This Isn’t A Post. It’s In Your Best Interest Not To Read It. Perhaps Try A Game Of Bocce Ball Instead.

Remember when you were a kid and had to travel somewhere, so your parents would be packing frantically while you laid face down on the stairs, pressing your forehead into the carpet, blocking everyone’s passage while groaning loudly? That’s how I’m feeling about writing this evening, like lying with my nose and cheeks squished against the keys would be preferable to typing out a post.

It’s not that I don’t have content. I’ve spent the past week and a half traveling about, alternating between terrorizing my sister and perfect strangers. It can be safely stated that I am a small town person. I’m meant for a slower, more familiar pace of life, where you know not only the cashier at the grocery store but two of their first cousins too.

The kind of behavior that is encouraged in a small town; skipping small talk and asking personal questions about another person’s family, might be viewed as rude or eccentric in the big smoke. So at home I am charming. When I visit the terrible metropolis empire, I am a weirdo that people ignore or move quickly away from.

To me cities are a soul strangling mix of noise and anonymity with a fierce underlying sense of competition. I suck at competing. It’s the primary reason why I chose to coach overgrown toddlers to ski. No one expects someone who recently looked kneecaps in the eye, to beat out other three year olds at whizzing down snow covered hills. The crowd just cheers if the little people make it to the bottom. Consequently in cities, when faced with the cold, indifferent looks of strangers as they bolt across loud, construction-congested streets, I start to question my life’s decisions. So I do what makes me feel good; I look for the bits of the world that make me happy and I comment on them.

I told a woman at the GO station that I didn’t think she was old enough to retire. As another lady passed me while boarding the train I commented that her dress was lovely. She ignored me. I chased down a woman wearing her toddler awkwardly in a poorly fitted carrier and offered to help adjust the straps. I smiled at the horrible skyscrapers even as they bared their metal and glass teeth at me. I sang my sweetest folk songs to comfort me and my son as the city’s desire to grow taller than the sky thundered around us in the form of bulldozers, cranes and drills as they erected endless series of towers.

When I tired of alarming passersby, I focused on my sister. Diana decided to accompany Mini-Tex and I on a visit to our grandmother’s assisted living home. “What is the food like?” my sister asked as we rode the subway there. “I’m not sure” I replied, “I’ve never eaten there”. After a second, Diana suggested that she thought the food would be soft. “Excellent” I replied, “Nothing beats a lunch of cream cheese, pudding and wet paper towels”.

Diana’s proclamation was correct. While tasty, everything in the dining room of the assisted living facility left one feeling as though their food had been pre-chewed. Mini-Tex didn’t mind in the least except for when I gave him what I thought were peaches. He spat them out forcefully and pulled a face. Surprised, I turned to my sister, “that’s strange, he likes peaches”. Diana then pointed out that Mini-Tex wasn’t a fan because the wobbly orange slices weren’t peaches but in fact apricots.

Sampling a piece, I realized the fruit was sour. “Let me try one” Diana asked. As my sister put an apricot half into her mouth, I looked at her deviously and said “Slimy, and you get the feeling they keep sliding all the way down”. The line hit its mark and my sister gave a small cough. “I just gagged” she exclaimed. “I don’t think I can eat this” Diana disdainfully held up the rest of the apricot. I was delighted and filled with the same satisfaction that a five year old has when they’ve bopped their sibling on the head with a particularly sturdy toy. Which is terrible, not the delight part, because there’s always some small part of a person, no matter their age which enjoys terrorizing their sibling, but because the line was stolen from Gilmore Girls– I take pride in coming up with my own material to disgust Diana.

As much fun as I had at my sister’s expense, some of the strangers I encountered didn’t get off scot-free either. On a late, late trip home on the GO train, the car was packed. I had a seat for most of the ride, but before disembarking at our stop, I stood in a crush of people all of whom were forced to stand for the trip. Next to me was a beautiful man. He was well dressed, immaculately manicured and very very handsome. And boy did he know it. In all of my life, I have never seen such preening. In the reflection of the window, he gazed at his perfect visage from this angle and that angle. As though he was asking himself  each time, “Am I gorgeous on this side? Oh yes. What about this side?” After I watched this for a couple of minutes, the man stopped. I thought the show was over. But then he started again. “Don’t worry” I reassured him “you’re still pretty”. He turned away from me after that and tragically stopped his preening. Pity that, I was looking forward to the bicep flexes, which I assumed were coming next.

That’s the nonsense I’ve been up to. This wasn’t actually a post. It was more a series of bizarre interactions which Diana would claim is the manner that I inflict myself upon the world.

