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Friday, May 30, 2014

Last Call for Citta and The Registry

In the past few days, two iconic bars have closed their doors for good. Last night, local's favourite Citta said goodbye to their loyal customers with a send off that, of course, involved nudity.  This is Whistler, after all. Wouldn't be right without a wang hangin' out. I, unfortunately, was working, and by the time I had finished, there was not a drop of alcohol to be had in the place. $3.75 drinks will do that to a place.

Last week, the bar where I made a lot of memories in my formative drinking years did the same. Portsmouth's Registry (known as the Reg, nerd) has been closed to create student accommodation for the university nearby. This makes me sadder than I thought it would. As a student bar, The Reg was perfect: roomy, cheap, right next door to many of the school facilities, and welcoming. As I think about it now, I spent countless nights there growing up, met more than one girl willing to go home with me, and was an ideal place for the eventual yet inevitable catch up with the old college crew whenever I made the trek across the ocean to say hi.

Bars and restaurants close every damn day, but these two have made me realise the passage of time - both from when I was in my late teens, and the years I have spent here in the mountains. Citta was one of those places that had the killer patio and the staff that were longterm, so they knew how it is in Whistler, but not jaded by the lifestyle.  Working across the street, I used to love running over when we were quiet and saying hi, confident that there would be at least one handshake from both sides of the bar.  Yesterday afternoon, I had my last beer at Citta, and the mood was a weird one. It was too early in the day for things to get really rowdy, so the realisation was setting in for some. It honestly felt like a wake, with the hugs, and "thanks for coming in"s, which I felt weren't just meant for that day, but for the custom over the years.

BUT.

A mere name does not a bar make. Time will tell, when they re-open as The Beacon next month, if this cameraderie will have remained in the building.  Some people in town are against it, firmly invested in our memories.  But those memories will keep people coming back to that same patio no matter what happens with the Powers That Be. I'm sure more than one person will be back in their role, offering friendly faces to former regulars and new ones. And yes, I will head over and introduce myself, hoping to still have friendly neighbours.  

Thank you to both The Registry and Citta for not kicking me out when I probably should have been. Thanks for being there for meetups, heartbreaks, and long nights. Thanks for stories that I'll re-tell over cold beer on other patios, spilled beer on the tables that the tears from laughing will splash into.

Just... thanks, I guess.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day Off

Wow.

Just wow... I can't believe how long I've left this to fester at some dead end corner of the Internet. I feel I have some explaining to do.

You see, shortly after my last post, my very happy 30 year old man post, I was picked up by Mountain Life Magazine to write the lion's share of their online content (and a little of their print). Which is awesome, cutting a check for something I love to do. Awesome isn't even accurate enough - I'm super proud of my work with them, and I'm honoured to have my name associated with theirs. (I'm even training an intern tomorrow!)  Add that into the usual winter calamities (skiing and hangovers) and this just kind of fell by the wayside.
I've definitely said it before, but I will strive to put this into my weekly writing schedule.  It is difficult with the ever-changing schedule (not that I'm jealous of you 9-5ers) but I'll find a way.

(I'd link to the site, but it appears we are undergoing an overhaul - connecting the Coast Mountain site with the Ontario one... So at least I'll have a broader audience! When the redirect is complete I'll let you know.)

But on to the task at hand. This is doing what I love because I love doing it, not because it pays my bills. Bear with me: it's been a while.

************

Days off may seem like a redundant term in Whistler, what with the year round mountain shredding. But after long weekends, especially Victoria Day Weekend, are mentally jarring.  For example, I worked both Saturday and Sunday night, and the crowds that come up here are very cocktail friendly. Shaky shaky with the mixing glasses, all night long.  A combined total of 550 tickets, non-stop from the printer, meant I could hardly talk to the people sitting at the bar.

A nice little anecdote: I ID'd some kids that sat down... then was struck by a thunderbolt of truth that the legal drinking age I'm looking for is today's date, 1995. I wish I could capitalise numbers. 1995. They were nice, they tipped, I'm just getting older.

So, back to the restaurant shell shock: as in so many professions, two days off isn't enough. This morning, all the remnants of a grueling session of work can be found. My feet ache, and my legs have pains - is that through work, or toxins from the 3 beers I drank after work?  My hair is bed headed, and I refuse to shave, but when I wash my face with water, the unmistakeable aroma of ground espresso hits me... It's in my pores. I'm almost certain that after 13 years of working with coffee, it's now a part of my genetic make up. I had a girl recently say that she liked my "smell"... Cherries, apparently. That's a nice thing to know, your own smell (unless it's something like parmesan), but I am surprised she didn't say "dark roast'.

So, it appears that all the hangings-on of "the biz" take a day to wear off and wash off while you get your chores done like laundry and groceries - throw that recovery time into your "admin days" as I call them. That leaves one day to really enjoy, unless you can find someone to hang out with while you do laundry, someone that likes your smell.

And let's not pretend I'm not going to have a beer or two tonight; it's Saturday night (sorta)! Though I've been attempting to go without liquor for May (a feat in and of itself a Herculean task in this town and in this job), there's literally always something to do. It's 3 people's birthday today alone, and I have a Drinking with Ironman article I want to get done (oh yeah, check out my buddy Shane, he's running an Ironman at the end of July from a standing start in September. Also he couldn't swim when he started. So there's that.)

To all of you that work in an office environment, I'll try to make a comparable week: The partners are in the office, you have no chair, and there's a wild predatory animal that feeds on those that are stationary, so you'd best get running. Then when you get home, you can't get the smell of photocopier out of your nostrils.

The difference is, after all is said and done, I still love running from the tiger.