The Pact

So. I may or may not have agreed to do something that I’ve been putting off for a while.

No, it isn’t anything life-changing. (And for the record: no, I am not learning how to drive.)

While I’m not really at liberty to discuss the specifics (for reasons I’ll explain a bit further down), I do have to rewind, and explain how this all came about.

On Saturday night, I was at my friends’ triple birthday party, catching up with people I hadn’t seen in ages, socializing and generally goofing off (as one does at a party full thirtysomethings).

Late in the evening, I was shooting the breeze with two of my guy friends, Rowin and Mark. I’m not entirely sure how it came about, but Rowin started (playfully) bugging Mark about something he thought Mark should start pursuing, but for whatever reason, Mark had successfully managed to avoid doing.

Later in the same conversation, Rowin admitted to doing something years ago that – while very fun – required a bit of work and dedication on his part, with respect to his personal appearance.

And here is where the seeds of The Pact were sown.

Somehow, Rowin managed to get Mark to agree to start pursuing The Thing He Has Avoided, with my help. And in return for sufficient completion of said task, Rowin (very reluctantly) promised that he will show Mark (and all of us, for that matter) the fun thing he had done years ago, later this year – if that makes sense.

Of course, being privy to this conversation, I wasn’t getting away scot-free, with just helping Mark with his task.

I also (VERY RELUCTANTLY) agreed to pursue something I’ve been meaning to accomplish (or at least start). And I have to do it with Mark, since it’s also a small goal of his.

That’s pretty much all I can say about it for now. I promised Mark and Rowin – for the sake of keeping it a secret from the rest of our friends (and I hope I don’t let it slip) – that I have to keep my mouth shut about it. But I think I might be able to mention something about Mark’s pet project in the next little while, once we get it off the ground.

But in the meantime, Lord help us all.

A Sunburnt Sunday

Sunday, February 19.

It’s our last day in town, and in the country.

And it will be the first day for one of our other friends from back home – incidentally named Jen – who’s due in town later to start her one-week vacation in this beautiful country.

She somehow scores a hotel room at the same hotel we’re staying at, and arrives while we’re out for the day at the beach.

We start at another location – Playa del Coco. There’s not as much shade as the spot we found at Playa Hermosa, and the tide starts out much farther than at the other beach. The weather is very nice, and as the sun moves along, it gets hotter.

There is a rather large group of pelicans floating on the water. They alternate between drifting, taking off into the air, then divebombing the water – presumably for fish.

Every so often, I heave myself up from the indent my butt has left in the sand dune we’re inhabiting, to walk out and dip my feet in the water as it rushes in.

The water is murkier than over at Playa Hermosa, but it’s nice and cool on the toes anyway.

From time to time, I see a white bird – tall,  with slender legs (maybe it’s an egret?) that seems to have the same idea, as it stands on the shore, looking out, before taking off across the water.

By the time we leave the beach to get lunch, Jenn’s gotten a bit redder, and I’m sweating profusely. As I’m eating my shrimp-and-vegetable meal, I’m wiping my forehead with the back of my hand, every couple of minutes, coming away with a film of perspiration.

We return to the hotel to look for Jen. She’s left a note wedged in her hotel room door, saying that she would be by the pool, and would maybe go to the beach if she didn’t see us.

We scan the pool, but don’t see any sign of Jen.

So off we go to Playa Hermosa – this time, heading in the opposite direction from the day before. The area we find is not as sandy, but it’s got a nice, big, shady tree.

The ladies and I read for a bit, before they take to the water for a dip, while I delve into the Nick Hornby novel I’ve brought on vacation.

We return to the hotel around 5 p.m. We’ve missed Jen again – she’s left another note, saying she’s gone to the beach.

We stake out both pools to see if we’ll spot her. Eventually, Zoe and I spot her strolling through reception around 5:30 p.m.

The three of us join Jenn at the larger pool, where we sit around and catch up for a while. Then we all freshen up, then meet up for dinner down the street.

I order a hamburger with cheese, ham and bacon – my last Tico burger of the trip.

It actually ends up being more than I can handle, because of all the additional meat piled on top of the beef patty. But there’s no way I’m going to let it go to waste!

We spend the remainder of the night in our hotel room, chatting and playing games.

Then just like that, the night – and our vacation – is over.

One more sleep, and it’s back to the airport to begin our trip home.

You’re Pregnant; I Just Eat Lots of Cookies

Being 34, I’m obviously in that stage of life where my married friends, acquaintances and peers may be expecting their first child – or expanding their growing family.

