the ballad of the lonely G2 bottle

It’s a good thing “Mad Men” hasn’t started yet, because the next two weeks are a crunch time for me and I’ve got no time for it. It’s a self-imposed crunch, a deadline that will have me finishing all but the last bits of the first part of my book. I’ll be halfway done with the first draft, which I pretty much restarted completely before the first week in April was done. Three months of really glorious work. Being this proud of a first draft is an entirely new experience for me. To hit this deadline, I’m going to have to nearly double the number of words I’ve been writing per day, but it’s doable as long as I plan in advance. After this push, the second part of the book leaps ahead a number of years, so I’ll be leaving the sixties behind for another few months while I finish the draft, except for whatever Don Draper wants to share with me. And he’s not the sharing type.

To that end, I brought myself last night to Inbox Zero. Today I have a few personal emails to send to really clear the decks, but I did it. It took the weekend. I worked the heck out of my Evernote account, filing bits of news, story ideas, facts about medical care and law and what kind of ultrasounds were available in the sixties. (They were!) I watched a documentary online that I’ve been meaning to watch for months on the CBC website, and you know how that could have gone—you go back when you have time, and the thing’s been replaced by something else or expired arbitrarily. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but I’ve got to do better at managing the flood of information into my email box. I don’t mind things hanging around in my Google Reader, but a backlogged inbox is a source of stress every time I open it up.

And amid this scattered posting—the kind of thing that would surely wind up creased and crunched in a deep old desk—the Elliott Brood show. There are three things I want to tell you about it:

  • We first heard Elliott Brood a few years ago at Westfest and Myron’s remembered them all this time later, so when we saw they were going to perform for Canada Day we knew we’d be there. Their music is perfect for summer festivals—stylish and crowd-pleasing, with the best kind of energy. It would have taken a lot for us to miss this show—but it’s a good thing we found Oka afterward instead of before.
  • In front of us were a small, dark woman in black lacy garments and lots of makeup, and a wholesome, kind of shlubby-dressed guy, both in their mid-twenties. He had the most startling blue eyes and curly blond hair cut short, and she looked bored out of her mind while he clapped vigorously and sang along with the music. She did a lot of texting. At one point she gestured to him with her phone and walked away, outside the pavilion. They both nodded and smiled at each other. She left her sports drink and her bag of chips on her chair. A few minutes later I said to Myron, “That’s the last he’ll see of her.” The poor guy kept looking for her to come back, but fifteen minutes later he picked up her trash and headed away from the concert he’d obviously loved to track her down. Myron and I shared a look, and then we moved into their spots. Hey, it was a big crowd. You move forward when you can.
  • The venue was set aside for the Jazz Festival, which was going on before Canada Day.  

EB Canada Day from the deep old desk on Vimeo.

After I watched a heart get—if not broken—then squished a little bit right in front of me, I was healed right up by watching the hip-bumping stylings of this other couple. To the left, you can see the red shirt and jeans of the boy left behind. Like seeks like. The shlubby guy will find a girl who thinks he’s a giant teddy bear and who can’t get enough of squeezing him; the tiny girl will find a man who will never tell her he likes her best before she puts her makeup on. And if we’re lucky, we wind up sharing a moment like this with our best friend when our hair’s gone white. I’m just giving this to you unedited and straight from my eight-year-old camera, but if this doesn’t put a tiny smile on your face, well, I just don’t want to know that about you.