To lift my spirits when things aren’t going well, I will sometimes try to pick out things in my physical environment that give me special pleasure. It’s much like the exercise to beat the blues–or terror engendered by a severe thunderstorm storm–suggested in song by Maria in The Sound of Music of remembering one’s favourite things. However, in my variation, one is dealing with the here and now. Also, there’s no music–except, perhaps, screechy music being played by an obnoxious kid on an iPod in the seat behind me on the bus.
One day late last week, I was heading home from work, on the lookout. I’d been interviewed for a good job, that would have made use of my background in education, the week before, and had been hopeful about getting it; but, if I hadn’t been called by now, they had proceeded to the next stage of interviews, that was scheduled for this week, without me. It was too early for a definitive no; but it was almost certain I didn’t get the job. Okay, I didn’t get it. Also, on the home front, things had not been going well. I wonder if Shaw Cable has yet been cited as a contributing party in a Canadian divorce or separation, or homicide, due to its installation of those infernal digital TV boxes across our land, without the provision of complete, intelligible, user manuals, for everyone–including those who, like my mother, don’t use computers, and who can’t download the digital, semi-intelligible, complete version. Also, the weather was gloomy and wet, once again. To make the weather situation, and my mood, even worse, we had a taste of balmy, dry, spring weather over the Easter weekend, a couple of weeks ago; but now we were back to typical Vancouver winter weather, that is also prevalent through much of our spring, and sometimes even summer: gray, wet, and cold.
So, as I was saying, I was on the lookout that day for things in my environment that give me special pleasure. I saw a young woman standing at a bus stop carrying a particularly attractive leather shoulder bag, in a splendid scarlet red with some stitching on the front in contrasting colours, that didn’t look like an expensive designer bag but that was very attractive nonetheless. It wasn’t so much the bag itself that gave me pleasure as the taste in accessories of this young woman: to see that there was someone in this city that appreciated the lovely colour and design of the bag, and its workmanship, gave me a bit of a lift. Unfortunately, when she pulled out her phone and made a call to a friend, and started speaking to her friend in French, I realized she was a visitor to Vancouver from Quebec, and likely would be returning home, with her bag, and her good taste in accessories, very soon. (Note to Vancouver Fashion Designers: Please, please, design some attractive, functional, reasonably-priced, raincoats and rain-proof accessories for Vancouverites. We should be a world centre for wet-weather fashion here in Vancouver; but we’re far from it.)
I got on a bus heading up Granville Street, and looked out the window for inspiration; but there was nothing to see but rain and gloom. In the heavy rain, even the sight of the Stanley Theatre, home of the Arts Club Theatre Company, and where I’d enjoyed seeing several shows in the past, didn’t lift my spirits. With the heavy rain coming down, from inside the bus, I couldn’t even see what show was currently playing at the Stanley.
(Note to Stanley Theatre: Make the printing on the outside of the theatre of the names of the shows currently running larger and brighter, so that one can see this important information from vehicles passing the theatre in Vancouver’s rain. And Note to TransLink, our local transit authority: Make the route names and numbers of your buses on the front of the busses larger and brighter, so that one can see this important information before boarding a bus in Vancouver’s rain and gloom.)
I got off the bus and headed back down Granville towards Broadway, where the bus I’d intended to take stopped, still not having observed anything in my environment that really picked me up. I kept looking, even in the windows of the upscale shops along South Granville; but nothing did it for me.
Near Broadway, with my head hanging, I caught sight of a pigeon rising from a puddle on the road beside the curb. It gracefully swooped up over me and other bedraggled, uninspiringly attired, pedestrians to a dry perch overhead, under a red awning. Watching that pigeon as it rose from the puddle, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I experienced that moment of special pleasure, and renewal, that I’d been seeking. (Note to City of Vancouver: How about a pigeon rising from a puddle as our new city mascot?)
Seeing that pigeon swoop up was a nice moment, but I still think I could use a good vacation about now. I plan on getting to the new show at the Vancouver Art Gallery next week, about hotels around the world, which should give me at least a little of the experience of going on a vacation. I plan on writing about the show in my next blog post.