Continuing the saga, an email I sent to a close friend in November of 2009 describing the latest parts of the adventure, plus "the f'ed up truth"....
Subject: What's up
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2009 01:13:28 -0500
Where are you at? I miss your presence daily.
This is the message I sent most people, plus the added truth I sent a very select few...
And now I'm in San Diego, took a bus south for 2 days, got into downtown at 4am, palm trees, american flags, and me on about 6 hours of sleep in the last 4 days trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing. (The beginning of "Slept In A Bush" off of A Few Crumbs, 1 of 2 was recorded at the point described here)
Left the cabin around the middle of the month, just in time too, it snowed while we were driving away and didn't stop for days, Vancouver got something like 300mm of rain in 4 days, I got about 30mm of rain in my shoes.
Leaving the cabin was bittersweet, I really do like the lifestyle, lots of wandering through the wood, seeing black bears and trying to befriend little weasels and gophers. Yeah, it was lonely, but I caught a mouse and kept it in a bucket so it wouldn't poop in my dishes anymore. I wouldn't say we became friends but I think we could have, had we both been the same size and species. There's a good chance I'll go back there next fall, it's a pretty good gig for me and I did learn some stuff, got to drive a next-to-new, massive tractor, listening to the radio, wearing rubber boots all day and thinking "This is my life?" So yeah, it was a great gig.
Took my cast off about a month ago with a pair of tinsnips and a rusty saw (I am resourceful), went to the waterfall and washed my hands properly for the first time in a month and a half, what a great feeling. And the reunion with my guitar was one of the sweetest things in memory, sitting in front of the wood stove with candles giving off some mood lighting, it was love, that's the best way I can describe it, I was starting to forget why I play guitar all the time, then I remembered and it was pure love. I don't know what I would do if I didn't do this. (fast forward a few years later, when an injury made it near impossible to play guitar. That was some serious fuckery, realizing that the thing that most of my identity was based on might not be possible anymore, and that I'd have to re-invent myself. Luckily, I've been able to work myself back into some sort of shape and still share music with people, but it was a real eye-opener. Note to self, every day you can play is a good day)
Spent some time in Victoria, that was the first place I went when I graduated from high school so it was a little nostalgic, but not as much as I thought it would be. I am not the same person I was then, that's for sure. Hooked up with a tree-planting buddy and got drunk for 3 days, went ice skating at midnight, talked trees, crashed some house party, then got all decked out in neon ski clothes for an event called Neon Ski-on, it was pure silliness and I'm glad I left Canada on such a high (low) note, wearing a wig with a neon headband on overtop. Potato vodka is the devil. I'm glad I'm done with it. (It was around this time that Hamish Black told me he wanted to become an olympic speed skater, look at him now! A fucking legend! This was also around the time he left for the bar with a ziplock bag full of quarters and cake all over his face, screaming about his shoes. Also legendary)
Went to the ferry the next day, hungover from the last few days, very little sleep, remembered when I got there that I had to get through customs, and that I looked like a filthy vagrant. The Canada side was no problem, but when I got to the states it was an old man who immediately didn't like the look of me, maybe because I had a tarp wrapped around a sleeping bag strapped to my bag and was carrying a guitar. (I stuck out I suppose)
Anyways, he started trying to trap me with questions, and it was pretty easy considering my state, so he made me stand to the side and him and another guy searched all my stuff. I didn't like it at all. A little scared, and violated, and mad that he was picking on me. Finally they let me go, and I caught my bus, but it tainted the next few hours for me, I kept seeing signs about the war and "protecting our freedom" bullshit, and really obese people, and I had a bad first day in America.
But I made some friends on the bus, and the next morning we saw a beautiful sunrise come out from behind Mount Shasta, and the whole day was sunny, which I hadn't experienced since the beginning of my time in Pemberton. So yeah, I feel much better about life. San Diego's a good looking city, I'm crashing in a hostel and busked a bit down by the pier, ended up with a bunch of homeless people crowding the hill opposite me, I don't think it was good for business, but I didn't care, we had fun. (that was a strange moment in my life. I realized quick that I wasn't going to make any money with this crowd of ruffians milling about, but they were having a good time so obviously I felt the need to sing them songs and we ended up having a nice little drunken party on the pier at around 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Then a rival busker came up to me and wanted to fight me for taking his busking spot, and one of the homeless guys tried to fight him because he wanted me to keep playing. It got strange, and I left without playing an encore.)
In the next day or two I'm catching a ride with a guy that I met on a rideshare, there are 3 of us in his van and were going to head over through Arizona, then go cross the border and head south to Puerto Vallarta, I'll chill for a few days if it's nice, then head to Guadalajara to stay a day or two with a very nice woman who I used to play gigs for through Seneca. After that I make my way southeast to Guatemala, where I'll stay with a family and take spanish lessons for a month. This is me putting my retirement plan into action now, and so far it seems to be working out alright.
Take care everybody,
Thanks- Huge thanks go to Pola for putting up with me farting on her couch for a few days (I had gas) Melissa for the peach jam, it reminded me of home. The potato boys for the great 2 months at the farm. Jac for getting The Last Waltz and for folding my laundry again. Molly for being so damn cute and jamming with us boys. Trish, Leila, Sid and the rest at Linnea for showing me such a good time on Cortes Island, Leila for not being too upset when I punched her in the privates after too much fun was had at the bar (I'm so sorry Leila)(also, that was an amazing trip, the quest we took to see the old guy that built his own cabin and made a living creating high quality kitchen utensils out of fallen arbutus trees really influenced me. He had an old bathtub out on the top of the hill so he could have a bath and look out on the ocean, those are some straight priorities). Hamish for letting me wear his neon tights and women's swim trunks. And you folks that have messaged me back telling me what you're up to, I like getting those messages.
-An email to friends only...- (sorry Mom)
This is the fucked up truth...
so maybe you got that other message, here's the truth, I'm a fucking moron and I didn't take my pipe out of my backpack when I went through customs, and I got totally busted with it, in front of about 100 people, the customs officer was so pumped he caught me with something, he was an old guy and really didn't like the looks of me. I had to go sit in a little room while they tore all my stuff apart. I cannot express the fear and total shame, my heart was fucking racing, I figured that's it, I fucked myself hard, no mexico, no crossing the border ever again, everything I had been working for for the last 4 years gone to shit, just because I was a hungover moron and didn't recheck my bag.
They found nothing else, so they brought me in and interrogated the fuck out of me, where I was going, where I worked, how much money I had, all questions that the honest answers to are fucked by most peoples standards. I played it cool and submissive, I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking, it's so casual up north I totally forgot, etc. They took me to another room, and while we were walking there I thought "fuck it, might as well try" and did that small talk thing I do to cab drivers and cashiers (Luc Forsyth rips on me for this small talk business all the time, I can't really help it, and it comes in handy). I asked him how the winters were in Port Angeles, and he softened up for a second and said "oh they're not too bad I guess." After that I played it cool as fuck, super polite, little bits of small talk with some of the other officers about the area, how the job was, if many people get caught like this, to which one of the guys said to me, "it happens fairly often." After about 20 minutes of this I had 2 of them on my team and they ended up letting me off, just took the pipe and told me to smarten up. I toured like fuck to the bus station and caught my bus last minute. My heart didn't stop racing for hours.
So yeah, that's the truth, I figured I tell you guys, but I'd rather we wait a few years before that story gets made public, still way too real.
Really, where are you? I'm heading into Mexico in a few days and wish you were here,
I went to Commercial drive and looked in a dumpster, it was picked clean, but I grabbed an apple off of a bench.
Much love brother