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This Isn’t Leather Weather

January 6, 2013

Tomorrow, statesmen of Mytilene, is my three-year Vaniversary. Because I have no direct knowledge of what to do in any kind of relationship, I consulted Wikipedia about this matter and learned that the traditional three-year gift is leather. Which instantly reminded me of my pre-relocation aspiration to set up shop as a dominatrix (I still think I would be SO GOOD AT IT) and disappointment when I got here and realized how financially unfeasible it would be to rent two apartments and outfit myself properly for the job on a tourist attraction front desk employee’s salary. Now that I’m a teacher I make crazy money, of course, but I’ve just spent my savings on a manuscript editing program instead of snapping up the vacant bachelor suite in the building next door. Two roads diverged…

Vancouver, as everyone knows, is the most beautiful city there ever was, with its ocean this and its mountain that. You can take a quick drive to such-and-such and see all kinds of lush natural so on and so forth against an exquisite backdrop of etc. Why even on your weekly walk to Safeway you will drop to your knees and write 200 poems as the intersection of Nelson and Nicola suddenly opens its grey trench coat and flashes its English Bay at you. Vancouver, you man-cougar, every day the prairie girls arriving at YVR, unfrigid for the first time, step out into your moist calm embrace and take off their clothes for you: sweaters, boots, the ruthless thick socks of their home cities. Even in the dead of winter we find ourselves miraculously un-toqued, dis-mittened by you, smitten in our west-coast wet coats by raindrops that are not snowflakes, by puddles in lieu of snowdrifts and slush piles, by the meteorologists of this mythical realm, who don’t know the meaning of the phrase “wind chill.”

I’ve heard tell that when you’re really physically attracted to someone you’ll sometimes put up with extra bullshit from them, ignore the flaws in your relationship and trivialize your emotional incompatibility because you just can’t handle the idea of not being all tangled up in their super hotness anymore. And sometimes I think that’s what’s going on between Vancouver and me. What am I doing here? is a question I’ve been asking myself since about March 2010, when I was in the middle of a nightmare job search. Now, thanks to an expensive year of utterly superfluous education, I have a job, one that I enjoy for the most part, but it’s insecure and I may have somewhat exaggerated my salary in the first paragraph above. Even if I could save 100% of my income it would take three years to accumulate a 10% down payment for a tiny apartment. People-wise, I find that a lot of pretending goes on around here. I don’t mean pretentiousness, which is everywhere and inevitable. Hell, look at me: I write fucking poems. I mean fakeness and flakiness where friendship is concerned. People act like they really like–OH SHITFUCKBALLS!! THAT’S 500 WORDS! NOBODY’S PAYING ATTENTION ANYMORE!– you, they claim to be interested in hanging out and for a while you do, but then they suddenly fuck off for months or forever. Shit happens, life changes, people drift apart, but I’ve never experienced this so often before.

Last week I was in a park after sunset sitting on a stone staring at Vancouver across a night-blackened Burrard Inlet and it was a pretty accurate if poorly timed external portrayal of the interior disorientation and distantness and discomfort I’ve felt here all along. I consider moving sometimes, but then I step outside in the morning and look around and it’s like, Oh, I’ll never criticize you again, dearest love! I’ll try harder to belong in your arms! Show me your big mountains!

Considering the season, leather would not be a great anniversary gift to or from this city, unless it came with some water sealant. Irregardless, I’m not ready to part with the dominatrix idea yet. If anyone wants to come over and BeDazzle my cast with iron spikes, that would be just fine. I’ll be around all day.

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