Hello City

Hello
again from Mountain Mecca & Hippie Heaven!

The
bright lights of the big city are behind us as we return to life as usual, (not
exactly sure if the phrase “as usual” can be applied to our life, though), in
peaceful little Nelson. I’ve had lots of time to contemplate our week back on
the coast, and what a week it was! 

After
the big reunion, we spent two days at the Kozak mansion being spoiled, as
always. You should know that when Titanium Chef Kozy offers you a bowl of ice
cream you will, in fact, receive a piece of art – ice cream with hazelnut
paste, chocolate merlot sauce, pieces of chocolate jutting out like sugary
stalagmites, cookies propping up the sides, some kind of fruity sauce, etc.
etc. (Not that I was complaining, mind you). Tweeter’s home theater room is now
complete, (I’ll put a pic below), and we watched several episodes of the
“Planet Earth” DVD set I bought for Prez; it was like having our own IMAX
theater. And now that project #1 is finished, Tweet is moving on to the kitchen
with her battle cry: “On time! And over budget!”

From
there we ferried over to Vancouver Island for a quick commune with family. Mom
Nancy had the honeymoon suite ready for us and we had some chit chat time with
her, Becky, and Will before joining my side of the clan at Boston Pizza for my
Dad’s birthday. It’s been a long time since the stars have aligned to put my
dad and me in the same hemisphere to celebrate his big day, and it was doubly
special to have my sister, Kelly, and nephews, Scooter & Sean, plus Sean’s
main squeeze, Tabea, along as well. And there was chocolate cake and ice
cream, which makes any day special as far as I’m concerned. 

Somehow,
Kelly talked me into coming to Bingo with her and Dad. Yes, Bingo, the game
with the balls. Now, the object of Bingo, from what I observed, is to be the
one at the table who complains the loudest and longest about how the guy at the
front of the room calls every number except the ones you need. As I happily
dabbed away at my paper cards, groans and grumbles could be heard all around. “He’s
only going to call N’s tonight, I don’t need N’s! I can’t even get two in a
row! I’ve needed the same number for ten calls now!

I’m sure
my constant questions didn’t help matters. “What game are we on now? What is
this pattern?
” I remember playing Bingo when I was a kid and back then you
only had to make a line. Oh, sometimes you played for a “blackout”, where the
whole card has to be filled, but that was as exotic as it got. But those
simpler times are gone and now you practically have to be a geometry professor
to keep up with the shapes and patterns required for a win. Some games you have
to have different patterns on different cards. I consider myself relatively
brainy but I felt like I should have been wearing a dunce cap that evening.  

Me: “What
pattern are we going for now?”

Little
Old Lady: “The dodecahedron, for the 10th time!

Me: “Um…er…what’s
a dodeca-thingy?

Little
Old Lady: (Sighing) “It’s any polyhedron with 12 faces…duh!

Oddly
enough, I actually won a game; which, I’m sure, elicited more than a few
grumbles about beginners luck and all that. But I don’t care; it was cool just
to hang with my family on their turf. 

Our plan
was, (you’ll note the use of the word “was”, indicating, as usual, we did not
really stick to our plan), to catch the early ferry back to the mainland and
then boogie back to Nelson – a nice, relaxing, 9 ½ hour drive…uck. But we
found, after a week of zipping from party to party, we could barely keep our
peepers open on the ferry ride. Oh yes, and we ate ferry food for breakfast
which always requires 24 hours of recovery time. So, we called the Roneys and
begged for a room at the Inn – they obliged (thank you, thank you, thank you!).

Eventually
we did leave. I mean, we were expecting the Fullpots at Shagalicious on
Saturday, and then there’s the big sushi party we and the Ripsters are throwing
today, and…um, we do work sometimes, honestly, I swear it.  

I have
to say, as much as we loved seeing our friends and family and miss them every
day, it is good to be back. Since our departure from Port Coquitlam, over four
years ago, we have slowly been shedding our city skins. Every year it gets
harder and harder to go back to civilization. And the longer we stay away, the
more shocking the return.

Remember
when you were a kid and you’d show up at some family event and Aunt Marge would
gush over you exclaiming how big you were, how much you’d grown, and you’d be
wondering why she always made such a big deal over it? I mean, of course you
were growing but it wasn’t like you were suddenly ten feet tall or something!
The thing is, you and your family saw you every day; your growth was
incremental, barely noticeable, but to Aunt Marge, who only saw you maybe once
or twice a year, you might as well have grown ten feet, the change was that
striking to her. Well, that’s kind of what the city is like to us. 

