Thursday, March 13, 2008

Meeting the neighbours

Today's the day! We're going over to the neighbours tonight, at 8:30 p.m., to crash their book club and *hopefully* make new friends.
For some reason I'm placing a lot of importance on this event—-I canceled plans with a friend I haven't seen in months and I'm now basically counting the hours.
Admittedly, I don't have much of a social life and I love things that are free. But here's one more attractive quality of tonights rendez-vous: it's next door!
One thing I love about living in a small town is that everything is either really close, or unthinkably far (as in, you need a car to get there). From Molokai, to rural Japan, to ski resorts in B.C...I've always found a comfortable vibrancy in communities that have barely enough entertainment venues to sustain a night life.
With slim pickins', we're forced to frequent shadey bars and sketchy taverns, make buddies with locals (albeit sometimes out of fear), open up to happy hour regulars, and generally believe deeply in our own basic need to socialize...cause there ain't no In Da Clubs Columnist telling us this is the place to be.
It's in these same small towns that I've had the best relationships with my neighbours.
Nowhere was this more true than in Whitecroft, B.C., a little hamlet at the base of Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops.
The place is all of one mile around. No CBC coverage. Nothing in the way of commercial enterprises (though I think one failed condo development is now being used as a Bed and Breakfast).
There were more dogs than people, and both ran wild.
Packs of canines ran and howled through the night.
Gangs of ski bums wandered in search of weed.
And if you had a fire in your backyard --generally big strips of land leading into the centre of 'town'--be prepared for every Whitecroftian to show up.
Toilet paper was sometimes an issue, but the general consensus was 'the more, the merrier.'
It was also seen as a way to move the action off the hill, the mountain resort that paid our bills--barely--and then took us for what little remained via food and booze. Besides, moving up and down the mountain was always a drag. Better to lose a couple cheap cans to overly-familiar neighbours than to pay three times as much to party ... especially when you know your boss is reaping the benefits of your hangover.
I shouldn't say boss. Employer.
My boss was all about the in-house parties, organizing monthly potlucks for our department that were the talk of the town.
I remember clearly when he first gave me the low-down on these events. Rob, the lift operations manager, sort of took me under his wing, we'd gone to the same Ski Resort Ops college, and I was asking him safe, well-informed questions about schedules and visitor demographics. But I think he saw right through me: I wanted the low-down.
He told me they're always a riot, a great way to get to know people and rock it out in our snowpants.
And what a rockin good time they were! Outsiders vied for opportunities to stop by; word spread fast about locations; the 'what would you bring to a potluck' question became a stock question for new recruits.
To tell you the truth, I'm a bit sick of potlucks now.
I just want some easy-to-follow directions to a social outing, and a place to borrow an egg if I get half-way through a recipe. But you never know, with this weeks run-in with the white teeth (see former post), maybe karma is on my side and I will have a fortunate, fated encounter ce soir.
So I'm probably idealizing tonight's event, but I'm still excited. Just an hour and a half to go...

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