Extraordinary stories from everyday life on the edge of the world

Stories

the best thing about us is the people we know.
 

Trafalgar Street (by the sea wall) // Saturday, 5.01pm

I promised myself that if I got lonely, depressed, blase, or any kind of blue during this trip, I would simply write it into the story.

But I feel empty of anything to say.

Maybe because it's grey outside...the first truly grey day I've encountered on this trip. Maybe it's because we were out until 2 last night. Maybe because my next stretch of road is 24 hours long, or because my good friends in Maryland haven't responded to my request to stay with them, leaving me unsure of where I'm going to lay my head when I get there, and of whether I did something to egregiously offend them.

Maybe it's because I miss my friend.

Maybe it's because Vancouver is not quite what I expected. It doesn't have the corrugated bamboo crunch I anticipated, not even the upper-class version. There are health food stores and yoga studios and public houses advertising their "local" virtues, but they play their identity much more subdued than any American Northwestern counterpart.

For some reason, I was expecting a Canadian Portland. And maybe that's in fact what it is. As Rachel says, "People are nice here; they just don't smile as much as Americans do."

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We stopped at Milano, on Powell Street. I asked the barista if I could have my tea in a smaller cup; confronting me with a gaze as clear as water, he shook his head "no."

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There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard... We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting some of them ourselves. Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden.

Such was my heart, O God, such was my heart... (St. Augustine)

It happened again this morning. I woke up at 7 with my mind running like the ticker tape at opening bell. I tried to go back to sleep because it seemed the healthy thing to do. After ten minutes, I gleefully gave up.

We'd slept over at Jess' house, to avoid having to take a cab. Thank God her internet was working; she'd said maybe it wouldn't. I played the keyboard like a piano, drinking Irish tea and eating from the bag of kale chips we'd been offered the night before, until the girls woke up at ten. I felt like a million bucks; I shucked off Jess' dad's old squash team t-shirt, put my wrinkled dress back on, and tried to contain my million-dollar glow in consideration of Rachel's hangover.

Naturally, I crashed hard just after lunch, and woke up as grey as the weather. So I worked, and then went for a run beside the beach. And then I came home and worked again. My irritation with various clients and their importunate demands (more saleable ideas! less fancy words!) vied for attention with work on this site, which progressed at double the speed of the work I ought to have been doing, thanks to my guilty glee that at last--at fucking last--my little vanity project/magnum opus has become my treehouse.

See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do, which is write--on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest... (Joan Didion)

I know, goddamit, not to be anxious. But when it's that nonspecific whack-a-mole breed of anxiety, with no particular source that reason and industry can address, denial of it is nothing but denial.

For days, I've wanted to cry and haven't been able to. Maybe now I finally will.