Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wednesday was a fun day. Ian, Vic and I met up with Diana, Drew and Joanne for a dinner at FigMint. The menu had some new items we wanted to try out. The food was, of course, fantastic. The chef, Lee Humphries came out for a quick hello and later he sent up these deep fried shrimp appetizers in shooters of dip for us to sample. Mouth watering!

Afterwards we headed over to the ANZA Club for quiz night. It was a packed room and everyone was psyched up for the game. This was my first time at this event and I was surprised at how many people I knew. Riel's brother Jesse was there with friends, my sister's roommate Susan and her boyfriend, cartoonist James Lloyd (who didn't hear me when I called out to him as he arrived and then at some point got this weird notion into his head that I was snubbing him! James!). The clerk from the local bookstore was there, some regulars from RX Comics, and many improv and comedy folks, including Eric who we thanked profusely for burning us a copy of the Doctor Who season 2 finale episodes. And Diana brought her dog Pender along who was a total hit with everyone. It was so cool being in that environment, everyone hanging out, having pitchers, playing pool or darts... and that distinct feeling of "this is my neighborhood, I'm not just visiting here". I've never experienced that before and it was so darned neat.

And then a group came in decked out in matching outfits: bright orange hard-hats and matching safety vests with the name of some construction crew or something like that on them. They were already pretty buzzed, very vocal and... well, annoying as hell.

We were very patient with these folks, we all wanted to have a good time and they seemed to have their team spirit locked and loaded but it was a challenge ignoring some of their more blatant ploys with ladies who were clearly spoken for, their heckling during the quiz (including a few declarations of their Surrey pride) and finally a couple of incidents that, as expected, quickly escalated into unpleasant territory.

After feasting on the pizza they had ordered in, their eyes glued to the silenced TV screen in the corner playing the Canucks/Calgary game (occasionally breaking their thousand yard stares to yell "FOUR DEUCE!"), one of the guys shambled up to the mic during the round break and attempted a hip hop riff. A few people asked him to stop and he became angry that he didn't get to use the "communal microphone" like the Quiz master got to.

As this argument snowballed into something greater involving the hairstyle of one of Diana's friends, another guy decided to "crop dust" near and around our tables (this after he offered Pender an unlit cigarette as a joke prompting me to call out a loud warning he didn't hear). The table over commented on the stench and then another argument started up. This one resulted in said farter smacking a guy who was seated in the back of the head.

People in the immediate area started standing (I noticed James practically bolt across the room ready to defend) and those seated all groaned at these asshole's antics spoiling everyone's fun. Pender, the sweetest, most gentle Lab you'll ever hope to meet let out a little bark and stood ready to protect his charges which shocked Diana and Drew.

The wrecking crew were ready for this to become an out and out brawl but thankfully the crowd were way more level headed than that. They started calling out for them to go home, the standees herded the offenders out the door without a punch, a lot of yelling but no punches. Their remaining buddies, a stocky guy in a toque and his leathery, forty-something friend with a THRASHER t-shirt under his faded hoodie and safety vest, a skateboard held defensively in one hand, tried to argue against the eviction. They seemed to hold the position that since their friend got dissed it was perfectly okay to deliver a physical response.

They exited leaving one member of their team, a woman who seemed indifferent to it all, to answer the rest of the quiz. A few minutes went by and everything seemed back to normal when Skater Boi and Toque Head returned to argue again. It was like coming back from an argument twenty minutes later saying "and another thing!" Again, the room was on their feet.

Our table was closest to the entrance staircase and my sister was right at the edge of it all so I got up along with Ian and the other herders there and stood in the way of them coming back in. We didn't fight, Ian and I focused on Toque Head while the others dealt with the mid-life crisis that was the thrasher, telling him that their actions were disruptive and they needed to go home and sleep it off, try again another night. We only wanted to have a good time and they were perfectly welcome to come back when they were ready to do the same.

And it actually worked. It took a while but they gave it up and left.

When we were all finally settled down to continue the game I saw Marjorie looking at me stunned. "I can't believe you stood up to that guy! Holy cow!" and then I saw Vic give me a similar look.

"What? The guy was being a dick."

"You did the mom thing again" and Vic put her hands on her hips and made an indignant mom face "'Now you listen here!'"

"I did, didn't I?"

Our mom was notorious for standing down a 6 foot giant of a drunk with a knife in the hospital she worked in many years back. The man had become violent and holed himself up in the women's washroom. There were police outside waiting for backup trying to evacuate the area of patients and mom, fed up with the fuss just walked in there and literally mom-guilted the guy into submission by telling him he was being a big selfish ninny for creating all this chaos and that he should put down his knife and go and get treated for the cut he was brought in for. And he did.

Runs in the family I guess.

And it wasn't like there wasn't a room full of people ready to help out. It was that kind of room.

We finally got back to the quiz, and when the night was done our team walked away with a cute lil' trophy for first place. Woooo!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your Win, Pia.

You and Ian did a great job of talking Toque guy down, which meant I didn't have to rush in at the last second and get hit on the head and black out (What can I say? I learned my fighting skills from Giles).

Pia Guerra said...

The good thing about being short is that it's easier to duck.

Just ask Wolverine.