Friday, January 13, 2006

He Only Eats What He's Caught...

Hi All,

Has been a very fun return to the workforce this week with much merriment and general bonhomie as Drew prepares to wed. I tell you there is surely nothing more festive and 'knees-up' exhilarating than a gay wedding - well not that I've experienced anyway. And truly the Canadians do it in style. With Drew and Dimitri due to be married this Saturday uber-funsters around the office planned a surprise 'bride-zilla' wedding party for these two fine lads on Wednesday night.

Shunning the due modesty and careful temperance typically demanded on a school night, the whole office party decamped to our manager's east van pad for red wine and 'games'. Now not to be too squeamish about it but the 'games' most often associated with the gay men I've known have rarely been fit for the standard office party - though in yet another reminder of the wonderfully progressive and enlightened nature of Canadians in general all in attendance seemed only too eager to embrace the virtues of cross dressing and leather. Hmmm there's surely something more significant in the alacrity with which so many men rush to embrace their more feminine side...probably a good PhD thesis in that.

Anyway, back to the party. As I mentioned the party was held at the Director of Medical Services' happy home...Heather is doubtless the most unusual medical manager in the whole of British Columbia having grown up as a runaway hippie in San Francisco before devoting herself to community nursing in some of the most impoverished parts of Canada and finally leading up HIV and Addiction services here in Vancouver. Everytime I drink with this woman I find myself more and more in love with her and not only because she offered me a job on the other side of the world after speaking to me for all of five minutes at a drug conference presentation! Apparently she decided that she liked me and that she wanted to work with me and so here I am a year and a half later. You can't fault that kind of simplicity in a manager's decision making and everything I've seen of her since only confirms this kind of no-nonsense let's get on with it mentality. Notwithstanding this crazy-brave instinct Heather is one of God's own proto-types, a unique individual in every sense and a great deal of fun. As I was soon to re-discover as the party games unfolded...

With our resident office admin nazi in charge of the night's games, Heather was the first to volunteer for the 'America's next top model hat parade', even supplying her own race day favourite for the occasion. Now ordinarily at these kinds of office parties in Australia, everyone groans, the usual suspects head straight for the bar while the office funsters and serial pests argue about why the game is necessary in the first place. To my great surprise, here in Canada everyone erupts in good cheer at the first hint of competition, all the while doing their best to add somehow to the ensuing good cheer. You know I'm becoming rather fond of these Canadians, you'll go a long way to find a more congenial people - perhaps only the kiwis can match them for good humour and all around insouciance.

As we all struggled to somehow manufacture some manner of millinery magnificence (ahh you like it!!) out of paper plates, streamers and toilet rolls (not as easy as it sounds mind you), Cory the aforementioned master of ceremonies abruptly announced that the rules of the game were changing and that we were now required to break into three groups and dress one of our members in full bridal regalia - surely in order to provide Drew and Dimitri with further inspiration for the big day. I think this was one of those spur of the moment 'I think I've had too much champagne' rule changes, though I'd been earlier warned not to argue with Cory, particularly in light of the fact that earlier in the day she'd been haggling with provincial health bureaucrats about VCH's projected budget only to come away with a handsome increase in much needed project dollars. Understandably she was feeling pretty chuffed as were the two executive directors in attendance and so Cory rightfully enough had the run of the party - her choices, her rules! Best not to argue with a manager who's just screwed dollars out of the tightest of fiscal coffers (Cameron's rule for living number 417!).

Naturally enough this is where the cross dressing comes in - again we had no shortage of young men eager to play the bride as we all scurried around the house trying to find props and costumes that might suit the occasion. Heather was the first to suggest removing the curtains from the kitchen windows in an attempt to fashion some kind of bridal veil. Again I was pretty impressed with her improvisational elan though her long suffering husband appeared less impressed. He repaired to the kitchen to fill his wine glass, and being a touch parched myself with all the festivities, I decided to join him in a tipple, safely removed from the maddening scrum forming in the lounge-room.

Now Neil is about as different in mood and temperament from Heather as it is possible to imagine. I was curious to discover how the two fit together so well despite the apparent differences in personality. I'd not met Neil before so I introduced myself as we shared a glass of red. Heather soon joined us and I quickly discovered that each shares the same generous and sincere sense of humour, patently the source of their amiable companionship. Each shares a full-bodied laugh that is as infectious as any I've had the pleasure of sharing and I was soon guffawing along with them as Neil shared some of his recent hunting experiences. Upon confirming that I was vegetarian (the reason apparently that Heather has not had Andrea and I over for dinner) Neil couldn't help himself in going into some detail with his recent trip hunting up north. And it was here that I was treated to the line of the night.

By way of preface, Heather felt it necessary to warn me about Neil that 'he never eats anything bought, only what he's shot, or what he caught!'. Heather delivered this surely rehearsed line with such icy panache, such dead-eyed cool humour that I immediately erupted in the most hearty of thigh-slapping, belly aching, party-stopping effusions of laughter. Heather and Neil of course shared the joke as we each collapsed in hysterics. I swear I've not laughed so hard in many a moon. Neil kept the joke running as he added that he had a 'couple of caribou running around in the back yard, we can go out and fire off a few rounds if you like just for fun!'. Fearing my manhood might be impugned I wasn't quite sure how to respond. Heather answered for me adding that perhaps I'd prefer to see the ducks curing in the basement - the prize catch of a recent shooting trip. All this was delivered with much friendly good cheer as I politely demurred, noting that we vegetarians generally prefer our feathered friends breathing. Heather called me a pussy and refilled my wine glass instead. Comrades my sides are still aching from all the laughing. What fun.

A fantastic way to return to work and a wonderful way to get to know some of my colleagues a little better. It was the most bizarre work party I've ever been to - I can't wait for the next one!

I hope all is well!



At 5:00 AM , Blogger hell said...

we like our monkeys breathing too.


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