the view across the straight from my velvet rut

i’ve lived out here on the coast for almost five years, but i had never seen wild orcas until saturday evening. i was aboard the spirit of british columbia, which was pulling out from the tsawassen ferry terminal. the pod of whales rose from the water, then disappeared again, off the starboard side of the ferry’s stern. it looked so much like a film sequence that my heart did not leap as i’d thought it would. still it was nice, a good luck token to carry with me back to my little city.

i visit places and i want to live in them. moab, amsterdam, whitehorse, chicago, brighton, even brandon (manitoba!): within a few short hours of arriving, i am planning how i will make them my home, what i will do to make them love me. the potential of these towns is so crystal clear, and there’s always an obvious niche for me to fill… it’s the exact opposite of the murkily shifting roles and identities that buffet me back in this city.

and i’m been feeling it again, a million possible futures spreading out from my crusty toes as i gallivanted around vancouver this past week. it’s even worse when i’m on a serious photography bender like i have been recently… there’s something about using my lens to steal bits of a place that kicks my sense of romance into overdrive. i can’t get over how that broken glass is sparkling in the gutter, and am transfixed by the half-burnt-out neon sign atop the howard johnson. it now reads “HOT” in giant pink letters: a message beaming high across the east end rooftops every night.

what would i want to do in vancouver? mostly things i already do in this city, or could if i put in the effort: ride my bike, people-watch, hang out in cafes, go to shows and galleries, become involved in community bike stuff, volunteer with the fruit tree project, learn a trade, find a boat and spend time out on the water, make art and put it up anonymously around town, get my pilot’s license, crush out on inappropriate strangers, make new friends.

it’s another escapist fantasy, and a pretty safe one for now… my academic commitments have me anchored in this city until at least december. and then there’s employment: my position at the university means i can apply for internally-posted jobs, and it’s just a matter of timing for me to land something relatively high-paying and secure.

but my older sister’ll be moving to van in the fall, and some of my favourite people are living there too these days… and it’s not so far from the safe warmth of this city that i’d lose touch with my friends here…

yes, the allure of new things: i’ve always loved starting over, gotten a rich high from what *could* be. have spent four years struggling to resist it, now am trying to remember how not to.


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