I was back to Hugh’s Room last night, this time to hear Sean McCann, formerly of Great Big Sea, a very cool Canadian music group.
One great thing about Hugh’s Room is that you can have a drink and a meal in the cozy venue. My choices were a McCauslan draft beer and squid, more tenderly known as calamari. It was delicious … for awhile.
As Sean rolled through his first set, and I was moving and grooving with him, I became aware of gooey teeth. It’s one thing to have a healthy piece of spinach caught in there but squid was another matter. I rolled my tongue over the offending spots but no go for the supreme release. Discreetly, or perhaps not, I shoved my right hand inside and grinded away. Nyet. At the break, I talked to my server Lina about the angst of octopus teeth and she kindly brought me a shot glass full of toothpicks. Over the next half hour, I used about ten of them. The epitome of reserve, I retreated to a stall in the men’s washroom and commenced my day surgery. Goo remained.
Not to be defeated by a sea creature, and feeling a bit queasy, I decided to get some air. I walked outside to Dundas Street West, turned right, and ducked behind a brick wall, hidden from Hugh’s but open to inspection by the folks walking in the other direction. A slender piece of wood emerged from my pocket and began its plunging work. I was a shadowy figure in the shadows, clearly a druggie, or so I imagined people thinking.
Finally … success! The coast was clear. Thank God.
Back in the club, Sean was blasting out some anthems to the delight of the packed house. The woman at the next table was gushing with her remembrance of the lyrics. She would throw her arms in the air and then clasp her hands to her heart. Two tables farther, next to the stage, a young woman in red also knew the words. My angle to her was different – all I could see was the line of her cheek, and the curve was high, suggesting a big, big smile. And lots of moving parts as the words poured out of her.
Before the break, I was thigh slapping and singing. Afterwards, something was wrong. Nausea grew. I tried letting it be there, like a nice little Buddhist guy would. Quite something when occasionally I would be all right with the pain. Even okay with it continuing for as long as it was happy being there. But then there were all those other times. “This is bad. This must end.”
My oomph was gone. Neighbours rose to their headtops in bliss. I rolled into a ball. “Don’t vomit on this nice tablecloth, Bruce.” Thankfully, I didn’t. But “this isn’t me. I’m zestful and vibrant and over the top.” Except when I’m not. “Okay. This is also me.”
The pain eventually led me to drastic action. Trusting that no one was watching, I pulled up my sweater, undid my belt, let down the fly a bit and replaced my wooly garment. Ahh. Or at least a lessening of the pressure.
At the end, folks rose in a standing ovation. I slumped. “But you’re always one of the first to stand, Bruce!” Goodness gracious. Will you please be quiet? I’m having a different drummer day.
I feel some better today, just a little sickly. No more beer for awhile. And in the spirit of scientific investigation, down with squid and up with salad. How about that, Bruce body?