Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hey Shopkeeper can you help me, please.

Bazooko Circus is what the whole
hep world would be doing Saturday
night if the Nazis had won the war.
This was the Sixth Reich.

On Friday, Josh and I embarked on a journey to Edmonton to play a show at the Blackspot Cafe. Driving his Mom's gutless '99 civic, with no music save for radio and five Wilco albums, filled to capacity with our meager possessions, we forged east through mountains and plains to play a completely unpromoted show to an audience of roughly 10 (including the venue staff...only four people paid to get in).

But that's all okay, because like any great adventure, a lot of other great stuff happened. And of course, greatness came not as a result of our reason for leaving, but of the things we encountered on the way.

Condition on the way there were nice, and the drive was pleasant and uneventful...until we reached Edmonton and I realized forgot our itinerary at home, and had no idea what hotel we were staying at. After realizing that going to every hotel downtown with the words "Inn" in the name, and asking if I had a reservation wasn't going to work, I bit the bullet and called home to get all the information.

We checked into our hotel, drove to the venue (which was located next door to two sex shops, and directly beneath a "massage" parlour) played our show, made $28, and went out for drinks with two of our friends from Edmonton. We went to White Ave, and proceeded to a bar that was a lot like Sgt's, where some scary bar patron made a scene about charging his cell phone, and then grabbed Josh's crotch and winked at him. We left shortly after, and retreated to our hotel.

We had big plans for our second day in Edmonton. They involved going to music stores, trying out fancy equipment, and then going to West Edmonton Mall and playing on water slides.

Now, let me be frank. I hate West Edmonton Mall. I've been there only a few times, and have hated every second of it. So much so, that I believe I suppressed traumatizing memories of it from previous visits, which caused me to think it was tolerable to be in, and thus allowed me to convince myself to go there again.

But it'd be worth it for the water slides, just for them, and them alone. I could brave the American Dream, the huddled masses, the smell, the Christmas music, the frightened caged animals on display for public enjoyment, the scary salesman popping out of trap door kiosks trying to get me to sell myself for whatever peddling sell phone credit card insurance scam they're pushing. I could stand watching corpulent patrons eating sugary treats while waddling down some fabricated version of Bourbon St. with giant multi-faced porcelain jesters, enforcing some sort of brainwashing technique on every man woman and child that sets foot in that horrible place. I'd resist the urge to throw a baby carriage into the sea lion pen, or spit in the face of every elderly person I cross paths with, or punch ANYONE who carelessly bumps into me, or steps on my toes without so much as an apology or nod or even recognition of my existence despite having made slight physical contact with them, or curb stomp with no regard if someone makes so much as eye contact with me, or appears to be smiling, or happy, or to some degree not ill at ease for being in such a giant hell hole. I'd be able to maintain composure before completely degrading to some wild beast, unable to speak properly, my eyes glazed over and glossolalia being the only audible noise from my foaming mouth. I wouldn't wind up being another taser related casualty when mall security can't contain me, and police have to become involved after I climb onto the pirate ship and start urinating all over anyone who gets below me. It wouldn't happen, because I wouldn't allow it to get to that. I would maintain my calm.

Nearly. Before even setting foot in the mall, I was already sick of it. Probably burned $10 in fuel, and 30 minutes just trying to find a god damned parking spot. Then, as soon as I set foot in the mall, my pulse increased from a normal 70 bmp to something close to 120. A cold sweat set in, and my breathing became shallow and loud. My immediate instinct was to run full speed, darting wilding from side to side as a safety precaution, but I realized it was wiser to not make a scene.

We had three priorities:
1) buy shorts for swimming in.
2) find the water park and go swimming
3) leave as fast as we can

Avoiding any trendy stores, or places that were playing loud irritating music, we spent what felt like no less than 40 minutes trying to find a cheap store in which we could buy swimming shorts. After finally finding a Zellers, we spent $20 on two pairs of shorts. After getting lost repeatedly, and picking up a map, getting confused by the map, and then figuring the map out, we sort of figured out where we were. We had to walk towards the pirate ship, which was at the opposite end of the mall as the ice rink, which at that moment had a giant Zamboni smoothing out the ice (I fantasized running over several people and smashing through a wall with it but I calmed myself) turn towards the food court, walk around the flamingo cage, and then descend an escalator, into the pool entrance. Where we learned that it would cost $30 per person to go on the water slide, plus an additional $7 each to have a locker.

Talling up our expenses for this waterslide expedition, we would have had to spend over $95. Considering we made a total of $28 at our show the previous night, we both admitted defeat and walked away. At this point, I was so agitated by being in the mall, that I was literally ready to punch the next motherfucker who touched me. Or spit in their face. Or both. Or just push them over, and them kick them and spit on them and tell them what a fool they are for allowing themselves to be seen in a place such as this. But we didn't have time for that. We had to return out shorts, find exit #56, get to our car, and leave this place alive.

We got to Zellers, waited in line for ten minutes, only for them to tell us we had to go to customer service downstairs to makes returns, went downstairs, waited in line for another ten minutes, got our money back, and started for the exits.

Now the one thing about this mall that I both love and hate, is that it's damned near impossible to find your way out of there. I hated it because it prolonged my exposure to the mall, but I rest assured that if there is any sort of disaster, or fire, or terrorist attack, or if the roof collapses, or there's a tragic gas leak, or explosion, or flood, that a great many people in the mall wouldn't be able to escape, and many more would probably be trampled in the frenzy to try and find an exit. Ideally, it would resemble the L.A. riots.

In the time it was taking us to find the appropriate exit, I was getting more and more agitated. I think Josh sensed this because as I was reaching my breaking point, he started to singing obnoxiously, bought me a tasty cinnamon bun treat thingy that wound up smeared over both our faces, and we sang and danced our way out of the mall, into our car, and out of that hell hole into freedom.


Jeremy K. said...

Hunter S. Thompson quote?

Naomi said...


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