Travelling to the North
Waking at 5.27 am, remaining horizontal, thinking, about rising, evaluating the options between standing underwater and smelling soapy or remaining dry a smelling regular, travelling. Today I travel.
I considered a graph in which the deterioration of regular odour into abjection is plotted. The timeline fell within the duration of travel.
Shortly afterwards I was standing under falling water, then dressing, listening to the radio. The people chatting in the microphone, near a transmitter mentioned a delay on my route to the airport, due to amateur pharmaceutical business posturing resulting in life ending perforations. I left for the airport early.
My first of three buses arrived. Prepaid ticket, inserted in the buses money mouth, returned with bite marks of letters and numbers. It went into my pocket. I am travelling with 2 bags. A bigish one and a small one. The bigish one has my tripod sticking out.
Moving from bus to bus is uneventful, in the second leg, I stand beside a young woman, speaking on her cell phone in French. I am piping Carmen into my ears. No singing, just the instruments.
I dreamed of the scene in Magnolia in which a translation of the opera is an answer for a boy in a game-show. Something about being in the place of my birth and humiliation.
The final bus is a converted and extended van. The woman driving it is cool, expressionless, reading the paper.
At the terminal, I coffee up. Smoke, some birds dance to Carmen. I chat with a fellow who has helicopter parts on the table about murders and good living. He likes his new home, Squamish.
I get my boarding pass and head to security, they tell me I have erred and must go to the other side of the small terminal. The other side is a door. There is no security check for my flight. I instantly feel more secure, knowing that the one layer of humiliation, removing my shoes and belt in front of travellers and uniformed go-getters has been averted. An Airplane while boarding
I snap pictures as I board and record movies and snaps during take-off and climbing. I am given choices from a basket of snacks from the flight attendant . I choose the Rice Crispy cube, as it is made by the Rice Crispy brand and I quickly think. If anyone knows a good recipe for the cube it is these people. Chewy.
I am listening to songs and snapping pictures. I read a bit of Bringhurst.
We begin to descend.
Our floor of clouds becomes our ceiling. There is some wobbling, Trees and water show up, they start to move towards myself and my seated, unintroduced friends. A little more time and we are all sitting is a zippy, loud cylindrical bus.
The baggage collection machine in Port Hardy runs for 60 seconds. I collect my bag.
I learn that a cab ride to the ferry terminal is $23. This cuts deeply into my travel budget of $61.25.
The cab driver and I complain about geopolitics and economics. I arrive at the terminal, 5 hours before my ship is set to depart. There are 2 vending machines, in a small room occupied by empty blue fibreglass formed chairs. I get an Oh Henry bar. There is a contest I can enter, all of the stipulations are written in the clothes of the candy, I entertain the thought of winning thousands of dollars. I eat the sugar nut confection.
I get my ticket from some new behind the counter types, they offer an opportunity to partake in the acquisition of hamburgers. I decline. Cite, brokeness.
I begin to dump pictures from my camera, now full, to my iPod with a length of wire. The battery visibly depletes, struggling with the demands that are being placed on it. As image after image of sky/wing are placed on its platter. I begin to worry, but all it well and the transfer does not fail. I plug my iPod into a socket near a plant after confirming with the staff to the best plugs in the small room. Hanging the iPod off the fire extinguisher is suggested, but I opt for hiding it in a plant. In case of fire.
It will be 2 hours before I spot humans, not employed by the ferry company. He is speaking either Russian or Portuguese. (later I learn, he does work for the Ferry company)
A jet is overhead, moving very fast, leaving a double underline behind it, to find its way home, or as it turns out, for friends to follow it. As now there is another.
This must be a popular route.
Every transportation method I have encountered today has blue trim. This little building also has blue trim. I suspect my ship will also, as the website I booked my passage on sported a preponderance of blue.
Broke on the ferry is not as much fun as not broke on the ferry.
Now I am in the poor position of worrying about money.
I have budgeted myself peppermint tea and honey for tonight and coffee for the morning. I will walk from the ferry terminal to the bus station and get my ticket. Hopefully, I will not have to pawn my camera or anything like that. The leftover cash will fund food.
I don’t think I will get to know anyone on the Queen of Prince Rupert. There are not that many of the youthful chattering classes here.
I fell asleep after roaming around the ship a bit, and was woken up when they announced that they were closing the kitchen. Before that I faded back to a wake-ishness a few times, due to songs in my ears, worrying about my glasses and I am pretty sure, my snores.
I had a dream of my “not that great” planning and it worked out well. In the dream I meet a couple and they were friendly and weird and nice. I don’t think the dream city was Prince Rupert as it was not raining.
I will see.
