Saturday, January 30, 2010

The freaks come out at night

Have you ever seen a highway chase video?  My story has nothing incredible and does not compare to most high speed chases seen on YouTube or on television's Caught on Tape: High Speed Car Chases.  However; it qualifies for the "Wonderful things which only happen to Miss IPP" list.

In September 2008, I met a gentleman on a terrace.  Let's call him Matt because that's not his real name.  Matt appeared to be a very sweet and caring guy on our first dates; walking me back to my car and opening doors for me.  He even helped me paint my bathroom!  We listened to music, we laughed a lot.  Shortly after a month, I knew this guy was not for me.  He didn't exactly give me butterflies, his best girl was Marijeanne and that's a turn off for me.  I also thought he seemed to be giving me a bit of the cold shoulder for no appearant reason.  We were still seeing each other when he told me that he was a bit more distant because he was "expecting a girl to arrive in Montreal".  (My cue to leave).

The story he tells me is that their parents have arranged for her to come to Montreal live with him so she may study and get to know him in hopes of creating a couple out of the two.  The fact that I believed him or not is irrelevant.  The guy gets a gold star for thinking it up.  I have heard a lot of bullpoop stories in my life, but this is creative.  I also enjoy stories like these because it reassures me: THANK YOU for giving me yet another reason why I should no longer see you!

A month goes by and he still contacts me from time to time.  He tells me she has arrived and he doesn't love her; it won't happen.  Good for him. I don't really care.  He claims it's me he's thinking about.  Now Matt's gotta a point - why wouldn't he think of me?  But fact of the matter is, I am no fool and the sweet talk does not quite work for me this time.  He tells me I should apologize to him for ignoring him in the last month or so.  I put this together: "In order to receive your forgiveness, you will have a beautiful floral arrangement delivered to me.  I deserve nothing less.  I have a preference for daisies.  Multicolored daisies".  And I mean every word of it.  The following day, I am sitting at my desk and our receptionist brings me a really nice bouquet of multicolored daisies.  Miss IPP rocks, baby.

A colleague asks if they are from a secret admirer or "what I did to deserve the flowers".  If looks could kill, she would have taken a bullet to the shoulder (brachial nerve, isn't it?) to drop the knife she's holding to stab me.  Cat fight, anyone?

Over a week goes by.  I am on my Holiday vacation and I finally agree to a movie and coffee.  Before we even meet, I make clear that I am doing this almost as a favor and that nothing more than a movie and coffee should be expected out of the evening.  I have seen my movie and drank my coffee.  It's getting late and this girl wants to go home.  "Are you inviting me over?", he dares ask.  I wanna reply with "WTF?", and instead firmly answer that no, I am not.  He seems pissed, but I could not care less and, again, this is my cue to leave.  No means no.  I remind myself that this is the last time I deliberately meet with him.  I get in my car -not exactly a fast sports car- and leave.

Did I ever tell you my dad taught me how to drive?  You can get a dad to retire from the police, but you cannot get the tips and tricks out of a well-taught daughter.  (I guess that is also why I have incredible investigation skills.  LOL.  I use that a lot for work - should tell a story eventually).  I soon learned that, when driving, the car's mirrors are my best friends.  My attention and caution come right after.  I am heading east on the highway and put on my flicker to signal I am exiting.  I notice in my mirror that he also signals right.  Problem.  Matt lives approximately 20 kms east from where we are.  He has no reason to exit at the same place as I do except for one thing: he thinks he is following me home!  Oh no, you are not! is what I announce to him, speaking out loud to myself.

I look to my left and no one is in the right lane.  I am already in the exit lane by now and I swirve back in the right lane.  Matt sees me and has enough time to follow me lead. Me is not happy.  I pass the next exit and signal for the following one.  He does the same.  This time, I look at the traffic coming behind me in advance.  There is no one for a safe distance.  I move over into the exit lane and, at the last minute, swirve right back into the right lane.  There is not much traffic and he has the time to do exactly the same.  Now I am mad.  Can't he get a clue?  Doesn't he feel I want to lose him?  I look at the gas tank and she is nearly full (I know daddy - a full tank is very important!, almost as much as whitewalls.  LOL.  Only my family members will get this one).  "Ok, smart pants*.  I have plenty of time on my hands. Let's waste your time", I say out loud.
*Note from the author: the expression "smart pants" is not the one which was used.  The exact terms have been censored.

I take him for a spin across the tiniest little streets in town.  He follows me everywhere.  I drive for approximately forty-five minutes and it's approximately 1 am on December 29.  I am getting really tired of this.  In addition, I figure that, if he goes out of his mind and gets furious with me, there aren't too many witnesses around and I am being the idiot.  I am near a mall with a coffee shop opened 24 hours.  Safer.  I head there and figure I will let him know I am fully conscious I am being followed!  To do so, I spot a light post with no cars around in the middle of the parking lot and starting driving around in circles around the lamp post.  I must have circled the lamp post for 2-3 minutes and what is most scary is that he followed me all the time!  I assumed he would just get tired and leave or park the car and wait until the blood cloth left my brain.  I circle, I back up... he does the same.  I am worried someone will see us and call the cop shop.  Again, I don't want to be the idiot and now I am through with him.

