Day seven without cigarettes. Im feeling positive. Well.. ok I have cheated here and there. A couple ultra-slim menthols, a borrowed Belmont mild, and a prime time have helped take the edge off. But other than that, Im doing pretty good.
For the third or fourth day in a row, sun is shining bright in the city. HAS the cursed marine layer (and the wrath it brought down upon us) bid adieu for the season??? My lack of stress- feelings of impending doom, tell me it has. Here’s to hoping. The sunshine also helps. How I love experiencing bright, brisk mornings downtown here in Victoria. While the tourists are still tucked away in their hotels and the school kids are in their classes and traffic is mild. The locals trot down the sidewalks and alleyways, coffee and muffins in hand, on their way to work. You see the odd walking talking human hangover looking like the night before making the walk of shame back to their car or home or soup kitchen. Morning time is the best time. Today it reminded me of the near decade was slave to Monkey Forest on George street. Back when George street was alive and where it met third avenue was a hub of culture. I would arrive an hour and a half before the store opened to give me time to sweep the garbage, syringes and other evidence of the previous nights debauchery. Id also hose down the sidewalk, clearing away the barf or blood that was often present. Id water the flower beds lining the block greeting and chatting with the shop owners and staff arriving for their days work. Occaisionally nodding to the familiar faces of the colorful homeless native population. “Lookin sharp this morning Esther!!” Then usually meeting up with the coworker from Lizard River to rip over to Javva Mugga Mocha for a quick cigarette and to grap a blended coffee with nestle syrup and maybe one of those ridiculously overpriced and pretty gross cranberry scones. God I loved being a part of the downtown community.
I remember waaaaay back in the day. Before they tore the wooden sidewalk canopies off third avenue. While the courthouse was still being built. When that dude Mickey and his wife (who looked kinda like Elizabeth Taylor crossed with Cruella Deville) still owned Javva Mugga Mocha, you could hear Ethel Merman and Victor Borge pumping out of their stereo from a block away. I was thirteen years old when I started working at monkey forest on the weekends. In the summer time tree planters and hippys flooded the streets. There were cool shops like Bell Book and Candle, Black Forest Deli, Crystal Halo, Niners Diner, Chalkys Billiards, even Kmart. We used to hang on the lawn of city hall waiting for someone to come along who could sell us some pot. Always someone to hang out with, whether is was crazy train hopper chicks, cracked out drug dealers (who were mostly harmless), local street kids, tree planters staying at the Downtown hotel looking to party. Those were some of the best years of my life.
Living in Victoria its so easy to get swept up in things. The relative hustle and bustle, although doesnt compare to that of Vancouver, leaves less time for the mystery that lies in what happens when you are forced to make your own fun such as in Prince George. Countless hours, I have spent sitting in Parkwood’s Second Cup with my ipod knowing that if I sat there long enough I would no doubt run into a pal to shoot the shit with. It can be sometimes unnerving, but usually I found comfort in the lack of anonnymity in the hometown. Times like running into your local conveniance store clerk while in line at the grocery store., or seeing the dude that works at Blockbuster drunk out of his mind slobbering all over some bimbo in the dark recesses of the Generator. Dont get me wrong… I love to be able to take a stroll down Government Street and be almost sure that nary will I run into anyone recognizable. Or that I can take a trip out for breakfast finding solace in the fact that I will be by myself and almost certainly not coincidentally met up by scordes of acquaintances to whom I feel not much but indifference for, being forced to make unwanted small talk in the name of civility.
Im not saying I prefer one over the other. But… maybe the time is nigh to make a trek north to the homecountry. If for nothing else but for a reminderas to why it was that I left in the first place.