Saturday, January 7, 2017

Returning to Vancouver from New York City

Laura and I returned home from New York at 3 am this week.  First we were very thankful that we got to JFK on time. Redbury Hotel staff were very helpful and the taxi driver was a delightful Punjab young man who discussed spirituality and humour the whole ride with us.
Next we were thankful to get through security without trouble.  In the past it’s been a  major kerfuffle when they've found Laura or I carrying guns, ammunition, or hunting knives in our baggage. Laura really likes having her own luggage now and resists borrowing any of mine. .
I was thankful to have my aisle seat. I do like to stretch my long legs. Having been in a plane crass I always feel less claustrophobic. Older I like to pee and remember this young woman on a flight back from London saying to me, “Do you have to go again. You just peed.”  I had got up twice in an 8 hour flight and did not kill her outright because she was young, stupid, ugly,  and unlikely to be good eating.
I was thankful too to have our luggage overhead and the Philippine Airline Staff so helpful and pleasant and solicitous.  It was really gratifying when the plane took off so well and we didn’t have to Scully in the Hudson River. I really just wanted to have an uneventful flight.  They even served us a lovely meal.  Philippine Airlines is truly delightful to fly with.
I slept some. Watched a couple of television episodes. Took a couple of trips to the loo.  5 hours passed before we knew it.  I was then thankful that the unloading went quickly and smoothly and that customs didn’t delay us.  The best part  was getting our luggage off the carousel. It arrived in tact.  I am just really thankful when I see my luggage and feel the relief that comes with that.
Vancouver from the taxi looked great. It was all still there.Ugly with snow and ice but known.  When I’ve been in  the strange I feel really good coming home to the known.
I actually got a few hours of sleep before finding enough clean clothes to go out to work.  I loved driving in my little Miata.  It’s just such a friendly little car.  Then I was at work and all the people there were great to see. I really am blessed to work with some of the finest doctors and staff around.  It’s comforting and reassuring.  I liked seeing my patients and getting back into the routine.
I was thankful then to see my home was still there. No terrorists bombs, fires or floods had taken it away.  There was heat.  The water lines weren’t frozen.  I changed the propane tank and turned up the heat  to make the place cozy and warm.  It hadn’t been burglarized.  It was still untidy and disorganized and desperately in need of a cleaning lady. I blame Gilbert but his contribution is only to the toy and ball strewn floor.
Then Kaloo Kalay I drove over to pick up Gilbert from Mida.  Mida Hannah and Hannah’s brother,  the whole family and his dog girlfriend Hacchi had cared for Gilbert while we were away.  Gilbert was excited to see me as usual.  He’s a bit shocked for a moment and then goes nuts.  Lots of barking and running about in circles.  Lovely to see Mida. Just great to be reunited with Gilbert.
In the car ride home he was licking my ears and snuggling. A real suck. At home I was throwing ball and he was fetching. Then he was lying on top of me whenever I tried to read. He slept the night with his little body pressed up against mine.
I was thankful too for the electric blanket. I turned the heat down. The electric blanket is a god send.  It really was cold outside. I
I was thankful for sleep. While I loved the Redbury Hotel and the modern shiny bathroom it really was great to be home with my own toilet and sink and shower.  It’s comforting. I especially loved making my own stove top expresso coffee and sitting on my own couch and relaxing before getting ready for work.
I’ve said a whole lot of prayers and meditated a bit too.  It really was a blessing to go to New York. It was a wonderful vacation and a thorough joy to see the amazing creativity of my fellow man and woman in the shows and museums and galleries. I still can’t get over telling people how millions of people from every race and culture interacted together with respect and civility. We were wall to wall in bodies but no one was having road rage or being obnoxious. It was wonderful.  Some of it was the Christmas season. People were collectively thinking of the baby Jesus. But even in the Pagan New Year’s celebration there was no attacking of women en mass like they did in Cologne. The New York police were the very best in the world.  New York is an amazing city.
