Strangely, I found myself in a house last night that I used to be intimately familiar with. It’s a small place just off Cambie, an odd little duplex left over from the sixties. Almost ten years ago, the tree out front had bicycles lashed to the length of it. It used to be a party house. If there was a crowd gathered out front, I would just walk in. Being there again was like looking through an incredibly distorted photograph. All the furniture was gone, replaced, different, but the underlying structure remained identical. I remember sweeping things off the tile counter that separates the kitchen and the dining room and using it as a small square bed. I curled with candles in my hands in the little window nook, my bare toes against the old thin glass, offering fire to the smokers congealing on the tiny porch next to it. Now Alec lives there, with his twin brother, gradually filling it with strange mechanical bits of home-made light-up furniture and rich vintage finds gleaned from local alleys.
I met him Friday, at Alicia‘s delightful Anti-Valentines party, and we spent from there until 7:40 this Sunday evening together. If he never talks to me again, I’ll quite understand. However, I found him marvelous company. We stayed up late last night watching Six String Samurai and, honestly, anyone who doesn’t question my sleeping with a knife is probably that much closer to being okay in my books. Thank you Alicia for the goodly gracious idea of inviting him. (Though you’re only half right. He can out-geek me on technicals, but I out-geek him with culture).
Earlier than that, Friday, I was caught being ridiculous at my workplace by someone off the street I vaguely hope will either never see me again or spread the legend farther. See, the computer had been played with by the owner, James, the previous night and something he did had destroyed the sound card drivers. Silence drives me crazy. It was hours before he called me back and I received permission to do a RESTORE on the system. Hence, singing Gorillaz at the top of my lungs, trying to echo off the very back wall, and dancing on top of the counters in a lull between actual bouts of working. In my defense, it happened gradually. First I was simply singing, then louder, then dancing as I put shoes away and filled out little bits of paperwork. Finally I vaulted up and did the deed, shaking booty for the entire walking world to see. We have incredibly large front windows. People think I’m strange, but really, it’s just that I forget what I’m doing.
I made a brilliant deal at the club tonight. Nicole and Matt brought me to Sanctuary and by chance we sat next to a friendly stranger. When I first began talking to him, I asked why he wasn’t dancing. When he replied that he’d recently wrecked his ankle, I politely enquired how he’d hurt himself. He clipped a starling while sky-diving, he said. He’d been bringing his seven year old nephew up for a run and had turned on his back to show him what falling through a cloud looked like. Hitting a bird is a one in a thousand chance, he said, in an airplane. Million to one when you’re free-falling.
I was impressed.
More so when I found out that he’s illiterate. “How on earth did that happen to you?” I asked, taken entirely aback. He grew up in Northern Ireland. A bomb blast when he was twelve. “Oh right, you’re the people who leave bullets in your post-office walls.” A quarter of his bones are now made of steel, his right hand is warped, and his skull is almost entirely artificial. He still knows Gaelic, however, as that’s what he’d been taught as a child. Home-schooling, apparently, though he’s lost almost all his mandarin. (go figure?) So I struck a deal. First, before I entirely had a grasp of the bizarre situation, I offered to swap some English for some Gaelic. When he’d filled me in a little more, explaining that it hadn’t been for lack of language programs with incredibly impressive pedigree, I offered something different. He chooses the book and I read to him in exchange for Gaelic lessons.
He stopped mid-thought, struck by that. “I just might, you know. That’s a new one.” I hope he takes it.
I’ve invited him to Korean Movie Night. I drew him a map.