Our
friends who live and work there notice changes but they’re incremental, just
another set of condos, another high rise, another strip mall, etc. To us, it is
as if the city is on steroids, exploding and bursting, growth upon growth.

There is
no more rush “hour” in the city. The sheer number of people, combined with the
road work being done for the 2010 Olympics, (oh, don’t even get me going on
that fiasco), has turned the highways and byways of the lower mainland into a
never ending parade of head and tail lights. Getting from A to Z requires
planning, timing, and a cell phone just in case a dump truck tips over blocking
traffic for 4 hours and you have to call and let someone know you are going to
be late.  

Green
space is being devoured by development. Empty field? What’s that? There was
construction everywhere we looked. Thankfully our old neighbourhood is still
relatively the same; the houses retain their individuality, they have gardens
and yards, and you can’t touch your neighbour’s house from your kitchen window.
For now.

Now, for
my city friends, and by “city” I basically mean anywhere in the lower mainland,
I’m not trying to malign the place you live. There’s lots of great stuff about
the city, of course there is or millions of people wouldn’t choose to
live there! This is merely my perspective. No hurt feelings, OK? I love you
all! (kiss, kiss, hug, hug) 

Where
was I? Oh yes, city-bashing. (Kidding, kidding!!!)

What I
find most unsettling about the city is the rabid consumption. If I go into a
mall after a long period of time away, I almost have to call a help line. So
many people. So much STUFF. And not just stuff, but stuff no one really needs.
Crap. Loads and loads of crap.  

This
visit, I had a list of a few things I wanted to buy while in the city, stuff
for our move to the Cook Islands, such as outlet adapters, a new bathing suit,
some clothes, etc. I went to the mall on a mission. When I arrived, the Back to
School Cluster was in full swing. Tweeny-boppers and their bedraggled parents
clogged the mall arteries. A new clothing store had opened that day and there
were security guards posted at the entrances to control the flow of shoppers.
Apparently, inside the store, shoppers were stripping down in the aisles to try
on clothes because the change rooms were so full.

OK,
whoa. Everybody stop and take a deep breath. Are we that desperate for
clothing we have to undress in public? Call me crazy, but won’t that store
still be open the next day? The next week? The next month?

Insanity.

But even
I am not immune from the sweet seduction of the mall. I mean, there’s just so much
of everything, displayed so tantalizingly, it’s hard not to be lured to the
rocks by the siren song of STUFF. A few times I felt myself being drawn to some
piece of junk I didn’t need and only snapped out of the spell, luckily, before
money actually changed hands. Shaking my head, I adopted the mantra, “crap I
don’t need, crap I don’t need, crap I don’t need
”, and repeated it silently
as I shopped.  

I think
the city is perfect for lots of people, I do. The hustle and bustle, the range
of choices, the kind of electric atmosphere, all of that must be thrilling and
fun. As for Prez and I, we get cranky and tired. We eat too much junk food, we
spend too much time driving, and we waste money. Driving back, as we passed
through Hope and into the mountains, it felt as if those mountains were
welcoming us back with a giant, warm hug. Today I awoke to quiet. The lake was
glassy and calm with a few kayakers paddling by. I don’t think I’ve even heard
a car go by yet and it’s after 10 am. I am, quite literally, in my happy place.

I still
miss my friends and family, and I always will. There’s always kidnapping
though, and forced relocation. I’m sure they’d love Nelson once they gave it a
try…or…um…I guess the Cook Islands is where we’ll be next and then…hmmm….maybe
it’s just easier for us to visit them. Sigh. 

QUESTION:
Are you city folk?

Until
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy, & lovin’ life!

The
Princess

p.s. –
Oops, I almost forgot! My good Baja buddy Tammi is going to do a fundraising
walk for ALS, please have a look at the website.

This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hello City

  1. Cindy says:

    I love, love, love those \’Planet Earth\’ shows but I have to watch them on my puny little 30" TV. 
     
    I hate mall shopping and traffic but spending the past week in the Montana Wilderness (it\’s the freakin\’ frontier up here, I ain\’t kidding), I\’m going to conclude that I\’m more of a city girl.  I LIKE having a grocery store 5 minutes away and being able to get 10 different kinds of take out at midnight is a choice I\’m just not willing to live without.
     
     

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