Dust in the wind

Being a young, single Jehovah’s Witness in the big city can be a…fraught experience, at times. Especially when the need to unwind strikes on a Friday night.
It helps of course that I don’t drink by choice, not by religious proscription; also, that I’m really not all that social an animal to begin with. Since I was a small child it has always seemed to me that there were more interesting things to do than actively seek the company of people – not cynicism, you understand, merely contented introversion. My friends tend to be those who understand this POV, and even share it to some extent.

Thus it is that my resourceful inner self and I have developed a compromise: each Friday night we seek out those more interesting things – new things, or things we know and love but simply haven’t had the time to think of lately. We hike wherever our feet feel like going, heedless of time. Could be around nearby Leaside, or the Danforth, or Eglinton West, poking in stores and people-watching and just generally obeying the impulse of the moment. Sometimes Shoemom comes along, and those are good times, because her idea of an urban hike inevitably involves a good gossip and a stop at a favourite coffee shop.

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One of my (and Shoemom’s) favourite places to play in on these Friday nights is a store called the Elegant Garage Sale, down along Bayview. Exactly what it says on the tin: Two great sprawling floors crammed full of stuff that was obviously hauled in from somebody’s rec room. Or closet, or jewel box. Or granny-annexe, by way of solving what to do with all Aunty Madge’s ‘treasures’.
Hardcore garage-salers know exactly what I’m talking about; 99% of this stuff is shoddy junk, fascinating only in terms of how anybody came to buy it in the first place. But if you have the patience to browse and the eye to see, you’ll almost always be rewarded.

My latest cosmic pat on the back came last Friday, in the form of a mint movie tie-in paperback of Watership Down. When I picked it up, something hit the floor with a clang – a little round clippy button, like those ones the museum gives you by way of proof that you’re not just there to make off with the mummies. Woundwort Lives! it read, and while I was pondering the notion of a rabbit version of what TVTropes calls a Magnificent Bastard, I noticed that the book also contained a little movie-pushing pamphlet consisting of quick character blurbs and a short version of the Lapine glossary. Evidently the whole schmear had been received at a preview screening or suchlike in 1979, taken home, stuffed in a basement bookshelf and forgotten.

Not much to write the farm about, I suppose, but I think it’s neat, not to say nifty and/or rillyrilly keen. Besides everything else, having lost my old copy a few years back I had forgotten just how satisfying a read this book is. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not quite kosher to be crushing on rabbits, for Frith’s sake, no matter how well-characterised. Can’t help it, though; Adams is describing ‘Hazel’ the bunny, and my mental image is Ioan Gruffud. Or possibly Paul Newman.

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Of course, my trusty little iPod comes with me. Given that Shoemom and I share a two-room apartment, and given that she has a tendency to start twanging in direct proportion to the guitar blaring from my speakers out here in the living room, this my one chance to get seriously reacquainted with my playlists. This evening, for instance, after the traditional blaring out of At the End of the Day and Master of the House from Les Miserables (I dunno, I work in the data-entry trenches all week, it helps), I rediscovered…

…well, this would possibly be a good time to mention I have a couple hardcore guilty pleasures hidden on the ol’Nano. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, fr’instance. Can’t justify that one nohow. Even tried telling people I’m a ‘Jim Croce completist’, but somehow the straight face, she still deserts me in my hour of need. Now I’m thinking of starting an urban legend also involving Leroy ‘Encyclopedia’ Brown, given that we consider this the Official Best Pop-Culture Coincidence Ever here @ Shoe Central, and see a niche in the nerd-chic demographic. If I ever work up the nerve, I’ll let you know.

Then there’s my little ‘TV Themes’ playlist. Containing, in order: WKRP in Cincinnati, Fat Albert (Hey Hey Hey!), DuckTales, Top Cat, Scooby-Doo Where Are You?, Spider-Man, George of the Jungle, and Transformers (the ’80’s toy tie-in version). Walking into one of those retro-chic candy stores with “Watch out for that TREE!” filling your ears? Priceless.

