Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Spring fever in Halifax. Warm sun, jackets slung off, walks rhythmic, light and bouncy.

And some old familiar mating instinct kicks in.

Have I mentioned The Stock Market White Guys? This is a group of regulars at my favorite dark, musty local. At some point, one of them explained his work to me and I took it in with all the rapt attention of a six-year-old staying after school.

And all the regular guys in that group – engineers, business men from various backgrounds – became, to me, The Stock Market White Guys. It was handy. It was more specific than “the guys.” Or “the guys who talk about golf.” And because I’m a regular too, they gave me honorary guy status. I thought.

These are guys my age but of a different generation, if you know what I mean.
Once, when they were really drunk, one of them asked me if I was married. When I said “no,” he blurted out, “But…who takes care of you?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve grown to like them – but they’re men of a particular kind. The kind who, when a friend’s wife suddenly dies, get together and take him golfing for the weekend. They are from the Hank Hill school, when it comes to expressing deep emotion. They feel life’s vicissitudes, keenly as anyone else, but they believe that swallowing them firmly and in silence is the wisest reaction, and if one of their number mists up with feeling, they buy him another beer, shove him in a taxi or change the subject.

One of them kissed me today. ON the lips. Alright - there was no tongue, thank god, and Pollyanna that I am, I told myself this was in reaction to the fact that I’d lent a sympathetic ear when his father died recently. He’s grateful, I thought. Masterfully, I inserted a French fry in my face as quickly as possible so as to discourage any more grateful impulses.

And then he started to lovingly brush my hair off my face. Slowly. Looking into my eyes. And may I add that I was sitting at the front of the musty old’s deck, with dozens of people walking by, half of whom I knew. I took a large bite of my jerk chicken wrap and chewed vigorously, hoping this was not endearing in any way.

I’m trying to stop thinking about it. I’m trying to stop wondering how anyone can fail to detect my utter lack of that kind of interest. And I answer myself – Spring.

And beer.

Tomorrow, I’m taking a half day vacation and if I’m lucky, the Scorpio will have Spring fever. And that won’t involve beer or the French fry maneuver.