Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Desperately Seeking Hillbillies

I told you I was taking requests again, although this one was kinda hard - but still, our number one commenter wanted it, so here it is

Desperately Seeking Hillbillies

Back when I was little, and not quite as refined as I am now, I was often a handful for my parents. Not for any particular reason, I just had a lot of excess energy that could only be burned off by a lot of running around in circles or a lot of bouncing on a trampoline. My dad was always incredibly supportive of me though, and whatever activity I wanted to do, he was the one who found the time to take me and nurture my interest. My mum was the one who prepared my by buying the right equipment and so on, but it was Dad who took me to wherever I needed to go in Choco, our brown bomb Torana with the broken lock and two radio stations, both amazingly enough with football talk on them.

So when I decided that the time was right in my development to take up ice skating, Christmas time saw my Mum produce a pair of pristine ice skates, as endorsed by the Canadian National Hockey team. It was more than I truly deserved to be honest, and I was incredibly touched that my Mum saw fit to do such a thing. My ice skating career was not a promising one, even though I was able, if I chose to, laud it over all the kids at the Richmond Ice Rink (where Indecent Obsession once performed don't you know!) in hired blue skates. I was pretty awful at first, marching in step over the ice while cooler kids, albeit with less cool skates, glided past holding hands and doing triple lutz's. It was a lonely, cold road, and one that lead to tempers fraying, not unreasonably, with my Dad, who was giving up World Of Sport on a Sunday morning to watch his pride and joy skate laboriously around the ice for an hour. It might have been more entertaining for him had I occasionally fallen over, but I wasn't ineptly compellingly bad, nor brilliantly good, I just...marched...poor guy, the skating teachers weren't even cute enough for him to flirt with.

We reached an impasse one Sunday morning, when I was finally getting into my skating stride. It was raining, and Dad clearly didn't want to take me, but bless his heart, he did, he got out of that leather vinyl chair and drove me to the skating rink. It wasn't quite an officially religious miracle, but it was definitely close to one. My Dad didn't even adopt any kind of martyr attitude about having to do it, and I rewarded him with a fantastic display of actual proper skating. Yes, for the first time, I cast aside my normal skates of concrete, and I ice danced, I spun, I weaved, I bobbed and I zagged, and my Dad, he smiled delightedly through it all, clapping at all the right moments. It had truly been worth all the labour pains - his daughter could skate, and I was sure he was on the side of the rink, planning my glorious ascent into Winter Olympics glory.

I was absolutely buzzing with excitement as I clutched an Elle McPherson signature can of coke in my hand on the way home. My Dad and I were bonded, finally rewarded for all our respective efforts. We walked proudly from the ice rink, and were about to get into the car when I suddenly and quite proudly took the empty Elle McPherson signature can of coke, threw it high in the air, and booted it as hard as my little legs would allow. It sailed on an exceptionally graceful arc, and landed with a thud in a patch of grass, next to a bottle of ginger beer, that hopefully contained only ginger beer, and not some other fizzy liquid.

My Dad looked at me bewildered, as if a ghost had descended. He stood in total shock.

"What was THAT!?" he said, his eyes widening.

"What was what," I said, putting my skates in the back of our car.

"You bloody hillbilly! You litterbug! Gonna go and live in hillbilly country, you hick!" he said, pointing to the can. "I get up every day to do the best for you, I give up my Sundays to watch you march around the ice, and still, you are a hillbilly! You have no class! No class at all! Just throwing away your can when there's a perfectly good bin nearby!"

"I don't march around the ice! Did you not see me! I was a skating star! WERE YOU NOT EVEN WATCHING!" I said, pointing at...something...maybe the can, maybe the ground, but something, and whatever I was pointing at, it was done with anger you know.

We had clearly reached an impasse of monumental proportions, my Dad, bristling in this local football jumper, tired of this continuing Sunday debacle. Me, now satisfied I could skate, having my moment of ice magic ruined by the idle throwing away of a coke can, albeit a good and potentially collectable one, and by my Dad adopting a martyr position. We took deep, angry breaths in the cold Sunday Morning air. As we did so, a 1975 Datsun pulled into the carpark, screeching to a halt five feet from the kerb where we stood. The driver was a giant woman, the kind I'd never seen before, in massive overstretched pink leggings, and she unfurled herself from being desperately stuck in the car. She hitched up her leggings, pulled her hair from a bun, and gasped on a packet of Winfield blues she pulled from her seat. Remembering herself, she undid the back door, to let a clearly mardy little brat out of the car, in a Collingwood beanie and faded acid wash denims. He threw his skates on the ground, to the mothers obvious dis-interest.

"Don't wanna fuckin skate" said the kid, pursing his white lips in anger. Amazingly, the kid was going ice skating, but had sun block on.

"You know you need to spend time with your fucking Dad" said the mum, on her second cigarette.

"Fuck Dad!" said the kid. "Just...fucking stop whinging!" said the Mum. It was then I noticed she had roughly seven teeth, and was resting the cigarette between the gap between two of them. And before I had the chance to work out the health risks of this, she gripped the kid by the arm, bent over in her leggings, giving the world a wonderful sight to behold, and spat the cigarette on the ground, with some chewing gum coming out at the same time. My Dad was about to point out they had left the skates behind, but thought better of it. We glanced at the door to see Dad, in an AC/DC T-shirt, a giant handlebar moustache, and tied on neckerchief, begin a rant about certain ethnic minorities.

Dad I stood for a moment, transfixed, until Dad eventually said something that has resonated with me all my life.

"Y" he said, sounding like Yoda. "Y, they got like that because firstly no one told them to put their rubbish in the bin".

I ran over, I put the coke can in the bin, and we never ever spoke about ice skating again. Closure, as they say in the classics, was reached on all sides.


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