So after I left Deb and Jim’s place (such a nice house, but of course like most homeowners they see it as a succession of chores) I drove to London.
It took me from 9 am until 7:15 to drive 506 kilometers. It should have taken six hours, tops. It took from 12:30 to 5:30 to drive from where the 115 meets the 401 to Guelph. Words cannot describe my irritation; the combination of it being the Friday before the long weekend, the weather and the continuous construction along that stretch of road fixed it so that in the words of Dorothy Dunnett, I explored tedium to its petrified core.
I got to Oakridge in time to register, then went to the Greek Canadian Club and arranged to stay at a motel on Fanshawe Park Road called the Lighthouse. At this gathering, there were 400 people… at least … and I didn’t recognize a single soul. Not one. Nobody, uhn-uh, personne. I bought a zipper hoodie with the reunion logo on it for $20, not unreasonable.
But for reconnecting, not so much. Went back to the motel and decided to patronize ‘The Black Pearl’ a watering hole attached thereto, run by a married couple and their hot and hotter daughters. The place is the size of two big living rooms back to back, and the place is closing in two weeks because the owners of the motel did not renew the lease.
It was the last Karaoke Night at the Black Pearl the next night. I filed this away, in case the dinner dance out at the Western Fair building was a write off.
It was. I came, I ate (I’d paid for the fucking meal, after all) I greeted Barb, the one person there I recognized, and my god wasn’t she just the picture of a nicely done up middle aged lady, including having maintained her girlish figure. I drank one disgusting vodka plus sugar water which made me feel like hurling, and immediately drove back to the Black Pearl, where I grabbed a seat at the bar and watched the set up and singing. There was a guy who channeled Frank Sinatra. There was a guy with a voice… well, I told him to his face that if Tom Waits gargled a bucket of gravel before a gig, he’d sound like that. Since he didn’t know who Tom Waits was this meant nothing to him, but the guy standing beside me spit out his drink.
I drank four beers, sang two songs, went to bed. Or tried to. About ten songs have tried to land on me in the last little while (car trips); I wrote out lyrics for one and the rough sketch of the melody for the other, and then worked on the homily a little.
Drove by the old place on Oakridge Drive. The two maple trees are still in the front yard; everything else is different.
Drove by Sue’s old place. It didn’t look any different except the trim is a different colour.
Drove by University Hospital. It has nice new signs that look expensive and are very high off the ground.
Drove by where the Golden Pheasant Motel was, the first place I stayed when my family moved to London. It isn’t there any more. There’s a lot of nice new houses.
Drove down Dundas Street and said hello to ‘the strip’.
Drove past Tak Sun.
Drove past where the Three Little Pigs used to be. It’s still a family restaurant.
Drove past Jeff’s old place on Oxford.
Drove past where I used to live when I was working at the hospital. I moved out of my parents’ place the day of the Jonestown massacre. A fair piece back.
I passed Windermere but I didn’t go up that road. I would have gotten very nostalgic and weepy. I learned to play guitar in the married students quarters when I lived with my parents and they were going to Western.
Had tea and a lovely visit with Phyllis. She is grimly determined to keep as much of her mobility as she can, but it hurts. She is still as keenly intelligent and interested in the world as it goes by as ever she was; nobody just meeting her would give her 85. She looks 20 years younger than that to me. Her cat Smokey is ADORABLE and allowed me to fondle him rather a lot more than most cats will on first acquaintance. I miss MY little furball rather a lot.
Stopped at the Husky on the 401 for steak and eggs and now I’m safely ensconced at Catherine and Colin’s.
My, something sounds like a blowtorch. I must go investigate.