So the other night, I'm backing out of my driveway to get to my weekly hockey game, and I notice a minor commotion in my rear-view mirror.
There, passed out in one of my neighbor's driveways, was a drunk. His body was sprawled out like a Keith Haring character (making an obtuse snow angel in the fallen flakes), and over him hovered two of my 'hood's best Samaritans, scratching their heads as per what to do with this unseemly and uninvited guest.
What's this got to do with Surprise? Well, the lesson I learned once on my way for the 45-minute drive to the rink that:
Surprise is created by placing things out of context.
We all have, unfortunately, had to step over an inebriated body or two in our time. When they are in the vicinity of a city's downtown core, outside a club or in some alley, they are disturbing, but accepted as part of the landscape. But when they are alone in a driveway of a tony, residential suburb like Westmount, miles away from any bar or liquor store, they indeed tune up the voltage on the shock meter.
While I don't advocate drinking until you're face down in the snow (particularly in the summer), the lesson of the Westmount drunk is that by taking things out of their natural habitats and placing them where they are out of context, the end result is what this blog is all about.
This is not a major ordeal either; wearing a baseball cap with a tux or running shoes with a suit, playing classical music in the dressing room before the big game (what my son's hockey team does, which is quite unexpected amongst 16-to-18-year-old boys with rampant testosterone), anything that switches two norms into one abnorm is an easy Surprise recipe.
Put it in your cookbook.
(Oh, and as for the Westmount drunk, the citizens called 911 and an ambulance came. The siren aroused the man from his stupor, he got to his feet, refused the "official" ride, and since there was no harm done or need to press charges, he stumbled on his merry way along the lights of The Boulevard. Now go to sleep, children...)