Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This week's assignment was, when meeting someone for the first time, describing a scene from your life that would help show the person your true self.

This exercise had a 600 word limit. I hate exercise. I tried. I failed.

And I think I really just wanted an excuse to share this story.

Also?  Drugs are very bad Mkay? 


A good friend is one who will hand you a pre-rolled as you set out on a long solo road trip.

Tommy was just such a friend. I'd driven up to Antigonish for Skip's graduation, and we'd spent that last day at Tom's house on the hill with the woods behind us and the ocean in front.

I tucked the little gift in my pack of Parliaments and took off down the steep dirt driveway, hung a left and aimed my little Tercel at New Brunswick.

Wondering if and when I'd be coming back to this place. Wondering at my good fortune that I'd been allowed to live there for four years.

It would be a fourteen hour ride home, a trek I'd done many times, and loved each solitary mile. I had my thoughts and a raggedy bag of shows to keep me company.

I'd shove a cassette in, never looking to see what it was.  Enjoying the surprise of not knowing what song was coming next, just like at a show. The anticipation of that unknown was part of the fun.

Between wondering about songs, I'd reflect on the past year's adventures. Graduating from college, epic road trip that showed me much of the US and much of its human zoo, settling back at home and working a normal job.

None of these things seemed to be things I'd chosen, just things that had fallen onto me.

Which led me to wonder what was next. In an innocently curious way, I'd wait patiently for the next happenstance to jump into view.

I wondered and wandered my way into the night, and found a hotel when I was too weary to be safe behind the wheel. Awake early and fortified with a coffee and some oat cakes, I remembered Tom's gift. I put a random show in the tape deck and grabbed my lighter.

Wondering through the countryside, content with not knowing where I'd be in a year, not knowing yet what I wanted to be should I ever grow up.  Never worrying about my future, always confident that the wind would blow me where I needed to be.

I tossed the remains of the gift in the ashtray, planning on tossing it out the window well before I neared the border.

My mind meandering hither and thither, I was surprised to find myself sitting four cars back at the border, not having disposed of the remnant.

Knowing there was likely already a camera on me, throwing it out the window was not an option. As nonchalantly as I could, I grabbed an empty cassette case, placed the wee illegal thing inside, and chucked it under the passenger seat.

My turn at the window. I answered the questions; country of origin, how long I'd been in Canada, what had been my business, etc.

I was told to pull into the inspection area.

I promptly shat myself.

I wondered if this was it. My luck run out.

I was greeted by two guards, one of them armed with a large club. A twenty three year old girl, barefoot and wearing a bespeckled thrift shop dress clearly being a dangerous criminal.

First guard commenced yanking my belongings out of the back seat while second guard held his stick out letting me know I was not to attempt to go past it.

A year ago, just having graduated from college, I’d wondered where my life would take me. I hadn’t considered jail, but nothing would have surprised me.

First guard had taken out my few bags of clothing, dumped them on a table and began sifting through them.

Having resigned myself to the fact that I was indeed quite fucked, decided I may as well chat up the club wielding guard. I was eerily calm as we settled into some pleasant small talk. He had friends who had gone to my college. He’d been to my home state in the US. A nice guy really.

First guard finished with the back seat and popped the trunk. A large mirror caught his suspicions. It had a ceramic frame that was badly chipped. He asked me if the back was removable. I assured him it wasn’t.

While he sorted through the rest of the rubbish, I contemplated my fate here. If one is to be locked up abroad for a half a jay; Canada would be one’s first choice right? And how long would I get anyway, for half a jay?

My parents would be bullshit of course and offer no assistance, I would rot with whatever sentence was handed me.

I had no plans for the next year. I had no plans ever. I’d bumbled about my existence, making no conscious effort to effect change on my own life. Things happened and I accepted them.

First guard finished with the trunk and opened the passenger front door to the obvious sound of my heart trying to escape my chest.

My sack of cassette tapes emptied out on the table. My purse also emptied. Glove box inspected.

Pack of Parliaments on dashboard opened and peered into.

“And what are these for?” Pointing to a pack of rolling papers in the center console.


Being the intelligent college graduate that I was, I whipped out this ingenious nugget that had worked on my Dad when he’d found my pack of Camel’s in high school, it would surely work on a border guard right?

“They’re my friend’s”.

This was it. That feeling I’d always had, that nothing bad was ever going to happen to me, that the pieces of my life would always find a way of falling correctly into place? Gone.

He then bent down, looked under the passenger seat, reached under it, rose up, looked at me and said;

“You’re free to go.”


I was left to happily clean up the mess he’d made of my belongings. Allowed to finish my journey home.  Allowed to go back to being sure that nothing bad would ever happen to me.

As soon as the border was out of view?

I grabbed my lighter and reached under that seat.



  1. My heart would have been POUNDING. Right outta my chest.

  2. Holy close call batman! I'd have shit bricks.

  3. i think i would literally have shat myself! but, up until that point...i was loving going along for that ride with you. to be that carefree again would totally fucking rock!

  4. wow, someone gave you a good break on that one..


    Thank goodness you escaped, after all you are such a CRIMINAL


    that is all

  5. Stories like this are always more fun when they don't end in handcuffs. ;)

  6. Well, if there was ever a time you needed it...

  7. Oh, wow. I almost fainted just READING about it!

  8. My favorite line: 'A year ago, just having graduated from college, I’d wondered where my life would take me. I hadn’t considered jail, but nothing would surprise me.'

    Ah, to remember those days!

  9. Love this! I really miss long road trips from the childless days. We take them pretty often still--but it just isn't the same when the soundtrack includes Curious George and Lightning McQueen and you have to stop every couple of hours for potty breaks and Happy Meals!

