Post 31: Shanghai'd


And then I woke up

—on planet Victoria

Well, it’s been a week of incompletes here in Lake World-be-gone, my new home.

I write this from the lovely city of Victoria, British Columbia, where Shannon and I are joining my mother and her cousin, Gloria—who has a timeshare here—for three days of ‘vacation.’ Yes, that’s a foreign word, I believe, (French perhaps?), and an utterly exotic concept for Shannon and I, who, like self-employed freelancers anywhere, are entirely free to work whichever eighty hours a week we wish to, in any country we choose, but not remotely equipped to wrap our heads around bizarre abstractions like those apparently indicated by this bewildering ‘V’ word. Needless to say, wandering around outside, in the day time, idly perusing the waterfront’s charming restaurants, boutiques, colorful houseboats, and twee little yellow water taxis has been…profoundly disorienting.

We might as well be on another planet.

We’re talking about THREE DAYS here without opening our laptops, or even access to working phones—having elected not to risk the lengthy and horrific billing complications invariably ignited by daring to try turning on—or off—‘international calling plans’! Three days… Can you imagine it? I still can’t—and we’ve been at it for one whole day already.

Frankly, I can’t even handle it. So I’ve tiptoed out of the bedroom, to sit here, well before dawn, in our timeshare’s darkened living room, breathing relief above a lighted keyboard as the others sleep, to write you this brief—and likely inarticulate—cry for help


This whole week’s been characterized by fractured fails.

Our host, my mother’s cousin, Gloria, discovered on the ferry to Victoria that she had accidentally grabbed her expired passport, rather than her current one, as she’d dashed out of her home near Portland, Oregon the day before. Happily, we encountered the nicest Canadian customs officer in the history of Canada as we exited the ferry fully expecting to be put right back on it and sent home. He discussed her peccadillo with her, very soberly, then asked us what we thought he should do about her inadequate documentation. I was quick to assure him that a stern talking to would not be wasted on her. If you knew my older cousin once removed… But alas, the opportunity went by unused. He very gently told her he would entrust us to our custody, and waved us through. I think they should give that man a medal! …I hope he doesn’t lose his job.


Episode Seven of TWICE went out ‘on time’ Friday—with a VERY unfinished illustration. I foolishly decided to try a more ambitious image this week, having the only whole week this summer, I believe, without house guests, in front of me. You will doubtless be surprised to hear that things got unexpectedly complicated from there. The image ‘gracing’ Episode Seven this week may look finished. (I made sure to tidy up what there was, of course). But the scene is meant to depict the opulent office of a new, rather magical character of potentially villainous character. So…one might wonder why the woodwork in this office is…so plain. And why his expansive desk looks made of plywood. And why there is nothing on it but the ledger he is writing in—nor any other objects of interest in this virtually unfurnished space… (sigh…). I will make every effort to finish this illustration alongside next week’s illustration—or the next week’s, so anyone wishing to see what I had hoped to post there on Friday can go take a look in a few weeks to see if I’ve managed to update it yet… Like I said, crazy week.


Given my currently inexplicable circumstances, it seems I must put off the next post in my ‘Dark Wood’ series this week as well, until I’ve left this tourism Twilight Zone behind and resumed my normal life. I hope that doesn’t too badly disappoint the three of you still reading this blog. (Does ‘three’ seem just a tad over-optimistic? ‘Two’ sound better? …One?) :] In any case, I appreciate your patience. It seems this is my week for unfinished things. It was bound to happen—sooner or later. Just kind of amazing, I suppose, that I haven’t fallen off the rails some time ago.


And now, I hear people stirring in the other rooms, so I had better close this laptop and hide it somewhere before I am caught. No telling what the penalties might be in this foreign land for being caught blogging on ‘vacation’—especially while harboring an undocumented alien. Happily, this whole ‘vacation’ experiment will be over by tomorrow evening. I can go back to the planet I know, and get back to work again—all day, every day—like a human being.

So, worry not, my stalwart companions of whatever number. I will be back in the saddle by this time next week, and hope to see you there again.

By for now, cyber-pals—from planet Victoria.

Mark out. :]

Mark Ferrari1 Comment