I was going to title this post Ferry Rage, as a play on road rage, but that's too strong. Rage is not what I'm feeling, it's more angst-like. Annoyance rather than anger. I recognized that things had crossed the line into this state of angst when I caught myself last weekend having a rather cold-hearted response to a fellow passenger.who may have been dead.
Here's what happened.
The ferry was pulling into the dock and I noticed a man sleeping in his car, but he looked more dead than asleep. My first thought was instant and clear. The thought was: OK, well if he is dead, he's parked in a different lane than me and I should be able to disembark without delay.
He wasn't dead. He was sleeping, but that's not the point. The point is, in my head at least, I put my getting off the ferry in a timely fashion over that person's well being. Last week I'm against gnomes and this week it's dead ferry passengers. What gives Liz?
Island-itis? High priced ferry fatigue? A dismal and jaded approach to life? I don't know, but whatever it is leans more to the dark than the light. Also, Sleeping Guy's lane drove off the ferry first so that was annoying, but I breathed through it. Clearly I need to get off the island more often.
I live on an island. A big island with cities, but an island nonetheless. Sometimes when you're living on an island you become so accustomed to local idiosyncrasies that you forget that in other parts of the world, these things may be seem odd or even bananas.
Today, someone close to me, I won't say who, spoke to someone on the phone for more than ten minutes about sourcing building supplies for "hobbitshires". At first I took this information in with a warm and open heart. Who am I to judge the building of shelter for hairy-toed fictional beings? But as the conversation progressed, my cynical Mainland brain kicked in and I said, "Stop right there, did you say this person is looking for wood to build housing for hobbits?"
This happened today.
I'm not going to go into hobbitshire detail here, you can Google it yourself. It's a thing here on the island apparently and I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's probably a wonderful thing. I bet I know some of the people involved and I'd have a delightful time if I were ever invited over for dinner at a hobbit house. But, what is the etiquette when you're talking to people building hobbit dwellings?
This is not Iceland, Elves aren't formally part of the culture here, but somehow because we're on an island everything goes and so if someone says over dinner, "Do you know where I could ethically source some wood for the shelter I'm building on the side of my house for a gnome I know who is down on his luck," I'm expected, as an Islander, to blink only once or twice, hold the gaze of the builder and reply in a calm and supportive voice "That is noble of you, how can I be of assistance?"
I thought the suspension of disbelief only applied to the realm of theatre and novels. Don't get me wrong, I want to live in a world where hobbit housing is possible, so maybe I can't have it both ways. I can't be cynical and appreciative at the same time. I'm lucky to live in a place where the whimsical is embraced, so I should just shut up.
But I didn't did I? I couldn't leave it alone. I went the other way. I'm on the record now as being derisive when it comes to hobbitshires, event though I would quite happily visit them somewhere else, I just don't want them in my own backyard. I'm the worst kind. I'm a NIMBY Hobbitshire Critic. This is not what I expected to be saying about myself at this stage in my life. I thought I'd be further along and for that I'm sorry. But this is who I am. I don't understand myself either. Goodnight to all the little hobbits. I will try to be a bigger person tomorrow.
I am drinking out of my Stanfest mug this morning and thinking about one of the funniest things that ever happened to me at a music festival. Like many funny stories, it is only funny in hindsight. It happened at the first ever Stan Rogers Folk Festival.
The festival was epic on several levels, but familial and weather-wise especially. The year was 1997. I just happened to be living on the east coast at the time. This was fortuitous because the festival is in Canso, Nova Scotia, one of the most easterly points in North America. You kind of have to be going to Canso to get there. It's not on the way really to anything else. Except a good long drive.
On the way into Canso town, you can see why Stan Rogers loved it and how the place inspired so many of his songs. My familial connections that weekend were twofold and deep. I drove there with my grandmother. Her people as she liked to say, were from Canso. My dad had been raised there until he was 15. I would meet people all weekend long at the festival that my dad grew up with. Stan Roger's family was from there too. "Those Bushells men were all tall" my Nan said about Stan's family. That and they played music.
My cousin Deanna and some friends were there too. And from my mom's side of the family was my cousin Kristen. Kristen and I were camping at the festival together, while Nan would be staying at her brother's place. Kristen and I met at the gates, set up our tent and headed down to the MainStage.
Not long after the weather hit. There was an electrical storm and Dan Bern one of the performers had to leave the stage or risk electrocution. Up on the hill the wind seemed to be blowing some tents around. Not ours though right?
In the pelting rain Kristen and I hurried back to the campsite to check on our shelter. Indeed our tent was one of the tents rolling around at the top of a hill. (Note: a hilltop is not an excellent place to be in a windy electrical storm.). Bravely, we ran after our tent and struggled with it back to our designated spot. We hammered the spikes back in. The lightening passed, the wind died down. The MainStage had shut down but the campground was alive with festival revellers well into the early hours of the morning.
Later someone made a documentary film about that first Stanfest. In the film, they talk about the storm on the first night. There is a scene of tents blowing on the hill. If you look closely you can see Kristen's and my feet, Fred Flintstone-like, beneath our tent as we shuffled it back to it's place.
At the time, terrifying. In hindsight, funny.