Welcome to the year 1993, ladies and gentlemen.
It was during this time that the years started running together for me, folks. It was my second year with Patricia. I continued to walk to work every day, mocking the people who had to drive back and forth (which I do now; the irony is not lost on me). My apartment began to seem small, what with Patricia coming over so much. I continued to swing on my hammock when Patricia wasn't.
Come mid-year, I applied for a job with the provincial civil service. By late July, the 23rd I think it was, I got a job offer and accepted it. I still work for the province, so I will reserve comment on whether it was ultimately a good idea or not. When I retire on December 1st, 2018, I will answer that question. Hold me to it.
At any rate, I resigned from my old company and had my last day on a Friday. The following Monday morning, I reported to work for the province. That's what I do with any job, by the way. I finish one job on a Friday and start first thing on Monday morning at the new one.
Getting used to the government way of doing things after years of the supposedly "lean and mean" private sector proved to be an initial challenge, but I got used to it. Let's wait until 2018 before I say more, OK?
That Fall, I finally met Patricia's father, after nearly 2 years of seeing her. The reasons for this are many and varied and best not discussed here.
I'm pretty sure it was 1993 when I ended up driving Patricia to a funeral in Pictou County, where she's from. Her car wasn't working and she didn't want to drive my behemoth vehicle. I agreed to take her but not to go to the funeral. She agreed to buy me supper.
She kept her promise. Her parents lived off the old main highway, long since supplanted by the new Trans Canada highway. When the new highway went up, many old businesses languished, including this restaurant she took me to. It was an Irving Big Stop-type place. One item on the menu intrigued me. It was a hamburger made from an entire pound of ground beef, plus a mound of fries. I pointed to that and said, "Gimme!"
Remember that old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it"? Well, I got it that day. The burger was easily the biggest thing I'd seen up to that point in my life, and likely in all the years since. And the fries! I swear, it was nearly a full bag of frozen french fries that were cooked up and piled on my plate, along with gravy.
I ate all I could, until I thought I would burst, and then crammed a few more morsels into parts of my mouth that don't normally experience food. Finally, in sheer desperation, I took a fork and pushed a few more fries into my pie hole, all the while praying that it wouldn't be the "one more wafer" that would cause me to explode.
Patricia paid the bill and then helped me to the car. Once inside, I coughed, and six fries hit the dashboard. I cried tears of gravy. The ride back to Halifax was a grease-soaked, ketchup-and-mustard-besotted nightmare. Getting to bed that night was only a partial balm for the pain in my expanding guts.
That was many years ago, ladies and gentlemen. The restaurant is long gone. But I am pretty sure that pieces of that burger are still lodged in my colon, waiting to come out when they're good and ready, when I least expect it.
Isn't that a pretty mental picture? Sorry!
Christmas of 1993 was a special one for me. My uncle Harry came over to be with us. He had just lost his wife a few months earlier. We had decided to invite him over, and he agreed. It was a good meal. Harry and I had a bit of time to ourselves to talk. He parted Christmas night and went home.
New Year's Eve, 1993, Dad went over to Harry's house and couldn't get him to come to the door, despite how much he knocked. He walked around to the window that allowed him to look into the living room. That's when he saw his brother sitting on the couch, dead.
Harry and his wife had scrimped and saved their whole lives. Their one child had long since moved out. After his death, she and her husband went through the house and eventually found thousands of dollars, which they promptly pissed away on things that her parents would never have allowed themselves to have.
The lesson I learned from that is that, when it's my time to go, I intend to go, broke. I want the final cheque to the funeral home to bounce. If I have anyone in my life who gives a crap about me, I will give them things while I am still alive so that I can see the look of delight on their faces, and not have them fight over my things after I'm gone. I certainly won't leave behind a large estate for people to fight and claw over. Frig 'em, I say.
1993 was an up and down year. I said goodbye to one job and hello to another. I met Patricia's father. I ate too much. It was all preparation for 1994, and I will tell you about that tomorrow.
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