27 July 2011 – 3:35 PM – ‘The Cobra’ at La Ronde
Me [pointing in horror at the ride that has just come into view]: What in the name of fuck is that??!!
17-year-old ride operator [verifying my ‘Flash Pass’]: It’s ‘The Cobra’, man! It’s way cool – you guys are up next!
Me [going pale and starting to sweat]: I guess… I guess it’s called ‘The Cobra’ because of all those coils that make it look like you go upside down in tight circles?
17-year-old ride operator: Totally, dude! And not only that but you’re standing up when you’re upside down! You feel like you’re going to get flipped right out of there every second you’re on it. Oh, yeah!
Me [trembling]: Do you have any more drugs?
17-year-old ride operator: What?
Me: Don’t play dumb, son – I was your age once and…
Rhiannon [making doe-eyes at the 17-year-old ride operator]: Leave him alone!
Me [being led into the front row of ‘The Cobra’]: Oh for the love of… Rhiannon… this is no time to be flirting… I mean…
17-year-old ride operator [grinning, giving the thumbs up and hollering to another pimply-faced colleague at the back of the ride]: Locked and loaded, Mike! Let it rip!!!
29 July 2011 – 9:30 PM – On a Via Rail train to Toronto
Me [as Toronto looms though the window]: Oh, God.
Me [pointing, aghast]: Toronto. There’s the CN Tower.
Rhiannon: Hee, hee. It was funny when you freaked out on the elevator in there last spring.
Me [sternly]: No, it was not funny. You have to watch your back in this town and be in control at all times. I wasn’t exactly in control in that elevator.
Rhiannon: No kidding. You peed yourself! Hee! Hee!
Me: I did not pee myself! I simply upset my drool cup onto my lap when I realized the true purpose of the CN Tower.
Rhiannon: True purpose?
Me [darkly and looking over my shoulder to make sure no one is listening]: It’s their means of communication with the Mother Ship…
Rhiannon: Who is “they” and what is the “Mother Ship”?
Me: Don’t make sarcastic quotation marks in the air with your fingers, Rhiannon – I’m being serious. “They” are Torontonians and the “Mother Ship” is the base in outer space from which the aliens control them.
Rhiannon: Why are you allowed to make sarcastic quotation marks in the air with your fingers and not me?!!
Me: I’m NOT being sarcastic. Wait, I mean… I AM being sarcastic but only about YOU being sarcastic in the first place – which means I’m actually being serious. So there!
Rhiannon [thinking]: Hmmmm… Nope – that makes NO sense. As usual.
Me: Hey, why did the Torontonian cross the road?
Me [whispering, conspiratorially]: Because the signal from the CN Tower said he could.
Suspicious VIA Rail Attendant: Little girl, is this strange man bothering you?
Me: I’m her father!!!!!
Suspicious VIA Rail Attendant: I’d like to see some ID please. Right now.
Me [aside to Rhiannon and making quotation marks in the air with my fingers]: I think she may be one of “them”…
Suspicious VIA Rail Attendant: Make that TWO pieces of ID.
31 July 2011 – 8:45 PM – Playing Monopoly at my crusty old Dad’s cottage on Georgian Bay
Rhiannon: Ooooh, look what I just landed on Daddy!!! B & O Railroad!!!
Me: Gaaaa! I told you to keep your filthy, grubby paws off of my railroads!
Rhiannon: They’re not YOUR railroads.
Me [rubbing my hands together]: All in due course…
Rhiannon: What’s up with you and the railroads, anyway?
Me: Well, we Captains of Industry…
My crusty old Dad [dryly]: Captain of Debauchery more like it…
Me [with a dark sidelong glance at my crusty old Dad]: Like I was saying, Rhiannon, we Captains of Industry need solid infrastructure upon which to build our empires and crush our rivals into bug paste.
My crusty old Dad: Uh-huh.
Me: And you, Dad, are going to be the first one on my hit list when I start issuing the pink slips and foreclosure notices.
Rhiannon: Pink slips?
Audrey, my crusty old Dad’s wife: Ignore him, Rhiannon. Your turn again.
Rhiannon: Ha! Reading Railroad! So much for your grand plan, Daddy!
Me: You little cheater! You’ve loaded the dice! Give me those railroads!
My crusty old Dad: Don’t be ridiculous.
Me [lunging at Rhiannon and tipping over the card table]: I said give them to me!!!
My crusty old Dad [roaring]: Hey, you fool!!!
Me [sitting in a debris field of Houses, Hotels, Property cards, Chance cards, Community Chest cards and Monopoly money]: Where are they?!
My crusty old Dad [furious]: Another brilliant lesson in maturity for your daughter. She really doesn’t stand a chance, does she?!! I’m going to bed and I’ll leave you to clean up this disgraceful mess.
Me [ruefully watching my crusty old Dad storm from the room]: Boy, what a grouch…
Rhiannon [holding up two Railway cards in each hand]: Hey Daddy! Chug-a-chug-a-chug-a- chug-a-choo-choo!!! I’m going to bed now too – with these! So, ha!!
Me [left alone]: It’s never been easy for us Captains of Industry.
2 August 2011 – 4:35 PM – Saying goodbye at Toronto’s Union Station
Me [hugging Rhiannon]: I love you, baby.
Rhiannon: Love you too.
Me: Remember everything we talked about.
Rhiannon: I will.
Me: I’m always with you even when I’m not there.
Rhiannon: I know.
Me: That’s my girl. See you in a month.
Rhiannon [turning to walk away with her mother]: Bye, Daddy.
Me: I don’t have the words…
Rhiannon [over her shoulder]: Bye, Daddy.
Me [still on one knee]: I… I… don’t have the words…