But damn, if I haven’t been a bit surprised at the baby wave lately! Seriously, what is up with all the baby bumps and stork deliveries, yo?

I must seriously be living in a cave.

I was recently invited to the baby shower of a long-time friend I didn’t even KNOW was pregnant. In the span of a week, I’ve found out about three people I know who are expecting babies in the summer. And I suspect a fourth, but I’m not entirely sure – I’m still a novice in my baby-bump-detecting skills.

Yes, yes, it’s a part of life, yadda yadda. But it never ceases to amaze me, y’know? It’s kind of like there’s two parallel roads, and I’m driving down one while observing friends approaching the on-ramp for the other.

Perhaps the other reason I’ve been taken off-guard is because people are (rightfully so) low-key.

I mean, I’m glad that the people I know are down-to-earth and aren’t those smug parents-to-be, crowing from the rooftops about their buns in the oven – y’know, kind of like this:

But at the same time, it’s getting to the point where I’m starting to stare at my co-workers’ tummies if they seem a little pudgier than usual.

And I’m now seriously contemplating searching Facebook profiles of suspected pregnant friends by stealth – it seems like it’s the only way I can keep up with all these bundles of joy!

I COULD ask … but you know the major faux pas in that.

And, for the record: I’m not. I just love Starbucks Chocolate Chunk Cookies. A LOT.

An Old Friend

I was sitting at my desk last Friday, attending to the work-related task of the moment, when I heard my cellphone ring.

“Who on earth is calling me in the middle of the afternoon?” I muttered as I answered the call.

It was my friend Melissa, who lives in Ottawa.

“Guess what?” she asked.

Turns out that a mutual friend of ours – a dude named Chad, who I knew as a child in Scarborough, and whom she knew as a teenager in Windsor – had finally joined Facebook. She somehow discovered this and contacted him via e-mail.

“You should send him a friend request – you can find him in my network!” she said.

I thanked her for letting me know, and soon after I hung up the phone, I went into my account and I did. Probably within the hour, he accepted.

I have to say, he was definitely someone I never thought I’d hear from again.

We were neighbourhood playmates. I lived at the beginning of the street; he and his family lived all the way on the other end of the cresent. We both attended the elementary school across the street.

Back then, he was a skinny kid, with a wispy cowlick almost always sticking up atop his head. And I don’t remember for how many years this was, but until his family moved away, I suppose we were as thick as thieves.

My parents always remember the times he’d come over, ring the doorbell and ask if I could come out to play, to which my dad would sometimes reply:

“Chadwick, go home.”

Those were the days.

I never knew what had happened to him until one night – in the infancy of my university days – when my then-new friend Melissa and I were talking, and she just happened to mention my old friend’s name. I suppose it was my personal introduction to the “degrees of separation”.

In any case, back to the present. I had a nice chat with him over Facebook Chat (the newfangled things kids these days come up with!) on Sunday afternoon.

He still lives in Windsor, but longs to move to Anguilla. (His obstacles are finding employment and affording the expensive real estate prices.) He works part-time at a hospital – I’m assuming as medical staff, since he got his medical degree in the West Indies. He doesn’t watch or read the news; “ignorance is bliss”, he says.

And he’s no longer the scrawny, cow-licked kid I used to play and ride bikes with.

It seems we’re also two of a kind – we’re both the same age and still party a lot. What can I say? We both believe in being very social.

We got around to talking about the old neighbourhood. He said when he happens to be in Toronto (which he only does when visiting family, ’cause he hates Toronto), he sometimes drives past the old ‘hood for kicks. And he can’t help but think about how small that house seems to him now … how things seemed so simple back then, but how we were content with what we had. 

I actually miss those days from time to time.

We wrapped up our online chat shortly after and promised to keep in touch. I hope we do. It was nice talking to him again after so long. Besides, kindred spirits like that are hard to find.

 

A sad end to summer

I was going to post about how sad it is that it’s the end of August and summer.

But today, I received a shock and a real reason for a sombre mood.

My friend’s father – who was admitted to hospital almost two weeks ago becuase of difficulties breathing – passed away yesterday. She is part of a tight-knit family, so this is understandably an unbearably difficult time for them.

My deepest sympathies go out to her and her family at this time.

I will also be out of town this Labour Day weekend – which is also threatening to be miserable – so hopefully I’ll have things to post about when I return.