Abducted By Aliens in Saskatchewan
Recently I drove up to Saskatchewan to visit Sharon, my buddy since the early 1990’s. Though we both had settled on the West Coast ‘forever’, serendipity brought Sharon and me back to the plains, one after the other. Sharon and her husband Ron, an immigrant from Singapore and a chef, own and operate the Quick Stop Diner in Watson, a town two hours north of Regina . The trip is a good day’s drive, in this country where distance is computed in hours. The foothills and plains give way to true prairie. The unexpected modern city of Regina erupts from the flatland like a Disney dream. I turn north into marshy country. I look for elk and moose browsing in the brush, but this time of year I only see V clouds of geese quilt the blue sky.
The Quick Stop was still open when I arrived in Watson, a town about the size of Chinook. Hugs and hellos. Tea. Introductions to friends. The place buzzed with activity. Sharon and Ron bounced between serving customers and quick stops at my table for stories and laughter. At closing time I swept the floor and wiped down counters. We walked a few short blocks to their home.
Besides their culinary talents, Sharon and Ron are trained in several aspects of traditional Chinese medicine. Sharon lounged on my bed. On the dresser sat an open box, filled with strange heavy open-ended bulb-like glass objects. There must have been thirty. I picked one up. “What is this?”
“Cups. Acupuncturists use them to aid in pain relief and healing.”
“How do they work?”
“I’ll give you a treatment.” Within minutes I lay face down on the bed. I closed my eyes. I felt brief startles of heat as each cup sucked onto my bare back. I remember flashes of light. I’m not sure what happened next. I lost track of time. Maybe this is when the aliens abducted me. Sharon removed the cups, and covered me with quilts. I slept like a baby.
The next morning after my shower, I looked into the mirror. Crop circles covered my back, just like those tracks mysteriously left by space ships in wheat fields or grassy pastures. Hmmm. I mentally ran a body scan. I felt great. However, later that day I discovered irrefutable evidence that my body had been taken over by alien forces.
When I walked through the living room Ron sat watching a curling match on the tube. Canada versus Scotland . I stopped, mesmerized. I couldn’t move. Please understand--all my life, sports, any and all sports, have held no interest for me. Zero. Zip. Nada. I once forced myself to endure an entire football game to impress a man. It didn’t work. I couldn’t fake it. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, bowling, golf, ping-pong; not my game. I just want to stay home curled up with a good book.
But as I watched the Canadian bend low and hurl the stone down the ice, I felt a curious frisson of electricity move up my spine. I backed into a chair, keeping my eyes focused on the action. I turned to Ron, “What is this?” He explained the rudiments. I learned a whole new language. The lead curler is the skip. The thingy which looks like a turtle with a handle, sent sailing across the ice, is called the rock. Don’t those words feel good in your mouth? The men shooshed the rock as closely as possible to the center of the house. The other team blasted the rock out of the house. Back and forth it went. I could hardly breathe for the tension. I heard the term ‘rock around the house’. Who could not like that? I cheered when the rock landed on the button, the center of the target, which looks like a bull’s eye. I groaned when Scotland had the hammer, the last shot. And something deep within me felt satisfied, fulfilled, as I watched grown men with brooms sweeping for all they were worth.
I love it! I want more. I am possessed. Some people think watching curling is the equivalent of watching grass grow or paint dry. (Insert your cliché of choice here.) But to me curling holds thrills, action, tension, fast pace, and skill. There is only one logical explanation for this incredible transformation. Aliens had abducted me and had injected this fascination with sport of curling deep into my psyche. I like this new me, but my Harlem friends treat me with skepticism and even suggest I might want to check in to someplace quiet for a nice little rest. However, the reporter from “National Enquirer” will arrive any minute to interview me about my alien abduction experience. I don’t know how he found out. I don’t read the tabloids; really I don’t. Well, maybe I peek at the front covers in the grocery check out lines, but who doesn’t? And while I wait for him, I am avidly organizing a group trip to the new curling rink in Shaunavon. After Shaunavon, we’ll go to Medicine Hat for a tournament. Then on to Calgary for a hot meet with the rival team from Edmonton . So, how about it? Want to join us, eh?