Where Are Your Friends Tonight?”.

That being said, there are four very specific screens that make me want to kick the legs out from the pedestal the Songza creators stand on and watch them helplessly plunge to the cold, hard ground.

1) The Blue Gates

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Dammit to hell, Songza, I’VE ALREADY PUT MY MITTENS ON. But I’ll make several log in attempts in the bitter cold — none of which will work because I DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE A LOG IN — so that you’ll allow me to bypass this screen and access your magical world of tunes.

2) The Subtle Reminder That You’re Late for Work

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If Songza knows I’m late, there’s probably a good chance that my BOSS does, too. I see this screen much too often. There should really be a “Strut to Stay Employed” power playlist here, though at this point, even Macklemore can’t save me.

3) The Technical Difficulties

photo 4.PNGWell, I COULD try a different station. As long as there’s another one called “The Golden Age of Boy Bands”. Oh, there isn’t? THEN I DON’T WANT TO TRY A DIFFERENT STATION.

4) The Skip Limit for the Poor

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Really? Because THREE of the six songs I just skipped were by the same shitty band, and I’m pretty sure I gave you a thumbs down EVERY TIME. I see what you’re doing here, and it’s not going to work. In pure defiance, I’m going to spend this $4 on a bag of Cheetos and continue listening to the rest of Nickelback’s greatest hits.