When Kush Comes To Shove
When you think about working at a (legal) cannabis plantation you immediately envision a bunch of patchouli scented, dreadlocked hippies listening to Bob Marley and floating around a massive field of creamy danky kush. Seasonal workers on their way from tree planting or picking apples in Kelowna. Just a way to pick up some quick cash before heading to Bali or Barcelona for the winter. Think again. This is a true account of my personal experience being an employee at a commercial marijuana production facility during harvest season. In reality the entire process is much more akin to an Amazon warehouse than Shamballah. So get comfy, spark up your doobie, and let me take you on a magical adventure to the promised land.
Little Red Writing Hood
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl, in a far away and forgotten place. The little girl lived in a small town, in a small house, with small people. All around the small house, in the small town, in the small place, there were big, BIG trees. The trees were SO big that they made they sky look black even when it was daytime. The sky was black day and night. The sky dripped black and white stripes when the little girl was sleeping. Even when it rained and the trees shaked and hugged her small house with all the small people inside who didn't notice things like she did.
This story is going to offend you. I’ll tell you that right off the bat. Skin colour is not something you can choose at birth and altering it is a painful and costly process. I was born with Caucasian or white coloured skin to two biological parents with the same predetermined pigmentation. I have medium hair that is brown and round brown eyes. I have average looks an average weight. The only distinctive features on my body art tattoos and a thick hideous scar stretching diagonally across my left eyebrow and forehead. This deformation has been a part of me since I was two years old period the other scars are bigger and uglier, but you cannot see them under my hair. I shaved my head once when I was 14 just to see how people would react, it was not pleasant. This lesson taught me that as long as I keep my ugliness hidden, nobody would see me as different. But I am different. There is something in my genetic code that separates me from over 98% of the world’s population. It is something that cannot be changed by surgery or physically perceptive by anyone, ever. I am talking about my race. I was born a hybrid product of two nearly forgotten indigenous nomadic tribes from the Eurasian continent. The mirror tells me that I’m white my passport tells me I’m Caucasian and my genetics choose to ignore the question entirely. My birthplace was somewhere in the former USSR, it is unclear at exactly which location or time I was born at because my parents were military researchers and I have never seen any legitimate documents supporting my legal identity. The only thing I’m sure about of myself is my race. This is due mainly to a meticulous and well kept archive of family history kept by my mother’s relatives, passed on from generation to generation of the Last of Us. You see, the perestroika and Bolsheviks exterminated almost my entire clan and the gulags or the war claimed the rest period the survivors were forced to flee oppression under false names and passports. Whole villages were left to decay. This is my village, located a 14 hour drive from the nearest inhabited area, absent from any map, niever mentioned in any newspaper. Once alive with the science and smells of hardworking simple folk of the mountains, this little hamlet lies rotting and forgotten somewhere on the edge of the world. We immigrated to Canada in 1998 under questionable documents and settled in Toronto. I went to public school, learned English and even made some friends. Fitting in was easier because I am white. The deeply concerning truth is that I feel that my skin colour really did offer me more privilege in society than others, and I accepted it. Being an invisible minority protected me from blatant outright racism and discrimination. I grew up fully aware of my race and heartbreaking heritage, and it was only when I got married that I started to realize how deeply racism discrimination based on skin colour is embedded even in modern progressive society. My husband is half Belgian and half African tall and handsome, always smiling. It was thanks to him that my eyes open to reality. She told me stomach churning stories about his experiences and open up a world of truth for me. After long deliberation we decided that ending racism does not start with T shirts or armed riots. It starts with our mixed race, curly haired, green eyed children inviting everyone to their birthday parties.
We ate in silence. Mary ladled thick, steaming globs of lasagna onto everyone’s plates, careful not to let even a single drop of sauce escape and God forbid land on her pristine linen tablecloth. I looked down at my plate and suddenly wished I was very, very far away. Around me the kitchen glistened with the tell tale signs of heavy bleach and OCD. The tiny sounds of forks scraping against bone China filled my ears and made me want to scream.
This Is The House That Crack Built
I remember the last time we made this trip someone at the house told me that when you brush your teeth it is the only time that you ever clean your skeleton. I close my eyes and push the button for the automatic window to roll down, trying not to let the morbid imagery crawl further into my skull than it already has. I fight nausea. Thick sheets of black November air push tight against my face in ragged bursts. The driver deftly turns the last corner and motions for everyone to get out a few houses down from the old man's place. Protocol.
HINDSIGHT 2020 – TONI JAY Don’t forget your mask! Your mask! You cant go outside without your mask! My mothers shrill voice tore through the haze of daydreams floating around my head. I snapped back into reality. Lowered my hand into my right back pocket and pulled out a thin slice of plastic that was intended to resemble a bunny rabbit, looped the cheap elastic strings over my ears and eased myself onto the sidewalk. HALLOWEEN was supposed to be a time when kids dressed up like their childhood nightmares, favourite comic book heroes or unrealistic Disney characters. But that’s all over now. When the Great Plague came it took away all that. Now I’m stuck holding my little sister’s hand while she shuffles along quietly six feet behind the other kids waiting to grab a hermetic ziploc bag of peanut free mars bars from the laminated and well polished kiosk in the lobby of our apartment building.