How to lose a guy in the city?  I need traffic.  Where do I find traffic?  "Red light, green light, g-g-go.  Don't stop, don't pause, don't chill".  I leave the lamp post, the parking lot and head directly for the highway.  Have you ever been on Crescent Street in Montreal around 1:30 am during the Holidaze?  Traffic, here I come.  I enter the ramp for the highway and it's raining freezing rain.  The speed limit is 70.  Crazy here must be doing 120.  I do have spankin' new winter tires... for my defense!  I am on my way downtown and I am already certain he has lost my trace.  Still, I don't want to take the chance.  I see the exit for the bridge.  I signal right and take the exit.  I turn here, turn there, turn everywhere and confirm: I have lost him.  He must have continued to head downtown.  A minute later, my phone rings.  I see Matt's number and I do not pick.  He hangs up when he's redirected to my voice mail.  The phone rings again.

I decide to play innocent.  "Hello?  You have lost me?  What do you mean, you have lost me?"  He explains he was following me (he doesn't mention we drove in circles in a parking lot so I figure he was stoned and probably didn't notice).  I continue to play dumb for a minute, then I explode.  Yes, I knew he was following me and that is specifically why I didn't go home.  Since I took the exit for the bridge, I tell him I am off the island; which is not true because I took the last exit before the bridge and it gives me time to safely head back home without being followed.  I let out that he's a lunatic and tell him to leave me alone.  I didn't want him at my place then, I certinly do not want to see him ever again now.  (How do I get myself in such poop?)

I hang up the phone and arrive home.  There is not a person in sight.  There doesn't seem to be anyone in a parked car either (again, is that something only my sister, my mom and I notice?).  It's about 2 am now.  I park the car with the nose out ready to flee the scene (thank you daddy) and run inside the building, making sure the doors are safely closed behind me because at this point, I don't know what to expect from the Copycat Driver.  I enter my place, lock the door, put the alarm system on and reach for the blinds.  Fix it so you can see them and they can't see you.  I go to my computer.  He's trying to reach me on MSN.  My cell phone rings.  I receive a text message.  I am freaking out!  I know this guy, but almost all serial killers' neighbours will tell you that they "seemed like good, quiet people".  This is not exactly a reassuring thought at the moment.  God knows he could throw something through the window (see how the mind of a chronic anxious mind works?).  My phone is ringing off the hook.  He leaves messages.  "Call me back.  I just wanna come talk to you".  I am not terrified, but I am scared!

Luckily, a friend is up and online.  Pfew; company!  My online buddy tries to reassure me.  He tells me to call the cops.  It's past 2 am and I am home.  What am I going to tell them; to arrest this lunatic who keeps calling me?  Come on... I check the windows frequently and there is still no one in sight.  The charade goes on until about 3:30 in the morning when I finally send Matt a text message to tell him that all the calls he's placed and all text messages he's sent are tracked on my phone.  I can call the cops and they will have evidence of harrassment.  He begs me not to do so and promises to leave me alone.

I am unable to sleep and finally hit the sack around 7 am.  When I wake-up, it's almost time for the dinner party I have to attend.  I check my phone and he's called again, but only twice this time.  I call my sister and let her know the situation.  I tell her I actually wonder if he's parked next to my car waiting for me to come out; you know, to talk to me!  The freaks do come out at night!  I am on the phone with my sister and head out to my car.  There is no one in sight.  I am at the dinner party and I receive text messages.  It's almost flattering to see how addictive I am, but I don't contemplate that thought for long.  I send him a text message that isn't exactly gentle, but very politically correct and I inform him that I never want to hear from him again.  I got 4 quiet months before he sent me an email.

I have never seen him again.  I don't think he's as crazed and dangerous I thought he was that night, but I am glad I didn't let him come over that night.  All in MissIPP's life...

Do you have freak stories too?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bonne fête en retard Poupée!

J'ai beaucoup d'amis et d'amies.  J'ai très peu de véritables amies.  J'ai ma grande soeur qui sait me comprendre sans que je ne dise un mot.  J'ai ma Juice-Bed qui fait partie de ma vie depuis le berceau et avec qui je rêve de me bercer sur un balcon à nos vieux jours (moi avec une belle peau et elle avec ses rayons de soleil au contour des yeux?  LOL ;o). Il y a ma Glamourous Gen qui a été la complice de mes pires coups de jeune adulte et ma poussée dans le dos pour m'envoyer en l'air avec Air Canada.  Et il y a Poupée.

Cet article est en l’honneur de Poupée : mon amie MJ qui partage un bon nombre de mes joies, peines, frustrations et verres de vin, martini et autre boissons alcoolisées.  Je me dois de rédiger un article en son honneur puisque la semaine dernière, j’ai failli à notre amitié!  Poupée a vieilli d’un hiver mercredi passé et moi, occupée dans mon univers, je l’ai OUBLIÉE!  Samedi dernier, nous sommes sorties ensemble pour festoyer un peu, mais ça ne compense pas le fait que le jour J de sa fête (est-ce que ça devient le jour F?), je ne l’ai pas appelée, je ne lui ai pas envoyé de message texte et je n’ai même pas laissé de message public sur son « wall » dans Facebook.  Quelle HONTE!  J’avoue donc publiquement ma faute pour mon oubli et demande pardon à ma Poupée!

