20 May 2006

Enemy at the gates of the park

Ah yes, the Glorious Victoria Day weekend.

In Newfoundland, it is the time of the year when people who would never think of going camping in the winter race to the nearest provincial park of gravel pit to freeze their goolies off in the damp misery of the weather that hits like clockwork this time of year. There was some guy on CBC last night who has been going to Butterpot faithfully since the 1970s. He takes two hours to string up electric lights all around the camp site. He slings tarpaulin overhead in case it rains and strings other lengths of tarp across the gaps in the trees to keep the wind out. By the time he has done, the only thing missing from his great adventure "outdoors" is the brown velour couch with giant flowers all over. This guy is no more outdoors "roughing it" this weekend than he would be looking out his living room window.


People of desert cultures think hell is really hot. The Norse considered hell to be a cold place. Newfoundland mythology should have labeled hell a damp one in which you were doomed to an eternity spending the 24th of May weekend in a tent, with a Coleman stove but no way of lighting the friggin' thing because while you brought along enough beer to keep Ontario awash for a month and eight 40s of Lambs between the two of you, some rocket scientist in the group forgot the lighter.

My memories of this weekend revolve around fishing, but that's for another time.

Just so as to keep your sense of humour just think of Jude Law and Rachel Weisz in the 24th of May weekend scene from Enemy at the Gates.

Go on.

Wrack your brains wondering what a story about some Russian sniper at Stalingrad could possibly have to do with you huddled in a pup tent.


Think about the part in the bunker when young Vasili and his paramour struggle to copulate in among a pile of snoring, smelly bodies without waking their exhausted and likely inebriated companions.

If that isn't the definition of the 24th of May weekend in this province for many young couples, I don't know what is.

But don't worry. I know what threw you off. In Enemy at the Gates, they were in a concrete basement in the middle of winter...

but they were warm and dry.