Sometime I’m slow and mellow. I figure I better be that way when I go on my long meditation retreat in the fall. Other times – boys just want to have fun. I’ve learned recently that my brand of humour often consists of lying to another person in a way that they know I’m kidding. At least I hope they know. People usually laugh. And that’s what I want to do with the rest of my life, whether it’s five years or twenty-five. Make then giggle. Maybe when I’m withering away in some nursing home I’ll still be able to gather my forces and bring nurses’ mouths into an upright position.
Yesterday was a drive from Barriere, BC to Kamloops and over the mountains down to Vancouver. Gosh, I’m having fun. I’m not used to a six-lane freeway piercing the mountain grandeur at a speed of 120 kph (75 mph). I just don’t want to drive that fast. No prolonged worries on that score, however, because there was a series of red taillights ahead. Gentle and not so gentle braking brought us all to a halt. We were high up on a mountain slope, with the pines towering above us on the left. The sky in front had a blob of smoke hanging in the air. And that blob was getting bigger. Within half an hour, it had enveloped us, but not dangerously so. I could breathe in the subtle fumes just fine. My small mind kept looking up to the left, with visions of flames crackling the tops of the trees and embers flying over the road to ignite the ones down the slope. Oh, Bruce. You’ve been watching too many movies.
In truth, we weren’t in danger. But someone sure was. Once we got moving, maybe an hour and a quarter later, I saw a burned out car on a flatbed truck. The median was crisped for a few hundred metres. Oh my God, I hope the folks in that car got out safe.
Back in time, there we stood – hundreds of travellers in and out of their cars. I wandered over to the folks beside me, a couple from Calgary. I told them that I was going to climb over the little barrier at the side of the road to take some pictures and asked them to watch Scarlet so that no one would steal her. Lilian and Foluso laughed. I then did what any normal human would do in our direless situation: I suggested we sing. Lilian liked the idea and recommended “Jesus Loves Me”. Sounded good to me so our duet rang above the vehicles nearby. I think her husband was impressed …but I’m not exactly sure.
Next I shared that Scarlet has a special accessory which allows it to levitate over the short wall that separated westbound from east. I could get in the other lanes and head back to where I’d come from. (Strangely the traffic eastbound was unimpeded. They were zipping away at 120.) Anyway, Lilian and Foluso laughed again.
I was really feeling my oats now. I moved over to the wall, stuck out my thumb, and hitchhiked. “What’s wrong with these people? No one’s even slowing down!” Foluso, from the driver’s seat, just stared and grinned. Truth is, I love it when people stare at me in … wonder? Amusement? Even disgust isn’t too shabby. But I especially love the smiles and titters.
I’m now in Vancouver, waiting patiently for my ferry to Victoria to board. I’ve found a parcel of shade so I can see what I’m telling you. No Internet but thank you, Microsoft Word, for letting me do my thing and I can send it to you from the hotel tonight. Makes me happy.
So … I’m officially caught up. If I have the engerny tonight, I’ll let you know about the voyage through the Pacific waters to Vancouver Island, the seagulls who I trust will leap and spin to the foodstuffs I toss their way, and hopefully some fine soul whom I meet. On we go.