Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trees amid the time-warp.

Hey, where did that big shiny building with the pretty-coloured windows come from?

For a while, a while ago, I worked in the hospital buildings in downtown Vancouver. Today I was among them again, with time to kill, so decided to check out some of my former haunts: coffee shops, restaurants, book stores... They had all changed hands or disappeared, except for the banks.

I returned to the old, ugly Heather Pavilion, in whose basement the Medical Library had been (and perhaps still is)--where I spent countless mind-numbing hours gathering and checking references (I was, for want of a better job description, a medical ghost-writer)--and was surprised at how long it took me to find the correct entrance. I didn't go in. It felt spooky, somewhat dream-like, revisiting a place of grinding daily routine, a situation I had mostly, probably on purpose, forgotten.

Back then I was a ghost-writer, but today I was a ghost, tapping former me on the shoulder, saying, "Cheer up. Believe it or not, in a few years you're going to be living in the suburbs--with children and a lawn mower and everything."

"And that's a good thing?" doubtful former me would ask.

"It is," ghost me says. "And you'll really get into gardening, too."

"No way."

And so on.

I vaguely remembered a place where I would eat outside if the weather permitted, a small pedestrian mall with concrete slabs to sit upon. Was there a water feature?

It's very difficult to remember the details of something small and subtle when in its place is a big shiny building with pretty-coloured windows.

The trees are the same. Bigger, but basically the same.


PSYL said...

I wish a ghost of my future self would pat on my back too and tell me to cheer up and what an exciting life I will be leading in the future. Sigh.

KaHolly said...

As always, so insightful. You are an inspiration.

Hugh said...

PSYL, Different isn't necessarily exciting--just different. Everything comes with worries and disappointments. But yeah, maybe that ghost will meet you, or you will be it before you know it, lending encouragement.

KaHolly, Thank you. That's very kind.

kompoStella said...

Hugh, this post is a piece of poetic thinking that i really enjoyed. i do the same sometimes, if i happen upon a formerly familiar place - to see how it feels or, rather, how i feel in it now. memory is such a flexible world.
... and anyone who can make down town vancouver look pretty is very talented :-D