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Grandma Getting Arrested Was Not My Fault

It wasn’t so much that she was arrested as dropped off in the middle of the night by police. Despite what everyone will tell you, it wasn’t my doing. Really if anyone should get the blame it’s my maternal grandfather, he was the one shouting at the bouncers. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

About a decade back, my Dad took my whole family on vacation; me, my sister, my Mom, my Dad, my Gran, my Granddad, my Dad’s mom and even my boyfriend at the time, we all went to a resort.

The vacation was exactly like this. Only substitute all the kissing and racy bits with shuffleboard. (Photo Credit : amazon.com)

The vacation was just like this. Only substitute all the kissing and racy bits with shuffleboard. (Photo Credit : amazon.com)

If you’ve ever seen “Dirty Dancing” this resort was exactly like that, only without all the interesting sexy bits and desperately attractive men lurking in every corner. Also I never once saw Patrick Swayze. Not exactly a place where a teenager would go to have fun for a good time. However Diana and I were with our family so we were happy. Though I must confess the evenings were quite slow. One night at dinner my family decided that we would all go dancing.

This was around the time that my Mom’s parents used to go out and win West Coast couples dancing competitions. My parents would also attend said competitions but didn’t podium. My boyfriend and I, inspired by watching these two couples had begun to take ballroom dance lessons as well.

Unfortunately Diana was only eighteen at the time so my parents were unsure whether she would get into the bar at the hotel. Exasperated my Gran blurted out “You MUST have a fake ID.” And not surprisingly, Diana did. It was passed around and scrutinized by every member of my family but my grandfather who was in the washroom at the time. After everyone inspected the Northwest Territories driver’s license, it was deemed an acceptable fake.

After dinner everyone returned to their respective hotel rooms, except for my sister and I who always want to spend more time with our maternal grandparents. We sat on their bed chatting merrily while my Gran and Granddad got dressed in their matching cowboy dancing outfits and my Granddad donned one of his impressive western hats. The mood in the room was jovial and excited.

Walking over to the bar with the prospect of spending an evening with his family and getting to dance with his two granddaughters, my Granddad was his extroverted self. Seeing the bouncers’ hackles go up at the sight of Diana and me, he waved cheerfully. “It’s ok boys! They’re my granddaughters.” Grabbing Diana’s shoulders he proudly added “This one’s eighteen!”

“Granddad!” Diana and I shouted indignantly in unison. “What?” My grandfather asked stopping in his tracks. In Manitoba, where my Granddad grew up, the legal drinking age is eighteen. In Ontario it’s one year older.

Kicking at the ground Diana turned on her heel and left in a huff. Walking into the bar Granddad’s shoulder were hunched “I didn’t know, I didn’t know.” He repeated sheepishly. However soon the music started and the mood lightened as the couples began to dance.

A group of three men a little older than me stood awkwardly around the bar. Thinking of my sister who was probably sitting in the hotel room bored to tears while my eighty-four year old grandma knitted an afghan, I had an idea.

“Hey do you want to keep a hot girl company?” I asked. The boys shrugged but then listened eagerly when I told them my room number. They left the bar soon after.

In the mean time, after realizing that she wasn’t going to spend the evening cha-cha-ing with her family, my sister had found another under age youth sitting on one of the resort’s rolling hills. Together they sat in the darkness and shared bottles of booze that the young man had pinched from who knows where.

The three men from the bar, having given up any hope of finding fun in a place filled with middle aged people dancing the East Coast swing, headed over to my family’s hotel room. They knocked on the door.

By this time my grandmother had changed into her nightgown and was getting ready for bed when she heard a rapping at the door. The sight of the three lumbering young men inquiring if there was a hot girl inside ( I hadn’t bothered to give them Diana’s name), spurred my elderly grandmother into action. “No. Only me.” she replied curtly, “Now please go home.” Then, strapping on her fuzzy slippers, my grandma walked off into the night in search of Diana.

This entire time, the hotel police were parked a distance from the hill that my sister and her new friend had been illegally drinking on. The officers were well aware of the illicit goings on, however the amount of flack they’d receive from the patrons of the hotel for busting the privileged teenagers for the offense was greater than the good that would come from stopping it. At any rate, my sister and the young man were not causing any harm.

Around the time that Diana and her companion packed up their bottles and headed back to their respective rooms the hotel police received word that there was an elderly woman wandering around the property in her nightgown. Off they sped in their cruiser to avert disaster.

Diana arrived back at the room just as my parents and I did. Everyone was confused as to where my grandmother had gone at twelve o’clock at night. Then for the second time that night there was a knock at the hotel room door. My father opened it to a squad car with its lights flashing and an official looking man in uniform standing next to his mother. “These nice men gave me a ride back” said Grandma as she stepped past my father into the hotel room.

Although I technically did send a group of strange young men to my family’s hotel room searching for my sister, I still contest that Grandma wandering around in the middle of the night and being dropped off by security is NOT my fault. Clearly its Granddad’s lack of awareness around Ontario’s drinking laws and his overactive bladder.