There comes a time in every redhead’s life when they must rise from the depths of their basement apartment in the city, and retire to the country for a weekend.
“Ca c’est bon pour mon visage,” I said to myself, using the rear-view mirror to eye the length to which my hairline had receded in the past week.
Setting the courtesy car into drive, I set the GPS for nature and pulled eastbound on to the Trans-Canada highway. Now before I type any further you are no doubt asking yourself three very important questions: (1) Why are you driving a Courtesy Car? (2) What happened to your hatchback named Fanny? and (3) Why on earth would you ever set the GPS for nature?
I understand at this point if you already feel as flustered as I am having barely survived this past week. Well welcome to triage because this is the part where I breakdown each trauma one at a time.
It all started two Fridays ago when the sun was still shining and I had finished an entirely productive session at the gym. By productive, I mean I showed up. Afterwards I picked up some apples and bananas at the market and put Fanny into gear for the coffee shop to hammer out some afternoon writing. On the radio, I flicked between stations and could not decide between listening to Adele or Adele or Adele.
Half-way to my typical ham breakfast wrap and grande for-here dark roast, I was stopped patiently waiting for a car to parallel park in front of me when CRASH BOOM BANG. “What the Sam Heck?” I said, completing an uncalled shoulder-check to left to see a large pick-up truck impale the rear driver side of my vehicle. Before I knew it, the driver was heading off in the other direction and I was suddenly screaming at Adele to “shut it.”
The next scene picks up three hours later at the collision repair centre.
“Here are the keys to the courtesy car,” said the master of the car repair house.
“Thank you so ever kindly,” I took the keys and shook his left hand. “At first I was unsure whether I could ever drive again; but I have a haircut this afternoon that I can’t miss.”
“Right, well the car is just parked in the garage through that door to your right. Inesh will sign you out.”
As I followed directions properly, for some reason I had it in my head that I was going to get, for a lack of a better term, a “dope ride.” As much as I love cruising down Fraser at 50 clicks with my hatchback Fanny, sometimes I long for a vehicle with a little more … you know muscle, and not such a tight back-end. To my dismay, the courtesy car I signed the release form on was none of the above.
“Hello 2002 Toyota Corolla,” I said, stepping into the driver’s seat of a vehicle painted gray and plastered in decals advertising the repair agency. “Everything is going to be alright,” I whispered, taking a deep breath before shifting the car into reverse. “Everything is going to be … WHAT NO POWER WINDOWS?!”
Fast-forward to the following Monday morning and the start of a fresh week, and there I am, pulling into park at my best friend Fran’s condo in Chinatown. Popping open the truck (using the key) I pulled out my duffel bag and fobbed my way into her home for the next week to dog-sit. Below are three notes that will help you with this transition:
1.0 Fran has a killer Chinatown pad with a patio that even Drake would “swang” on.
1.1 I am much too white to ever write point 1.0 again.
2.0 Fran also has a Boston Terrier named Clark that has enough energy to power a smart car.
3.0 Fran is on a beach in Mexico for this part of the story.
As I entered into the apartment to greet my nephew Clark I noticed six bottles of exquisite red wine on the counter, set up like bowling pins with a note that read “Knock em’ down, Fox.” Thank Meryl, I thought to myself, this week is already tasting better. I debated cracking the cork on the head pin; but thought I should probably get some much-needed writing done first, seeing as how it was only eleven thirty a.m.
“Clark,” I said, kneeling down on the ground to have a conversation hombre a perro. “You must believe that I will return to you as soon as I reach 500 words and we will go for a walk, where I will pick-up our training on how to be civilized in the wake of your primal desire to pee on absolutely everything.
Panting in excitement, Clark returned my sentiment by shoving a gigantic orange ball in my face.
[Before we enter the coffee shop across the street, may I say that dressing for Chinatown can be incredibly difficult? Somehow, you have to successfully cultivate a look that falls on the spectrum between homeless, hipster and young professional. On the same block you can buy a $500 t-shirt you can also find a shot of wheat grass and a used intravenous drug needle. Don’t even get me started on the vinyl record shop.]
I walked into the coffee shop across the street dressed in a simple combination of t-shirt and jeans. Finally I could return my fingers to a keyboard and I was pleased as craft beer about it. However, when I opened my laptop I discovered the most disturbing news: the battery was almost dead. Standing up to find an outlet I then discovered even worse news: there were no outlets.
“Darn you designer coffee shops,” I mumbled lowly and squinted fiercely when I discovered a “Power Saver” option on the battery that I had never used before. Perfect, I thought. This will buy me enough time to get the job done.
Then the unthinkable happened. My computer crashed. Twenty words in! I had no idea what was going on but the CPU was churning and the fan was turning so fast I thought it might spin out like a Chinese throwing star. Microsoft Word slowed down to the speed of a 14.4 modem. It took ten minutes before my next sentence appeared and I could not help but feel like a teenage boy, waiting hours for a single naughty JPEG to load while constantly checking if my dad was walking in the room behind me.
“SWEET MERYL WHAT HAVE I DONE?” I stood up screaming with my arms flayed out like Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What you Did Last Summer.
The coffee shop went dead silent. My vision blurred and all I could see around me was a blur of Apple Notebooks and black-rimmed glasses. I grabbed all my belongings and ran back to the condo where I cracked open a bottle of wine to lament the total destruction of my life.
“You don’t understand Clark,” I took a swig from my glass and collapsed on to the floor. “If I can’t write, there is no point in going on …. yes, I know … if only I too could get that much satisfaction from a Frisbee than we would not be having this conversation.”
7 days and 45 hours of virus scans later, with a simple click I took my computer off “Power Saver” mode and everything returned to normal.
Now, let us return to the beginning of this long journey as I drove down the highway heading East. Taking the last exit into Abbotsford, British Colombia I rolled up my windows (literally) and locked the doors while embarking into the small, rural, Christian town.
“You’re final destination is on the right,” said the kind Google Maps lady as I veered up to the summit of a mountain where my friend Mary's house lay. Mary and I served tables together at the Meatball Hut before she became a famous interior designer, moved out to the country, got married, and just recently had a baby girl.
“Mary!” I exclaimed, wrapping my arms around her when she opened the front door. “You will never believe the week I just had!”
“I haven’t slept in weeks and my boobs hurt from being gnawed on twelve hours a day,” replied Mary. From upstairs flowed down the sound of one baby crying and two pugs snoring. “Now make it good Fox, cause I ain’t got the time.”
“Oh my heavens!” I screeched like a girl before scrambling to put together my next move. “I just wanted to say how excited I have been all week to see you and meet the newest addition to your family! Now, love, what I can do to help?”
“You can start buy cranking open that bottle of red wine in your hand and pouring me a glass.”
“I can definitely do that.”