-- No Friends, Winnipeg
Dear Friends: No need to be embarrassed! I once moved into a new neighbourhood, panicked at the sudden loneliness, and had a block party almost upon arrival. It cures the problem for you and everyone around you. Start with a mid- to late-August block party, when summer's winding down, on a boring midweek night. The City of Winnipeg's block party department (call 311) will close off the street for a fee of $205. You can pass the hat at the party. Then you can have a big private barbecue party with kids on bikes, and games and music that goes on for hours. Or, you can host the party in your front yard, for no charge. If you're in an apartment area, use the parking lot and fill it with lots of balloons to soften the ugly cement look. Quick organization: The people with even house or apartment numbers bring salad and veggie stuff and the ones with odd numbers bring fruit and desserts. People supply their own meat to cook, and drinks. Drop a colourful notice into mailboxes, with your phone number to call to RSVP and get into a chat with everyone who phones. Get phone numbers of people you especially like at the barbecue and invite them over soon after. Good luck with your new community of friends!
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is for Embarrassed in Winnipeg (the woman with the husband who likes to stop with the young boys and urinate on the highway to the lake.) I agree with the wife. We don't even have outhouses anymore, because it's pollution. It's against the law too -- a filthy habit. It's not something to teach young boys. Two-year-old boys try it , and with good parenting, they don't do it by the time they're five.
-- Not Cute, Winnipeg
Dear Not Cute: Police say it's against the law ( particularly on the highway) and there's a fine to pay but the charges vary with the behaviour of the person doing it -- if they're drunk, if they're exposing themselves to shock people. Who among us has not had a child urgently needing to go and cannot wait, or a pregnant woman in much the same condition? Some people hide behind the vehicle and others are out there trying to show off -- two different scenarios. Maybe this dad had best teach the kids they're all old enough to think ahead and have the family hit bona fide restrooms on the way out to the lake.
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