Monday, September 20, 2010

The Flood

When I was living in the Airdrie neighbourhood of Thorburn, there was a kid who lived down the street a block or so. I'm not sure how it is we met, but at some point early in my residence on Taylor Way, Jeremy and I became good friends...for a while. We yo-yoed from best of friends to worst of enemies it seemed, but for the most part we were good friends until I moved away. Jeremy was a shorter thin kid with a mess of brown curls that looked like the after-shot of a tornado passing through.

It was mainly a friendship of convenience. Jeremy was considered a "loser" by schoolmates (we didn't attend the same school) and kids in the neighbourhood, but he really wasn't that bad. He often would do things to try and prove himself to others, such as joining the football team (a football player build he had not) or joining the army cadets. I didn't share those interests. We were friends for different reasons. We had proximity going for us, and we both loved Ninja Turtles and Nintendo. In fact, I dare say that part of the reason I was friends was him was so that I could play video games at his house.

Oh, the house. Jeremy's house. What a horror story. The home was like a house from Hoarders and a windowless dungeon hooked up and had a lovechild. The house was messy, dirty, and the windows were never uncovered. Gollum (Sméagol) would be right at home there...a preciiiiooouuuussssss messsssssssss. The home also had the pungent aroma of body odour. The exterior of the home was no better. The lawn was never cut, but all the dandelions really cheered the place up! So why was the house in such frightening disarray?

Jeremy's father was a biker dude in the classical sense (leather jacket, arm tattoos, sleeveless shirts, leather chaps, and motorcycle magazines in the basement with nude chicks in them that Jeremy and I would thumb through frequently) although he was this scrawny short dude who tried to be tough and intense but failed miserably. He also wore HUGE framed glasses. That isn't really relevant here, but it was funny. When I first met Jeremy, Leonard (yes that was the father's name) was rarely at home, either working or at one motorcycle convention or another. A few years after, he left his wife and his home, forcing Jeremy's mother to become a single mother.

Jeremy's mother was seemingly quite lazy and also quite obese. She smoked like a chimney to the point that the living room had a permanent haze to it. She drank cup after cup after cup of tea (back before the healthy teas made their appearance). For most of the time that I knew Jeremy, Melanie was unemployed. From sunrise to sunset, there were only two places she would ever be. Either lying on the sofa watching television (while rolling cigarettes and drinking tea), or at the base of the basement stairs reading a book (while rolling cigarettes and drinking tea). She once told me that she always had the living room window covered because the light made it more difficult to watch the television. But I think the yellow residue all over the window would keep the light out just as well.

Jeremy and his sister were both if they were going to do any cleaning. Can't really fault kids for not being responsible when dad is never around and mom couldn't seem to care less.

Anyway, that back story will perhaps be of value when I tell stories that involve Jeremy (such as further on in this post), simply because it helps to have an idea of who he was.

This particular story took place close to when I first met Jeremy. I was ten, I believe. On one hot summer day, Jeremy asked me if I wanted to go to the Stampede with him. Jeremy's dad offered to drive and Jeremy had passes. I didn't have to talk my folks into driving OR pay? I was SO in. Jeremy's dad gave us a lift to the Stampede grounds, told us when he would be back, and let us loose (shhh, don't tell my parents that I attended the Stampede without supervision at ten years old). Jeremy and I had a great time. We both bought those ride passes that were good for unlimited rides all day, and we really took advantage. Because we were cheap, we brought a backpack of treats, such as potato chips, cookies, and two two-litre bottles of 7-Up. While running around the grounds, Jeremy and I tanked back all that unhealthy!

Anyway, 4PM rolled around and we returned to the north gate to meet Jeremy's dad. He was miffed as we were about ten minutes late, but that's not because we weren't paying attention to the's because we got lost. We got into the truck and Jeremy's dad took off. We left the grounds and told Jeremy's dad about all the cool rides and things we did, including the embarrassing moment when I tripped and fell into a small fountain early in our adventure.

At about the Calgary city limits, heading north to Airdrie, I suddenly felt an incredibly strain. I had to piss...and bad. Maybe it was a bad idea to drink two litres of soda and not stop off at a washroom before leaving. As we drove along the highway, the impending bladder release became harder and harder to prevent. Until that day, I had never experienced a stronger need to take a piss. And I've never had the misfortune of experiencing it since then. My legs were crossed and I was "dancing" in my seat, trying desperately to hold it for another ten minutes.

But it was not to be. I couldn't stop the flow. I relaxed and the flood began. Two-litres of carbonated urine vacated my system and all over the back seat of the truck. Cloth interior meant that it seeped into the seat itself...Jeremy's dad would never get it out completely. Once I finished expelling, I began to panic. How the hell was I going to explain this?

In hindsight, saying nothing would have been my best option. The wet spot wasn't really all that noticeable and no one was going to sit in the back seat until at least the next day. But I felt a need to cover myself better than pretending nothing happened.

I was ten. I was intelligent but still limited by my cognitive development. So no one can really blame me for the route I took. As we approached my home, and thus my last stop, I revisited the trip-into-the-fountain. I went into the fountain with my upper torso (and only my arms got wet) and Jeremy KNEW this. But still I claimed that I was soaked from head to toe. And even though that happened hours before, I figured it was a good enough reason to explain the wet spot on the back seat. Jeremy's dad laughed and "seemed" to believe my story. Jeremy did not argue it either. I got away with it...

A year later, Jeremy's sister was over at my house, as she was friends with my sister. I was picking on Jeremy's sister because I genuinely did not like her. She became frustrated and blurted out something about how I once peed in the back of her dad's car. I denied it profusely so that my sister wouldn't learn about my misstep, but clearly my clever and bulletproof lie was not as effective as I once thought.

I wonder how Jeremy's dad reacted after I left the car. Did he laugh hysterically with Jeremy at how a ten year old peed in the car? Or did he flip out and become furious? I'll probably never know. But I will promise you this, dear reader. I will NEVER pee in a moving vehicle again...unless I'm old. Or unconscious. Or I just plain don't like you.

Piss off? Nah. Piss on. You get better results!

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