Ten years ago, I was celebrating the acquisition of Smilin' Dog Manor. No TV, no radio, just pre-autumnal silence. I missed the opening salvo in the War the Terrorists Won, missed the trauma of the Twin Towers crumbling into Manhattan, missed the media frenzy that followed. I've never been so lucky in my life.
Now I'm in B.C.'s wilderness, missing the tenth anniversary of that sad day. Just call me a lucky guy. So here's a re-run of my friend J.J.'s whacky plan to commemorate the site, hatched in 2002 while the wound was still raw. It's a close as I can come to marking the maudlin occasion.
Strange how life plays tricks on you, isn't it?
That's what I was thinking, sitting on the patio at Zeuski's, watching dwindling summer crowds, nursing a beer and contemplating the unfair twist of events dragging me away from Smilin' Dog Manor, back to Whistler.
The distractions kept my mind off the horrible things I imagined were about to happen. The beer gave my tongue something to do other than worrying the broken piece of molar, loose in its socket, and fortified my courage for the rescue effort the dentist would be undertaking within the hour.
A mime annoyed tourists as they passed. A kid whose scoop of ice cream dropped to the ground bawled while a black mongrel dog revelled in his unexpected treat. Bikers in mud-spattered armour regaled each other about what a fornicatin' great time they'd just had.
A stick of gum. I still couldn't believe I'd broken the biggest damn molar in my mouth on a stick of gum, something I don't even chew as often as I have birthdays.
More jugglers. More clowns. And... what the...? My first thought was, "This is why I've decided to leave Whistler during the summer." I know we're a resort and tourists are our collective lifeline. But Uncle Sam? I took another drink and rubbed my eyes. There he was. Uncle Sam in full redwhiteandblue regalia. Tourism Whistler had gone too far this time.
Then I really started to get uncomfortable. I couldn't see his face with the sun behind him but I recognized the walk... or more accurately the almost syphilitic shuffle, a unique amble part lack of coordination, part uncertainty of destination, part ill-fitting shoes. Worse yet, it was clear he was shuffling in my direction... purposefully.
I braced myself, ordered another beer and one for him on my tab since I was sure he would if I didn't.