A bug flew down my jersey while Ed, Yann, and I were making our way back to the Langdale ferry terminal by bike. I didn’t know what kind of bug it was until I tried to assist its exit by tugging on the front of my jersey.
The insect identified itself by stinging my armpit. I frantically pulled over to the row of parking lanes that lined the beachfront and undid my jersey zipper. A wasp had attached itself to my armpit by its butt. Ed swatted the wasp off, but its stinger stuck around.
I stood still with my arm over my head while Yann rummaged through the first aid kit for anything useful for the situation. He extracted the stinger with tweezers, then, as he reached into the kit for antiseptic wipes, something white splattered across the front of his shirt. I thought a tube of ointment had exploded, but the liquid came from above. Yann got pooped on by a tiny bird. Adorable!
It was his lucky day, and in a way, it was mine too: I learned that I do not have an allergy to wasp stings. I remember my first and only bee sting from when I was about four years old: not allergic either. This life event was made memorable by a mom hack that involved her taping slices of onion over the affected area, which was the back of my hand. There was no onion in that first aid kit.
Our trip to the Sunshine Coast was the only other overnighter we did during Ed’s visit. Windy.com was useful in showing which areas rain clouds were likely to skip, but their mobile site shows either the 24-hour or the 3-day forecast. Inconvenient for trips lasting just two days.
It didn’t appear we were going to have to tolerate the kind of sogginess we experienced on our Salt Spring Island overnighter and went ahead with the plan.
There was light rain when we disembarked the ferry. When we arrived in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park 30km later, there were no tents, trailers, or RVs around. The rain had stopped, but because the group picnic shelter was unlikely to see use from anybody else, we pitched our tents between the picnic tables under there. We were prepared to move if asked by the Park Ranger, but when he dropped by, it was for the $15/night camping fee.
That night, it rained so hard that Yann woke up. As for Ed and me, our deaf asses were completely unbothered by the midnight rain and wind.
If you were wondering whether Ed made a montage for this trip too, the answer is yes:
The 1:47 mark shows Yann and me dealing with the wasp sting.
For the remainder of Ed’s visit, our bikes stayed behind at my dad’s place in Maple Ridge. On September 27th, thousands of people with clever signs were to swarm the streets of Vancouver for the climate strike. In an embarrassing show of irony, Yann, Ed, and I traveled to Vancouver by car.
Vancouver is so expensive that even well-off boomers like my dad can’t quite afford a property in the city, so they take up residence in the suburbs, and learn to deal with the long commute to their jobs, usually in a single-occupancy vehicle. Right now, it takes me five minutes to ride my bicycle to work. In my 16 years of employment, I’ve only had one job where I was reliant on public transit. Dad hates the idea of living in a small place without a yard; I hate the idea of spending three hours a day sitting in traffic!
Once we were parked, we spent the day exploring the city on foot. At one point, we found ourselves floating under the bridges that were backed up with climate protesters. On the boat ride to the Plaza of Nations, we spotted a foam cushion floating in the waters of False Creek. Isn’t Vancouver beautiful, Ed?!
Before our ride on the AquaBus ferry, we stopped for some donuts at 49th Parallel Coffee in Kitsilano. We were going to drink our coffees, eat our donuts and go, but wound up giving a stranger thirty minutes of our attention while she dumped her life story on us.
I’m a bit of an introvert: when I see people sign in public, I rarely approach them to ask, “Are you deaf?” More often, it’s a question that gets directed my way. Usually, I am okay with this, but the woman didn’t ask any follow-up questions, such as what our names were and whether we had a good relationship with Jesus Christ. She also chose to keep her identity a secret.
What we did learn were the tragedies she had endured over the years. She used a mix of American Sign Language and another language, making it difficult for me to understand her, never mind Yann. I understood the part where she recounted the time a relative of hers was beaten to death on the streets. Now, how do you escape a conversation like this without appearing insensitive? For the entirety of her story, I searched for an exit.
“My brother was murdered.”
Oh, hold up. I didn’t ask for more details, yet a barrage of them came.
Ed and I often joke about The TMI Bucket, which is something deaf people often haul around:
We don’t waste time easing a new person in our lives, especially if the other person is deaf. I find hearing people unnecessarily formal; why do I need to spend three months figuring out whether I want to be somebody’s friend.
My blog is where much of the contents of my TMI bucket end up. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to click elsewhere; however, when you come here, you are knowingly sitting in the splash zone.
It’s been more than a week since Ed went back to England with a duffle bag full of Skittles, and the weather hasn’t gotten much better. There have been lots of rainbows though.
Side note: most of the photos I’ve shared here and here were taken by Ed. Follow him on Instacrap @edscoble
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