My trip officially started this afternoon at the Washington State Ferries terminal in Sidney, B.C. when the U.S. customs officer asked where I was headed.
“I’m headed down to Vegas to catch the Mr. Olympia competition.”
It was the first time I’d seen anyone fall asleep standing. I guess not everyone has my appreciation of the unusual things in life. Taking back my passport I pulled into lane 9 and shut off the car.
The ferry wasn’t due to leave for Friday Harbour & Anacortes until 5:55pm, which left me a little over 80 minutes. It was only 82 degrees but on the tarmac of the ferry ramp it felt hotter and so I moved into the shade of the small gift shop/cafeteria at the rear of the ferry line-up.
Inside, shelves were lined with the expected fuzzy sweaters and Canadian-themed shot glasses. I don’t know when these became ubiquitous but given all the hand-wringing about binge drinking it says a lot that transit hubs still sell them. Call them decorative all you want but we both know that their sole purpose is to expedite the delivery of alcohol to your beleaguered liver. Should marijuana ever be legalized I’m looking forward to seeing our ferry terminals and airports proudly displaying their collection of novelty Canadian bongs underneath a wallpaper of “stop toking” ads.
The counterman was trying to sell a group of tourists on blueberry scones ‘fresh from the oven’. Someone finally took the bait but specified the scone at the very bottom of the pile and the look on his face was worth paying what I did for a hot dog & a bottle of Coke.
Afterward, I finished my food at one of the shaded picnic tables and took a walk through the lanes back to my car. Most people were stewing in their vehicles, tapping away on their phones, reading the newspaper or arguing, just for something to do. A pretty young American couple sat on the tailgate of their truck eating food from a blue and white Coleman cooler, their bronzed skin somehow impervious to the heat.
A while later, a man in the Nissan next to me took a break from playing with his car’s electronic locks and turned on a mambo CD, which wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn`t been keeping time by loudly slapping his steering wheel. Every now and again he would look to his long-suffering wife and loudly lament how all the great mambo kings were dead. By the time our ferry, the Chelan, began loading I was prepared to send Mr. Mambo Nissan to join them.
Brennan Storr writes the blog Largely the Truth