Drumbeg sandstone

It has been end of term, and that means marking. These terms are oddities of a sort, as they end 2 weeks into January, not at the Christmas break. And because different terms in different institutions end at slightly different—well, never mind, it’s not interesting. The point is this: normally I spend part of each week in the Big City and part of each week At Home. I try to schedule work so that At Home consists of at least 2 full days. If I work it right, I might be able to score 3 full days—that’s what I’ve managed the term that’s starting, hurrah!

But end of term, meh, too much to do, schedules colliding, this past week I stayed in town and didn’t get home at all.

So I was extra enthusiastic today, after the morning class ended, to grab my things and head to the ferries. Home beckoned. A nice relaxing dinner… beer… my sweetie…

Silly me. I should have looked at the weather forecast.

The 10:30 sailing had been cancelled, and the 12:30 sailing had been cancelled. I arrived just after 2 and was told that the 3 pm sailing might go—or not. At 3 pm, more or less, they decided not. At 4 pm, more or less, they decided not on the 5 pm sailing as well.

I had serious doubts about the 7:00 sailing, so I went back to my Big City pad. (Pad? I think I’m showing my age.) I’d stood up all morning teaching, and I’d stood up almost the whole time at the ferry terminal as well, because there were so many people from so many sailings jammed into the waiting room. I did manage to sit on the floor for a bit when people cleared out temporarily after the 3 pm cancellation (I think they all rushed out to various coffee shops) but it wasn’t terribly comfortable. At any rate, I had been watching the wind hitting the trees around the terminal and it didn’t look like it was slowing down, so there didn’t seem much point in waiting longer.

I went and got a refund, and discovered at that point that the weather was actually much worse than it had been when I arrived at 2. There was a very long line of people collecting refunds, and most of the line wasn’t under cover. Nasty, nasty. Lashing rain and wind, and most people not dressed for it. I wasn’t badly dressed for it, but I’d gotten chilled in the waiting room, because I was next to the door, which was open more often than not, so I was glad to FINALLY make it to the booth and get the credit put on my credit card.

Here’s the thing: people sometimes behave badly, especially when stressed. But in this case… people were nice. If an announcement was made and someone didn’t hear, someone filled them in. People chatted with each other amiably. Complaining, yes, but in good humour. No one seemed to be having hissy fits. In the refund line, there was complaining about not being able to travel, and the weather, but not about the BCF decision not to sail, and there was also an astonishing amount of laughter. There was the commercial fisherman who said, “Jeez, they should be running the ferries, this is nothing, we go fishing in this kind of weather all the time.” And the guy who responded, “Yeah, but you guys are all nuts!” At which point they both roared with laughter. And the young woman who complained about the wait and the cold, and the second woman who said she’d been there since 9 am, to which the first one said something like, “I have no right to complain, compared to you, but I’m gonna complain anyway!” Which broke both of them up. And there was the BC Ferries ticket agent who refunded my money, cheerfully and perhaps slightly hysterically after a day of selling tickets with the warning that they might not be usable and answering the same question over and over again, who also was certainly not having a Good Day but not showing it.

Often I hate people, but sometimes I like them. Today liking won out.

We used to live in the Edgemont Village area of North Vancouver, so I know the area. En route to The Pad, I collected a pizza from the deli in the Edgemont Village SuperValu and a bottle of fancy beer from the Edgemont fine Wines and Spirits. After all that stuff with ferries, it seemed like a pizza and beer night.

The beer is interesting. It’s something called Big Smoke Ale, a collaboration between two independant brewers. It’s peaty. It tastes like smoke. Now, a few years ago we went through a phase of testing nice scotches, and decided that the peaty ones weren’t to our taste as much as some of the others, but this ale was interesting. I’d not change my drinking habits to drink this beer everyday occasions (since my usual liquor store doesn’t offer it, that would be impossible in any case), but it’s a nice treat. I think it would go very well with a nice sharp cheese. Something a little different, definitely worth trying.

And finally… I just checked the online schedule, and the 7 pm sailing is also cancelled. Looks like today is a bust for ferries, but the forecast says the winds should drop after midnight. I’ll be aiming for an early ferry tomorrow. I want… home.


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