Sunday, March 18, 2007

au gré des saisons

I have been feeling "less than giddy" lately but somehow my beloved sister successfully talked me into going to the cabane à sucre with a few of her friends. As much as I wouldn’t like to take anything away from her impressive powers of persuasion, promise of endless maple syrup (perhaps) had something to do with it....

So at 2 p.m., prepped up in my Outdoor-Woodsy outfit (yes, i name my outfits... what?) , I apprehensively stepped out into the cold wind and on my way to meet my sister. Some two hours later. Now usually, despite being a true public transport kinda gal, the prospect of 120 minutes of transit accompanied by strangers with dubious social skills [ha!] would only further convince me to stay hidden between my covers. However, this time, I was going to take the train. And I love trains. I love being in the central station. I love the high ceiling, the open space, being in between destinations. It feels homely to me. I love the way trains smoothly slide across the city, from downtown to its furthest outskirts, and lazily watching as you drift off into the ether [suburbs].

By 4 o’clock sharp [4h20], i met up with her and, after frustratingly arguing & fidgeting with her new GPS device [her] & threatening to throw the damn thing out the window [me] for another 15 minutes, off went two of the most hardcore city girls I know into the untamed wilderness [Rigaud]. Two hours of jolly car-riding later, we managed to get there unscathed [startled by the creepy robotic GPS woman every 3 minutes and freaking out as we speeded through the Steepest And Narrowest Road With The Most Potholes Ever]. As we circled around looking for parking, we noticed however that the entire place was eerily deserted. In a quickly abandoned kind of way. With empty old wooden cabins scattered across the perimeter...
“What time are we suppose to meet them again?! It’s already 6 o’clock! It’s going to get dark soon!”, I calmly inquired.
“I don’t know?! They should be here now!", my sister reassuringly replied. "Oh look! There’s Audrey’s car!”
After parking the car right next to the little Echo like the expert driver that she is, my sister skillfully tried to turn the GPS off as it angrily refused à la HAL-9000, while I keenly scanned the woods for a man in a hockey mask. To further prove how paranoid I am my survival skill was on tact, I dutifully made note, as I was putting my handbag in the trunk, that there was a shovel in there, youknowjustincase. Clearly, we was made for outdoor fun, the two of us!

My sister, sensible & fearless as her dependable nature can ever tolerate, suddenly laughed out with glee as we were circling the grounds and declared, “But where the HELL is everybody?!” Grabbing onto her like dear life, with my Alert Button switched on to RAMBO, I discretely responded in the most comforting of tone, “ OH MY GOD! THIS HAS JASON VOORHEES WRITTEN ALL OVER IT!” Oddly enough, it was at that precise moment that a sweet old man with a beard that seemed to be chewed off by rabid rats & a farmer’s hat he'd found on a cadavre decided to jump out from one of the wooden cabins as if he had been watching too many B-rated slasher horror flicks, followed by two hungry feline creatures that hissed at us out of our fucking tits, and asked us where we were going. “Oh my god! Are those cats hissing at us?!..”, I courteously shouted in response.
“Est-ce que vous pouviez nous dire où se trouve la cabane à sucre, monsieur?”, my sister finally asked him, realizing that I was about to run for my life and/or kill them bastard cats, which incidentally decided to rub against my legs.
“God! What’s it doing?! Is it rubbing against my legs? It’s rubbing against my legs! Hey you! Cat! Don’t you know I hate you?”, I continued on my lovely gibberish.
“Oh, c’est pas très loin. Attendez ici, je vais vous amener”, the old farmer replied.

Instantly, my mind travelled from Friday the 13th & Pet Cemetary to Wolf Creek in the speed of light. As I turned to my sister and met two petrified bulging eyeballs, I comforted myself in knowing she was thinking the same thing. Still, as it would be most impolite [and insane] to start running for the hills, we decided it would be best to hide our fear and waited while he harnessed two ginormous Canadian horses to a wooden carriage.
“Are there blood stains on the horses?”, I caught myself asking aloud.
“Can you run?”, my sister abruptly turned to me. She was smiling in that Scared Shitless way she has.
“Oh hell yeah, I can run, but… what? You want me to leave you behind?”
“Just make sure you can run, okay?! [insert maniacal Lost-Her-Mind laugh]".
As I was [actually] contemplating if i could make it by running back to the car, finding a way to open the trunk, getting the shovel and coming back in time to save my sister, the Creepy-Wolf-Creek-in-Rigaud Farmer stormed out as if he was triumphantly riding Hades' carriage. At his suspiciously kind behest, we nervoulsy hopped in.

