Saturday, August 20, 2005

Ground Control to Major Tom: Has Anyone Seen Jay?

We accidentally disappeared again. I don't know how we keep getting sucked into the voidy vortex of space, but somehow we manage to disappear for large chunks of time without really meaning to. This weekend, for example, we meant to go camping, or do something productive like catch up on sleep and eat up all the leftovers in the fridge to free up some of the prime pieces of tupperware. But no.

Admittedly, the prime suspect in lost time is my insomnia. I don't think I slept at all this week, although there was this brief time around Tuesday when I believed myself to be Gary Oldman, so you can argue that it was either a vivid dream, or another of my burning delusions. Either way, I was not well rested. Thursday, my system finally crashed. I think I passed out in the driveway again, but Jason located my body eventually, and hauled me in to bed. Or, I assume that's what happened because when I woke up 9 hours later, I wasn't wearing pants and my thighs were covered in hickeys. So let's hope that's what it was.

This brings us to Thursday night. I woke up at about 9pm and was only slightly disoriented. A scalding shower and a few slaps from Jason (in the vein of: what the fuck, woman, soup is not a meal!!) and I was practically conscious, for all intents and purposes. What to do, what to do?

By my calculations, we must have sat and thought about that for approximately 4 hours, because it was 1am before we were in the car with any sort of plan. And bearing in mind that we live in Cornwall, 1am on a Thursday night (Friday morning, if you must) does not leave you with a lot of options. So we drove off toward Casselman, a mere 60km in the distance, where Jason remembered spotting a 24-hour grocery store the last time we drove through.

1:42 am - Jason slams on the breaks on the 138. A deer scampers across the road, mere inches from our car. The deer is blissfully unconcerned.

1:51 am - Since our internal clocks are completely askew, we have decided to gather enough food for a feast, to be made and consumed in the wee hours of the morning. We spend a good deal of the car trip selecting a menu from my various recipe boxes. Jason's stomach growls in anticipation.

1:56 am - Enthusiastically enjoying the playlist, I suddenly find my fist bloodied. In a fit of appreciation for the music (playlist: "Fuck Yeah!") I seem to have fuck-yeahed the rearview mirror (ie, punched the hell out of it).

2:09 am - Arrived in Casselman, we discover that the 24-hour grocery store has since turned into a 17 hour grocery store. We're out of luck.

2:10 am - Back on the highway, but not headed toward home. In mere seconds we seem to have scrapped all previous plans, and are now undertaking the remaining 50km toward Ottawa. When pressed later, neither of us will admit to being the one to propose this crazy plan.

3:15 am - We've been walking around downtown Ottawa. I stare down a small rabbit in Major Hill Park. I think I won, fair and square, but I hear he's been talking smack about me ever since.

3:55 am - We scurry back to the car. My bladder is screaming obscenities at me.

4:22 am - We stop at a coffee house for "a milk", proposed by Jason. While I am relieving myself in cramped quarters, Jason orders "a milk" for me, and coffee for himself.

4:40 am - We drop by my mother-in-law's house for a visit. She is completely and understandably bewildered to see us. She gives us a Texas cookbook from the Cracker Barrel (Texas caviar = black eyed peas) from her recent visit to Waco and tells us about how difficult it is to tell if her boyfriend has shingles because his skin is black.

5:20 am - We drive Nancy (mil) to work, which in her case is Curves, one of those fitness centres for women. Jason has the privilege of being the only man to have ever worked his glutes on the machinery. He works out on the "pec dec" to the groovy sounds of the Beach Boys.

6:13 am - Finally the sun has come up. Jason rustles around in the back of the car for a bag, because he "might throw up, but probably I'm just hungry." Frankly, I don't like those odds.

6:30 am - After an excellent parallel park, Jason and I find ourselves at our old haunt, the Moon Dog. The nostalgia factor is high, but the nostalgia factor fails us in the end, because the pub ain't open yet, and won't be for an hour. Since Jason is feeling pukey, but maybe hungry, we decide the priority is for him to eat, so we take off to find a place that serves breakfast NOW.

7:05 am - Driving alongside the Rideau canal, a putrid smell hits us through the rolled-down windows. "Ugh," I complain immediately, "that smells like B.O."........."I was just going to say that!" shouts Jason, looking greener by the minute. We blame the B.O. on all the joggers.

