Tuesday, November 30, 2010

King of the Hill

Continued from "Construction House Pee Party."

Jeremy tattled on us. Since when does being urinated on by three other kids justify telling one's parents? It was surprising that Jeremy's father did not squeal on us to our parents about what we did. I suppose Jeremy's father understood the code of honour. You never tattle!

If you recall, Jason, Nick, and I drenched Jeremy with our streams of indignity in the basement of a house that was under construction (see Construction House Pee Party). It's a piece of my history that I admit I regret. It bothers me when I replay the memory of Jeremy struggling to pull himself up the poorly constructed stairway of angled boards leaned against the cement wall of the basement. All the while being peed on by three idiot kids. No one deserves that kind of treatment. Especially Jeremy. In fact, I liked the guy! I only turned my back on him because of peer pressure. Ugh, who was I then? Certainly nothing like who I am now.

I digress. For now.

As I stated in my previous entry (Construction House Pee Party), the undeserved golden shower that we gave Jeremy was not the worst thing that we did to him...that I did to him. You see, I was really angry after the brief encounter with Jeremy's dad after we had pissed all over his kid (see Construction House Pee Party). I was so mad that Jeremy went and told his dad what happened. In hindsight, it was more likely that Jeremy walked into the house completely soaked with urine, and had little choice but to admit what had happened to him. But either way, the finger had been pointed, and now we had on our tails an intense little biker dude with aviator frames and an unkempt goatee.

|"Come'ere!" Jeremy's dad insisted, beckoning us with an outstretched arm and a curling finger. Nick and I got the lead out and took off down the road on our bikes, while Jeremy's dad stormed down the walkway onto the road. I remember looking over my shoulder and saw Jeremy's dad walking toward us. He'd never catch us or anything, so why did he bother? Was it just to prove how tough and scary he is? Or was he like a shark and he had to keep moving in order to live? Or perhaps he thought he was riding his shiny motorcycle and was about to hit the throttle to kick our asses. I like the last one. Everything else about him was so phony, so it seems appropriate that his motorbike would also be fake.

Nick and I rode our bikes to the local comic store and went inside. While in the store, Nick and I stomped around and cursed about the fact that Jeremy let his parents know what happened. However, it was all just talk. Minutes later we were over it. Though we never forgot.

Fast forward a month. In the cul-de-sac across from Jeremy's home, a new home was being built. When the basement was excavated and the foundation poured, construction workers lazily dumped all the dirt into a large pile on an empty lot next door. Nick, Jason, I, and several other kids from the neighbourhood eagerly went to play in the new construction area. This one was actually really cool because it was so much closer to home. We played stupid yet fun games, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Sidebar: Yeah, Ninja Turtles was my favourite show, so role playing it was awesome. I was always Donatello as he was (and still is) my favourite of the turtles. Though please note that it's really dangerous to play that game when using a jagged-ended rebar as a bo staff. Just sayin.'

Anyway, while we were exiting the home under construction, Jeremy and his sister were walking toward his own home. As Jeremy walked by, there were giggles and Nick even asked Jeremy if Jeremy wanted to try that gum again (see Construction House Pee Party). Jeremy stopped, turned to us, and bravely stated to over a half dozen kids:

"If any of you ever touch my sister, I'll fucking kill you."

Jeremy and his sister then continued walking together. We all laughed hysterically at Jeremy's weird message to us, though I was more confused than amused. Why would any of us want to touch his sister? Sure, we didn't like her either, but we had nothing against her. Weird, weird, weird. One of the kids, whose name I do not recall, yelled at Jeremy as Jeremy and his sister walked up to the door to Jeremy's home.

"If you ever enter this house, we'll fucking kill you!"

Jeremy lifted his left arm and flipped us off from behind his back as he went into his home. I knew Jeremy, as we'd been friends for a few years before the falling out we had. I knew Jeremy was stubborn. Really stubborn. Stubborn enough that he just might attempt to come to the construction area just to spite us. It wasn't worry I had, though. It was a plan. Playing Ninja Turtles was fun, but imagine the fun we could have if we had a real enemy! The area was no longer a place to exercise our imaginations. It was a fort. A fort that had to be defended!

The huge pile of dirt made for an excellent base. Seeing as the house under construction was in a cul-de-sac, it was easy to defend. Jeremy would have to enter from the road or from the empty lot. Don't get me wrong, the house itself was booby trapped as well:

1. Planks that we had broken were then placed over expanses (with small pieces of wood nailed to the bottom that held the ends together but would not support any real weight)...if Jeremy were to walk over the plank, it would simply break apart and he would fall down to the basement. The break in the wood was somewhat easy to spot, but we were kids and didn't think too much about how to improve it (some dirt sprinkled over the break was enough for us).
2. Electrical wire used as tripwires.
3. All outside access to the home was removed so Jeremy could not sneak in...He'd have to use the front door.

But it was the hill that was truly shocking. Our "fun" fort was nothing short of a real death trap for anyone who attempted to climb it.

1. Rebar pieces and sharp chunks of wood were jammed and pounded into the sides of the hill and covered with small inconspicuous mounds of dirt. An unaware person stepping on them would definitely feel a little pain, even through the soles of shoes.
2. Wood pieces were stomped into the dirt around the top of the hill, and electrical wire weaved around the sticks at a height of about two feet. Over or under, it would be difficult to get around the wire without the time and patience that an intruder did not have.
3. More sticks were used as stoppers for large electrical wire spools. One pull of the stick and the large heavy spools would tumble down the hill. Near the bottom, I'm certain they would have the velocity to knock a small person over.
4. We had constructed bows and arrows out of bent wood, yet more electrical wire, and pointy sticks. These did not function at all, as we discovered while playing with them. However, we thought to make them, so I include them in the list.
5. Aside from the spools and fail bow and arrow sets, we had a variety of large rocks, chunks of cement, shards of glass, and sticks stored atop the hill with us, all things we procured from the construction site.
6. Nails (some new, some rusty) were littered around the base of the hill.

It was a masterpiece to a bunch of idiot kids with nothing to do with their weekends. We had made a dangerous, functioning fort. And it was all to prevent Jeremy from playing on it.

On a Sunday afternoon, a couple of weeks after we built the fort, me, Nick, and three other people were playing on the hill. While we played, Jeremy exited his house. Jeremy walked over to the base of the hill and crossed his arms. He told us that he'd been visiting the construction house several times and found our traps. He seemed to make fun of us because we did not prevent him from coming to the site after we told him not to. In my mind, it didn't count because we weren't around to defend it when he came by. That's kid-logic, for you. I told Jeremy that he wouldn't be getting to the top of the hill with us so long as we were there.

Like prodding a bull with a pointy stick, Jeremy began to climb the hill after saying "wanna bet?" As he climbed, I noticed the traps weren't working. He was avoiding our clumsily hidden sticks and rebar embedded in the hill. The nails had done nothing either. We pulled the stopper-sticks out from in front of the heavy metal spools and the spools went tumbling down the hill. Jeremy fled to avoid one of the spools, but once they reached the bottom of the hill, they rolled off onto the road and were no longer of help to us. Jeremy began his ascent once more! We knew the bows and arrows didn't work worth shit. We had nothing left but our ring of wire and some crap piled atop the hill.

I didn't want Jeremy to win. I had made this stupid fort in my free time and did not want it to be for nothing. Looking down, I saw a rough stick resting on the ground at my feet. I picked up the stick and wielded it like a sword as Jeremy climbed toward us. The other kids just watched as I prepared my attack. Then, without thinking, I raised my arm. I threw the stick with all my might toward Jeremy. It spun in the air as it hurled toward its target. I had to win!

The wood struck Jeremy squarely on his forehead and Jeremy stumbled forward and landed on his knee. Jeremy slid down the hill a short ways and then seemed to stop himself. Holding his head, Jeremy looked up at us kids atop the hill. But Jeremy did not try to climb again. Backing away, Jeremy worked his way to the bottom of the hill. As he walked away, he walked with a bit of a limp and occasionally held his left leg in addition to holding his forehead. It was not until years later (when Jeremy and I were again friends) that I found out why.

As Jeremy had slid down the hill once struck by my stick, one of the spikes of the rebar or wood that we'd hidden in the sides of the hill had ripped his sweatpants and cut into his leg. The injury wasn't too severe, he had told me years later, but it did hurt "like a bitch." I had also drawn blood on his forehead from when I nailed him with the wood. An injury which led to a small scar.

