Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It Works Every Time

Southwestern Ontario has been enjoying unseasonal summer weather, with temperatures in the mid-20's up to low 30's* for the past few weeks.

I don't remember a summer that arrived in early May since the one between 2nd and 3rd year.  Not to reminisce about my university days... again.  But I'm going to do it anyway.

One roommate (to protect her identity, let's call her "Saucy") and I were finished exams in late April.  Some restrained, "kick off the summer" celebrations were had, but nothing too elaborate, because the other roommate (let's call her "CM") didn't have her last exam until the first week of May.  On this long anticipated day, Saucy and I splurged on a 12 of Sleeman's Honey Brown and sat around drinking it and listening to Ani DiFranco, waiting for CM to get back so that we could properly mark the end of a long winter of toil and study/ the advent of summer, ie, pickle ourselves with liquor.  When, at last, CM burst through the door, she came packing a 40 of Colt 45.  She bought it primarily because it cost $3**.  We were starving students, after all.  If you are thinking that this was maybe a bad decision on her part, you are dead wrong.  As the afternoon unfolded, we learned that $3 worth of Colt 45 was the perfect amount of malt liquor to achieve the perfect level of intoxication (ie, euphoric, but with fine motor skills*** largely intact).  As if that wasn't amazing enough, three dollars was practically free, even for starving students like ourselves.

The summer that followed went sort of like this: 

Well, maybe not exactly like that.  But for the next 8 weeks, we lived in a strange world where Colt 45 was the means by which we measured both time and money.  The time value of one Colt was about 3 hours, so plans were made around the question "how many Colts till then?"   No purchases were made without a quick tally of how many Colts they would cost.

Naturally, we thought we were the first people since the 80's to enjoy Colt 45****, until one day an acquaintance thoughtfully corrected us, saying something like "Colt 45?  That's what homeless people drink."

We didn't let that ruin our good times, of course.  However, the Colt era met its end in early July, when Saucy left town for a summer job.  We never really got back into after that:  as a moment in time, it had passed. 

So, the heat has me thinking about days gone by.  And time passes quickly these days.  For example, it seems like last month that Saucy sent an email to announce that she was knocked up and expecting in mid-July.  This was actually November, and now mid-July is only 7 weeks away.  I haven't been drinking-for-her on purpose, necessarily, but this weekend, I'll be glad to drink a 40 of Colt in honour of her and in honour of the summer-after-second-year, if I can get anyone to join me.  Actually, scratch that.  I'll be glad to drink a 40 of Colt in her honour this weekend, period.  I don't anticipate anyone wanting to join me in that particular endeavour, so they can drink what they damn well please.

*that's mid 70's to low 90's for my American friends.  Not that I mean to imply that you are slow and/or don't know these things and/or can't figure it out on your own.  But I grew up near the border (American news broadcasts) with an American dad, and once removed from those situations, I remember a summer doing math in my head to figure out what people were talking about when they said "28".  It was simple math, but still.  I'm trying to be helpful.

**in those days, in Quebec.

***not that I escaped entirely from mishap.  There was one night, after each savouring a Colt, Saucy and I wisely decided to ride our bikes down to the Fouf*****...

****sort of in the same way that, on the previous Thanksgiving, we thought we were the first to discover that canned whipped cream contained nitrous oxide, until an acquaintance thoughtfully informed us that what we'd discovered were whippets, which she used to do in grade 7.  In my defense, I come from Chatham, where, as gateway drugs are concerned, the youth bypassed things like whippets and went straight for more insidious things like dime bags and Robitussin.

*****Les Foufounes Electriques, which, roughly translated from Quebec French, means "Electric Asses".  No, this is not one of Montreal's many adult entertainment facilities (like Pussy Corps).  But it was a good 15 minutes outside what we considered reasonable walking distance, so our bikes made perfect sense - at the time.  My sparkly pink, purple and yellow miniskirt maybe wasn't the best clothing choice for a bike ride.  To give you a better idea, see below.  I still have the clothes, of course; these are self-portraits taken today:

If this isn't questionable enough, I had also opted to wear a pair of underwear that Saucy had fashioned out of a pair of Tommy Hilfiger sports socks, discarded by a former roommate (let's call him "The Mike Machine").  Beyond the obvious reasons, the trouble with this underwear was that they were somewhat lacking in coverage.  They served more as push-up underwear, if you get what I mean (if you don't, there was some nice lift from the bottom, but nothing up top).

Montreal is an island, and also basically a hill.  It was downhill all the way from our apartment to the bar.  Our bikes picked up more and more speed.  I got more and more nervous.  Traffic lights had been in our favour, but I soon reached the point where I knew that any faster and there would be no way for me to stop if I needed to.  Rather than slow down and brake, I slammed both feet on the ground.  The force of the impact catapulted me over the handlebars, my bike did a full forward flip over my head, and I skidded onto the pavement, arms and face first, exactly like I was trying to slide into home base.  Bike came to rest some distance in front of me.

Fate landed me on the road right outside a church, where a Portugese youth group event was just letting out.  Within seconds, I was surrounded by a group of 13 and 14 year old Christians, who were all pointing at me on the ground, asking, "heyy... are you okay??"

I couldn't respond.  The wind was knocked out of me when I hit the pavement.  Even if it hadn't been, I was laughing too hard to communicate:  my sparkly mini-skirt landed somewhere near my neck, exposing my Tommy Hilfiger sock underwear for all to see. 

My efforts to photograph myself face-down with my skirt around my head proved mechanically impossible.  Efforts to trace a life-size version of my naked body on paper also proved ineffective:  especially after I tried to dress the cut-out and realized that I needed musculoskeletal structure to hold the clothing in place (either that or reinforce the cutout with cardboard, but the former was the more obvious choice).  In short, you are all saved from images of my foufoune electrique - real or reasonable facsimile.  For today, anyway.

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