Believe me when I say it was a huge adventure because I’m a full-time, stay-at-home mother of two young children. In other words, a slave of sorts, who cannot go about any daily task without a whiny interruption or seven.
Me?! The nincompoop housewife, out to the Big City all by myself?! Unheard of.
I was a wee bit nervous.
I drove our Explorer, a vehicle that’s a little too big for me and a little too small for Kevin, then boarded a train to the sky.
Across from me sat two couples who looked to be in their forties. It was their first time going to the sky. I knew that because they were having problems with the ticket machine in the parking lot when I first arrived. Funny that we all ended up in the same train car.
I smiled at them.
But enough of the SkyTrain that doesn’t actually go to the sky. After asking a few different people the best way to get to Granville Island, I got off at Waterfront Station and noticed a woman on the sidewalk who looked like she might be waiting for a bus. Her hair wasn’t the white kind of gray, but the dark kind.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you know where the nearest bus stop is?”
“It’s right here,” she said.
I looked up and pointed. “Oh, the sign’s right there! Is this Bus 50, the one that goes to Granville Island?”
“Yeah,” she said. “You going to the Writers Festival?”
Later I found out her name was Gail, that she had a terrible sense of direction and wasn’t afraid to admit it. Nonetheless, together we found our respective venues and bid one another goodbye and good luck.
I entered the Improv Centre, got my ticket and all that, then sat down in seat #11 only to realize that in trying to find the place I had become more anxious than I wanted to admit. No, I thought, this isn’t about being stressed. It’s about enjoying myself. So I spent the next fifteen minutes focusing on breathing and staying in the moment.
There were five empty bar stools with microphones on the stage and behind that a backdrop of a castle wall with a distorted window. I’ve been trying to figure out… of all backdrops, why that one?
Anyway, a moderator and four authors walked on stage. The authors were Jessica Westhead, Rebecca Rosenblum, A.L. Kennedy, and Anne Fleming. A.L. Kennedy was hilarious, and I really liked the piece she read, but sadly I can’t remember a single one of her jokes. Afterward, I bought her novel The Blue Book which is about “a nomadic psychic who makes a fortune by fraud but gives generously to charity.” And she signed it for me.
At about 3:00pm I found a small café and ate a lunchy dinner, one piece of cod and fries with a lump of coleslaw. All the while I felt rather awkward sitting by myself. The waitress delighted in her work with a soft smile and bouncy step. That inspired me.
I was tired, but wanted to look around a little so I took some photos of the area and made my way back to the bus stop. The bus was so full I thought the overflow of bodies might start squishing out the windows, but I was fascinated. Do some people really travel like this on a daily basis?