I remember watching Jeremy hobble away from the site, but I was not filled with a sense of victory or relief. He just...looked sad. Pathetic. And I did it to him. I felt really bad but couldn't admit it. Once Jeremy went into his house, I worked my way down the hill. I wasn't king of the hill anymore. I never returned to the site again.

Despite what happened, I still had to keep up appearances that I hated Jeremy. Even though I didn't hate him. I felt really sorry for him...the kid with no friends who dared to challenge my reign as king. But even though I didn't wish him any harm, harm just seemed to want to find him. And two weeks later, it did.

To be concluded in Gardening 101.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Construction House Pee Party

Peer pressure can be a bitch. When you're a kid, it's the entire world to you. You went along with the masses, despite your better judgment. Who needs morals when you have friends? Being an "adult," I don't succumb to peer pressure anymore, which is more than I can say for most people. But I have a good reason for it. I hate being a follower, and I hate going against what feels right to appease people who clearly don't care enough about you in the first place or they would not have expected you to appease them. I also take the time to consider the possible outcomes of "going along" with others...particularly who it can hurt and how it can hurt them. I learned this the hard way.

Back in the 90s, I had a friend who lived down the street from me. Jeremy. You may remember me talking about the kid with yellowed teeth and curly hair in a previous entry (The Flood). If so, you may remember how I said we were both the best of friends and the worst of enemies, depending on when in the time line you were to inquire. In about 1994 or 1995, we were anything but friends.

You see, I was often mocked for being friends with Jeremy. He was weird, arrogant, and unattractive...and he smelled of B.O. in his younger years. The perfect formula for children to decide to hate another child. Sadly, I caved to that pressure. Everyone else said I shouldn't be friends with him, and so I stopped being friends with him. But it didn't stop there. I felt a need to PROVE I disliked Jeremy now, and actions spoke louder than words.

One day in the summer (again, 1994 or 95), me and two of my neighbours, Jason and Nick, decided it would be fun to do something to Jeremy. Something awful and epic at the same time. Groupthink is never really advantageous, and so we ended up with a plan that was so full of complications that it should have been scrapped. I suppose we were either too eager or too stupid to let it go. The plan in place, we invited Jeremy to join us to mess around in a home currently under construction.

Houses under construction were nothing short of amazing when I was a kid. Wrought with danger, they made for fantastic playgrounds and forts. In hindsight, some of the activities we would do, such as putting 2x4s over fifteen foot drops and then crossing over on the boards, was insane. But it was also fun.

Anyway, Jason, Nick, and I picked up Jeremy on the way to a house that was currently under construction down the street. We were all playing nice. Jeremy was likely very suspicious since he already knew that I no longer liked him. So why did he still come? Maybe he was hopeful he was wrong, or maybe he was desperate for friends. I will likely never know. Upon arrival at the home, we worked our way down into the "basement" of the home. There was a makeshift stairway of boards that the workers used to get up and down, which was suitable if not safe. Once in the muddy basement, we put our genius plan into action.

"Hey Jeremy," said Jason, "Want some gum?"

Jeremy said he did, of course. Who the hell says no to gum? Oh yes, the plan was coming to fruition!

"This is a new kind of gum," I explained, "It starts off as liquid and becomes a solid once you start chewing."

Brilliant, right?

Jeremy, clearly concerned that we may have been trying to fool him, said he'd never heard of that kind of gum. Nick told him it was brand new, and then Nick asked if Jeremy wanted to try some or not. Jeremy seemed reluctant but said "sure."

"Okay, close your eyes and we'll give you some," I said as Jason, Nick, and I subtly unzipped our pants. Jeremy refused, and laughed at us for being so foolish as to think he would fall for such an obvious prank. The plan had fallen apart before our very eyes!!!

You'd think that might stop us, but we salvaged what we could. Whipping out our boy parts, Nick, Jason, and I fired! Piss burst free like we were three Ghostbusters (trying not to cross the streams). Jeremy tried to escape, but it was too difficult to climb up the boards from the basement. We soaked Jeremy from neck to ankle with urine. We laughed hysterically as we drenched the kid because Jeremy was struggling so hard to get away. Bladders emptied and we continued to laugh as Jeremy pulled himself up and out of the basement. Nick, Jason, and I made a new ramp up on the other side of the basement, as the makeshift stairway was now all wet and gross. While the plan had not been executed as planned, we were satisfied with the result.

A few days later, Nick and I were riding our bikes along the road. As we passed Jeremy's home, Jeremy's father came out the front door. He was a teeny little try-hard biker who did his best to look hardcore, but it was laughable. However, he was REALLY angry. He screamed at us to come over to him, his eyes bulging from his face and his hand outreached with a finger curling in a come-hither motion. Clearly, Nick and I got the fuck out of there. And now we were mad. Jeremy TOLD on us! What? That breaks the kid-code! You don't tattle. You never tattle.

The things that happened next made what we did in that house seem like a friendly handshake. We had no choice. Jeremy tattled. It was war.

To be (sort of) continued in King of the Hill.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Handful

Some of the weirdest experiences of my life occurred during my tenure as a delivery driver. Between my impossibly odd boss Trevor and the cavalcade of characters with whom I worked, there was never a dull day working for Meadowbrook Deliveries.

In previous posts, I've made mention of the customers in previous entries, such as the drunk (see The 2-6) and the late night masturbator (see How Much is That Pervert in the Window). These were a couple of extreme examples of customers who I met along the way, but I've saved THE most memorable experience...until now.

In the summer of 2001, I was having the best time with the Delivery Service. I was no longer tied down to my other job (as a clerk at Five Star Movies in Airdrie), and generally had a friend who would accompany me on my deliveries. On the evening in question, Bob was riding shotgun with me while I worked. Bob was definitely the best co-pilot...we always had weird shit to talk about and when there was no work to be done we would get up to all sorts of mischief. Sometimes Bob would come up to the door with me when I had to make a delivery. Sadly, Bob remained in the car for this particular delivery.

I was in an upper class neighbourhood, delivering some Boston Pizza to a faux-posh home with a pond on the front lawn and a three-car garage. The Mercedes parked in the driveway seemed to be more of a status-increasing decoration than a vehicle. After all, why would they leave the car out of the garage? I suppose the garage was full of other overpriced automobiles, but that seems unlikely. It was an upper class neighbourhood...not a "rich" neighbourhood.

I pulled the order out of the trunk and walked up to the front door. The doorbell was one of those obnoxious ones that play a song rather than the tried, tested, and true "ding dong." I waited a few moments but no one came to the door. Again, I rang the door bell. Bong bong bing bong, bong bong bing bong. This time, I saw a blurred image through the frosted glass window built into the door. The door opened and a short, frighteningly thin ginger with stringy hair. She looked like a freckle threw up on her. The woman seemed nice enough as I greeted her and let her know the total. She excused herself to retrieve money for her pizza and pasta.

I noticed the home was filled with religious idolatry paraphernalia, including a huge wall portrait of jesus. This thing was eight feet tall if it was an inch. It was one of those "magic jesus" pictures...you know the ones. Where jesus has a sunburst behind his head and his hand is held aloft in a Jedi mind trick motion. There were other pictures of jesus peppered throughout the living room, including that famous "something off to the viewer's right is really interesting so jesus stares at it" picture and one of jesus crucified. There were even statues perched on a table against the far wall...jesus and some chick. This was clearly a very religious family.

The homely redhead returned to the door a few minutes later with a credit card. She apologized for the delay and explained that her husband had to find the credit card. I began to check the card and make an imprint of the number. While I worked, a little girl came out from the stairwell leading upstairs. The child, maybe six or seven, had bright red hair like her mother, thought he child's hair appeared clean and brushed. The girl had an arm partially outstretched and held her hand in a cup shape.

"Mummy, look what I found," the girl said to her mother with a smile. The girl walked up close. And oh my god...

She opened her hand slightly to give her mother a better look and I had the misfortune of spying what was there. In the little girl's hand, dripping and slimy, was a piece of shit. A piece of wet, smooth, human poop. Well, I can't guarantee it was human, but it appeared so. And the moist nature clearly suggested that this girl fished a piece of her own feces out of the toilet right after she dropped it in. Oh, and it reeked! I don't know what that child had eaten, but it certainly didn't agree with ME. It was truly disgusting and I felt my gag reflex acting up. I turned away while the mother signed the VISA slip.

