The car radio was still playing Layla. The Derek and the Dominos’ Layla…the aggressive, haunting, screamy version of one of rock’s greatest songs. It was nothing short of torture, sitting there terrified, sirons in the distance, knowing the world was about to assess the total destruction of our adolescence.
We were graciously afforded the Lincoln Sabre (I’ll never forget the model) to head into ‘town’ to kill some time. What that means, in fact, is that it was still light out, maybe mid afternoon, and we were allowed to drive into Galena to “check out the shops”. That, to us at the time, meant laugh at the locals and putz around, talking about pressing highschool social matters for a few hours before returning home for dinner on the grill next to the lake. We were in highschool and we were needing to escape, and we all felt alive as we headed into town.
Doug, myself, and a group of about 30 other Chicagoans managed to forge a bond that’s lasted long beyond our time online together, and through debates, jokes, and heartfelt digital conversations we managed to forge bonds that we did take offline, and many a bar in Chicago thanked us for it. Among the crowd we welcomed people of all shapes, sized, and ages, with a common thread of humor and intellect.
I laughed and immediately realized that I’d made a lot of the idea that I don’t have friends in Vancouver, which is both untrue and a sentiment that I now realize is hard to address flippantly, especially when you have people who actually use your blog to try and get some insight into what the hell your life is like on the other side of the continent.
That was the thing; even when we were teenagers she was different. She was edgy and confident and averse to anything but her will. She is probably the reason I have ever felt the confidence to just trust my gut in the face of the most insane things it suggested. Over and over and over again I’ve heard people say things like “everyone wishes they were Chalise” when what they meant was “everyone wishes they had an intimate relationship with ignoring their inhibition and plunging into life to see what actually happens”.
We laughed about our kooky parents and contemplated the question marks in our futures. She has friends going to SXSW so I had to explain that I was going to the Geek Bonnaroo, not the music part that normal people attend. She gave me a video tour of her crash pad down there, and introduced two of her roommates who were hanging around.
My two week provisional visitor’s visa was almost up. I’d spent all week locking down my very digital and very public life, and reassuring most of my friends and family at home that I was not, in fact, totally insane. I felt as if the whole bureaucratic ineptitude of a nation had decided to throw a tea party at my expense. I was in Canada, but I wasn’t allowed to work…much less build a company from scratch.
I was writing about my tragedy as a soccer player with two years left to prove otherwise. I’d let down a team that would eventually ask me to be their Captain, and I was unaware of the connection that I’d forge between writing and my emotions.