Sunday, May 11, 2003

Raight out (of character)

To say it in my native Maritime dialect, last night I "got raight out uff 'er". This translates into: ripped, wasted and trashed. Not just one of those states of being, all of them together. So, it's something like being inebriated to the power of three. It's been a long time since I've allowed this to happen. Since Halloween to be specific, when I met a fellow Maritimer at a house party in Vancouver and practiced this self-defeating ritual. While I am certain it poisons my body, it has a way of clearing my mind. It's as though all the stress is expelled in one enormous obnoxious outburst. Be warned my friends, such an outburst can last for hours and it might not be pretty.

I bought two tickets to a rock show and I was really looking forward to going. All week I had been feeling pretty serious and cynical. It was a bit of a hangover from the war that I really needed to get out of my system. I also hadn't been spending any quality time with my live-in buddy, so I thought a Saturday night on the town together might do the trick. As the sun started to go down we wandered to a restaurant that opens out onto the sidewalk so we could enjoy the last bit of the almost-as-nice-as-summer day. We opted for the moules et frites (a popular combo here) and an ostrich burger with jalapeno sauce. It was delicious, but sitting in the hot sun, the beer was better. We started out with imported beer but soon moved on to a local beer which really can hold its own anyway. The salty and spicy and exotic food made us thirsty; we needed to be refreshed. You see then, how innocently it all started.

We realized that the doors were opening for the show and we still had a fifteen minute walk ahead of us, so we paid our bill and giddily started off in pursuit of entertainment. When we arrived, however, I realized I had grossly overestimated the popularity of the bands. There wouldn't be a line up, in fact the door man joked with us that people like to be fashionably late. There we were unfashionably eager. We decided maybe instead of waiting inside the venue with the estimated 10 other Unfashionables, that we'd go grab a drink at a local watering hole known as Fouf. This is actually more of a punk venue after dark, and recently Vanilla Ice made an appearance there.

It just so happens that it was also Happy Hour, or as we say in Quebec "le 5 à 7". It wasn't my fault bottles of Boréale were only $2. We felt it was our duty to stock up before we reached the concert venue where the drinks would surely cost at least twice that! We thought this was being responsible. An hour passed and the show was supposedly starting, so we giggled our way back to Club Soda. I had forgotten it was an all ages show and upon seeing the youngsters, became nostalgic about gigs I attended while in high school. We'd sit on the floor in front of the stage and wait for the no-talent bands to emerge and scream into the microphones and eventually spit on the crowd (us) so we could feel "rock 'n' roll".

We casually sipped another drink and waited for the bands to appear. Once the first band appeared, I began hoping that each would be better than the last. Now, I understand we are all influenced and inspired by others, but for each song they played, I could name either a U2, Blind Melon or Doors version to match. It didn't help that there were only about 25 people in the audience. The next band was met with a larger crowd. People started filling the empty spaces and soon there were people dancing. The Tangiers, being young, pretty and bouncy, livened things up in such a way that made me feel bad for the previous band. It didn't help that the lead singer left to mope in the doorway to men's washroom.

By the time the Constantines took to the stage, the crowd was ready to party, dancing and screaming and pushing each other and taking their clothes off, as it should be. I really didn't think they could be topped. Well, not at a $15 show anyway. Then came Trans Am.

Now you see how I totally forgot about the drinking? And I got all excited about the music? Well that is what happened there, too. Except I was still drinking because I was thirsty. I just wasn't noticing that I was. My date, who can't handle alcohol at the best of times, was buying me the beer. He bought so much that I often had two bottles in my hand, eager to give them away to any taker. Well, it just so happens that he was pacing his intake according to the amount I was consuming. Since I seemed to be drinking it all, he figured he must be in the clear. It became apparent that I would have to chaperone him when he started buying drinks for his sworn enemy (a friend and flirt). When he is nice to this guy, I know I'm going to have my hands full.

The night went on until it exhausted itself, to the psychotic joy of the audience, and me.

While I was saying good-bye to a friend, she suggested I take my date home. "Why?" I asked, thinking the answer would be: "Because he is wasted." Instead she simply said, because he just did a cartwheel and now he's laying on the floor. "Oh..."

When I finally got him to leave, I thought maybe it would be fun to visit the transsexual bar across the street, Cafe Cléopatre. My date was a little nervous about it, but I insisted, it would be fun. We arrived just as the stage performance ended and the MC wished us all a good night. Perhaps we should have taken the hint. We didn't. Instead, the disco ball lights started up and some men-to-women who were in the show came back out to dance. I, of course, got up on stage to dance with them. Only today did I question whether or not the show was over, or if I might have made myself a part of the encore.

At some point, walking back to our neighbourhood, I started talking about how I would like to take self defense lessons. Somehow this lead to my date saying: "Punch me." Lacking any rational thought, especially forethought, I punched my date in the arm. It reminded me of living with my sisters, just a cheap jab, to hear the other person say, "Ow!" But I don't think he expected me to hit him that hard, or maybe I didn't know how hard I was jabbing. In any case, he retaliated with a jab to mine. So I retaliated. So he retaliated again. And so on. Somewhere in all the laughter and cheap shots I decided to do a sideways elbow jab. I didn't really direct it. I didn't plan it. I didn't actually think about it, but I got him good. It was at that point my date vomited.

I would have apologized, but I was pretty sure he would have vomited anyway. Right? In its truest sense, this is what "raight out uff 'er" means. The beauty of the occasional "raight out uff 'er" night in traditional Maritime style is that you can still be friends in the morning.

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