"Mummy! Look!" the child demanded. The mother, without looking, simply replied with "That's nice, honey. Go show your father."

The kid ran into the home, a small puddle of toilet water on the foyer floor.

"Daddy! Look!"

I heard the girl yell the above quote as I gave the mother her receipt and walked away from the door. I got back into the vehicle and proceeded to laugh for a minute straight. I shared the tale with Bob and we both enjoyed a hearty laugh.

The image of a little ginger kid with an outreached handful of crap is burned into my memory forever. One of those memories so vivid that there's olfactory memory attached to it.
I once even had a nightmare that the entire family had poopies in their hands and that they actually defecated through their palms. I think jesus was defecating from his hand too. There were also midgets trying to steal my pizza delivery bag too. It was a really messed up dream. Alas, I digress about the dream.

I wonder why that child decided to scoop out a floater to show her family. She was arguably old enough to know better. Perhaps she knew it was wrong but did so anyway because she wanted attention? Clearly her mother was not very attentive. The mum didn't even look at what the child was showing.
I also wonder how the father reacted to his daughter's surprise. I wish I could have stayed at the door a few minutes more, just in the event that the father would scream something awesome like "WHAT THE FUCK?"

So now you know. The most memorable delivery of my life was all thanks to a little ginger kid and a pile of shit in her hand. So simple yet so effective. What would have made it even funnier?
If the mum slipped on the puddle as she closed the door.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Escape From Stonehenge

I remember, as a child, seeing Stonehenge on television. It was some sort of documentary that my mother was watching and since she had control of the remote...Stonehenge it was going to be. I was certainly too young to follow the theoretical discussion about the purpose of Stonehenge in the programme, but there was something about the stones that I found intriguing. That intrigue only grew once I began learning about the circle and the mystery that surrounds it. As a result, Stonehenge was high on my list of places I wanted to visit in my lifetime.

In the summer of 2008, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Stonehenge. In the middle of July, I and my friend Kristina took a trip together to the UK. The trip itself lent to a few humourous and "WTF" stories, of which I will slowly but surely share in my blog. There's one big story in particular that I'm itching to share, much to Kristina's chagrin. Whether or not I embarrass her with the tale will depend on how good the Xmas present is that she gets me. But tonight is mainly about our visit to Stonehenge.

Kristina and I pre-booked a tour on one of our days abroad. The tour was scheduled to go to Stonehenge, followed by Salisbury and then Bath. As you know, I had a raging semi for Stonehenge, so I was really eager to go there. I also wanted to view one of the original copies of the Magna Carta that was held within Salisbury Cathedral, so this tour seemed pretty right to me.

Sidebar: Salisbury Cathedral also has the oldest working clock in the world. Now you know!

Before the tour was set to being, we were asked to meet at a specified location in order to board the bus. Kristina and I arrived at said location, only to find that there were several lines for several tours. After a bit of clever investigation, I discovered the line in which we were to be. We waited, and we waited, and we waited. I can't blame the tour company for this, as we were early, but it was nipply out and they could have at least let us board the buses early, even if we could not leave until 9AM. God damn you Golden Tours (a division of Greyline Tours)!

At 9AM, they shuffled us on the bus. Our tour guide, a douche whose name was Mark I believe, began telling us about the itinerary for the day. And with that, things were off to a bad start. Mark told us that we would only have 45 minutes at Stonehenge. WTF???? Why was this not stated in the tour information? 45 minutes was a New York minute to me when it came to Stonehenge. Once he told us all the information that should have been provided to us well in advance, we were on our way!

The journey to Stonehenge was short, as much of the scenery took place within London. Mark attempted to do the whole "and on your right is" thing, but our route was not really conducive to such an activity. I loved it because I got to see random old buildings and shops and funny looking little people. But to those who wanted to catch glimpses of landmarks, it was a complete fail. "To your left, obscured by seventeen buildings, are the Houses of Parliament!" Wow, Mark. Thanks. By the way Mark...did you know that if turn 180 degrees and travel about 7000 kilometers, you can see the Calgary Tower? Useless tit head. But I digress.

First stop was Stonehenge, and thus the point of this entry. The group exited the bus and moved way to the gates for entry. Fortunately the tour guide had his shit together and we weren't delayed with entry nonsense. Kristina and I walked through an underpass that lead to the stones. We walked up a few steps once we emerged from the underpass and there it was. Stonehenge. It was nothing short of beautiful. A circle of erected stones, some of which were put there as far back as five thousand years. A site famous around the world that I have been fascinated with for most of my life. I saw it on television, read about it, and studied it in school. And there it was...before my eyes.

I wanted to go to the stones and see them up close, but due to erosion, souvenir hunters, and other mischievous folks, visitors were forbade doing so. I believe that access to the rocks by the general public is only allowed four times a year (during the summer/winter solstice and the spring/fall equinox). At any rate, I was stuck following the paved circle around the stones. I stopped every few seconds to take pictures and listen to the bollocks audio guide that was provided to visitors.

While walking around the stones, Kristina seemed to be in a hurry or uninterested in the history in front of her eyes. She rushed around the circle. I was certainly in no rush. I had wanted to be right where I was since I was five years old, and I would not be robbed. Unfortunately, Kristina had the only watch between us and I was unable to tell accurate time using the sun. As a result, I lost track of time.

When I had finished my stroll around Stonehenge and I was sure I had all I could take with me (a full memory card would have to suffice), I walked back through the underpass and into the gift shop. I turned in my audio guide and picked out a small pewter Stonehenge souvenir, a token reminder that I was really there. While I was finishing up my purchase, Kristina barged through the gift shop doors in a panic.

"The bus is LEAVING!" she exclaimed as we pushed our way out the door. We ran up an incline to get to the parking area while Kristina, nearly in tears, repeated a story about how Mark was not going to wait on anyone and had no choice but to leave. We reached the parking lot and the bus was still in the lot, but it was on its way to the exit. We increased our pace and waved our arms to catch the attention of the bus driver. Surely he'd see us and stop. We were RIGHT there!

The bus driver looked in his side mirror and I made eye contact with him through it. Call me crazy, but I could have sworn I saw a smile cross his lips. He looked back forward and kept on moving. That fucker saw us and chose to leave anyway. Kristina and I stopped chasing the bus as it turned out on the main roadway. We had been abandoned.

As it turned out, I had taken about 50 minutes around Stonehenge. Sorry, Mark. I was overtime by a fiver. Kristina was in an inconsolable panic. She expressed how scared she was that we were left without a ride to the next location (Salisbury) or back to London. Kristina was behaving as though we had been airlifted to the middle of the Sahara Desert with no compass, no water, and no clue. But this was Stonehenge. Hundreds of people were milling about. Cars whipped by along the main road every second. And tour buses were coming and going nearly in sync with the ticking of the second hand on a clock. It was comparable to being lost in the forest though you can see a neighbourhood of homes on the ridge a half kilometer away.

We went and spoke to an employee who in turn passed us on to a manager of tourism at the site. Mark had given Kristina his mobile number so that we could get in touch with him, and the manager called Mark to discuss where he was located. The manager then set us up with another tour bus. The deal was simple...11 quid a piece would get us to Salisbury. That was 11 pounds for about 13 kilometers...a better deal than we'd find through a cab. Kristina and I jumped on the opportunity and before we knew it we were on our second bus. This bus was a nearly empty double decker bus, and oh so much more comfortable than the one we had begun our journey on. A recorded voice echoed through the bus, explaining the sites around us in all directions. Much more informative and much less annoying than Mark's piddly little voice. Before we knew it, we were in Salisbury.

Salisbury was a nice place. Quaint, homey feel, paired with the amazing cathedral, of which we could see the spire no matter where we stood. Kristina and I first made our way to the pub where Mark and our tour mates were visiting. I chose to wait outside while Kristina entered the pub to let Mark know we arrived. It's rare I get angry enough that I don't trust myself, but that was one of those times. I wanted to throttle that little dipshit. I get it. I broke his golden 45 minute rule. That doesn't matter. You shouldn't leave when someone is over by five minutes. Fifty minutes, sure, but not five. I was also furious with that asshole bus driver. Seriously...screw him. Kristina exited a few moments after entering. She told me that the other members of the tour whispered things such as "It's her...the girl that was left [at Stonehenge]." Apparently, Mark was rather surprised we had managed to catch up. He told Kristina when we were set to leave. Kristina and I decided that because we had not much time left in Salisbury, that we would stay close to the bus. That meant no Salisbury Cathedral for me. No Magna Carta. But any delay would have screwed us, as Bath was significantly further away from Salisbury than Stonehenge was. A ride would cost us a lot more from where we now were. Kristina and I sat against a wall outside the bus and patiently waited for departure.