I really am thankful to be back in Vancouver. Despite the perfection of the shows in New York I really can say I love the Symphony, Opera, Early Music, theatre and our Art Gallery really does have excellent visitting works. We have shows like U2 that come here. There’s culture and art and It really is world class.  There’s a profound ‘excellence’ that one encounters in New York, an A+ team of the best of the best on Broadway but we get glimpses of that here and overall aren’t deprived.
I remember a story my friend ,who was Canada’s leading ballet dancer, told me 40 years ago.  “I was standing in a Broadway audition line feeling pretty sure of myself as the foremost dancer of Canada until I asked the guy ahead of me, what he did. He told me he was the lead dancer for the Russian Ballet and the guy behind me was the lead dancer for Germany.  It turned out everyone of the hundred people in that line were the leads from their countries. Frankly I didn’t feel too badly I didn’t get the job. Getting the audition was a pretty big thing..”
CATS in New York will forever be the most ‘perfect’ production I have ever seen.  The dance and song and acting were simply incredible.
I loved the architecture of New York.  I loved the churches of New York: Trinity, St.Paul’s, St. Patrick’s and Riverside I loved the galleries and museums:  the MET, the Neue, the Guggenheim, MoMA,  The Museum of Sex was fun as well.  I loved being able to go into the historic and beautiful Trump tower.  I loved standing again on top of the Empire State Building.  I loved the Ferry Ride to Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty. It was moving to  visit the 9-11 memorial. I loved walking around New York, 5th Avenue,Park, and Madison, Central Park, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Bowery, Midtown.  I loved our Redbury Hotel and the local Bread and Butter,nearby MacDonald’s and the Churchill.  I am so thankful the weather was so good. I’m thankful for the taxi and subways.   I am so thankful for sobriety,spirituality and service.
I am very thankful to have such a beautiful, exciting, caring companion in Laura as well. Her joy and enthusiasm and good spirit made everything so much richer.
There was one thing I haven’t seen in Vancouver that I appreciated in New York, and London and Dublin before. It’s ‘big theatre’.  I love the excellence of little Pacific Theatre but was thoroughly moved by Chekhov’s Present with Cate Blanchet. Part of the charm was the number of characters,all of who were great and I realized I’ve not seen such a memorable play here. The other thing that really moved me was the Lincoln Centre. What a truly outrageously perfect opera and symphony centre.  I expect Vancouver would do well to consider an arts and cultural centre because we truly have the talent.  Enough with the bike lanes!
Yes, I’m thankful to be back.  I was really thankful to see my friend George. It was great to see Dave. I love known faces and the reassurance that comes with realizing after such novelty of vacation, that here I have friends.   I liked talking with my nephews and loved getting another  wonderful warm sweater from my sister in law Adell. I’ve been feeling truly cherished every time I wear Anna’s hand made scarf and realize how much love I’ve been blessed to know.  It’s a good life.  Getting thousands of miles away and returning really does wonders for gratitude.
No doubt bureaucrats and wankers will begin again to suck the very life out of me, people will threaten my life and my dog, liars will tell lies, takers will take,  but at least for a day or two I really  can feel relaxed and  alive again.  Today I  am truly grateful for this life.  I think some of the relief too is getting through the ‘holiday season’ when the drunkeness and drug abuse in Vancouver maxes out.  I’ll never forget Laura saying how much she enjoyed New York because there wasn’t marijuana smoke everywhere.  I loved the smell of fine perfumes and colognes walking through the crowds and sitting on the subway.
Now I’m thankful for this Saturday and the sunny blue sky day.  My truck engine wouldn’t turn over. I have to  jump the battery.  That means I have to get off this couch.   Maybe I'll make another coffee before showering and shaving. But really, isn’t God great.
Thank you Jesus for all your blessings!  Thank you Thank you Thank you.

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Barbara Harris said...

Thanks Bill
Loved all your NYC trip posts!
Cant wait til Feb, when Ill be going back myself for a week
It really is a lovely city. So much to do. So little time.

haykind said...

Thank you.Hope you have as wonderful time as we did!