I didn’t realize that I was singing so loudly as I walked along the beach this morning until the people 50 metres ahead of me turned around to see what the noise was all about. I had my earphones in and was singing ” If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” I had thought that the light wind and the sound of the waves would overwhelm my voice but I guess I was wrong. I hoped that they didn’t think I was referring to them.
It reminded me of an incident that happened to me in 1987 in Toronto. I know the date because the Skydome was just starting construction. My wife, Barb, and I had taken disco dancing lessons when we lived in Kincardine and with friends, Nick and Jackie Harvey, we had gone to Toronto to check out the discos. We went to a disco at the top of the CN Tower -flashing lights, dry ice smoke and all.
On the way out I was happily singing one of the songs that we had been dancing to. It was Donna Summer’s version of “She works hard for the money”. I was well into the chorus as we walked past a young couple kissing in the corridor on the way to the elevator down. But I guess he had heard me and thought that I was referring to his girlfriend.
When we got to the ground floor and where heading back out to get a taxi I heard someone behind me yelling “Hey f<%*head”. Not thinking he was referring to me – this is not my usual name – I continued along toward the exit. Eventually I turned around. Imagine my surprise to see that this muscular 6 foot 3 20-year-old was yelling at me. He came up to me and grabbed me by the lapels of my new gray ultrasuede jacket and lifted me partway off the ground. Nick seemed ready to take them on but I was worried about getting blood (mine) on my new jacket.
Luckily his girlfriend came to my rescue with “Oh, leave him alone. He’s just a wimp.” I quickly ascertained that my choice was between being called “F<%*head” or a wimp. I nodded agreement with the girlfriend and chose wimp.
I have never walk past the CN Tower or heard that song without thinking of this Toronto evening. The ultrasuede jacket still hangs in my closet waiting to come back into style.