The bus took us to Bath, where we visited the Roman baths and the exterior of Bath Abbey. It's also where I purchased my sneakers. In the Roman baths, Kristina and I quickly darted through, not wanting to be late for our bus ride home. I bought the shoes in haste as well, as I did not want to take precious seconds to ensure proper fitting.

Fast forward to the bus ride back home. Mark, that pansy-ass piece of crap, remained quiet for most of the ride, talking to us only to teach us a memory trick for reciting all the English monarchs. Wow. Too cool for school, douchebag. At the end of our journey, before we exited the bus, Mark stood up and asked for everyone to give a hand to the bus driver for his excellent driving. Mark then said that tips could be left at the front. What? Tips? Was he serious? There was no way that Kristina or I would be tipping that driver. He saw us and he left us behind anyway. I wouldn't swerve to miss him in traffic, let alone reward him for being a crapsack. All the driver and Mark got from me was a sneer.

The moral of this story could be many things. Perhaps it is a tale of why it is important to be responsible. Perhaps it is a story about why one should always wear a watch. Maybe it's even about how awesomeness can overcome anything. But I choose to leave you with this:

F*** Golden Tours (a division of Greyline Tours)! F*** them in their f***ing faces! Make them **** in a **** with **** **** or **** while they **** their mother's **** **** **** on a hot plate **** for **** under **** **** and have the White Sox **** **** **** a carburetor **** so they **** and **** **** **** **** before burning a **** on their **** **** for what they **** **** **** **** **** **** with a half-eaten carrot and a ****ing bluray player! Yeah.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Crash and the Feather Part 2

"Dave! DAVE!"
Trevor's voice echoed through my vehicle as he screamed into the CB radio. My heart was racing as my eyes opened. I was covered with glass and I could taste blood. I looked to my left and noticed my driver's door window was gone. I grabbed the handle and tried to push the door open, but it was jammed. The girder post that held up the sign had smashed my door in to a point. I tried to get out of my seat but I couldn't move. At first I thought I was paralyzed, but I was able to feel my legs and move them. No, I was unable to move because the door had been pushed in far enough to pin me between the door and the side console. Contracting my hips, I put one hand on the wheel and the other on the console and pried my body out from my seat. It wasn't easy. I tore my jeans on the jagged metal of the door, but I got out. I crawled out the passenger side of the vehicle, carrying Trevor's CB radio with me.
I slammed the door and proceeded to yell "FUCK!" Why the reaction? The delivery drivers had a weird "bet" going on. The understanding was that each person would, in turn, be in an accident. And that accident would end up corresponding to a different side of the car. Trevor had been rear-ended (this was before I had been ever been rear-ended), another driver had been hit on the side, and Darren had rear-ended someone else. So basically it was my turn to be in an accident, but I was supposed to be hit on the passenger side of the vehicle. I was mad that I didn't follow the "bet" as it was jokingly set up. Yeah, that was a weird thing to be mad about, but I was running off adrenaline and not necessarily myself. Oh, and I was also frazzled and forgot that I was actually supposed to have an accident involving my driver's side. Score!
Trevor got out of his car. He was a wreck. Nearly in tears, he hugged me and said he thanked god I was all right. I don't blame him at all. He had been in an accident as a child, in which he lost his mother and a part of his ear. Also, he saw my smash into that sign. It must have looked horrific. The car certainly looked awful...like someone died. In fact, I'm really surprised I didn't die, let alone walked away from it. Trevor told me there was blood all over my face. I didn't feel it though. I didn't feel a thing.
We stayed at the scene for several minutes. Trevor broadcast over the CB to other drivers that I crashed my car and that we'd be at Tim Horton’s soon. An off-duty police officer stopped and walked over to me. He showed me his badge and said "you did real good here." I told him I had called 911 and they said that if no one was injured then there was no need to wait for police. I collected everything of importance from my car and then Trevor drove me to Tim Horton’s. Darren, Veronika (Trevor's niece), and a few others were there. Veronika gave me a hug and said she was so happy I was all right. We then all chilled and had a coffee.
Apparently, 911 received dozens of calls from passersby because the accident looked so bad. A tow truck came through and pulled my car from the ditch. We saw the tow truck drive by Tim Horton’s as it headed to my home to drop it off. After a coffee, Darren and Shawna drove me back to my house. My parents were worried and a bit pissed that I didn't come there first. Sorry. I really wasn't thinking logically at all. I looked a wreck, with blood all over my face and cubes of glass embedded in my jacket. I went to the washroom to assess the damage. And man I was lucky! There was a small cut from a piece of glass JUST to the left of my left eye. Even a few millimeters to my right and I could have had severe damage to my left eye. I had a few cuts here and there on my left cheek, but nothing severe. I took off my jackets (I was wearing two leather jackets that day as it was cold). A piece of metal moulding from around the top of my car door had come loose and was likely the culprit here. It had torn through BOTH leather coats, my jacket, and a quarter inch of my skin. I have a scar there now from the injury...and it's true that scars are a strong reminder that something in past really did happen. My left leg was extremely sore because the door caved in on it, but there was no laceration...just the beginning what turned out to be a nasty bruise.
I cleaned up and left to go hang out with Darren and Shawna. Just not in my car. My car was bent at a significant angle because of the accident. It was never going anywhere again. Here are a few pictures I took of the car so you can see for yourself (and one of the sign):

Keep in mind that the sign, when straight, would have faced well to the right on the picture...so much so that you would see the back of the sign and not the front. It is twisted over 90 degrees there.
Remember how I mentioned that feather I found in my car a few months before the accident? Well the next day, I went outside to take pictures of my car. While taking pictures, I noticed that at the top of the car, at the point of impact with the sign, there was paint chipped off. What was shocking was that the paint was chipped off in a specific form. The shape of a feather. I admit the picture quality is rubbish and the angle isn't perfect, but here's a picture:

It's may be hard to tell, but it really looked a lot like a feather...a lot like that feather I found in my car a few months before. I went into the glove box to retrieve the feather for comparison. The feather was gone...
There you go. That's the story of the worst accident of my life and how, in many ways, I'm a lucky son of a bitch (sorry mum). In the end, it's a happy ending, even though I wasn't able to work for two months (as I didn't have a car). I hope you enjoyed this little read!
By the way. Have you been wondering what made me decide to share this story? Late last week (November 2010), I got into my car. I don't know how it got into my vehicle. It was just resting there on the passenger seat...like an omen...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Crash and the Feather Part 1

I dislike winter a great deal. It's not the early sunsets or the freezing temperatures or the loss of green grass and leaves. What I really dislike about the season is the snow and ice that accumulates on the roadways, making my life more difficult, and the other people that are too irresponsible to drive appropriately for the conditions. My discontent with these aspects of winter is not at all unfounded. It's on a daily basis that some moron decides to pull out in front of me and then gets stuck on the ice, forcing  me to evade his vehicle. It's quite often that someone weaves into my lane because she is totally focused on the ruts on the road and not other vehicles around her. And the number of people that ride my ass because I'm not driving the speed limit during a snowstorm is astounding! But near misses aren't necessarily enough to spark such a seething abhorrence to the season. Sometimes, things have to get a little worse.

I've been rear-ended five times in my life. The first such time was in winter and was the result of a woman in a Jeep Grand Cherokee figuring driving the speed limit on ice was a good idea, despite the fact there was a red light and a stopped vehicle (me) ahead of her. BOOM! We got out of the vehicles. What did I do? I asked if she was all right. What did she do? Checked the damage on HER vehicle! Yeah, I forced her to the police station to file a report. I didn't press charges as I couldn't prove she was driving unsafely for the conditions, but I really wish I had. However, that was not even close to the worst accident of my life.

