Monday, March 19, 2012

Blarney Stone Betrayal

As I was wondering aimlessly around the grocery store earlier today, despondent and exhausted, I thought of the great time I had last night on one of my favourite dates of the year--St. Patrick’s Day.

Every year on St. Paddy’s, I go to the Blarney Stone without fail to celebrate my Irish heritage with the Killarney and a couple hundred other people. This year, I opted for a new adventure. My friend Sheila is part of a singles social club and she was able to invite a friend along to a sold out show at the Commodore to see Spirit of the West! How could I possibly turn that down? The Commodore is by far the best venue in Vancouver to listen to live music and thanks to it being a ballroom in days past, it has a nice large, bouncy dance floor to boot.

After downing some of my home-made potato leek soup (actually was Jamie Oliver’s recipe) and some freshly bought Irish soda bread from Savory Island Pie Company (both were delicious by the way), we starting adding our tacky green accessories to our outfits. We had cleaned out our local dollar stores and end up with flashing shamrock necklaces, tattoos on our hands and faces, and me with my striped green and black over-the-knee socks--they were a real attention getter alright. We were set to go.

We hopped on the Skytrain (there were no cars involved tonight for obvious reasons) and quickly noticed that we were really the only people wearing an excessive amount of green and as such, received about half a dozen darting and concerned looks from other passengers. But when we hit Granville Street, we felt at home and definitely started to blend in, especially when we heard the awesome droning sound of the bagpipes.

Granville Street is the mecca of Vancouver. In the span of 4 blocks you can hear 6 different kinds of music being played by the local buskers, see all the old theaters up in lights and find any type of food you’re looking for. My fav from way back is Roxy I’m dating myself, but hey, that place still rocks. The really neat thing about Granville Street is that it’s a super friendly place--you never know what you are going to see and it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, it’s always just perfectly normal, well, for Vancouverites anyway. For example, there we were last night, standing in the Commodore’s line up, when a guy, wearing a Darth Vader helmut, playing the bagpipes, while in a kilt, rode by on a unicycle. No one thought that was odd in the least--perfectly normal--we just kind of looked around at each other and said “You just saw that, right?”, and then carried on with our conversation. A few years back on New Years Eve, I was dressed in a sexy little Marie Antoinette outfit for a singles thing I went to (it wasn’t a costume party incidentally), and we ended up walking Granville Street afterward. I had my picture taken with several Japanese tour groups and dozens of other people who thought I was part of the city’s entertainment--perfectly normal.

Once inside, we ended up finding a cluster of tables so the whole group could hang together. Aside from a few of the regulars that Sheila knew, I didn’t particularly connect well with the group. The women were not too friendly and guys were a little too reserved for me, but there was one who piqued my interest--he had the whole Clark Kent thing going on. I just knew if those glasses came off he’d turn into Superman, cape and all. We were chatting for a bit, and once he mentioned that he and his room-mate have raw onion-eating contests regularly, and that my socks looked like the wicked witch of the west, my fantasies were ruined. Yes, I found a good one alright...I was guessing maybe about 25? No, how ridiculous of me to think that this guy was just a kid--most 34 year olds voluntarily make themselves violently ill just for kicks, right?

Sheila and I made several trips to the bar--there was lots of tequila involved at my end, so needless to say I was feeling great when the opening band started to play. Albeit the music is fantastic and watching the cello being plucked was cool, the challenge with some Celtic bands is that the music can be a bit pokey, so we had to make our own fun at times. Sadly, I can’t remember half the stuff we did thanks to the tequila, but I will say that we were usually laughing so hard we were crying. Finally Spirit of the West came on and oh the Irish dancing started. They are such high energy and it was so much fun singing along with them--everyone was so happy and drunk or not, that is the one thing I love about going out to events like this--just seeing people having a really good time--it always puts a smile on my face. That smile was quickly wiped away when Clark Kent, who was now dancing next to me (I may have accidentally grabbed his butt--it’s all just a blur now) split his glass of stout all over the side of my face, in my hair, and all down one side of my “kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirt. Aside from the smell of the stout, and being a little wet, I really didn’t care. So naturally I thought I would take advantage of the situation as it gave me an excuse to direct Mr. Kent’s attention to my stout-soaked breast under my WHITE t-shirt. Now, I’m no idiot (well maybe when I’m drunk), but if I was a guy, I would have been all over that situation. But when you eat raw onions for fun, you don’t care about things like that--he barely cracked out an apology and I concluded that chivalry was indeed dead.

This is where I noticed, even in my drunken stupor, an interesting dynamic with this little group. There was a girl in the group who kind of stuck herself to Clark the whole night and was flashing me daggers when he came near me. She was acting like she was with him, so I let him be, but he kept coming back to me. The claws didn’t come out because I could really care less, but at the end of the night when he wanted my phone number, it became awkward and weird thanks to the clingy chick. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to write while really drunk, but it doesn’t work well at all--I’m not even sure if what I wrote was actually my information. Sheila ran interference for me so I could slip him my number without her noticing. All I can say is: meow.

We finally packed up just around 1 am, and after 5 hours of dancing, we were hungry. A choice had to be made: Megabites pizza (the pizza that ONLY tastes good when you’re drunk) or catch the last Skytrain. We opted for the latter, and on the way down Granville, I did a little ballet dancing with a girl who complimented me on my socks (huge attention to the socks all night) and then had we conversation with two people here from Ireland who were quick to shove Celtic-fest brochures in our drunk little hands. Once back in Richmond, we forced the cab driver to go through the McDonalds drive through (also a spot where the food tastes better late, late at night while still intoxicated). I did notice that McDonald’s food really does stink--you can’t help notice when you’re trapped in a cab with it--I don’t think the cab driver was amused. The handy thing about going out with Sheila is that she lives three doors down from me in my apartment building, so after we scarfed down our food, we parted ways, and with a short walk to my door, all that was left was for me to pass out on my sofa.

I may have betrayed my beloved Blarney Stone this year, but it was a night to remember for sure. It was also a morning to remember thanks to having to scrub forever to get the tattoos off my face, unweave the shamrock that was knotted into my hair somehow, and trying to oxyclean the stout out of my ruined little t-shirt. I may have awoke a bit of a mess and minus a Superman, but I had a can you not on St. Paddy’s?