Now, I know what you’re thinking: Vancouver isn’t a real city, and BC isn’t a real “province,” and what are provinces anyway? And you’re probably also thinking: Canada isn’t a real country but if it were I’d want to do spring break in Churchill, Manitoba with the sled dogs, and do they really speak French in Quebec? Also, I heard someone talking about this place called “The Maritimes” once. What is that? There’s a province called “New Brunswick?” You’re shitting me…

Yeah, we’re a little ignorant down here in the south, and by the south I mean The United States of America, and by The United States of America I mean the land of the free, home of the brave, etc etc. I make a point of knowing a little about our neighbors to the north, though. I spent three months here on a reconnaissance mission in 2007, gathering intelligence while posing as an illegal deli worker in Victoria. Am I saying I’m a spy? Obviously not. You don’t have to be a spy to gather intelligence.

But ANYWAY, Vancouver. I got here yesterday morning and went straight to Fantasy Cuts, my favorite hairdresser in the land, on Broadway and Fraser. Fantasy Cuts is run by a troupe of Filipino women, one of whom is apparently in her 80’s, and offers damn cheap cuts at $15. Canadian. I don’t know how much that is in USD, but I know it’s less. I also know that with the beard trim my cut came to $22 cold cash, and then $30 after I tipped a few shekels ‘cuz I’m careless with currency.

Oh, Canada.

Our home and native land.

True patriot love?

(I don’t know how it goes).

We stand on guard…for…THEE!

God keep our land, glorious and free…

After Fantasy Cuts I went to Whole Foods and got a smoothie, and then to my friend Jeff’s house who works as a web designer and who was chilling on his computer while the girl he’s dating did drawings on the couch. I’d just heard the song “November” by Max Richter in the car and implored Jeff to play it at moderate to high volume. Max Richter plays quote unquote contemporary classical music, which I thought I hated but it turns out I might love. I probably listened to “November” seven times yesterday, depending on the strength of the Yuan. Then we drank coffee and watched as a girl across the alley engaged in some sort of modelling photo shoot, gyrating and posing in front of the camera. And then I left Jeff’s house and went to the library.

At the library the two dudes next to me talked of stabbing and murders.

Which was not, to say the very least, ideal.

But what does one do with 24 hours in a city? How does one maximize one’s time? Does one spend time galavanting, or rather reflecting?

I struck a healthy balance and took a nap (while listening to Max Richter, of course).

In the evening I dined with my friend Jenny and Jeff and Jenny’s cousin. They drank wine and then Bailey’s and then we smoked a cigarette on the balcony. It was raining outside, that kind of Vancouver rain that is a mix between a mist and silence but still soaks you to the marrow in about five minutes.

As I lay on the floor, preparing myself for sleep, I reflected on the day and what I would do the next day. Had it been a good day? Had I lived well?

But of course! All is well that ends well. And how can any day be bad that’s spent among friends, drinking mate, getting semi-precious dirt-cheap haircuts?

-W

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