Monday, August 04, 2008

Skanky half-naked bush-dwellers

The first time the security guard caught me in my underwear, he made me put my clothes back on. The second time, he was a little more lenient.

"You're not allowed to be here," he said. I was standing knee-deep in a pool of water, just below a mini-waterfall – a scene suitable for low-budget porn, on the island built for Expo '67. It's been party central for 41 messy years and now plays host to all Montreal-area music festivals, including Osheaga.

"Oh, great," I sassed. "I suppose you're going to tell me I'm not allowed to take my pants off either."

"Put your clothes back on," he said, straight-faced and ever stoic. I pretended I didn't understand what he was saying while my friends attempted to distract him, but he out-waited me and I gave in. Being under-dressed put me at a disadvantage in this stare down; otherwise, I totally would've won. Out of respect for his authority, I waited for quite a while after he'd gone before stripping off again.

The way I see it, it's the promoter's fault for planning an outdoor concert rife with the devil's music on an island park with hidden brooks and ponds that look entirely swimmable in the dark – even if you've seen their filth and reeds in the daylight (hours earlier), back when you still knew better.

Besides, between the excitement of seeing Iggy Pop thrash his leather-draped skeleton around the stage for an hour and my roommate's bottomless flask of whiskey, we're lucky we weren't involved in anything worse than petty nudity and illicit swimming. I mean, of course, aside from that very unfortunate incident of theft, in which we were implicated, not as thieves, but as skanky, half-naked, bush-dwelling whores.

To our credit, we'd been on relatively good behaviour all night. Most of the night. Or, at least some of the night. Not until the final band played to the dwindling crowd – and we were saying hello and good-bye to people we'd lost much earlier in the day – did our reputations take a sharp and exhilarating turn for the worse.

It was then that an old friend joined us, along with the young mother of his child – a woman with whom we share a tumultuous past and who has only fairly recently softened enough to concede that she might actually like us, or, that failing, at least started making efforts to fake it. We settled in together at a picnic table by the water.

Whiskey banter filled any and every gap in conversation and we did our best to appease everyone, but it was proving somewhat challenging. The young mother, on this rare night out, wanted nothing more than to go home, and our friend wanted nothing more than to hang out just a little longer. Understandably, she won the battle of wit and will and he agreed to leave as soon as she returned from the washroom. As she walked off, he ran to the bushes (presumably to water them), and we decided it was a good time to escape for a swim.

Following the short path through the bushes to the water's edge, we peeled off our skirts en route and then realized we weren't alone. Polite as ever, we cleared our state of undress with the amorous couple we'd interrupted, and only then did we pare down to the basics. We hadn't yet made it into the water when our friend – the one with the girlfriend whose jury was already out on us – rushed over.

"Do you have my girlfriend's bag?" he asked, somewhat panicked. He'd left it on the table and in the few moments we'd been gone, someone had stolen it. Somehow, it seemed rude and insensitive to hop into the water while he was still registering his misfortune, so we just stood there in our underwear in front of him. "We don't have it," I said.

"Shit!" He stared at us in disbelief, and he was still staring at us in disbelief when his girlfriend, the woman who had only recently started pretending to like us, rounded the corner and saw us there, mostly naked, with the father of her child.

She yelled for the passing security guard (about the missing bag, not us), and that was when he, once again, saw us clearly intending to swim. Thanks to her distracting aura of billowing anger and hatred, however, the young mother inadvertently saved our all-but-bare asses, and he let us be. I'm sure she'd take back that favour if she could.

"COME!" she barked at our friend, and he rightly ran to her side and they left. Snap! I suspect we're the last people to have seen him alive. We thought about that for a moment, and we thought about how many different ways the story could be retold, concluding that in no version did we seem like anything but skanky, half-naked, bush-dwelling whores. Still, our consolatory swim was glorious.

"Why isn't everyone doing this!?" we shouted, revelling. "They must know something we don't know," I joked, as we drifted away from shore. It was meant as rhetoric, but in saying it, we realized it might be true. Racing back to shore, we spit out all the filthy water we'd taken on while laughing about how, the trouble with drunken public swimming is that it sobers you up just enough to realize you're an idiot.

When we got home, soaked-through bottoms and all, my roommate wrote an email to another mutual friend, our friend's band-mate, as a preemptive defense for our role in the night's events, however they may be relayed. It read something like this:

"I didn't steal that girl's bag. The rest, unfortunately, is true."


Flid said...

I love Montreal!!! I grew up there.

Kate Savage said...

Oh! So you know exactly what sort of trouble you can get into here...

Annie said...

Iggy Pop! <3<3<3 x infinity

Katie @ Très Lola said...

Oh I just LOVE your profile picture (random note) ... now I'm going back to reading your blog :D xx

pistols at dawn said...

Note to self: obtain tickets to said musicfest tootsweet. Bring copious amounts of whiskey.