I’ve been off the bike for over a week and off the walls for about as long. With three days off work, I should be scratching that itch. Alas, the itch comes from the healing tattoo on the back of my right thigh. If you’re an Instacrapper, the new ink can be found on jessparetattooer’s account: it’s the Tiger Lily.
Alternative, low-impact plans for my extended weekend:
- Watch for my yellow-haired-right-sleeve-having doppelgänger to whiz by my place on her skateboard in hopes of flagging her down so that we can recreate the Spiderman meme.
- Walk along the Ogden Point breakwater for fun
- Take a stroll into Yann’s neck of the woods and then send him a casual text suggesting that he allow me inside to pet the cats.
- Filing my tax return for
- Find someone with whom to share the psilocybin gummies I purchased in Vancouver.
- Get acquainted with the roommate’s girlfriend who is in town visiting.
- Get acquainted with the roommate’s first aid sex doll, Randy:
I’ve already done everything listed, except for the first. Not quite as productive as my weekend on the mainland, but it’s a start. Let’s talk about my stint in Vancouver.
Back in February, I received a text from András, a friend from my Vancouver days, asking whether there was any chance I’d be in Vancouver at the start of April. He’d moved to Ontario last year after spending two years in Vernon. I’d last seen him pre-pandemic in 2019.
“Yes, actually.” That was my response. What fine timing!
Except, my top two lodging options were unavailable during the dates of my visit. Marianne stepped up the first night, offering me a comfortable couch and homemade scones in the morning. For the remaining two nights, I asked my uncle if I could stay at his place in Burnaby. This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was my first time asking. He knew the purpose of my visit was to get tattooed and that I was merely looking for a place to sleep that wasn’t a soggy cardboard box.
Not only did he give me a room, but also he made me dinner and took me out for “big ol’ dutch pancakes” (his words) the following morning. He’s the one who made my lip balm holder:
He has a studio downtown where he makes more of these. Mainly, he does screen-printed artwork. Sometimes, wooden robots that serve as toilet paper holders emerge from the studio.
I was mildly disappointed to learn that its original purpose wasn’t to serve as a TP dispenser: that use was a later discovery. Also found in the washroom: a plague doctor mask and a collection of vintage toys on the counter.
Like me, my uncle doesn’t believe in sea-themed washrooms. I can’t say my washroom is as cool, but I do have a vintage linoleum floor.
No visit to Vancouver is complete without a chat and chew with Zoée. We parted ways without hugging to leave the other wanting more. Truthfully, it was because my bus came right as I approached the stop. I had to fumble for my fare card, then take a seat next to somebody who reeked of piss. I quickly moved to the other side, sitting before someone who smelled like shit. I was on the #16 Hastings. My final option was to move to the back, where there was a forum of less-smelly characters.
At the next stop, however, two large inebriated men boarded from the rear door and joined us. The bus started moving before one of them sat down, nearly causing him to topple onto me. As soon as he sat down, though, he got up again to get into what appeared to be a heated argument with the guy who boarded with him. Soon, a third person got involved. Fantastic: I gave up a warm embrace with Zoée in a rush FOR THIS?! A battle royale was imminent, and I was in an optimal position to act as a crash pad.
It didn’t happen. The trio chilled out, but the instigator started talking to me as I was giving Zoée a play-by-play via WhatsApp. He lost his phone, he said. “Tough titties,” I did not respond. He might’ve wanted me to loan him my phone. Haha, no. I’d never been happier to exit a bus during a cold, rainy night. Fuck you, #16, fuck you right in the pussy.
As I’m a Vancouverite, whenever I go there, it’s not the sea or mountains I take pictures of but the city’s underbelly. Allow me to smash your illusion of Canada’s “Most Beautiful City”:
Debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami? “Or leftovers from a wild party? Look at all those Solo cups!” András suggested.
A two-foot-long bronze slug sculpture.
A rock convention in Tea Swamp Park. Tea Swamp Park? Yeah… it ain’t Choklit Park, but there’s a mini library in case you get bored of all the rocks.
While Victorians hang onto their Christmas decorations, Vancouverites are all about Halloween. That isn’t Zoée’s place, but they’ve made a skeleton a permanent fixture of their garden.
Now… the best for last:
I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS PLACE STILL EXISTS. It’s in the City Square Mall food court. When all six TVs are on, they’ll play a montage of dumplings and steamed buns, so I assume that’s what they sell. However, this place also sells water filtration systems.
I THINK? I DON’T KNOW! THEY’VE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR AT LEAST TEN YEARS AND I CONTINUE TO BE BAFFLED.