46 hours without sleep

In Arts & Life /

By Trellawny Graham

Hour 46:  Sunday 4:59 a.m.  I am left questioning what next weekend will bring.  Maybe another concert, some more musician contacts, another free CD.  Maybe I could actually snooze on the streets.  My vision goes blurry and I can’t help it but my eyes slam shut as I go into a deep and forgiving sleep…

Hour 1: Friday 7:04 a.m.  Bang!  Thud!  Who needs and alarm clock when you’ve got a warped bathroom door that no one can shut without a fight?  It’s three hours until my first class, that’s rez for ya.

Hour 7:  Friday 1:00 p.m.  “Must catch the 2:13 train,” runs like a banner through my head as I race out of French class.  My glasses broke so I have to motor to Oshawa and get them fixed.  I grab a 12-inch sub and pop from the café, strap on my knapsack and head to Union Station.  It’s not far.  It just seems so when you’re in a hurry and there’s nothing but money-seeking mongrels out on the street.  A lady stops me and holds out a sticker.  She says that only beautiful women get them – and that beauties like me must pay for them.  I explain with a “sorry” that I didn’t have any money to give her.  “You’re going to get cancer an die, bitch!” she kindly warns.  Must be true, eh?

Hour 8:  Friday 2:03 p.m.  I arrive at Union station.  I follow a few signs that point towards a closed ticket booth.  Thanks.  Next booth, yes, closed as well.  I go up to the information lady.  She sees me but continues gossiping on the phone with another woman who’s complaining about her son’s education problems.  Yes, that’s definitely part of this lady’s job.  I muster up the courage to ask her where an open ticket booth is.  She looks at me again – nothing.  I look at her sternly (at leas I try) and finally she tells me to make a left turn and I’ll find it.  Some left turn!  I hang left for about five minutes before I find ticket windows.

Hour 8:  Friday 2:12 (and 59 seconds) p.m.  You guessed it.

Hour 9: Friday 3:46 p.m.  Sitting in the optician’s office, I start reading Heart of Darkness for my English class.  Yeah, fun times all around there.

Hour 15:  Friday 9:45 p.m.  The plan: Go back to rez in Toronto, hang out with my friends Michelle and Neil for a bit, nap, grab my buddy Sean, and then head over to Queen and John Streets at 4:00 a.m. to line up for tickets to the MuchMusic Video Awards.  The reality:  Michelle, Neil and I drive by Music Music at 11:30 p.m. and we see the lineup is already down the front of the building and around the corner, so we scramble back to pick up Sean and get overnight stuff – no nap.  Problems:  I’ve left my key and rez I.D. at home in Whitby!

Hour 17:  Friday 11:42 p.m. I go through a little red tape to get into rez (student chard check, trivial pursuit about me, binder reference), but we get in, get Sean, get stuff, and get moving!  I bring the sleeping bag, pillow #1, and my new hat.  Sean brings the towel, pillow #2 and my beach ball.  Don’t ask.

Hour 19: Saturday 1:02 a.m.  Standing outside MuchMusic, we see the bar crawlers start winding through the city streets.  Feeling a little debunked, Sean and Neil take a stroll.  They don’t get further than the street corner before three yucky bar wastes come jaunting along.  They start talking to us and become pretty “close talkers” (think Seinfeld).  I get molested by the slobs while Michelle sits safely laughing.  Sean returns and puts up his dukes, but I quickly settle the situation by proclaiming how undesirable I am in comparison to the obnoxious girls down the way.

Hour 20:  Saturday 2:12 a.m.  Waiting in line all night starts to lose its appeal.  However, I become skilled at the triathlon of chocolate-covered coffee bean munchin’, Jolt-Cola consumin’ and Cheetos-brand cheesy poofs eatin’.  The crowd gets restless as they reach the monstrous realization that at 2:00 a.m. there’s a lack of sufficient washrooms.

Hour 25:  Saturday 7:04 a.m.  As soon as it opens, about 40 of us mob Starbucks’ single toilet.  We come outside and see that the sun has come up.  It’s funny how different people look in the daytime.  I don’t recognize a girl we’d met earlier until she speaks.  Newcomers’ jaws drop seeing the size of the line-up.  We were about 100th in a line of 500.  Just then I realize I can do more than just stand around looking tired and hungry.  “Yeah!” I cheer.  “I can read more of Heart of Darkness!”  Michelle calms me down.

