October 11, 2012

Break the enormity of a thing down and down again, until it becomes nothing more than a series of lists to be checked off, and the act of leaving a place that is, quite literally, in your bonesgoes from mountain to molehill. Proceed with enough purpose to get through the whole thing but not too much; more certain than any calcified anything has been the frankly inconvenient tendency of adrenal tsunami to lay waste to any sort of forward motion2.

Maybe it's brought forth by some tectonically unknowable impulse—lizard-brain hangovers in some Verneian psychic centre of the world, hammering deep roots and rendering an already-shaky place wholly uninhabitable.

Maybe you're garden-variety crazy, and these fanciful explanations are just a way to avoid dealing with the reality of being up against yourself, that way.

Either way: breathe. Feel the first edges of winter in the air, search for the first taste of the inescapable rain you find yourself missing during summer days, wonder if the wind will bring you a little of the ocean.

Add these things to the list of things you'll miss, and wonder if you'll feel them again before you leave, and wonder what the air smells like in the place that you're moving to, and what it'll smell like in all the places you'll go before returning3.

1. left arm broken, age 6; jaws realigned, age 24; lifetime of backyard vegetables.
2. replaced, instead, with the twin urges to be alone or to be immersed in a sea of people.
3. it's not a certain thing, you keep saying, that you'll ever return, but there's probably enough iron in the surgical steel in your jaws to work like a compass and drag you home, face-first.


October 03, 2012

that time i met his parents

I guess it's time, finally, for this story: I was supposed to go to Shambhala, and then we were going camping, and then I'd meet his parents. I bailed on this plan, partially because a long weekend spent surrounded by people high on things and listening to electronic music didn't seem super appealing, but also because there was a blackout on vacations at work, and while I probably could have pushed my luck and gotten away (management: surprisingly supportive of my long distance relationship, oddly,) I was gunning for a promotion at the time, and decided to hold off for a bit. I wrangled a few days off in a row a couple weeks later, and booked a pair of overnight greyhound tickets to/from Kelowna, leaving after a closing shift on Wednesday and arriving home in time for a Sunday morning start.
Figuring it was only polite to bring a host gift and remembering that his mom liked single malt, I went to the liquor store, and found myself attempting to commune with a wall of bottles to find out which best said 'hello! I'm nailing your son, who you thought was straight,' but was also delicious. A flurry of tweets (perhaps you are sensing a theme) and a recommendation later, I picked up a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood, which was both delicious and thematically appropriate (aged in two kinds of oak barrel for 12 years; bourbon and sherry, if I remember right. The other choice was Knob Creek Single Barrel, but that seemed a bit obvious.)

Armed with the above and also a batch of world peace cookies, I left after work (and a beer and chat with Kristen, Keith & Bryan,) on a Greyhound through a bunch of wilderness I'd passed over but not through and some towns I'd only heard of in a job I'm still trying to forget. I arrived a little ahead of schedule, thankfully unstabbed (but sore-necked from sleeping upright and, let's be frank, a little sweaty,) at which point I called to be all "hey I'm a bit early but am going to strike out in search of coffee," only to find that he'd slept in and was still in bed.

Over waffles, after meeting up, contrition and kisses across the front seat of his parents' car, I asked what his parents knew about me; I'd been on his case to at least inform them that they'd have another visitor for a few days (if not to actually come out to them; knowing how my own coming outh was going to go put me in no position to push him into it,) and he hadn't said anything at all, but apparently this wasn't an issue. I shrugged and returned to eating a waffle the honest-to-gods size of my face; unsure of how the next few hours, let alone days, would play out, I thought it was only sensible to enjoy breakfast.

I started this some months before returning to it, and in the middle realized that all this weird dredging up of personal historical unpleasantness isn't super constructive, and while the easiest thing to do would be to abandon a thing, I'm compelled, to some extent, to close this out in a manner that seems complete, for most purposes; really, for my purposes, which are the only ones that matter, here?



I met his parents, after breakfast, introduced as a friend who was staying here for a couple days who he'd met at a conference; none of which was problematic aside from the space issues, as he had family who was visiting from Edmonton and a family friend who was arriving in a couple days, but it was lovely to meet me and the cookies looked good.

What followed, from there, were a couple days of sun-drenched idyll, being led by the hand on a whirlwind tour of places worth noting (and others worth mocking,) formative people and a large-though-unsurprising number of clandestine makeouts. We shared a bed, and showered together, and spent long nights out and longer mornings in, all the while avoiding the discussion I thought he was going to have before I got there.

Other things happening: insightful advice from his mom that made it pretty clear she knew what was up (that I'd shown up with serious whiskey was also a sign; apparently none of his friends had done anything of the sort, before,) an outing to the beach with a stopoff for some frankly amazing goats milk gelato, me laying waste to the dude and his mom at Scrabble.

The last day, as I was packing up, we had some hilariously couple-y conversation, and heard his mother coming up the stairs (probably having heard enough to make things pretty obvious,) and he shot me a look to which I responded with raised brows and a shrug, remembering that I'd been wanting him to have this talk well before I'd arrived, since a "hey meet my boyfriend, parents," trip was what I'd signed up for and a "hello parents I'm going to behave oddly and avoid questions about this guy who's just a friend" trip was what I'd ended up having, to this point.

Downstairs, over single-malt, we cleared the air; I apologized for the subterfuge but was waved away, we found out about how his sister's coming out had been substantially more sanctimonious, she asked about kids and we, somewhat dazedly, explained about how that was on the list of things to be dealt with when we lived in the same city, and those plans were laid out, and things seemed largely okay.

We went to a party, briefly, and after downing a larger beer than was perhaps sensible, we returned to grab the bag before heading to the greyhound depot (another overnight bus; I'm not sure how I thought this was a good idea;) and one almost-tearful "see you in Montreal in six weeks" conversation later, headed home to Vancouver, to kill three hours before another shift at work; time I'd fill with Naam breakfast, a walk across the Burrard bridge, and listening to Left and Leaving and trying not to be visibly upset in public.