MJ et moi nous sommes connues au boulot.  En 2006, elle a joint les rangs de l’entreprise pour laquelle je travaille toujours.  Nous n’étions pas dans la même équipe, mais nous étions en collaboration sur quelques projets.  Nous avions pratiquement le même âge (j’accuse 4 mois de plus qu’elle à notre trentaine), nous étions toutes les deux célibataires (discutable pour moi, vrai pour elle), nous avions toutes les deux connu un faible pour la chair masculine basanée (j'abonde toujours en ce sens, elle est passée à un autre appel), nous habitions Montréal et nous aimions rire.

Au travail, différentes circonstances ont faites que notre amitié ne s'est pas développée très loin.  Nous étions collègues avec bien des points en commun, sans plus.  Puis un jour, elle a choisi de réorienter sa carrière et d'aller poursuivre d'autres défis.  Cependant, la veille de son départ, elle venait de me mettre en contact avec un bon ami à elle question de me faire renoncer à mon célibat.  Malgré son départ du boulot, nous allions demeurer en contact quelque temps, du moins le temps que je rencontre son ami. Même si je suis demeurée célibataire suite à cette rencontre avec le grand brummel, j'ai gagné un ami tout à fait génial et j'ai fait la découverte de l'année, j'ai nommé MJ!

Poupée c'est un bouffon.  C'est celle qui n'hésite pas à emprunter l'accent français et s'énerver les mains dans les airs pour jouer les nénettes.  C'est celle qui me fait confiance pour me partager ses secrets.  Elle, c'est une TOMBE quand on lui fait une confidence. C'est une charmeuse invétérée auprès de la gente masculine.  Elle peut tout aussi facilement racoler qu'envoyer paître le premier venu qui la frotte dans le mauvais sens du poil. Elle a la réplique facile et la langue pas souvent dans sa poche.

Poupée est demeurée longuement au téléphone avec moi un soir de blues en me disant : "C'est correct.  Je peux rester avec toi sur la ligne même si tu ne parles pas, même si tu fais juste pleurer".  Poupée, c'est le calme alors que moi je suis la tempête.  C'est celle qui se prive de donner son opinion quand elle voit que je n'ai pas encore envie de l'entendre.

Poupée a le rire facile, mais ne se moque habituellement pas de moi.  Par contre, prononcez le nom "Club Sandwich" devant elle et elle éclate de rire.  Elle va vous offrir son imitation de moi qui s'étend de tout mon long sur un plancher sale en hiver vêtue de mon manteau blanc.

C'est celle qui me fait les meilleurs Dry Martinis (shaken, not stirred!).  Un soir après le boulot, elle m'avait invitée à souper chez elle.  Un martini.  Deux martinis.  On commande une méga quantité de sushis.  Trois martinis.  Les sushis arrivent.  Quatre martini et... plus rien.  Je me réveille quelques heures plus tard, baguettes de sushi à la main.  Poupée a eu la décence de ne pas me photographier!  Elle m'apporte une couverture et je poursuis ma nuit sur son sofa jusqu'au matin.  "Tu aurais dû te voir, complètement endormie, les baguettes dans les airs".  Oui, bien sûr.  Dans la catégorie "super chic à voir", je n'en doute pas!

Avec elle j'ai partagé des cafés, des livres, de la musique, du fouinage chez Renaud-Bray, des petits-déjeuners dans le Mile-End et des moments de grande honte.

Poupée, c'est l'amie que je n'aurais jamais découverte si elle était demeurée collègue.  C'est une confidente attentive et respectueuse; une amie loyale.  C'est un bouffon et une comédienne dans l'âme.  Elle a été une des premières à me suggérer d'écrire. Poupée, c'est une personne que j'ai apprise à connaître quand j'en ai été séparée.

Pour toutes les raisons qui font de toi la Découverte que tu as été pour moi et parce que tu es une amie sincère et précieuse, BONNE FÊTE POUPÉE!

Monday, January 11, 2010

SAQ replies to "When Miss IPP Goes Shopping!"

First and foremost, thank you to my friend and reader, Dee, who sent an email to the SAQ's customer service suggesting they read my blog!  I thought that was hilarious and, well, it gave me more exposure.  Lol.  I apologize for the English readers as the reply came in French.

"Nous avons pris connaissance de l'article que vous nous avez suggéré de lire. Nous comprenons votre mécontentement concernant la situation. Nous sommes aussi conscients que vous déplorez la manière dont le gestionnaire de la succursale a réagi et non pas le fait que nous n'acceptions pas temporairement la carte de débit.  Nous sommes sincèrement désolés du déroulement de cette situation et tenons à nous excuser au nom du directeur.  Cordiales salutations,".

They thought she had written the article and that is besides my point.  I might have assumed the same thing.  Ain't it funny how monopoly allows certain companies to be so boring in their replies?  They don't care.  And I am not talking about offering me a free bottle (it would have helped) or sending me a discount coupon (not the end of the world, but they know I will have to go back to one of their stores for sure since I can only get great wines, liqueurs and strong alcohols at SAQ!).  They did not even bother asking at which location I had wasted my time.  They did not care to ask which store manager they could better train in order to help him achieve greater customer service. 

