The week away
It was good to get out of Miramichi for a week. I left town because I knew I didn’t want to spend my birthday (or thenabouts) here for a combination of reasons. I’ve been accused of unfairly disparaging the region before, but I can’t find a nicer way to say that the prospect of spending my 30th birthday in Miramichi was too depressing for me. The city’s been dying for years, but the province isn’t doing well, either. The best and brightest leave the province because there aren’t enough opportunities here: we just lost 5,700 jobs last month.
I didn’t really mention my birthday to anyone unless it really came up in a conversation. I don’t really like people going to too much trouble for my birthday, even if I do appreciate smaller gestures. I do feel bad for springing it on my friends so suddenly that my birthday was on Monday. I figured, though, being able to spend time with old friends was a present in itself, especially when I don’t get a chance to see a lot of them too often. I miss their company.
I was staying with friends in Dartmouth, like I normally do when I go to the area. I did a little job hunting, but when I saw my friend work on his own resume for his own application, I realized the one I had been using for the past few months was selling myself into a lifetime of low-wage call center work, at best. I went into this job search place on Friday and was given a bit of advice: my resume was leaving a lot of my skills off (aside from customer service), and my descriptions of my work duties were too generic. I had this feeling that it looked like I was just working as a seat-filler and order-follower at the call centres. I had someone help me, but to be honest I wasn’t giving her much to work with. I’m someone who needs to know what I’m doing wrong in order to fix something, and I’m going to spend the Easter Weekend fixing my resume.
Much of my week was spent exploring the city, with a focus on the North End. One day, I walked across the MacDonald Bridge, down Gottingen to Cornwallis, crossing to Agricola, back to North, then down Windsor to Quinpool. Whenever I go someplace, I just have this urge to be a flâneur with a camera…I usually end up wearing my feet out by the end of the week, but I like having the time and the space to just walk around and encounter who I may. One night, I ended up hitting up a few bars, but bar-hopping by myself is a gamble: for every night where I get into my element and get interesting conversations or something further than that, there’s the probability it’ll be a night where I’m morose, drinking to avoid talking to people. I had considered going to a Guerrilla GayFare on the Friday night, but I decided I didn’t have it in me. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older.
I still took the time to see a few good friends of mine. On Thursday, I visited with a friend from high school and his wife (and watched the news about the Conservatives’ budget, but I’ll spare you my ranting here). We went to their friends’ place for a bit as well. Friday evening was a reunion with a friend from university I hadn’t seen in about four years, and we shared some memories about the people we knew and the impact they made on us, and some deep laughs about the shit we used to pull. Everything about those days seemed a bit more vivid when we were hanging out, and it was good to see him. Saturday was spent with my friends who were hosting me that week, getting some pictures of them and their daughter, and a birthday dinner at Jack Astor’s. I had been debating going to The Company House that night, but felt more like a night in sharing some snacks and a growler of porter with a good friend.
I took pictures. I’m more aware that my focus is not as good as I think it looks in the viewfinder: I have to wonder whether its my eyesight, or just a lack of practice with manual focus. I love my camera but sometimes I’m at a loss for what to take pictures of, and sometimes I realize I am in such a rush to get a finished product that I don’t just stand around and play around. A vestige from the days of 24 exposure rolls of film, perhaps? I don’t know.
Sunday involved a train ride to Moncton from Halifax. Moncton had a welcome familiarity to it that I liked, thanks to a few good memories from the time I lived in the town across the river. I wish I had further integrated myself into the community when I was there. I stayed with another old friend from my university days; I saw her from time to time when I still lived in Riverview, but I don’t think I’ve seen her in over two years. It was wonderful to just be able to hang out and talk, filled with remembrance of university days gone bybut filtering it through the lens of passed time and gained perspective. It had me thinking about the past, about people who were so prominent in our lives before and had an impact on your entire worldview. It also reminded me of how sometimes your orbit passes by someone else’s extremely closely for a short period of time, and then once again, we spin into separate directions. I’m fortunate to have the people I know in my life, but sometimes I wonder if I don’t do all I should to keep in contact with people.
The next morning I met up with another friend of mine in Dieppe, and we hung out for a few hours, discussing our paths, directions, and frustrations. We headed down to Centennial Park, the oasis of Metro Moncton, where the squirrels mocked my attempts to photograph them, but the chipmunks and ducks were more accommodating. There was coffee and mallrattery, before she dropped me off to the place where I was meeting my family for lunch. After food and a bit of shopping, we headed back north, and the effects of being awake since 6:30 that morning caught up with me.
Now I’m back home. I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging so much lately, but I had a good excuse.