(original post on fb – May 5, 2013 – From A to B – Part Two)
A couple of years ago I borrowed a friend’s black Cadillac Coupe for a week or so. My friend had had his license suspended for various unpaid parking infractions, so he gladly loaned it to me until he could get things sorted with the licensing board. It was a pretty slick car. My young friend is a pretty cool cat so it was no wonder his car was what one might call “Gangsta”. Just imagine what it was like to drive around in this beast of an automobile. I felt a bit like I was meant to be in some Hip-Hop video featuring bright lights, crazy drug busts, and scantily clad women.
The day I went to pick it up, my dear friend Madeleine, now 90, had lost her purse and had called me in a panic asking for my help. Still without a vehicle, I asked a mutual friend of ours to pick me up in his little Toyota hatchback so we could help Madeleine retrace her steps around town. Madeleine almost always walked everywhere she went, only occasionally taking the bus or hitching a ride with a friend. This is what she loved most about Victoria. On this particular day, she had been to a few different places where she thought her purse might be, and to walk it again would have taken her half the night.
We first took her to a coffee shop on Government Street near Bay Street. It was closed but I managed to squeak through the gate and enter anyway, surprising the employees busy closing shop. No luck. After a few more stops around town, we finally arrived on the far south side of James Bay where a friend of hers lived. For those of you familiar with Victoria, you will know that this amounts to a fair distance for a woman in her late 80’s to go by foot, especially as her starting point was Vic West.
My friend and I waited by the car while Madeleine entered the apartment building. Next thing you know, an excited Madeleine was standing on the balcony three floors above us shouting, “I found it!” The two ‘little old ladies’, Madeleine’s friend being 95, invited us up. We stood at the front door and hit the buzzer. When they answered we said, “It’s us.” “Who?”, we heard come back through the intercom. “Tad and Pippa”, we replied. “Who?”, we heard again. “It’s us, Madeleine’s friends, you invited us up.” “Who is it?”, came the voice on the other end again. While slightly frustrating, we couldn’t help but laugh. This comical interlude continued for a couple of minutes before we were finally buzzed in.
After a short visit with these amazing ladies, where we learned that the recipe for living a long and healthy life included good whiskey and dark chocolate, we eventually made our way back to Tad’s car. As we were close to my other friend’s house, the one with the Caddy, I asked if we could go there so I could pick it up. I then drove petite Madeleine home in the gangsta-mobile, which was slightly amusing to say the least.
On my way back to my place, I decided to stop and get groceries at a little market on Yates Street. Shortly before turning onto Yates, I had decided to see what my friend had in terms of music. When I turned the radio on I was greeted with none other than some sort of Hip-Hop with a lot of bass. I don’t mind this music in small doses so I cranked it up a bit. “When in Rome”, right? I turned the corner. Just as I did I saw the police cars ahead. I figured it was some sort of spot check for drinking and driving and, while I wanted to believe otherwise, I was pretty sure I was going to get pulled over in this car.
When the officer flagged me over, he asked me for my license and registration and asked whether I was the owner of the vehicle. He had clearly run the license plate as he saw me approaching and knew the owner had been suspended from driving. I explained I was simply borrowing the car at which point he went back to his vehicle, keyed in my information, returned my paperwork to me, and waved me on.
I parked just up the street in front of the grocery store and that’s when I saw the other officers searching a few black cars of various models stopped in the middle of the road. The drivers stood beside their respective cars – a souped-up Mercedes; a Jetta with tinted windows – and watched nervously as the officers searched the trunks of each car. And then, there it was, bag after bag of marijuana being pulled out one by one and placed on the roof of the car.
At this point, I chuckled, amazed that this was actually happening and grateful I had already returned Madeleine safely to her house. I sat in the car and watched the scene before me, listening to Hip-Hop tunes and wondering where all the bright lights and scantily clad women were. Then, I went grocery shopping all the while pondering the bizarre events of that evening spent cruising around, from A to B, in a hatchback and a Cadillac.