Maybe I can get a job in Rupert.
I did meet a “not together” couple, they were friendly, we smoked and talked. They were hiding the fact that they were smoking a joint. Not from me, but from any staff, to protect them from their future drug tests. We talked about fishing, boats, suicide and money. The fellow is named G and the woman, R. After a while as the ship neared Bella Bella, For our sailing pleasure the Adams Family was being played on a largeish screen television, I watched it. It was zany.
“Death Cab for Cutie” was playing in the gift shop.
I was working on sleeping, listening to David Hickey give a talk about art and high school sports, the woman behind me was all a chatter and even though she exhibited all of the characteristics of drunkenness, I knew she was not. It is against the policy of the boat to allow for drunkenness. On the deck, R & G were chatting with a few others, R told me to look up, I was surprised by the stars. There were painful to consider in their scary plenitude. My brain stretched far past my head to fit even a small number of them in.
On the way back to the chair many of my fellow passengers were fallen, sleeping, all over and everywhere. The passenger lounge of this ferry
This is what a ferry massacre must look like. I had my Goya eyes on. I would not sleep on the floor, I declared, in silence, proudly.
In my chair, I spun a wheel of plastic for music to delta wave to. I chose the Amilee soundtrack. She took lots of pictures too.
I wrapped my head in a scarf to prevent the interruption of light. I hope I looked disturbing, dead.
I woke up after a deep pacific slumber, full of restfulness and reconnected my ears to the iPod.” A Dream Upon Waking” is playing.
I got a coffee and watched the sky turn white and the mountain tone it down.
I am having the feeling that I express a sort of comedic anxiety. I keep getting weird, useless advice from the people I encounter. Like the “left-handed monkey wrench” trick that is paid on new sawmill workers. I was told by the Port Hardy cab driver, that the ferry would not show up that day, that the bus from PR to Terrace was $40, I followed a fellow to the car decks for disembarking and as he arrived on the deck, announced that we were on the wrong deck and went another way. I was pretty sure that there was only one deck, but followed him anyways. For the reason, that I said I would, and I often carry out actions I know I probably should not, because I say I will. Also important to consider. Why I keep bothering strangers.
More podcasts, one about suits and two Chernobyl, these days. The lady sitting behind me was chatting, shouting, She looked like a movie star when I glanced over to see who she was speaking to (nobody).
In the ferry terminal, on the land, called Prince Rupert, there are more behind a counter types, friendly too. I peel a map off of the pad of maps and determine the price of going to Terrace, it is $26.30, I am excited, I have enough for lunch!
I march into the heart of moisture, it is not raining, but everything is soaked, the city washed for my arrival.
My legs ache, complaining with being used, pictures are snapped. I eat a toasted eggy bagel and more coffee at a downtown cafe / medical office. The coffee is listed on the menu as “Wake You Up”.
Then off to the public library. The bus terminal opens at 4. I will set off from here to there at that time. Once I am online I check my email accounts. They have a linux system, the browser is unfamiliar. Shandi is on Google Talk, we type back and forth, reply to a few e-mails. I was hoping Rachæl would also arrive on Google Talk, but alas she does not.
Once the time I have gathered up to use their computers has escaped I walk off to a corner in the library and look back out at the stacks, staff and stuff. Sulking, typing.
My armpits smell.
I apply deodorant in the tiny washroom of the PRPL and head back into the books. Roaming the stacks. I take some pictures of a “The Medici” book it has amazing printing, and feels as it was printed perhaps five or six years ago, even though it was printed in 1969. They have a Leonard Cohen CD from 1978 that I don’t recognise, it is called “Some New Songs” or something like that, I will look it up when I get near a network, time look upstairs.
Excited that there is an upstairs.
I look for “I, Lucifer”, they don’t have a copy. The Real Tuesday Weld did a tribute to that book and I have yet to read it. They sing good songs, soon, I will put those words in my head to spend some time in my grey thought soup. I browse some more, they have a small table for Doris Lessing. She is a winner. I grab “Generation X”, the marginalia is funny, after all these years. “Adventure without risk is pointless” and the theme of one of my books “We’re Behaving Like Insects”. The binding is crap and page 171, 173 are falling out. More pictures. It must be close to four, I walk down to the site that will facilitate my injection into Terrace.
There is a fellow ahead of me in the chamber he is without a confirmation number, this ruins the Greyhound computer, the Greyhound computer tells the man before it that it’s cursor is invalid. No ticket for me. Come back at eightish he tells me. Muttering at his DOS interface. I reconfirm the price.