The fact that they do something or not with this specific information after obtaining it from the person who complains is not even that important.  What is important is that it would have given me the impression, and I use the term loosely, that they cared.  They obviously don't.  They apologize in the store manager's name, end of the story.  The guy will never hear about it, so why apologize in his name?  He's most likely to do it again (bad service).  Does this make me feel better about the kind of service I will receive upon my next visit?  Absolutely not.  Does it put my consumer frustration at ease?  Again, absolutely not.  It tells me that they deleted the email my friend sent and that was it.  Big whoop.

My article was about the lack of quality in their consumer care and service. I do not feel like this matter has been adressed.  They just apologized for having someone in a position he's not entirely qualified for.

En conclusion, le mandat de la SAQ est d'offrir d'excellents conseils et vin et spiritueux, et non pas d'offrir un service complet à sa clientèle.

Guess where I shall be driving to next week-end?  Ontario is less than an hour away. With cheaper prices on many bottles; LCBO, here I come!  ;o)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Star du ring... cherche camisole de force

A la fin des années '90, j'étais en couple avec un gars qui a fait de moi une spectatrice de lutte tous les lundis soirs.  Je regardais RAW IS WAR religieusement avec lui.  Je trouvais d'abord le concept insignifiant puis, comme on fait avec les téléromans, je suis devenue accroc aux histoires derrières les matchs et je voulais savoir ce qui allait arriver la semaine suivante!

Ensuite je me suis attachée à certains lutteurs... Le beau Stone Cold Steve Austin, le cinglé de Mankind avec son Mr. Socko (aussi connu comme Cactus Jack et Dude Love) qui se prenait des punaises dans le front et des blessures tellement spectaculaires.  J'ai regardé avec effroi les reportages et les hommages lors de la mort d'Owen Hart, décédé des suites d'une chute de 78 pieds pendant une pratique d'avant-spectacle.  J'ai été témoin de l'incroyable montée de Triple H et The Rock en plus des chirurgies esthétiques tellement évidentes de Chyna.  J'aimais voir Edge et Chris Jericho à l'écran.  Je n'ai habituellement pas de faible pour les blonds mais ces deux messieurs me donnaient le goût de changer d'idée.

Pour son plaisir, mon copain de l'époque prenait des cours de lutte de la School of Bumps de Marc le Grizzly et rêvait de faire de la lutte amateure. Je l'aidais dans ses exercices d'étirement et, comble du bonheur, je devais lui sacrer de bonnes claques sur la poitrine pour l'endurcir et s'habituer à bien recevoir les coups :o)  Mesdames, si vous avez un peu de rage à sortir sur votre homme, une bonne claque en angle sur son chest fait tant de bien et ne lui causera que très peu de douleur! A essayer... Avec son consentement, bien entendu.  

Dans ce temps, il s'entraînait, mais n'avait encore participé à aucun combat amateur.  Quelques années après la fin de notre relation, nous étions toujours en contact occasionnel.  À l'hiver 2005, il m'a donc invitée à aller voir lutter son personnage, Chris du Wrecking Crew, dans une salle située au sous-sol d'une église.  À ma grande surprise, il devait y avoir plus d'une centaine de personnes!  Je le trouvais très convaincant dans son rôle.  Je le trouvais très drôle dans son suit style Speedo.  Les gars donnaient quand même un excellent show!

Puis à un moment donné, le lutteur SeXXXy Eddy, qui joue un rôle de tombeur de femmes, se cherche une pitoune.  Vous savez, ces poufiasses à gros lolos que les lutteurs pavanent toujours dans le ring comme des potiches?  Il prend le micro dans le ring et annonce qu'il a trouvé sa belle de la soirée.  Je ressens une petite nervosité, mais je ne corresponds en rien au profil recherché.  Je me cramponne un peu dans le fond de ma chaise en bois.  "Une belle pitoune au chandail rose", que je l'entends dire.  OH MON DIEU, NON!  Je porte un chandail rose.  Non, non, non!  SVP, pas moi!  SVP, SVP, SVP! J'ai quasiment le goût de me lever et de parcourir la salle des yeux pour m'assurer qu'il y a une autre fille au chandail rose dans l'audience!

Trop tard.  SeXXXy Eddy me regarde avec son sourire de charmeur et se dirige vers moi en faisaint signe de me lever.  Dans ma tête, j'injure Chris et pense à ce que je pourrais lui faire comme wreckage.  Je veux le frapper, mais pas pour l'aider à s'entraîner cette fois!  Enweye la greluche, va faire ton show.  Eddy me rejoins et me glisse à l'oreille: "C'est juste un show et un spectacle.  Laisse-toi faire, je ne ferai rien de grave et tu ne seras pas blessée".  J'aquiesce.  Je me dis en mon for intérieur en pensant à mon ex: "Ah ouin, le clown?  Tu voulais rire.  Eh bien, je vais te donner tout un show!"

