In this area of British Columbia, we learn to live with rain. Sometimes it seems that it never stops between November and March. I expect one day to see someone building an ark. Just in case.
Sunshine flirts with us from April to June, but rain still seems to have the upper hand. All the wetness can dampen people with the sunniest of dispositions. I must admit that the weather wore me down over the past year, particularly since one hour of my daily commute involves walking with my dog while toting all the extras I need to bring to and from home. The Bag Lady look is neither fashionable nor comfortable.
All is forgiven when summer finally arrives, usually later than the date written on the calendar. Heat waves are infrequent, but warmth and sun help the fair-weather set (myself included) enjoy the outdoors: kayaking, cycling, jogging, mud-free hiking,...or just drinking margaritas on the back deck.
To be sure, I have made the most of the good weather. I stayed home for most of the summer and enjoyed the natural beauty of my coastal surroundings. But staying put also isolates me from all things gay. Despite all the talk of my area being an artsy hub, the gays stay away. I welcomed the separation. I knew there would be no dating, no chance encounter with Mr. Right as we reached for the same bunch of bananas at the local grocery store, no need to fret over a bad hair day.
The only time I hopped on the ferry to head into Vancouver was during Gay Pride weekend. But I was drawn to tie-dye instead of rainbows. Rather than having lewdly gyrating wannabe go-go boys make me question my sexuality—this is gay?!—I proudly meandered around a single block on downtown’s Granville Street to experience Vegan Fest. (Thankfully, it wasn’t a bunch of nose-pierced disciples in Birkenstocks singing “Kumbaya”. I ate a vegan donut, ordered a vegan bacon cheeseburger from a food cart and that was the extent of it. Not a single gay sighting.)
I drank plenty of coffee in local cafés, but I didn’t have to invest in meaningless banter; instead, I got busy on several writing projects. The time proved productive and immensely satisfying.
I needed the break. My last internet-generated date back in June was a snoozer that, looking back, I only half-heartedly showed up for. I initiated the online communication, I clung to faint hope, but I quickly tossed it aside within the first few minutes of meeting face-to-face.
For the past two months, I have not messaged anyone. In early July, I received a few messages from some persistent men in their sixties and I wondered if forty-seven-year-olds qualified for sugar daddies. What was it about me that appealed to an older demographic? The pendulum shifted In recent weeks as a twenty-year-old and a twenty-two-year-old have sought replies. One put a lot of thought into his message. “Hey.” That’s all. Is this what the texting generation considers communication? The other guy sent two messages, two minutes apart. The first message was fine, but the follow-up fretted, “I do hope you won’t ignore me.” Oh, I might have shown my own neurotic stalker persona at that age. Mercifully, communication wasn’t so instantaneous!
I started commuting back to work midway through last week and things have returned to full-time this week. However, I do not plan to initiate any dating feelers until I get a solid bite on my house. I have lowered the price three times this summer and I am determined to do what it takes to be gone by December 1. I want to regain a semblance of balance during the months when I work long hours. I want to avoid the return of raccoon eyes.
I do have a date set for tomorrow with a guy that messaged me who is only eight years younger. I trust that he will not refer to a Jonas brother or The Andrews Sisters during coffee so that’s a solid start. He lives in Langley—another place out of the gay way—so I decided to meet him at a charming bookstore in historic Fort Langley. If nothing else, it will be a lovely destination. Am I ready to chitchat with a stranger again? Not sure, but this is a chance to get my feet wet again before the rains return me to a soggy state once more.