Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I remember staying at the Kinsey motel....

There is no such motel. But we stayed there all the same!

Our friends, the Kinsey's, had invited us over for dinner and games on New Year's Eve. They lived even farther out from town than we did, and it was snowing hard, so we bundled up very warm for the drive over. We had lots of fun, playing board games and eating and laughing. Us kids were completely wrapped up in playing, oblivious to the changing weather outside.

The grown-ups were looking out the window. "It's really blowing out there. We'd better head for home right away," said Dad as he headed outside to start the car so it could warm up.

We didn't want to leave! It was New Year's Eve, we were going to stay late and have fun, weren't we? But in Alberta, the weather dictates many things, and even us kids realized we had to go as we heard the wind picking up speed. We got into our many layers of winter wear. As we headed out the door, I remember Mrs. Kinsey having trouble pulling it shut behind us in the howling blizzard. We could barely see the car!

Dad seemed completely fearless as we inched the car onto the gravel road. We could see nothing in front of us, absolutely nothing but a whirling wall of white. Mom's lips pressed tightly together. "Abe, how can we drive in this? You can't even see the edge of the road!"

"Look up. This is a ground blizzard, there's no new snow falling." He was right. The wind was whipping around the snow that had fallen earlier that evening, but the sky above was clear. We could see the very tops of the telephone poles, eerie and strange in the night glow of the blizzard. "I should be able to navigate by keeping in between the poles."

"But what if there's another car?" asked Mom, quite worried.

"In this weather? Who'd be out driving in this?"

For 15 minutes Dad tried to keep it between the poles, driving no faster than a slow roll. It was no good. We had reached the intersection near their house, less than a quarter of a mile away, and there were no more telephone poles. Now what? Dad put on his toque. "I'll walk in front of the car, and you follow me. We are turning around and going back, and I don't want to go in the ditch as we try and change directions." Mom scooted over, Dad disappeared in front of the car. All we could see was his black and white toque flickering in and out of view. Mom managed to get the car turned around by following Dad in this way, then scooted over to let him back in.

My little sister and I weren't dumb. We knew to keep quiet during this tense operation, but I tell you, what an adventure! We kept looking at each other and squeezing our mittens together to keep from giggling and hooting. We were going back to the party!!

When we pulled in, the Kinsey's weren't surprised. Mrs. Kinsey, as she bustled around getting out foamies and sleeping bags and blankets, kept joking about how the motel was open for business and no complaining about the rooms. Dad sat on the chair in the kitchen warming up and telling the story of how bad it was out there, when there came a knock on the door. It was the neighbors from 3/4 of a mile down the road! They had even better stories to tell about not knowing what to do, and should we keep driving or do we try to turn back, and keeping it between the poles until we hit the Kinsey's.

Nobody was going anywhere in that weather. This was turning into a real party! My sister and my friend and I had never had a better New Year's Eve, sleeping on the living room all together as the grown-ups kept talking in the kitchen about what a storm.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I remember a date gone wrong...

This fellow had asked me out on a date. He was an acquaintance of mine, not somebody I had my eye on, but there was no real reason to say no. He seemed nice enough, a bit of an artist type.

I don't remember what we did. Dinner? I think that was it. We were walking around after we ate, and he suggested we head back to his apartment for some ice cream. This request seemed completely innocent to me, and I love ice cream, so I agreed. He had a little squalid apartment; old fridge, hot plate, tipsy table and chair in the kitchen, and in the other room, a messy bed, a thread-bare easy chair and a dresser. I noticed a fascinating little purple box on top of the dresser, so pretty and out of place amongst the clutter. I couldn't take my eyes off it.

We were having pleasant enough conversation. We ate ice cream, sitting in the other room while we waited for the tea to boil. At this point, he made a move to embrace me. Embrace is a nice word, I don't think it works. He tried to grab me. I moved away quickly, and told him to cool it. He informed me that he bought me dinner, he fed me ice cream, and now it was time for me to "put out". He used those very words.

I jumped off the easy chair, grabbed the pretty little plastic box from on top of the dresser, and ran out of the apartment without a backward glance. I know for a fact that if I had stayed, I wouldn't have had an option about putting out or not. I couldn't believe it, that I had been so naive and that he was such a boor. I didn't think people like him actually existed except in novels and movies.

I still have the little black box with the trippy purple lid. The purple lid is holographic, and it looks like you can see deep inside the pattern...but the box itself is only about 1/2 an inch deep. I keep my guitar picks inside. Every time I look at the box and gaze into the misleading lid, I remember that shallow people can appear to be very deep, and that I am easily fooled by pretty wrapping.

Note: I have edited this piece after reading everyone's comments. It should be a bit clearer now why I took the box.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I remember a unique Christmas tree (thanks, Amber, for reminding me of this memory)....

My boyfriend, Earl, lived in a house with a lot of roommates. I loved hanging out there, it was almost always fun. One roomie, named B., had a little pet marijuana plant growing in his room. It wasn't very healthy, but he lovingly tended it and cared for it anyway.

One November evening, the Christmas spirit hit early. We were all well into the rum and egg-nog, we were singing Christmas carols to anyone who would answer the phone...when we realized we had no tree! Bruce ran to his room and brought out his scrawny plant, put it on top of the TV, and we made some paper decorations for it. (These people knew how to have fun, I mean it.) It looked like Charlie Brown's pathetic tree, if Charlie had grown up to be a stoner.

