Tag Archives: neuroses

Step 90: Readjust Your Entire Sense of Time

I find my time here is both expanding and contracting. On one hand, it is refreshing to have to allocate far less “travel time” to get around. I keep forgetting that we can drive to most places we need to go in five minutes or less, with the result that we’re early for everything, a most un-Saltspringian trait. In the city things were different. We walked everywhere and I had to allow extra time for the Boss’s extremely variable speed. The 3 blocks to school could take 20 minutes or it could take 45. To travel downtown, it was a 15+ minute walk to the subway station, then add ride time, rush hour delays, etc etc etc.

For me, city living fed into my obsessive nature beautifully. I spent an awful lot of time just calculating walking and transit times and planning my day so that every activity dovetailed perfectly. (That was the plan, anyway. My agendas were often enough foiled by my own idiocy.) I calculated every trip, scheduled every errand. I walked fast, and got into the habit of reading while I walked, when the Boss wasn’t with me, just to get more done.

Zipping about in a car here has turned all this upside down. In Toronto I would never have signed the Boss up for a dance class that starts a mere 15 minutes after school lets out, a couple of miles away, but here we can make it… and still have time to change!

The time I’ve gained however, is lost again extremely quickly, since everyone operates in slow motion around here.

(And yet Saltspringers can also drive idiotically fast on these tricky winding roads. I am surrounded by paradox!)

slug logo by the Rabson family, local entrepreneurs

We are living on “island time” now. Good news: nobody expects you to be on time. Bad news: They won’t be on time either.

But stop-and-smell-the-roses islanders still have their own time anxieties. Interaction with the outside world requires adherence to strict ferry schedules. Nobody is cursed more bitterly than BC Ferries, when a sluggish islander makes the effort to hurry and be on time, and then the dagnabbed ferry runs late!

BC Ferries loading ramp

Road to Nowhere

So where does that leave me, the transplanted city neurotic? The ease of driving everywhere is definitely softening my head as well as my muscle tone. I’ve got to have a book to read in my car for every time I’m too early for school pickup. I have to take a deep breath in restaurants and not let the tortoise-paced service drive me nutty. And I’ve got to take up knitting or something for those damn ferry wait times!

I don’t know. Can I slow down? Should I slow down? I’ve got a lot to do, y’know, what with scheduling in the rose-smelling along with all the wood-chopping, bird-watching, monkey-bars-playing and general horsing around that needs to be done around here.

If You Can’t Keep Your Wits About You, At Least Have Some Idea of their Whereabouts

Our belongings arrived on Saltspring Island some time in mid July.

We drove into Mom and Dad’s driveway on July 27th.

And yet, on November 13th, I’m still awaiting the arrival of my brain.

I see it nowhere in my packing list app…

workshop

I’m finally making an effort though, I’m acting as if my brain was here in hopes that it will come out of hiding. I’ve finally set up my office and today was my first day of turning my back on my mess of a house, and walking out to the workshop where my office is, to sit at my desk at 9 a.m. sharp.

Business as usual!

after

I am struck most right now by the view out the window, which looks the same as the scenic photo on my calendar. I’m living inside a calendar photo!

Step 77: Escape the Funnel

As we drove away, away, ever away from Toronto, I couldn’t help but notice that for days and days Toronto kept popping up on freeway signs. Like it was lurking about, waiting for a chance to reel me back in. Just a moment’s inattention at an interchange and BAM! I’d find myself looping back towards the Big TOe.

One of my biggest complaints with Toronto has always been that it’s so hard to escape from! It takes hours just to get out of the place, through butt-ugly industrial wastelands, jostling elbow to elbow with crazed drivers weaving wildly from lane to lane. It’s gruesome. And if you ever do manage to get away for a relaxing weekend, you always have ahead of you the drive back into Toronto, which obliterates all the effects of the previous relaxation.

And yet, even when we were eight or nine hours north of the city, I still felt like, one wrong turn later, we could be right smack back in rush hour at Yonge and Bloor in just half an hour’s time.

This is what southern Ontario feels like:

Or more precisely:

I am that spinning quarter, drawn inexorably down, down into the vortex that is Toronto.

Step 72: Extricate Yourself

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in. – Michael Corleone

At some point during our epic last day in Toronto I had a sense of being ensnared… it just went on and on and we couldn’t get away… it was as if the city was reaching out to grab onto my leg, howling “don’t go!”… we were caught in a sticky web of complications and endless things-to-take-care-of. Besides the spontaneously regenerating piles of stuff to clear out (see step 71), there always seemed to be just one more task, one more, one more, one more…

Like in the horror movie when, just as you’re turning to leave the cemetery… a bony hand shoots out of the earth to seize your ankle in a hellish death-grip!

Aieeeee!

Must… leave… town… Must… get… away…

Noooooo! Don’t go!

Step 64: Load the Truck

Inflict another annoyance on soon-to-be-ex-neighbours, as monster truck pulls up. Grovel about asking people to move their cars. Panic over last minute packing. And then panic some more. Marvel as movers manoeuvres the piano. Then get back to panicking. Hyperventilate and dash about. Repeat.

And I KNEW I didn’t need a truck that big! My stuff only took up about 1/4 of the space in that thing. Even so… I came by train to Toronto 24 years ago with all my belongings in a trunk. The accumulation of detritus is sobering. I am a tiny snowball rolling down a hill, transforming effortlessly into a colossal town-crusher of an ice bomb.

But, I hasten to emphasize, I didn’t FILL the truck. I didn’t. I hope my neighbours don’t think I filled the truck. How many of them saw the truck anyway? My belongings only took up the front part of it. I really don’t haveĀ that much stuff. I am not a candidate for that hoarders show! (Am I?)

(Hmm. Why am I so embarrassed by my possessions? I rather like my possessions – that’s why I possess them.)

Ah well, back to work. Bubble wrap the artwork, seal up the boxes, stay out of the way of the movers, make the keep-it-or-toss-it decision about a million times in rapid succession… The boss grew weary of the whole procedure pretty quickly, and defected to a friend’s place for the afternoon. I soldiered on, until…

… bye bye stuff! See ya on the other side!

Phew!