Sometimes I’ll wake in the middle of the night, the sky still dark and broken by occasional stars strong enough to shine through to a city. My eyes are blind without my glasses, I can’t see stars, but on these rare times the darkness lets me compensate. Around me might be other people, might be only blankets. I think, “Where am I going to be?” and I feel myself leave the bed, leave my breath and body full of bones and interlocking chemicals systems and slide into the Other City, where my heart resumes beating. I have an entire life there, a place by the water, a favourite coffee shop, but I can never find it on purpose. Instead, it washes over me, into my cells like some illusive memory of being in the womb. Like when the body remains lying still on the bed, but every neuron firing tells you instead that you are weightless, floating in a fetal position, turning in warm black water.
There’s a wonderful music store on Commercial Drive that you should all become addicted to. The staff are friendly, with an admirable grasp of anything pleasantly obscure, and the selection is excellent. They sell odd little instruments in the front window and are always playing something you’ve never heard but instantly like. They’ve been doing it for at least twenty years. It’s like it was created for some warm love-story movie that left them behind when Hollywood knocked, but with less pretension. Aiden and I were caught earlier today by a sale table they had on the street. I walked away with Rickie Lee Jones and I’m still wondering if tearing myself away from the afro-european funk they had playing was the good idea I told myself it was. Already I caught myself singing it on the bus while I was reading my borrowed John Barnes. (One for the Morning Glory is now required reading, yo. Find yourself some kids and feed it to them, chapter by chapter.) There’s the reason I hardly ever go in.
I went in a couple of weeks ago, though. Second time this year. I bought a street kid some guitar strings. His name’s Cody, he’s working at Juicy Juice on the Drive now, (go support him). Ryan and I met him a few months ago, his first day in Vancouver having left him begging for change outside of Love’s Touch. When we ran into him with his newly acquired guitar, I traded it for a joint, man, and he smoked it with me too, so it’s like I traded it for only half a joint, I brushed off my gift by telling him that one-string Deep Purple is a punishable crime. It’s probably true somewhere.
edit for all of you who jumped onto messenger and asked me: I do not, in fact, remember the name of the store. It is on the block across from Beckwomans and the Santa Barbara market, (the place with the orange bags that’s a few shops down from the BBQ place that catered Jenn’s wedding and the bicycle shop), and is in between the Elizabeth Bakery and the incredibly oldschool italian cafe that goes frankly mad whenever soccer/football comes around right next to the equally brilliant bookstore and the nice little laundromat.