So long, New Westminster.
As I pack up the last year and a half of my life (a nightmare of Rubbermaid tubs and grovelling to used bookstores), I just want to say, your Downtown was better than your Uptown (although Uptown was better than I thought it would be), your restaurants are delightfully sole proprietary, but your hills are steep and I will never – ever – miss the soot from traffic along Royal.
So long, fare thee well. Keep in touch.
So we’ve moved.
My address no longer says Vancouver but rather: New Westminster.
New Westminster. The first capital city of British Columbia. New West is the hipster of BC capital cities, being a capital before it was cool. Dude, we are so colonial that there’s a Union Jack waving in the breeze well within sight of our balcony.
I’m closer to work, closer to family. Further from downtown, too, but that’s yet to be an issue.
You see, the thing with New West is you never realise how many people you know live there until you start advertising the fact that you’re a new resident. All of a sudden everyone lives in New West. Old friends live in New West. So-and-so’s aunt lives in New West. That person I never really speak to but see in the hall all the time at work lives in New West.
It’s like New West is to affordable living in the Greater Vancouver area what The Smiths were to 80s pop music. No one really admits it, but everyone’s in on it.
We’re close to the apparent Heritage District, which is nice. We’re close to The Quay, which is also nice (if you like gelato and the sound of tugboats). We’re close to Skytrain, which is always nice.
And we’re just far enough away from fast food restaurants and the like that we’re forced to do weekly grocery shops and other grown-up things like plan meals.
It’s sickening. And exhilarating.
You enter the process with so much excitement. The possibilities seem endless: hardwood floors! 1000 sq ft! Mountain views! Close to Skytrain! In my price range! Utilities included!
You do a drive-by. Walk around the area. “I could live here,” you think. You find yourself dreaming of the future like it is some kind of golden age just around the corner; this beautiful utopia that finally seems within reach. Is this not the kind of adulthood you were always told you would have?
But then you dig a little deeper. Make a couple calls. Some internet research. Find out about the bed bugs. The past history of murders and muggings. Find out that we live in frickin’ Vancouver, where the kind of money that gets you a mansion in Toronto gets you a crackhouse here.
You cross a few things out on your list.
You widen your parameters a little. You try to tell yourself this part of town is “the next big thing.” That “I’ve heard they’re planning on gentrifying.” But, as Boyfriend noted: “This is definitely east East Van. See that big shadow on the horizon. That’s Burnaby.”
“But the price is good,” you tell yourself, “And the building is nice.”
Compromises are kicking in.
And this goes on. And on. Until you just find yourself thinking “I just need to find somewhere before the end of the month. Fuck it, anywhere.“
So I got this facebook message from a friend who purged their facebook friends list of all people they no longer wished to have any contact with. Those douchebags from high school, random people you talked to one night but never again, and other such useless acquaintances who clog up your friends feed with their stupid comments and pictures of their equally stupid offspring. It sounded like a brilliant idea, but one I’ve found that I’ve had difficulty following through with myself.
Like the narcissistic personality disorder sufferer that I, as a natural blogger, am, I’ve been forced to connect it to a larger issue in my life. In recent conversations I’ve had with this friend, I expressed my desires to move away for a year, or two, or three, or more. Probably London, or anywhere else in the UK, since I am a citizen and I already know how to navigate the Tube. This friend expressed similar desires, and explained that they would want to sell everything, leaving no ties, no baggage. It is like purging one’s digital friends. I love this idea, but perhaps it’s an extra dose of idealism and a dose short of reality.
Continue reading “Stalinist Purges of Personal Possessions and Facebook Friends”