In the summer of 2000, I was working as a pizza delivery person. It was a really fun job, but I really didn't make much money. I drove a 1982 Ford Mustang with a 5.0 under the hood. Most of my income went toward the gas. But that job was fun, so I didn't mind. One day, in the summer, I opened my door and got inside the car. As I turned the engine over, I noticed on the passenger seat greyish-blue feather. I had no idea how it got there, but thought it looked cool, so I placed it in my glove compartment and forgot about it. What's the relevance to winter driving and car accidents, you ask? Not much! But you'll see.

Fast forward to late November 2000. Southern Alberta was in the grip of winter, which was pretty typical for this province. I was working that night, driving my Mustang with its nearly bald winter tires. Yeah, I know. I should have upgraded. I just didn't have the money. Not a good reason, but the only excuse I can offer. Due to my self-proclaimed superior driving capabilities, I never ran into any hassles. Oh sure, I would, on the rare occasion, have my tires spin a bit before I could get moving, but nothing serious and nothing that was not happening to everyone else on the roads. But my avoidance of incident only worked to lull me into a sense of security...that nothing would happen.

One night, after a slow shift, Trevor (my boss) asked the drivers to meet him at Tim Horton’s in order to settle up with him (to give him his coordinator fee, as he took the delivery orders and passed them on to the drivers) and to return the CB equipment to him if we weren't scheduled to work for a few days. Trevor and I were both at Boston Pizza when he decided to shut the service down for the evening, and so he chose to follow me to Tim Horton’s. The weather was unpleasant but not unacceptable. There was a very light snow happening, which created a dusting of flakes on the road, but accumulation that day was minimal. Therefore, I decided to take the shortest route to get to Tim Horton’s...the #2 highway.

The #2 splits Airdrie in half, much like it does Calgary. Along the northbound lanes of the highway, Tim Horton’s, as well as other restaurants and a hotel, waited for weary travelers. Taking the highway up to Tim Horton’s took only a fraction of the time that it would take to drive around the east side of the city, so it just made sense.

I got on the highway and Trevor was still following me. I was taking my time (about 65 or 70 km/h in a 110 zone) as the road conditions were not ideal. Trevor had a significant following distance. We were good at what we did...we were smart drivers. But even the smartest driver can be unlucky. After a few moments on the highway, my tires hit a patch of black ice. Being a rear-wheel drive vehicle, my Mustang began to spaz out and fishtail on the road because the fresh snow was the perfect grease to keep my car from gaining traction. No problem, though. I could handle it! By carefully steering the car, I was hoping to recover and continue on my way.

Reader. I've provided the snow and ice into the equation. But how could I forget the other offending factor in winter driving...stupid people? You can relax because that stupid person enters the situation right now.

While I tried to regain control of my flopping vehicle, I checked all mirrors as well as windows. Understand that this all happened in what was only a ten second period or so, but it is true what they say; time does tend to slow in situations of panic. Anyway, while I was trying to get my Mustang facing forward, some complete IDIOT was coming up in the middle lane of the highway (I and Trevor being in the right lane and no one else in sight). This person was coming up fast...must faster than one should for the weather. To this day I'm unsure what the hell that driver was doing. My car wasn't swinging out to 90 degree angles from where it should have been, but it must have been obvious that I did not have control! However, the driver just kept coming...didn't move to the leftmost lane...didn't slow down. I'm sure the person would have evaded me somehow when they got closer, but I didn't want to risk hitting the person and hurting them. So I did the only thing that seemed reasonable at the time. I yanked the wheel to the right, causing my vehicle to spin sideways. I was going to ride the snow on the road into the ditch.
If only it were that easy.

As my car careened toward the ditch, I remember thinking "weeee" in my head. It was calming, okay? I turned to look out the driver's side window, as that was now the front of the vehicle. That's when I saw it. A huge green sign that said:

East Airdrie

The sign was burned into my memory because for an endless moment, I thought it was going to be the last thing I ever saw. My car was speeding sideways right toward it. I closed my eyes and braced myself. There was nothing else I could do. 

To be continued. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stalker Pt. 4

As I explained in Stalker Part 3, I had a rather unfortunate run-in with Lisa the stalker while I was working to deliver a pizza order. Despite a rather easy escape, I was still quite unnerved for the rest of that evening. As the week went by, I began to let my guard down, which was...a big mistake.

Exactly a week later, I was "stationed" at Little Caesar's Pizza again. It was a busier night that usual, which was nice as I needed the cash. There had been no sign of Lisa, aside from the obligatory tonnes of unanswered calls to my cell phone, so I wasn't preoccupied with avoiding being found.

During one delivery at around 5:00PM, I pulled up to the same red light as I was at when Lisa found me the first time (see Stalker Pt. 3). Chatting on my phone, it took a moment for me to notice the red Cavalier that pulled up aside my car.


"No," I thought, "Nonononono. It can't be."


In my mind, I was screaming "FUUUUUUCK!" I didn't have to look over at the car. I knew who was in it just by hearing.


More honking and screaming. As it was a busier night outside that the previous Wednesday (as the weather was more pleasant), pedestrians were out and about and began to stop and stare. A hot dog cart (known as "The Weenie Queenie") was on the NW corner of the intersection and people buying their food turned to see what all the fuss was about. I made eye contact with a few people and provided a "WTF" expression so that onlookers understood I was not involved with the noise polluting psychotic in the vehicle next to me.  The light was kinder to me this time than last, and after a short yet scary wait, the light lit in my favour. Pretty, pretty green light. I pushed down on the gas enough to cause a bit of a screech and sped away. However, her new Z24 was more than a match for my Dodge Shadow (Or Plymouth Sundance...I have owned both, and they are almost identical, but don't recall which I had at this time). The only thing working in my favour was that I could shift a manual transmission like a race car driver and she did not seem to be able to do so. However, I knew she was going to be able to at least keep up, and I didn't want to stop to do a delivery with her hot on my heels. I knew what I had to do. I had to lose her.

If the car chase that followed was in a movie, viewers would think it was really quite lame and uneventful. But in the moment, it was an adrenaline-filled, high-octane chase through Old Airdrie (aptly named as it was the oldest part of the city). I pulled into the right lane, cutting Lisa off, and hung a right turn onto First Street. My tires squealed on the pavement as I made the turn and it probably caused a lot of heads to turn. I didn't care, as long as none of those heads were on the bodies of police officers. Driving up First, I swung right onto Albert Street. Albert to Centre Avenue. Centre to Virginia St. Virginia to 2nd. 2nd. to Allen. ALLEN TO 1ST!!!!! But she just kept pursuing! I continued to drive in circles and take odd routes in hope that she would become stuck at a stop sign and I could escape, but it was as though the streets were abandoned.

On a return to Allen Street, I pulled into an alleyway. In Old Airdrie, the alleyways are somewhat complex in how they all connect and there are even some stop signs in the network. It was dark, being nearly winter, and I hoped the lack of street lights would work in my favour. I drove at excessive speeds down the alleys, kicking rocks and debris into the air, and noticed that I was beginning to put distance between my car and Lisa's. Perhaps she was worried about gravel denting or scratching her new car? I took a left and screamed down the alley. She was falling further and further behind! Another left and I had broken her line-of-sight with a reasonable window of time to spare. However, at the end of the alley was Allen St. again. I feared she would just catch up once I returned to paved roads.

Quick decision!

I pulled my car into a driveway that had another vehicle in it to my left. I turned off my car and all the lights. Oh, yes...it was a BIG gamble. If she found me, I was trapped in a parking stall! I looked out my back window as the alley became illuminated by headlights. My teeth clenched as a vehicle quickly approached. It was Lisa! Her vehicle popped into view! This was it...The moment of truth! Her car drove past mine. Did she see me? I waited in the darkness until the alley went dark again. Waited and waited for what seemed like forever, but was likely more like one minute. Nothing. I turned on my car and backed out (lights still off which I admit was dangerous if someone else was coming along the alley, but no one was around). I drove down the alley very slowly, my parking lights now on in case someone came around a corner, but headlights still off. I drove around the alley and back onto Allen St. Lisa was nowhere to be seen. My phone screamed at me non-stop as she called over and over again. But no matter. She didn't catch me. I continued on my way to deliver the pizza and then I returned to Little Caesar's. I again parked in behind the mall so my car was not visible.

