Friday, December 30, 2005

I remember being afraid of the toilet in the middle of the night.

When I was a little kid, we lived in an old farmhouse out in the country. My bedroom was upstairs, and the ceiling sloped on both a larger house, it would have been the attic, I guess. My bed was tucked into the narrow place where the ceiling met with the wall. I had to watch how I sat up in the middle of the night, or I'd bonk my head!

The trip to the bathroom in the dark of night is where my fear comes in. Unlike many kids, I wasn't aware of any monsters under my bed or in my closet. My fear was directed towards the toilet. I knew with certainty that if I wasn't back in bed before the toilet stopped flushing, that I would be dragged back and sucked into the vortex. Being close to my bed didn't count...I was sure I could be dragged back down the stairs, through the piano room, through the kitchen and into the bathroom and sucked down the toilet unless I was in my bed with my head under the covers.

So, here's how it would go. I'd relieve myself. I'd put my hand on the lever and assume the "On your marks" position. Then flush, run like my life depended on it, back through the obstacle course of the first floor, up the stairs, and dive into my bed, heart racing.

I never told anyone about this fear. It was mine, and I didn't want to share it. As an adult, I watch this whole memory with amusement, but also with wonder. Almost every night I faced a near-death experience and won! I had set up for myself an almost impossible obstacle, and then would conquer it every time I had to relieve myself. Talk about esteem-building! Is that what our childhood fears are we can practice survival in the face of our fears?

Thanks to Papa Herman for sparking this memory for me.

Friday, December 23, 2005

I remember being witnessed to by a true Rastafarian. (Warning, dear children, there will be drug references in this memory!)

I was hanging out at the Channel 1 Klub in Vancouver, just down some stairs from Denman Street. There were three or four guys from Jamaica, dreadlocks, big funny hats and everything. I got into a conversation with one guy, and he asked me if I wanted to smoke a joint with the time, that was a bit of a rhetorical question with no need for an answer from me. We headed to a car park for some privacy, and Mr. Rasta (I can't remember his name) pulled out one of the fattest doobies I'd ever seen. We shared it, then headed back into the club. As we sat down by the bar to talk, he pulled a little well-worn New Testament from his back pocket. He opened it and asked me if I knew that Jesus loved me.

I burst into fits of giggles...I just couldn't quite put the whole experience together in my head. First, Mr. Rasta gets me more wasted than I'd ever been before up to that time, then he starts sharing the gospel with me. 'Interesting witnessing technique', I remember thinking, 'If people smoked you up first, you might be more inclined to listen to people proselytize!'

He shared the whole thing with me, the whole Romans Road...and I just kept giggling. I kept seeing myself in Sunday School memorizing the very verses he was reading to me, and then seeing myself at that moment, sitting in the dark club listening to him. The two images just didn't juxtapose.

Part of me wonders...was God reminding me that He was there, watching over me? I was certainly trying to ignore Him as much as possible, yet somehow He was always there, peeking through a window, eye to the keyhole, ear to the wall...unobtrusive, yet inescapable. Nice thought...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I remember winning "Most Improved" in our college choir.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll remember Mr. Janz. He was conducting us through Handel's "Elijah" for Masterworks Choir at Trinity Western University. This was going to be a big deal, a performance with professional soloists, an orchestra...we were excited and nervous to take on this mammoth challenge.

It seemed that Mr. Janz was constantly singling me out. For the first part of the semester, he would stop the music and say something like, "Did everyone hear how Paula did that? It was wrong. Paula, let's try it..." and I'd have to work the part out in front of everybody until it was right. Mr. Janz, as all good musicians should be, was a perfectionist. Couple my crush on him with my own perfectionism, and you can imagine how humiliating this whole process was for me.

But by the end of the semester, he would stop the music and say, "Did everyone hear how Paula did that? She was the only one who did it right!! Now, Paula, sing it for us so everyone can hear how to do it." (In case you haven't guessed, I sing loudly whether I know what I'm doing or not...) And when it came time to vote for "Most Improved", apparently I was the obvious choice, the only one brash enough to make my mistakes and improvements in full view of the class.

I still wonder if he ever got married. Ahem...
Not really about remembering at all....but rules are made to be broken, yes?

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.
You show the world what culture really is.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I remember shopping for a winter coat with my mom.

We lived near Three Hills, I was about 12, and I needed a new winter coat. We drove into town and went to Fields. I think it was Fields even way back then...I could be wrong. I'm sure the location was the same as the Fields now; not much changes in these small towns.

I remember walking into the store and seeing the coats on the racks. I walked over, picked out a red down-filled coat, tried it on, and said, "This is the one, Mom. I like this one." She made me try on every other coat in the store to see if I liked some other coat better. I didn't. We spent an hour in there, and in the end I walked out of the store with the coat I had known I liked from the very first.

I am sure this confused my mother. I know I was certainly confused by her that day. Why try on more coats if you've already found the One?

Monday, December 05, 2005

I remember New Year's Day with my roommate and his mother...

Don was Danish, and his mom asked us over for a smorgesboard to celebrate New Year's Day with her. I had never met her before, but Don assured me she was nice. She lived in a little apartment by herself. The dining room table was covered with little plates with all kinds of food on them, all covered in plastic wrap. As the afternoon began, she unwrapped a few of the little plates, and we'd all help ourselves. After a few of the plates had been tackled, she disappeared into the kitchen and came back with a liqueur she'd been keeping in the freezer, Aquavit. She poured us each a little glassful, and then we all knocked it back in one quick gulp. It was refreshing! Then more little plates would be uncovered, then more Aquavit, etc. Always the Aquavit would be put back in the freezer right away.

I had to ask a lot of questions, as there were many foods that I had never seen before, or never had enough courage to try. Pickled herring, lots of different white fish, a spread for crackers made of beef fat, all kinds of little strange nibblies. I'm not sure what the ratio of plates to Aquavit was, but Don's mom seemed to have an equation all worked out. By the end of the last little covered plate, we were all getting happily sloshed, Danish style!

It seemed very strange to me at first to be drinking with someone's MOM. Drinking is something you hide from your mom, isn't it? My parents are teetotallers and look down on drinking. I had never shared a drink of alcohol with my parents, but after dancing around the living room singing "I Wanna Be Like Yoo-oo-ou" from the Jungle Book with Don and his mom, I began to wonder if maybe MY family was the weird one, and that maybe I had been missing out.