The hockey test

Have a girl ever tested me with a Joni Mitchell record—or any record, for that matter?

That was the question going through my mind as I read the introduction to Michelle Mercer’s new book about the musician, Will You Take Me As I Am. Writes the journalist: “A soul mate would hear the ingenuity of Joni’s chords, the novelty of her song structure… The guy might reasonably decide I just wasn’t worth it. In 1990, Tori Amos die-hards were less trouble, as they required something less than a shared religious experience.  Still, a few soldiered on, willfully misreading my anxiety as sexual desire.”

Probably I was tested and wasn’t aware of it at the time; such is the nature of women and their tests, or maybe that’s just how dense I can be. God knows we’re all testing each other all the time, and probably not even aware when we’re doing it to others.

Modern life gives us endless criteria, too. The Texas Twister and I used to argue over who was more environmentally conscious, though neither of us will ever win a prize in that regard. A new exhibit by Seattle photographer Chris Jordan at the Winsor Gallery in Vancouver focuses on our conspicuous consumption by bringing statistics to literal light. In one of his pieces, for example, what looks like a series of curving pipes and ducts turns out, on closer inspection, to be plastic cups stacked endlessly. The amount of cups used in the image is equal to the number used on U.S. airlines in a typical two-hour period. Another piece consists entirely of discarded cell phones, and represents the number thrown away in a day.

Jordan_Barbie Dolls

Barbie Dolls by Chris Jordan.

Jordan_Light Bulbs_detail

Light Bulbs by Chris Jordan.

Meanwhile, the whole city is in the grip of hockey frenzy as the local team made up of burly men from other parts of the world is in the playoffs. Last night’s showdown in Chicago against the Blackhawks meant no matter where you turned in Vancouver, someone was watching the game. In the Winsor—an art gallery for Pete’s sake!—someone had it on a computer screen in the back; at Meinhardt’s, an upscale food market across the street, they were watching it behind the deli counter. Across from Meinhardt, a pan-Asian restaurant called the Red Door was having a neighbourly party, with music and free drinks and samples from the kitchen and prize draws, out on the patio; inside, though, people  gathered around the bar to watch their precious Canucks lose 2-1.

Hmm. All this hockey stuff make me realize—one test I had for prospective dates back in my bachelorhood was hockey. It’s not very patriotic to say, but a love of our national sport was definitely a deal-breaker. And if you had one of those stupid Canucks flags sticking out of your car somewhere—forget about it. A fondness for Tori Amos, on the other hand, would have been perfectly acceptable.

Jordan_Packing Peanuts

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