Living in the Twilight Zone

So the Airstream slumbers on in its new location (self-storage), and we are now more adrift than ever before. At least when we gradually sold everything off in the last few years, we always had our little trailer and it was amazing how it became a happy place. But now? Well, let me tell you, we’ve discovered the streets of Victoria are dangerous places. You can’t imagine.

Only kidding. We are not actually on the streets, but it does seem as if we are in a kind of Twilight Zone. We don’t have a home and yet we are not really homeless. We’re building a house but don’t have a house. We’re just kind of “in-between”. Unfocused. Out of the norm.  We’re living in a series of unfamiliar places and it’s weird.  But, it could be worse. In fact, so far it’s been downright pleasant. Hey, I could get used to this.

For instance, the first place we’ve rented is within walking distance of our new lot. It’s on the lower level of a very nice house whose residents do all the maintenance, pay all the utilities and taxes and keep asking us if there’s anything we need. It’s all quite nice. However, not being the best laid out apartment in the world, a very large table takes up the whole kitchen, there’s not a sharp knife in the place, the three (3!) couches cover nearly the entire living room space and there’s enough dishes for ten or twelve people but no place to store food. Hmm. Oh well, can’t have everything.

But then, after just getting used to our little apartment in Sooke, it’s time to move to Victoria. We wouldn’t bother, but we rented this place a long time ago and so have to move there now for the month of November. So it’s a-packing up we go, filling the truck and rumbling down the road to a lovely area on the edge of Victoria called View Royal. We meet with our new hosts, Ron and Judy, in their gorgeous home and they lead us downstairs to our apartment. Omigod, what a place. The Twilight Zone never looked so good.

To our amazement, Ron and Judy have turned this apartment into a luxury suite. There’s a king-size bed (maybe bigger than the whole Airstream) with fabulous linens and new white robes in the closet and two, count ’em, two large modern empty dressers. Whatever will I put in all those drawers? I mull over this problem for about two seconds and then move on down the hall.

Here there’s  a kitchen outfitted with every gadget known to man and each piece of equipment laid out in perfect symmetry.  The fabulous frying pans are separated from each other with paper towels (who does that?), the kitchen scissors (all three pairs of them) are lined up in perfect order, there’s a whole array of spices that have never been opened and hot water for tea on demand. There’s lights and dimmer switches everywhere and it takes us a week to learn what happens when you touch a button. The bathroom has a huge counter, double sinks ( I’m used to two square feet and a sink smaller than a soup pot), heated tile floors, a pristine shower/bath and more giant towels than a person could ever use. And in the living room, neither Jim or I can get enough of the fireplace. When it gets too warm, we simply move to our lovely, private, roofed and wonderfully outfitted  deck to take in a little fresh air and sip the wine we found in the fridge. Wow, I love the Twilight Zone!

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And so, with our physical selves comfortable and happy, we now need to adjust our mental health to accommodate this state of suspended animation. We need to get past the void of not having friends or family around and not knowing anybody here at all. How to do that? Adventure! Excitement! New things and new places! Accordingly, after getting settled in the royal palace, off we go.

 

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Today’s adventure: Let’s go see those fish! A short drive from our new home and we are at the Goldstream Provincial Park where thousands of salmon are doing their annual mating dance. I am excited to do one of our favourite activities, that is, hiking in the wilderness. We head out to view the spectacle, but as we get closer to the water, I am struck by the odd kind of hiking I see as we go down the path. Hmm, people in this close-to-the-city park don’t seem to prepare for hiking the same way I do. I have my water, bear spray, bear bell, hiking boots and energy snacks and I’m glancing around for a suitable cougar-bashing stick. I look more closely to see what the people on this path are doing. Ahh, there’s a young man ahead of us. Amazingly, he has a Tim Horton’s cup in one hand, a cell phone to his head and flip flops on his feet. Whaaaat? And there’s a group of twenty-somethings just standing around yakking and texting. Aren’t these people thinking about the bears? And what about rabid cougars who could leap out of a tree (I’ve been told) at any minute? Don’t these people get it?

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Oh well. After observing the dying and half dead fish (and city slickers) for awhile, Jim and I do manage to find a real hiking trail by heading over a bridge and into the deep forest on the other side. Leaving the flip flopping types behind, we begin the ascent up a very high mountain side. Now this is more like it. My mental health is being healed, I’m getting revived and now the emotional part of living in the Twilight Zone is feeling fine. Yes, this is exciting. Let’s go!

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A kilometre or so up the side of this mountain and I start to have second thoughts. They say that animals in the wild will run away at the sight of man but animals close to cities are used to people and not so easily scared off. Another hmmm. Here we are, on a wilderness trail but close to the city and lots of people. The warnings on the signs rattle around at the front of my mind:

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But the walk is beautiful! I am being revived! I need this. Onward ho, Glenda. You can do this. I look ahead and there’s Tarzan, I mean Jim, tracking up the trail as if he was born to it. Forgetting about me and charging ahead. Hmmm.

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Well, what the heck. It sure is pretty. Carry on.

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But, suddenly, the part of my brain that worries about everything kicks in.  I can’t do this anymore. We are further and further away from the cell phones and flip flops and I get a case of the nerves. I see cougars around every tree and bears maybe behind me on the path? ” Jim,” I call, “turn around please.” “Let’s stop. Let’s go back.” And so reluctantly, Jim (what a brave, brave man) turns around, comes back to me and breathes out his long- suffering sigh. Yep, she’s doing it again. Hiking like a girl. Being a chicken. Let’s go home.

Mental health attended to now (almost), we get back down the deserted mountain path, go back over the bridge to civilization, and arrive at the truck in the crowded parking lot. Here, of course, is a complete change of atmosphere. People, babies, strollers, traffic – what was I worried about? Geez, I’m a sissy. On the other hand, I’m now going to live to blog another day. Therefore, over and out from the Twilight Zone. Episode two next week……fading lights….eerie music……good byyyyyeeee…..

 

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