Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On Road Signs...

Road signs have perplexed me for years. I've hated them always.

This past winter, especially, I have detested road signs. I've wanted to get a job as Minister of Road Signs, whereby I would mandate that by law, all signs had to be four feet high and heated so that snow would not hinder people's vision of them.

I've bitched to all my friends about road signs, and occasionally screamed at the assholes who make them from my car as I drive by the road I was supposed to turn on because the fucking sign was illegible. This has also contributed to my driving anxiety as I never know what lane I should be in, and once I'm close enough to read the sign, I often find myself in the wrong lane. Then I have to get back in the right lane, which city drivers rarely let you do. (Also, I've been driving in the city every day since I got my new job. But that is a different rant.)

And then, on our journey across Canada, Mal got a little sick of my hatred for road signs and pointed out that hey! Maybe the problem isn't with the signs.

So, I went to the optometrist this past Saturday and OH MY GOD.

Did you know that the whole world isn't supposed to be blurry? I just thought that's how things were, just thought my vision was totally normal and that it was ok to have to squint and struggle to see things on the Tim Horton's menu.

I've now been outfitted with glasses that are of a very light prescription but that have altered my life in a huge way. I had my mother drive home from the appointment so that I could see all the world has to offer. The trees! They have BRANCHES that are distinguishable from one another! The branches aren't just a jumbly-bumbly mess of brown, they are individual BRANCHES.

Oh, and the road signs. So clear. So visible. So easy to read.

I almost want to apologize for all the years I spent swearing at the people who made them so damn small.

Vision is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

I now think everyone should go to the optometrist. I'll even take you there! Being able to actually see is such an amazing thing that I am now officially recommending it to all my friends.

And blog readers.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Road Trip: Part III

So this is where the trip started to get cool. We were on our way to visit some friends of Mal's in Halifax. Our plan was this: Drive for four hours, have lunch, drive for four more hours, get on the ferry, and arrive in Newfoundland in time to drive across the province before dark.


Halifax turned out to be an asshole. Not that it wasn't a beautiful province or that the people were not pleasant. Just that we didn't know the roads on the way out of lunch and, as a result, I felt like Halifax was being an asshole to me.

We got turned around here, and instead of taking exit 7E, we took exit 7 East, or maybe it was the other way around, who knows. But we ended up turning on the GPS to find out where we were. We then turned it off again and ended up on a wrong road that turned out to travel us along the shoreline of Nova Scotia.

Sweet Merciful Mother of God.

The beauty.

Driving there, on a sunny, beautiful day with my dearest friend, I really felt at peace with the world, I'm not going to lie. I've never been on a 'real' vacation before, one free of stress or planning; one where I can just put everything off my mind and exist in the moment. And I realized then just how much I need to start existing in the moment because I felt absolutely free. I was looking at the boats and watching the water and admiring the towns and bridges and the sunset.

I felt like a new person altogether.

We made it back to the main highway and had dinner at an adorable little diner before driving further into the night.


There was apparently a storm and the ocean was being uncooperative and our ferry would not be crossing the ocean that night.

We were forced to get a hotel room that night, one that was not smoking friendly but that offered free internet service and enough pillows for us to rest our heads on for the night. We slept soundly before waking up in the morning to see the ocean, get on a ferry, and arrive in Newfoundland. Twelve hours later than anticipated, but in Newfoundland nonetheless.

I felt uneasy going to bed that night because my Word, I was far from home. I still managed to sleep like a rock and wake up in relatively decent spirits the next day. I have to say that there was a lingering odor permeating all of our belongings at that time, but I didn't feel like mentioning it because it wasn't that big of a deal.



Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Road Trip; Part II

We fuelled up on caffiene and, well, fuel, and headed on our way. First big thang was Montreal, where I have never driven before and where there are bridges big enough to give me panic attacks for years to come. We got turned around once and were on our way within ten minutes.

Except that we were tired. Sleepy. Drowsy.

I slept for two hours and then took over the wheel as Mal slept for a couple hours. This would be my only time driving on our trip, and that too was fine.

Quebec wasn't that interesting to travel through. Although i have to say, the people there were lovely, making an effort to speak to me in English when they realized how terribly awful my French actually is. We stocked up on some Sangria here, thinking we would have a wild night at the hotel, living it up like it was our job.

