I live in a cold, wet place where it seems to rain for the better part of the year. We are on the cusp of June and the uncooperative weather still forces me to wear a jacket. Whenever a random sunny day makes an appearance, I like to go the one of the many parks that dot the landscape of this overly green eldritch.
Like many Vancouverites, I get on my bike and take a little ride. The only difference with me and those jogging fools in yoga pants and those spandex-clad Tour de France wannabes, is that I'm packin' 12 beers. I'm riding with very specific destinations in mind: nice parks where I can have a beer without the cops spotting me.
This town has many petty and stupid bylaws, the stupidest among them is the illegality of having a beer in a park or a bottle of wine at a picnic. Stupider still is the latest bylaw that has resulted in the banning of smoking in any city park or on any beach. These would result in stiff fines and in the case of booze, the added indignity of being forced to pour out the remainder of your booze. Too add insult to injury, dirty longhairs and their ilk fire up fat doobies with impunity in any public space only to have the cops turn a blind eye. Who's says Canada ain't run by a bunch o' fucking commies?
The weekend was almost upon us and the weather was too nice to resist the temptation of going on a little booze cruise. One problem was that I was sick of being laden like a pack mule as I rolled around town with a backpack containing 12 beers, 20 lb. bike lock, various metal working tools and the ever present rain gear. I went to a local sports shop to peruse various forms of bicycle saddle bags ( known as panniers in the industry jargon, but you can't fool me: pannier is French for a freakin' basket).
The only prerequisite I had ( other than not looking retarded) was that they had to have a high BPS factor. BPS means Beers Per Side.
My ever vigilant hillbilly sense of economics prevented me from paying an obscene amount of money, so I located some used ones for 10 bucks. Being very pleased with myself, I immediately headed out to the nearest beer store to determine the BPS factor (turns out it was 10 per side). I headed to the nearest park, weighed down by the copious quantities of beer and the low center of gravity and that's when the freak show began.
This a great spot for boozin' because there is a bench strategically place behind a hump thereby providing the perfect cover from the watchful eye of the cops. This park is unfortunately also a notorious hang out for dirty hobos, angry alcoholics, and psychotic people who mutter to themselves.
As I cracked my first beer and began calculating the beer to weight ratio of the saddle bags, I became vaguely aware of two dudes that sat on the next bench. There was much talk of bitches, hos and probation officers. I couldn't make out most of it due to the crustacean level of intelligence possessed by these baggy pants-wearing barbarians. The conversation changed gears as there was admonitions about fat cousins with guns. The head lout then asked his follower " did I show you my bullet holes?"
That's when my ears perked up. They continued with random musings about petty crimes, guns, hos and fat hos. Boss Hog then noticed me and said " Hey brother, sorry about all that I hope you haven't been listening". I told him that it was no big deal and he proceeded to ask me how my day was going and gave me one of those ubiquitous gangsta fist-bumps. When I replied that I had just gotten off work, he replied " Work?!" It seemed an alien concept to him, which is strange because it takes a lot of work to be a petty criminal or a dangerous retard.
I didn't want to seem chickenshit so I kept drinking my beer at a leisurely pace. It was akin to making rapid movements in front of a pack of dobermans, it will only make them angrier. Move slowly like nothing is happening and it will be cool. I marveled at the utter lack of articulation as I took the last guzzle from my beer can. I told my benchmates see ya and got the hell out of there real fast, to the fading sound of "bitches" and "hos".
I kept heading east towards another small park that has a pretty good view. As I cracked the beer and prepared to relax, some old guys plops his ass down at the picnic table I was sitting at. I thought for a moment that I knew him, but soon realized that I was mistaken. He then proceeded to whip out the biggest, fattest joint I had ever seen. It was huge, man. Like the size of a salami. He fired it up and gave me a surprised look when I refused to partake. " Yeah, drinkers, they never seem to smoke". He then proceed to tell me about his father's drinking prowess and pretty much the rest of his life story , all within about five minutes. There must have been crack in his weed, because I thought potheads were supposed to all mellow and fucked up. As he started a tirade about "hindus, man!" I power-gulped my beer and took off.
After a heavy-pedal sprint and running a gauntlet of dazed commuters looking for buses, I arrived at another of my favored destinations. This particular park has bathrooms, and I was reluctant to risk yet another fine by pissing in the bushes. As I made a beeline towards spartan building that would have been at home in the Gulag, I almost had a major wipe out. As I cried out "what the fuck was that " I noticed some squares scowling at me. The self-entitled breeders had thoughtlessly left their kids' plastic toys strewn all over the bike path. I wondered if the scowls were caused by my cursing, me squashing a a tonka toy, or both. As I exited the foul smelling public facilities, I found a bench and as I cracked a beer, the popping sound attracted yet more scowls from the squares. I quickly fixed the situation with a well placed " whut'r yew lookin' at ?" . They left in a huff and I was able to quietly finish my beer right around the time the cops arrived. I gave my empty to a bum and pedaled away quickly as the cops questioned him about where the rest of his beers were.
As I was getting closer to home, the crowds were thinning out and I thought that I could finally have a beer in peace. As I opened yet another beer, a bunch of dog-people approached. They had never met but began talking about each others dogs. These were some really dumb dogs. The kind of dogs that didn't have enough sense to bring the ball back, the kinds of dogs that take about 8 hours to figure out that you ain't home, the kinds of dogs that will pee right there on the spot if you yell, "Hey!". Those kinds of dogs.
I wasn't annoyed at the dogs, their running into fences or each other and the daze that that put them in was amusing me. It was the owners. They oohed and aahed at every move their oblivious dogs would make. The dogs didn't care, they were too busy trying to find the ball and shitting all over the park.
The squares idiotic and pointless conversations were beginning to annoy me, so I downed the beer and left and thought I heard someone mutter something about " Elvis".
I headed to another park, I call it Barracho park. It is a park that has these long strips of pavement for playing bocce ball. The old Italian men in the hood used to play, but they are gone now. The park is now a favorite meeting place for some local Honduran residents. It always seems to be the same twenty people and man are they drunk. I understand a bit of of Spanish, but these guys are so drunk that they ain't speaking it.
I've hung out with these guys a few times, but they were so drunk that I didn't know what they were talking about. The only time I saw people people drunker than this was at the Legion hall on Remembrance day. Now those were the drunkest people in the universe.
I waved at a couple of the guys who knew me and drank my beer as I tried ignore the cacophony. I was noticing an increase in the decibel levels, and noticed that there was fight going on. It wasn't like a TV fight, it was a hammered fight with lotsa slapping and tussling. I then realized that it was a chick who as actually whoopin' some dudes ass. She was whoopin' him good and everyone was amused( some were laughing). That is until the cops showed up. I'm not sure what happened next, I took off quick, not wanting to end up at the precinct with the hapless Barrrachos.
Maybe I'll do my next booze cruise in the forest where all I will have to contend with are bears and skunks, because that day proved to me in no uncertain terms that a man can't have a beer in park in peace and quiet. I gotta go, I think I hear sirens.