18. Street People

  1. 01. Minutes of the COCKUP
  2. 02. A Public Service
  3. 03. The 22% Solution
  4. 04. On The Campaign Trail
  5. 05. Athens of America
  6. 06. A Yankee’s Yankee
  7. 07. My Canadian Family
  8. 08. Edmonton? Why?
  9. 09. Prairie Singers
  10. 10. Deconstructing Calgary
  11. 11. My Kelowna
  12. 12. Wine Whine
  13. 13. Fire Mountain
  14. 14. A Stopover and a Popover
  15. 15. Inspiring Victoria
  16. 16. Planet Rosehip
  17. 17. Carry On Grunge
  18. 18. Street People
  19. 19. The Curse of Portland
  20. 20. Mean-Spirited, Powerful Justice
  21. 21. Amtrak’s Jewel
  22. 22. Managing Yosemite
  23. 23. Yumpin’ Yosemite
  24. 24. Parched
  25. 25. Brave New San Fran
  26. 26. Over The Hill
  27. 27. Greatest Again

Four years ago, after a few drinks at a party, Frank Lee and I decided to take a taxi home, a fifteen kilometer ride across Melbourne. I was in the passenger seat next to the driver, as one does in Australia. Frank was in the back. The driver took an unexpected turn, in the wrong direction by my reckoning, causing me to query “Where the fuck are you going?”

That was a poor choice of words. The driver responded by shouting “Do not speak to me that way, you have no right to talk to me that way!” He was absolutely right.

Yet it didn’t stop there. He continued with lengthy passages beginning with phrases such as “You people think…” and ending with “…will get what’s coming to you!” He waved his arms about, several times taking both hands off the wheel, his eyes growing wild with fire as I cowered in astonishment.

After about five minutes of this, Frank shouted from the back seat “That’s enough, stop the car!” Instead, the driver hit a button that put us on the equivalent of a speakerphone. A woman’s steady voice identified herself as “Emergency Dispatch”. Continue reading 18. Street People

17. Carry On Grunge

  1. 01. Minutes of the COCKUP
  2. 02. A Public Service
  3. 03. The 22% Solution
  4. 04. On The Campaign Trail
  5. 05. Athens of America
  6. 06. A Yankee’s Yankee
  7. 07. My Canadian Family
  8. 08. Edmonton? Why?
  9. 09. Prairie Singers
  10. 10. Deconstructing Calgary
  11. 11. My Kelowna
  12. 12. Wine Whine
  13. 13. Fire Mountain
  14. 14. A Stopover and a Popover
  15. 15. Inspiring Victoria
  16. 16. Planet Rosehip
  17. 17. Carry On Grunge
  18. 18. Street People
  19. 19. The Curse of Portland
  20. 20. Mean-Spirited, Powerful Justice
  21. 21. Amtrak’s Jewel
  22. 22. Managing Yosemite
  23. 23. Yumpin’ Yosemite
  24. 24. Parched
  25. 25. Brave New San Fran
  26. 26. Over The Hill
  27. 27. Greatest Again

With moments to spare before the one hour grace period expired, we returned the rental car. There had been nothing graceful about it, with Frank weaving madly through downtown Seattle traffic while I shouted navigational imperatives. It is emotionally instructive to acknowledge the bickering, dangerous driving maneuvers, and profound indigestion that can result from trying to avoid a twenty dollar surcharge. As always, I was relieved to be rid of the car, knowing it would be six days until I needed to drive another.

We ducked into the Bartell Drugs store on Seattle’s McGraw Square. Bartell Drugs is a drug store much as Canadian Tire is a tire store, which is to say that Bartell Drugs sells drugs and Canadian Tire sells tires, but I’ve never met anyone who has purchased either from either. Our mission was to buy wine — arguably a drug, come to think of it. Bartell Drugs did not disappoint, offering an entire supermarket aisle of wines. (Alas, Canadian Tire does not sell wine, although they do sell a range of wine racks, wine glasses, and wine aerators, the latter being how one refers to drunk pilots, I think.) Continue reading 17. Carry On Grunge

16. Planet Rosehip

  1. 01. Minutes of the COCKUP
  2. 02. A Public Service
  3. 03. The 22% Solution
  4. 04. On The Campaign Trail
  5. 05. Athens of America
  6. 06. A Yankee’s Yankee
  7. 07. My Canadian Family
  8. 08. Edmonton? Why?
  9. 09. Prairie Singers
  10. 10. Deconstructing Calgary
  11. 11. My Kelowna
  12. 12. Wine Whine
  13. 13. Fire Mountain
  14. 14. A Stopover and a Popover
  15. 15. Inspiring Victoria
  16. 16. Planet Rosehip
  17. 17. Carry On Grunge
  18. 18. Street People
  19. 19. The Curse of Portland
  20. 20. Mean-Spirited, Powerful Justice
  21. 21. Amtrak’s Jewel
  22. 22. Managing Yosemite
  23. 23. Yumpin’ Yosemite
  24. 24. Parched
  25. 25. Brave New San Fran
  26. 26. Over The Hill
  27. 27. Greatest Again

There’s no easy way to get into the USA these days. Even as a US citizen. Even from Canada, which does its utmost to expedite the process of getting rid of us by importing and housing large flocks of US Customs officials at its airports and other gateways.

We had done our best to find a pleasant way of fleeing the Polite North by booking on the high-speed Victoria Clipper for a three hour ferry ride to downtown Seattle. After walking a mile to the wharf with our wheelie bags noisily jostling behind, I was disappointed to find the customs line-up started a hundred meters outside the building before snaking another hundred inside. At least it was a pleasant and sunny day. Standing in the rain would have sucked. Continue reading 16. Planet Rosehip