The best time of the year to make the drive to Darren’s house is in the Autumn. It’s about five hours door-to-door — barring any traffic or construction — so there’s a good chance I’ll catch a sunrise or sunset no matter when I leave. It’s particularly beautiful when the leaves are changing and the colours are at their richest along the stretches of the 401.
Sometimes I’ll turn on a stand-up comedy station instead of music, and it helps take my mind off the dreariness of the less scenic parts1. It’s like having another person to talk to, except the conversation goes one way, and they tend to be funny when not overly political2 or Andrew Dice Clay.
I still think of moving back to Toronto, where there’s everything that isn’t available to me in Ottawa. But I hate all the things that come with such an unwieldy and poorly amalgamated city. At my age, I value comfort over excitement, and Toronto has become a city that’s better to visit than to stay.
After meeting Mike in London, I knew that’s where I was meant to live, with Bloc Party and Monty Python and The Underground and rainy weather and Portishead and a billion accents and Only Fools and Horses and that stoic British mentality and Paris just a train ride away. But that wasn’t my fate, and the dirty streets of Toronto are the closest I’ll ever get to that.
This weekend Darren hosted a heads-up tourney, and I walked away with the first pick in the rare draft, six boosters, and an extra $50 prize pool for winner-takes-all3. We stayed up till 3:30 playing casual and I wasn’t even tired, until the next three days when trying to recover from staying up well past my bedtime for a single night.
Nowadays, Magic is the only thing to take my mind off the thoughts I can’t handle. There’s enough creativity in deck building to hold my interest, and I’m lucky enough that it’s also something I share with many of my friends. But it still isn’t enough, and I’m left trying to find other outlets to inspire me.
Some days, it feels like I’m judging the distance from the ground and praying. Other days, I find out my favourite song in high school was just an Isaac Hayes sample, not an original trip-hop creation written for our romantic, adolescent fumblings in the nervous dark.
It’s like the whole world is upside-down, and I can’t tell if I’m falling.