I knew Friday night that it was deja vu all over again.
Déjà vu is the experience of feeling sure that one has already witnessed or experienced a current situation, even though the exact circumstances of the prior encounter are uncertain and were perhaps imagined
Here was how I arrived at that situation, beginning with my Friday evening, when I went to see the Toronto Rock lacrosse game at 7:30pm at the Air Canada Centre, arriving home by 10:30pm, or just in enough time to go to hockey. The plan was for me to race home,grab my hockey bag, pick up my buddy and head over to play some ball-hockey. I’ve been playing in ball-hockey leagues for over 20 years, so I have done this before, but this was the first game after a lacrosse game and I had the subway to keep in mind as I travelled from downtown to mid-town Toronto.
Planning in advance, I brought up my bag from the basement and placed it on the coffee table in the family room, but I already knew something was wrong when I started to look inside for my required equipment. Something that happened to me before, a long time ago was happening again.
Some background to put this story into context:
When my wife and I got engaged, I moved in to her condo with her and her 3 cats. The oldest one of these cats, the queen, was not very fond of change, nor did she particularly like anyone who took away her sleeping spot on the bed – so me. She wouldn’t hiss or growl, but instead let out a long “MEOWWWWWWW” and with that she thought she was speaking English and those words were not kind at all. In hindsight, they were probably threats.
Anyways, this cat showed us her displeasure after my second day living there when she emptied her bladder on urban mummy’s shoes which were sitting at the front door. This was no accident. It was a targeted attack because from that day forward, whenever we left shoes out at night, they were attacked. All the while I suspect she was planning the biggest attack for me.
One day I grabbed my hockey bag from the laundry room – or the front hall – I do not recall, and there was a foul smell and my bag was dripping. I suspected that my water bottle had tipped over and I had forgotten to close it, since this had happened before.
I loaded my stuff in the car and raced over to the arena. I arrived in the change room and proceeded to unload my equipment when the guy sitting beside me started to sneeze like crazy.
He spun to me and asked me if I had cats.
“Yes”, I replied, my wife does, “why?”
“I’m deathly allergic”, he said, “and my eyes are red now so I have to move to the other side of the room… Sorry” and with that, up he got and away he walked.
I then proceeded to take out my equipment and it was all wet. My jersey, wet. My towel, soaked, my socks, wet, jock, wet, gloves, wet… It was going to be a rough game since all my stuff was wet but my team needed me to play.
It was only once I was completed dressed when I looked back into my bag and noticed that the “water” that had spilled from my bottle was in fact yellow in colour…
The coin dropped.
The light went on.
The elevator hit the top floor.
That #$&#%$&$%&% cat peed in my hockey bag and now I’m fully dressed and about to play in urine.
But my team needed me and I had to go out so I sucked it up for the team and played.
Fast forward to Friday night.
All three of those cats have since passed on and we have a newish cat who is not a very nice cat but he has never peed on anyone’s clothes. There was a different issue at play here.
On Wednesday, my wife noticed that our standing freezer in the basement had turned off and fully defrosted, thawing everything that was inside of it including 9 giant salmon heads which I picked up for our nanny to feed her Thursday play group. The melted ice, and blood and goop from the fish, and chickens which thawed leaked all over the floor in the storage room, and sitting on the floor in that room was, you guessed it, my hockey bag.
Now I’m not sure if that crap got sucked into the back through the bottom or if someone dropped a towel inside but this bag smelled horrid and was not only wet, but it was sticky.
I removed a lot of the stuff that I did not need to play and I left it in the laundry room, but this team also needed me Friday night and I thought how bad could it be compared to cat pee.
Let me tell you… It was worse.
I got to the arena, changed and very reluctantly put on some very wet, very smelly equipment. As I slid my hands into the gloves, not only were they wet, but they were slimy and for a good 10 minutes while warming up, I could not hold my stick and my gloves were always sliding off. I even tried rubbing my hands in the faces of my opponents to see if it would deter them from destroying us, but it didn’t.
I was the stinky guy, but very much unlike the stinky guy who never cleans his equipment or washes his clothes. I was the stinky guy covered in rotting food who squished too. It was so bad, I could not even place my head down on the bench for fear that I would catch a whiff of my own jersey.
On the bright side, we only lost 10-1.
I raced home, showered a VERY long and very hot shower and ran all my equipment and hockey bag through the wash twice with a lot of soap.
Tonight, I have another game and before that game I intend on washing my stick, mouth guard, helmet and water bottle.
It was deja vu of the worst kind.
I told this story to my wife and she said in both instances she would NOT have played. In both cases my team needed me.
Would you have played? Would it change your decision if you knew your team needed you there and playing?