There was a bad moment at the start when we all had to stand up
and introduce ourselves. One after another a child would stand and say "I'm at Uni! and
I'm full of energy and plans for the future!
I love to drink, and I'm completely crazy me!" ( yay wicked etc ).
What the hell was I going to say?
"I'm a tired ex-lawyer needing my kip, gone searching for romance and adventure one last time before my gammy knee gives out"?
Luckily I remembered what I once told Helena and Gita in Mexico:
"I'm a lost prince, kidnapped at birth, and abandoned in an enchanted forest where I was
raised by wolves! Now I seek my ancient inheritance! Who will join me on this quest!" Cheers. (Most wicked etc.)
They turned out to be a good crew. We went go-karting on the way. I went around the track a couple
of laps under the delusion that this was just a sort of gentle car race. Then Tanya, our bus
driver, back-ended me at full throttle, drove me into the verge and departed shrieking with
laughter. All right, that's the game, is it? Fifteen minutes of murder and mayhem ensued,
crashes, pile ups, sabotage and delicious revenge. Nick and I fought a savage duel all around the track,
leaving him spluttering curses from the sandpit while I sped on hollering triumph - only to be spun 180
degrees and left, eyes wide with fear, head on to the incoming carnage...
This was enough adrenaline boost to face Kelowna's famous keg party, more dancing and
scurrilous talk with the three Scots girls. More people to meet, talk to, laugh with, demonstrate
myself, will myself into existence in their lives once again. But after mountain biking the next morning along the
Kettle Valley Railway that leapt from bridge to bridge high along a canyon side, I really was
done for. I lay like a fallen grouch in the bus and could not even speak, let alone smile at anyone.
Talking to other people, even existing friends, had become almost unendurable,
a bodily pain. I hid in the anonymous city.
I am not young. When I say this, I am told that's rubbish, you're only as old as you feel and
so on. They do not understand what I mean. A 21-year old cannot conceive of anyone wanting to be
anything other than twenty-one. I do not want to be young, their kind of young any more, moving
crazily along to their song of generation, a song of newness and discovery, and huge,
unchanneled energy, laughing freely with the wildness of the new, while
my heart wandered alone in silent corridors. I have to be my own age, experimentation over,
decisions made. I want to make a stand on my own principles, for better or worse, rising
or falling on whatever loyalty, honesty or pride I can find within me. I want to listen
to the silence as well as the song.
I Like to Doubt
Even as I write this, I feel the spirit rebounding inside. It is hard to believe in
the dark times, but none of us are so brittle, so very fragile as we imagine.
Despair becomes dull and forgotten, as somehow the creature revives. After all, this is all one big holiday. Last night I ran
into an old friend, Heather from the East Pass. She has the special ability to laugh
at everything I say, which makes me feel like a hero, and speeds recovery. Sometimes,
people say to me, privately, why do you express so much doubt in yourself?
The answer is, I like to be tested.
The doubts are necessary. I will not hide from a few questions, in the stupidity of mere
attitude. Doubts test you, re-build your thoughts, allow you to have the courage to
overcome doubt and emerge better for it. They make
So I will take my thought, break it down, and build it again, and again,
and extend it till it glows, bright against anyone's sky.
(Addendum: went up the Grouse Grind again. 44 minutes this time. It's 2.8km long, 933m vertical
and hurts like the devil. What fun.)