So It Goes

SO IT GOES

When thinking about the way my life has gone lately I like to think it’s like an electric guitar that turned into a didgeridoo and then into a mandolin before it broke in half or something.

But I can’t play music at all. Seriously. I don’t have rhythm. Apparently, that’s a major road block to being a musician, or so my friends tell me. Fair. I do play one hell of a G chord, though. So there’s that. Nonetheless I like to think of myself as somebody who has music at the centre of his life and so music metaphors come to me when I go searching for poetic ways to relate to people. So it goes.

I spent much of the last years, since the mandolin broke I suppose, hiding. Hiding from myself in a way, yes. But also, I worked to keep things concealed. This did nothing but broke me. It’s a lot like landing a plane, constantly hiding that is, you can circle the runway for years and hang out in the clouds but eventually you gotta put ‘er down at some point. And when I landed it was bumpy.

I’m buying a truck, I think. I want to anyway. It’s funny the reaction I get from people when I tell them I’m buying a truck. “Are trucks mandatory for living in Alberta?” They say. “I think that’s a stupid idea. You’re a fool. Buy a Volkswagen.” It’s lovely the support I have been getting from friends and family who have weighed in on everything from financing to negotiating with insurance brokers but it’s also frustrating and overwhelming to have so many people to be close to this decision as a person working on his openness. Sometimes I want to crawl into a hole like a big fat brown groundhog and run out and eat dandelions when everyone is all gone. So it goes.

I really want the truck to drive across the country from London to Edmonton through Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. These reasons are both romantic and popular: I want to read André Gide’s “The Fruits of the Earth” and contemplate living in the moment while falling asleep in the back of my truck parked on the west bank of Lake Michigan. And I want to watch a Winnipeg Jets playoff game in the Osborne Village while drinking Saskatoon Hookers. The last one being the “popular choice” so to speak, but hockey is where my mind lives always. Vraie vie était sur la patinoire. 

I think I will get a tattoo soon too. One day not so long ago I was swimming at the pool in the gym. I was showering before I went in and I was very aware of how clear and empty my skin was. I watched as the water ran off the back of my shoulder and bicep, beads of hard water sticking to my oily skin, and I thought how drastically underused it all is. It made me sad. I spent the swim thinking what I needed on my body. Memories, mementos, reminders, quotes, poetry, wild roses, a ceinture fléchée, a sweetgrass braid, Alberta, my Mom, vintage baseball, hockey, fire, books, my Grandmothers, songs, and a silhouette of a bear walking on the side of a mountain.

My contract with the Alberta Sport Connection starts on April 26. In conversation with two Western Students, who had asked me what it’s like being a university graduate in today’s job market. I said I am a “Freelance Intellectual” and so I get hired like a gunslinger in the Old West might. I have since heard people smarter than me criticize those who describe themselves as that sort of intellectual labour. Despite feeling embarrassed about saying that now, I still think it fits. The contract is a short one and then I will be off to sell my skills to the next bidder. It does not make me feel cheap. So it goes.

Sometimes in London the weather will snap from dry and cold to thick, moist and uncomfortably warm within hours. It did last night and this kicked up tornado warnings and the humidity in the venue was so heavy that I was sweating through my plaid button down. There are not many worse feelings than that kind of heat. When I get to Alberta I want to watch the sun set for hours and feel the air cool with every receding inch of the horizon and remember how it felt to believe in the solidity of a prairie night. Before I lived where the land could fall out from under you or the air could try to melt you.

I swear I’m not running away this time but it feels like I am.

So it goes.

–tphillers

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