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Lower the Volume

At first, I thought I didn’t even want to have kids. After finishing grad school in Toronto, I moved to Ottawa in 2008. I didn’t know a single person there and needed to find a place in 24 hours. I didn’t own anything at the time (a story for another time) so I flew in with the objective of finding an apartment to move into the following day. I came up with a theory about finding undervalued apartments.

Based on my knowledge of my father as a landlord, I suspected that there were many older folks out there that refused to use the internet to post new listings. They went old school. Straight up newspaper classifieds. I made 12 consecutive appointments, and my theory didn’t fail me. I was able to score a high quality one bedroom place right downtown for $750. I mean, it was all hallway, and you could only turn left (or right if coming back from the kitchen), and from what I understand, the previous tenant died in some sort of tragic accident, but who cares right?

I quickly found some ‘go-to’ places I frequented and built up a strong network. I still didn’t understand the difference between a short and long shot of espresso, but back in 2008, it was okay. I met this key guy named Ryan and we embedded ourselves in Ottawa’s surprisingly decent hip-hop nightlife scene. Work was mundane and Kafkaesque, and the winter was brutal but things were going relatively well.

Sticking to his classified guns, my old man was still high on getting me hitched. So, unbeknownst to me, he put a matrimonial ad for me in the well circulated (within the Punjabi North American Community) Indo-Canadian Times newspaper. All of the sudden, I started getting calls from parents of highly educated Sikh women from all over. I usually wasn’t allowed to speak to the women until all the pre-screening was done. But flying to Sacramento, as one guy requested – that was crazy.

The kernel of the idea wasn’t bad though I thought; if I could keep things more localized we could get popping. So much cash was being blown on dozens of $8 Heinekens at clubs, I thought what the fuck, why not find a different stream for meeting women. There were hardly any brown people in Ottawa either. At the time, as you can see, it made complete sense to fill out a profile on I had a wheatish-medium complex I noted, and indicated that I liked Do-It-Yourself projects. Other lies were easily weaved in and I was set.

Life went on for another year or so and more good times and lots of boozing ensued. The Royal Oak was terrible but somehow necessary. I started dating someone that turned out to be involved in the Jews for Jesus movement. She failed to recognize Guru Nanak as a prophet and that fizzled fast. There was also a Russian guy that dangerously drove a van full of people to Toronto on the weekends for $25 each. It was too cheap for me to refuse so a few of the common riders and I started taking sleeping pills to tolerate the heart-wrenchingly fast three hours and change.

Then, I was contacted by my future wife on SikhMatrimonials. The platform had mainly been a bust up until then. I had a few dates with someone from Hamilton, but concluded that she would require a gingiovectomy for things to progress any further. My future wife was from B.C. and was my polar opposite – bubbly and optimistic. There were some missteps along the way for sure including a botched Valentine’s Day, my stated dislike of shawls, and a Samsung camera gift. But in the end we settled into a solid routine of enjoying each other’s company and what our surroundings had to offer.

Our friends became friends. We frequented a wine bar where she worked and it felt like we could go on like this forever. I bought a cool, new but poorly constructed townhouse (don’t trust the Punjabi builders). We agreed that we didn’t want kids and life seemed good. But then, she was done school and winter hit. Her plan was to always move back to B.C. I tried to bribe her to stay with a Canada Goose jacket and a remote car starter kit but it was too late. It was a tough call for me, but I relented. I agreed in principle to move back. Lots of additional good times were had. We must have visited every half decent bar and restaurant in the city. I had to buy a fat suit at one point. And then we moved back to Vancouver.

Maybe it was the ocean waves all those evening walks along English Bay. Or maybe it was the 6.6% Innis & Gunn. We felt more like family than ever before—in fact, we had gotten married the year before—so adding to it made sense at the time. I was a fertile character as it turned out. It didn’t take long. Before we knew it, there was a bun in the oven, and I’m not talking about the Papa Roti’s that was on the ground floor my friends. Our son was born in 2013 and our daughter in 2014. I learned great volume control techniques while watching Game of Thrones in small apartments to limit the 'your sword show is making too much noise, please turn it down' texts at night. Eventually, we would move two more times before eventually settling in the burbs.

After a wild mixture of rotator cuff pain, sleep-deprivation, joy and Paw Patrol, a decision was made. Rubbers were going to be out. A vasectomy was planned. She had a good point. It was the least I could do after she birthed two kids in consecutive years.

Admittedly, I chickened out and ‘rescheduled’ the appointment a few times. It was supposed to be a quick 10-minute job apparently. I don’t know, there seemed to be something symbolic about it. The sack. It was sacrosanct perhaps? We got into a huge argument after my third appointment rescheduling. Shit, I couldn’t remember if I had firmly agreed to it or not. It didn’t feel like it was my decision anymore. Obviously I could have pulled out (pun intended), but when she started crying and saying she would get her tubes tied even though it was unfair and unjust, I said the fuck with it, let’s just do it. We didn’t want more kids anyways. We had achieved population replacement and another kid would result in a van or van-sized vehicle. Fuck that.

The day came up quick. I was poorly planned as usual. I wore the specially designed supportive jockey underwear they provided ahead of the appointment and refrained from boozing and Advil for a few days prior. The nurse prepped the area. The situation should have been more comical but it wasn’t. Even if the nurse was hot, it would have been hard to have gotten aroused. The doctor came in and made some aggressive moves to the nuts. I definitely felt but it was more tolerable than his terrible jokes. Then he cauterized away and the smell was horrible. Maybe knowing it was your balls is what the vast difference (vas deferns?) was. And then after a very slow ass 10 minutes it was over. They threw an icepack down there, gave me a Kind granola bar and an orange flavored San Pellegrino.

I made the foolish mistake of taking the Sky Train/bus to the doctor’s office. My wife was at work. Fuck. The cabs were all electric and Prius’ didn’t have good shock absorption. Electing to save the $100, I took public transit baby. Please don’t do that. Vasectomies and the 555 don’t mix well.

After a sore month or so. I was mainly back at full strength. Nobody tells you about the decline in ejaculate volume though. They say 5-10% but I estimate more like 20%. While for the wifey a decrease in volume was a plus, for me, not so much. I thought perhaps it would be like watching Game of Thrones with subtitles—at first it’s annoying but after a while you begin to appreciate the complex dialogue and the clever references missed when only relying on audio. Subtitle style low volume sex. Oh yeah. It must be nice to crank up the volume sometimes though. But I wouldn’t know.

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