Final travelogue.

I have just concluded my first week back at work post-vacation, but I’m still not finished talking about my vacation.

On Thursday the 19th, I took my gym-loving sister, Jenn, to the gym. Not the kind she usually goes to, but the kind I usually go to. My preferred type of gym has almost entirely padded flooring, and a lot of chalk dust. Jenn is a Crossfitter and, yes, she talks about it a lot but come to think of it, climbers also talk about climbing excessively.

Her being a crossfitter has the family commenting on her burly physique a lot. Dad in particular is strangely interested in the physique of others. He mentioned no less than four times that my brother had gotten really fat, and when I told him that I had visited two of my childhood friends, he asked whether either of them had gotten fat. It did make me wonder how Dad describes my  physique.

On that note, the night I arrived, Dad’s wife put her hand on my abdomen and asked me if I was pregnant.

Hmm!

For starters, I most certainly do not look pregnant. I’m not even one of those skinny people with a mini potbelly.

Secondly, Dad has been with this woman for three years. It is a well known fact among my friends and family that I have zero interest in having children.Did this really never come up in the three years they’ve been together?

Lastly, (and most importantly!) it is an unwritten rule that one should neverask a woman if she’s pregnant. Maybe the woman wants children, but cannot have any. Maybe the woman’s just bloated. Maybe it is actual chub. Maybe it’s a tumor?

Even as a child, I knew better than to ask this question.

Too bad I didn’t have as much guts as Dad’s wife did, otherwise I would have told her bluntly: “I do not appreciate you touching me like that and it is inappropriate to ask anybody that kind of question.” Instead I told her I hated kids in an effort to shut down the discussion.

What bothered me even more than that was how this awkward exchange took place right in front of Dad who didn’t seem to register how fucked-up it was.

My buff sister did, though. THANK YOU, REASON!

So, she and I met at the bouldering gym where I was able to show what my sinewy arms were capable of doing. Jenn had brought along her DSLR, and captured my body twisted in awkward positions (a big part of climbing, really) along with my try-hard faces. My signature try-hard face appears to involve sucking in my upper lip.

I’ve always been envious of crushers who have a compilation of professional-quality shots of themselves looking impressively agile.

The photos I took of Jenn were a letdown, but there will be a next time as she loved bouldering. YES. I’ll have another person to talk about climbing with!

The next day, I muscled my way up the Stawamus Chief aka the Yosemite of the Northwest; however, this was done in my hiking boots and not in climbing shoes. I’ve climbed in Squamish, but I’ve never climbed The Chief, nor had I ever hiked it.

It was unexpectedly difficult, and I couldn’t have done it alone. I mean, someone had to drive me there: that someone was András.

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The chipmunk didn’t hitch a ride with us, but it was nice to be greeted by this little dude when we reached the last peak.

Speaking of peaks, this is the shot everybody comes for:

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It’s yours truly atop peak three of the Stawamus Chief, with even more peaks in the background. Then there’s the Howe Sound, as well as assorted clouds, with a special guest appearance by a happy tree.

Could my trip have possibly gone better? Of course it could have: I could have paraglided down the Chief, or spotted an endangered Vancouver Island Marmot while in the Comox Valley, or won a free MTB to take home.

Mainly, it would have been nice if some people didn’t waste my time by flaking out on me at the last minute. One person even did it… twice. I am still trying to process where I had gone wrong. Did I misinterpret our plans?

“I would love to see you!” Is usually a good indicator that the person really does want to see you. Usually.

I was even offered a couch to sleep on so that I didn’t have to catch a ride back to the suburbs with Dad in the early evening. I was good with leaving early in the morning the following day. After all, the next thing I had planned was the Stawamus Chief hike which was supposed to start at 8:30am.

On the morning I was supposed to see this friend, I received a message saying that our plans were no-go because… work. Some people don’t have the luxury of having a job with stable hours like I do, but I have a friend who works sometimes as an on call pharmacist. She’s always given me a heads-up before we schedule anything on those nights. Exhibiting this sort of courtesy shouldn’t be hard.

Anyway, the workload in the bike shop is pretty nutso right now, but if I had an out-of-town friend visiting, and work asked me to do some overtime, I would have turned it down. Come on.

I couldn’t get mad though. Get mad, and you definitely won’t be able to re-schedule. I was willing to re-schedule! I really wanted to see this friend! They suggested meeting up for dinner after my hike.

I contacted them as promised when I was on my way back to Vancouver from Squamish. The response was more or less, “Sorry, gotta work until 9:30pm.”

Wait, didn’t you tell me yesterday that I couldn’t spend the night because you had to work at 7am? What kind of shitty-ass job makes somebody work from 7am until 9:30pm?

“…But I’ll be in Toronto in May, so maybe I could make a side trip to Montréal to visit you?!”

What?!

Friendships can be tricky when one person likes the other a lot more than the other. Sometimes I find myself in the position where somebody I don’t vibe with is pursuing a friendship I’m not really interested in. I just don’t lead them on; that’s borderline malicious.

If this truly wasn’t ill-intentioned, then I’m certainly baffled as to how this person expected me to react: “I am so chill that I don’t care that I said “no” to other people so that I could spend time with you. Yes, I would love to make time for you when, and if, you come to Montréal!”

I have no chill, I guess.

Overall, I do have some amazing friends who sincerely love the shit out of me. I shall focus on cherishing the ever-loving crap out of those people!

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