Sure, I may live tucked up in a corner of the world where people believe baby moose are toting rainbow flags around, and the Prime Minister is seen internationally as some kind of dreamboat ideal of a leader, the pressure of living in the world right now still gets to me. I try to stay positive, knowing that I know reasonable Americans who will vote with their minds and hearts instead of just their pique, and that the U.K. has a history of getting itself out of shit situations, grumbling all the way. I can be angry and sad and mourn, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about international terrorism as the mediocre manager of a cinema in my mostly safe city. I continue to exist and have nothing new to add to the conversation about society going to hell in a handbasket.
But I think that when things really fall apart, and we’re all living in the forest again, I’m going to become seriously basic. Not the programming language. Not some kind of euphemism for being all back-to-the-land. Just straight-up, bad-comedy-sketch-from-five-years-ago, basic bitch.
Yesterday, despite not having a day pass, I decided to brighten up my wee universe by stopping outside the Bluesfest gates to hear a bit of the Monkees set. There were about 30 other cheapskates there with me and, aside from a couple of actual children, I was the youngest by decades. It was nearly great. I could hear the crowd singing along. They played ‘The Porpoise Song’, which is from the fantastic soundtrack to Head. But Mike was not there, which was disappointing because many of his songs are my favourites. (Peter singing ‘What Am I Doing Hanging ‘Round’ was somehow fine, and yet absolutely not.)
On my way out, satisfied in my decision not to spend the $70 to see two Monkees from a slightly better angle, I was cycling along the pathway along Scott Street, against the flow of people heading to the festival. A lot of people weren’t staying on their side of the path’s diving line until quite late (well done, humans, ‘There’s a bicycle coming this way, but I’ll just keep walking at it’), so I was biking at a snail’s pace and meandering around people and saying ‘Excuse me’ quite a lot, and quite loudly.
The crowds started to thin a bit near Bayview Station, and a pack of highlit, possibly actually lit, young women dressed virtually identically in cutoffs and tank tops, passed me, largely paying attention to the dividing line. A frickin’ Bluesfest miracle.
Until one, probably drunker than the rest and stumble-walking with a mate, PUSHED HER FRIEND into my path, laughing.
I swerved, nearly into the gravel, and the friend got her footing back.
Now, normally, in this kind of situation, I would just say ‘UGH’ or yell ‘CAREFUL’, roll my eyes, and move on, wondering how many idiots have nearly been killed by me via their own (or, in this case, their friend’s) stupidity this week. (At least one a day on the Laurier bike lane. It’s part of the road. Look both ways before stepping onto it, dummies.)
This time, though, I was livid. I wanted to scream something really cutting, something clever, and something profane, something that really emphasised how dangerous pushing someone in front of even a slow cyclist is.
But my stressed out, beaten-down-from-weeks-of-strife-elsewhere brain had other, miswired ideas.
So, instead, I yelled ‘COULD YOU FUCKING NOT?!’
What. On. Earth.
ved NEVER said this in my life unironically. Hell, it’s possible that this utterance had never passed my lips ever. I don’t get into altercations often/ever and, raised on a steady diet of Bond films, Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen, and Ab Fab, I always thought I’d be great at devastating comebacks.
Not so much.
However, since I was speaking their language, Pushy and Pushee looked up at me, saw my fury, and wandered off (well, Pushy had her hackles up, Pushee dragged her away) muttering ‘What the fuck?’ (Which, in the end, is probably what I should have actually said, but at full volume) and ‘What’s her problem?’ (Oh, where to begin).