Thursday, July 18, 2013

Misty water-colored memories of the way we were.

Yesterday the boys and I drove into The Big City to shop and visit their orthodontist. En route, I started thinking about a trip I took in the summer of 1987. My dad had a ridiculous amount of vacation time banked, so we went to Vancouver without my mom.

This vacation is memorable for two reasons.

Firstly, I wanted to go to the aquarium, but my dad and brother did not so I walked over by myself. From downtown Vancouver, into Stanley Park, past the Pitch 'N Putt, around the lagoon, under George Street, past the rowing club, and over to the aquarium. I was 14! Doesn't that seem young to be wandering through a strange, urban park? My dad did give me some sage advice as I left: Don't be stupid.

Damn. Parenting in the 80s sounds like a breeze.

The other memory -- and the one that sprang to mind yesterday -- was of the long drive to and from Vancouver. My brother was sprawled in the back seat with his sweet Sony Walkman and a selection of shitty heavy metal music. I sat up in the passenger seat next to my dad. I had two jobs:

1. making minute adjustments to the radio dial so that when the mountains cooperated we could hear CBC radio, and

2. sticking my hand up through the sun roof and giving bad drivers the bird. In unison with my father.

Yesterday when an asshole tried to pass a transport truck on a double yellow, approaching a two-lane bridge at such a pokey speed that the truck driver pulled off the road lest the idiot kill anyone (ie me), I had to give the asshole the finger THROUGH my bug-splattered windshield. It lacked dramatic flare.

My next car will have a sun roof.


  1. Ah, the CBC radio dial-twiddle! That's my job now when we go on vacation. That, and being on "Carsick Pre-Puke Warning Noise" alert.

  2. Eeeee, asshole drivers. They deserve more than the finger. If my husband had my way they would be instantly executed but fortunately for humankind he is not Dictator of the World (although he wishes he was).

    Ah, the freedom of the 80s. "Helicopter parenting" would have been driving your kids to their destination. I recall similar solo bus/walking tours.

  3. Ah man, parenting in the 70s and 80s had to be a snap! Starting in first grade, my friends and I would walk nearly a mile to and from school without any parents in evidence (in K my mom walked me to school, but not home). After school, we'd get on our bikes and ride all over creation until dinner time. No adult had the faintest idea where we were or what we were doing and that was 100% normal. People would have thought any parent who constantly insisted on being able to see their kid or knowing exactly where she was going was completely insane.

    When I got to middle school my friends and I were allowed to take the subway to the mall. In high school we could take the subway into downtown Boston and stay all afternoon without adults. No internet, no texting, hardly any TV. In retrospect I have no idea what I fought with my parents about as a teenager, probably my curfew? Who knows?

  4. You all speak the truth in Grade 8 I was able to take public transit to a mall (which was the closest public library) that was so rough (and still is) I wouldn't go to it now. I was allowed to roam around the mall and food court and hang in the library all day. I remember having an emergency quarter and that was about it. I think they arrest you for that today.

    Stoopid drivers. I have this reoccurring fantasy of holding a giant sign out my window anytime anyone does anything stupid. It would have a variety of "helpful" phrases for these challenged folks.