Terminal Thoughts and Contemplations on the Colour Grey
Astrid Gwendolyn Jackson
The following prose may not make any sense if you are not me because it references places, events, and people from my life at the time. Also, despite it being rather badly written by my late-highschool self i have decided not to edit it to leave it in its most genuine form.
Grey is coming up from the ground, and silver is coming down. It’s been doing this all weekend, but that’s o.k., it’s kind of calming. That $2.50 piece of lemon-poppyseed loaf I had tasted of chemicals, and the veggie roll had something sweet in it. I would feel ripped off if I wasn’t busy feeling ill. I stall as much as I can as I sip my far overpriced Dark Belgian Mocha. I still have over two hours to wait, so I listen and watch in between sips. Some women by the window are discussing the towns on the Coast. Ah yes, aren’t we just such a quaint little community, all seaside and backwoods and backward. What makes you so better? Your city clothes and cars and failing facelifts? Ah well, as long as you don’t buy one of them million dollar condos and keep it as a summer cottage you can talk about our »cute» culture in as condescending a tone as you like. I find you funny. Have you ever seen a bear?
The high pitched whizzing and whining of the machines churning out expensive caffeine is starting to add to the nausea brought on by a stuffed stomach, so I decide to head into the terminal building. The girl who sells me my ticket is on autopilot I think. If a machine ever takes over her job I swear no one will notice.
Rolly suitcases on escalators are fun, did you know? So I follow the walkway. My magic elf boots tap quietly on the damp concrete. Mack likes my magic elf boots. He also likes my pants. I know that sounds bad, but hey, he’s a master at saying awkward sounding things, so it’s fitting. My pants match the red of the line I am following. I should be following the blue line to waiting room B, like robot ticket saleswoman told me, but I know my way thank you, and I like red better. Red and blue has been a theme this weekend, from my wardrobe to our off colour jokes. Fiona clarified the S of the SAD rules by declaring »Girls are Red, Boys are Blue, don’t make Purple.» Roses are red, violets are blue... Tee Hee.
So from the last outdoor corner of the walkway I can see the Red Government Dock. That is a place of beginnings. So much has changed since that first time there. I can’t wait for May Retreat.
So I get to the waiting room and stick my rolly bag and foamie on a chair in a corner behind a potted plant of some description. While I’m in the loo (which doesn’t reek for once) this girl comes slamming in and sighs like she’s the only one to understand suffering. What makes you so angry I wonder? You apply expensive cream to your perfect complexion, and apply another coat of high priced eyeliner from a bag that blatantly announces that you have money coming out your eyeballs. Then again, money can’t buy you love.
When I get back to my seat, I find my attention drawn to a pair of sparrows who have found their way in. This is me trying to decide whether they’re safer in here or on the street in front of Baskin’ Robins where there are also a lot of sparrows. I dunno, they’re mighty cute though. I love the way they flit and hop around without a worry (as far as I know) except »Hey look! Crumbs!»
A woman with a rainbow umbrella and a green beret sits near me. When I ask her for the time (which she doesn’t have, but hey, who does?) we strike up conversation. She asks me about growing up on the Coast, and seems genuinely interested. Refreshing, after the »Isn’t the Coast cute» ladies, robot ticket woman and angry makeup-application girl. Rainbow umbrella lady and myself exchange small town stories as a small girl in a checkered raincoat totters around. She’s wearing duck boots, just like I had at her age. She looks at me and waves. »Hi», she smiles. Oh, if only everyone were as friendly as that child.
The waiting room slowly fills, with each person leaving at least one seat between themselves and their neighbour. Little box people I guess. I wonder if they would have a better day, and maybe have less long faces, if they were as open as duck-boots girl and rainbow umbrella lady. For heavens sake, the people in the downtown east-side are more human to me than the little box people.
»Jingle, meep, meep, meep, thunk». Another person has given in to the blinking-light seduction of the vending machines. I have to admit, I probably would too, but I haven’t forgotten the last time I did. That lemonade tasted of chemicals. It was unpleasant.
There’s an interesting character who just walked in. I don’t know his name, but he reminds me of my friend Jack. The patches on his black jean jacket signal him to be a rocker, I guess. He has good musical taste, according to me. The spikes he’s got on should be intimidating, but he chats easily with reading-a-book-in-the-corner man. They’re talking about fishing.
A pair of girls walk in, loaded down with bags of pink. I’m sure they are having fun, but one is criticising everyone’s fashion sense, and the other is relaying their whole conversation into a cellphone, and isn’t bothering that we can all hear her. Apparently my magic elf boots are objectionable.