SeXXXy Eddy me prend par la taille et me lève vite dans ses bras.  Il me promène un peu et me refait glisser sur le ring.  Il me prend par la main et me fait faire le tour du ring pour me pavaner et m'exhiber.  J'entrevois mon ex entre deux rideaux en arrière-scène et je lui fait un doigt d'honneur puis je roule les hanches pour le reste de mon tour de piste.  SeXXXy Eddy me couche sur le ring et se couche par-dessus moi en montrant au public qu'il peut très bien remuer du bassin sur une main seulement.  Même s'il s'évertue à donner des coups de reins au dessus de moi, il ne me touche jamais et me demande si ça va.  "Ah oui" que je lui dit en me lançant carrément dans son jeu.  "Regarde-moi bien aller, le clown derrière les rideaux!", que je me dis à moi-même.  Épaules bien à plat sur le matelas, je soulève mes founes et lui rends ses coups de reins.  The crowd goes wild. La foule rit et en redemande.  J'ai l'impression que notre démonstration obscène toute habillée sans contact dure 5 minutes, mais ça dure sans doute moins de 2 en réalité.  Le lutteur me remercie d'avoir joué le jeu et m'aide à sortir du ring avant d'y livrer son combat.

Quand je regagne ma place, ma soeur, qui m'accompagnait, pleure de rire.  Elle ne se peut plus de se foutre de ma gueule!  Dès que je regagne ma place, je me remets à injurier mon ex!  "Le p'tit Chris!  Je ne peux pas croire qu'il m'a fait ça!  En tout cas, j'espère que je lui ai donné un bon show!"  Je passe 5 minutes à trembler comme une feuille et à ne pas être capable de revenir de ce qui vient de se produire.  On m'a livrée aux loups!!!

Je ne sais pas si je dois écrire dommage ou heureusement, mais j'étais encore bien ancrée dans le tapis du ring lorsque cette photo a été prise.  On n'y voit pas mon jeu de rôle.  Sur le Web, m'a participation a été décrite comme celle d'une fan "très enthousiaste" et "pas gênée du tout".  J'ai certainement passé pour folle!  Coudonc!  Si on ne vaut même pas une risée, on ne vaut pas grand chose, c'est ça?

Une fois le spectacle terminé, mon ex vient nous retrouver, ma soeur et moi.  Il n'est pas encore arrivé à mes côtés que je le traite de sale traître.  Mais son visage me laisse croire que j'ignore quelque chose. Alors que je m'attends à le voir éclater de rire, je le trouve plutôt sérieux.  Il me jure que SeXXXy Eddy n'a aucune idée de qui je suis et m'a véritablement choisie par un parfait hasard.  Mon ex n'a rien à voir dans toute cette mise en scène.  Rien!  Personne ne sait que je suis une amie de Chris du Wrecking Crew.  Je me suis retrouvée dans le ring par pure coïncidence.  Je connais celui à qui je parle.  Il ne mentirait pas à ce sujet seulement pour faire une bonne blague.

Je décante. Vous vous rappelez que je me suis déhanchée comme une danseuse à 10$ et que je faisais semblant de passer un excellent moment sous SeXXXY Eddy?  Et le gars ne sait même pas que je joue le jeu simplement pour me venger de celui que je soupçonne d'être à l'origine de ma prestation dans le ring.  Ce soir là, j'ai appris que le ridicule ne tue pas, mais qu'il donne des chaleurs et beaucoup de rougeurs!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bodyguard... or the days after January 3rd, 2009 (part 2)

It is at least 5 to 10 minutes past 3 am and my friend MJ,  and / or her male companion, have been kind enough to get my jacket at the coat check while I talk with Bodyguard.  I have no recollection of what was said at the time (yeah... makes my mom real proud!), but I do remember he asked for my phone number.  I also remember giving it to him.  He entered it in his cell phone.  We said goodbye and I left with MJ.

After a few hours of some very much needed sleep on MJ's couch, I am sitting in front of a cafe latte and breakfast at one of our usual spots.  "If he respects himself", I tell her, "he won't call me".  Come on!  Let's recap: a tipsy girl who didn't want to tell one guy off physically attacked a second guy (Really!  I clearly charged right into his chest and wrapped my arms around him) with the only intention of using him as a scapegoat.  Yes, the hour that followed the assault was quite pleasant and we assume he enjoyed my company since he asked for my number but... come on!  I would understand if he didn't call.  After all, the situation was exceptional and perhaps... just a tad strange?  I could not clearly remember what he looked like (encore une fois, c'est ma mère qui va être fière...).  I remembered he was about 5'10 because I was at a comfortable height dancing with him with my new boots on - but I didn't have to stretch on my tippy toes like when I hug my dad who is 6'1''.  The broad shoulders were definitely imprinted in my memory, as well as the silky-smooth shaved, Black skin.  But I feared I wouldn't be able to recognize him on a picture.  Nice one, Miss IPP...  I wish he would call, but try to convince myself the way I had introduced myself to him was reason enough not to call me.

In the late afternoon, I went to see the-man-of-my-dreams at the movies with my best friend: Will Smith in Seven Pounds.  I cried like a baby at the end.  Little did I know that I was often going to go to the movies in the Spring 2009.  I came home, took a hot, long bath while reading (one of my favorite things to do!) and was getting ready to read on the couch when my cell phone rang.  I did not recognize the number.  My heart started to beat a little faster.  I picked up the phone.  BODYGUARD!  He had survived my assault and called back the night after we met.  We spent three hours on the phone discussing general information about our lives: age, work, habitat, latest seen movies, siblings, etc.  We hung up the phone and had scheduled our first date for the Tuesday evening, at Starbucks.  (I find out later he doesn't drink much coffee.  I am addicted to it).

