Friday, March 28, 2008
Ric arrived part way through the school year (what is it with me and the boys who crash the school year party?) but I honestly can't remember what grade. It was either 10 or 11, but I don't have anything more concrete than that, he always just seemed to be part of my life back then. He was in my French and English classes and possibly a couple of others, but I remember those two mostly because we did a lot of laughing in both. We hit it off right away, same senses of humour, same interest in films and music, all of that stuff that's important. He quickly established a school newspaper, and my friend A and I quickly became his movie reviewers. We reviewed some of the crappiest movies of the 80s - remember Remo Williams the Adventure Begins? Yeah, we panned that long before Siskel & Ebert did, I'm sure.
In English class once, we were discussing a short story dealing with planned obsolescence, and the teacher asked Ric to explain in his own words what he thought that meant. So the boy goes on and on about growing up, and certain expectations of youth, and how parental influences dictate what you become. We were all staring at him and finally the teacher spoke: "um actually, planned OBSOlescence, not ADOlescence". And he was quick to reply "oh. well, then, I have no idea what I'm talking about!" It was awesome. Another time he and another girl and I were assigned the poem "The Woodpile" to analyse and we elected him the rep to actually get up and talk about our thoughts. So when he stood up to give the presentation he confidently said "So Camille, Elizabeth and I did it on The Woodpile..." and the crowd went wild, people. Again, nothing short of brilliant.
My yearbooks have inscriptions from him such as "I like you because you like David Byrne and plain doughnuts" and "my yearbook photo didn't make it in this year, so here is a self-portrait. No camera can capture the true beauty" and a drawing of a train on a track that stated simply "my train of thought".
We would go see movies together at the local rep theatre, The Broadway, he knew the guy that owned it. He'd pick me up in his Datsun without a floor (okay the floor was only missing on the passenger side of the car, and there was a strategically placed floormat, but if it moved at all you could just see the road whipping by) and we did a bunch of full-participation Rocky Horror Picture Shows there, and movie documentaries like Stop Making Sense were our faves (see David Byrne reference above). At one point I briefly considered that he could be potential boyfriend material, but quickly reconsidered. He was too good a best boy bud, and I didn't want to mess things up. So we continued status quo, hanging out and belly laughing everywhere we went.
After highschool we attended the same hometown university, me in History and him in Economics and Political Science or something jazzy along those lines. Our paths didn't cross very often, and we probably only saw each other a few times on campus. At the end of our time there, we somehow managed to learn that we were graduating on the same day, and both hated the thought of going. On graduation day, he picked me up (by this time, different car, fully floored) and we bitched and moaned the whole way there about how our parents were forcing us to go, it was like 5000 degrees out, it was going to be sooooo boring, and really who goes to their grad? Then we started talking about our parents - mine, working-class types who never graduated highschool, and his, Brazilian immigrants who also had little education. Then we were quiet for a bit and decided to suck it up and be happy we had the opportunity, realizing finally (duh) how proud we were making our parents. So we graduated and posed for a couple of photos together, and talked about plans for the future. Mine were simple: bum around for most of the summer, and then hit up the UK and Ireland for a full-on backpacking extravaganza. He had already been accepted at law school, and would be working his ass off all summer to pay for it. Always the responsible one.
After uni, I'd see him once in awhile, usually around Christmas when he was home. We'd go for a drink, and talk about how when he was a high-flying lawyer he'd hire me and we'd work together a la Perry Mason and Della Street. Good times those, and lots of good memories. We lost touch, but I was always so sure we'd get together again.
So how much of a shock was it this morning when I opened the Announcements section of the paper and saw his obituary. Full on body slamming punch to the gut shocking. I couldn't believe it, refused to believe it. I still don't. In his 41st year... Beloved husband of... Adoring father of... Loving son....brother... will be missed my many family and friends.... No fucking way. I cried long and hard. 41 years is not enough time on this earth.
When I recovered somewhat I could look at the photo. It made me smile that he looked the same, just with less hair. It's a great photo, totally capturing his personality, I think. It made me happy that he'd been happy - wife, two kids.. But then the crashing grief that they must be feeling, how can you even imagine?
Every day I am reminded that life is precious and short and should not be taken for granted. Every. Day. And while I'm reminded, seldom do I really think long and hard on it. Today though? That's all I can think about. I can't wait to go home and hug John and the boys, tell them that I love them. And to all of you too, consider yourselves virtually loved and hugged.
And seriously. Let's get together...before we get much older.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Can we talk about Heather Mills? And how she is absolutely and completely crazy - nay - batshit? Who pours water on a lawyer's head??? In court??? Maybe they need to go back to wearing wigs? Oy.
Can we talk about how China is seriously not doing much to prove to me (or anyone, really) that they deserve to host the fucking Olympic games?
Or what about Canada recognizing Kosovo, you know, cos all the cool kids are doing it? Can we talk about that?Can we talk about the amount of handwringing there appears to be about the prequel to Anne of Green Gables, "Before Green Gables"? And now there's a prequel movie coming out too, which no doubt will be a stressor for these same people? (aside: I don't know man, I think it's kind of a cool way to celebrate the 100th anniversary. But then, I was never an Anne-aholic, really. I liked the first book, but never got into the rest. I was more of an Emily of New Moon girl.)