7:22 am - Seated at the Elgin Street Diner we worry about the parking meter. A loonie bought us only 24 minutes. In Cornwall, you can park for a penny per minute. Making change appears to be beyond our waitress's capabilities, so when the meter runs out, our only defense against a ticket is hope. Scanning the breakfast menu, I realize that this is not the Moon Dog. I sweat looking at all the breakfast options that do not please me in the least. Finally, Jason points out the breakfast club for me, which is oddly printed in a non-breakfast section. Every breakfast item seems to come with a side of baked beans. I insist to the waitress that no bean should come into contact with my plate. I pound my fist for gentle emphasis. Still, I worry about beans for 6 minutes straight, until my plate arrives bean-free. Jason, in a mystifying move, does not finish his breakfast. Now I worry about the obvious wedge that has obviously been driven between us. I do not know this man who cannot finish his breafkast.

8:02 am - No ticket!

8:22 am - Stopped at a pedestrian crossing that isn't a pedestrian crossing, but an "elderly crossing." And indeed, the elderly are crossing. One gentleman grabs our attention: tall and impossibly skinny, he is dressed in track pants and a suit jacket, both of which are tailored to cling to his slim contours. His bushy white beard is so huge it seems disproportionate to the rest of his body; makes him look top-heavy. He runs across the crossing although no one is rushing him, and his running reminds me of a top-heavy really old gazelle. Sort of.

9:06 am - We hit a "super super-market" that was still in construction last time we lived in the city. It's a grocery store that also contains everything else under the sun that you could possibly want, including a diamond jewelry counter, an optician centre, a fitness centre, etc, etc. We browse through the aisles of furniture and other home furnishings. Jason tries in vain to distract me from noticing the totally enviable stand-mixers. Dividing the home furnishings from the food are shoes. Lots and lots of shoes, for the whole family. I have to refrain Jason from browsing the food, feeling that this would be indicative of a whole new low for us. The front of the store warns customers that it has a LOAD CAPACITY OF 2500 but we fail to notice any check system in place.

9:45 am - We hit some stores that we are deprived of in Hicktown, ON. I give Jason armfuls of clothes to try on. I let him choose what stuff to buy. When we exit the store with purchases in tow, he proclaims that he has bought all the wrong things, not the stuff he really wanted at all. I feel like an exasperated mother.

10:00 am - We daringly walk into Ikea, which is already teaming with screaming children and mindless drones pushing massive, creaking shopping carts. Somehow, nothing calls our name. The throw-pillow selection is depressing. Not even the wrapping section cheers me up. "Look, Jamie - generic art!" shouts Jason, hoping that this will snap me out of my disappointed trance. It's usually good for a 20 minute rant at least, but today it sparks nothing. I'm dressed for a car trip to Casselman, not an all-day jaunt in Ottawa. My feet hurt in my stupid sandals. I am turning pouty, and only a nice tall drink of Diet Pepsi can retrieve me from this funk.

10:40 am - I despair at the fact that Margaret Atwood is "bargain fiction" in Chapters. We hit our favourite mom-and-pop bookstores instead, and Jason pleads for permission to buy me the millions of books I crave. Denied.

11 :11 am - I exchange the stuff Jason "mistakenly" bought, and come out of the store with triple the original purchase. We squabble about me spending money on him, but not allowing to spend on me, but our hearts aren't in it because Jason is thrilled with his new clothes, and so am I. "You think I look soooooo hot" he tells me. It's true, I do. Still, our inability to fight even little is jolting: we must be tired!

11:20 am - A small trip to Bulk Barn is unavoidable. No such thing exists in Cornwall: bins and bins and bins filled with candy and other consumables, all to be had for cheap. I load up on chocolate covered pretzels since they exist only in this haven these days. I worry that they won't last the ride home.

11:34 am - We gas up the car. It's damn expensive.

12:10 pm - All this driving is starting to get to Jason. He sets the cruise and does a series of stretches in the driver's seat of the car. It's pretty hilarious. Or, I am so tired that almost everything seems like the funniest thing ever. Either way, I hornked.

12:32 pm - We find ourselves discussing the "merits" of freezing to death. We blame this morbid conversation on the slaughterhouse we passed a few kilometres back, which boasted of "custom killing."

Back in Cornwall, we're both bleary eyed. But we set ourselves the objective of staying up until a "decent" hour, which we arbitrarily set at 8pm. We busy ourselves with some errands, a trip to the library which makes us unwitting witnesses to a house fire. Jason is repulsed by several sets of spandex, and wonders why it is that homeless men so often wear suit jackets. At home, we watch a movie and paint some canvasses. Finally, we lie down to read...and within minutes, I realize that 8pm is not realistic. We turn out the lights at 5:30 pm and sleep soundly. I wake up at 7:14 and cannot for the life of me determine whether it is am or pm. I compromise, and just go back to sleep.

And so we were up early this morning of course, with time for some of our usual antics before I saw Jason off to work. And now, even with every minute of the past few days accounted for, I cannot help but ask: where the hell did our weekend go?

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