Monday, December 18, 2006

Festive Frostbite

So Friday night as I arrive home I end up in contact with the infamous Jodster. Turns out that spending a Friday night at our respective homes all warm and cozy was just not his idea of a good time. As such I end up doing something I have never done before, urban camping! Okay so I've done urban camping before but that was just for fun, this was a mission. I sat outside of a store all night and waited for a toy to come out. They didn't come out in the morning though and we had to go in and get them but you get the idea.

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I know what you're thinking, "Better you than me buddy! You wouldn't catch me out in the freezing cold all night for a toy!" Sounds like no fun at all, plus the possible medical concerns..... Well that may be the case if you haven't got the like of our city's crowd. The toy in question for us was the new Nintendo Wii, in all of it's projectile related mayhem. These white clad technological wonders are in remarkably short supply this Christmas, and let's face it, if it wasn't these it would be something else. As such there have been lineups all over the place. These lineups have been rather mercenary and involve people sitting in a chair all night, afraid to stand up because if they leave their seat they lose their spot. As such you get to see a line of miserable looking creatures slumped into their seats all night with minimal conversation. Add the fact that there have been robberies and muggings as thugs have been known to descend upon these lines and strip the hopeful consumers of their toy purchasing monies and you have a recipe for a long and ugly night.

Our night was not so much of the cold and miserable and far more of the camaraderie and lunacy type. It began when I managed to finally get to the store and meet up with the Jodster. He had arrived shortly after 8:00pm and took his place in the line behind a pair of ladies who had been their since shortly after 5:00pm. Apparently they were in an overnighter the night before that was like the fun-free ideal I outlined above (only with no crime) only to find they were number 22 in line for only 21 available consoles. Ouch! So as we all began to filter into our spots and establish "THE ORDER" it became apparent that this wasn't going to be the usual lineup of frantic parents and kids. I was impressed when at 11:30pm the staff from the store stuck their heads out and took our coffee orders. The first round was on them !! I felt this was a great gesture on their part because let's be honest, if they hadn't done it we'd still have been out there freezing our asses off anyhow. It was the first of many positive things about the night.

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After the store had locked their doors and we had officially set up our rotation into the Tim Hortons for the coffees and washroom breaks it really began to get fun. We all had made new friends and were having a good laugh when it was decided that sitting their enjoying the conversation and experience of risking frostbite for a piece of technology that will be in heaps on the shelves in two weeks time wasn't enough. That's when the entertainment began. We had a couple set up with the movie Twin Towers on their portable DVD player. The poker table got unpacked and the 1st annual Hamilton Mountain Wii Invitational was launched. There was no word on if anyone lost their Wii before even getting their hands on it but things stayed friendly and light so I don't think so. I think the loser had to buy the pizza.

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Once we got all that established it was time for a supply run. When the reinforcements pulled in they were armed with "refreshments" and hockey gear so it was time for the tournament to begin.

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The game was fast paced and lethal at the same time. Those orange road balls for street hockey get to be a little hard at lower temperatures. The end result was that anyone who decided to "take one for the team" and dive in front of the ball was rewarded with a sizable stinging welt. In the end the teams which were essentially segregated by age dueled it out with the elders winning the match. The playing and the refreshments began to catch up with everyone and some of them started nodding off, but to be fair it was around 3:00am when they started to fade and most of them had been there for 5 hours already.

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The line began to fill in and the last of the consoles were spoken for around 3:30 or so leaving the line to grow in hopes of some funny baby doll and a new Elmo called TMX. I think it's some street thing......or was that DMX? The Elmo toy was in short suply as well with only 50 units available and a long line was beginning to form for them as well. As I wandered around taking pictures of the crowd and the people they all were dismayed to find that I was actually there as backup. If for any reason the Jodster couldn't go the distance I was poised to jump in and take over for him. Further proof that I am a little mental maybe but it payed off for another lady as well. A byproduct of all the drinking and running around was that our bladders thawed out and required emptying. As the parade of frozen bodies rolled through the Tim Hortons we used the facilities and bought a steady stream of coffees and other warm drinks. The ladies in the store were spectacular all night. They kept the washroom serviceable and the drinks coming. Their friendly smiles were almost as warm and the 100 degree blast of air that was pointed at the doors as you walked in. I learned as the night wore on that her shift ended as the doors were opening at the store and she wanted on these urban Elmos so got my name on the list for them and secured her a unit. Her and her co-workers were over the moon with joy at this, which I didn't really think was a big deal. I was already out there in the not-so-cold night anyhow. She made a point of hunting me down in the store and thanking me again (after something like 5 "thank you" s while I was in the Tim Hortons). I hope her little one enjoys it as much as she did!

So the Christmas spirit prevailed and a rather sizable pile of strangers came together and beat the weather and the clock to secure a pile of hard to get items. I got to renew my hope that people can actually be good if they try and the lady at the Tim's gets to wrap a gift she really wasn't expecting to be able to get. I'd say it all worked out well.

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As you can clearly see, people were absolutely miserable thanks to the experience.

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If you want to see what a pile of nuts can do with cold weather and a common goal check out the pictures here.

8 Comments:

Blogger Frank said...

That is a great story. I'm glad to see everyone had fun with it, and didn't turn it into a brawl like happens so many places.

You're not right in the head, but you're a great guy, Pete. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I did that once too. An experience you'll remember longer than the item.

Take Care
Michael

12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Hella said...

Sounds like you were able to have some fun while waiting in the cold.
For our family it seems the Wii is like the mythical unicorn, tyr as we may, we cannot get our hands on one!!

6:04:00 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Wow, what a story :) I'm not sure if I could have sat there that long, but who knows.

6:16:00 PM  
Blogger ms. creek said...

JODSTER! I've missed your humor!

oops...ohh,....sorry pete....

ummm. sounds like an awesome camping trip. not quite like our mountain camping with the bears, but nonetheless, excellent camping...what a cool idea!

("happy birthday to me")

6:30:00 PM  
Anonymous happy and blue 2 said...

Glad you and Jodster were able to make it a fun time..And I'm pretty sure that you two had a lot to do with it..

9:51:00 PM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

MUTMC (that's you, RainyPete), you are truly a Useless Man (as is Jodster, but that's a given: his picture is the illustration). Earth to you two. You live in flipping Canada! The Great White North! It's cold. So camping out in December to buy a useless piece of electronic equipment seems like a great idea. Hope the chilblains are gone soon.

10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

Wii've already got a Wii. I hope the one you bought has the thicker wrist straps, 'cos appanently there's been a product recall on the ones with the thinner wrist straps.

1:30:00 AM  

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