Saturday, November 1, 2008

Never Trust a Gastropod.

I met Toronto's mayor last night. The satanic Dave Nickle and I ended up at the Duke of Richmond, in the wake of a late city council meeting he'd been covering. Dave was buying, having racked up a whole evening's worth of Blood Beers on account of all the snails he'd stepped on during our morning runs. We had a few, and watched the floor show: a barrister who'd had a few more, and was throwing ice and spittle all over the establishment, and was eventually not merely bounced but banned forever from the Duke. (Noble profession, the law.) And there sat David Miller, mayor of Toronto, way over on the other side of the bar, along with an entourage of councilors.

One of those councilors — an environmentalist by the name of Gord Perks — had read some of my stuff, and liked it (well, except for the last fifty pages of Blindsight). I'm not exactly certain how this happened, but somehow I ended up getting hauled physically over to the mayor's table and introduced as a minor literary treasure or a municipal literary wanker or something along those lines. And I think that as I shook the mayor's hand, I said that I only dared to intrude because I'd been assured he was already drunk and would therefore not remember anything tactless I might say in his presence (which is actually kind of a meta comment, if you think about it). But looking back, there are so many ways of parsing I'm only coming over here because you're drunk that I'm not entirely sure the intrinsic humility of my sentiment made it through.

Anyway, he wanted to know how to get my books. I told him he could download them for free from my website. He told me he wanted to pay for them. I told him to download them for free, and put the money he saved into expanding Toronto's public transit system. He said he'd just poured several million dollars into transit and could damn well afford to pay for his own books. I think I asked him if some of that money was going to a subway extension to Pearson Airport, and I think he said yes, but frankly my recollection is a bit hazy.

It all seems much less sparkly in hindsight than it did at the time. I either came across as a wit and raconteur, or as a complete asshole. Either way, I suspect I made an impression. Just to be on the safe side, I think for the next little while I'll duck shamefacedly into an alleyway whenever I see Gord Perks heading up the street in my direction. Fortunately I don't have to worry so much about Dave Nickle — that dude forgives anything.

Stupid snails.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahhahahaaaaaa.. self-awareness is a bitch. haha.

I said that I only dared to intrude because I'd been assured he was already drunk and would therefore not remember anything tactless I might say in his presence (which is actually kind of a meta comment, if you think about it).

Oh, oh, oh... dontcha find that there are two kinds of people - those who find metacomments witty and reassuring that the metacommenter is monitoring how he/she sounds, and those who watch puzzled as the comment whizzes by their heads unencumbered. I hope the mayor is one of the former?

And, oh god, the horror of meeting politicians or other media figures when you've a had few! Oh, the horror. What the hell did I say that for? I'm sure you did fine, and, in any case, you probably didn't say anything that would cause Mr. Mayor to think today, just to himself, as he assembles his ToDo list, "Hm, what was that author's name? I must remember to thwart him in all he does, because, by God, he's bad for Toronto..."

Seriously, though, isn't it fun to have a friend drag you over to meet Power? Power, this is my worthy friend Peter, and Peter, this is The Man. It sounds scary, but satisfying on some level?

So, the big question - was he the kind of media figure where in real life he has a giant lollipop head on a popsicle stick body, or did he have regular person proportions?

November 1, 2008 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Madeline said...

Could've been worse. You could have collapsed unconscious in an awkward heap of limbs and bruises.

November 1, 2008 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or could have thrown up in his lap. No matter how you parse that, you can not make it a complement.

November 3, 2008 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The only way it would sit well with me is if I would have given him the finger.

It's not so easy to do in real life though, they tend to give the impression that they want to do the right thing, and who wants to look like a cave man right?

November 3, 2008 10:35 PM  

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