Every so often I venture forth from my island enclave and part the veil into a different realm.
Mrs Widds had business in Vancouver and on the spur of the moment I decided to tag along for the ride.
IMAGE: Cars hiss shattered raindrops and frown their taillights at each other as they creep from intersection to intersection.
We parted company at a train station, she drove off into the rainswept distance and I narrowed my focus and rode the elevator down to the train platform.
IMAGE: A plate-glass window reflects rain-dappled umbrellas, rendering anonymous the pedestrians who shelter under them.
I set out to face the wicked streets of the Big Smoke … which is Aussie slang for any metropolis larger than where one currently resides. Returning above ground at Waterfront station I then invoked a magic spell that popped open my brolly, and joined Vancouver for the day.
IMAGE: Subdued lighting on the other side of the window casts a wan puddle over a black and chrome cafe booth.
I remembered to pay attention to where I placed my feet because the horizon’s 3 meters away, not 30 kilometers. I held my umbrella higher than my usually jaunty over-the-shoulder look, because umbrella eye-poking is a contact sport to be sparingly engaged in, and only when one has an escape route pre-planned.
IMAGE: A fashionably dressed young woman slouches in the booth. Her hands droop by her side. She looks through the window and sees nothing but her own reflection.
This part of Vancouver city center is a mix of glass towers and restored stone-fronted heritage buildings. Some commercial, some residential, all with something to say. I looked like that stereotypical country lass craning her neck to discover just how high the buildings are.
IMAGE: An anonymous young man sits across from the young woman. He is hunched over his mobile device with fixed intensity.
I went to see Iron Man 3, which I enjoyed thoroughly. About thirty patrons spread ourselves throughout the ‘Cinderella’ seats. Not too close, not too far to the side, and not too far up the back. This is my favourite way to see movies. I was never fond of crowds. When the credits rolled at the end of the movie, ten of us remained firmly entrenched in our seats.
IMAGE: A woman pauses with her hand on the door of the cafe. She sees the young couple through the etched glass. They have not moved. She turns away and re-enters the umbrella stream.
We few, we happy few, knew the secret of watching a movie in the Marvel comics Universe. There’s always a little snippet, a teaser for the next movie after the credits end. This time was no exception. This one was all about … well, that would be telling.
IMAGE: A person of indeterminate sex walks along the rain-soaked street, sporting a bright blue pork pie hat, a bright blue bowtie, a white dress shirt, black pants, a bright blue sport coat, and bright blue sneakers. No umbrella.
I walked a different route back to the train station, still dodging umbrellas and the uneven pavement in front of building sites. It seemed to me that a third of the city was being torn down, a third was being rebuilt and the rest was stoically waiting its turn. I had half a mind to stop somewhere and have a restorative cup of tea, but nothing I passed seemed all that inviting.
IMAGE: The person in the bright blue suit walks up the street and disappears around a corner.
I smiled to myself. I knew that even if I’d been able to catch up to the person in the bright blue suit, they would’ve already disappeared. That’s the sort of magic cities have on rainy days.
“The way I see it, if you want a rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain” – Dolly Parton