So that Friday morning, I searched again through for my cellphone, and convinced myself that it is definitely gone. I used a calling card to call my mother on a payphone, and left a message about that. Then I made sure that the SD memory cards for the cameras were still there, because, lacking the cellphone, they would be the largest prize I would be bringing back from Vancouver.
One of them was missing.
I was so stressed out at this that that last straw was too much for me; there was no one else in the hostel room, so I burst into tears. "Tears will not help a sorrow, o daughters of Israel," but after a minute's crying, I did find the SD card, which had fallen out from the camera case into the bottom of my bag. I made sure both cards were safely stowed. Then I checked out of the hostel, put my big luggage into storage, and went to the Future Hope and returned my camera, uneventfully. I complained about the design as my reason to return it; it wasn't as bad as I made it seem (until I discovered on reviewing those SD cards that a bunch of what I thought were photos were actually videos without my knowledge, and had to rapidly learn Videolan's snapshot capabilities in order to get what I actually wanted.)
I killed some time in David Lam park again, and on the last day, I did indulge in Vancouver's famous sushi for lunch. I have forgotten the name of the place I got it at, but to my inexpert-in-sushi palate, it was very good and very generous. I forgot to pick up the Western cutlery for it, though, so for the first time in my life I ate an entire meal, rice included, with chopsticks. Usually in Asian restaurants and such, I would practice with the chopsticks for a while, on larger things, then abandon them when it comes to rice. I make no pretensions of being what I am not; I was not born to chopsticks, and do know how to use a few other culturally specific household items myself (I don't know if any non-Russian I know, European or Chinese, has ever heard of a podstakannik or knows one on sight and how to use it. Cheaters if you Google.)
And then I came back, took my bag, took the bus to Main Street, and went into the station, read Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See
for a while (on the way there, it was mentioned by someone...somewhere...as a very pivotal book in their lives) and then got on the train.
I was already settling and steeling myself for three days with very little option of sleeping, as I really can't sleep in a chair very well; without a shower; and living on snacks and sandwiches. All I could use these three days for, I thought, is introspection as much as possible, so that they will be useful for something, and then for trying my best to stay sane.
For the first leg of the journey, until Edmonton, thankfully I had a two-seat combination to myself. There was a redheaded guy travelling east for the first time in the seat across the aisle, and we played a magnetic chess game (which I was very close to losing, but may have fought to a draw if I didn't choose to abandon it after dinner; it was my first chess game in six years or so.)
I think that, over these three days, that redheaded guy at first entertained the hope of flirting with me. But, dude, I am sorry. You have no way of knowing, because I am not telling you, that with minimal sleep, showering, and personal space
, I know myself enough to know that I am not just skating the edge of madness; I am trying to do triple Axels and Surya-Bonaly-type backflips on that edge as well. A half-hearted flirtation --- and it IS half-hearted if my intuition isn't crying out that this has potential at all, so I would go about this with only the advice of stupid self-help books to not miss a chance, and thus half my heart, the thinking part --- to quote the line I learned from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
, I am not interested.
I am in steerage class, as a funny lady I got acquainted with, a mother of two, called it. I cannot have interesting books any more
And without a string is my guitar.
And I can't go higher, I may go only lower,
And I can't have the sun and moon, and can't have the star.
And I can't go free now, for I have no right,
Only from door to wall may I.
And I can't go left, and I can't go right;
I may have only dreams and a piece of sky.
Dreams about how I'll come out when my lock's replaced,
How my own guitar they'll bring to me;
How they will meet me, how I'll be embraced ---
And what kind of songs they'll sing to me
Perhaps it is a little strong to use Vysotsky's words about jail to refer to train economy class, but that was how I felt. I cherished dreams, for they meant I actually did sleep some, and not just writhed and turned and tried to find a impossible comfortable position. I wrote them down; some of them are very interesting.
In Edmonton, there were seventy-five people getting on, so half of my two-seater was taken away by a young man about my age, whose girlfriend sat in the seat across the aisle next to the redheaded guy. And so this was until Toronto, and for the next two nights, I slept with him.
I have always wanted to use these words precisely as they should be used, meaning nothing more, and quite a good deal less, as I slept little.
They were nice people. ( The tale devolves into soul searching and poetry, and gets long )
This is getting very very long. I'll tell the rest of the actual story of my voyage home in a new post.