Tuesday, September 19, 2006

09-16-2006 – party season in a garrison town

Nighttime ride on the Number Eight, north through the dark and damp… a route ripe for further investigation in the drier, warmer days ahead -- a serpentine transit pubcrawl in the inevitable Indian summer. For now, though, it’s just me and my reflection in the window, familiar phantom face, hands leafing through a book of jotted notes…

The faceful of blazing vapor blasts me back, hottest of hot toddies: shots of Royal Reserve dropped onto a hot skillet. A Proud Canadian.

Cozy in here, warm and tight against the three-day rain outside. Ancient imperatives hard-coded in my hoser cells send the message: it’s house-party season. Old memories of the month-or-so between first week of classes and Halloween, feeling just like this; the coming in from cold to a roomful of laughter, liquor and bad ideas.

No people party here, tonight… just the spirit; we’re priming up for an ill-advised ramble out to Whyte, the crashing of a stagette. So we rock out to Maiden and argue about “Back in the Village,” check out the new Slayer (it rocks) and play Battleship while we wait for our Man.

And somewhere out there, frat boys are motoring around on a go-cart couch, sorority pledges stand sentry in bridesmaid dresses, and the hares have started on their white winter Mohawks…

CITY TANKS, the headlines tell me, are SET TO ROLL OUT. I’ve played enough Civilization that the message has my hand automatically twitching to click on the City Window, head off the inevitable disaster: under democracy, mobilizing the hometown boys can mean civil unrest, unless steps are taken. You’ve got to turn your Einsteins into Elvises, make with the bread and circuses…

… or, hey; pump in enough bread and the circus takes care of itself. It’s fucking insane on Whyte tonight, as crazy as I’ve ever seen it in non-sports-related circumstances… and everybody's so fucking rich! Limos and bling, racing bikes and riceburners, the glowing and gleaming tchotchkes of mass affluence, everything reeking of money, everything in the best of bad taste.

This is the first time I’ve been an adult during a real boom; last time the black and sticky moneywave rolled hard over Alberta, all it meant to me was that my oilpatch-orphan buddies got videogames, Honda trikes, and Mom’s New Friend hanging around the house. Now… I don’t know; it’s alien and alienating; it isn’t my place.

Hard-eyed little Hiltons and their catchphrase-hooting sportscar suitors…

… and a yellow ribbon on the bumper of a bass-pumpin’ Hummer. A ballcap leans out the passenger side: “FAGGGGOTTTS!

I should know better than to wear tweed down here.

Autumn rains, preview chill… you have to pick your parties. Whyte on a Saturday is for the rich, young consumers; not-so-rich, not-so-young creators belong in their own places, their snuggly hobbit-holes filled with friends: art parties, laughing against the cold.

But, yeah, I’ll admit it: my idea to hand-carve Dungeons & Dragons maps into plywood panels for display as objets d’art was a bad one.

Moody times. It’s days later, and the misty rain (great nom du porn!) has only once been sunshined away long enough to make it to the used-record store and back. Good thing we’re pretty stocked up, here: there’s enough rice and canned soup in the cupboards to make at least a week’s worth of curried Poverty Glop. Wine’s gonna be a problem, though…

Too early to think about that! I have to wait at least long enough for last night’s taste test – that sprightly red that comes in a screwtop Tetra Pak, perfect for thoughtful wine-walking – to work its black way through the guts.

Autumn morning, warm computer, hot coffee… Willie Nelson singing “Stardust” off a turntable that’s needed a new stylus for about three years. Clear mind, clear eyes.

It’s the dawn of another party season… but the Big Black – for everybody, everywhere – feels closer than ever. How many more years of privilege and pleasure can we expect before nightfall?

So party on, people. Stay warm, cuddle close, smile bright, laugh at your own jokes. Hug in the entryway, smell dinner cooking. Open that Yellow Label, pass that pinner… tomorrow’s headlines have yet to be printed.

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