Life can be full of the unexpected. I was never expecting to work on the tree ambulance, or to be poisoned by a potato, or to get a soup recipe from Mr. T. I was never expecting an egg to dangerously explode by a camp fire, nor was I expecting to almost get a Hungarian Waitress fired. Another thing I wasn’t expecting, a few weeks ago, was to find, after making a beautiful bowl of porridge* that my house was on the back of a truck. It proceeded to drive away. This was vaguely reminiscent of the time I was living on a river boat in Pucalpa, Peru, with a one-armed girlfriend. It was perpetually scheduled to depart for Iquitos** ‘tomorrow’, and so one day we returned to the boat with our day’s groceries to find that it was gone. The sinking anxiety, and moderate panic one may feel when their home disappears – that I felt then – is not what I felt while I looked at my house sitting quietly on the back of this truck, kakapo*** hanging from the door handle. I was expecting my house to be moved. It was going to be kind of like in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh except that instead of my house being moved by a group of intelligent rats, it would be moved by an old hippie of uncertain intellect named Rob. Although I would wager that Rob would be considered a good-looking man, every woman I know finds him creepy. He is clever, to be sure, and seems to have a very practical network of friends, but when I see him moving what very well may be power lines with a rake to make room for my house to re-enter the property, I am inclined to question his mental state. When he asked me to move out of my hut with a skylight, high ceiling and high bed shelf (which allowed me to stand under my bed-shelf and sit up in bed), and into a hut (my current home) with a low ceiling and low bed-shelf — I asked if it would not be easier to move the empty hut before I moved into it. He said no, and offerred no further explanation. One day he held a flashlight in a condom up to my face, grinning. His delayed explanation was that he lost his dive torch and that this was cheaper. I think I was meant to understand this without his explanation, but again, I do not know why. Another interesting design decision I will credit to Rob is that of hanging jagged glass from the ceiling of a hut in an earthquake zone. I was not comfortable with this, but it got me thinking about Damocles — because you get used to it pretty quick. How did that story end again? Be assured, the lack of potentially falling jagged glass in my new hut is indeed an improvement upon my old digs.
Anyway, while I was expecting my house to be picked up and put down on this particular day, I was not expecting it to be gone in the 10ish minutes it took me to make porridge, nor was I expecting it to be taken around the block first. This was of course a pleasant surprise, as I was able to walk alongside it (until it started moving too fast) and in so doing, I am probably one of the few people you know that has taken their house for a walk — unless of course you know a bum with a cardboard box fastened to a little red wagon. I like to think that the wagon was stolen from a paperboy while he was taking a copy down a long driveway. He left the wagon with the rest of the papers on the sidewalk, because who would want it? That guy, of course. There are many a use for good newspaper, and no shortage of things you can do with a good wagon. Be happy knowing that the paper-boy took this as a sign to take the day off, but didn’t hesitate to collect his paycheque. The net result was probably that the paper boy had a wonderful saturday, the bum mastered the art of origami and had an overall improved quality of life, and a handful of people were not misinformed quite so thoroughly by the mainstream media as they would have been had they actually received their weekend paper.
Before making it around the block, my house pulled over onto the wrong side of the road and idled in front of a bus stop. A city bus soon pulled up and grumbled. I watched this brief standoff, as I ate my porridge. My house backed off (tail between its legs, I imagine), and the bus continued on, without having deviated from its schedule, I assume.
The next morning I was awakened to the sound and feeling of my house being jacked up. I waited until these adjustments had passed before coming outside and beginning my day. A week or so later, Mary, the Irish girl moved out. She left me a brand new fridge, and electric blanket, and an electric kettle. All things that can contribute to me being warm. While I decided to use the kettle to fill old wine bottles with hot water (since I haven’t found a good brick to heat up by the fireplace), I only did this once. The fridge is really enough, and to be honest I just don’t trust the blanket. I am to vulnerable to it in my sleep, and so it is only in use when I’m sitting at my table doing whatever it is that I do at a table. The blanket is plugged in and set down on the chair, and then wrapped around my legs, allowing for me to be comfortably warm while sitting.
The table is one of the few aquisitions that I paid for with money. I mention it only because I brought it home on the bus. And while I have moved furniture by public transport before (a large bookshelf being snuck onto the skytrain comes to mind) I was never before able to employ the piece of furniture while on the bus. And so, on yet another glorious sunday at the end of March, I was able to sit at a table on the bus (in the section where for chairs face each other). Here I read a book, waiting for a pretty girl to sit across from me. This actually happened, but she wasn’t much of a conversationalist. Then I had to move because a guy in a wheelchair got on the bus. None of this changes the reality of yet another glorious moment in the life of Sherpa: sitting at a table — my table, on a moving bus.
There is something here to be said about tables, I suppose. There are certain things that I require, if I am to stay in one place. I don’t need a fridge, but I do need a stove and an oven. I need somewhere to sleep, and a place for stuff. But I absolutely have to have access to some kind of table. Whether it’s at a pleasant cafe that is open late, or a good chair and table in my room, I now know that I won’t stick around without a good table, and a reasonable way to sit at it. And so, when I decided to settle here in Christchurch for some amount of time, a table was necessary, since there are not any good late night cafes, and even if there were, they charge way to much for just about anything to make it a viable alternative. $10 well spent, to be sure.
Some of you may be wondering why you are receiving yet another one of these so terribly soon after the last one. Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed that it is not only a full moon tonight, but it is also Friday the 13th. A special occassion indeed! now, those of you in Europe are getting this a few hours late, those of you in Ontario are getting this a few minutes late (less than an hour, at least) but those of you in Vancouver or BC in general — getting it right on time. This will be reaching you while Friday night is still thirteening, and the moon is gloriously full (assuming it is not obscured by clouds). On top of all this, Friday morning was apparently a blood moon (I didn’t notice it myself, but some girl told me it was so).
There is a lot more to tell, but the guy next to me in the library is twitching a lot. He is also trying to reach into the computer screen. So I’m going to wrap this up. I will also say that some of you seem to be under the impression that I’ve moved on — but I have not. I am still in Christchurch, and I plan to relate considerably more about the subject when next I get a chance. Know that I am working while I’m up here, and my job mostly involves scaring little children. There is also a great temptation to eat their lunches, but I have refrained from doing this for the most part. Thus far. The other day a kid asked me why the back of my head was a girl. I will leave it to you to field potential answers to this question.
of the boxes
and the buses
*whole rolled oats, flax, sesame, chia, black-strap molasses, bananas, raisins, and coconuts. Also usually yogurt and dates, but I believe not on this particular occasion
**the largest city in the world without road access, I believe
***an artist came to town. She hid fabric kakapos all over the city, and then provided little fabric kakapo kits to the general public. I sewed one. The beak is slightly misplaced, but overall I would like to say I did a great job. A kakapo, by the way is some kind of new zealand bird. While we’re on the subject of kiwi animals, I would like to point out that the frogs native to New Zealand suck at swimming. Typical.
Originally sent Friday June 13, 2014