Archive for May, 2008

My Pie In The Sky

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

My horoscope said that it’s lonely at the top – no kidding – and sometimes you just have to get out of the attic. So I went to hear drummer son Jonah play. The Princeton Pub is a resurrected drinking hole on Vancouver’s Powell Street. The regulars are longshoremen, walk in locals from the east end neighbourhood, karaoke singers, pool players, punks, barely there teenage drinkers, and The Princeton’s very own, very inebriated in house dancer Johnny.

There was a blackboard of events above the bar, and I noticed that Johnny’s name was up there too, for the meat draw held every Friday. He must be the one who pulls the name of the lucky carnivore. I sat back and watched Johnny dance, deciding to forgo dismay at just how drunk he was, bombed in fact, a calculated guess that in the past, present and future GONE was his state. But this little guy could move, and he was up for every song. Light on his feet and uncanny in his rhythm, he danced with uninhibited joy. Eyes closed, big grin on his face, his rubber appendages gyrated, swung, bopped and grooved. Some young mini-skirted girls took turns dancing with Johnny, laughing and getting pictures taken of themselves with their cell phones. He didn’t mind. He’d dance alone or with anyone. A bald, fat, squat man in black and chains danced nose to nose with him. Tattooed arms and chest and neck bulged from his black wife beater T-shirt, but he and Johnny looked sweet together. I admired their abandon.

There was an opening act duo whose singer looked like an impoverished choir boy but who wailed like a world weary Tom Waits. When I stopped the drummer on his way out to compliment him on his chops, he flashed me a grin so loaded with hardware I knew his parents would be paying that bill for years to come. Oh The Princeton, my eyes and ears were sated with its feast.

Then Sunday morning coming down. Car-less I made my way home to Fort Langley. The connections are fewer and far between on Langley’s Sabbath, and sure enough when I got to the Langley bus loop (that inglorious paean of reverse advertising for the transit system), I had missed my bus by ten minutes. I’d have to wait another hour. There seems to be a higher percentage of folks on crystal meth in the parking lot of Liquidation World, and I’d seen too many tempers go from zero to a hundred in a split second. I thought I’d walk a bit up Glover Road, at least head in my direction north, and take my book to another bus stop. Sitting on a bench I watched and waited. I glanced at the logo on the garbage receptacle beside me, Langley – The Place To Be. I looked up at the expanse of sky. The cars were infrequent and the drivers intent on their destinations. No one looked my way. That very busy crossroads became very still. The book lay open on my lap. It all fell away.

The wind blew more chill, grey clouds scudded, shredding quickly now with drops of rain hitting my book more frequently. I didn’t mind. I have felt my own storm clouds thundering and posturing in my chest, it could look like this. The moment comes when it all blows through, and the rumbling subsides. Laying on the acupuncturist’s table, the needles are map pins, my body a map. All the inner and outer worlds correspond and reflect. The places of pain and joy and longing, the weather systems of our high emotion. We all have our puncture wounds, my Texas and Ireland and walking under any sky, where the joy erupts or the pain is eased. Kristnamurtri, one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, asked his audience whether they wanted to know his secret. They all leaned in and it was this, “I don’t mind what happens.”

Oh how I know I’m not there yet. But I’m somewhere at the moment. I’m in Langley, the place to be. The Best Western was right over there, and I got a sudden hankering for a piece of pie. I went in through the lobby and discovered all the families that go to Sunday morning buffet after church. But the dead flower arrangements and the mediocrity of the decor was so lifeless that I couldn’t queue and wait. Back to the bench. I chose the deluge from the sky, there’d be other pie.

Good Life