Our impromptu Christmas party was rolling along beautifully. We had dug out some Christmas records and were singing along merrily, when there came a knock at the door. A peak through the window, and we all groaned. The hermit-tenant who lived downstairs had called the cops on us again! If we did anything more than hiccup, he would call the police, and they would come and roll their eyes and tell us to be quiet, knowing full well that we were being mostly good. We were used to this drill, but we had never had a marijuana plant decorated with paper chains and stars sitting on the TV before.

"Hello, officer, what seems to be the problem?"

"We've had another noise complaint, sorry about this."

"We were just singing Christmas carols. We'll try and keep it down, sir."

"OK. None of you are driving anywhere, are you?"

"No sir. All eight of us are staying right here."

"All right then. Merry...Christmas" he said with a little grin, and that was it. He left! He had been standing about two feet from a perfect reason to ruin our day, and either didn't see it, or decided not to notice it out of regard for the season.

I'm sure it was only the first week of November. Cheers, Earl and B. and M. and J. and P., wherever you are!

Monday, November 13, 2006

I remember drinking home brew and watching Batman reruns....

I had been to see Alice Donut play at the Town Pump in Vancouver (June, 1989). I was enjoying hanging out with the guys in the band, and asked them if they wanted to come to my place and watch Batman reruns and smoke dope. What band would refuse that offer? A local friend offered to bring a crate of home brewed beer, so he got to come to the party, too. We all arrived at my place and had a quiet evening.

Rock and roll isn't all wild parties, you know. Sometimes it's flaking out on the couch and having friendly arguments about who made the better Catwoman, Julie Newmar or Eartha Kitt. We drank all the beer and watched Batman until we all fell asleep, curled up like kittens on the big couch.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I remember making my mom cry in 1981.....

My friend, Raychelle, from church was heading into Lethbridge with her mom for a shopping day, and they invited me to join them! How exciting!! Raychelle was one of my more thrilling friends, full of paradoxes. She was very popular at school, yet she was a faithful church attender. She was nice to me, yet she was one of the beautiful people. It didn't add up! Blond feathered hair and sunny smile, she was an angel to me of kindness. I got permission from my mom, and off we went for the day.

We went into all kinds of great shops, trying on all the trendy clothing. I could almost imagine I was one of the beautiful people, hanging out with Raychelle in the mall. Her mom looked at her watch. "Girls, it's time to head to the hair salon. Raychelle's appointment is in a few minutes."

Raychelle was whisked off by the beautician. As I sat in the salon with Mrs. West (names changed just to be safe), we began pouring through the hair-do magazines. "Look at this cute cut, Paula. I bet it would look adorable on you!" It was short, spiky on the top, with little long wisps of hair at the back. So new-wave! I agreed, yes, it would look good on me, in some other lifetime. "Paula, if you get this hair cut, I'll pay for it. You need a new look." Mrs. West said with finality.

Huh? What? My hair was just past my shoulders, long and thick and with no style at all. I usually just ignored it. A radical short funky hair cut was mine for the taking? I felt like I was on a game show. "Monty, I'll take door number 2" "Congratulations, young lady, you've won your first stylish hair cut!"

Soon it was my turn in the chair. I was trembling with excitement as the chunks of hair fell to the floor. I was being transformed! I was one of the beautiful people, but even better because my haircut was daring and unusual!! When the beautician was done, I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn't believe it. I looked like someone from Friday Night Videos. I looked like I lived in a city. Wow!

When I got back from the drive, after thanking Raychelle and Mrs. West profusely, I bounced into the house, thrilled to show my family my new do. My mom took one look at me and started crying. "What have you done?"

"Mrs. West payed for it, Mom. I didn't pay for it." Why was she upset? I spent no money!

"But Carol's wedding is coming up in the summer and you girls were all going to have long hair!" More tears. This was the first I'd heard of the long hair plan. I slunk to my room and sat on my bed, angry and sad and deflated.

Carol, my sister, came into my room and sat beside me. "I love your new haircut. I think it makes your eyes pop out. You look beautiful." We hugged. I did not understand my mother at all.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I remember enjoying a free concert that I thought I would hate....

I often scored free tickets at the college radio station where I had a show. Usually these tickets were for shows I was excited about, but I ended up with two free tickets to see George Jones, Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty--a show I was most definitely NOT planning on seeing. My boyfriend, Earl, and I decided it would be worth going, if only for the aspect of cultural adventure.

We dressed up as if we were going to the best punk gig ever. Earl leaned over to me as we took our seats and whispered, "It looks like everyone here shops from the Sears catalogue!" I giggled. It was true! Brown dress slacks, plaid short-sleeved shirts, polyester everywhere! Earl and I were out of our element, sticking out like a black-leather thumb. We were also about ten years younger than everyone else.

George Jones was up first. I had never heard of him before, but he was a good enough showman. We weren't overly impressed, but he didn't suck, either.

Then Loretta Lynn hit the stage. Earl and I were both dumbfounded. She was incredible!! We figured she would know her way around a stage, having been in show business for so long, but we didn't expect her to be so incredibly fabulous! After one song we became loyal subjects of the Queen of Country, Loretta Lynn, and she held us captive until her very last song.

Thankfully Conway Twitty was last. He was horrible, talking to the women in the front row like a dirty old man, putting out his hand for them to kiss, which they did. It was embarrassing. Before his second song was over, we fled.

We both liked Loretta Lynn so much that we were unashamed to tell all our country-music-hating friends how awesome she was.