    PS: I LOVE your disclaimer :-)

  10. The moral side of me was hoping you'd get caught. The immoral side of me has bitch slapped the moral side of me..

  11. Wow. yeh. You just gave me serious flashbacks. In a good way. ;)

    I was just curious, do you still feel this way about your life:
    "None of these things seemed to be things I'd chosen, just things that had fallen onto me."

    "always confident that the wind would blow me where I needed to be"

  12. I would have died on the spot from an anxiety attack. On. The. Spot.

  13. Okay, this was officially the BEST FREAKIN THING I've read all day. I bow to you, my friend. At least you didn't eat it. While it was still lit. Yeah. My throat still hurts 17 years later....

  14. Hell ya, I bet you did.

    I'm not one to partake, but I'm certain that would have changed had I been with you.

    Right after I changed my unmentionables.

  15. EEEp. You are one lucky son of a biscuit.

  16. I can't believe you lit back up. lol

  17. I just keep falling further & further in love with you. ;-)

  18. remind me to tell you a funny story one day involving someone I know and being pulled over on acid. jeez.

  19. Wow. I would have literally shit myself. Great memoir for the prompt!

  20. I've only recently found your blog and adore the expert way you spin a story. Especially this one.

  21. OMG! I would have been scared as hell!!

    You're one lucky person! Hopefully that luck has followed you through out your life!

  22. Holy crap! I would have peed myself and stuck my hands out to be cuffed.

  23. Oh my gosh, I was on the edge of my seat reading this...i probably would have thrown up out of fear in real life.

  24. You were WAY more calm in that moment than I was reading about it, that's for sure! :)

  25. Such acceptance of your fate.

    Just like with Owen.

    Just such calm acceptance of fate.

  26. Dude. That made me laugh. Altho maybe I just have the giggles. And then I'll eat an entire bag of Doritos washed down with a bag of peanut m&ms.

    not that I ever did anything like that.

    You were definitely calm and accepting and I'm glad you didn't shat yourself.

    Dead giveway of a roach in the cassette box.

  27. Sweet Jesus!!
    My heart was pounding!
    I've been searched at the border 3 times and all were crazy intimidating.
    But for a girl alone it would have been much much worse!!

  28. Well, thank God there was still a roach left. That whole "getting searched at the border" thing would have *totally* ruined the buzz. Ugh.

  29. Highlarious.

    I have a similar story that I had clearly repressed. Maybe Ill tell on my place one day.

    Way to stay cool.

  30. Holy Hell!!!!! Scary. Good story though!

  31. My God, thanks for the heart attack. I think I need a minute. Great writing as evidenced by my racing heart.

  32. I'm sure I would have eaten the offending item as a snack. I don't remember all the details of this story...

  33. Fuck, you are one cool customer. Or it was some REALLY good stuff.

    I wonder if I have any around here, sniff sniff sniff.

  34. what a ride. the carefree
    the listening to shows in the car
    the border. holy crap. you wrote the hell of the border scene.

    and then lighting up.

    Hell. yeah.

    Your storytelling is magnificent.

    Also? I was ROLLING reading the comments. :D Thank you!!!

  35. Yikes! What as experience! I knew there was a reason I always stayed on one side of the border when I was a (rather troublesome) kid!

    But hey - next time you find yourself detained in Candada, look me up! LOL! :)

  36. As best expressed by a Connect Four commercial from the late 1980's, "pret-ty sneaky sis."

    That was a moment of sheer luck! Very funny.

    I am going to add a link to your blog on my site. I love that you describe your kids as assholes. The one time I called my kid an asshole in a facebook status, I was nearly hunted down and given the pillary. I don't think it's so bad. She IS an asshole a lot of the time. :-)

  37. This is fucking awesome!! You've done a great job here.

  38. Whoa! Close call! I think I would've died right on the spot.

    Favorite line: "..to the obvious sound of my heart trying to escape my chest." Even mine was beating faster waiting to see if they would find it. And then to look where you put it and let you go?? OMG.

  39. This is some fine story telling my friend. I love your sense of adventure.

  40. I'm DYING. Well, not literally, but it's a close thing.

    I swear to God I would have been the poster child of Guilty Person, complete with red face, sweat on the brow and an eye twitch.

    There are so many things I loved about this post. So. Many. Things. Awesome.

  41. Had to be up North. I lived up there for 10 years and some of them wouldn't know a roll if it walked by them. Nice people and all, just not a lot of drug use. Now if you were bringing back too much fish---you'd be jailed faster than you could say walleye.

  42. Holy shatness! I would've freaked. Great writing. Even better story.

  43. Hah! You've been holding this one close to your chest! Great story- one of your best I think. well, hard to say with so many but really good....

  44. You are awesome! Favorite blog ever!

  45. You're such a badass! This is like a scene from a movie. Loves it!

  46. AWE-some! Great story. You need to write a book!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today, however you got there. :)

  47. hehehe...what the adventure and i can think of no better reason for a puff...bet it did not take too many tokes to kill that gift...lol. lovely writing...

  48. Close call Lady Luck! You are a fantastic writer.

  49. !!!! every nail biting, chair gripping moment FANTASTIC!
    And word limit? You don't need to stinkin word limit!

  50. Awesome story. I couldn't decide how nervous to be because I have no idea what the punishment would have been up there. So sorry to hear about your Gigi.

  51. Wow. You are one lucky, lucky girl. Whew.

  52. I think this is the 4th? 5th? post of yours I've read since I found your blog earlier tonight, and I'm officially head-over-heels in love with you. Just so you know. :)


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