Tuesday, November 08, 2005

your cold, cold heart

When my brother and I were about 18-20, we took a trip to Calgary, AB, the city of our childhood. We stayed in the home of a family we'd been close to when we lived there. They had three daughters and a son -- the oldest daughter, Rochelle, was a couple yrs younger than we were, maybe 15 or so. (Note: this story is not salacious, so if that was what you were hoping for, you can give up now...)

Anyway, one day we made arrangements to spend the day with another childhood friend and her mother. We spent the day shopping for a suit for my brother, and by the end of the day the other friend (or maybe it was her mum) had a headache and a long drive ahead and didn't feel like taking us home.

Calgary is a big city, and we were miles across town, but there's a pretty good bus system so we weren't worried.

What we didn't know was that while the main bus lines run into the night, the feeder routes into the residential neighbourhoods shut down in the early evening. We ended up getting a bus back to the right section of town, but we were still miles from Rochelle's when we had to start walking.

Another thing about Calgary is that in the hilly residential neighbourhoods they don't feel too much pressure to make things grid-like for easy navigation. There are endless meandering roads with thousands of identical houses on them, and names that tend to follow a theme: you'll have Stonehill Drive, Hillstone Crescent, Stonecrest way, Blackstone Street, Stonehearth Close, Hearthstone Blvd, Mountstone Avenue, Millstone Place, etc etc etc, all winding through the same area of rolling hills and just about impossible to navigate without a map or help from someone who lives there.

We knew roughly where we wanted to be -- we could see the area of hillside where we knew their house was -- but we just couldn't find a road that would take us there. Eventually we started cutting through yards and between houses in an attempt to reach our destination. With my brother holding his new suit on a hanger, we clambered over fences and casually strolled through back yards, front yards, side yards, alleys. Eventually -- around 11pm, I think -- we ended up back at the house.

And then we had a new problem -- all the doors were locked, and the house was dark. It looked like everyone was asleep. We were embarrassed at coming in so late, and we didn't want to wake everyone up, so we decided to sleep on their trampoline in the back yard.

Here's another thing about Calgary: except for a few days in the middle of summer*, it gets COLD at night.

We were used to sleeping outside in California -- we weren't so used to sleeping outside in the Great White North. By 3am, we were freezing, but now it was even later and we were even more embarrassed (ie, still too proud) to knock on the door. Abandoning all pretense of cool, and putting aside our homophobia, we slept spoons, shivering and miserable. I was ready to put on my brother's new suit, but he refused to let me.

Around 7am, when the first light flickered on in the house, we knocked on the door. The family let us in, told us what idiots we were for staying the night outside, and let us slink gratefully into our warm beds.

Rochelle told us later that we should have tried ringing the bell -- she'd been up till midnight reading anyway. ..

* (July 27 - Aug 5)


At Wed Nov 09, 12:34:00 AM PST, Blogger jay are said...

ah, the brilliance of youth. I bet you can just look back on that now and laugh. Ha Ha Ha, you laugh. What fun we had.

At Wed Nov 09, 01:52:00 PM PST, Anonymous si said...

aren't really awful experiences the best to remember w/your sibling(s)? it's amazing how funny they become a few years down the line. (this reminds me that i have to keep telling myself & my sister that current stuff *will* become laughable, really...)

btw, why would they lock the doors on you or not be concerned about you if you were their guests? and do you have fond memories of trampolines to this day?

At Wed Nov 09, 08:09:00 PM PST, Blogger heatherfeather said...

that reminds me of the time that i slept in a tomato patch because the police were chasing 3 of my friends and i who had the great misfortuned of ordering a pizza and beer from a pay phone in front of a store that had just been robbed, and they caught 2 of my friends and i watched the search lights go over my head for what seemed like hours and it was freezing.

okay that wasn't me, my friend ben told me that story last night. but it happened to someone. and it was better when he told me.

because i was tipsy.

At Wed Nov 09, 08:32:00 PM PST, Blogger jay are said...

hf---do you ever sing that song to yourself: "I'm a nut! I'm a nut!" Just wondering :) It was a good story, tho, and I want it to be true so I hope it is. Nothing exciting like that has ever happened to me. no sleeping on trampolines or sleeping in tomato patches. darn.

At Thu Nov 10, 12:55:00 AM PST, Blogger Erik said...

just so you know, the story i'm about to tell is true. which makes it more sad than funny, but onward. once, my sister and i detonated multiple firecrackers and other independence day implements, in a dry creek bed. as i remember, the immediate environment included several thousand acres of dry grass, straw, and also some flammable stuff.

shortly thereafter, the fire trucks arrived, mainly due to the apocalyptic fire storm we created. as authorities attempted to douse the raging beast, we stood idly by, all shuffling feet and mumbled testimony. when they pressed for details, we made sure they knew about the 3 guys we might've seen earlier, acting in a suspicious manner. man, that was something. those firetrucks have the loudest sirens! you need earplugs practically!!

At Thu Nov 10, 07:19:00 AM PST, Blogger jay are said...

I hate when three shady characters disappear right before the authorities arrive!!! But it sure was a good thing you stuck around to give detailed descriptions of the culprits!

Hope no houses were burned in the making of that product.

At Thu Nov 10, 07:05:00 PM PST, Blogger heatherfeather said...

jay are, the story was true - it just wasn't mine.

sorry. and i'm even sorrier i'm not tipsy anymore.


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