Brief attempts at pragmatism

Laying on the hood one night, staring at a full moon bright as silver and sharing a cigarette with an old friend, he asked me, “So, who are you, anyway?” We lay there comfortably talking about our dreams and our aspirations and our values, washed in the uncommonly bright light that falls where there are no sodium-glaring streetlights or apartment blocks lit in the early hours of the morning or the dim glare of late night television. And I surprised myself by telling him, perhaps the first other human soul that my mother, that I wanted to buy a sailboat and live on it. I’ve kept my dearest dreams close to me, feeling that if I failed in my pursuit it would hurt less if nobody knew about them in the first place. I’ve had and abandoned and forgotten dreams at a titanic rate. I don’t know how to sail and I have spent very little time on boats. But, in Bex tradition, I will learn. Through a combination of books and small-world connections of taekwondo black-belts who also happen to have Victoria sailing connections, through the indefatigable will which with I am learning to characterize myself, through stubbornness and lust and desire, I will learn. I find myself becalmed right now and fight the urge to pack the car, finally, after so many years, at my disposal, and just go. The siren call of the highway, before it is coated in snow, the urge to be somewhere, anywhere, other than here. I struggle with my job, longing for more challenge and fulfillment, some hare-brained ideal of artistry and integrity. But moments of pragmatism prevail, occasionally, even if it is just knowing that sailboats cost money and perhaps working for a rent-free winter would be in one’s best interests to attain that dream. One winter of small-town mid western Ontario versus years on the ocean. Haida Gwaii to Singapore to god-damn-fucking Australia, who cares. I just read an article from a fellow who solo’d from Cornwall across the Atlantic in the exact same boat I have eyes on. So every-soul sucking day of powdered demi-glace and pre-mashed potatoes, I keep this image in my mind- Jude and I on the deck of a sailboat anchored at Salt Spring island in the early hours of dawn, charting a course down the west coast. I who urge my friends to pursue their indiscreet dreams of fruit-picking and roadtripping and playwriting and homeless wandering, anchor for the winter in this dull town, lacking in cultural and social opportunities, and sock money away into my chequings account, erase my accrued debt, and dream.

One thought on “Brief attempts at pragmatism

  1. […] As a person who struggles with mental health at the best of times, winter in small town south western Ontario is especially hard. Coming off the tail end of four months of constant socialization and fun and parties and a two-way roadtrip across the country with some of my besties, lazy beach days in Manitouwadge and Oyama and living life amongst trees and friends and freedom, to a town so small it lacks a place to get a coffee (even Manitouwadge has that!) and horse and buggies at the post office and only the odd night of socialization at the Boot, winter in Clifford is quite trying. My job, as well. It isn’t trying in the sense that it is challenging, but rather in the sense that it is dull. I’m not sure how to take mashed potatoes and hot dogs seriously when I started my cooking career in the weeds, learning to make boudin blanc and gorgeous clear dashi, creme fraiche sat under cheesecloth on top of the bar fridge and poring fervently over copies of Lucky Peach. I spend most of my days daydreaming and resenting my current situation, struggling with my brief attempts at pragmatism. […]


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