This End Up and nothing but net

Saturday was perfect. Before heading out for their East coast vacation, my dad and stepmom left us the Ol’ Girl–a silver 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera–for a couple of weeks. She gets a little shaky at the 105 km mark, but after that, it’s smooth highway sailing, which means we can drive along the Queensway for a Harvey’s and Tom’s Dairy Freeze pitstop, visit my mom in London and maybe even get ourselves to the cottage.

At noon, the Beast and I took Erinn for her birthday lunch at This End Up, a little restaurant on Dundas St. W. We talked about driving but in the end, we walked the two kilometres (UGH!) to get there. I’ve been to This End Up a few times now and keep going back for the Basa fish po’ boy sandwich and what must rank as one of the best side salads in the city.

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Afterwards, The Beast and I, absolutely stuffed on sandwiches, French fries and donuts for dessert, walked home.

Foodie: I mean, are you as full as I am?

Beast: Oh my god yes.

Foodie: I bet we won’t even need to eat dinner. That’s how stuffed I am.

Beast: Me too.

Foodie: But if we do eat dinner, it should be light. We should start thinking about it now.

Beast: [Silence]

Foodie: I mean, we could just have raw vegetables and dip them into something. Just something really light, you know?

Beast: Sure. We have a car though. We could drive to Harvey’s on the Queensway.

Foodie: Are you kidding? I couldn’t even think about eating Harvey’s.

Beast: There’s a Swiss Chalet too.

Foodie: I could kill a quarter chicken dinner with fries.

Beast: You realize we just ate and you’re already obsessing about both not eating dinner and what to make for dinner.

Foodie: We could order pizza, maybe. But we need to get in some exercise. Why don’t we drive to a Canadian Tire and buy a basketball so I can get this out of my system.

The “this” was a fever to shoot some hoops. On Friday afternoon, I accidentally watched some “best of” Michael Jordan clips. Do you remember how great that guy was? I’d forgotten. I was fist-pumping at my desk and had goosebumps running up and down both of my arms. That’s when I knew I needed to get out on the court and just run and jump and dunk and drive that shit all the way to the net or the basket or whatever you call it.

Inside Canadian Tire, the Beast commented on how we were turning into consumer animals because we had a car: “Look at this wine fridge on sale.” “Do we need a tent?” “I would love to have a punching bag set up in my music room.”

We left with one toaster and one basketball.

Then we drove the Ol’ Girl–with the windows down and Public Enemy blasting out of the Beast’s iPhone–to the TIFF Bell Lightbox to watch Black Fish, a “psychologically thrilling” documentary about killer whales in captivity at places like SeaWorld.

Then we got home and changed into basketball attire and walked to the school around the corner from us. The Beast dribbled the ball on the sidewalk the entire way. It breaks my heat to see him being athletic: the gait of his petite legs; the twist of his delicate wrists. And once we got to the court, his jump shot, like a bullet on a 45-degree angle headed towards the vicinity of the net, but not necessarily touching the rim, or even the backboard, did not disappoint.

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I played basketball in high school. We had a fantastic coach who made us watch Hoosiers together, as a team, and trained us at a level well beyond what you might expect for a small high school in a small Ontario city. We learned zone and man-on-man full-court press defences and back door cuts and picks and plays and ran suicides and performed crazy drills just like Gene Hackman did with his team in the movie. It was the most fit I’ve ever been in my life. What’s sad is that in high school I was so self conscious and my fear of messing up in front of all the spectators limited me. If I could tell my 16-year-old self one thing–besides maybe that slathering yourself with oil and baking in the sun for six hours straight is not that great of an idea–it would be this: don’t you dare give a fuck about the football team watching. Just play, you dummy. Play your heart out.

I'm 25. (The white tape was for our barrettes)

I’m number 25. (The white tape in our hair was for our barrettes. I think it was a safety precaution.)

The good news is this: all those drills we did, in both basketball and soccer, they somehow made their way into my muscle memory. The result? I look like I belong on the motherfucking court, beeyotches. The downside? I only have game for about five minutes. Them I’m so winded and exhausted that I need a drink and a cigarette.

When I got on the court, I felt like the Beast should see all that I was capable of. Like an attention-seeking hyperactive 12-year-old spaz, I started taking three pointers, dribbling the ball between my legs, doing around-the-back lay-ups. And then I was done.

Afterwards we managed to squeak out a game of 21, where I made six foul shots in a row and won 21 to 12. Then we walked home, both glistening from sweat and me feeling a little guilty for showing off so much. We deliberated on whether or not to order pizza.

But because we are on such a health kick now, we decided on spaghetti.

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5 responses to “This End Up and nothing but net

  1. Go Jess. I was playing ball at lunch today. I should have tried that dribble.

  2. You’re a baller Jessie A. And The Beast looks smashing in those shorts.

  3. I am Canadian, but living in St. Louis, Missouri right now….and my husband and I have been going crazy for a quarter chicken dinner with fries! No Swiss Chalet here 😦

  4. My dad loved this one.

    • Oh Carly, we were so lucky to have him coach us. My only regret is that I didn’t pay more attention. (Hope you are well!)

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