Driving on the 401, headed to Kingston, ON, on a recent Friday afternoon:
Beast: Mark Ruffalo would make a really good Hulk.
Foodie: He is the Hulk.
Beast: Are you kidding me?
Foodie: Are you kidding me?
Beast: In the Ang Lee Hulk?
Foodie: No, in the newer ones. That Hulk was Eric Bana.
Beast: There are newer ones?
Foodie: Yeah, the ones with all the superheroes in them, with Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow.
Beast: And Thor? The ones with a Hemsworth in them?
Foodie: How did you know that?
Beast: I was looking up dick pics of him.
Foodie: I don’t know what is real right now and what are jokes.
Beast: I have a favour to ask.
Beast: It’s for my funeral.
Beast: I want The Eagles’ Take it to the Limit to be playing while I get cremated. But it’s not going to be your run of the mill cremation. I want to be sitting on a chair on top of the thing that gets rolled into the fire and I’ll be holding a selfie stick and right as the flames start, it will take a photo and will immediately be sent out to all my Insta followers with the message: #goodbye
Foodie: Your “Insta” followers?
Beast: Do you promise?
Foodie: I promise, but I’d like to stop talking about your funeral wishes now.
So the Beast immediately began to find songs from bands like Blink 182, Third Eye Blind, Smash Mouth, and Len on his iPhone and play them through the car stereo. I was somewhat shocked to see him singing along, word for word, to All Star.
His DJ set, which made me feel like I was travelling with a teenaged stranger, took us right into Kingston, where we were spending the weekend. I was invited to help introduce some films and conduct post-screening interviews with directors and actors on Saturday and Sunday at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival.
On Friday night, shortly after we checked into our hotel, I got to interview Kids in the Hall writer Paul Bellini and then welcome Scott Thompson to the stage for his 1-hour set. He was hilarious, even his Ghomeshi jokes, and this gem: How did he introduce himself to his Hannibal co-star Laurence Fishburne? “I used to masturbate to you when you were on Pee-wee’s Playhouse.” They’ve been good friends ever since.
On Saturday we woke to see the harbour in daylight. And, after a lovely brunch at Pan Chancho café, I decided that I liked Kingston enough to move there. The houses must be cheaper than Toronto. Everyone we met was so nice. And I felt calm.
I was busy film-festivaling all day but during a two-hour window, the Beast and I met for dinner at Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse.
Foodie: What did you get up to all day?
Beast: Well, I bought a bomber jacket from a great surplus store on Princess Street.
Beast: Okay I bought two bomber jackets, but one is for winter and has a fur collar and the other is seasonally transitional. It’s nylon.
Foodie: Well that makes sense then.
Beast: You are going to shit yourself when you see me in them.
Beast: Plus they were both 25 per cent off. And I had a great conversation with a guy working there about all the different camouflages and where they come from. But don’t worry: I didn’t buy any camouflage.
Foodie: Thank you for that. I just find it so very odd: I can’t look past its original wartime function and not cringe over its appropriation in the world of fashion. Nobody needs a camouflage knapsack in the city. It’s absurd.
Beast: But it looks so cool.
Foodie: So you had fun today?
Beast: It’s basically like Lost in Translation for me: I’m trapped in a hotel room while my successful partner runs around and nobody speaks the same language.
Beast: Semaphore and international camouflage.
Beast: How was your day?
Foodie: It’s been great. Really great. I love it here. It’s so nice to talk about movies and how they’re made with people who are excited and there’s just no pretense, you know? I feel good. Better than before.
Beast: I’m glad. It’s been a long couple of weeks for you.
Foodie: I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just feel so anxious all the time. And I think I’d feel less anxious if I’d just visit with mom, with dad, with friends. God, I missed Ben’s third birthday! But the idea of making plans, and talking to people, just makes me feel more anxious. I am sick of my own voice, of me.
Beast: Oh please don’t say that.
Foodie: Maybe it’s just the February blues. I don’t know. But you’ll be happy to know I haven’t responded to any mean comments on Facebook and Instagram.
Beast: I’m so proud of you! Don’t engage.
Foodie: You know why I didn’t? Because there are so many lovely comments and yet it never occurs me to respond to those. I just smile when I read them and then that’s it. But then there’s one jack ass who says something nasty and I obsess and obsess and it’s so gross because it’s ultimately about my ego, you know? What kind of an asshole am I? Oh god I’m an asshole.
Beast: You’re not an asshole. [Pause] I’m going to respond tonight to Levi’s.
Foodie: Excuse me?
Beast: When you go back out tonight, I’m going to the hotel and am going to write a letter of complaint about those white jeans I bought online and then returned. That was three months ago and I still haven’t received the refund.
When I returned to the hotel well past midnight, I read the Beast’s letter of complaint:
Subject: Your return process
I just wanted to send a note letting you know that your process for returning packages is a nightmare. At every step in the process I have received contradictory, confusing information.
I have been given wrong telephone numbers, bad connections, asked to provide reference and tracking numbers that were never provided to me, told to fill out slips that were not included with my delivery.
I understand that you use a third party to process and ship orders – a company that is not accessible by phone, despite the fact that I was given UPS Shippings’ toll free number on several occasions and bounced around until they realized that they were unable to help me – and that the return process is “out of your hands”.
Still, I expect a small amount of customer service and a minimum of technical competence in processing and returning online orders, none of which I have received.
I placed the order through Levis.ca and would expect that I could get some support when things have not gone properly – which has been the sad state of affairs at almost every point in this horrible experience.
You can be sure that I will caution anyone I speak to to avoid ordering from levis.ca and will have to seriously consider my brand loyalty when my next pair of 501s wears out.
I laughed–but not quiet as much as I did over the sight of him asleep on the king-size bed in his underwear with an empty wine glass inches from his face.
He looked like a sleeping cherub, albeit slightly hairier, from an Old Masters painting.
After a hot shower, I put on my pyjamas and curled up behind him. “What time is it?” he asked, still half asleep.
“It’s late. You looked so peaceful sleeping. It was a beautiful sight to come home to.”
“I had on one of my bomber jackets but I got too hot and had to take it off.”
I squeezed him tight. We both fell asleep.