There’s so much excitement as they amble down the covered walkway. No one moos, but I get that particular vision for a moment. It is quickly altered as I hear the rolling wheels of tightly packed suitcases with all the possible wares for a weekend of hiking, shopping, beachcombing and possible puddle jumping. Grandparents welcome children who close their electronic games. Maybe the trees, rocks and water will prove to be a sufficient distraction from the gadget reflex.
The marine air is crisp this morning. Still, there parade of cars disembarking the ferry, loaded down with mountain bikes, kayaks and canoes. Others tow fishing boats and trailers. Fall is officially here, but summer lovers plead for an extension. I can spot the tourists just by studying the people riding shotgun. Their heads bob back and forth, glimpsing the ocean, then the rocky shoreline and the forest beyond. Oh look, Howard. Isn’t it beautiful? Poor Howard must keep his eye on the Buick in front of him as a retiree complies with the 20 kilometer-per-hour signage.
I try to soak in all the anticipation, the eagerness, the hope for a weekend or a week of memories. Just think of all the photos we can post on Facebook! I still see the beauty of this place. Indeed, I will never tire of gazing at the silhouette of the mountains edging the water, especially at dawn and dusk. But I have overstayed my own adventure by thirty-four months. This land is a Siren that lured me and won’t let me go.
Before moving here, I explored this coastline, coming over for weekend and weeklong visits. The brouhahas from work and the stresses of navigating through city traffic vanished from my mind as soon as the ferry set sail. I always said just going by ferry made me feel like going to a foreign country, as though heading to some place more exotic than the matching coastline on the Vancouver side of the water.
Now, instead of feeling at ease, I get a sinking feeling each time I board. The boat may be afloat, but I am fighting to keep my head above water. I cannot cope with the two-hour stoplight I so often face on my commute home from work. The ferry schedule takes away all joy I once felt about my home and my surroundings.
This week has been brutal, but it is not atypical. The ferry ran late all five days. I try to slip out of work by 4:30 so I can be home by 7:00, but I had a meeting go until a perfectly reasonable 5:10 p.m. and then got home at 9:00. I had another work event last until 7:15 which meant I didn’t get home until 11 p.m. My work team skipped lunch on Friday to start an early weekend at 2:30 p.m. I had a 150-minute wait at the ferry terminal and got in at 7 p.m. I don’t know how I can rationalize these experiences as normal.
As this is Saturday, I normally have a break from ferry travel. I crave the downtime. I require the weekends to attempt to recover. The social isolation becomes greater as I avoid ferry trips to the city and turn down the few social invitations I continue to receive. However, I signed up for a screenwriting course in Vancouver, something I looked forward to attending. The eagerness became tainted during my prolonged stay at the ferry terminal yesterday as I figured out my schedule for the day. To attend a three-hour workshop takes nine hours of my weekend. Just. Plain. Brutal.
Later today, I will call my realtor and lower the price of my house once more. I did not think I could go lower as the loss I am taking is already hard to swallow. But I’ve taken in too much water as it is. It is time to bail myself out and start life over again.