In the last hours before heading to our date, I start to be a bit nervous because I realize I am not sure what he looks like!  If there are three shaved Black men with broad shoulders at Starbucks, I am screwed!  "What are the odds?" I try to calm myself.  It is our very first date and, unusually, I am 5 to 10 minutes late.  He calls me and I reassure him I am on my way.  I think this is the only time he was on time for any of our appointments!  (LOL.  He won't be happy I wrote that but... it's still true!  Ok, I sidetracked.)  I walk into Starbucks and, oh thank you, I only see one shaved head.  And the shoulders match what my memory is telling me.  I should be safe.  I walk up to him and he recognizes me. Hurray; we have a winner!

I can assure you that I was completely sober that night, but I honestly do not remember what we talked about for the first 10-15 minutes.  I just have a very vivid recollection that, at one point early in the date, I found myself to be as giddy as a teenage girl on her first date.  Would you calm down, I have to tell myself.  It's not the first time you are in the presence of a hot man.  Because that's exactly what I am telling myself... How on Earth could I have spent over an hour dancing with him without noticing just how hot he is? (Click here and Open Link in New Tab to continue reading).  Even under the influence of alcohol...How could I have missed that?

Here I am, sitting in front of what I believe to be an absolute hunk.  The shoulders, the shaved head, the perfectly trimmed goatee... enhanced with a few white hairs (sublime), well dressed and all.  Only a few minutes in the conversation and I can tell he has a huge... vocabulary.  Wow.  I spent half a second to find a scapegoat in a club and I land this work of art?  I must have done something good!  We are kicked out of Starbucks around 11 and, freezing outdoors, we quickly say goodbye.  I get in my car and call my sister.  "OMG!!!  MÉCHANT PÉTARD!"  I still can't over the fact that I charged into this man - of all people.  Again, you go girl!

The next week-end, he has plans with his friends to celebrate and I am sick as a dog.  I call to wish him a happy birthday and we make plans to see a movie during the week.  We arrange to meet at the movie theater near my house and he is so late that I wonder if I am being stood up.  Well, no!  This is part of the learning process. Bodyguard is incredibly handsome, but rarely punctual.  Considering this is only our second date, I rank his looks at a higher spot than punctuality on my fun-o-meter, and I wait patiently.  We watch Gran Torino and we head outside to our cars.  I can tell he wants to talk, but I am freezing my onion booty (it's January!) and therefore invite him to sit in my car to continue the conversation.  "You drive standard?"  He's surprised.  "Yes, it is allowed for women, right?"  I refrain from mentioning something vulgar.  Nevertheless, Greenpeace wouldn't be happy with me.  We must have spent over an hour in my car, getting to know each other a bit more.  He goes and starts his car and we set a third date.  He doesn't even give me a dry kiss on the cheek as he wishes me goodnight.  Ok... next time, maybe?

For our third date, we see The Reader.  Not exactly halfway through the movie, I glance at my sexy chokola  and find him sleeping like a log!  Gee, I must really be impressing him!  He must truly enjoy my company (forget the movie, this is about me now!) if he falls asleep.  (Again... I find out later that this is another learning curve.  Bodyguard falls asleep very easily and rapidly when he sits down on a couch or lies on a bed).   This time, his car is the nearest so he drives me to mine and, again, we talk for over 30 minutes while my car heats up.  We agree to call each other during the week to fix another date and he wishes me goodnight, not moving an inch from the comfort of his driver's seat.  I leave, happy but confused.

I drive home thinking to myself "Why doesn't he make a move?"  Surely, he must somewhat enjoy my company or like me because he always sets up another date but yet, unlike most men I have dated before, this one does not even try to get into my pants!  During the week, I get a promotion at work and, to celebrate, I suggest we go out for drinks.  At the Whiskey Cafe, he is surprised that I drink whiskey and scotch.  He orders a beer.  I am looking good in my pinstriped suit and again, he leaves me with goodnight wishes and a smile.  We already have plans for date # 5.  More confusion, but I remind myself that I have just spent another great evening and, if anything, I had fun and enjoyed myself.

We see Defiance on our next date and then have dinner at the restaurant.  We are alone and the waiters are waiting for us to leave in order to close the place.  It's a given: he always has something to talk about and constantly inquires about my point of view; on anything and everything.  I'm thinking... this is it!  This has been a wonderful evening and, surely, I'm going to get my first kiss!  On the way home, I have to make a quick stop at my parents' house.  My mom, who knows I was out on a date with the poor fellow I savagely attacked in a bar earlier that month, inquires how it went.  "He still hasn't tried to kiss me", I pout.

On the last Friday night of January 2009, I have a girl's dinner and evening planned.  I want to leave early and meet with Bodyguard.  He has suggested we go back to Whiskey Cafe for drinks.  I like the company, I like the lounge and I like the drinks.  I decide that I have no more expectations.  I know I will spend a few nice hours and, at this point, I am just glad I am not heading home so early in the evening only to find myself going to bed with my heated sac magique.  (I figure a warm sac magique at my feet under the blankets is much sexier than going to bed with socks even if my cats are my only witnesses!).  I am sitting across the table from him sipping on my Scotch and I think to myself... MI-AOW.  Head-turning, gorgeous face when he smiles - paired with those broad shoulders, biceps that make me want to use them as my new pillows and boy, do I love to watch him leave the room!  But I have many handsome friends and if he is going to be one more, than so be it.  I have (almost) given up.

