NEW YORK CITY April 24th
I lost my one-year post-graduate US work VISA and therefore my job. Until recently I was paid to sort and classify YouTube videos for the legal department of a major entertainment corporation that is preparing an enormous copyright lawsuit against YouTube.
I watched and re-watched ripped and compressed episodes of South Park.
I learned to tell the difference between all the Star Trek movies by their production design and cast.
I planted for two years in college. I thought my last year would be my last year: that was in 2005. I was 22, and moved to New York City the year after. I am 25 now. I have lived in New York for three years, have what some would call a life here, with some good friends and a nice girlfriend. I write this primarily for them, so that they may understand where I am and what I am doing while I’m gone.
I will return in the fall.
VANCOUVER April 26th
I have hiking boots – expensive, indestructible looking things from a mountaineering store in Manhattan. I have a tent. I have a small inflatable mattress, a sleeping bag, some warm clothes, a rain jacket given to me by Lauren’s mother, who works for Columbia, and several varieties of athletic apparel in technical fabrics purported to hold in warmth and wick away moisture. I have wool socks. I have toiletries, a green plaid sweater, and a pair of jeans for the day off. I have underwear, too. I think I have everything ready, save for a few pairs of gloves, which I will buy later.
In my mother’s garage I found the large blue rubbermaid container that held all my gear during my previous two seasons. I could not locate my old planting bags or shovel, which had come to fit my hand in a spot – had worn thin on the handle where I gripped it with my right index finger. I had ground off one edge of the spade (its ‘kicker’) to lighten it and prevent it from catching on broken branches and sticks (‘slash’).
My old alarm clock: a tiny, gray thing with a digital display from a dollar store in Whitecourt, Alberta, is still telling the time after three years. I feel horrible.
Last night, Lauren and I were on CBC’s national news, talking about Errol Morris’ new film, Standard Operating Procedure. They approached us outside a screening for the Tribeca Film Festival.
The journalist was blond and made-up and wearing a pink blazer. I told her I was Canadian and would be happy to talk about the film.
The cameraman turned to face us.
The journalist asked me what I thought about the film and, after a moment of consideration, I said it was ‘troubling.’
In the film, Morris tracks how an organization of people came to accept and condone the torture and humiliation of their captives.
‘What did you find troubling?’ the journalist asked.
Was she aware the film was about torture?
I said, ‘Torture.’
The journalist had expected me to elaborate, and when I didn’t, she appeared stunned.
Then, Lauren began to talk, and the camera turned to her. I can’t recall what she said, but it was good, it was appropriate. She transformed for a brief moment into a public figure – someone saying something relevant for a national news audience.
My grandpa was drifting off on his couch when he saw us on TV: he took a picture and sent it to all my relatives.
CBC cut my words out of the segment and focused only on Lauren.
The winter is running late in the interior. I have heard from my foreman-to-be that the majority of our blocks are either covered in snow or frozen, or both. My start date has been pushed back.