from A Squandered Life / Expo '67

....as her short skirt hiked up even higher along her gorgeous thighs.

So, home again, and no job, again.

It was a hot summer and bubbling with the excitement of the Expo '67 World's Fair. I was enjoying the city centre location of our new home on Lincoln Avenue. It felt so cosmopolitan being able to step out the front door and mix on a daily basis with assured and urbane Montrealers and all the visiting internationals.

I couldn't afford to go into the Expo show ground so I was desperate to find work, however menial, which would provide me with access. Somehow I scrounged a trial for a job as a bar assistant at some posh restaurant on site, but I quickly found there were about three of us competing to clear the tables of glasses and ash trays abandoned by a fairly meager trickle of customers. In the end I couldn't stand the unstated tension and walked out to look elsewhere on the site.

I stumbled across a hot dog stall run by Steinbergs, the big Montreal supermarket group. They were looking for people and agreed to take me on if I was approved by their personnel department in the north of the city. I hastened away and found myself in a drab people processing building on an industrial estate. I filled in forms and answered questions and posed for a photo ID.

In those days I used to pose for such photos with a straight face but with my eyeballs skewed as high skywards as I could manage. This was not usually noticeable to the photographer but always produced a satisfactorily peculiar portrait. On this occasion I stood there with my eyes skewed north for what seemed a lengthy period of time in an atmosphere of complete silence. I skewed down to see the lady photographer observing me, without amusement, and waiting for me to normalise.

In spite of myself, I had a job, a work ID, and a permanent pass to Expo '67. This felt like my highest achievement to date, and the special beauty of it was that I could bring guests in as well. I would bring friends or family in or meet them at the turnstiles and slip my pass through to them. The work itself was the sort of drudge you would expect from a junk food and soda pop stall, but my work colleagues were largely people like myself – students trying to earn their tuition whilst having access to the cultural explosion. In short, none of us were planning a career in hot-doggery so we were all fairly light-hearted in our attentions to duty and our commitments to customer satisfaction. There was a good bit of joshing and tomfoolery.

It was actually more than a stall. It was a large circular counter which could handle about four queues at a time. There would usually be six or seven of us on duty at a time, with overlapping shifts. Plenty of scope for mucking about. No one ever got reprimanded but I vividly recall a Coca Cola rep getting very upset at being served Pepsi when he had specifically asked for his own product. We couldn't tell them apart ourselves and would simply reach for the nearest tap. The result was that Coke “withdrew it's product line”. Let that be a lesson to you prospective junk food retailers.

There were plenty of fascinating exhibits and activities on site. From the huge American geodesic dome to the 360 degree cinema with its cross Canada tour, but my favourite was the Trinidad & Tobago pavilion where I was introduced to rum punches. My friend Jeremy and I had regular sessions there, getting blutered to the strains of West Indian island music. I also took my girlfriend Jill there, to show off my local knowledge. I was so proud of her. She was stunningly beautiful, very blonde and very leggy, and, most amazingly, liked me. I remember her settling demurely into a rather uncomfortable sitting position on a manicured grassy slope as her short skirt hiked up even higher along her gorgeous thighs. “It's easy for you,” she said as I laid back on the slope and watched her in wonder.


© 2013 Deacon Martin

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