Sunday, February 11, 2007

Viable Paradise, all done

It's over. I'm in the Montreal airport beside the phones in waiting lounge 11, with a couple of hours to go. Then 5 hours in a plane and I'll be in Vancouver, and Mark will pick me up.
I want to go online, and gush about everything to the Furtive Scribblers. But I must possess my soul in patience, as they once said. I won't be home and online until tomorrow, and even then it will depend whether my hard-drive is really dead. Feeling more uncertain about calling M--. I mean, I will, eventually, but the subject of writing and workshops is so uncertain between us, and although she's told me that she's grown out of being jealous of others' successes, that isn't the same as actually being able to be pleased on someone else's account.

Last night was tearful farewells and partying. I sat in Scott's room and chatted with whoever washed up next to me, which was ... Dave, Diane, Scott, and Terri, who have been in crit sessions with me, Jim Kelly, and Dru and Erin, whom I hadn't had any sessions with and didn't know very well even yet. Erin was the one who warned Evelyn and me about needing sponges in the kitchen. Dru is another in the Dave Foley ecological niche, but dresses more casually than Bart, and is less deadpan. Mac sat in the armchair, looking both regal and tipsy, and asked random penetrating questions. Haven't said anything about Mac, have I? Short blonde hair, boyish, wears shorts and sandals all the time, slightly weather-beaten, makes me think of the Wandervogeln in 1920s(?) Europe, or perhaps Snufkin from the Moomintroll books (though she doesn't have Snufkin's hat). During a discussion of people-who-had-influenced-one, she mentioned a highschool librarian, Mr. MacAllister, who'd been a mentor to her, and my brain went ping and I said 'That's why you're named MacAllister, then?' I remembered Mr. Basowitz, the librarian in senior high who'd been so supportive of my hiding in the library all the time. Not quite so fruitful for naming purposes, but a cool guy. After I moved away in grade 12, he sent me a recording of Faust, out of the blue.
While I was repacking my sports-bag last night (a bit pointlessly, as I'd have to fit my pajamas in the next morning anyways) Diane came in and told me that Teresa and other instructors had joined us, and that I might want to come back and hang out. Which was really nice of her--I wonder if she knew of my TNH-awe? So I buzzed back and sat on the bed with Nicole and listened to people talking until the need for sleep overcame me. TNH was sitting on the bed with her back against the wall and legs stretched out, very relaxed. Zak was chatting with her about graphic novels and printing techniques. Gradually other technically-inclined people drifted over and the discussion went over my head, though I may have become more informed about printing despite myself, just via osmosis. There were some drinks being made, but since I'd already had a couple of glasses of red wine and my has-served-me-well personal rule is to not mix the grape and the grain, I didn't indulge. Other people did, and there were some loud conversations going on about the time I stumbled off to my bed.

The morning had that dislocated feeling of departures waiting to happen. I got my repacking repacked, having thinned down my pile of manuscript pages to those with comments on them--except for the copies reviewed by Cory Doctorow, Debra Doyle, and TNH, which I'm keeping entire for their apotropaic value. I felt bad leaving good-one-side paper behind, since at home I collect it for use in our home printer, but Jim Kelly was quite right, if you're trying to travel light, cut down on the paper.
I deposited my little heap of luggage (one sports bag, one laptop bag, one accordion file) at the side of the driveway and hung out there for a while with the guys. Lucia came by and I followed her into the commons room for the sake of any goodbyes I might have missed giving. This meant I was able to thank Kate for her handholding when I was applying (where I dithered for a week about which story to apply with, made up two complete application packages, and then sent the one that didn't have the fee in it). She said comfortingly that I hadn't needed to worry after all, and that she'd heard good buzz among the instructors about my story (wonder what it would have been if I'd sent the other one, though?) I hope she and Jen like chocolate. I know almost everyone does, but it's still an assumption. Myself I prefer butterscotch, though I don't turn down any sweet thing other than marzipan (owing to an unfortunate incident in my childhood, which did not however involve a locked closet and two jars of honey).
I said some other goodbyes, and sat in the commons room for a while, but the out-of-place feeling was growing, perhaps because the Reunion was beginning for real, perhaps because I was mentally severing ties and setting my face forward. I feel that the Reunion is for those who've Done Something with their VP experience, and I haven't yet.

Then it was time to leave. Not from the Oak Bluff terminal, but the other one, and I was very glad that this was being overseen by Jen and not by me, because I would have dithered. Jen is slender, dark-haired, and possessed of an air of terrifying efficiency, even for those things occupying only a fraction of her attention. She does in-depth travelogue interspersed with scathing social commentary while organising these things--if she were a Hindu goddess, she'd have more arms than Kali. I don't know whether she'd go for the belt of severed heads. It might depend who was annoying her at the time.
Erin and I ended up on the same departing ferry and bus, though she was being met by her husband at the airport, and I was looking forward to another several hours in transit. We chatted on the ferry, about husbands and pets and how to fit writing time in with one's regular life.
Emily was on the same bus, unexpectedly. Emily is quite beautiful, with thick black hair, and dresses in jeans and sneakers like a model going incognito to the laundromat. She had a sort of circle of silence around her, even when she contributed something during colloquia, as if she were a holographic projection and not actually present.
Not going to talk about the airports. Gah and double gah. I've taken my shoes off so many times I don't know why I bother tying them. And I'm tired of nobody looking at my face, so that I can't tell whether they're talking to me or not. Gah.

Think of nice things. Uncle Jim cooking pancakes and explaining the Boskone / Arisia split. Mur explaining how to do the staff tip for the hotel (something I've never known about because I so rarely stay in hotels). The view off the balcony, across the fields. Funny little Queen Anne houses in Oak Bluff. Sitting with Eleanor in the living room, both of us tapping away at our laptops. Mur bubbling over about interviewing Cory and Jim Kelly. Sitting in Scott's room, chatting with him and Mac.
I wonder how long it will take for all of this to settle?


avo said...

Great post. (Note to self: Smile more, iron less.)

Now I'm curious: how does one leave a tip for housekeeeping, and how much?

- the Avocado

batgirl said...

No, cherish your sharp-creased individuality! There are enough people who look as if they dressed straight out of the dirty-clothes hamper.
Housekeeping tip is, if my memory holds true, $2 per person per day. And I was fussing about leaving the peanut butter and butter behind, because I hate food to be thrown away (I blame this on some past-life privation) but Mur said the maids probably took it as a perq, which is a much happier conclusion.