While walking up the ramp from the docks a sign caught my eye, "If entering Canada, please call immigration at 1-800, ect." It made me realize that many borders are like this, ei, fictional and fluid. If anyone wanted to invade or terrorize the vastly porous "border" area of this or any massive geographic region, they would have no trouble doing it.
So, Danny did some asking and found out that we could play in the bar that night and put out a hat. We had some time before the show would start so we ventured into the island and came across the town center. The market was quaint, tourist traps and toy stores, we met a lovely girl of Japanese decent who was covered in specks of paint, she wouldn't be able to make it to the gig that night but did invite us to play pickup baseball the next day during the farmers market.
Back at the large rustic restaurant/ bar, we played our hearts out. It was a Thursday night and it happened to coincide with an international disk golf tournament. The game is the same concept as normal golf, but with various sizes of Frisbees instead of clubs, aimed towards metal baskets rather then holes, usually played while drinking liquor and smoking pot. It's the type of innovation that's mirroring the greater complexification of the world these days. A bag full of disks for different distances, just like golf, but the course is covered with trees and other impediments, so other people can use it like any other natural space, unlike golf. Playing music in that bar was redemptive, I got my chance and took full advantage of it, we rocked hard for hours, swapping instruments and songs. I backed steph up on a tune that my sister had introduced to me a few years earlier, "baby, I'm an anarchist" a compelling love song about the divide between progressive ideology and radical anarchist beliefs. "Cause baby, I'm an anarchist, you're a spineless liberal, we marched together on the eight hour days, held hands in the streets of Seatle, when it came time to throw rocks through that Starbucks window, you left me all alone, all alone". We'd do that tune a number of times on our journey together.
We would talk about the idea of spiritual anarchy. Anarchy, as far as I understand, is another abstract thought, just like democracy or “the market”, but it’s more of a non-thing; it is the absence of arch or power relationships. Anarchism is the theories, concepts, philosophies, ideologies, cultures and means of existence that have grown out of that notion, sometimes cohesive, often not. An arch means one thing over another, so Anarchists are people who feel their existence is authentic enough to not be governed, if at all influenced, by exterior forces. We asked ourselves, what is it about law that makes it worth following? Our means of living without plans or expectations seemed to deliver us a much richer form of life then we'd ever experienced before. I had the feeling things would just get more interesting.
That night we had multiple guests come up and perform with us, on a break I interviewed a German man about the brilliance of disk golf. He loved the meandering around outside drinking, all the while improving skills and taking part of a supportive sporting environment, rather then a competitive one. Observing the play, it looks like quite a bit of skill; concentration and practice balance well with camaraderie and sheer joy.
One of the unexpected performers did an uncanny Willy Nelson impression; his devotion to the red haired stranger was compelling. He pulled out a songbook and we jammed away until they kicked us out. It turned out that that our new friend worked for a company that designed state of the art vaporizers, (that a way of using pot without the carcinogens). Apparently there was a party somewhere; following the crowd we got into a camper van and were greeted by ganja and cold beer. The ride was smooth and soon we found ourselves at a beautiful house in the woods, a cottage apparently. I heard second hand that the owner grew large quantities of pot, and meeting him, he seemed to be slightly on edge. The paranoia was understandable, such work is important; there are many people who rely on marijuana for medicinal and spiritual purposes, but the overhanging police presence would have detrimental effects on anyone's psyche. Steph tore into some of her original songs and impressed the pants off the crowd. There was an artist/musician there, a fellow who was carrying around a book of poetry that he'd written, and was trying to sell it. He had all the markings of unbridled alcoholic; he was a sweet man with a great smile, cleaver songs and good stories, but too self-congratulatory, plus slurred speech. He was an extreme reflection of our own existence, bouncing from gig to gig to party, a genius in many ways, he songs were witty, I saw a great troubled beauty in him.
When the night reaches it's pinnacle, Danny would no longer use his guitar, it was all about the drum, the rhythm. We'd bang out simple two chord songs and his wild hair would be flying in every direction. " Can you pass me the pot and the pipe" he asked me at one point. Fetching it for him, our host glanced at me and was taken aback. "Hey that's my pot", "I'm sorry I thought it was Danny's" I replied, "Still, there's an etiquette". "Sorry, now I know". I passed it along. We all seemed to pass out where we sat on the couches, and while up to take a leak as the sun was coming up, I spotted an empty bed, in the morning I woke up with steph in my arms. After a pancake breakfast we took a stroll though the extensive vegetable garden, our host had an incredible green thumb, a strong connection with the earth. Aparently, he and the artist had joined steph for a walk the night before, and their energies had aligned, out in the garden the artists was quite and contemplative as our host regaled them with the subtle mastery of a dedicated gardener.