During the few interminable minutes of the ride, which involved small talks [him - “Vous venez d'où, memzelles (are you far from safety)?”, “Vous êtes toutes seules (will anyone come looking for you as I rip out your lungs)?”], noting that we were at least going slowly enough to jump off & run for the hills if need be [me], grinning in what can only be described as utter & complete fear [sister], I casually asked him whether there were lots of people working today. Confused and slightly suspicious (?), he distractingly whispered “Non, pas vraiment...”. *Alert Button goes off the charts* As we were about to put our escape plan into gear, the carriage suddenly came to a halt in front of what looked like the dinner hall. He got off first and stood by the gate.

To help us get down.
Like a real friendly gentleman.

Feeling a little silly indeed, we graciously thanked him for his utmost kindness. And then ran inside.

Much to our relief, all my sister’s friends were already there (and not in fact ripped to shreds nor pinned up to a wooden stick) patiently [drunkenly] waiting for us. We told them how we had arrived "in style" [as oppose to "insanely"], and much eating & drinking ensued. Soon, the only impending danger facing us was the explosion of our stomach as pea soup, homemade breads, sausages, mashed potato, ham with maple syrup, eggs, and oreilles de criss [fried pig skins] quickly filled our bellies. It was like a massive Celebratory Breakfast For Being In The Glorious Woods with no adults to say 'no more'. And lots of wine. Obviously.

As dessert was coming up soon, we all firmly believed that [embarrassing] dancing would burn off the calories & make room for the traditional sugar pies and crêpes.

Of which I had six.

The night cannot be over however without the epitome of the sugar shack experience [the main reason why I dragged my sorry ass out of bed], so as soon as the chansonnier* announced that the Maple Taffy was ready, we clumsily (and drunkenly) ran outside to get in line, just like we used to do when we were 10 years old. Mmm, good times.

Yes, it all looks like a game of Write Your Name In The Snow from your younger mischievous days**, but it's really hot maple sap poured onto [what we all delusionally hope is] fresh snow. As it hardens up, you quickly twirl as much of it as you can around a popsicle stick, much like in this most expert of ways:

And then, when you have successfully created a lolly without getting maple all over yourself and become thus a life size maple stick (very dangerous, especially around drunken hungry gluttons - trust me, i know...), you simply suck on it 'til all self-respect is lost! Yeah!

High on sugar, we merrily popped by the General Store where many a-maple syrup goodies are neatly packaged and ready for consumerist use. My sister bought two jars of syrup while I got me some dark chocolate filled with maple sugar***. I would have bought that entire basket too, but alas, am also very poor.

All in all, i was glad i went. Even though it involved trying to be "sociable" and "friendly" to people i've never met (eventhough most of them were indeed quite nice, albeit slightly scary, what with the horde of stray cats and vapid killer eyes to their general impression...)

So, lesson of the day: psychotic murdererous scare & massive amount of sugar increase mood. You read it here first.

*Yes, a real one! With the curly country hair, plad shirt, brown suspenders and even coureurs-des-bois boot! Get it?...ahaha... okay. Carry on.

** Which i sincerely implore, for everyone's involved well-being, to not play during -15C conditions. One would think this is obvious, wouldn't it? Not so, blog world, not so...

*** T'is but a shameful marketing tactic, to drug one up on sugar before the shoppig spree, i know. But, eh, who's complaning? Not I.


Pomgirl said...

Yummy yummy yum yum......

Apart from the scary dude, of course!

Chris said...

What an insanely good story.

I can't imagine any concatenation of events that could manhandle my life into anything approaching this.

Most of my stories involve buses.

Is Canada kind of uncivilised then? I only ask out of curiosity, not out of any desire to offend, you understand.


vapidly vibrant said...

Ahahaha!...Um, neuroticism and/or paranoia helps, Mister Chris. Although your bus & custom stories don't have anything to envy about ;). Très amusing.

Oh, and it is only "uncivilised" outside of the big cities. At least, that's what the only radio line from the main igloo around here tells us :P.