On Sunday mornings, I start my work day at 5am. It’s not pleasant, and I generally give my alarm clock a solid stink-eye before hitting snooze. I work in a kitchen, so the good news is that I don’t have to look attractive. And don’t worry, I don’t. The trick to sleeping in as long as possible is to have everything ready and laid out the night before–coffee timer set, lunch made etc. It also means going to bed at 8pm on most Saturday nights. This doesn’t bother me too much, but for the sake of a well lived life, one must occasionally splash out and sacrifice a good night’s sleep. This morning, my twenty-year-old coworker came to work after leaving the bar after two am. Her smoky makeup was spreading like pancake batter, and though she was genuinely high-spirited as the day began,her energy was naturally dwindling as the day progressed. Occasionally she would pipe up with humorous descriptions of people she met, and hilarious situations she and all her friends encountered. Her stories reminded me of my booze soaked university years. Make no bones about it, I have been reckless, shameless and totally fabulous. Lost in my work- making salsa- I couldn’t help but string together a montage of my younger years. Dancing like nobody was watching, drinking to excess, flirting, laughing, devouring those delicious hotdogs they sell outside the bar…I once danced so enthusiastically to the theme of ‘Footloose’ that I fell off the speaker, pulling my friend Margaret down with me. We landed on the filthy, sticky floor, and without missing a beat, bounced back up and kept dancing. I once slapped a guy in the face after he grabbed my friend’s ass, and the strobe lights caught the fake diamonds on my cocktail ring and reflected scandalously as I swung my arm to deck him. And it was no drama to pass out with your make up on, and get up mere hours later for work or class, youth is fleeting but while it’s on your side, you can really drive it like it’s stolen.
Last night when my brother came over for dinner, he brought some boxes of books. After he left, I couldn’t resist pawing through them. There were old photos and mortifying journals from high school, and I couldn’t help but simultaneously chuckle and shudder (chudder? shuckle?) at the image of my fresh face–totally oblivious to consequence. While those days are long gone, and the melted sequences of drunken stupors have faded, I sort of miss that unabashed hilarity of being a dumb kid. It occurred to me that I have not been anywhere near a bar or dance floor since I lived in New Zealand, and we met with friends after an All-Blacks Game… in June 2010. Yikes. As my co-worker was out there somewhere, getting ready for a memorable night she won’t quite remember, my husband and I entertained our guests with soft jazz on the CBC 2, and four rousing rounds of Jenga , before ushering them out the door shortly after nine so I could get a solid sleep. It’s not wild, but it’s comfortable, and I’m at peace with that. But while I understand that time marches on, children grow into adults and society states that good behavior is paramount, I’d like the think there is a crouching tiger inside of me, ready to pounce and lash out on the dance floor, and lose myself in the music. Maybe some night I’ll awaken the beast, and see if they still make those tasty, tasty hot dogs.