Stop this Train

  Whoa baby, time moves fast. The Old Man turned 54 on Friday. That’s me and him 4 years ago at his 50th. A big bash. I planned it for weeks with the help of cousins and Aunties. It was staged as a kind-of latent surprise: he showed up and then guests followed about every half and hour thereafter. Relatives, old friends, even older family friends, all sorts were there.

We ate like Kings. We danced like Kevin Bacon. And we drank like we hadn’t touched the stuff in years. A heck of a night. One to remember. Boy have things changed since then.

I have graduated from University (twice!). Moved from Edmonton to London, then back to Edmonton and on to Vancouver. Gained and lost a number of friends. Did the same with some weight. Watched relatives and friends get married, divorced too.

I Quit baseball about two years ago after 13 seasons. Moved friends and relatives. Saw my Old Man get diagnosed with MS. Watched my Mom fight off breast cancer. Lost a grandma. Emceed my cousin’s wedding. Held my newest cousin. Read my first eulogy. Swam in the ocean. And cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. Lots has changed.

When I was younger I always felt that time wasn’t moving quickly rather perception made it feel as if it were. I mean the world hasn’t begun to spin any faster since high school finished just my mindset has changed. I think University has a lot to do with it. Having adult concerns might have more to do with it.

I chase deadlines now, a product of my education. When one is always shining the flashlight out in front of him, rather than down at his feet, he is more likely to zip past something important. No time to relish in the process. Constantly working toward something makes the days slip away, gradually, and unceasingly, like fading sunlight.

If only you could stop this train once in a while.

Trying to enjoy the fleeting hours of my weekend before work started again, I had settled into some sports blogs yesterday morning. When my girlfriend and I had just started dating, just a little under five years ago, I used to get up before her every Sunday and go watch sports. It didn’t really matter what. I usually caught baseball. On Sundays the Blue Jays would start at 11:00 am Alberta time and I would sneak out of bed and let her sleep while I caught about 3 or 4 innings on the couch in front of the TV. In my house now, we don’t have cable. So when I sneak out of the bed early I read sports blogs.

Anyway, I was reading yesterday when the author reminded me that Justin Verlander had thrown his no-hitter against the Blue Jays back in May. And I thought to myself. Jesus, that was in May? It feels like yesterday.

There was a time in my life when important sporting moments were the touchstones of my memory. I could tell you what grade I was in, who my teacher was, what I learned that year, all because I could recall where I was and what I was doing when I watched each Stanley Cup or World Series. I guess in a lot of ways I still do that. The girlfriend likes to give me a hard time about it.

I’m not sure if time speeding up has changed this or that my associations to sports have begun to change. Since I don’t have cable I don’t watch much sports in real time anymore. On the other hand though, time just seems to be flying by unabated.

I’ve been in Vancouver over a year now. I never thought I would be here this long. It’s a beautiful city, full-of-life, and teeming with arts and culture. But I come from prairie sensibilities and the transition from a blue collar slow-moving city like Edmonton to an expensive white-collar city has been choppy. I struggle with the pretentiousness at times, even more so with the challenges that come with trying to establish a career in a city where so much emphasis is put on  experience and “who you know”. Life’s tough. I get it. And time doesn’t give you any breaks.

We moved here last Labour Day weekend. I remember warning my future housemates that time would move quickly. “It would be Thanksgiving before we know it. Then Christmas. And next thing you know it’s February and we’re starting to look for a new place.” They laughed at me. Not because I was being melodramatic. Well, they might have been. Instead, they laughed at me because predicting the passage of time is not that prophetic.

The last year went fast, still. And it brought all sorts of challenges.

Right off the hop one of our housemates, and my girlfriend’s dear friend, was hospitalized after getting hit by a car. Thankfully she wasn’t injured too seriously but she moved slowly for months and is still missing some teeth (I think it looks badass by the way). As a house we were forced to negotiate the pitfalls of having a bad roommate, slow and unresponsive landlords, sky-rocketing utilities prices, and the natural conflicts that arise when sharing so much common space. Jessie (that’s my girlfriend) and I both lost grandparents in the spring. Her first. Then me. We missed 3 weddings because of money and distance. We’ve missed holidays with our families, birthdays of relatives, graduations of siblings, and even people battling sickness. We’ve watched the marriages of people we love grow and blossom as they welcomed children and bought houses. We’ve seen marriages crumble too, watch people slowly drift away from each other and fall out of love.

And me and her. Well we’ve hit some rough spots too. From depression to grief to elation we have run the gamut of emotions this year. I give her all the credit. She’s the reason we’re still together. She was a rock this year. All while juggling school, the loss of her grandpa, and being so far way from her family. Stubborn and resilient that one.

Last night we went on a date. We hit our favourite Italian joint in Kits. A trendy little spot. You can get a big bowl of pasta and a tasty little glass of wine for a pretty reasonable cost. We always share the yellow coconut curry chicken with penne, about four baskets of bread, and an appy. Last night we were feeling adventurous, so we swapped out the penne for rotini, and had 5 baskets of bread. Then we went to Safeway, stole some bulk candy, had an intense rock-paper-scissors game over ice-cream, and then shared a long hug in the slower-than-usual self-checkout line. When we got home we traded some ice-cream with a roommate for talk about books and philosophical musings on love. A good night.

It was nice to slow it down a little. If not to stop the train for just one night.

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8 thoughts on “Stop this Train

  1. Nice one bud! Almost makes up for the absence of an email update.

    We miss you out here! I am spreading the word about the blog, so hopefully you will see some familiar names in the comments section.
    I am loving the hockey predictions too, although I had hoped to hear more of your thoughts on Montreal’s goaltending. Soon to come, right?
    :)

  2. Very cute Trev!!!
    Lindsey told me about your blog and I’m pretty pumped to read it with the upcoming hockey season!!!
    Just did my first online draft last night….very different than last year’s fixed picks, but it was good.

    I’ll make sure Andre knows about the blog.

  3. Thanks ladies! All the positive press and kind words are much appreciated.

    ldh – more Canadiens. Check
    alicia – do tell Andre. I’ve been meaning to.
    A Baby Elephant – the bread there is extra delicious. That’s why we have to have extra baskets.

  4. Great job T.J as the norm when it comes to you.It is great to hear that YOU took the time to slow down the train a little, even if it was just for one night.

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