I couldn’t help but grin as I stood with the rest of the crowd to applaud; the last lines of The Comedy of Errors had pretty much encapsulated the whole work, tying it up neatly in a bow, one might say. While it wasn’t my favorite Bard yarn–not to be confused with barnyard–it was certainly more than entertaining enough to spend a few hours on an uncomfortable chair in a small theater, and unless I’d happened to run into some loose chippy earlier in the day–or one from my past–I had nothing else to do right now. . .
No, no point in thinking this way, I admonished myself. It didn’t get any better than Shakespeare, and that’s that. . . even if maybe Marlowe actually wrote it. . .
The thought of some people I know hearing those musings and going ballistic put me in an even better mood, though I wasn’t about to bring that up here; the last thing I wanted to do was have a fight in my favorite town of Vancouver. It’d been years since I’d last been to Bard on the Beach, and one of the reasons I’d taken this assignment was remembering it and checking the calendar, finding the festival coincided, plus it wasn’t one of the plays I couldn’t stand, like A Winter’s Tale or Richard III.
Talking some pleasantries with fellow Shakespeare-goers and grabbing a 7-up to go with the complimentary cheese and crackers could only keep me going so long; after a while that got boring and I headed outside into the cool Canadian air, looking off to the side and smiling wistfully as I remembered when the shows were held in a tent over the actual sand. . .
Ah well, progress and success, I sighed, heading toward the water. . . only to find the small jetty where I’d debarked closed. It hadn’t occurred to me to ask when the miniature boats, barely big enough for five people who didn’t mind getting to know each other better, would stop their runs from the north end of downtown to Vanier Park, nor did it enter my consciousness that it would be dark when the play was over. Wasn’t it supposed to stay light longer in summer? That’s how I remembered it, anyway. And I didn’t remember hearing the nine o’clock cannon blast, though Stanley Park was pretty far away. . . nah, shoulda still heard it.
Turning just in time to see the lights going out in the building, I moved to the side with the parking lot, which by now was empty, so no chance of hitching a ride or catching a cab. I could wait for the janitorial staff to finish, but who knew how long that would take, and if they claimed liability hassles I’d be stuck here anyway.
Now what. . .?
Toe power, that’s what. Checking my water supply with a sigh, I got going, hoping I’d run into a restroom if needed, rather than a tree or bush. Those tiny lights in the distance might be Grandville Island, I thought while sincerely hoping something better happened before that.
Then I told himself it was way too early to call for a cab, since I’d been berating myself about my sense of adventure, or lack of it, lately.
I’d been in Kitsilano before, but of course everything looks different at night. Since I didn’t expect much in the way of surprises coming from the water, I concentrated on the path in front of me, as always chuckling as I remembered George Carlin’s admonition: “The good thing about living at the water’s edge is you only have assholes on three sides of you. . . and if they come this way, you can hear them splash.” That got me through the next five minutes, though if I didn’t want to attract attention it was best to stop giggling as soon as possible.
A tunnel made me wonder what I was crossing under, but I couldn’t tell it was a bridge till I was pretty far away from it. Figuring it was Burrard Street, I looked around for stairs but didn’t spot any. I didn’t see a walkway to the west, nor any end to the bridge, so who knew how long it would take to climb on it that way. Sighing, I turned back, spotting Grandville Island or its doppelganger closer but not very much. To my left were small marinas with their occupants seemingly glowing in the water; in front of me was the thin thoroughfare which I took to be a bike path, a brightly-lit road under the five-story condos that turned the area into a higher-end Yuppieville, or whatever the Canadian version was.
And then I saw her. . .
She hadn’t seen me, which was obvious in the way she startled when I walked forward; for a moment she looked frightened, but quickly turned it into a nervous giggle as she saw I was grinning. With my hands by my sides and walking a route that would take me past her, she didn’t think I would attack her, but her “Hi!” was no doubt a little more squealy than she would have liked.
“Hi there. . . are you okay? The view not to your liking?”
“The view is fine,” she giggled again, this time not so nervously. “What I can see of it, anyway. Speaking of seeing, haven’t done that with you before.”
She blushed a bit, visible even in the dark. “I was trying to say I’ve never seen you before, but it came out convoluted.”
“I’ve never seen you before either. . . see how easy it is?’
“I do now, yes.” She grinned a little sheepishly, but seemed to be enjoying the inane chatter. “So why haven’t I seen you around before?”
“That’s better. Because I’m visiting, and I got stranded by those little boats, and. . .”
I made the story more dramatic than it had to be, but she didn’t seem to mind, only twice berating me mildly for not having checked the schedule. With a very easy comeback of “Then I wouldn’t have met you,” I swooped right into her good graces, or whatever she called them. Giving her a chance to figure out what she wanted from this new relationship, I took in the glittering view of downtown Vancouver, wondering what I would need to get a good photo of the skyline, other than a tripod, of course. . . well, a camera would help too.
For some reason she asked me what I thought of bacon, to which I quickly replied, “Bacon is like music to my nose and tongue!”
Thinking she could hold my geeky freakout for later teasing, if there was later between us, she told me the reason for asking by saying, “Did you know bacon has the same effect on the brain as cocaine and heroin. . .?
“So I’ve been getting high all these mornings without knowing it,” I mused.
“That’s what makes you great,” she agreed.
Marshaling my energy reserves for a few more minutes while talking to her, not expecting her to invite me to stay overnight, whether on the couch or her bed, I listened to her prattle on for a while, wondering at which point she’d remember that she hadn’t told me her name yet. She ended this particular verbal diarrhea by pronouncing I could meet her for lunch tomorrow at the observation tower downtown, flouncing away and into one of the condos before I could mention it wasn’t an actual tower, just a disk stuck onto the roof of a building.
“I’m screwed,” I muttered as I walked on, annoyed that she hadn’t thought to let me call a cab, instead going for her little drama. Would serve her right if I didn’t show up tomorrow. But at least the walk would let me burn off some frustration. . . mostly caused by not getting any bacon, now that I was salivating for it.
So I was more than a little sweaty when I finally got to Granville an hour later. Thankfully there were plenty of eateries still open, as well as taxis. By the time I got back to my hotel at the western foot of Stanley Park, I’d almost forgotten about her. . .