Friday, June 12, 2009

Floundering On The Sidewalks

I'm in the city of Halifax...a lovely city...if you like cities.

I don't.

Halifax is a port city and that's symbolic this morning because I feel like a fish out of water. For centuries fisherman have been bringing species that are perfectly at home in the ocean, and dumping them on the Halifax docks. That's me.

I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett's privateers.

I'm sitting at a computer in the lobby of the Four Points Sheraton in downtown Halifax. I have no access to the 80 000 images on my home computer, so there's no image with this blog. This has got me a little bit freaked out, as if it's not bad enough that I'm typing this from a computer chair and not a sofa as is the custom of the leisurologist. On the upside, there a pot of coffee in the lobby and I plan on getting all jacked up on caffeine. It's 6:32 a.m. and I'm already on my second cup. I think that I may go hijack a city bus, or swim across the harbour...I'm feeling quite perky in my captivity.

The drive to Halifax was wholly unmemorable. I was singing at the top of my lungs for three and a half hours. My wife did her best to fall asleep and/or ignore me. My son listened to his iPod, or at least faked it so as to deflect any attempts on my part for a conversation, or duet.

We stopped once along the drive. Strictly speaking that's not true. We stopped three times within our first ten minutes. As I coaxed the Ford Focus up to its cruising speed of 119.33 km/h, a distinct noise started eminating from the roof racks. I had a windsurfer and a sail bag on the lid and they were squawking like an RV full of snowbirds at a Florida trailer park. Wendy predicted that we'd all have headaches if I didn't do something about the noise. I couldn't hear her, though the look on her face said 'fix the noise, or I'll kill you'. On my third attempt I finally solved the problem by putting the sail bag inside the car. It created somewhat of a Berlin wall effect inside the car...I was in East Berlin while Wendy and 'the Edge' (Julian's new name) were enjoying quietude in West Berlin.

Our one planned stop was in a small town along the way. We stopped for gas but I decided that a coffee was in order. It was suggested that we go into a certain unnamed café in the town's centre. I'm not naming the café because it's quite popular and I think that I just ordered the wrong stuff. The café was quite busy, but that's often the way in a one goat town. The barrista was very cordial (translation: it wasn't Tim Horton's). I ordered a white chocolate with orange water gelato, a mochaccino (after much soul searching) and a white chocolate oatcake. My barrista crafted the mochaccino by placing a shot of espresso into some frothed up chocolate milk (that's different!). I knew at this point that I had just wasted $3.91 plus tax.

When I tasted it I wet my pants.

It's not that I have any issues with bladder control, far from it. I still control the flood gates on my dam, even at the ripe old age of forty-five. Strictly speaking, I didn't wet my pants, it was my Scottish wallet weeping that left me sodden. I really should start wearing a kilt and a sporran. The sporran would keep my weeping wallet away from my body. The kilt would allow any seepage to air dry. I'm one of those people who would probably enjoy wearing a kilt, and since it's common for me to climb ladders and trees, others would probably enjoy me in a kilt too. If my brother is reading this blog, he's probably vomiting at the thought, and putting film in his camera.

So I wasted $3.91 on a mochaccino that tasted like crap. The foam on the drink reminded me of a Hershey bar that lost a twelve round fight in a George Foreman grill, not that I've ever had the pleasure. Burnt chocolate milk foam is less than delightful, but I drank the GD thing because I paid for's the Scottish way.

My first mouthful of white chocolate gelato with orange water was quite memorable. I took the tiny coke spoon and shoveled a baby sized heap of frozen white pablum into my mouth. My initial reaction was "what the ____ is this!?" It was putrid (not a word I use often or lightly).

in a state of foul decay or decomposition, as animal or vegetable matter; rotten.

It really was horrid, but I ate it because I paid $3.25 plus tax for it. I offered a taste to Wendy, I'm generous that way. She also screwed up her face though she didn't react quite as violently as I did. She told me that I should be an actor. With my Scottish heritage, I think that I'd like to be Sean Connery (I even had a martini when I arrived in Halifax last night so I'm more than halfway there).

Being half Scottish is quite a burden for me, as you might imagine. My Scottish wallet leaked further. Thankfully I still had the oat cake left to enjoy. I took a bite and, you guessed it, I almost hurled. I might just have well put a cup full of dry oats in my mouth. I felt like Seabiscuit on a bad day. I swear that I could find more moisture in a thimble full of Saudi soil than I did in that oat cake. With not a squirt left in me, my Scottish wallet let out one last scream, then died.

I threatened to boycott all future visits to the café in question. My son, enjoying life in his plush West Berlin back seat, asked if there was any business on earth that I hadn't boycotted. I do have a track record of enacting economic sanctions against businesses that have done me wrong. I pondered his question for a while, then gave up when I couldn't think of any. I started singing again as I approached the Nova Scotia border...

I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett's privateers.

So here I sit in Halifax. It's a foggy morning. I have gastrointestinal pains, no doubt from the gelato, burnt chocolate milk froth, and fermenting oats. My sporran is empty. The forecast for wind today doesn't look good. I'm truly a broken man on a Halifax pier.

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