Wednesday, August 03, 2005
No worrying allowed if I don't write for a few days. It is simply because it is August and hot and sunny out, and I am enjoying my summer to its absolute fullest for the first time in my conscious memory.
I stopped to wonder this week about exactly why this is. Perhaps it's because I'm not twiddling my thumbs waiting for the Boy to come back from Fernie this summer. I'm not trying to save money to go visit him, and I didn't spend the BC Day weekend on a 22-hour bus ride through the interior of our lovely yet dusty province on a blazingly hot afternoon. No sticky slept-in-clothes feeling and no waking up in tiny little Salmo, BC at 7:00 am to my favourite greasy diner to eat some bacon and eggs and drink some barely passable coffee. No overnight anticipation about seeing him, and no glorious reunion. Not this summer, and from the looks of it, not ever again. I miss certain things about it, but not others.
It is also the first summer in, nearly sixteen years that I don't have to go back to school in the fall. That is for some reason incredibly sweet. I am poor and occasionally overworked and definitely underpaid, and I play the Cashier Robot Barbie far too frequently on a way-too-humble-stage. My humble pie never seems to dwindle. It is always just sitting there, in all its blueberry-filled glory, and I just keep eating and eating.
But a humble life is a good one. This is a life that lets me have the kind of vacation I just had last week. No frills, no gimmicks. No commission sales staff. Just fun in the sun, beautiful people, good music, and a lot of relaxation.
On Thursday morning I left for Seattle, which turned out to be a damned fun time. I was with my family, so I didn't do anything terribly crazy, but it was still a lovely couple of days. We went to some great bookstores and music shops, and spent an absolutely sublime afternoon at the Pike Place Market. I actually wrote a poem about it, after much searching for a drugstore in which to buy a cheap notebook and a pen. I'll probably post it here at some point, but since no one commented on or seemed particularly interested in my last effort at writing I may just not bother.
Usually when I visit the Untied States of Aggression I am immediately assaulted by the following observations:
1) The people are huge. Huge. But more shockingly is that unlike in the Third World, where the wealthy are thin and the poor are emaciated from malnutrition, in the U.S. the poorest people are also the most obese. America seems to make junk food so very, very cheap that this is an inevitability. The rich can afford personal trainers and organic vegetables. The poor eat 30 cent packages of trans-fat filled crackers and processed cheese. It's really sad on all levels - political, economical, and just plain emotional.
2) There is so much food. And such variety. In fact, there is such a variety of consumer goods that going into a drugstore is a deeply overstimulating experience. They have products that Canada stopped making years ago. I felt the need to stock up on sundry items like cherry-flavoured lip balm (the good kind), Mr. Goodbars, Hersheys white chocolate with almonds, and travel-sized deodorant. Shopping in the U.S. is an exhausting, expensive, and yet completely revolutionary experience.
3) People are religious. They actually buy the cards that say GOD BLESS, and the bumper stickers that read GOD IS MY COPILOT, and they do it without a hint of irony. They gather in massive mega-churches and they have PRAISE GATHERINGS, and I want to just sit in a corner and rock back and forth, muttering incomprehensibly to myself.
But Seattle is great. They have an awesome music culture, a beautiful art gallery I spent several hours in, a perfectly respectable baseball team (although this time the Mariners' lost 6-5 to the Indians - a team name I am shocked still exists in this day and age, not to mention their hideously racist mascot), comparatively liberal values (compared to the rest of the country) and an amazing selection of well-priced seafood restaurants. We went to a restaurant at 11:30 at night and I had a glass of Washington chardonnay and some of the best oysters I've ever had in my life. I felt that if I died in that moment my life would have been complete.
I had to come home on Friday night on the Greyhound, sadly, while my parents and brother went to the Port Townsend jazz fest, because I had to get to D.'s wedding (I'm calling him Dan from now on, by the way). The bus was almost two hours late getting in and I am scared to death of the customs officers and border police. But I turned on the cute and they let me through.
Dan's wedding was a pretty painful affair. If you're Catholic and you're serious about it, STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW. Other, saner people may continue.
The ceremony was in the middle of nowhere, and we messed up the bus schedules so Cait didn't make it there on time. It was hot, and un-air-conditioned, and stuffy in the church. The decor was cheesy at best, borderline kitsch at worst. The ceremony started 25 minutes late, and it was an hour and forty-five very excruciating minutes long. It was super-Catholic, with children dressed in white and carrying crosses, lots of bloody crucifixes, kneeling, raising of the right hand in a Hitlerian salute for people who were baptized, random Bible passages that had nothing to do with the couple or even marriage at all, Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 reinterpreted as a religious text about man's relationship with Christ (this genuinely made me gag), very virginal white gauze, veils, and flowers, bad singing, no organ, and a Chinese priest called Romeo who made a fine art of muttering into a microphone. They did Holy Communion, which to me was startlingly cannibalistic. The priest neglected to move the mic before he ate the wafer, and you could hear his chewing and swallowing of the not-so-metaphorical blood and body of God. The only highlights were the bride's gorgeous white dress and her flower girls, who were tiny and dressed in orange satin dresses that laced up in the back.
