I have three stories for you today. The first one is really long, the second is much shorter, and the third is so short that it's not really a story. All three are rather meaningless.
I got on the elevator at work today. I had just finished my lunch in the 2nd-floor cafeteria and was going back up to my cubicle on the 5th floor. A man I didn't recognize followed me in and as I leaned to press 5, he pressed 3. I started mentally rolling my eyes at yet another 2nd-to-3rd-floor traveler, but then I noticed he was also carrying a huge and heavy-looking black case. The case had a sticker on it that read MUSIC IS MY LIFE. I immediately felt a tad guilty and judgey for my eye-rolling and my curiosity was piqued. This intriguing case made the man infinitely more interesting to me. What treasures lay inside? Why would somewho works in the IT department of a financial institution proclaim that music is his life? (There goes the judginess again.) Why had he brought part of his private, non-work life to the office with him?
These thoughts must have passed through my head rather quickly because, even with the nausea-inducing, speed-of-light, one-floor elevator ride, I still had time to ask him what was in the case. He flashed an embarrassed smile and informed me that he was lugging around an accordion. Then the door closed and the mysterious accordion-playing IT geek was gone.
All this elevator excitement forced a memory to come bubbling up to the surface. It was a fresh new 2003 - January 1st, to be exact. I was awake and moving around on a statutory holiday at the ungawdly hour of 5:30 a.m. because my job involved shift work anywhere between 6:00 a.m. and midnight, 365 day a year. I was one of the lucky New Year's Day suckers. So at 5:30 I stepped outside into an absolutely beautiful morning. It was one of those crisp, brisk winter mornings where the cold sucks the air out of your lungs and makes you glad to be alive. Of couse, it was still dark - in the dead of winter it seems like it's always dark - but it was that curious bright darkness that happens so often in December and January. Snow was floating down in large, fluffy clumps and the city was so quiet.
At the time, I was living with my then-girlfriend in the basement suite of a house. As I walked out the back door into the gentle morning, I noticed a strange, dark object in the back yard by the fence. My heart quickened at this intrusion but the object was too boxy to be a dangerous and feral animal, so I crept over to have a look. It was a large black case with band stickers plastered all over it. Even though I was running late for work I dragged the surprisingly heavy case in the house, undid the latches, and peered inside. If you're following along, I'm sure that you have guessed that the mystery object turned out to be a nifty, shiny accordion. Before I could explore any further, I noticed the time and realized I had to leave for work tout de suite. I closed the lid and scrawled out a note ("Look what I found in the yard!") so that my girlfriend wasn't completely mystified when she awoke.
While I was gone, she poked around in the case and discovered that the accordion belonged to a semi-famous Western Canadian celtic/rock-ish band. I e-mailed them, asked if they were missing anything, and explained the situation. The accordion player sent a very excited and grateful message back telling me how they had played a New Year's Eve gig at a bar about 2 kilometres away from my house. They had finished their last set, loaded their gear into their van, and returned inside for a few drinks. While they were imbibing, some rotten people broke into the vehicle and made off with amps, guitars, and yes, the accordion. We made arrangements for me to sent it back to him by bus and he sent my girlfriend and me a whack of their CDs as a thank you.
To this day I enjoy imagining the thief that nabbed the accordion. He and his buddies probably took off running at breakneck speed but eventually the weight of the case would have started to slow him down. (Accordions can weigh between 15 and 25 pounds!)
"Guys! Wait up!"
"I can't do it. What the fuck is in this, anyway? [thump, click-click, creeeak] What the? Fuck this shit! I ain't carrying no fucking accordion!"
"Fine. Here - throw it over this fence. Now come ON!"
I bought a new pair of work pants last weekend. They're really quite lovely - dark, slate grey, stretchy material, a nice flare from the knee down. I decided to cut off the tags this morning and wear them to work. Well, apparently these pants were not made for my body because all day they kept sliding down my waist and I kept hiking them back up to avoid showing everyone my underwear. The pants got worse and worse as the day dragged on. My walk home was ridiculous. The pants were in surprising danger of slipping right off of me, so with one hand I carried my briefcase/bag thing and I shoved the other hand into my jacket pocket and clutched the top of my pants through the fabric of my pocket and my shirt. This meant that one side of the waist slid further and further down past my hip bone but the other side was safely secured in my grasp. This also meant that I had no free hands to stop stray hairs from blowing into my eyes and sticking to my lips. As well, a small stone managed to hop in and hitch a ride in my right shoe. If I had been wearing sandals it would have been easy to dislodge it but because I was wearing normal shoes, it seemed like far too big of a hassle to do anything about its presence. I'm certain my pants would have slipped down around my knees if I let go. I eventually made it home, pants crooked, clumps of hair in my mouth, and a distinct limp to my gait.
Before I headed to bed this evening (where I am currently typing to you), I went outside for my end-of-day breather and there were Northern Lights in the sky! I haven't seen the Northern Lights in a very long time.