Regional Assembly of Text and The Power of a Few Words on Our Lives

6 04 2012

I’m always attracted to clever word play. Words are powerful things, especially when strung together by someone with a modicum of skill and some intent. Even I can sometimes achieve my purpose with just the written word and a raised eyebrow.

Assembly of text is of course such a play, and the RAOT is a lovely little shop on Main in Vancouver, replete with the printer’s lead slugs that previously requiring assembly into the day’s news.

I have peeked inside once, after reading about it in Vancouver’s online Scout magazine. It’s a great little place filled with vintage typewriters, letter-based gifts, and the extremely friendly owners. It’s an Aladdin’s Cave of gift ideas for someone who appreciates letters, words, or just a kind gesture. Lots of little quirky puzzle books and idea-generating notebooks. Often made with retro typewriters – presumably the ones on the shelves. There’s T-shirts with clever word play, and a small play area for children, (or the suddenly childish.)

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a few words with purpose, and yesterday the result was my last day at my old job – the skill level required in resignation letters being within even my reach. Unfortunately then, I was unable to attend the letter writing club that was being hosted at ROAT.

Scout Magazine: HONOUR BOUND: Regional Assembly of Text Letter Writing Club Tomorrow On Main Street

Instead, myself and an unexpectedly large number of well-wishers drank the bar of The Elephant & Castle to near dryness. I was humbled by the number of folks who came to see me off. Perhaps they’d misunderstood who was expected to pay, or were there to make sure I really did leave. No matter – the table booked for “10 or so” was soon doubled and then some. I’m quite sure the staff didn’t object to the volume of orders and associated tips that they attracted.

Looking back, I am amazed that I remember the various drinks consumed, given the length of the list and the alcohol level in some of them. On the other hand, proceedings did begin a little early with mid-afternoon port of exquisite quality and with fine surroundings. One should always begin with quality while one is still able to fully appreciate and savour the tastes,  company, efforts made with gift wrappings and conversation.

After the 20-year port, there was the 10-year port with a most select innermost circle. Then on to the main event, where I was impressed the bar maid (if they are called such in Canada. “Server” seems more likely) remembering I was a drinker of Boddingtons. Must be the funny accent, though I swear I never uttered “By ‘eck, you smell gorgeous tonight petal!” By the second pint, the madding crowd had swollen well beyond my expectations including a most curious little man, though he arrived, drank and left with never a word spoken.

After pint 2 there was the arrival of the first “shot” of the night. A curious thing made of sour raspberry and spiced rum. No idea what it is called – would appreciate any reader being able to educate me. Tasted faintly of cough mixture – which not being accustomed to shots, I was to gradually learn is a common feature of them. The rest of the night included 3 double Grand Marniers, punctuated with at least 6 other shooters. One I recall was called a red-headed slut, though a few seemed to be basically chilled Bailey’s with cinnamon on top. After several attempts at translation, Vangdo Express, turned out to be Van Gogh Espresso, which I heartily recommend. Twice. Thankfully I was spared the 75% proof  Bacardi 151 in this witches brew, but only because of the quiet spoken nature of the Irish lady who was repeatedly trying to order them.

Of the Grand Marnier, I remember the first came unexpectedly over ice. I mentioned that this was not anticipated, and there was a brief conversation as to their removal, and whether merely licking the rocks would suffice. At this point my double entendre gland began working overtime, and thankfully the young lady left.

Subsequently, she gracefully accepted several digs about the “bit of shiny snot on the side of her nose” in reference to a small diamond piercing, and naturally took home a sizeable tip in due acknowledgement. Having identified me as the cause of all the drinking she asked if it was my birthday, and on learning that I was leaving my city-based job, she claimed she would miss me. I was taken aback and asked how she even knew who I was, as I don’t get served by her THAT much when frequenting the E&C. Turns out, it was an occasion a couple of years ago when she was asking someone the meaning of life, and I quipped “42“. Somehow that had singled me out from the thousands of people she must have delivered drinks to in the intervening years.

This morning, I’m not sure if I’m more surprised that I recall all the drinks, conversations and not-very-English hugs (even my boss), or that I have no head-ache!!

Remember: please blog responsibly.




4 responses

6 04 2012
misfits' miscellany

If spiced run is the answer, is the question, “are you dashing to the toilet because you had a curry last night?”

6 04 2012
Quieter Elephant

Ha! Thanks for the edit notice.
You remind me of Mike Harding’s “put a toilet roll in the fridge” remark regarding “good” curries. Good curries being one of the few things I miss from the UK.

7 04 2012
misfits' miscellany

There’s always the possibility of making one yourself.

7 04 2012
Quieter Elephant

True. There are a few Madhur Jaffrey books still unopened on my shelf…

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