" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

February 24, 2009


Last Friday I got off this little island to go to the big island. No. Not Hawaii. Just Vancouver Island. Victoria to be exact.

Now, I didn't realize until I was actually in downtown Victoria how EXCITED I was to get off the island. I was practically jumping up and down with joy. I almost let out a shriek of ecstasy when I saw THE BAY, a real department store, and that's when I stopped myself to acknowledge that perhaps living on an island was a little more limiting than I'd anticipated especially since my budget doesn't allow for frivolous "want" not "need" purchases at places such as The Bay so really the excitement was rather uncalled for.

Being there felt like freedom. Like I'd just been let out of...school, work, jail... take you're pick. It was like I'd finally let out a breath that I'd been holding in for a very long time.

Nobody here knows me I thought as I walked in the beautiful sunshine down near Bastion Square. I felt a palpable sense of relief about that. I don't have to care about what I look like (not that I do anything differently here that much) except acknowledge that I look like hell when I do. But sometimes, here, because of where I work, I worry about whether I look too rich which is hysterically ridiculous given that I'm completely broke.

When I wear the coat that was my mother's coat, the black one with the fake leopard looking cuffs and collar, I always think, oh no, people might think I'm rich. And, I wouldn't want any of the unemployed people that I work with to think I was rich. Is that absolutely NUTS or what? Like why I should feel guilty because I happen to be EMPLOYED by working in an employment center where everyone who comes in isn't is just too crazy for words.

Instead of wondering which of the three coffee shops I could go to that would have the least possibility of feeling claustrophobic, I could roam freely into places I'd never been knowing that it was highly unlikely to run into anyone who would know me.

I didn't have to wonder if someone was looking at me wondering who I was. I didn't have to care whether I was being friendly or not. I didn't have to care at all. I got to go back - for a brief 8 hours - to not caring what any stranger thought just like I used to in Vancouver and my beloved West End.

Living on an island is a bit like visiting relatives. I've noticed that when I go to Vancouver, I look forward to going and just as forward to getting back here. There's a palpable sense of relief to return to a place that is amazingly easy to live in. It's easy to go out. It's easy to park. It's easy to drive without traffic jams except at night when you have to dodge the deer. It's easy to get everywhere quickly.

Salt Spring is a very social place. It's hard to go anywhere without running into someone you know and I've only been here for 3 months. (No, that's wrong. I've already been here for 5 months! Eeeks!)

I've heard that when people have lived here for years, sometimes they have to plan for at least an hour excursion even if all they want to do is pick up a loaf of bread at the grocery store.

Today, my grocery store excursion was extended by running into the trumpet player in my band and a discussion about why he missed last night's practice. Then, it was interrupted by someone who had come into the employment centre previously but who was now employed at the store. I learned about some of the workings that go on behind the scenes of a grocery store, how those little price tags get changed and where they come from. I learned that it's a high pressure job, getting all those prices just right.

I always knew that I really liked the whole anonymity factor of a big city but somehow that slipped my mind prior to moving here.

Clearly, I could never be famous. Pity!

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