Seattle was beautiful, a week of people I like and trying unfamiliar intersections on for size. Compass points. The stars and sea. Music, driving, carrying the city in my head. Robin brought me down, we talked love, I stayed with Joseph, we talked sex, and I bathed in every minute of living somewhere new. The nutrition facts of being away: elevated mood 90%. I would have been content to simply stay. Mike agreed I should. Walk out the door and never, ever return.
My favourite time was sitting in the hotel hall with Adam as we asked each other ridiculous questions designed to let us know each other as fast as humanly possible before we had to make the mistake of letting the next day wake and stretch arms and happen. He effortlessly touched the place I hide my face, a perfect replica of what I need to be content with life, reminding me to keep reaching out to others. It’s all a matter of numbers. Odds. Carrying each other like islands with similar species. Eventually, something’s going to give, somebody will stay and be a little bit of everything. Chaos theory, psychographics, the aching joints of disharmony, all of it faded away in the flowering safety of spending time together. Tangled in his hair, my hands remembered how easy it can be to like somebody, what it’s like to want to have someone else around, as if I could break the sound barrier with only our names. It looked like I killed a child in his shower.
Ross drove me kindly back into Vancouver on Monday, where I was at loose ends. I had forgotten to make any plans past Return, Unpack, and Clean. I stood at my window, glaring at the bland clouds, purring black cats tied to my ankles with neglect, thinking, “the drugs just don’t work today.”
Then Jacob Appelbaum called.
Come on down, he said, this is where I am, he said, where should we go next? A week unfurling, futures whispering, why not? Yes. Please. Rescue me. So I met him to the Jupiter, (forgetting they host the worst karaoke to ever issue from human beings), then found myself in a hotel room where the last of the hackers were trying to unsuccessfully party down on a Tuesday night. Tables covered in con-badges crowded the room, pizza boxes sat semi-ignored near the balcony door, and no one seemed to remember names. It would have been sad if anyone had been more awake. Eventually I caught a ride home from a Berkeley fellow, bared my teeth at sleep, and collapsed into Thursday.
Jacob, now Jake, called again. Come out, he said, we’re at the Vancouver Aquarium. Loud music, blurred laughter. Yes, of course. Bringing Ray, knowing he wouldn’t make it too late. They handed us tickets at the door, Complimentary Drinks From Microsoft, as I was highly amused how easy it was to swagger in. People standing everywhere, a string of blaring speakers probably bothering the fish. I scouted, looking for bleach blond hair to catch my eye. Jake was in the back, standing with Julia and speaking German with another girl I’m not sure I ever met again. We floated around the building, trying to find a way in to see the lemurs, but failed and eventually found ourselves outside with the dolphins and belugas instead. For five hundred dollars, I promised, I would strip down to underwear and swim with the dolphins. Sadly, only about three-fifty was ever raised, so I stayed dry, not willing to risk pneumonia without my rent being essentally gauranteed. Oh thwarted adventure. The Baby Buddha cried.
Eventually Ray went missing, as was expected from a Thursday late night, and whosoever was left was packed into school busses and brought back to the hotel. Another party, same room, more people, better everything. Topics: Internet security, computer user anarchism. Fascinating, technical, I liked it, (it was odd), though I felt that I might flounder at any minute, left behind by the jargon of the industry. Jake invited me to Whistler in a conversation lull, and when I said yes, he and I danced in a corner of the room with Sergio, a fun Argentinian fellow with short hair except for one long, thin, braid, who I ended up staying over with.
I woke in a king sized bed to an announcement at a ten o’clock that felt like seven a.m. THIS IS NOT A TEST. EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE ON THEIR WAY TO ASSESS A POSSIBLE EMERGENCY. ALL ELEVATORS HAVE BEEN LOCKED, PLEASE USE THE STAIRS TO EVACUATE THE BUILDING. WARNING CODE ONE. PLEASE REMAIN CALM. My first waking thought. “I’m not navigating 18 stories of stairs until I smell smoke. Especially,” as I opened my eyes, “it appears to be snowing outside. Ha.” Instead of pulling myself from the wide, warm blankets, I curled myself deeper into my nest of utterly first class pillow and went back to sleep, chewing a complimentary chocolate. Until the warning sounded again, then a third time, at which point I gave up, got up, and walked out, soundly forgetting my camera on the table until the moment the door clicked shut behind me.