Sunday, February 8, 2009

On living rurally

It was my husband’s birthday this week. We celebrated this Saturday with dinner out and tickets to a Matt Minglewood show.

Living rurally, this took quite some planning on our part. The fact that we’re old meant we had even more planning to do. Because we’re living so far from any major (or minor) metropolis, our entertainment budget hasn’t really been dipped into very much over the last 3 months. So this was gonna cost a little more, but we were going for a celebration of blow-out proportions.

I don’t think we really meant it.

A few weeks ago, imagining all sorts of shenanigans we would be getting up to, we purchased our tickets to the Minglewood show and the planning began. We would both drink to excess together. Normally we would have to take turns being the designated driver if we wanted to involve alcohol in our evening. This doesn’t hold much appeal for us, so we’ve never really done it. We miss alcohol. So this Saturday we planed to be reunited with it in style.

Now this event began at 9:30pm according to the tickets. I’m not ashamed to say that 9:30pm is my bedtime. Settle down with a book and read until you fall asleep time. Not drinking and cavorting time.

So, we had an afternoon nap. No way could I have made it without one. All part of the plan.

In order to drink to excess, we would have to figure out how to get to the venue. We could certainly drive there, but how would we get home? And how would we get back to get our car? Would the car still be there the next morning? We’re city people, you see. We haven’t got a clue how to manage many aspects of rural living. Another time, let me tell you about septic systems. But not right now.

We settled on calling a taxi. We called ahead to see how much it would be to get us to the big event. We carefully explained to the 12 year old girl who answered the phone at the taxi company, what our address was and where we wanted to go. In a voice reminiscent of any self-respecting valley-girl, she assured us that it would be less than 10 dollars. Thanking our lucky stars, we ordered one for that night at 7pm.

Well, the meter hit ten dollars in less than five minutes from the house. It’s a 30-minute drive to the venue. We watched with dread as the meter ticked over five cents every second or so. We cursed that 12-year-old girl silently as the meter ticked, and ticked, and ticked. We cursed ourselves for believing something that was too good to be true.

Needless to say, the travel portion of our entertainment budget was definitely hitting the blowout proportions. As we alighted from the car, we realised it would have been cheaper to stay overnight at a local motel.

While the event was supposed to start at 9:30pm, we alighted from the car at 7:25 pm. Also part of the plan. Due to our advanced age, it was incomprehensible that we could attend the evening’s festivities without a guarantee of a place to sit down. We’ll have dinner first, we said to each other. When we finish dinner, we’ll start renewing our relationship with alcohol. The time will fly!

The time did not fly. Dinner came five minutes after we ordered it. We were finished eating by 7:45pm!

So we started drinking. It was one of those nights where you just could not get a buzz on. But we kept on trying. We're troopers like that.

At 9:15pm, you could feel the excitement building. I could also feel my head pounding. I was developing a hangover before I finished drinking. This was all my idea, I was responsible for the blowout. It was a lot of pressure! The clocked clicked slowly past 9:30pm. No Matt Minglewood. 9:45pm…nope, nothing. Surely he’ll be here by 10:00pm? 10:00pm came and went, no Mr. Minglewood. We’re nearly asleep in our drinks by this time. We’re starting to get pretty cranky, I gotta admit it.

Finally, the star of the show arrives at 10:15pm and he’s on the stage by 10:30pm. All the waiting was worth it. We got our money’s worth from his first song. He rocked the joint.

By this time, I’m getting into the swing of things. I’m enjoying the social aspect of the night. I’m talking to fellow patrons, making new smoking buddies. Smiling and nodding politely to the excessively drunk and effusively loud ones. When the police arrived to take another fellow patron away in handcuffs, I was delighted. Oh, the excitement.

But alas, I did not have the staying power. As the clock ticked past midnight, and my coach turned back into a pumpkin, my head continued to pound. Somewhere around 12:30am, I knew I was beat. Defeated. I had only wanted to hear Mr. Minglewood play one certain song. I realised that he wasn’t going to play it until the very end, and I was going to miss it.

With resignation that this was the reality of growing older, we tried to call a taxi. This began another interesting portion of the evening. Taxi companies don’t seem to answer their phone at 12:45am on a Saturday night. I was starting to get concerned. A sweet waitress even held one outside for us. But my husband chose that moment to go to the bathroom and someone stole our ride from us.

We chose another strategy. We would wait outside and ask the next cab that pulled up to radio one for us. These taxi drivers have been working bar closing time for years, you could tell. Their strategy was to just nod and smile politely.

Finally, the impossible happened and the same driver that dropped us off, pulled up and offered to take us back home. We were eternally grateful. Our conversation with Barry the taxi driver was one of the highlights of the night. He was lovely.

Finally, many expensive lessons learned, we were back at home.

We had a good night. We really did. But it was such a hassle, I don’t think it’s something we would really do again. Not via taxi and not three hours before the main event anyway. We need to learn how to socialise rural-style.

Seems to me, a lot of the problem and expense was in trying to accommodate our reunion with alcohol.

We could probably eliminate alcohol from future events.

But I don’t think we really mean that.


  1. Why not just do your pre-drinking at home and take a flask to the event?

    But, transportation. Hmmmmm. 'Tis a dilemma. :)

  2. Is there a service that will drive your car home for you? There's a service like that here. If not, maybe you could start one. :)

  3. This is Kim saying, oh the hell of growing old. As you know, I go to school and when I finish for the day, mostly I just want to go home and have a nap. I don't drink much, so when I opened the large bottle of rum last year that I had in my possession for almost 15 was that stuff potent! I gave most of it to my computer guy as a bribe to come fix my computer (I'm no longer speaking to him). A shot of that rum was enough to get you drunk, believe you me!

  4. Charlene

    While the booze itself was quite expensive, it only added up to one third of our blowout budget. It was the taxi's that killed us. Having conferred with other rural folks, they tell me that about $35 each way (plus tip) isn't that bad. But it was still a shock to our system. You must remember that we have socialised at the bowling club for the last 10 years. Drink is cheap and we had two cars to manoeuvre the whole transportation issue. I admit, we were spoiled. Perhaps we should buy another car!

    Operation bluenose or Rudolph the rednose or some such thing operates a service during the holiday season where a team of volunteers will come and drive you and your car home after a night of debauchery. Don't think I didn't look them up first thing! But alas, tis only during the festive season :( No way, no how, would I ever make my business ferrying around drunkards. They’re obnoxious (our good selves excluded of course).


    I figured out that you can leave a comment with your name. I realised how to do it after Charlene did it. You click on comments as: name/url and add your name. At least then I'll know it's you!

    Yeah, it's tought getting older. But boy, booze sure does help.