I’ve been a very bad blogger lately. But a really, really exciting, scary and crazy opportunity unexpectedly landed in my lap this week and I was way too distracted to blog. I considered writing about it but I think I’d better wait until my dad is less livid with me.
No, I’m not pregnant or anything. It’s just a little too sensitive and premature to discuss right now, especially when my dad refers to it as the "suicide mission."
Besides, I really need to focus my energy on my upcoming trip to Toronto. It’s hard to believe that in only 11 days I will voluntarily board a plane in order to have my ass kicked at Nationals.
The last two weeks before a big race are supposed to be spent resting and recovering in order to absorb all of the hard training during the past few months. Which is great in theory, but not so great in reality when you’ve neglected the "hard training" part of the equation.
I decided the only way to make up for my lack of sufficient training was to drop a small fortune on one of those fancy Speedos the Olympic swimmers wear. Besides, buying a new swimsuit for Nationals is like the finance minister buying new shoes the day before the budget. It’s tradition.
So my friend Gilles and I hopped on our bikes and rode over to North Vancouver yesterday to try on some Fastskins, which are supposed to maximize the flow of water over the swimmer’s body to reduce drag. These Speedos are engineered to fit like a second skin.
Of course, the fact that they fit like a second skin also makes them impossible to get on. You need a pretty healthy self-image, lots of patience and extremely flexible limbs in order to squeeze into these things. It’s not pretty. The fluorescent lighting and large mirrors don’t help either.
Gilles pulled me into his change room to make sure his ass didn’t spill out of his suit when he bent over. Apparently squeezing into his suit was far less traumatic for him. "If I was a straight guy you’d be all over me," he said, admiring his reflection.
After spending enough money for a down payment on a condo, Gilles invited me to lunch, his treat, at Capilano. I immediately agreed, assuming he meant Capilano Park where we could have lunch in the woods, in a café overlooking the river.
So when we left the store and got on our bikes, I was surprised when he turned right, instead of left towards the park.
"Aren’t we going to Capilano Park?" I asked.
Gilles looked puzzled and then laughed. "No, I meant the food court at Capilano Mall."
Sitting inside the mall’s food court watching guys with tattoos and screaming children and tired married couples eating in silence wasn’t exactly the view I was expecting. But who am I to turn down a free lunch?
So we rode over to the mall and ordered up some Japanese noodles. Afterwards, I ducked into a cigar shop to buy the weekend newspapers. There was a long line-up but I thought it would go fast. Wrong! Turns out I was the only person in the store not buying lottery tickets and cigarettes. But it wasn’t just a simple 649 they were after.
The big draw was the scratch and win tickets lined up like paint chips under the glass countertop. People would run back and forth pointing to the exact ticket they wanted. They were throwing toonies down on the counter, demanding "One of these. Two of those." I felt like I was in Las Vegas.
Twenty minutes later, I met up with Gilles who had been standing outside the store waiting.
"What the hell took you so long?" he asked.
"It was weird," I said. "People were buying cigarettes and lottery tickets like crazy. It’s like we’ve crossed into some weird alternate reality in this mall."
We jumped on our bikes and rode over the Lions Gate Bridge, through Stanley Park and accidentally landed smack in the middle of a B.C. Marijuana Party march. We ordered ice cream and watched the rally as it slowly moved down Denman Street.
Actually, I wasn’t watching the march as much as I was watching the reaction of other spectators. Like the little girl who complained to her mom that the weird smell was making her sick to her stomach. Or the senior citizen who turned up his nose and dismissed them as a "rag tag bunch who won’t get any votes."
When I finally got home, I opened up the newspaper only to find my name and my words in a Vancouver Sun story about people who blog about their jobs. Ack! How did I get lumped into that category? The column actually ran part of my post on my five-year anniversary at work. It turns out my boss had read the Sun article too and left me a voice-mail while I was out. Luckily, he thought the whole thing was hilarious. And, to be honest, it was pretty exciting to see my name in print.
It seemed a fitting end to a crazy week. Life has been anything but dull these days.