Sunday, February 21, 2010


I blame the loveseat. I’d headed into Vancouver for four days of connecting to civilization and the Olympics, yet I headed home a day early. I spent two nights trying to sleep by stretching my 6’1” frame on the stunted piece of furniture. Never reached a stage of rest beyond dozing. By Day Three, I was a caffeine junkie, dangerously close to going from social user (who theoretically could quit any time) to hopeless addict. I realized I had a problem when I found myself begging the barista to throw in a couple of extra shots.

Despite my abbreviated stay, I managed to get a good taste of the Olympic atmosphere in Vancouver. The party energy was something to behold, always positive, sometimes inane—At what point does breaking into a “CANADA! CANADA!” chant every time you spot someone with red face point get old? Still, I went from being in awe of the boisterous crowds on Granville, on Robson and in other swarm zones to feeling the need to hide out in a deserted, ill-conceived establishment destined to close its doors for good shortly after the Olympics leave town, the dream of riding the event’s coattails never coming to be. You know the type of business—a diner called Just Add Milk with a menu of cereals you can buy in the grocery aisle or a retro gay clothing store that sells disco shirts, construction boots and pleather fanny packs. One person’s business misstep is my sanctuary.

Granville Island was the worst. Navigating the market is a challenge on a typical busy day with strollers helping to create an ever-changing obstacle course. But being a beautiful April day (in February) and with the Olympics compelling tourists and the locals to mob the area, the scene was a chaotic pedestrian jam. I couldn’t get myself close enough to vendor counters and I shuffled onward in a maze with no exit, seeking out the elusive stall with a line that seemed to move. I lost the ability to make a decision as I felt that whatever line I chose would lead to doom.

Coming on my third day in Vancouver, the Granville Island visit did me in. Eventually I loaded up on carbs—a loaf of bread at one stall, a muffin elsewhere—but the energy never returned. The will to fight for my personal space in a crowd had gone. Take me to the ferry. Take me home.

Yesterday morning, as a break from a day-long series of recuperating naps, I took my dogs to the beach. I came across three other walkers as I traveled the pristine coastline. Essentially, I had the sand, the logs, the towering trees and the ocean view to myself. I may be a city boy at the core, but there is a part of me—I’m guessing my heart—that belongs in the boonies.

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