Can we talk about smokers? Like, how they think that throwing their butt on the ground is a good idea? And that this somehow isn't littering? Do you know how many times I've had to dodge a butt at the bus stop this week? Too fucking many, that's how many.
Can we also talk about how, apparently, I am the mayor of Crabbyville, and if the sun doesn't start to shine immediately, I am going to have to open a vein? For real, people. I will cut.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
So. When I was in grade 11 - that very formative grade in the Ontario school system of the 80s - I was bored. Not intellectually bored, but boy-ually bored. That's right people, the boys, they were boring me. It's not that I'd, you know, "worked my way through them" or anything. Oh no, e-L did not roll that way back then. It was basically that there were no boys that were worthy. And ok, by worthy, I do not mean that the boys that existed didn't deserve me, I just mean that the boys were kind of... meh. I can' t explain this, nor can I really defend this, because I'm sure there were plenty of "worthy" boys within grasp but for some reason they just did not make their fine selves known to me, so that's what I was thinking a-way back then. My highschool + no worthy boys = zzzzzzzz..... Okay, so anyway. Part way through the year we had an influx of new students. Which is weird, yeah? But it happened that we'd get kids transferring from the catholic school system (for those of you who are all "wha'?" - yeah, Ontario has a public and a catholic school system - it goes way, way back in our history and...ok, I'm not going there, but suffice it to say it wasn't great) So every year, kids in the advanced grades would transfer to our school so they could actually get decent classes and the requirements for university (sorry, I know I said I wouldn't go there, but...) and we'd get a bunch of new students to check out. One such student was a boy who will always be known to me as "Squares" (not his real name). Squares arrived in my history class one day, all Bauhaus shirt (see? segue??) and nice jeans. I was awestruck. "Who was this boy?" I wondered. He's so new. And so worthy. Clearly, I now had a focus for my day, which was pretty important circa 1984. Now, Squares was smart, and he was funny and for the love of god I just could not stop staring at him. It turned out he was a really nice guy, and we actually got along pretty well. Of course, e-L being e-L, I just assumed it was all friends platonic whatever, but deep down? I wanted me some Squares.
So time went on and Squares and I had some fun. We'd chat before class and we'd kind of forget that class was starting, so our history teacher would make some coughing noises, and we'd be all "wha?" and then, embarrassed, we'd head to our respective desks. He'd shove me as he passed me in the hallway and I'd blush and carry on. Then in the cafeteria I'd throw something at him and he'd duck and laugh and I'd think "oh my god why doesn't he just..." Okay, family blog, let's not go there. Anyway, let's just say there was some...um...tension.
Squares never did graduate with our class, and I'm not entirely sure what happened to him. He disappeared somewhere during grade 12, never to be seen again. We had some mutual friends, but I never dared to ask them what happened to him, since I didn't want to be known as "that girl that asked about Squares". So I never knew.
But before he left, I discovered Bauhaus. All due to his shirt. Is that not a total highschool thing to do?? "I know nothing about this band, but the boy I adore likes them and wears their shirt so I am totally going to check them out and LOVE them because HE does". And the thing is? I totally did love them. And I am going to buy the new album. Thank you, Squares.
A few years after highschool I met my friends Ric and Terry for drinks over Christmas, and we were reminiscing about our old school friends. At this point, as more mature adults, I figured I was safe, so casually asked "so what ever happened to Squares?" They looked at each other and said they hadn't seen him in a few years, but why did I want to know? So I told them "well I totally had a crush on him, hello!" And they were "wow - yeah he liked you, but we never thought you were into him."
Moral of this story? Highschool guys know shit about anything. And Bauhaus is depressing. But I will always love them.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Okay, so it's time to shake up this ol' blog o' mine, and I've decided to run a contest. I have my reasons. If this flies - and I'm counting on you, people - this will be the first of many. Or at least some. Or until I get tired of it.
Anyway, this will be a legit contest, with the winner actually receiving a prize of my choosing. Oh and you know it will be something fabulous! Or at least something I can send through the post without worrying about sniffer dogs.
I know, I know "e-L, get on with it! fill us in for the love of all that is holy!"
Okay, so to enter this first evah contest, I need you to submit (in the comments) your top pick for Conrad Black's prison name. That's right people Lord Black of yadda yadda is in the big house, and I want to know what you think he's gonna be known as until he's sprung.
Here's my top 3 to get you started:
1. Barbara's bad boy
2. Con-stant craving
Lame-o, right? I know y'all can do better, people! I can feel it! So come on, give it some thought! Best nickname (judged by me, cos it's my damn blog) wins a prize! I'm sorry I can't be more specific than that at this time, but there is real shizz on the line and pride is at stake - I guess? Whatev.
Fun, no? All right - have it it, lads! Hollaaaaa-inger! (sorry, I totally stole that from the debators last night - cracked me up)