I got very few photos on this leg of the journey, mostly because I was sleeping or trying to stay awake. One delightful tidbit I did get was this:

There are some oddly named places in this country of ours. This one is St. Louis Du Ha! Ha! Others I discovered along the way are Ecum Secum (Novia Scotia. I laughed at this one for approximately the entire time we were on vacation), Dildo, South Dildo, Gayside, and a number of other interestingly named locations.

We drove for over twelve hours that day. By the time we made it to our hotel room, we were more tired than when we started out. We were wondering if perhaps there was an odor about us, and so delirious we had trouble ordering food.

We only made it hald way through the first bottle each of Sangria. It reminded us of being much, much younger than we currently are. We then headed off to slumber in the glorious pillows that the oh-so-luxurious hotel had provided us with.

We woke up the next day, stocked up on coffee and gas, and headed out again.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Road Trip, Part One...

Did I mention that? Did I fail to mention that I was going on the biggest trip thus far in my young life? That I would be travelling a journey of firsts? First road trip, first ocean, first ferry ride, first plane ride?

Oh, I didn't?

Probably something to do with the million hour work weeks, but whatever.

Mal is leaving. And at this point, I have to say that she has left. But for the time being, I have gone with her.

And I've never mentioned that my best, most beloved friend is going anywhere. She first brought it up ages ago, and I thought, Newfoundland? Nah, Mal's not going to Newfoundland!

You know, I've been in denial before. I've been in denial over the fact that I'm out of cigarettes, or that my car is out of gas, or that I'm not going to make it to work on time. Like, No way! That can't happen!

But this was a very real and very true case of denial. Like, nope! My best friend is certainly NOT moving away and I will never allow my mind to process this fact. And so I have not allowed my mind to process this fact.

And even while we were moving her stuff into storage and moving other stuff into my house for her to stay the last week, I didn't process that she was leaving. I didn't bother to think that this might be her last time in a long time at my house, or that we might not have this opportunity to stay up late into the night, chain smoking and giggling about ridiculous things.

The night before we left on her road trip, I worked twenty hours out of twenty four, in three shifts at two different jobs. So I returned home, planning to leave in eight hours, spun from my time at work, unable to find my GPS, and with a visitor in the house. And Mal was quiet and rather than being a normal human being, I carried on through the house flipping about my GPS and the packing and my laundry.

Mal went to bed and I carried on, trying to get my packing done and have just one more cigarette before bed when, at 11:57 p.m., it hit me. My heart stopped and I wanted to scream and instead I just continued sitting there like a zombie. It was Mal's last night in the Clifford Cave with me and rather than being with the person who needed me most, I was with my mother and this character.

Soon Mal came through the kitchen and sped off into the night before I could stop her and I returned to the kitchen thinking, this is it. This is the move that has ended our friendship, my fear of mentioning her leaving.

While she was gone I cried. I wept openly and I told my mother of the thoughts I've been having regarding her leaving, and I whipped out a pen and paper and I jotted it all down, those thoughts that have been plaguing me for so long but that I haven't let out because really, it hurts to have feelings.

Eventually she returned and we retired to the Clifford Cave together and she spoke the words that were on her mind, only I couldn't speak the words that were on mine. So I asked her if she could, if she could stay up for ten more minutes and read what I had written because I couldn't say it out loud.

How do you tell someone that they are your everything? How do you say those words that you can't make yourself say out loud? So I asked her to read my words while I fetched myself a beer and I returned.

Mal and I had more words to say and she finished by giving me the set of Jammies that I always wore while at her house. And she had washed them in her laundry soap, with her fabric softener, and every time I've been at her house for the last two years, I've put on this set of jammies and gone on about how much I loved the smell of those jammies.

And she passed them to me and I went to put them on, and I couldn't hold it in. I burst into tears and I threw myself on the bed beside her and I wept, holding her and the jammies, and I just said it out loud, I said that she is my person and that I love her.

The next day we headed out. We had bags under our eyes, our hair was messy, we were wearing less than impressive clothing. Her Chevy Impala was loaded to the gills.

Wild eyed, hair akimbo, and cigarette smoke billowing out the windows, we headed across Canada.