Hour 28: Saturday 10:15 a.m.  The line finally starts start to move.  We turn the corner from John Street to Queen.  The Chum City Building sign is in sight.  It looks more majestic than I’ve ever seen it.  The doors are getting closer.  I can see the security guards!  Michelle and I are next!  All jittery and beatnick-looking, with hair teased ever so slightly from the night and eyes glowing blood-shot red, but full of excitement nonetheless, we get two wristbands each.  So excited that our night paid off, we get into Neil’s car and drive by the long line of eager (but out-of-luck)  people, taunting them with our freshly wrist-banded arms stuck out the windows and laughing in delight like school-year bullies.

Hour 30:  Saturday 12:12 p.m.  Sean and I leave Neil and Michelle for rez.  This time not my Ryerson ID, not the description of my suite or my mailbox number, not even my tired plea is enough for the bitchiest security guard of them all.  Sean signs me in and I go upstairs and wait for my father who’s driving me back to Whitby.

Hour 32:  Saturday 2:45 p.m.  My friend Dave from rez comes home with me for a tour of Whitby – he’s from Newfoundland.  My father’s record-collection conversation with Dave gives me enough time to gobble some food and have a heavenly shower.  I’m wide away now – sort of.  I grab Dave, get in the driver’s seat and tour him around Whitby and Oshawa while running errands – getting makeup, getting a slurpee – you know, important stuff.

Hour 37:  Saturday 7:04 p.m.  My reason for coming home again is not just for Dave’s geographical enrichment, but because Michelle, Dave and I have concert tickets.  We are going to see the Matthew Good Band tonight in Oshawa.

Hour 40:  Saturday 10:32 p.m.  As Michelle and I make it to the front row while the opening band Mr. Machete is playing, I hear, “Look at that cool hat!  I like that hat!  Everyone look at her!”  I turn around and see the bassist on stage pointing at me and my hat.  Everyone looks.

Hour 39 (evil tricks – backwards!): Saturday 9:45 p.m.  WE see Geoff Lloyd, of the Matthew Good Band, standing by the double doors near the bar.  We met him a month ago, so we figure, why not?  We go over and, quick witted as we are, say, “Hello.”  He throws us a smile and starts to pet my hat.  “It’s fuzzy!  Neat,” he remarks.  He likes my hat.

Hour 41:  Saturday 11:29 p.m.  Matthew Good, Dave Genn, and Geoff Lloyd walk on stage and strap on their instruments.  Michelle and I are so close we can read the set list.  We know not just what song is coming, but what stage antic is head our way.  In the past, during a tune called “Rico,” Matthew Good says, “Dave wants dancers!” and chicks head up on stage.  This time the “chicks” are going to be us.  Matthew Good points right at us with a smile and a wink.  While shaking my excited bootie on stage for the entire club, I see the Mr. Machete drummer backstage laughing at the fun Michelle and I are having.  Dave Genn says in a sexy tone, “Thank you ladies.”  I shake Matt and Dave’s hands like a wide-eyed child before we jump back into the audience.

Hour 43:  Sunday 1:01 a.m.  The encore finishes, Michelle ecstatically receives Ian Browne’s drum stick, and I notice the Mr. Machete drummer by an abandoned bar table.  I stroll over and, seeing that he’s wearing a Glueleg t-shirt, cleverly say, “Are you a Glueleg fan?”  We chat.  His name is Brent.  I decide to go in for the kill and tell him my name is Trell.  He seems pretty captivated by my name and that I remember seeing Mr. Machete three years ago at a bar in Oshawa.  Our conversation leads to me getting the band’s phone number, their e-mail address and free copy of their CD signed by all the guys in the band.

Hour 44:  Sunday 2:46 a.m.  Michelle and I bid the boys adieu and, as we walk to the parking lot, one guys yells, “Hey!  It’s the dancing girls!  Look at her hat.  Hey girls!”  We were famous.  In the car, I pull out my personalized CD and read it.  “To Trell; killer name.  Equally killer eyes.  Nice dancing (ha ha ha)… Brent.”  Ego boosts are allowed now and then.  Michelle and drops off Dave and I (and my keys) at my house and my father drives us back to Toronto.

Hour 46:  Sunday 4:59 a.m.  I yawn as Dave and I get out of my father’s Toyota and head towards the red-framed doors of rez.  “Goodnight Dad,” I manage.  As my head hits the pillow and I pull the covers up to my neck, I am left questioning what next weekend will bring.  Maybe another concert, some more musician contacts, another free CD.  Maybe I could actually snooze on the streets.  My vision goes blurry and I can’t help it but my eyes slam shut as I go into a deep and forgiving sleep…

Leave a Comment