Thursday, May 18, 2006

Family bonding: cliff jumping optional

Last Sunday we took a family trip to the Sooke potholes. It took many hours; I asked if we were there yet, I also asked for alcohol. I prefer to drink to be social; as small amounts of alcohol tend to make me less like me, which, when locked for hours in a van with me, everyone appreciates. Moderate amounts of alcohol makes me aroused and wanting to get naked. So there is a fine line there.

This was an early morning Mother’s Day hike, so by some rule of etiquette, no drinking. Fine. I also kept telling everyone I saw dead people. Apparently they did too.

I don’t know what the Sooke potholes are exactly except there are trees, a couple cliffs, a big river and four parking lots. There used to be an unfinished resort at the top of the cliff, which had millions of dollars of cut giant beam timber walls, stairs and flooring but no roof. The conservation society took over the property a couple years ago, removed the timber, fenced up the rest and then put in 4 parking lots so we could see something that wasn’t there anymore. Here is a picture of me walking down to the river bank. Notice how other people are staying hundreds of feet away from me; this includes the person taking the picture.

There is a trail on the rocky boulders above the river. “I see dead people.” I told Linda.

“No.” She said, “I’m pretty sure they are just sunbathing.”

“Loot?” I started to move toward the dead people and all their shiny property.

“Why don’t we try another path?” She suggested steering me away from the bodies.

My father was path-finding, which kept him far ahead of us. This is his habit, making sure he is too far away to hear us shouting to stop. He found us a shortcut. Only it ended in a field of the pollen heavy Scottish Broom. My mother is very allergic to Scottish Broom. She might have said something sarcastic if her lungs hadn’t swollen up. After that, my father was demoted to assistant path-finder.

Once we got to the top of the cliff there were two signs. The first sign expressly forbid the consumption of alcohol with stiff penalties. The other sign suggested that people not jump off the cliff (which varied from 60-120 feet high). It gave sensible reasons, on the assumption that the people who want to jump off cliffs were doing so rationally. “It’s nice of them to show the underwater hazards,” my mother said. I wasn’t sure the picture was exactly to scale. We all stared at the sign. It was almost a bonding moment.

On the way back we stopped for sub sandwiches. Mine gave me food poisoning for the next 12 hours. Praying over the toilet reminded me of all the times I was sick growing up. I got sick a lot. I think it was a break for my parents as I stopped asking questions, trying to see the face of God, or starting detective agencies. They didn’t have Prozac or Ritalin back then. My poor parents. Happy Mothers Day.


piecesofeight said...

I love those seriously disproportionate signs. They're kinda cute. Btw your blog is fab :D

elizabeth said...

Someone out there does quite a business making those signs - I recall there are some of those near the suspension bridge too - yes? Very funny story. Our parents are kind of lucky we weren't friends when we were little. I have a feeling we could have been much worse in tandem.

GayProf said...

Despite the sign, I am sure many-a-tourist has dived to his/her death.

Glad you had an okay time with your fam despite the dead people and the e-coli infection.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Pieces of eight - thanks!

Elizabeth - yeah, did you open a Nancy Drew/Encyclopedia Brown style agency too?

Gay prof: I believe that once I declare a body dead, I get to loot them, whether they are moving or not - people often feel otherwise.

LJM said...

Here's your favourite blog lurker (You better say I am or else you're sleeping on the couch tonight!)...

Yes, it was a typical family day out. But why am I always the one who ends up rescuing you from a potentially sticky situation? If they're breathing, they're not dead :D

The cliff jumping sign reminded me of cycling laws in the UK. They didn't care whether you wore a helmet. I guess they figured if you didn't wear a helmet you deserved whatever brain injury you got.


elizabeth said...

Yeah sort of. We used all manner of vermin to get the "truth" out of the bad guy.

NOTHING said...

o so if they r breathing they r not dead...oops...just kiding, elizabeth m i think u should be a docter this way u can perclame people dead when ever u want, or when ever they have nice stuff

kathz said...

I can never quite get used to Canadian signs. I remember on my first visit finding signs in a park which said something like, "if you wish to have a barbecue, please do not chop down the trees but use the facilities provided." Do Canadians always travel with axes and chainsaws just in case they feel like having a barbecue and want to chop down a tree or two for fuel? It's not like that in England. (I mentioned the sign to a couple of Canadians and they couldn't understand why I found it funny - different cultures, perhaps - but think of what would happen if you chopped down a tree in Cardiff and you may see what I mean.)

Meanwhile, I'm impressed by how law-abiding your childhod ambitions were. My brother and I saw a TV or film adaptation of Oliver Twist and started practising for our future career - as pickpockets. I got quite good at taking handkerchiefs from pockets - unfortnately the resale value isn't quite what it was in Dickens' day.

Tanginika-Simone said...

Maybe I am too logical, because the sign gives a lot of compelling reasons not to jump. But I am not the jumping off a cliff kind of girl anyway.

Murray said...

A family bonding moment - amazing what "interesting" signs can do.