I Saw The Sign, And It Opened Up My Eyes (and a whole other kettle of fish)

If I remember correctly it was around the summer of 1993 when Bugsy asked me if I wanted to go to a keg party with these chicks he had met at Trudeau Park. He’ll recall the story better, but I’m telling it, so you get my version.

I said that I’d go with him on the four hour drive to Ottawa, where we would meet up with these sisters that he was all googly-eyed over. What the fuck? I didn’t have anything better to do A trip to Ottawa, a keg, sisters. What could go wrong?

I think his was fancier than this, like maybe it had a hood scoop and some ground effects.

He picked me up in what I assume was his Turbo Sprint,(He now tells me it was the Prelude) but please don’t quote me on that. Whichever vehicle it was, it got us there safely, but four hours of Ace of Base was a little much.

Anyhow, we arrived in Ottawa around 1PM or so I think, and I was happy to have some reprieve from that son of a bitching tape. We went into the backyard and this family was sitting there drinking a nice, warm keg of beer. I looked around for the party that was to be attached to the keg and thought we must be at the wrong house, because this was literally a family sitting there and getting hammered. There may have been two brothers and a sister; I don’t remember, but the point I’m trying to make is that it was not what most people would call a keg party. It was more like a family of alcoholics having a backyard cookout with no food.

I voiced my displeasure with the whole scene, because that’s what people do when they have no filter, and then it was on. Drunk people don’t take kindly to strangers coming to their home and telling them that their party sucks a skunk’s asshole. I went into the house to get away from all of the people calling me George Costanza, and then the brother(s) came in and told me to be the DJ. I was just supposed to switch tapes on their dual cassette player after each song and then get a new one ready. I thought that it sure beat the shit out of sitting with those fucking assholes outside, so I did it. I told Bugsy that I was ready to go whenever he was, and he said he just wanted to get busy with this girl, and then we could be on our way. I went and laid on the couch near the stereo that I had kind of given up on, and I remember that there was an unfamiliar scent in the room. When the brother came in to piss and give me shit for my poor DJ skills, I asked him about it.

“Yeah, the cat pisses right where your face is. That’s his couch. It’s fucking gross.”

Gag. I had had enough.

I said goodbye and started walking, but it was about 30C and very humid. The chafing factor was at an all time high, and my thumb wasn’t making me any friends on the highway. I made it to Baseline, and maybe a click or so down it, when I decided to turn my bowlegged ass around and rethink my strategy. I was dripping with anger by now, but because of my tendency to act like a stubborn asshole, I was kind of stuck in my role as the cry baby who didn’t like the party.

I made it back to the house, and bypassing the family, I went upstairs to where Bugs was pouring the coal to his new “girlfriend”. I told him I was taking his car. He pointed and grunted at his jacket, so I grabbed the keys and fled, telling him I’d be back the next morning to pick him up.

Four hours later I got home, showered the cat piss off of my face, ate something, and headed to Copperfields, where Billy or Ferg played “The Sign” and “All That She Want’s” a few more times. I met up with some buddies there, and we all wound up at Scott’s place for some drinks and an Ace of Base marathon after the bar shut down. I think it was around 6AM or so that I thought I had better get going to pick Bugsy up. Scott figured he’d better come for the ride, so we hit the highway running.

When we got to Ottawa, it turned out that they hadn’t finished the keg.

Scott informed them that he could surely help. I just wanted to get the fuck out of there.

“Hey, let’s listen to the Ace of Base, it’s in my car.” Bugs said

A little bit of me died as we hung around some more. I don’t really remember what happened until we were heading home, but I can tell you that those fucking cocksuckers listened to Ace of Base and called me “Can’t stand ya” for the whole time, and then we left.

For the ride home, I sat in the back and tried to get some sleep, while Scott and Bugs sat in the front and listened to that dreaded cassette some more. After we got off the 416, and onto the 401, he was ejecting the tape to flip it. I asked if I could see it for a minute, because I wanted to see who the songwriters were or something. He handed it to me, and I glanced at it, trying to figure out if I should just play keepaway, or break the fucking thing in half.

In the end, I chose throwing it out the sunroof at 120 km/h, because Bugs was really resourceful, and could have rebuilt it with a paperclip and a handful of peanuts. I had never before, nor have I since, seen him explode like that. He hit the brakes so fast and hard that I thought we would surely perish in a rolling ball of flames once we hit the gravel. We didn’t, of course, because he’s one of the best drivers I know, and while extremely crazy and daring, he rarely loses control. When he does, it’s usually pretty epic though, but that’s a whole other story.

When the car was stopped, he was screaming, “Why did you do that?” with veins popping out of his head.

“Because I fucking hate that shit, and I couldn’t stand listening to it again.”

“It doesn’t matter. That was my property, and you wrecked it. Get the fuck out. You can walk home.”

“I don’t fucking care. I’d rather walk than have to listen to that shit one more time.” I replied, and I meant it.

Just in case you forgot about this gem, or wonder why I was going insane

He started to drive away, and I started to figure out my best course of action for getting the 200+ kilometres to my home. I figured I’d just walk to the next exit, and stick my thumb out, because it’s illegal and dangerous to hitchhike on any of the 400 series highways. Luckily Bugsy’s loyalty and kindness overrode his anger and burning desire to choke me out, and I saw him stop and start backing up to pick me up.

It was a pretty silent ride home, and we didn’t talk much for quite a while after that. We kind of had different groups of friends by then, and as much as we loved each other, sometimes a break is what’s needed to keep a friendship strong. I was an asshole, and I know that now. I can’t come up with an excuse off the top of my head, so I guess there isn’t one. Grown men shouldn’t act like that, even if things aren’t going the way we expected. I should have either tried harder to get along with those people, or just kept walking when I left the first time. I could have weathered through some raw, chafed thighs, and who knows, maybe I would have got a ride in the next five minutes.

The fact is that I didn’t, and the fact that he still speaks to me, speaks volumes about the kind of friend I’ve chosen. I know that when needed, he will be there. No complaints, no arguments, just, “What do you need, and when do you need it?”. Those are the kind of people you need in your corner, and I hope you all have a Bugsy in yours.

This is not the face of reason, but you can count on seeing it if you’re in jail

No one’s gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong, but where do you belong?,

Birdman

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10 thoughts on “I Saw The Sign, And It Opened Up My Eyes (and a whole other kettle of fish)

  1. So, I’m reading the blog, I’m thinkin’ about the catchy Ace Of Base tunes and Bugsy’s disposable cars, and when I got to the end I did it. I clicked on the YouTube link. You were right to toss that fucking tape. However, I fault you for not hanging on to the tape while to cassette was flung. That would’ve surely destroyed it. Sorry Bugs, it was the right thing to do. The fact that he came back to get you solidify’s that. No one should have been submitted to that kind of auditory torture. Speaking of torture, if I can’t get that tune out of my skull in the next little while….

    • I hope you’ve got rid of it by now, or I might be in trouble tonight. 🙂 I think they would have noticed me fiddling around, but you’re right, I shouldn’t have taken the chance that a car would hit it. Next time, Scotty. I think cassettes are going to come back.

  2. That was not the face I was expecting to see as an Ace of Base fan.

    I was a bit younger than you in 1993, and back then, I had terrible taste in music because I was a stupid kid. With that said… I still couldn’t stand Ace of Base. I’d have thrown that tape out much faster than you did.

  3. Man, that keg “party” sounds like some shit you’d see in the town where I grew up – just a bunch of rednecks sitting around, with nothing better to do. As for Ace of Base – as soon as I saw those words early on in your post, that damn song started in my head. I didn’t even need to watch the video. Sigh.

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