Thursday, August 21, 2008

how i learned to love patsy cline (even more)

i spent the weekend at a friend’s cottage on Pike Lake, near Perth. see, i don’t have my own cottage, so i’m that jerk that mooches off her friends in exchange for….my awesome company. this weekend it was a gathering of some of my best friends from high school, with whom we’ve managed to stay in touch over the years. it’s always a great time, as you can only have after over ten years of putting up with each other.

we like to pretend that we’ve stayed the same and nothing’s changed, which is partly true and partly false. it’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that EVERYONE at the cottage was now either a med student, a law student, or a pharmacy student. we also can’t stay up all night anymore and take more naps because we get tired. on the other hand, we are all still the same selves deep down inside, fun loving, silly, bafflingly unmarried, alarmingly nerdy and with the maturity of a thirteen year old when immersed in water (or beer).

this time we all seemed to bring our instruments so with a total of four guitars and two banjos at the cottage we got some great jamming in all weekend.

rob and i took a drive into perth on Saturday because he was craving roadside chip wagon poutine, and i suddenly had this moment. i was sitting at the picnic table waiting for the dude to finish up with the gravy. the highway road was nearly abandoned and everything was calm and still, with no sounds but a quiet staticky radio playing Johnny Cash. off to the side there was a flea market going on with folks selling crafts and fruits but there were no customers just then, just a big sign that said FLEE MARKT.

everything was so serene, and i was suddenly struck with this feeling, “so this is the country.” all of a sudden i understood all those country western songs about lovin’ Texas and wanting to go back home to the simple life at the farm. all this time i’ve only seen the bad side, seeing “country life” as synonymous with redneck ignorance or stubborn racism, which is still very true in many parts. all the horrible racist attitudes, and jim crowe atrocities that happened deep south was a result of southern white folks not knowing how to cope with this forced change in their simple lifestyle and paradigm, and so reacting with hostility to this abrupt interruption. but i suppose if you somehow overcome the obstacle of the fact that you will not be immersed in the diversity of humanity (or any kind of crowd at all really) but need to be open-minded anyway, there is much to be learned from just sitting back and enjoying the quiet slow pace. it was almost a Buddhist zen-like moment of peace, and for the first time in my life i saw the attraction of buying a house way out in the sticks.

i probably won’t do that. but maybe i’ll be the first asian to buy a cottage. maybe. or maybe i'll just keep showing up at yours.