I drive back to his place.  We are sitting in my car talking (my apologies to the One Tonne Challenge).  This situation has become usual and is quite comfortable.  During the evening, however; we have discussed something new and it involves what we want and look for in a relationship.  I sense a bit of nervousness as his hands reach out to mine.  I have an outer-body experience and I see myself looking like a deer in the headlights.  Think Bambi with a dropped jaw.  He holds both my hands in his.  He tells me he is looking for a serious relationship and would like it to be with me.  He leans in and kisses me.  I faint.

:oP  Come on!  Does Miss IPP faint over a kiss?  Pfffffffffffffffff.  Hell no!  But the plot is better this way.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bodyguard... or January 3rd, 2009 (part 1)

2008 had been a fruitless year for me on the dating scene. It (almost) ended in tragedy when I (almost) called 5-0 on a guy's butt for chasing me on the highway (note to self: make that a blog story later this month) and for calling my cell phone / sending me text messages / sending messages on MSN and / or BlackBerry Messenger over 30 times in less than 3 hours. I had proof of harassment. Happy New Year to me!

So my friend MJ and I had not been out clubbing in a few months and really wanted to get our grooves on on the dance floor before going back to work in January. We decide to go out to a night club I had never been to on boul. St-Laurent, in Montreal. We arrive and it is still early so we have a few drinks and finally hit the dance floor around midnight. Quickly, my friend spots a guy whom she thinks has potential. I could not care less about men at this moment. I am here to dance my booty off 'til my new boots won't let me. Fun and dance is all I have on my mind for the night and it does not involve cruising. A year ago almost to the day.

There I was, dancing in circles :oP, when a guy approached me and asked me to join him and his friends for a drink in honor of his birthday. Well, I can appreciate a free drink and he wasn't rude, offensive or vulgar so... slowly I approached. I enjoyed my glass, chit chatted a bit and then returned to my friend MJ and my dearest dance floor.

It's already past 1 and the Birthday Boy returns. "I'd like to buy you another drink. Come with me downstairs to the lounge so we can talk", he suggests. The dance floor was where I wanted to be but, granted, I had to have his mouth an inch away from my ear to hear what he was saying. I wasn't truly eager to go, I didn't like the idea of leaving my friend (but she seemed to be happy with her newfound companion), I would only be downstairs from her and the guy was not repulsive. To the lounge we went.

I was not half done with my drink that: a) I was tipsy; b) I knew I would surely not be spending my life with the Birthday Boy; c) I knew I would certainly not be spending the night with the Birthday Boy (
c'est pas pour la vie, pis c'est pas pour la nuit non plus, le grand!). I was sipping my last sips and thinking to myself... how do I get rid of him? How do I let him down gently? (Must be the customer service in me). I hint that I want to go back to my dancing friend. We head back upstairs. With every step I take, Birthday Boy a few inches behind me, I think: "I have to lose him". But what to do? I won't hide in the ladies' room until closing time! I reach the last step and lift my head up. All I remember seeing is a pair of broad shoulders (no... broad! - think bouncer-shaped deltoids) in a blue shirt. And there was my answer. SCAPEGOAT!
(not Bodyguard shown above - but you get the idea)

I quickly looked around and he did not have a girl to his arm. He wasn't particularly physically close to anyone and so I tackled him. I literally bumped straight into his chest, wrapped my right arm around his torso and grabbed his right hand in my left one and quickly begged: "Can you please dance with me... Please?" I don't know if it was the desperation in my eyes or because I hadn't given him any time or, even better, any other option but to dance with me. "Hummm... right. Sure", is basically what he replied to my aggression. When I bumped right into his chest and wrapped my arms around him, it did not matter what he looked like or how old he was. I did not check him out; did not even think twice or wonder if he was my type or not. That was not the point. The idea was not to find a hot thang to flirt with. I needed to escape the Birthday Boy! I had found this lovely pair of shoulders as my rescue team. You go, girl!

Then it dawned on me. What if he is at the club with his girlfriend, whom has possibly gone to the washroom, will come back only to find me wrapped around her man?!? I could get slapped across the back of the head just because I was in desperate need of a way out! Quick! "Are you here with your girlfriend?" He giggles. Good, I look like a moron. "No! I would not have let you do this if I were". Pfew. What if he is on a date? He isn't. He assures me that he is alone, out with a male buddy. Fine. I can now breathe easily. I thank him for allowing me to jump on him and for accepting to dance with me. I try to justify myself by letting him know that I usually don't physically harass men in bars (Good God... what have I done?) and I try to explain that I am running away from a guy that I really don't want anything to do with; a guy who is a bit more persistent than I want him to be. Again, although the level of alcohol in my blood is sufficient for me to know that I will certainly not be driving home, I have a moment of clarity. I physically attacked an innocent man, chose him as my instant bodyguard, and now I am trying to explain how he is saving me from another guy. Now how sweet is that? Who will save him from me is probably what he's wondering right this minute! A nutcase attacked him in the attempt to repulse another man. How attractive is that for a single man?

