Sunday, July 11, 2010

Memories: All Shapes and Sizes

Don't get me wrong, I like the occasional souvenir refrigerator magnet, t-shirt and model, as witnessed by the treasures we returned with from our recent trip to Niagara Falls. But I like my memorabilia a little bit on the funky side, too.

When we first checked into our hotel, there was a very small construction project taking up a couple of parking spaces in the lot, and the area was demarcated with some traffic cones labeled "City of Niagara Falls, Ontario". Ooh, boy, I wanted one of those construction cones. For a souvenir. But it was performing a safety function, even if barely, and I couldn't just steal it. Alas, I had to let the dream of my perfect Niagara Falls souvenir slip away in the wind, like the mist over the Falls.

I needed something --  I don't remember what -- from the car later in the vacation, and there they were: the construction workers, burying the whatever they were burying in that parking lot in the morning sun. I got what I needed from the car, and was returning to my room, coveting the cone once again, but silent about it, when it spilled from my mouth, uncontrollable, "Hi, fellas -- I really want a funky souvenir from this trip, and that construction cone just fits the bill. Do you think it would be okay if I took it?" They looked at me, looked at each other, shook their heads as if to make sure they heard correctly. Whaa? You want our construction cone? THAT construction cone? We chatted for a couple of minutes (I think they were glad for the break from the labor on that very hot day), determined that I did, indeed, want one of their construction cones. They were happy to accommodate, but advised me to wait until the foreman wasn't looking to take it away. With the foreman out of sight, one acted as lookout while the other brought it over to my car while I popped the trunk and threw it in. (Fade out Mission: Impossible music.)

At the car later I showed the cone to the boys and the friends who had joined us on the trip, and told them the story. The boys didn't believe me, and I think they still think I stole it; and my friend Debra suggested I turn it so the label of ownership at least wasn't showing.

Martin wondered what would happen if it was discovered during the border crossing. So, of course, I obsessed about the border crossing for the rest of the trip. But not so much that I would have discarded my booty before being hauled off to jail. I briefly wondered how the boys would get home if I was arrested, and I tried to act innocent when the border guard was interrogating me at the crossing. I must have played my hand well enough, because there it is out there in the driveway, keeping the car away from the basketball court: one wicked awesome safety cone from Niagara Falls.

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