Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sisterhood of the diminishing light.

Friday night in Havenot, in a filthy rain that has smashed all previous Biblical box office records, found us once again at the video rental store. Didn't God promise Noah he wouldn't screw with the weather after the whole ark thing? Lying bastard.

There wasn't a parking spot between the store and our house, so I dropped Jack at the door and trolled around the block a few times, finally wedging myself in between two minivans loaded with proof that the whole birth control thing should have been mandatory.

Blockbuster was packed with moist, pale looking people who either couldn't afford a cottage, or figured it was too miserable to swat mosquitoes, even in paradise. We were all searching for an escape – something to look at other than each other.

Jack immediately beetled away from me like he normally does when I wear my XXL, faded red, knee-length raincoat in public places. The coat makes me look like an asylum escapee with a giant, postpartum hemorrhoid, but it was keeping me dry, and covering up the fact that I was already in my pj's and had gained a few, since I last saw the sun.

I wasn't going to rent anything, but figured what the hell, we have two TV's and he's likely to rent something stupid or violent, or something stupidly violent, in which case I'd be stuck staring at the other TV watching a Tori Spelling, made for TV movie like I was last Friday night.

I had just cruised into the Romantic Comedy, Colin Firth section when my eyes caught the image of Joaquin Phoenix's clean-shaven, pre-David Letterman face. Perfect. I grabbed the box to see what the movie was about, then stopped. Fuck. I didn't have my glasses. Without them, the only word I could make out was LOVERS. Everything below LOVERS was a 12-martini blur. And forget the back cover. Shit. Why do I leave the house without my glasses, mace, and those enviro-friendly shopping bags I have multiplying down in the basement. Last week, I had a shopping full cart of Hungry Man dinners, ice cream and Pogos before I remembered I was in the plastic bag-free Superstore. Refusing to buy another hemp bag or green box, I hauled everything out to the car using my big raincoat as a pouch. It took a few trips but I eventually headed home with a back seat full of groceries all rolling around like happy, free-range chickens.

Anyway, back to my predicament in Blockbuster. I reeled around to see two women who were, I might add, invading my personal space but nonetheless within reach. I made sisterly eye contact and said something to the effect of, "Christ, I have finally made it to the stage in life where I need a goddammed chain around my neck to hold my goddammed reading glasses because I am apparently one cataract away from needing a white fucking stick".

Dead silence.

I kept waiting for one of the women to step up and say, "Oh, here, borrow my glasses, isn't growing old a bitch". Or, "I rented that last week, it's good, even with Gwenyth Paltrow", Or, even a "Here, take a sip of this airplane size bottle of vodka I keep in my purse while I read it to you, because I feel your pain, sista."

But no.

They just stared at me with their Lululemons pants shoved up their asses, like they were from a brainwashed cult, or Mississauga or someplace – afraid I was going to whip a Colt 45 out of my enormous raincoat and blow their pasty white faces off. Make my fucking day.

One of the women maintained eye contact but slowly pulled her child in closer. I glanced at the other, and realized I was completely alone.

I stormed away with enormous strides, exhaling those Tourette's type swearing/spit combos all the way over to Drama.

I eventually found Jack hiding in the Gaming section. He pretended not to know me at first until I thrust the CD box in his face and said "Read the back and tell me what this is about".

His narrative started with a monotone, "Following a trauma..." whereupon I yanked the box from his hand and thrust in another one. He began, "While traveling in Umbria..." Perfect, I said, grabbing the box and heading for the checkout. Let's go.

Like a drowning man, Jack snatched whatever movie he could lay his hands on and we headed home. I was all settled on the couch with popcorn and my Maggie Smith movie when my neighbour called to say she was contemplating suicide if the rain didn't stop, to which I said, come on over, we may as well do it together. I have red wine. It'll be fun. Like Book Club, with brain splatter.

Then I told her about the women in the video store.

My neighbour didn't miss a beat, saying, "How did you come across?"

What do you mean, how did I come across?

"I mean, did you sound all crazy?"

What do you mean all crazy?

"Well", she said, "Maybe you came off as a little crazy. Were you wearing your raincoat over your pajamas?"

Well, ya, but do I really come off as crazy?

"Not to me, but I know you."

I offered to rewind the movie, but she decided she'd stay at home because I only had red wine and she preferred white, but I told her if I saw her legs swinging back and forth in the attic window I'd happily come over and cut her down. Because that's what real sisters do.

I wouldn't even wait for my movie to be over. I'd just pause it, grab my big raincoat and a glass of wine, and run right over.