By some miracle, Birthday Boy has found me. He grabs me by the arm and invites me to follow him for more drinks with his friends. Oh, Birthday Boy, THANK YOU! Thank you for proving to Bodyguard that I truly attacked him for a safety purpose and not for my own naughty-single-gal-out-on-the-town agenda! Bodyguard does not say a word, but does not seem impressed with Bday Boy's behavior. I do not let go of the torso I have come to appreciate in the last three minutes and inform Birthday Boy, as he can see; that I am already dancing with someone and it would be rude of me to just drop my dancing bouncer for drinks with another man. Bday Boy turns around and leaves. I dance with Bodyguard some more. Ten minutes later, I put a dry, but very appreciative, kiss on his shaved head. We dance until closing time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

When Miss IPP goes shopping!

My first job was as a salesgirl in a kids' clothing store. I was 16 years old. Then I started as a CSR ("Customer Service Representative") working for Budget Rent-A-Car at the Montreal Airport. That followed by working as a cashier for the Airport Improvement Fees (a.k.a. the worst job EVER), then as an esthetician in a beauty salon and, finally, doing what I have been doing now for almost 10 years with the same company.

I currently am "Director of Public and Consumer Relations". The public relations part is fairly recent and, although I love what I do, it is still new to me and my story today mostly concerns the second portion: consumer relations or, for lack of a better expression; customer service.

I have been doing customer service all of my professional life (read above for proof). My professional life is resumed with one expression: serving people. Honestly, I have done other tasks in my work life and, although I am not usually one to toot her own horn, I know this is what I shine at. I have basically been doing customer service for half my life. I therefore have high expectations. Or... not really. I am very appreciative of great service. On the other hand, when something goes out of whack, this Customer is unhappy!

It's New Year's Eve and I am going to my mom's cousin's for dinner and then to my best friend's house for the late party. I needed at least two bottles of wine and so to the liquor store I went (communément appelée la SAQ). I arrive at the first location and go through the outside doors. I find myself reading a posting on the inside doors which goes: CASH and CREDIT ONLY. The store manager, who obviously noticed the question mark on my gorgeous pasty-white face (hey, if I don't compliment myself, who will?), peeks in and repeats what I just read on the door. "So..., no debit?", I ask, trying to make sure I am getting this right (the Holidays have been kinda rough on me and emptying my grandma's appartment made me a tad emotional. I feel in a little bit of a haze so I wanna make sure I clearly get the message). "No, no debit cards", he answers. Well, darn. I'm a debit kinda girl and I don't do credit cards! Back to the car I go and I think to myself: "Should I go to the bank, get money and come back or should I just drive to the other nearest location?" Nearest location it is.

I park near the second liquor store. I look on all the doors; no signs. I figure I am good to go. I walk in and I am greeted by the store manager who offers me a tasting of some white wine. I politely decline and move over to the Italian section. Or should I grab one of my favorite Australians (wine - that is)? I grab my two bottles and take my turn waiting in line for the cashes.

I wait. The store manager offers more customers a small glass of wine. He asks who is paying cash and moves them to a specific cashier. I wait some more. More customers. More wine offerings. I move over one step. "Paying cash? Right this way please", I hear him say again. This is not something unusual at this time of year. Cash transactions are much faster to complete and cashiers are often reserved for "cash only" so I am not startled. Yet. Did I mention I have my debit card in my hand? Wait another minute. Move one step further ahead. "White wine?" I have been in the store a good 15 minutes and waiting for at least 10, but I have the bottles I need and I am not the impatient type. The store manager tells a customer: "Right here if you are paying cash, this line for credit". I move forward. He notices my debit card. Now I feel somewhat impatient. "No debit?", I inquire. "No, no debit. The entire SAQ system has shut down and none of our locations are able to do debit transactions". I can now see inside my head. Two wires come closer together and, in my head, a short-circuit happens. I DEMAND better customer service!!! I hear other customers sigh and grunt.

Keeping calm (I can be very blunt, but not impolite and making a scene at any time is out of the question), I move toward the so-called store manager who has spent the last 15 minutes offering his customers a free small glass of wine. I remember the episode which happened about 40 minutes earlier at another location. "And you were not able to post a sign or something to let us know in advance instead of making us wait in line?", I tell him. "It only happened 30 minutes ago", he lets out. Whoa buddy... Wrong answer to the wrong person; I will beat you at this game, I promise. "This means, sir, that you have had 30 minutes to put up a sign!" I figured the other store manager was brilliant enough to work that out and tell his customers before they even walked into the store.

I open my recycled shopping bag and grab a first bottle, which I originally had the intention of buying. I put it in his hand. I grab the second bottle and he puts the plastic glass of wine down to grab my second bottle. "You could have put the bottles back on the shelves", he verbalizes. (Oh no, you didn't!, is what I hear inside my head. He hasn't heard a thing because I am talking to myself, but I have already warned him that I will beat him flat at this game. Can't he take a hint? Doesn't he see my eyes are loaded and ready to fire?) "Well, yes, I could have. On the other hand, you also could have put up a sign and inform your customers properly" I tell him, before putting my recycled bag back in my purse and heading out the door. He didn't risk a smart reply. Good for him.

I ended up taking with me bottles I already had at home! Nobody likes to waste time, even for a fine bottle of wine!

Happy New Year, everybody!