We went back to the bar and took a stroll along the beach. Along our journey to the Island the marine radio was constantly spouting out weather condition, tide progressions and warnings, we'd heard numerous reports about a sail boat that had been cut loose and floating somewhere in the area. Steph was collecting shells as Danny came up to us, apparently the Tiny Dancer was being held by a friend of a friend and it was possible that we might be able to swing by and pick it up if we wanted it. The details of the story were unclear. The boat had been docked in Vancouver, owned by someone transitioning gender, that was currently in jail. This did not dissuade Steph who'd wanted a boat and felt she could take on anybody, Transvestite or not. Steph was a tough girl, after all.
We’d met the week before at Danger Bay, the biggest gathering of longboarders (extra long skateboards) in the world. Some two hundred racers gather to compete in a long distance race, a speed course, longboard hockey, a parade, free ridding, camping, partying and live music. The year before I'd ended up at the festival by random chance and somehow finagled my way onstage between sets of metal and punk bands, this year I'd been asked back to play, it was the reason I'd flown to the west coast. Steph and I hit it off right away, cruising around the camp site scrounging liquor and food, we'd crashed in the same tent for two nights in a row and as I was offered a gig in Nanaimo, she welcomed the invitation to come along for the adventure. While onstage I asked the audience what was the next step for us, Danny hollered out, "come sailing!" and voila.
Steph had been steeped in pirate vibe since we met. She'd been experimenting with the use of an eye patch. They were used by pirates not only to cover up nasty, empty eye sockets, but to train their pupils; while covered in darkness, the pupils expands, ready to be used should the pirate rush down to the dark cabin. Steph had gone on an adventure with her sister, down to Mexico and ended up in Montreal, where she'd started a new life. The busking life was treating her out east, but she's come back west to race, now it seemed the west wanted her back.
For the most part of our journey we kept on the same clothes, Steph wore skate shoes with cutoffs, a t-shirt and a jean vest. Around her brown head she wore a black velvet band. I wore my “magic pants”, which looked like cacki slacks, but were actually of stretch spandex material, skate shoes that looked like mockasins and a striped button up shirt. Our styles of loving the simple things in life worked well, she was self assured, an expert with tools and drinking. Our relationship was a strong camaraderie, an instant bond of love and respect, with the added benefit of physical forms and spirits that polarized each other.
Evening was setting in and it was time to go treasure hunting. Waste is an illusion that benefits the clear-sighted. With my dollar store flashlight we took to the village and filled up two grocery bags with produce, bread, cold cuts, chips and mustard. We also helped ourselves to a few gallons of lightly used fryer oil. There were black cats everywhere in those back alleys, a colony apparently, "don't feed the cats", we disregarded. Back at the bar karaoke was in full swing. Danny was at the helm and instead of choosing a song from a list like the other patrons, he faced the crowd and sang a sea shanty with easily repeatable lyrics "Will the lord above, send down a dove, with a beak as sharp as a razor. To cut the throats, of them there blokes, who'd sell bad beer to sailors". The entire audience was singing along, Danny can be quite commanding. I took that opportunity to further hype the crowd and started break dancing. Later, sitting on a bench outside, we enjoyed some good grass and acoustics tunes with the poet from the night before and Danny's pal Frank. An RCMP officer walked up and frank hid the joint. The officer asked us to be a bit more quite, then agreed when frank asked him for a ride home. Island life.
In the morning we went oyster harvesting, a delightful experience done in the months that don't have R in them, so not the summer months. We found a beach and started collecting fat oysters; the abundance of life was all around us. We spoke about self-sufficiency and economy of emotion, lifestyle and intention. It seems like the more you know, the less you need. Without shoes we waded in the chilly water, finding crabs and clams and a starfish named Patrick that Steph kept to send back to her friend Fish in Montréal. After collecting about four big buckets worth, we paddled back to the boat and took off in search of the Tiny Dancer.