Questions. So many questions.
She found me again. On the same day. AT the same traffic light. At around the same time, give or take a half hour.
Was she waiting for me somewhere near? Parked next to The Old Hotel (most likely), or the Shell station, or the VHQ movie store? Just sitting and waiting to see my car?
If not parked and waiting, was she driving around the city just hoping to spot me?
How long was she waiting?
Was this the only day she waited or had she been camping out Airdrie for days?
Why me, Jebus? WHY ME?

I didn't know the answers (and still don't to this day), but I did know that Lisa was now a very real threat. I took the rest of the night off, as I was concerned that Lisa was still driving around. I thought and thought of ways to get out of this predicament, but I was at a loss. Lisa didn't take no for an answer. In fact, she was so looped that she didn't even seem to remember me telling her to get lost. She seemed to think we were a couple, with that whole "fight" explanation (see Stalker Part 2), the now infamous voicemail (also in Stalker Part 2), and by calling me "babe" at the traffic light. She was mentally ill at the very least, and I didn't know what to do.

It was official. I was living in fear. Perhaps it was pathetic to be afraid of her but I was. She was just so unstable and unpredictable that it was certainly not unreasonable to fear being stabbed or shot or drugged or...well, the list goes on and on.
Work and school became pretty tense for me. I didn't just watch for delivery trucks and red Cavaliers when I drove. I looked into every vehicle window to make sure it wasn't Lisa hiding behind the wheel. I checked my six wherever I walked in case she was a few steps behind. The phone rang all the time and I knew I had to change my phone number as it wasn't going to ever stop. In her mind, I think I was her boyfriend...perhaps her soul mate or husband. I don't think she was going to give up unless she found another guy to follow. I regretfully admit that I briefly considered finding some poor sap to push Lisa toward, but decided that no one deserved the crap with which I was dealing.

November closed out without seeing Lisa. December came and went, and the phone call frequency in December lowered to 30 or so a day. When I first wrote that line, I typed "to only 30 or so," as if 30 was not a big deal compared to over 100 calls a day in November. But let's face it..."only" is a major stretch for 30 calls a day. Was Lisa starting to give up, or just too busy to keep calling all the time?

In early January, I was sitting at home, staring at my phone while catching up with Shannon online. The call history on my phone was all her numbers. For four months I had seen this bullshit and I was tired of it. I was going to change my phone number, but I still had the problem of Lisa potentially popping up in Airdrie again.

But then, thanks indirectly to Shannon, I thought of something. You see, Shannon was talking about school and she was attending the University of Lethbridge at the time. Lethbridge is about two hours away, for those readers who don't live in Alberta. My logic was simple...if Lisa thought I was in Lethbridge, she would (hopefully) go there to try and find me instead of coming to Airdrie. It was worth a shot, if nothing else. After I finished chatting with Shannon, I thought about a perfect way to deliver the news to my stalker. I was nervous about having to talk to her again, but it was necessary.

A few hours passed. It was time. I waited for the phone to ring and Lisa's name to appear on the call display.  I greeted her with a cold "hello." Lisa seemed exceedingly cheerful at first, but then began berating me for an answer as to why I wasn't answering my phone. I told her my old phone didn't work properly and I had just got a new one. She then asked why I ignored her when she saw me in Airdrie, to which I explained I didn't notice it was her. She seemed to buy the story, though I'm not sure how she could accept that story since she chased me around Airdrie a little over a month before. All irrelevant though. What really mattered was that Lisa was still in somewhat good spirits, which I assumed would help me succeed in my lie.

Wasting no time, I explained to Lisa that I was now attending the University of Lethbridge. I had the website up on my computer at the time so I could choose a major that was offered at the school. I chose English major as it was quite common and easy to fake if she challenged me on it.

There. I set the stage. I was living in Lethbridge now as far as Lisa was concerned. I told her I was going to change my number (truth) and I would call her with the new number so we could stay connected (lie). Would this plan go off without a hitch? I'd been so unlucky so far with this chick that I wasn't very confident, but I had some hope.

Lisa's reaction was nothing short of a miracle. A surprise I would not have ever conceived. Lisa said that she didn’t think she could handle “another” long distance relationship unless I could do all the driving (as Lisa said she was too busy to make the trip enough for it to be worthwhile). Yeah, busy stalking people. Anyway, I thought quickly and told Lisa that I didn’t have a car anymore. Phew. She hummed and hawed for a minute or so and then said again that she'd think about it and call me back.

She never did call me back. She never called again! Approximately 30 calls a day plummeted to exactly 0 calls a day. I was pleased as a pe^$& in a pu#*@!!! My so-so plan snowballed into something unexpected that worked so much better. Seriously, who the hell would have ever dreamed that distance was a deal-breaker for a stalker like her? She was a tiptoe away from being served a restraining order and boiling a rabbit. Yet, she couldn't handle a two hour drive to follow me around.

Sidebar: I feel REALLY sorry for the poor bastard who dated her long distance before.

Lisa the stalker is now gone but never forgotten. Despite the fact that I did get her off my back, I have NEVER considered it a permanent fix. If ever she decided that a long distance relationship would actually be okay, or if she ever decided to come to Airdrie to find me anyway, or if she decided to start calling me again, I would be right back where I started.
Nearly a decade later, my reluctance to accept that Lisa is no longer an issue shows from time to time. Whenever I'm back in Airdrie, I tend to carefully inspect my surroundings when I'm near that Main Street and Centre Avenue traffic light. I'm extremely wary of blocked numbers or numbers I do not know. I probably look behind me more than an average person. And I'm usually reluctant to give out my phone number to strangers.
But all in all, it's an experience that helped shape who I am, so I have to embrace it. Even though I certainly did not enjoy any aspect of being stalked, it is a fun story to share. When I started writing this series of entries, I was hesitant as I don't usually like talking about being stalked. But now that it's done, I'm glad I shared. It's a bit of a scary read, but it's also quite entertaining.

The end.

To any of your pricks that think it might be funny to call me pretending to be Lisa the stalker, please don't. She lost her mind because she was a ginger and didn't have a soul. You'd just be an asshole. And to those of you who are being harassed by someone with "stalker tendencies," please feel free to share this story with your potential stalker. There's nothing like seeing your behaviour objectively to smarten you up.

Just don't give them your phone number. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stalker Pt. 3

The tail end of 2001 was none too pleasant for me. November 2001, in particular, was a really bad month, and I owe it all to Lisa the stalker. She was a 5'2" woman who couldn't have weighed 100lbs soaking wet, and I was legitimately afraid of her. To say it was unnerving to hear her growl through her teeth about stain on her arm or requesting I lacerate her flesh so she can taste her own blood is a severe understatement. But through it all, I did have one small comfort. She didn't really know anything about me. Sure, she had my name, my cellular number, and the knowledge that I was a shockingly handsome and statuesque male, but apart from that I was a complete mystery to her. That being said, sometimes life gives you a break. Sometimes, however, life throws you in a tub of sulfuric acid containing people-eating acid-immune sharks and a surface ablaze with onlyhappenstome fire.

Back in the day, I worked as a pizza delivery dude, as frequent readers of my blog are already aware. On the busy nights (Fridays, Saturdays, several holidays), we provided service for several business in Airdrie. On the slower days, we were basically only provided work by the big companies (Boston Pizza, Little Caesar's, etc.). Therefore, on those slower days, employees of Meadowbrook Deliveries tended to remain stationed at one of the major companies, both to save a drive in the event of an order coming up and to keep warm indoors. In late November 2001, a Wednesday to be more exact, I was working on what was a slow night even by slow night standards. I was the only employee working as there weren't enough orders to share with others. I decided to hang out at Little Caesar's restaurant, as my friend Crystal was working there and enjoyed my awesome company. At around 5:00PM or so, an order came through and Crystal quickly put everything together for me. I threw the pizzas and breadsticks into the trunk and off I went to deliver the goods.

Sidebar: Little Caesar's breadsticks are so delicious!!!

A few blocks from the restaurant, I came up to a red light. A large delivery truck pulled up next to my vehicle on the right while I was chatting with Trevor over the CB radio. Suddenly, I heard screaming coming from the truck next to me. I quickly looked out my window to assess the situation and my body went numb. Well not numb...that pins-and-needles, heart-dropping feeling you get that comes with a sudden shock. In the driver's seat of the vehicle, I saw her. I saw Lisa, my stalker. Lisa was driving a delivery truck from her work, likely dropping off a furniture order in town. Egad! The comfort I had in knowing Lisa did not know where I lived was now completely gone. I lived in Airdrie and she surely knew it now.

