So, when I was around ten years old, my mother, brother and I moved to Lansdowne, Ontario.
This town was alright, but it was small. I remember participating in such activities as trying to pull glued loonies off the sidewalk (I had great neighbors) and eating dog cookies with Jennifer Rose (I am not proud of this last one, but it only happened once. Jennifer, you tricked me. You said they were good. [Note: They were not.])
I also got up to all the things every kid did; climbing trees, fighting with my brother, and only asking my mother questions after she'd become engaged on the phone. But these activities were dull after a while.
It was in the middle of the summer, and my mother had kicked my brother and I out of the house. We'd woken up earlier than we should have and made too much noise playing our Nintendo. There was some argument that I can't really remember that resulted from one of us knocking over the paper cup one too many times trying to pour coffee while playing 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego'. Regardless, it ended with us sitting at the park complaining about how unfair it was to be outside on a sunny August morning instead of at home in the dark playing a video game we'd been fighting over ten minutes prior.
My brother Rob and I decided to start a collection. Well, I decided to start a collection. Rob said it was stupid and told me I was a loser(in retrospect, this was a fair response). Undaunted, I started to pick up bottle caps in the sand at the park. For some reason, by some miracle, the park was always full of these things. It was as if some sort of bottle cap fairy was frequenting the park, every Friday night, and scattering these wonderful relics for me to find! It was wonderful.
I don't know why I thought this was a good idea. The caps were usually dirty, and they smelled bad. Most of them were Molson or Coors caps. They were not even good beer. They didn't even look cool. But I was too young to really get what I was collecting. I was interested in the beavers and the colours of the caps. I told myself I would use them for art projects even though every other time I'd collected things it never amounted to that. (I did the same thing with starburst wrappers in high school. I coated my locker door with them. The smell was.. interesting.)
Regardless, I pressed on. I collected so many bottle caps. I was the queen of bottle caps. I collected caps from the park, from the sidewalk, from Mom's house, and from our friends' homes. It is actually not really that hard to collect a lot of bottle caps over the summer when you live in a small town, to be totally honest.
By the end of the summer I had a ziplock freezer bag full of them. I had more bottle caps than anyone.
This is when things got problematic for my poor mother.
It was not enough to collect the bottle caps. I needed to share this spectacular collection with my mother.
And her friends.
And potential dates.
And teachers who visited.
Unbeknown to myself, I'd painted my mother as some kind of alcoholic. She was mortified. And every time she tried to take them from me, I hassled her about freedom and 'stifling my creativity.'
I think she threw them in the garbage when I went back to school.
That was a good call, Mom.
Hark, a Vagrant: Shane
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