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January 20, 2010

The Cultural Phenomenon that is Salt Spring

Until you've been to a dance at Moby's on Salt Spring (who apparently from the looks of that copy on that link should have hired a professional writer for their website but didn't bother) (and a janitor to better clean the washrooms would be a good idea too) you have not really experienced the cultural phenomenon that is Salt Spring Island. Of course, there is also Carmen, the opera, being piped in from The Metropolitan Opera in New York at the other end of the spectrum at Art Spring.

This past Saturday night, at Moby's, the band consisted of Tal Bachman playing guitar, really well, as you can imagine. The drummer was from the band 54-40 (Matt Johnson) and Tom Hooper (Grapes of Wrath) played bass. Throw in the occasional vocals from Stephanie Rhodes, oh, and I almost forgot, Bachman's other son (whose name escapes me) who has a great voice for Reggae music, and the place was hoppin'.

Because of my day job, and because I guess I am way more private than I thought, especially when I'm surrounded by people who I know "too much stuff" about, it feels really weird for me to be dancing with them. I don't know why, but it feels like I'm supposed to be "professional" at all times, which, of course, is ridiculous since it's hard to be "professional" at the best of times.(kidding!)

There's the quintessential hippie-woman dressed like a gypsy, her long hair held back by a flower-power headband. There's the 20-something wanna-be models who look like they're heading off to some club in Vegas, all glitter, sparkle and high-heeled. All dressed up with nowhere to go you might say.

You have the drunken, grizzly-bear of a guy with a Teddy-bear heart whose sweat reeks so badly because he's been doing his aerobic dance work-out in a wool sweater (a new weight loss technique perhaps?) and you can't help but think it's only a matter of time before he's going to lose his balance and like a big bowling ball, go down, like a big, hard Evergreen tree, taking out a swath of bopping islanders with him. I have the greatest image of him, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. He was jumping up and down, all 6 foot four inches of him, like a huge white human orangatang. For some reason, I just couldn't stop looking at him and smiling. Just watching him made me laugh. But, it kinda made me sad in a weird way at the same time. Why you ask? Because of my part-time job, I know TOO much!

It's just a weird feeling to be somewhere socially and know too much about people and they're not your friends. You shouldn't know this much about people who are not your friends.  It's like being back in high school! Except, they were your friends. Note to self: Never join a commune! Polygamy probably wouldn't work either. Eco-village? No thanks.

I don't think I could handle being a counsellor in a small town because it's like what I imagine being ADHD is like, or watching a psychedelic stream of information on a ticker tape in your brain. Suddenly, it's as if a million thoughts, questions, observations, annoyances are streaming through your consciousness. Why is that young woman with that really old hippy guy. What DOES she see in him and does he actually own a mirror or what? Why doesn't he do something with his eyebrows. He should get a haircut. Man, that girl has so much ENERGY! Is she ON something? Why do people come to a dance like this and just sit there all night? And, gee look at how much fun they seem to be having doing that. Oh, there's Karin. Who's that hot guy she's with? If they had babies, with her Afro and his red hair, those babies would be SOOO cute. There's the village easy girl (not that there's only one) and the drunken big, bad boys. There's two guys kissing each other but, hey, why are they doing that, they're straight?  There's the woman whose midriff is, I swear, the size of one of my butt cheeks. She's dancing like a fiend practically making love to Tom Hooper's bass while carefully avoiding the amp because there is hardly any room to move. At some point, Tal Bachman has to confront Grizzly Adams because Grizzlly almost fell into him while he was playing. Silly boy!

Best of all however, there's my "date" for the evening. A guy from the prairies who moved here to set up, what else, the one-millionth B&B only to discover that his partner, who had moved earlier, has found herself a new man (richer) (I thought she just used Plenty of Fish as entertainment he said in a statement too stupid for words) and now all three of them are living in the same house (not as a threesome he claims) but as three people with him now being the odd man out, confused, dazed perhaps and desperately seeking some new woman  to look after him and presumably move in with which I'm sure he will have no trouble finding on this island full of women as desperate as he is. Those of you who know me will know that he couldn't have picked a more unlikely candidate in me, if he's looking to be "rescued". The thought of it makes me laugh to myself, hysterically! Why? Because, I know TOO much!

Welcome to this freakin' little paradise where the beautiful sunsets streaming across the ocean onto the Arbutus-tree covered hillsides sprinkle gold dust and maybe that's why nothing is what it seems on the surface even if the music and the art and on occasion, the food, can be fantastic! But, then again, after merely a year and 2 months of living here, I know TOO much! And, here's the kicker: I'd rather not!

1 comment:

Ben Anderson said...

Gayle, really great piece. Loved it. So, what I hear you saying is....If one moves there, it's a grand place, but it sure helps if ya got a little cash flow, and a purpose, 'cause living on a boat that doesn't move or have any amenities is not my idea of joyous and productive day-to-day life.