Apr 28, 2010

The Quiet Shift

Sometimes i fear i've become small. In the quest for good, i've been reduced to "nice." In growing up, have become subdued. Crossed that small bridge from polite to meek, from sensitive to uptight.

There's a loud gang of 20-something waiters and waitresses from Tommy Africa's on the front deck of the ferry right now. Muscles bulging, breasts flouncing, sunglasses reflecting, they're braying loud and enthusiastically about little else than being young and together. Meanwhile i sit unnoticed with my brown portfolio and dark green environmentally-friendly hemp pants, observing the show.

When did i become too old to piss people off? To whoop and high-five life without wondering, without checking-in first. To just explode into a world badly in need of ecstatic explosion.

Then again, who am i to write such a somber, middle-aged dirge? Me of the clashing cloths; the microphone manic, dancing dervish, country crooner and windy-day whooper? Me who dances delight with my children on these same checkered ferry floors? Me, "indefatigable impresario" and proud "descendant of Swedish Vikings and Scottish outcasts?"

Maybe i'm just small when i'm alone, in a big place. For 2 days in big busy Vancouver i've slipped along unnoticed, unremarkable, bland. Silent seatmate on the bus, unassuming step-aside pedestrian on the sidewalk, nose-in-the-paper patron at the Templeton Diner. Untouching, untouchable, a wisp tramp ghost shuffling through the mud while the world does its sunny business above. In moments like these, i don't even know what i look like, so empty is the world of mirrors and reactions.

The front deck is open now, empty of the bubbly enthusiasm of those oblivious boasting beauties who erupted up the stairs to some new silly deck. We all feel their leaving, still buzz with vibrations of their energy left behind, still wondering Who and Why. But as i now rise to go buy a bus ticket, the nice lady beside me will only notice extra space for her handbag.


  1. The nice lady beside you could have been a serial killer...just a thought. Why do you need to be noticed?

  2. We took the ferry home one day in the Fall after a friend's wedding in Parksville. About 6 friends were on the boat with us, all still childless. Boy, did we ever draw attention on that boat as we hung out on the deck! Loud, laughing, adding Bailey's to the coffees from the cafeteria...I kept noticing people eyeing us, and I was equally thinking "geez, we should tone it down, just in case someone is irritated by us", and "wow, I've never been noticed like this on the ferry before - at least not in many ,many years!" I felt a little proud that I wasn't too old or boring to act a little nutty on the ferry - with my kids, no less!
    Ah, the things we struggle with as we leave behind the young, foolish, childless days!

  3. Bonnie imbibing baileys on a big boat. i like it. Will you come with me on a ferry ride?