Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Legal in Ontario

I only write that title because last year it was 'Legal in Quebec' when I wrote about my 18th birthday. Otherwise I'm not super interested in the fact that I can buy alcohol. I'm not the drinking type, really.


When other people I knew, mostly online, turned 19, they all went nuts about it and made big plans to party at clubs and bars, fully for the privilege of being old enough to order drinks, and legally get drunk.


Not me.


My dad, when he called to wish me a happy birthday, had this to say: "You can rent a car now!"


Okay.


It was an okay day, though. We did what we always do - we went to the Lonestar Cafe. Myself, my grandpa, and my two cousins.


It's been a tradition since 2007, when I first went with just my grandparents. Then in 2008 both my cousin Jamie and Jeremy came along, and in 2009 we added my uncle Jim and my father to the procession. This year it was just Jamie/Jeremy again.


It was very nice. After I turned the age of 19 at 11:00am, about twenty minutes later my grandpa came, we picked up the other two guys, and off we went.
The place was extremely full, and extremely noisy. My grandpa spent the time telling Jeremy and Jamie, on the other side of the table, stories, of which I couldn't really hear much of, then they exchanged stories of their own. When I was finally able to hear my grandpa again, they were talking about how a bull is slaughtered. This was after lunch had been served.


"What they do," he said at one point, "is they have a hole in the table, and they just raise the monkey's head through it. Then they simply dig in with forks and spoons..."
That was when I asked them to stop talking about the matter.


I took some portraits as well (had my usual camera) and at one point I was shocked to see a familiar girl walk by behind my two cousins - it was a girl I knew in high school, in my grade, who shares the exact same name with a girl I knew who moved away. I told them this, and Jeremy, even though he'd been sitting facing away from her, kept a watch out for her around the corner. Then he turned to me and said, "she'll be coming in just about....now." And she did indeed. He smiled at me and I found the whole thing hilarious. 


I wonder what she thought when she likely saw Jeremy staring at her on her way back to the table.


I don't mean to imply that I like the person secretly, by the way, only to say that I was surprised that I saw someone I knew while with my cousins/grandpa, and that Jeremy thought that I must have liked her.


After everything was served by our enthusiastic, watchful waiter (through him, we knew what school he goes to, where he lives, and his general opinion on all of our schools) it was very tasty and delicious. There was a lot of talk and laughs going on. I watched as our same waiter, after making sure we were perfectly comfortable and served, unwittingly smashed dishes on the floor and ruined the meals of another tables' by accident. Eventually everything was finished (except grandpa, who couldn't finish the three quarters of meal left on his plate) and we were all full. Grandpa finished talking about how awful sea cucumber tastes and feels. When our waiter came and told us in great detail about how embarrassed he had felt, and all that, about smashing up the meals of the other patrons, we asked for the bill, and on we went.


We took the annual photo that we usually take in front of the clock tower, though this time I'd made sure to bring a tripod so that someone wouldn't have to take the photo and actually be in it instead. It took several tries but it worked.
After pulling out, for some reason grandpa felt he needed to back up a bit while in the laneway into Fisher. Of course he didn't notice the horn and ended up tapping the bumper of the car behind us. The woman was angry to the extent that, although there appeared to be no mark whatsoever on the bumper anywhere, she still demanded to go over every detail with my grandfather. We sat in the car wondering about it, and I filmed everything as well.
On the way home, we took an unnecessary route down Deerpark Drive, which went from Fisher Avenue to Meadowlands Drive, right where I used to live. I don't know why we went down there - we simply came to Meadowlands, then drove right back to Fisher. All the way I shouted out familiar landmarks and places I knew as a child and young teenager, having lived there for 13 years. Jeremy and Jamie had no idea where they were or what I was going on about. They'd spent all their time living in Briargreen and Leslie Park and weren't familiar with this unknown part of town - Parkwood Hills.


Eventually we simply drove right back to Fisher again, down to the old Highway 16 (or Prince of Whales).


"Is this Barrhaven?" asked Jamie around this point. No, it wasn't. We were far from Barrhaven yet. We were just passing the Merivale Industrial Park at Colonnade Road. How could that be Barrhaven? While Jamie regularly travels nationally and internationally for diving competitions, he really seems to have a limited knowledge of Ottawa typography.
I guess it's sort of inverted, right? Someone who travels the world and visits different places, someone who knows lots to know about everything elsewhere, lack in knowledge of how their hometown is laid out. Take someone of the opposite where they've never been anyplace far, rarely travels, and doesn't have knowledge of that kind of thing, and he'll know all sorts about where he lives. That would be me.


Then again my cousin had just come out of an eye surgery so maybe he couldn't see too well at the moment and thought otherwise. But whatever. Heading down Fallowfield along the north edge of Barrhaven I pointed out that maybe I'll see someone I know walking on a sidewalk or something. My grandpa completely dismissed this, even though I ended up seeing my friend Catie at a bus stop as we drove down Greenbank Road. What's even more peculiar is that my grandpa himself has met this friend of mine - so in a way we were both seeing someone we knew, and so his quick disbelieving manner had no place in this situation.


All in all it was a good lunch and fun. I didn't expect to see a familiar girl there, or to be talking about slaughter, or for my grandpa to hit someone backing up, but overall it was great. And yeah, I am 19. I don't consider it a huge thing, but it's still cool. All my contemporaries, they're all crazy about it due to that whole alcohol thing, but that's them.


I'll be camping this weekend, for my birthday, with my father, and when I come back I'll make sure to write about that as well. I've got about $250 in cash now as well. Hoping for a miniature tripod too. It's been a good birthday.


And thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday online as well. It means something.


Justin C.

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