Monday, June 07, 2004


If it wasn’t for my friend Emma, I’m sure I’d right now be sunk in the deepest of deep, dark, dank depressions.
When my agent called Friday to tell me about the audition, the words he used to describe the character I would imbue with all the experience and talent at my disposal, were: “sexy”, “sensuous” and “Kathleen Turner”.
When I arrived at the recording studio this morning to apply my vocal stylings to the deathless prose created to sell one of Canada’s two most famous beers, the word they used was “cougar”.
It wasn’t even 10 a.m., and already I’m being insulted.
(The demographics of the studio waiting room should have been a tip-off though; looking like a cross between a casting call for The O.C. and a plastic surgeon’s anteroom, everywhere, as far as the eye could see: dozens of shiny young Kelso’s interspersed with tarted-up old bats like myself – masses of blonde hair, snug low-riders and eyeliner before noon. Look – over there! Stifler’s Mom, Stifler’s Mom, Stifler’s Mom…)
But wait – it gets worse! When 10:15 rolled around (the studio equivalent of 9:40) and I finally got behind a mike, I got my first look at the radio commercial script and nearly fell off my Springolaters. Forget political correctness, this ad agency was going straight for the cliché, damn the torpedoes, full sneer ahead.
(Buddy: “Hey! You didn’t even remove your cigarette to put on your lipstick!” Cougar (growling with unseemly lust): “That’s right sonny…”)
Can they do this to me? Enlist me in my own humiliation? Ask me to do it twice? And do it 25% sexier the second time around?
Apparently so.
It didn’t help that “Buddy” held open all the doors for me as we left – the gesture had lost any courtliness it might once have possessed and had moved briskly on to boy-scout-offering-assistance-to-frail-little-old-lady.
But I was okay – because like I said, I have Emma.
I’ve known Emma since before she was born – which is to say, I’ve known her mom since before she was born. I remember when she was just a slight bulge in her mother’s Capri’s… a bigger bulge in stretchy pants… and finally, an adorable watermelon under a tight pup tent.
Her mother, Ottawa Jane (she of the great hats and wicked sense of humour) allowed Emma and I to build our own special friendship right from the beginning. Emma was 4 when she began coming for sleepovers, 7 when we started to get together for our own private outings, and 11 when she brought her mom and came to stay this weekend.
What a friend.
I’d been having a tough week – the dog nearly threw in the sponge, I was overwhelmed with volunteer work, underwhelmed with paying work, and I’d just invested one third of my entire life savings in penny stocks. I was almost regretting the invitation (when would I find time to squeeze in all the self pity I’d been planning?) when Emma came bouncing through the front door, threw her arms around me and smiled like they were going to ban grins along with cigarettes in the GTA.
I couldn’t help myself – my spirits started to soar.
And it just went on like that all weekend long. From intense conversations about friends and school (if I ever bump into that cow Madame Sylvie in a dark alley some night – well, let’s just say she’ll be berating her students in an accent that owes more to a knuckle sandwich than a French finishing school…) boys – not that she’s interested – dogs, horses, computers, music, clothes, shoelaces, pierced ears, The Simpson’s, Survivor and ice cream, to a day spent on the rides at Ontario Place, to a shopping trip deep in the heart of Kensington Market (that kid totally gets style – ankle high Converse sneakers, AC/DC t-shirt, studded black leather cuffs… and the cutest little boy short-style underpants) she used every moment at hand to boost me up, build me up and include me in.
Emma on body shape: “You could never be fat!” Emma on looks: “You’re so pretty!” Emma on age: “You’re so young!”
Me on Emma: “Thank you.”

No comments: