This is where shit gets real on Mother’s Day in Canuckistan. You might not know it, but Canadians are intensely competitive, most particularly on holidays such as Mother’s Day. First comes the Stanley Cupcake bake-off, followed by the face-off, followed by the gloves-off rumble, followed by, of course, the afterparty,
Not to point out the obvious, but has anyone else noticed that the oxytocin rush associated with New Parenthood often results in complete failure of perspective? If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was ripped from a Kate Hudson/Steve Martin movie. And maybe, some day, it will be.
While we’re dwelling on that (un)happy thought, here are our gossip links for your perusal. I would have put them up yesterday, but apparently Vancouver got kicked off the internet before I got that done.
I posted this in the technical support forum first, for reasons that probably have more to do with the fact that I’ve had three Martinis than any other ones, but where was I? Oh yes, stories about my mother’s time in Saudi Arabia are popular, as are Schadenfreude tales, so I thought you’d like this.
My mother was working in Saudi Arabia and got a boyfriend there, an American CIA agent whose day job was teaching battlefield communications and whose night job was running a private casino/brothel for blackmail purposes of the US government. She figured it out when all his paycheques came from the Pentagon, and I figured it out when I heard he’d been in prison on a 20-year sentence, was released when he agreed to serve in Vietnam, and that his CO in Saudi in the 80’s was (coincidentally?) also his CO in Vietnam. As for the blackmail, it went “hello, PrinceWhatever, we have photos. We would like the development contract for X province”.
Anyway they bought a fake marriage certificate from a Filipino forger who was, apparently, legendary in the days before desktop publishing and swung through Riyadh once a year (she briefly considered buying me a Harvard PhD but it was $500 and she cheaped out, which is why I still have to scramble for a living BUT I’M SO OVER THAT) and lived as a married couple. I met that guy’s son many years later in a small town in Indonesia, but that’s a tale for another time.
My mother brought Jerry From Alabama, her boyfriend, back to Vancouver to meet her daughters. Well, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree and we’re both very opinionated my sister and me. And while my sister isn’t a snob, I did get that gene, plus her share. My sister somehow got the “obliging” gene (and GOD knows where she got it from) so she adopted his accent instantly and he could NOT figure out why he liked her better than me, right from the start. But then, maybe he was just psychic.
So, we’re sitting at dinner with Jerry, and my mother has obviously told him I’m a snob (taking credit for her ,work? I dunno), and at some point something happens And. Dude looks me in the eye, takes off his watch, hands it to me (WTF?!) and says, “What do you think of that?”
I look at it. It’s a “Cartier” but the second hand ticks, it doesn’t sweep. I turn it over, and it has the classic beefy Cartier back.
I say, honestly, “That’s a really good fake.”
He collapses in mortification, and my mother collapses in laughter.
Yes, it’s very, very mean of Patrick to pretend to pass out at the controls of a small airplane, leaving his obviously non-pilot friend to freak out in close proximity to a video camera.
Very, very mean. Also very, very funny.
Which reminds me of the time, and stop me if you’ve heard this one although you really can’t stop me because this is my blog, dammit, and we’ve already established that I do not take requests, so here I go, blogging it anyway and if you really want to be stopping something, that thing? Should be reading.
There, glad we could clear that up.
Now that we have cleared it up, here’s the damn story:
Georgian Bay, if you don’t know, is rather wide; in fact, I believe the technical designation for a body of water that size is “ginormous.” And off this ginormous body of water is a smaller, yet still substantial inlet called Colpoy’s Bay. This Colpoy’s Bay leads to the picturesque town of Wiarton, of which we have spoken elsewhere, and which plays no part in this story except that it is from whence we took off that day in the plane, and was the town to which we hoped to return alive (I was raised to have low expectations, which makes total sense if you’ve ever seen Wiarton).
One of the things we had to achieve, in order to achieve the latter, that is return alive, is cross Colpoy’s Bay, for lo, we had been up in Buttfuck Nowhere, which is pretty much anything near Wiarton that cannot even be described as “as big and important as Wiarton.” And, as we were crossing the bay (I should explain we were not crossing in a boat, nor even a raft, nor by swimming nor walking on the water, for it is far too pretentious for the likes of us to be showing off in that particular way and besides, we save it for Sundays; no, we were crossing in a Cessna 172, a fine, sturdy little aircraft that seats two: in this case, me and my father. My father and I.
And then the engine stopped.
Let me repeat: there we were, halfway across a significantly-sized body of water in a tiny single-engine plane when the single engine decided to take the day off.
What happened then: my father became quite a different person entirely; why, you could hardly call him chatty at all! and he began flipping many switches, toggling many toggles, and dialing many dials. The plane, of course, began to free-fall towards the surface of the water, which is never a comfortable position for a thing like an airplane to be in, much less an airline passengers such as, in this case, myself.
Now, my father had trained both my sister and me (I? Us. We.) to fly planes before we were 10, but he had neglected to teach us how to restart the engine in mid-air while plunging towards a watery grave. So after a moment of thinking “can I be useful here? Nope. Maybe I can hold in my farts and help float us a bit?” I sat back and let him handle it, while I watched with very big eyes and kept my hands folded quietly in my lap.
After about ninety seconds or it could have been five lifetimes, the engine restarted and we toodled the rest of the way across the bay quite normally and proceeded on our route. About ten minutes after that, I tapped my father on the shoulder and asked, “Dad, was that supposed to happen?”
Dear Patrick’s Friend:
THIS is how you handle a problem if you’re a small Canadian girl.
Which reminds me, did I ever tell you that when The Sister and I were little, our parents used to go to Disney World every year? Yes, they did. And we didn’t. I think they took her once, but I could be misremembering. Maybe they just got her a nicer sweatshirt than they brought me. Ancient memories can play funny tricks.
Look, I was only little but even then I wondered if they weren’t going on sex tours or something instead of really going to Disney World, particularly given my mother’s fondness for NOT going on rides. All I know is, every year they came back with cheap tee shirts and bags and bags of grapefruit.