Thursday, September 29, 2011


Six years ago, I commuted five days a week from my house to my place of work in Richmond: 5:20 a.m. alarm, a walk with the dogs to the ferry, a journey across the water, another walk to a remote parking lot and then the drive to work. Two and a half hours in the morning, two and a half hours in the evening.

It’s a déjà-vu I swore would never happen, but I’m doing it again, the only differences being I’m down to one dog and work is in Burnaby. I may have cut five minutes off each leg of the commute.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. The house was supposed to sell. I’d be back in the city. One home, a decent ride to work, maybe even something along a transit line or bike route. Bah! Getting a second place in the city isn’t financially feasible. Last year, I spent $1,700 a month on the extra rent, doggy daycare and commuting costs. Now I’m down to $1,000 per month. Still crazy but relatively reasonable.

The upside is that I have built in time to write each day on the ferry. I even have my own office. It’s a caged area on the vehicle deck where my dog and I must stay during the trip. There are often imposters of the two- and four-legged kind cramping our space, but this will lessen as the weather gets colder and rainier.

While I am still writing, there is less material for the blog. I’m back to being gay in absentia. As I’m in a highly involved job and I have a five-hour commute, there is little or no time for anything gay or gay-ish to happen. That’s not necessarily bad. It is what it is.

This morning, as my dog and I left the house to walk the first leg of our journey, I gazed up at the night sky and marveled at the stars which I’d never see under city lights. As I boarded the ferry, I peeked at the silhouette of the mountains across the water. Lovely. This is why I chose such a crazy place to call home.

By next week, the house will be back on the market. It won’t sell fast, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be out of there by the beginning of July, ready to start a new chapter of my life in Los Angeles. The same phrase about being single applies to selling the house: it just takes one person. I need to be luckier in real estate than I’ve ever been in love.

Fingers crossed.


Rick Modien said...

I thought Chris's commute was miserable: up at 5:00 am; out the door by 6:15; shuttle bus at 6:19; West Coast Express by 6:45; arrive in downtown Vancouver 50 minutes later; ten minute walk to work; at desk by 8:00. Then he has to repeat it all in the reverse to return home. Just under four hours a day in total.

I used to live near Patterson Station in Burnaby and commute daily--first by car, then by transit--to Dundarave in West Vancouver. By transit, it was about an hour and a half each way. I tried to make good use of my time by reading, listening to music, etc. And I was single at the time, with no one waiting for me at home. But it was still long and still hard, with a cumulative effect.

But I can't believe what you're going through. WOW!

All the best selling your place. What if it sells well before next July? Will you have a place to stay closer to work until you return to L.A.? (Okay, I have to tell you, I'm so envious of your pending move to L.A., I could spit. How I wish I were in your shoes. I've visited Disneyland twenty times since 1976, so I'm familiar with the weather down there through the various months. The only word that comes to mind to describe it is hospitable. When we're freezing up here, in the wind and rain, it's balmy and mid-70s F. down there. Can I come with? I have to ask.)

Rural Gay said...

Hey,Rick. Come on along. Commutes in L.A. can be even crazier than here...without the novelty of a ferry leg.

For me, the weather isn't much of a draw as I do not spend time in the sun. I also do not like the Santa Anas in the fall as forest fires cause ash to rain down everywhere. Still, I have enjoyed beach walks on Christmas Day.

I appreciate L.A. much more than I did when I first lived there. I love the bungalows and the lush vegetation and nothing matches driving up PCH north of Malibu and into the canyons.

I think the possibility of my house selling early is a problem I'd gladly "struggle" to solve. Fingers crossed!