The reception had its moments, but Cait and I were seated at the leftovers table with Dan's slutty little girl-space-friend from high school and her Mexican boyfriend and the photographers and their assistants, and my interactions with Dan's new wife were VERY awkward at best. The party was in the middle of nowhereville suburbia and it took us nearly an hour to get there. Argh. In fact, double argh. ARGH ARGH.
Fortunately, the next day I went to Pride and got to cleanse myself of all the ickiness of uptight religiosity, in favour of a place where I felt more at home than I have anywhere on earth for just about as long as I can remember. Pride is above all a fun event, especially now that gays and lesbians actually have the right to marry in this country. I am proud to be Canadian for that reason, and for many other reasons as well.
I got all decked-out in my festive regalia, my rainbow shirt and blue capri pants excessively rolled up, and temporary rainbow triple-x tattooes. The latter item I actually managed to tan around, and despite washing off the tattoo my Catholic fresh-out-of-high-school coworkers could still see the Xs on my arm this morning. I laughed it off, because what else was I going to do?
The parade was neat, and hanging with S. and her girlfriend (I'm calling her Sophie from now on, though it doesn't really suit her, and her girlfriend will be Becky - using initials both sucks and blows) is always great fun. I realised I actually don't know Becky that well, but as I get to know her more I find her to be really funny and sweet and down-to-earth, and she's an awesome cook. She made us some great sandwiches and banana bread to eat during the day, and she artfully messed up my hair for the party after the parade. She is a really cool girl, and her and Sophie were super-hospitable to me over the weekend. They let me sleep at their apartment, since we got home from the after-party around 3:00, and I woke up happy as a clam to sunlight streaming in from Lost Lagoon, and pigeons dancing on the balconies across from me.
Kylie came out for the post-parade party, and I came in from the West End where Sophie and Becky live to meet her bus. I was all decked out in my little raver gear - waaaay too small black tank top with a rainbow lightning bolt and royal blue capris, plus a couple of cheesy rubber bracelets that I wore solely because they were pink and Pride-friendly. I enjoyed looking rainbowy for the first time ever, because guys didn't hit on me, and most people seemed to interpret me as a force to be reckoned with. Fine by me, because I am just that.
Either way, Kylie was not exactly acting platonic around me, even before she had a single ounce of alcohol in her system. I was super-careful not to touch her, because if I did I wasn't sure how well I'd be able to hold myself back. She is just so fucking beautiful, with that lovely red hair and hazel eyes. At any rate, I needn't have worried, because she couldn't seem to keep her hands off me the whole evening. This was at once a frustrating and wonderful thing. She kept taking my hand to weave through the crowd at the club, and putting her arm around me, and at times I was sure I was just going to lose it. Finally we ended up in front of a huge fan at the bar. I had to do the movie-star, windswept look thing for a few minutes, and I was giggling and acting like the semi-drunken goofball that I was, and she sat beside me and started touching the place between my ribs and my waist. I just about came unhinged. Then, she kissed me.
Okay, I realise we're not supposed to be involved, but I am only human. How could I not kiss her back? Anyway, it was totally awesome, and not something I would normally have done in public, with anyone else, male or female. It was hot, and strangely romantic as well.
Other people seem to have picked up on the connection between us as well. My friend Ellie from high school who I ran into at the party introduced Kylie to her friends as my girlfriend, even though she knows the whole official story about us being "just friends." Sophie and Becky both think we look like we're really close, and that we look good together. The girl at the coat check actually wouldn't let Kylie leave when she wanted to get her bag. She kept saying "nope, you're not leaving," and pushing the chip back across the counter untill Kylie uttered in her best Napoleon Dynamite voice, "No, SERIOUSLY! I have to go." The coat-check girl, who was super-pretty herself with curly red hair, finally got Kylie's bag from the back, then winked at me and said "I tried."
So...I don't normally make out with my friends, but when I called Kylie the next day, she seemed okay with it. And oddly enough, I'm okay with it too. I don't feel way more emotionally-attached to her than I did before. I just feel happy, and more determined than ever to be a positive force in her life, someone who gives back and doesn't just take.
Jordan seems to be at the same place as well. He doesn't want a relationship, and neither do I, really. But he told me he likes me, and that he wants to get to know me better, and he'd be open to something semi-casual. Fine. By. Me. Just please, bring the motorcycle. He's going back east for a while because that's where his family lives, and so I likely won't see him for the next month or so. That's a bit sad, but at least I figure he won't forget about me anytime soon.
Going to the island tomorrow, so I'd better sleep.
Sorry about not writing, but for the meantime it's just something you'll have to deal with.
Life is just this really great ice cream cone that threatens to melt if I don't go out and enjoy it. Look for me at the beach. I'll be the one with the fading purple hair, and the big smile.
Have a nice unweekend, kids.