I’ll tell you what, folks get up early – i can’t even believe it. And just trying to keep up with them is about enough to put your health in a bad mood, and you’d be lucky to ever get over it.
i would never have suspected it before i started dreaming about getting a job, as i spent most of my mornings and early afternoons pondering over softer things like pillows and blankets. And then one day like the darndest unexpected guest all of a sudden there it was knocking on my desires – the idea i might be of some use to the work force.
So i cleaned my body up and shaved my face and fixed my intention to make a great impression by setting the alarm for early morning. When that alarm set off at nine i have to say i expected to be the first person up by a couple of hours at least, securing me a career in greatness like the city has rarely seen before. And as i’m sure you have come to understand with equal chagrin and unhappiness – most businesses are already getting ready to close down for the night by then. So i had to make a quick decision that would affect my future – i chose to set the alarm for eight. I shaved again, washed a little less sincerely and when early morning came – it brought a whole lot confusion with it. How early does a person need to get up in this city to be considered earnest?
But hold on to your rickshaw just a moment if you think i intend to tell you about how i kept getting up earlier and earlier and kept washing less and less thoroughly until finally i gave up on shaving completely and went back to believing there was no way to be happy on earth unless you had a beard. I have something slightly more uplifting to say, i am just setting the scene.
So then, a couple of days after the beginning of this whole fiasco called waking up before the sun has risen on the east coast, my mood had started to slide and i was beginning to despair i might not actually have what it takes to get a job and make enough money to survive. Though i suspected i might very well succeed in winning some business owner with my grade a smile and no-nonsense handshake, i was tormented by the thought that i would eventually be called upon to eat my money in my mouth and wake up and come to work and pretend i believed what i was doing made any sense whatsoever. And this thought tormented me so effectively that i eventually became quite unhappy and stopped smiling at the folks who hand out the free papers everywhere in the morning (at an hour when their ancestors were still in bed). I was walking past one of these unhappy fellows when he looked at me and said, ‘good morning, sir’ and the greeting sounded so much like a taunt i grabbed the fellow by the two legs that were closest to my anger and tossed him backwards into a pile of his pop-culture dailies. If my two swiftest legs hadn’t carried me away i might not have got a chance to realize that wasn’t the proper approach to living in the western hemisphere. Which is precisely what i did only an hour later.
I was standing at the main street science world bus stop waiting to go south like many had before. No busses came and the number of people standing around grew in proportion to the people’s impatience. Every needless sigh brought another transit rider and every open exclamation of dissatisfaction was enough to attract another three. But nobody seemed to catch the correlation between complaining and making the situation worse for themselves. I tried to explain it to the surly fellow with the construction helmet beside me, ‘quit your complaining, eh?’ i said. ‘You’re only making the situation worse.’
The surly fellow looked at me as though he were completely nonplussed and said, ‘if you don’t quit moving your lips and exuding sounds i’ll be obliged to rub your whiskers in the turd at the top of the stairs leading into the skytrain.’
Indeed, someone had felt unhealthy at the top of stairs, i had nearly stepped into the unsanitary pile as i strove towards the street. What’s more the fellow had felt so unhealthy as to not be able to digest fully his morning meal and had relieved himself of that burden as well in a less traditional way by letting it come back the route it had first taken.
So i held my tongue until the bus i needed finally came round. And it was at this time that i remembered why we gave up the original joys, life’s simpler pleasures – like sleeping in and living in small communities and in caves. Namely – for the excitement of keeping close quarters with others. As i squeezed on the bus i felt a great relief at the fact that i was not alone in my quest for rent money and more meaning to life – they were many of us. And some of them didn’t even make it onto the bus – all of a sudden the bus driver, after loudly requesting that those already on the bus move all the way to the back, closed the doors, leaving half of the crowd unhappy on the street. Someone even took the event so close to heart that he threw his textbook at the window. But this didn’t the phase the driver in the least – he was a professional. He took off at a swift trot, sending another wave of excitement through the tightly packed community of accidental friends as a fellow, not prepared for the burst of speed, lost his balance, perhaps never fully having acquired it in the first place, and fell onto the pink furry backpack of a student girl from another country. The girl took this event close to heart and began to cry, which in turn the fellow took to heart, which he showed by saying out loud a number of expletives that would be best described by numerical code, ‘####, %%%%, $$%$!!!!!’
After this folks calmed down for a while and spent the journey in relative ease, uninterrupted except for the constant complaining of one fellow who kept exclaiming quite loudly, ‘we’re not sardines, we deserve a life on land and not in a can, the government absolutely must buy more buses, one for each person, and then we can all ride on our own buses completely alone, away from sorrow and sadness.’ This he continually repeated, word for word, from which i gathered that he was an improbable type, and that he must experience this scene with frequency, having worked his speech out to the word.
Now, none of this may seem overly worthy of mention if it weren’t for one more highly improbable occurrence which struck me for its strangeness, especially for a country as uninteresting as Canada.
What happened was this.
In the course of riding and listening to each other’s grunts of complaint and humbly bearing each step on our toes or poke in the groin with an umbrella, people decided at intervals to discontinue their ride. After pulling the rope people would normally step towards the exit and at the stop disembark. One fellow however, felt that he was being dealt a raw deal by not being shown the proper respect and seemed to be seeking the proper outlet for his malcontent.
‘Listen buddy,’ the fellow said, ‘don’t bother being a buddy, just take up all the space you need, you’re the only person who has to go anywhere, eh?’
This he said to a rather meek looking asian woman who clearly didn’t understand what he was saying. He repeated it one more time, and the fact that the woman didn’t understand him seemed to inflame his sense of right and wrong and he shoved her aside and moved towards the door.
This made a few people feel uncomfortable, but nobody felt brave enough to step in – you never know with those types he could be seeing purple rabbits and giant crocodiles as a result of having taken some narcotic drug that morning, and why chance it. At that moment it struck me, however, that Canada is such a highly logical country, a veritable bastion that i really ought to reason with the fellow and lead him to a knowledge of his error. So turning to the fellow i said, ‘hey pal, what theheck are you doing? You jsut pushed a little Chinese lady?!’
To which he replied, ‘goobledy goo,’ or in other words – something completely incomprehensible. The only part of his speech that i understood was the punch he gave me in the face and the way nobody on the bus hampered him from getting off at the next stop, which i believe to have been a complete anomaly, because for the most part Vancouverites are very good citizens.
So that’s my Vancouver story. I found a job and get up so early i sometimes don’t bother hitting the sack at all. What can you do? This is the way we live.