Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

TIme in memorandum?

Here's some advice I wrote to people that I don't follow any more. I wish I did.
It's the last letter in a series I wrote home from a marine station where I was taking a field course on marine invertebrates. I became deep and introspective at the end because I didn't want to go home, or back to Calgary.

Saturday, July 20th, 2002
Bamfield Chronicles
Chapter 5: Anticlimax
The end is here. I have 63% in the course no matter what. Whatever I get on my final project is extra. Who cares. Not a great mark in the end, but I think there were more Important things to learn here. Here’s a list, and I’ll say they’re ranked in order of importance right now, but it’s likely I’ll not reorder them even if I do decide they’re in a funny order. Let’s go!
1. Anyone who lives in a city is an idiot. There is absolutely no justification for anyone to be anywhere as barren, uninteresting, and antisocial as a big, faceless city. Here, everyone waves at you when they drive by, everyone talks to you when you stroll around, and everyone you want to see will likely be in the pub that evening, or right next door to you in the morning. Next door, but not too close. And there’s always something to see here. In the morning, you can stand on the docks and watch the jellyfish go by. After lunch, you sit back and watch the fog eat the other side of the town, or go for a walk in the backwoods, enjoying the fact that there are two trees right beside each other, and that nobody planted them (well, maybe they did, but nobody’s cutting the lawn around them, anyway). And the sunsets? Holy shit. It’s the last spot in Canada that gets a sunset every day, so there’s a major show. The entire sky turns pink, with varying degrees of orange and gold blasting over the mountains as the sun literally shatters on the clouds and hills to the west of Bamfield, and when it goes down behind the hills, the entire sky fades from orange to pink to red. I’m certain Calgary and Edmonton get this, too. But, like I said, who wants to live there?
2. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Think girls can’t play frizbee? Holy crap, yes they can. Think your big, quiet Teaching Assistant is antisocial? Not so. He’s incredibly shy, and fantastically nice and helpful (ad, sadly, the exact same age as you, only with a degree). Think 19-year-olds are a little spinny and goofy? Yep. They are. They’re also 7 years younger than you. But if you give them (or anyone) the benefit of the doubt, they’ll be as valuable as friends as any bitter, self-involved 26-year-old you’ll ever meet.
3. Being curious is infinitely more important than finding the answers. There are more questions to be asked here (and everywhere) than can ever be answered. And every question you do answer makes a million more questions. And that’s great. You can’t know everything about everything, but you can sure try. Or you can just look at something you find, acknowledge its beauty, and leave it at that. Mystery can be beautiful, too.
4. Don’t worry about sleeping. You can sleep when you’re dead. There’s far too much to see in this world to ever spend any time staring at the insides of your eyelids, or at a god-forsaken TV. Go outside. Stay there. Get sunburnt. Get dirty. Explore. Discover. Don’t even turn around untill you’re too tired to go any further forward. Then sit five minutes, and repeat.
5. Come home to people you love. What else can I say about that? Tell them where you’ve been. Tell them how you’ve missed them. Let them know that 2000 km is as good or bad as an arm’s-length away, or a million miles, depending on where your heart is.
6. Remember to keep in touch with the people you’ve met and left. I’m bad at this. I know. But I’ll get better.
There’s probably more, but it’s time for breakfast. Waffles!


Yep. Deep. I guess I really liked being outside at the time. Next up: Something I wrote when I was in my teenaged years! I found a cache of wordperfect documents fromthe 1980s!


Blogger enthrall said...

Man, that rocks... I love how earnest I was back then, too. I have a stack of WordPerfect docs (high school to early Uni) my wife found and turned into a book for me - WELL worth the investment, as electronic formats come and go.

Lookin' forward to your angst-writings!


7:48 AM

Blogger mike w said...

Ah Neal, you warm the cuckles of my heart. My cockles, on the other hand, I'm saving for myself.

"Jokes" aside: it's a shame your Walden-esque reveries can't make it past the meat grinders daily journalism. Newspapers are ass. Magazines are shit. And burn all of the books: this Brideshead Revisited I'm reading has to be the gayest thing in the Western World. Actually, it's okay... but still gay.

In the meantime, we await Neal's early work...

6:20 AM

Anonymous collin said...

What were you expecting from "Brideshead Revisited"? And heads up, Evelyn Waugh is, get this, a DUDE! A dude whose name is Evelyn!?! That's rich!
I actually liked the Sword of Honour. Sardonic.
It's not, however, as good as The French Connection, which is on Turner Classic Movies right now. I hate Ted Turner, but this channel is seriously awesome.

2:05 PM


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