my life as a douglas adams character
A man was standing outside with his head on fire.
Flames at least a foot tall, licking the sky, shooting upward from his hat.
Turns out Ole, who it just happened to be, (as he also just happens to be her roommate), had swiped an oil candle from a bar up the street as they'd walked past it, dumped the oil onto his hat, and then set it on fire to impress us. Then, once he knew he had our attention, in a move that would have worked in a perfect universe, he swept the bowler hat from his head to wave out the flames. Instead the flames transferred to his hair. I have to admit, we were, in fact, impressed.
The next morning, on my way back home, our weird neighborhood foot fetishist got me again. Months and months ago, I met him on the bus. I was sitting with one leg crossed over the other, making a table for the book I was reading. He sat next to me and pressed his hand against the bottom of my shoe. I apologized and moved my foot to the ground. Natural, right? But then he dropped to the floor of the bus, lifted up my foot and put his hand underneath it, and asked me to step on him, while continuing to press down on my shoe with his other hand. I refused, tore my foot from his grasp, told him he was being inappropriate, and then he got off the bus. End of story. Weird, weird story.
Until Sunday morning, when I overshot my bus-stop by a few blocks and found myself walking down the hill home, checking my e-mail on my phone like the little net-addict I am. A stranger caught up to me, then fell into step, then very suddenly pulled off his jacket off and spread it out on the ground in front of my feet! Given my years of reading and walking, I auto-corrected my path and stepped off the sidewalk without even looking up. Assuming he had just pulled some sort of bizarre Walter Raleigh sort of move, I eyed the entire motion with suspicion. What terrible thing did he just unnecessarily cover with his jacket?
But no, it was far sillier and almost a little more sinister. As I moved to keep walking, he said, "Wait! Please walk on it, get it dirty." I almost hesitated for a split second, a nearly uncountable sliver of time, but he continued with, "For art!" So I did. I stepped all over that jacket, very deliberately, from one end to the other. It wasn't until about six feet later that I realized what had happened. Sure, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself the whole way home for being so easily profiled, but seriously, I really have to start recognizing that guy.
Once home, I started contacting people, scouting for someone to go to the Vancouver Fan Expo with. Chris was game, so we met at the Conference Center and ventured in, running into only half as many of the approximately billion people I expected to. (Yanick was there, in from Montreal as a guest, which was great. It was his birthday on Saturday, so I gave him the best possible present, a tiny sassy miniature of the Bulleteer, the pin-up superhero character he used me as a rough body model for, that Don Debrandt gave me for my birthday many years ago. She’s from a fighting game and comes with a stats card that states, and I kid you not, that she has sixty-nine health points. Fuck the patriarchy, kids.) Eventually exhausted with the endless parade of bizarre anime costumes, and with no further opportunities to stalk John Delancy, we decided to find somewhere to eat. We didn’t have any clue what direction to take, but then! Across the street, a man in a suit, earphones in, wildly dancing the Christopher Walkens piece from Weapon of Choice. So of course we followed him, which led us on the path to Save-On-Meats, where we camped until half past nine, talking about politics, gender relations, authors, and pretty much a little bit of everything. Best possible destination.
From there we went to the theater, spur of the moment, to see Cabin In The Woods, the new Joss Whedon film neither one of us particularly knew anything about. Oddly, it was only showing in a very particular theater, one with an acronym neither one of us had heard of. Curious, I asked an usher what it meant, only to have another theater patron stop a moment to listen to the answer. (Which, for those that must know, boiled down to, “we charge you an absurd price for leather seats and call it a premium experience.”) I replied with something that wasn’t quite funny, but the stranger, being a nice sort of stranger, grinned at my joke enough that a dialogue started. Soon all three of us found ourselves standing in the upstairs lobby, deep in conversation, thrilled to have met, until we were almost late for our films. Contact info was exchanged and a possible plan made to meet up after our movies and swap reviews.
The film itself was spectacular. I want to gush about how completely fantastic Cabin In The Woods is, but I don’t want to ruin anything. Which is more grace than were given, as the projector shut off at the very end of the film, literally just minutes before the credits rolled. Not the sound, only the screen, leaving us listening to the incredible denouement that the movie had been working towards since the opening scene. Improbability engage!
The staff eventually fixed the issue, rewinding the film back, and then forward, and then back again, with the house lights on, then off, then on again, and gave us free ticket coupons for a future film, but it was almost no use. As soon as the projector flicked off, everyone’s phones were out, everyone was texting, and the ending was ruined. Amazing, though, as the movie failure tweaked our exit time just enough to run into the fun stranger again. Noah from Oakland, it turns out, up on holidays for the week, only knows one local and she’s way out in Langley, so he’s completely open to random adventures. Which meant, of course, Hamburger Mary’s at one in the morning until they kicked us out, and then hanging out all yesterday until two a.m.
This evening we’re going to Chambar for dinner, with a stop in at Guilt & Co. after for The Decadent Eccentric, a belly-dance, contact juggling, sideshow spectacular with Luciterra and one of my favourite acquaintances, Chris Murdoch. Tomorrow we’re renting a bicycle for two and riding the seawall and dropping in on Salt Tasting Room. The day after that, who knows? Finally my underemployment has changed into funemployment.