(A Random Post)

In God’s Country

Ooh Child – The Five Stairsteps

I stayed over at Caroline’s cottage the other night and it was a good time all around. The place is north of Bobcaygeon, a humble abode. Her parents told me not to expect much, but since it was only the second cottage that I can recall staying at I’m not in any position to judge anything. It was fine.

The ride up was uneventful, just the way I like it. Her dog Susie sat between us and even though I hate canines, she made for a decent arm rest (that is, if you like arm rests that occasionally lick your arm). For the most part, I spent the two hour drive enjoying the countryside but I eventually decided to listen to some music. I asked Caroline if she wanted to share (I brought the headphones just for this occasion) to be friendly and to avoid having to talk to her about the latest Oprah’s Book Club novel that she was touting. Unfortunately, my iPod is only about 5% hip-hop/R&B, which happens to be her preferred genre, so I was running out of songs fast. We stopped at an Amish market, which is good because I was this close to having to play I Want Pussy. My iPod is not for public consumption. I asked her if offering to play some music for them would be offensive and she mentioned that my very presence there was probably offensive to them.

There were six people in total. Caroline’s parents, her aunt and uncle who we met there and Caroline and myself. I was on my best behaviour. I’m not trying to get with Caroline or anything, but I wanted to make a good impression so her family knows that she keeps good company. Also, I was the only Chinese guy in a 100 mile radius so I had to represent. At dinner, I scraped and clawed to keep up with her family, a bunch of intellectual types. Her uncle has a Masters in English. Great. I held my own, by making sure not to say too much, but saying just enough to seem intelligent. Then again, they were probably just amazed that this “ying-yang” could scrape together two consecutive coherent sentences. I even drank my wine and said my Amens after grace and everything went smoothly.

After dinner, Mr. Walker drove Caroline and I down to the nearby theatre so we could watch Knocked Up. She hadn’t seen it and I definitely didn’t mind catching it again. The theatre itself was incredible. It was like a museum and theatre combined. The halls were decorated with old projectors and photos and other memorabilia. I could have walked around there for hours. We wanted to make sure to catch the flick and it was late by the time it ended so there was no time to hang around, but I’ll definitely go back there some day. My father would love it.

Here’s where things get kind of weird. It’s almost midnight and Caroline gets it into her head to go paddle boating. Okay. We can’t find the flashlight, so we decide to take two candles with us instead. After clumsily emptying out the boat, we climbed in and we were on our way. I’ve always heard that one shouldn’t go swimming late at night so I was praying that I wouldn’t fall in. It was a profoundly beautiful experience though, I must say. We left one candle on the dock and we took one with us and it was so cool. We were just floating out in the middle of this lake with this dim light between us. The night sky was breathtakingly clear. I asked her if she knew any constellations, but she didn’t so we just kept staring until we got bored. It’s not like we were skinny dipping or anything, but there was something about the experience that felt young and taboo.

Caroline became addicted to the candlelight so she took some candles with us to the bunkhouse and we stayed up late talking about whatever. At one point I attempted to read some of Alan Ginsberg’s Howl to her, but after realizing how long it was we gave that up. I enjoy talking to Caroline because we argue about a lot of things. She reads a lot and takes pride in being informed so dealing with a free thinker (read: insane and/or ignorant) person like me can be frustrating for her. For example, I’m an advocate of tolerating intolerance; that is to say, that I don’t mind if people have certain prejudices. It is unavoidable, but not untreatable. She has no tolerance for racism or homophobia whatsoever. When we talk about these things, she has no chance because issues like this actually stress her out while I find it easy to not give a fuck.

Shamefully, I woke up the next day around 1:00, which is about the same time I would have if I’d just stayed home. That sucked. After a bowl of cereal, we sat down for some reading. Yeah, just reading. She had the irritating habit of keeping me up to date with what has happening with her book while I was just trying to read Jack McCallum’s :07 Seconds Or Less (a fascinating study of the ’05-’06 Phoenix Suns) in peace. I got restless, so I checked out her family’s CD collection. Having never had the chance to really listen to Miles DavisKind Of Blue (I’m embarrassed), I decided to put that on. I don’t think I need to tell anyone that it’s friggin’ brilliant. As that was going on, I challenged Caroline to a game of Battleship. Caroline played half-heartedly, trying to read a home design magazine while occasionally taking her turn, and as I systematically demolished her fleet (I swear I only missed, like, eight times) I found myself basking in a moment that could only be described as…uncommon. I’m at a cottage, listening to Miles Davis and playing Battleship. I couldn’t imagine a more satisfying scenario.

Caroline and I went for some more paddle boating and swimming, but honestly, it wasn’t that fun. I haven’t swam anywhere in a while and though I enjoyed it, I forgot how exhausting it can be. Those were some deep waters and I realized that if I was ever on a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean, I might last ten minutes in open water. It was much more relaxing to just chill out on the dock and watch the sun slowly set. I booted up the iPod and I proceeded to listen to the most cliché, atmospheric music imaginable. Live. Imogen Heap. Arcade Fire. And of course, Peter Gabriel and Solsbury Hill. The clouds parted strategically and there was a unique jetstream in the air that looked like a conveyor belt in the sky. For what seemed like forever, but couldn’t have been more than five or six minutes, the sun hit the lake just right and it was like some enormous, golden eye looking down upon me. I told Caroline (who was busily writing in her diary about, of all things, potential salaries and mortgage payments) that I could literally die there sitting in a plastic chair on that rickety, old dock. Truly, this was peace.

At the same time, there was a sense of relief when it was all over and I’m glad that I only stayed for one night. There are amenities at home that I miss, the feel of my own bed being the most notable. Also, I don’t feel like I’m at that point in my life where I deserve to rest, to just whittle my days away by the lake. I have renewed faith in these things that fulfill me, confident that they are worth fighting for. All that’s left is the earning.

A knight and a monk were traveling together silently for quite some time, until finally the knight says, “You live a life of poverty, never knowing the touch of a woman, denying yourself all manner of delights – all because you believe there is a God. I do not share your faith, so I tear the marrow from the bones of Life, indulging myself at every opportunity. I’ve broken every law created by man and church, and I fear no consequence, because I do not believe in your God. My question, however, is this: What if life ends in the ground, and man is nothing more than meat for worms? You will have wasted your entire life denying yourself for nothing. What if you die and learn there is no God?”

The Monk thought about this and shrugged his shoulders, offering, “Then I suppose I will be sad. But tell me this, sir: What happens when you die – and find out there is?”

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Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.

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