I am a doughnut shop across the street, more Bringhurst, last smoke. Teenagers that swear and swagger in sweats. More, last coffee. I speak to some sitter-nearers about the virtue of gadgets, I had an idea that they were like prototype organs, that people with disposal income test out for everyone else, but I kept this to my self. They liked what they saw of the iPhone.
After 2 hours in the well lit food place (which might not have been a good choice considering my current diet). I proceed to the somewhere else chamber. Before I go enter the lavatory to pee and get scared from my flushed face in the mirror. Outside a father is pushing a babysitting in the rolling child contraption, we do the nodding thing, the baby points up, l lookup and a drop of rain hits my face.
Finally, my final hop has been assured, on paper, the document is in my hand, then pocket.
The ticket is actually 17 cents cheaper than I thought, must have misheard.
I can make to calls in Terrace!!
Waiting in this room is more exciting than Tim Hortons Doughnut Shop, because I am listening to a Momus song, it is a recording of a concert, in France somewhere. The walls are 7% grey. There is no blue trim. There are some red tiles to keep the grey one’s company.
Somebody knocked on the glass door, in what could be the back. This too is exciting. All of the men here are wearing baseball caps.
One of the fellows in a baseball cap and I chat about a ferry and the rock that tore out a chunk of a previous, nicer ferry, now sitting on the dirt undertones of water. He mentioned previous adventuresome jobs and such then vanished to meet an arriving friend.
We board the bus, there was a minor diversion as a partially charismatic man convinced a number of travellers…
I have to interrupt my recollection to describe this moment, in which I am typing. I am sitting in the Terrace, Starbucks, listening to Cory Hart on my iPod, sipping a short Guatemalan coffee. (don’t be afraid >of a guy in shades, ohno), typing on my Palm Pilot. Waiting for my mum. (now Leo Cohen, when they say >repent, I wonder what they meant). This situation has been a point of a number of jokes I have seen on the >telly.
that the bus would board out of the front door. He was routed when this was proved false. The partially charismatic mans plans for leading people fail before they grow too lofty. I was second or third in line, depending on how you count couples.
Encased in a tube of steel and glass with rubber feet we race a train, hydroplane through the rain, reflective bits of honeycomb plastic and decals shine, defining boundaries. The tyres make a constant tearing noise as they collide with the water.
In the Terrace terminal, I ask the driver if I can get a ride to a more convenient intersection. He begins a supposition on the nature of his vocation, my disinterest is immediate. Our relationship is over. I call my mum. I am down to 26¢.
We converse. She stresses me out, tells me of dreams she had of me dying in a boat, she tells me of a conversation with Rachael that sounded worryfilled. I am locked in a phone booth of anxiety. I don’t negotiate a taxi arrangement with my mum. and begin to walk. A number of things come into focus on this walk.
November Rain by Guns and Roses is very different than this experience. The water is cold, accelerated by a northern wind. The lighting is poor, but I am wearing a hat, but it is not a top hat, more of a stetson really.
Hat loss anxiety as described in Miller’s Crossing is in fact, very real. I worry about loosing my hat. My clothing begins to inexorably crack at the seams. My mums dreams of my drowning could be accomplished with this torrent of water.
Numbered lists are not an interesting structure for thoughts. I am heading east so my left side is my knife edge to the water. Between glove and sleeve opens, water flows there. my neck is sealed in grey wool. The hat is doing well, I pull it tighter a number of times.Two youngmen in a warm looking car, under a street light, smiling. I think I am scowling, or smiling wanly. I cannot remember which. Trousers are drenched by now. The listening to Carmen, so far in the past has now articulated itself. When I arrive at the first new Skeena bridge, the cold is unmitigated by cosy, warming trees. I consider how I make decisions. Shins, hurting. Perhaps I could have talked to my mum longer, got her to cover the cab ride. I could be more patient. At least it is not actually freezing.The second bridge is better. The greyhound bus passes me, I salute the vocation of bus driving in the usual fashion. There seems to be a lot of cabs driving around in the dark. Strangely my feet are not wet. I am wearing what was advertised, confidently as “the best socks in the world”. That must be helping. These shoes I got on my last trip to Terrace, they always felt a little uncomfortable, but since the destruction of my boots sole, they have become my only all purpose footwear. The pinky finger of my left glove is fills with water. I feel wetness on my arm and chest. Meaning five layers of different fabrics have been saturated. I reach the headquarters of my parents, my journey has culminated. I am here.
Today is my father’s birthday.
We chatted, sang the song, watched the game, saw a movie, chatted some more, Talked on the phone, tokens we exchanged.
I got a headache.
Walked for a tea. No wind this time, just rain. I over heard a fragment of a conversation concerning a cashless society. That always reminds of conceptual art.