put something new on

sometime in the last week someone told me I’m not a small town person. I have to agree. i don’t know if it’s the fact that in a little more than a week I’ll be back in Vancouver for a few days, but i left work today with an overwhelming sense of how miniscule things around here feel. eight months here, and I still catch myself looking around for the mountains to the north. i wonder where the tall buildings are. part of me is intensely aggravated that it doesn’t take me hours to navigate the ‘downtown’ here.

I watched a guy drive down the street the other day who i thought was the very embodiment of what most people think rural alberta is. and i was a little surprised at myself for agreeing with it. freezing out, window rolled down, beat up old truck, unshaven, cigarette in mouth.

i would joke with people in Vancouver about being the redneck from alberta. and then i moved back here and was completely taken aback as to how much i wasn’t that at all. the off the cuff mutterings about faggots, vehicles with christian and go harper stickers on the bumper, groups of people talking about the one friend who moved up to Edmonton to the Big City, complaints about the oil patch being slow.

I have an Alberta flag. I used to hang it in every place I lived. I used to identify as Albertan first. just about 8 years out of province doing that. then I step back in the boundaries for more than a few days or months at a time. now it’s folded up in a box. do I feel pride for this province anymore? I’m not sure. I don’t think it’s fair to say not at all, but I know it’s not the feverish sense of identification I once had. I don’t really have a problem with that. I know some people will point it out that it was pretty obvious that I had scratched out a pretty big chunk of BC after five years.

on the phone today someone laughed and said “but you dont live in vancouver anymore”. probably not physically, but mentally, other than roller derby, I haven’t even attempted to root myself here. that’s probably not fair to red deer. it’s probably a really nice place to live, but I just can’t see myself settling in to some kind of comfort here. there’s nothing hectic here. there’s no sense of chaotic activity. that’s why i feel more drawn to Dhaka than maybe even Vancouver. it was chaotic, there was always something there. you could walk down the same road over again but it would take hours and chances are you’d see something new every time. red deer just feels… flat.

i’m aware that spending night after night glued to scenes of vancouver and the olympics is probably just adding to this. that’s fine. danielle said that i’d probably forget everyone there and the city a little bit more each day. i doubt it. living somewhere and having friends that make you completely reassess who you think you are aren’t that easily forgotten.

most people i know here are excited for this coming weekend. team road trip to saskatoon for derby. I’m stoked to go, but there’s no denying that this weekend is entirely overshadowed by my stepping off that plane next thursday, breathing in that air, feeling the vibrance of the entire city,

ain’t it good to be back home.

3 Thoughts.

  1. Good post, Pat. I wonder how long it till take me to get the worst case Ontario out of my system. I feel like an islander already but that’s just as bad as being a redneck, according to the rest of BC.

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