Saturday, August 14, 2010


Yes, now what?

I'm in the air once more, somewhere north of Sault Ste. Marie, wondering if it might have been better if I'd discovered one of those Seinfeldian insurmountable flaws in Michel. Over the course of five days of rushed meals bookended by a couple of more leisurely dates, I only grew more attracted to the man and, from what I can tell, it was one of those rare occasions when the feeling was mutual.

I'm tempted to search out that old Alan Alda-Ellen Burstyn movie, "Same Time Next Year" for some fictional guidance and an affirmation that I've uncorked a possible date with Destiny rather than Desperation. It had better be more than an annual fling. Already my head is trying to figure out if once a month might be possible. Highly unlikely as I begin a new, (almost) all-consuming job in a week's time.

This wasn't supposed to happen. When I left L.A., I did so after falling in love twice. On each occasion, I gently persisted—is that even possible?—with pitching a move to anywhere in Canada. (Surely, now that he'd fallen under my spell, he'd follow me anywhere, right?) After these relationships fell apart (for reasons other than my Canadian leanings), I decided I needed to move to the place I loved before finding the man I loved.

How was I to know I'd strike out in Vancouver? (There was, ahem, that seven-year disaster of a relationship, but I try to block that as much as possible.) I still love the natural beauty of the city and its diversity, but it's been the most challenging place I've ever lived when looking at the social front. I'm fortunate that Michel is Canadian, but I thought my "anywhere in Canada" plea had expired.

We met up in Ottawa, but he's from Toronto. Can I live there? I grew up in Hamilton until I was thirteen, but I've never explored T.O. as an adult. I know it as the home of the CNE, the Maple Leafs, the Blue Jays and the Ontario Science Centre. I've long outgrown these attractions. How can I ever abandon the Canucks? How will I follow them in the land of Leafs-Senators-Canadiens fans?

Yes, I know. Breathe. I really shouldn't be thinking about who's moving where at this point. But there is also that haunting notion that we might meet halfway and settle down in...Saskatoon? Winterpeg?! Brandon?!! I am breathing, but now it's that choppy hyperventilating kind. I've set the Air Canada barf bag on my lap just in case. Does breathing into a paper bag really help? What will the beer-swilling, shoulder punching, armpit sniffing frat boys beside me think? (Frat boys. Really?! I'm starting to think that, when making seat selections online, there should be Twitter profiles for each of the "Occupied" seats. We have the technology. Wouldn't that make traveling more pleasant? Gosh, I might have a better chance of a row of seats to myself. My bio would read: Depressed, mid-forties Wal-mart stockboy; Rubik's Cube fanatic; just divorced and BITTER; lacking in flatulence control.)

When you live in the same city as a new beau, slow but steady is possible. But how do you put the kibosh on "WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?!" when each date requires a security check, a photo ID and one checked item of luggage? (Sorry, I'll never fit everything in a carry-on. So many possible weather changes across three time zones, you know. Forecasts can be wrong.)

Michel tells me he's due for a trip to Vancouver. One of his best friends lives in New West. What's the "due" date? September? October? I didn't press.

Maybe that major flaw will surface in a Welcome Home email. Oui, Michel, we'll always have Ottawa. Of course, neither of us played things out as a carefree tryst. Unless I woefully misread the situation, both of us are seeking something deeper, something longer lasting. Being single is so much simpler. But here's hoping I'm done with The Simple Life.

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