A month ago I felt it necessary to leave my kindred city for a week-long sojourn to a place called Deep River, a good 190km NE of Ottawa.
A month ago I felt it necessary to leave my kindred city for a week-long sojourn to a place called Deep River, a good 190km NE of Ottawa. I was invited by someone who I didn’t know much about, aside from what I had gleaned from his Flickr account, a few email volleys and the two times I had met him: once at an art show of mine, where seemed normal enough, quiet; and the second time during a drive-by drop off of a hardcover copy of Jpod that I had jokingly signed in exchange for a $50 LCBO card. (What? Fans want shit.)
Essentially, I did not do enough of a background check on this guy. Based on our correspondence he seemed normal, intelligent. This guy emails me a month ago or so to read his writing, which I never looked at. I tell him fuck no, I can’t read that shit — I should be working on my own fucking book — but I will travel to this shitty little town of yours and sequester myself in a room and get as much of my writing done as I can in a week’s time.
I knew he was crazy on the first night. He told me he moved there following a nervous breakdown from city life. Red flag. Later on that evening at the house I was to be staying at (thankfully, not his), we were listening to music kinda drunk when he looks at me and says, “You can sense my happiness.”
I kissed him on the lips before pulling a Houdini and crashing for the night. He slept on the floor of this house with absolutely no other furniture in the room other than a table and chair and chimney stove. Nutbag. Eccentric. Whatever, right?
No. It is not fucking OK to crash on the hardwood floor for a few hours, then get up at the crack of fuck to put on a suit and wake me up with a plate of shrimp and a cup of coffee, and then get into my bed with your shoes on. I hugged myself protectively as my mind drunkenly raced about how far out of hand this was getting. Shrimp? Hard shell, peel-and-eat shrimp with coffee? I politely told him I needed to sleep more. Alone.
I keep playing this moment in my head over and over, looking up at him lifting the blinds and putting a dinner plate of shrimp down on my bedside table. It was definitely the defining Kathy Bates Misery moment. I slept a few more hours until he called up to me about some guy launching a houseboat next door, which forced my curiosity to get the better of me. When I go out to investigate this Twin Peaks-y bullshit, Crazy Guy asks if he can call me Elle. I take it to mean the initial of my name (Lauren) and he’s just going to pretentiously cutely nickname me for his own amusement, no biggie. I’m brought over to a man behind the wheel of a massive construction tractor in the middle of launching a houseboat. Crazy says dude’s name and that he must meet Elle. We “Yeah, hi” each other, mutually beyond uninterested, and I beat it back on over to the house, informing Crazy to never fucking call me that name again.
He was rude to every single person he introduced me to, snubbed his nose at everybody. It was clear no one in this town likes him. He put me in countless awkward situations. He hovered around me in the supermarket and when people were looking he’d hover even closer to make it appear as though I was his girlfriend. I wanted to save it all for when I left town and got enough work done before telling this motherfucker off, so I played possum.
Three days short of the length of time I’d planned to stay there, I finally began delivering my FUCK YOU AND THESE ARE THE REASONS WHY speech and he snapped. Have you ever seen someone lose it before? Like, come undone? He began to speak at the air in front of his face, blubbering that he’s really blown it, hadn’t he? Sobbing. During all this tension and back and forth telling him off between me and his buds, Crazy was downing shots of booze and popping chill pills. I had to pop half a clonazepam the second the guy walked into the room.
After my party I am going away on a real vacation and you can bet your ass it won’t be to some small town in the middle of nowhere so I can end up skinned in an attic.
P.S. COME TO MY PARTY! It will be epic. I have two elite caterers feeding you, Cheese Boutique and Palais Royale. I have Appleton Rum on the case and you’ll get to go home with your own bottle. Tons of free ish in my gift bags. Dom Pare, a hilarious comedian, will be hosting/MCing the whole nite so you will be laughing and entertained. Dance party once it gets later. I’ll probably make a drunk crying speech and maybe some of my stupid friends will roast me. We’ll be givin’er for sure.
A decade is an acceptable milestone to celebrate.