sabato, agosto 20, 2011

Tonight, we surf

The other night, I surfed, unwittingly and unwisely. I had finished my initial work for deadline, was as fed up as all fuck, and took Jemima the kayak out on the lake despite the rather large waves. I decided I'd paddle out beyond the breakers and then realized, about 100 metres from shore, that the lake was ALL breakers.

Lake Nippising is a special lake - it's fucking enormous, and shallow, and sandy - a sort of massive, warm wavepool - which means when it's wavy, it's wavy. There's nowhere for the water to go but agitated. So finally I gingerly turned around and gingerly started paddling back to shore. I wasn't worried personally about getting dumped, because of said warmth and sandiness - but I'd paddled off in such a huff and hurry that I'd just dumped all my gear into the cockpit and I didn't want to lose any of it. Suddenly a wave grabbed the boat from behind and wafted it 40 metres towards the shore, and I was riding it; or rather it was carrying me like the wind might carry a little piece of thistledown or a bird. It was simultaneously one of the most exhilarating and most humbling experiences of my life, and it shocked me so much that when the wave let me go and the next one came I could hardly react, and got dumped. I didn't care though. I didn't care about anything for hours, actually.

So I'm going to learn how to swim properly, and I'm going to get over being fucking scared of sharks, and I'm going to learn how to surf. We live next to some of the planet's best surfing in Australia; it's not right I should waste that. And there's the other thing too of course; there's M and him getting pulled out to sea in Costa Rica. He's been on my mind here, where people still ask about him and about whether he's ever been found (he hasn't); and he's on my mind every time I look at the Pacific, colouring my feelings toward it, even when I have lovely times on its shores; I also see the thing that killed my friend.

I think my ears first perked up to surfing when I heard that surfers use riptides to pull themselves out easily beyond the breakers. Because it gets quite graphic in one's head, of course - what it must have been like for M in those last moments of his life - knowing the riptides were there, having been told what to do, and then panicking too much to do it when he was actually in one. If I learn how to surf maybe I can forgive the universe, and the Pacific (half the same thing in my head) for him dying in that awful way. I don't know. It's worth a shot. It's not the universe's or the Pacific's fault, after all.

giovedì, agosto 18, 2011

Emotional indigestion

Coming back to North Bay is always so pyschologically rich. Maybe a little too psychologically rich. Maybe the psychological richness of, say, a deep fried twinkie dipped in chocolate sauce and covered in those little sprinkles the Dutch put on their morning toast. By which I mean it makes me a little sick. Coincidentally, I don't think it's an exagerration to say that this place is why I was fat. Although I do still believe I would have stuck around longer if I'd had a kayak growing up.

There is something just too intimate about the town, how well I know it, and how I've experienced it; something bordering on incestuous. My aunt's house being built over the spot next to my old school where I used to play doctor with boys, walking past complete strangers I might have had some sort of positive or negative (and knowing me, usually negative) relationship with as a child, and worst of all, of course, being forced to think through my relationship with my parents.

I really go through phases of thinking it's terrific and then phases of thinking that if I hadn't left home so young it would have been awful, and blah blah blah . . . Anyways, what baffles me is that I think compared to most parents and kids we have a fantastic relationship, so how the hell to people with a shitty relationship with'em get by? I know, of course, what with my darling mortgage partner and soulmate not being gifted with the easiest of domestic menages as a child, or that is to say, I know as well as anyone can know without experience.

Speaking of the F-word, this trip away from him speaking to people with a special interest in him has thrown me back on the problem of what to call him in relation to me. We're addressed in Australia, where marriage isn't at the top of people's list of priorities and common law is respected, as husband and wife, which is mostly fine with me. I think having a mortgage together is significantly more spiritually, emotionally and practically bonding into spousiness than any recognition a city hall or church could give us. But of course that won't do for all of these fucking Catholics here. And not 100% for me either, what with me not being 100% pro-marriage. So I've started calling him my old man. Still feels a bit rusty but it's catching on in my own head.

mercoledì, agosto 17, 2011


Canada has a lot of things going for it, but one of them is being close to the US when its dollar is at record-setting lows. Hopefully for me that will last until my trip to New York in September. I'm gonna buy everything. Well, not everything. But I controlled myself at Marimekko Vancouver, buying only one dress, in anticipation of the much cheaper and larger Marimekko New York, where I will do damage. A bit, anyways. By which I mean, maybe one more dress, and a gift card for La New Yorkaise, who is back there and who is marrying yet another French man despite how swimmingly the last ones went . . . by the way, what is this bizarre sado-masochistic love-hate superiority-inferiority schizo relationship non-Canadian Anglos have with the French? The French are just a bunch of people who eat reasonably well, say what's on their minds, and have hideous intergender relationships. Europe is full of them.

Have resettled Lexie away from Sugarplum and here in North Bay with my parents. She never bonded with them in Neil Young country and they, obviously in retrospect, were far too busy for her, what with two kids under three. Almost as soon as I saw her at their place - back covered in matts, like it was when I adopted her from that girl in Toronto with the brain tumour - I decided the F-word was right when he suggested we wait until after we have kids, and they grow a bit, to get some domestic animals in. Not just for the kids, but the animals too. (Not to mention I have a feeling we'll be inflicting the potentially horrible psychological blow of making at least one of our children emigrate at a sensitive age, which will probably be easier if we promise them a dog on the other side of the move.)

Well, thank goodness my parents can take Lexie; even with Magnum and his kid in town, they have a lot of stray affection looking for a home with all the rest of us knocking around the world. And I am as pleased as I can be to be able to spend time with her now, and in future visits home as long as life is granted to us. In her case I don't know how long that will be. She's as big as a whale now, and moves like an old lady. But she knows me and loves me and has either forgiven or forgotten my abandonment and the way I made her take trans-Atlantic plane rides. That's animals. They'll remember love longer than anything else, I think, even when they are vicious death machines.