Tasy is in love and barely looks away from her phone even as the majestic Rockies pass by. Every few minutes she checks to see if she’s somehow missed something, even though she knows it’s impossible: the phone’s been sitting on her lap the entire time. I resist the urge to make fun of her for being so smitten. I also resist the urge to insist that she not text and drive, at least through the mountains. I figure if we go down, at least it’ll be in the service of love/art.
In Vancouver, we stay just a few minutes’ drive from where I used to live. Walking the same streets all these years later, I see them very differently. I’m surprised and relieved to see that my old video store still exists, maybe the last independent video store in Western Canada. I think about what it would be like to live in this neighbourhood again, now that I have a lot less fear. It’s interesting how fear of the unknown manifests itself in these petty, pathetic ways, as simple as not trusting food that doesn’t come from one of the larger brand-name grocery stores you grew up with. “It would be great to give this another chance at some point,” I find myself thinking for the first time since moving back to Edmonton six years ago. After breakfast I text Lizzie: “Delicious eggs and toast and coffee for under ten dollars; we need to move to a real city.”
I meant that text as a joke when I sent it, but looking at it now isn’t there some truth to that? Maybe part of what makes a city “real” is being able to go out for breakfast and be around other people, and have this be not in any way elitist but just matter-of-fact. Does the fact that it’s very near impossible to get a sit-down breakfast in Edmonton for under 15 dollars inevitably create this dichotomy, with alienating Tim Hortons lineups followed by further alienating vehicle-based consumption on the one hand, contrasted by brunch-obsessed nimbyistic bureaucrats on the other? As I watch swaths of interesting-looking humans get in line at the cafe in East Van, I start to feel like back home I really am little more than a denizen of a glorified work camp.
We move along to Victoria. Maybe there’s a bit of a novelty to that ferry ride that inevitably wears off if you have to do it with any degree of regularity, but for all of us I think there’s still something very romantic about the whole thing.
A few notes about my companions:
Tasy is enigmatically quiet. I think she likes to let her music speak for her, as corny and awful as that sounds. When she does talk, it’s usually something heartbreakingly endearing, followed by a delighted laugh. As far as I can tell, she can play every “rock band” kind of instrument better than most people can play only one. She’s probably one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met, and I’m really excited to see what kind of sounds she’s making in ten years, or twenty. I think she’ll get to do this for a while.
Louis is one of the most jovial people I’ve ever been around. He laughs easily, and you feel instantly happier when he’s around. I find Louis so charming and affable that sometimes I’m too distracted to fully appreciate just how perfectly his guitar playing compliments Tasy’s music.
Aidan oscillates between stern seriousness and utter absurdity, and I enjoy both sides equally. He loves music and takes a tremendous amount of pride in understanding it like a craft, a trade. He’ll notoriously write out the drum parts he’s learning for all the different bands he plays in (the only pop drummer I’ve ever seen do this). Of the four of us, he seems to be the only one collecting Pokemon.
Victoria is beautiful and kind of sleepy and filled with tourists. I fantasize briefly about getting a job at a hotel out here and living with a much greater degree of simplicity. I’m in Victoria for a total of twelve hours before I’m on a plane back to Edmonton so I can be back in time to catch Peter Gabriel and Sting, a concert my mom has been excited about since the day it was announced and has been preparing for like a religious ceremony (which it basically is, it turns out).
Tasy is moving away now and no one is quite sure what exactly will happen with the band, but the few days that I was privileged enough to get to spend with these fine humans have catapulted to the forefront of whatever puzzling subsection of neurons and electricity comprises our happiest memories.
Until next time.
Dylan – Edmonton, AB