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Afterwards I wandered into one of those new Big Huge Giant Shoppers Drug Mart stores (you know, the ones that you’d like to enjoy, except they do look uneasily like they’d make pretty decent bases for taking over the world) and proceeded to gather the ingredients for Whooping it Up this weekend – namely, a Lean Cuisine frozen pizza, low-fat Pringles and a couple Cadbury Thin bars. Approaching the cash, I became aware of a couple things:

1) Only on the Danforth can you enjoy a trio of truly ancient, very tiny Asian women happily, and repeatedly, setting off a lifesized (ie. about a foot taller than any one of them) motion-sensitive ‘scary witch’ near the exit, while waiting for a fourth to pick up the candy supplies. “Toil and trouble, boil and BUBBLE!” the witch would let off in her synthetic cackle. “Tee-hee!” the women would respond, in what I think was Korean.
I mean, possibly you can also see this in Korea; it just occurred to me that they may hold national costume parties every week in October plus bob for apples for all this pasty WASP chick knows. It was all definitely new to me, and we were all having a ball.

2) OK, this is how you know you haven’t quite grasped this whole ‘celebrity’ gig yet: Lauren Conrad of The Hills on the cover of Cosmopolitan, over the blurb ‘Lauren Answers Her Haters’.
First of all, ‘haters’? Is so 2005. Second…erm, Lauren, honey? You’re from Beverly Hills. You’re young and gorgeous. Whomever your ‘haters’ are, they’re obviously not numerous enough to prevent you from ending up on the cover of frelling Cosmo. Meaning the only thing ‘answering your haters’ is going to net you is…more haters, basically. Take me, for instance; before this I was content to merely be vaguely aware you even existed. Now you’ve got me so worked up I’m blogging. Is this really all that much more fun than deciding which designer minidress to wear to the next People’s Choice event?

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Walking down from Bloor into Rosedale, checking out the billboards…Y’know, I do realise that incomprehensibility has long since been the new cool where Bond movie titles are concerned. It’s just…I just…Quantum of Solace? Say what now?
Mind, we are not at all dissing the opportunity to see lots of big shiny pictures of Daniel Craig as 007, wholly undistracted save for the girl we pretty much know she’s going to disappear between movies anyway, so who cares. The problem is, rather than get me all hyped for the new movie, these pictures revive my wistful fantasy wherein Craig continues remaking the crappy old Bond flicks. Seriously, you ever seen Moonraker? We work this right and in a couple years all anybody remembers of Roger or George is a distant twitch of uneasiness….What? We need to keep Timothy Dalton. Also Pierce Brosnan. Yes we do, don’t argue.

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Ahhhh…Kiss From a Rose. Has there ever been a more misheard set of lyrics in the history of music? I mean, 99.9% of the population thinks it’s “Kissed by a rose on the grave“, which is totally, like, emo and cool, not ‘grey’. Which is just pointless. How exactly do you kiss somebody on the grey? You ever tried? Wait, don’t answer that, I have a feeling the Cosmo website already does.

I have emo memories of this tune for other reasons. See, when it was a hit I was…younger…and one of my celebrity crushes had just rather abruptly committed suicide. Well, not a celebrity, exactly, more just a – OK, it was Hugh O’Connor, Carroll’s son, who starred with him on the TV version of In the Heat of the Night, you may commence snickering now. (It was pretty wild at the time, though; the poor guy apparently had severe addiction issues, and in those days pre-TMZ nobody really knew, until one day bang! he shoots himself thru the head…)
Anyway, in the manner of these things, this song has somehow gotten tangled up in all the angst of that time, and now lo these many years of maturity later I’m still not quite sure whether to smile indulgently or wistfully…

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…One of the loveliest things about these nights is coming home again, clutching all the treasures my inner self has found – wait, what’s with the Body Shop extravaganza? Don’t you already have 85946-squillion bottles of citrus-scented lotion?

Ah well. It’s Friday, and everything is really just beginning.

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