She was screaming something that was mostly incoherent (as my window was closed and the truck was loud), though I heard my name peppered in the freakish babbling. Lisa was also waving hysterically at me and grinning like she'd just won the lottery. I'm sure in her mind that finding me was comparable to winning a large sum of cash, so I suppose this should be no surprise. Wide-eyed, I turned back and faced forward. Maybe she didn't realize I saw her? She was up higher, but if I was able to see her she was able to see me. But still...there was a chance...
Heart racing, I repeatedly glanced over to the opposing lights, willing them as hard as I could to turn yellow! I was trapped at a red light with a fucking crackpot screaming at me a mere few feet away! Lisa began to sound the truck's horn, almost certainly in an attempt to get my attention. I rolled my driver's side window down a crack and could hear her screaming.


There were other things that I was still unable to decipher, but you get the idea.

I watched that light so hard...like a pervert stares at a stripper. I've never wanted something as much as I wanted that light to go red (so my light would turn green). But it wouldn't. It just wouldn't change! Time crawled, and perhaps even ticked backwards for a moment or two. What if Lisa got out of the vehicle? Oh damn, if she did that, I would have blown that light. Fuck the rules. My safety and sanity is more important.
But that light...my nemesis...stubbornly stayed green...green...green. Turn yellow! Turn yellow you piece of shit light! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TURN THE FUCK YELLOW!!!!!!!!!

Yellow...yellow...yellow...RED! My car began to creep into the intersection when I saw the opposing light turn that beautiful beautiful shade of red. Green burst forth from the light ahead of me and I peeled away from Lisa's delivery truck like there was a bomb about to explode behind me. I watched in my passenger mirror as her truck headlights became smaller and smaller and smaller. I remember glancing at my speedometer as I drove nearly 90km/h in a 50 zone. As soon as I had left that intersection, the truck was a memory. A haunting, crazy, balls-sucking-into-one's-body memory.

I delivered the order, shivering from either the cold or the fact that Lisa was lurking somewhere in Airdrie. The city never felt smaller than it did that day. My phone rang incessantly as I returned to Little Caesar's, as Lisa was trying extra hard to get a hold of me. I was careful to take the road less traveled to reduce the likelihood that I would come across Lisa again. I parked my car in behind the mall so it could not be spied from passersby on Main St. and ran into the restaurant. I told Crystal all about my stalker and showed her my phone as the phone kept ringing and ringing. Crystal told me that if my stalker came into the restaurant, she would "take care" of Lisa for me. Crystal was a larger woman with funky coloured hair (purple at the time) and facial piercings. But even still, I don't think Crystal would fare well against pure evil. I sat in the back with Crystal, cringing every time the buzzer sounded when a customer came through the door. I hoped that no more delivery orders would come into Little Caesar's or another company while I waited out my shift. Luck! Trevor called me at 9:00PM and told me to call it a night. I drove home, VERY aware of everything around me. Lisa was nowhere to be seen. I'd avoided the beast. But despite being home safe, my victory was small. Lisa now knew what I drove and that I lived in Airdrie. Dammit.

Exactly a week later, I was "stationed" at Little Caesar's Pizza again. It was a busier night that usual, which was nice as I needed the cash. There had been no sign of Lisa over the past week, aside from the obligatory tonnes of unanswered calls to my cell phone, so I wasn't preoccupied with avoiding being found.

Dear reader: ALWAYS be preoccupied with avoiding being found when you have a stalker. Trust me.

Sorry all. I know I said part three would be the finale, but it was just too long. Part four has been written and will follow very soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stalker Part 2

After my unfortunate telephone conversation with the attractive-yet-nutter Lisa, I was admittedly disappointed. She seemed so nice the day before and it was unfortunate that she was selfish, unreasonable, and demanding. I called my friend Robyn and explained to her the situation and how Robyn was now my steady fake girlfriend. I think she liked the idea of being my girlfriend, even if it was fake. I am one delicious piece of man, after all.

Dear reader, have you ever experience déjà vu? There have been several times in my life when I've felt that I've been somewhere before or done the same thing before. The day after my sad conversation with Lisa was one of those times. I was driving home from school on my second day. I was kind of grumpy as I had homework to accomplish that involved a class presentation.

Sidebar: I hate presentations. Hate them so much. I don't like standing in front of crowds, regardless of size, and having to speak to them. The experience overloads me and I lose focus. I stumble. I turn red. I pray that someone will suffer a massive seizure or heart attack just so I can stop presenting. It's known as a specific social phobia. Now you know something about me. Let's return to the story now.

While I was driving back home to Airdrie, my cell phone rang. Well, can you take a guess as to who was on the phone? I foolishly answered the phone as I had not yet memorized her number and therefore did not recognize it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. What was interesting about the call was the tone. I answered and she cheerfully said "hello." She then began asking how I was, how my day was going, and other cliché small-talk topics. What? Did she forget the cal from the day before? Perhaps she struck her head and was suffering a form of amnesia? Or did she misunderstand when I told her that nothing would happen between me and Lisa and that I didn't want to speak with her again. After all, it's easy to misunderstand when someone tells you to "fuck off." It could also mean "I love you." Whatever the case, it was like the day before didn't happen. She began talking about her day at work while I sat silently in disbelief and how weird this situation really was. I cut her off mid-sentence and I asked her "do you remember what we talked about yesterday?" She laughed. Of all the reactions to my question, she laughed like it was really no big deal. 

"Oh, that was just a fight. I'm over it." 

A fight. She thought that it was a fight. A shiver went down my spine and I knew she wasn't right in the head. Fights are for couples. Not strangers on their first telephone conversation. I was absolutely certain that I never wanted to speak to this woman again, seeing as she was crazy as fuck. I expressed to her what I said above. I told her that fights between strangers were not normal and not just something to get over. Two strangers fight and that means there won't be any more talking. I told her specifically not to call me ever again and I hung up. She called back almost immediately. I saved her number in my phone after it finished ringing so that I would know when she called and could successfully ignore any potential future calls. While I saved her number, she left a voicemail. It was a venomous message in which she told me to go fuck myself and I was losing out on someone great and I didn't deserve her. Listened. Deleted. Goodbye, Lisa. 

Ah, if only it was that simple. 

Lisa called my phone a few more times that evening. Five times to be exact. I didn't answer and she left voicemail with each call. I listened to the first voicemail, which was basically a rehash of what she said in the previous one. I deleted the rest without listening to them. 

The next day, she called several times. I'd guess about a dozen or so times. Voicemail every time. The following day...over twenty calls from her. The day after...over thirty. The phone call frequency seemed to escalate day by day. She also tried to be tricky. She called me from different phone numbers. One was her work number, which I was able to look up and avoid answering. One was her home phone number, one was probably a friend's phone, and one that had a weird number (a friend told me it was most likely a payphone). All of the calls were paired with a voicemail from her, so I was easily able to save the alternate numbers under her name and avoid her calls. I listened to a few of the voicemails over the first week...I suppose due to boredom. She was very pleasant and polite in the voicemails...again asking me how I was and how my days were going. The last voicemail I listened to in the month of September was one in which she confessed that she MISSED me and wanted to see me. 
Not all of the voicemail messages were that way though. Lisa was clearly unstable and it really showed in her messages. The last voicemail that I listened to that week was nothing short of unnerving. In the message, there was ambient noise from her place of employment (she assembled and stained furniture and then delivered the furniture around the city) but she was silent. Then, she began to speak:

"Dave...I got STAIN on my arm at work today. It won't come OFF...call...me...back..."

It was as though she was saying this through her teeth. As though she wanted to kill someone.


I decided not to listen to her messages after that.

The phone calls became a real problem in their own right. By November of that year, she was calling well over ONE HUNDRED times a day! Voicemail accompanied a good 80% of them as well, so my voicemail box was almost always cluttered with messages. Everyone told me to get a new number and I really should have. However, it was such a pain in the ass to track everyone down to give them the new number and I really liked my number. I guess I was hoping that Lisa would just go away. 