Judgement girl and cellphone girl next attack jean-jacket-and-spikes boy. Apparently gumboots are not o.k.. They are on a shoe rant, I think. They are the classic gumboots. Shiny black with the orange stripe around the bottom. Maybe he lives in the Creek, or maybe he lives on the agricultural reserve and grows his own mint tea and purple flowers that he forgets the name of. Or maybe he just wants to keep his feet dry. Gumboots have awful grip on ice, did you know? Very low coefficient of friction.
The ferry is coming in, and someone’s cellphone goes off. Half the room pulls out their phones (apparently not knowing their own ringtone). Jean-jacket-and-spikes boy switches his train of babble from video-games to how cellphones contribute to brain cancer and how if guys keep them in their pants pocket some things might not work so well.
I don’t like the little boy in the yellow hat across from me. His talk alternates between demanding money from his father and loudly discussing guns. I’m sure it could all be fascinating, but he seems a little too excited by this instrument of violence. He is bragging about being nicknamed »gun man».
Judgement and cellphone girls are discussing lip-gloss and how jean-jacket-and-spikes boy needs a haircut. Why is it their business? I think it looks nice. Rainbow umbrella lady and her green scarfed friend have left for their ferry. I enjoyed my chat with them.
The building is vibrating with the pounding feet of the arrivals, mixed with the ferry’s engines. Some girls from my school have arrived, looking identical in the uniforms that label them as part of the »non-conformist» crowd. They’re nice though, I don’t really mind them.
I get up to stretch so I don’t fall over when I go to get on the ferry. It’s been a long sit. I look out on the waters of Horseshoe Bay. The vibrations behave mostly like they should. I think waves was my favourite part of Physics 11. I think though these ripples are somewhat affected by wind and friction. Darn friction anyways.
The Bowen Island ferry is coming back now. Rainbow umbrella lady is probably home by now. I hope she has hot chocolate. Das Wetter schlecht ist.
As I head over the overhead walkway, I send happy thoughts to the water far below me. Geraldine has got me into this whole idea of how water relates to resonance and stuff like that.
As I walk along the ferry the bulgy windows make everything outside look woogey. Woogey is possibly one of those terms that I think normal, but lots of people haven’t heard.
Now I have acquired a blood blister. My rolly bag handle bit me. It hasn’t done that since I was in England, and it’s on the part of my hand that rests on the paper when I write. It stings. I don’t like it.
I hate the squeaky noise of chips being opened. Nails on a blackboard just don’t compare. Oh well, at least the people behind me have ceased their tales of inebriated driving.
I’m not sure if I ever thought so much about how many kinds of grey there are. Green grey, blue grey, silver, almost white, and the like. The rain on the windows is making everything look like it’s running together, like in a well blended (make that cellphone STOP for goodness sake) water colour.
We’ve turned the corner now. On a clear day, you can see Langdale from here. Today, I’ll be lucky if I can see Fircom, what with all the rain on the windows, and the silver rainy ocean mist. Two months! I’m so excited. I hope it is less wet by May. Ha Ha.
Apparently it’s raining pretty hard. I can hear the rain above the rumble of ferry engines. The decks are covered in rain-fairies dancing in the puddles. My dad used to tell me that the sound on the roof when it rained was the rain-fairies tap dancing in boots. Years later I heard Fairies Wear Boots by Black Sabbath and guess what I thought of.
The water around the horizon is a soft, lighter band of silver. I like it when it does that. The far islands are a soft grey, while the near ones have plumes of mist rising from between the trees. The sky is streaks and blots of different light and dark, while the ocean is steel coloured with many ridges of almost-black.
Hello little tugboat, I hope the waves aren’t making you too woozey. Watch the seagulls, they’ll cheer you up. Their white seems to shine when compared to their weather coloured background. I like to watch them play in the wind around the ferry. Sometimes eagles, ravens and (ok, if you don’t turn that cellphone off now, I will snap it, I swear) crows join them. I wish I could see an albatross, but I’d have to make sure gun-happy-boy from the waiting room didn’t see it.
I can tell I’m on my way to the Coast. The ferry is crawling with guitarists. I can distinguish the houses of Langdale now, and the docking announcements are going. My sister was cross when they changed it, she had it memorised. I suppose I should make my way downstairs to get off the boat. I guess I shall have to imitate the WOOOOOOP noise on my own, Tegan isn’t here to help.