In November, there was one voicemail that I listened to while I was in a mall with friends.  I didn't want to listen to her annoying stupid voice anymore, but I wanted my friends to understand that I was dealing with a total psycho. And Lisa really really really did not disappoint! I warn you now that the contents of the message were certainly not pleasant. I advise you to scroll down past the big gap below if you'd rather keep your innocence.

In the message, which was the first of several that evening (she called, talked until she was cut off, and then called again to continue), she told me that she wanted me badly. She explained that she was naked in her bed and was very horny. As the messages went on, she began to masturbate while the voicemail was recording. She listed off all the things she wanted to do to me and all the things she wanted me to do to her. All pretty standard voicemail behaviour, right? 
But she didn't end there. 
During one of the final messages in the series that evening, the weird, inappropriate, and creepy became weird, inappropriate, and terrifying. She began describing one of her many wacked-out fantasies. In short, she wanted me to go between her legs, cut her thighs with a knife, suck some of the blood from the wound, and then kiss her so she could taste her own blood on my lips. 

I'll give you a minute for your skin to stop crawling. Scroll down when you've stopped being creeped out. 

I have witnesses who heard these messages. I subjected them to the horror and brought them into the insane world of Lisa. We had a great laugh but that message put things well over the top. From that point forward, I honestly looked over my shoulder all the time to ensure that she wasn't behind me. 

At about the end of November, the phone call frequency slowed to around thirty to forty calls a day. No big deal at all. *cough cough* I assumed that maybe she was giving up and finally, after almost three months of harassing me, she got the hint.

Wishful thinking is for pansies and lucky people though. Not only did Lisa not go away...things just continued to get worse.

Check back for the mundane and anti-climactic conclusion to Stalker!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I've been holding off on telling this particular story. Maybe it's because most of you reading it have already heard the tale or maybe because it's uncomfortable to have to remember and share. But whatever the case may be, this really is a story that should be told. It's a warning to you all as to why you must never strike up conversations with strangers. You just never know what you're going to get.

You can read along with me in your book. You'll know it's time to turn the page when you hear R2D2 beep...like this:

Boop beep beep boop.

Let's begin now:

A long time ago in a city really really close by...


Episode 1
Attack of the %&#(@

In a daring journey to claim Christmas socks, handsome and debonair Dave Skywalker accompanied his friend Christa to The GAP in Southcentre Mall. Little did these two rebellious scallywags know that an evil chick with a hot bod was looming ever so close....

Okay, enough with the Star Wars homage (by the way, if you don't get the "read along" joke above, you're just not old enough).

Anyway, as I was saying...I had a weird friend named Christa. In early September 2001 (a week or so before 9/11), Christa decided she wanted to get a jump on the Christmas season by purchasing a pair of "Christmas socks." Now if you're thinking WTF, you're not alone. I had no idea what Christmas socks were either. Apparently, they were just socks coloured green and red. Christa knew that there were "Christmas socks" at The GAP. It was the day before the fall semester and I had nothing to do, so I decided to be a supportive friend and help Christa find some "Christmas socks." 

Back then, I believe The GAP was only in Southcentre Mall, which sucked since I was in Airdrie and Christa in NW Calgary. I made Christa meet me at Deerfoot Mall as I was either too lazy or cheap to drive up into Ranchlands to pick her up. Once I had her on board, we flew down to Southcentre Mall for some Christmas socks. Christa was fast. Christa knew exactly where the socks were in the store, but I figured I'd still have fun and play The GAP Challenge. 

What is The GAP Challenge? Well that's easy! A while back, The GAP was renowned for its high pressure salespeople. I'm assuming they worked off of commission alone or something, because they were rabid. The salespeople would pounce on you within seconds of your setting foot in GAP territory and would relentlessly pester you until you purchased something or fled for your life. Therefore the challenge was simple. Walk through the store, touching all three walls in any order, and leave, all without being accosted by a salesperson. It sounds easy but when it came to The GAP piranhas, it was damn near impossible. 

So I failed The GAP Challenge. Hell, I only got to the left wall before some skinny dude was asking what I needed help finding that day. My day was ruined. I told the guy that I was just looking for my friend and then I set off to meet her. Christa was already in line with her precious socks. And what a line it was! There were easily a dozen people lined up at the time, and more people fell into formation behind us as we waited. 

The problem was that there was a trainee working the cash register and she ran into some sort of hang up with the till. There were two salespeople buzzing about the store, but neither bothered to help the trainee (we later learned from the trainee that the salespeople in the store were not trained on cash and the person training her was on a break). The poor trainee was trying her hardest, pounding buttons and trying to solve the problem. However, the line was unforgiving. We all wanted to buy our Christmas socks NOW! 

While waiting for our turn, Christa and I began with the sarcasm (did you know I'm a sarcastic person? I bet you didn't!). We joked and complained about the situation, mainly because it was something to do. Fortunately we were not the only ones in line with a sense of humour. Behind us in line were two women. I don't recall what either was purchasing but I do recall that they found me hilarious. One of these girls, Lisa, was about 5'2" or so, thin, and very pretty. She was a redhead with a dusting of freckles over her nose and cheeks. I thought she was really cute, and so I made sure to include her and her friend into our conversation. We chatted as a foursome and joked about how perhaps The GAP should have brought in a Port-O-Potty and some lodging because of the wait. Whatever, she thought it was funny so who cares if it's lame? 

Sooner or later the line thinned, as the trainer returned to the store and got things running smoothly again (as well as opening a second till). When Christa's turn came up, the pretty redhead said to me that she thought I seemed like a really cool guy and asked for my number. I figured that it couldn't hurt to give her my cell number. Couldn't hurt at all. 

I'm stupid. 

I gave her my number and she gave me hers. Christa and I left The GAP and Christa ribbed me all the way back to her house over the number in my pocket (yes, I was feeling pretty content so I decided to drive Christa all the way home).

The next day, I was driving back to Airdrie after my first day of class. I was planning to call Lisa later in the evening, but it would seem that Lisa did not wish to wait. On my drive home, the phone rang. I recognized the number and was actually pretty pleased that she called. Guys like a girl that can take the initiative sometimes. The conversation flowed quite well, I remember, and I was considering asking her out for as soon as the weekend. But before I could brave the invite, things took a turn for the worse. 

Lisa brought up how she had a rough day at work and her back was sore. She began to talk about how she could really use a massage and hinted that the person giving her the massage should be me. Her suggestion wasn't offensive or premature to me at all, but I wasn't going to drive all the way to south Calgary from Airdrie (the next exit was in Airdrie) to give a stranger a massage. Despite her cute hints, I shot her down. However, Lisa wouldn't let up. She kept hinting, the hints becoming more and more obvious. She also began to be suggestive in her request. 
 "I won't be wearing a shirt or a bra...just so you know."
"You know, if you do a good job massaging my back, I'll let you massage my front." 

Sure, that's hot. That's a guy's fantasy. What dude would say no to that????

*raises hand*

Whatever. Judge me all you want. But come on! It was really weird and she came off as being desperate. It was a turn off. Also, I didn't want to make the drive. I said no quite firmly but without sounding like too much of an asshole. I didn't want to make her think I wasn't at all interested in her. Just that I wasn't THAT interested THAT soon. Lisa didn't seem to get what I was saying though. Perhaps she had never been shot down before or perhaps she was batshit fucking loco. Either way, I was getting a bit tired of her not listening, and I did lose interest. Since she wasn't taking no for the sake of it being no, I stepped it up a notch. I told Lisa that I had a girlfriend, though I did not. I said her name was Robyn (Robyn was actually a friend of mine and I was driving by her house at the time) and so anything sexual/sensual/etc could not happen between me and Lisa. 

Lisa decided my excuse was not good enough, I suppose, and Lisa said that she was better than Robyn. Lisa also said that Robyn "[didn't] have to know" that I gave Lisa the massage and whatever else would have happened. 
What. A. Slut. Seriously, that is what I thought when Lisa said that. But really, Lisa's problem wasn't just her skankorama personality but also that she had no respect for me or my fictitious girlfriend. Lisa was just out for a piece of ass and didn't care about the reasons why she couldn't get it. I told Lisa that none of what Lisa wanted was going to happen with me and I told Lisa I thought it was best to not talk to each other anymore. Lisa flipped out and called me frigid before hanging up in a fuss. It was over. No more crazy bitch, right?!

Sadly, that was not the end of my experience with Lisa. In fact, it was only the beginning...

Stay tuned for part 2.