Virginia often wondered if she could be happy living in the city working the nine to five every day. She would rise to a canonical soft rock song every morning and join the migration to the local business district. Transit was the only option, as Virginia believed that driving her car the one kilometer distance to work would result in the immediate destruction of the natural environment, yet still she did not have the conviction to sell her car completely. The car represented travel, the ability to leave, whenever she wanted, and go wherever she wanted. Roads were complicated networks between different cultures, experiences, and friends. They were limitless. But Virginia’s world was bounded by social, economical, political and other limits. For this reason alone she could not sell her car, it represented escape, whether she realized this or not. Unknown to Virginia her life was a juxtaposition of two people, one consciously worked within established confines and norms to establish Virginia in a world of others, to give meaning to her alone in the exodus of humanity. This side was defined by her life of work, family, and social cohesiveness or in other words things that make sense. Virginia’s conscious mind craved rationality; it needs to be rewarded with the pleasures of knowing that rational judgment allowed her to achieve her goals. Her life’s conscious imperative was mathematical in construct and when the equation added up it gave her satisfaction. The other side operated covertly in Virginia, it was there, influencing her, insistently, and anonymously nagging her towards spontaneity. Mindfulness could have corrected this paradox in Virginia’s head however one can not always be mindful when they are engaged in being practical. The complex under which her mind operated created constant tension, but the means to the resolution of this strife brought about a great narrative that led Virginia to a realization that few of us will even reach, it connected her with the Gods of Nature.
Today is January 17th, 2010 and like all good residents of Vancouver I have realized that a sunny day in January should not go without praise, even if it is only two degrees outside. So I will begrudgingly act like it is the middle of the Californian summer and go outside to enjoy the sun. My friend Caroline called and required that I meet her in Stanley Park for our weekly walk around the sea wall. Caroline has always been a prominent figure in my life; she was there for the birth of my first child, there when I married my husband, and when he died and, since then she has been there for me whenever I needed to call upon her. Caroline works with me as a financial investment advisor, where we handle some of the richest and most privileged clients (I swear these people could get away with most anything).
So I climbed inside my car; it is black, my car that is. The kind of black that reflects everything around it so that no matter where I drove my car, it fit in. Against the stern judgment of the salesman, I decided at the time I purchased it not to tint the windows. If my car was to fit in no matter where it went I wanted to fit in to; I wanted people to see the world reflected in my car, and then see me there, right in the middle of it. Anxious to explore. This outlook however was merely one of fascination with the world, with me living the life I do, I realized that recognizing it would be a much bigger challenge.
I hit the road at 7:00am to meet. As a young women (My mother always told me I wasn’t a girl, but rather I was a young women) I had grown up in a rural community on the British Columbia coast, and my weekly walks with Caroline brought me back. When I pulled into the parking lot Caroline was doing completely ridiculous looking stretches, seemingly straddling a tree. For me these walks were a re-connection with nature, like a Romantic poet I venerated upon the natural wonder that engulfs the park. For Caroline however, this was a grueling workout; she was always ready in tight, bright spandex pants and a tank top on warm days, wind breezer on cold days. As she stretched she obsessed over the calibration of a pedometer, wanting to ensure it would be just right so she could calculate her steps. She looked like she belonged in a Richard Simmons video, as a stand in for Richard himself. Regardless of Caroline’s intentions I greatly appreciated the company, and she was always full of some interesting bits of information floating around the workplace.
Caroline had a slim, frail figure; her body seemed to almost hang from her bone structure. Her skin was tan, but only I would know that it was all the result of indoor tanning. She walked about with confidence and spoke concisely with a firm but still feminine tone.
When I stepped out of my car Caroline exclaimed, “I’m all stretched out, lets roll!”
I smiled and wondered how she fit into that spandex monstrosity, but being mindful of others self-esteem I replied,
“Caroline! You’re looking ready to run a marathon today! I hope you don’t expect me to keep up, but I’ll do what I can”
The canopy of trees hung over us like Gods watching our every move, reminding me of the paintings of Emily Carr which always depicted the overpowering, ubiquitous form of nature. It seemed almost silly Caroline and I here having this rather pedestrian conversation amidst these steady giants. The trees have no doubt seen thousands, maybe millions of people, and surely they were not impressed in the least by Caroline and I.
Caroline stared at me, “Hello, Virginia? Are we all there today? Stop looking around and lets get going, I have some excellent news for you today”
I snapped out of my trance “Excellent news? Well let’s not waste time!”
We began to jog along at a steady pace, and Caroline, obviously desperate to get out her news started talking right away,
“There are rumors of a new position at the office you know” said Caroline in a very leading voice. I remained silent. “Yeah, the Steinbeck brothers have been very disappointed with how we have been handling their accounts, and they have requested that Steven withdrawal from it, under the threat that they will find a new place to conduct their business”.
Wow, the Steinbeck account I thought! The Steinbeck brothers had been our companies longest and most profitable client, and I couldn’t imagine why Steven, the companies highest earning associate would be removed from such a high profile position. I sensed an air of competition in Caroline’s voice, she wanted this position. The pace of the run began to pick up, as I watched the treetops sway in the wind, seemingly uninterested in our daft conversation.
“So how exactly did you come about this tid bit of information?” I asked Caroline. She glanced up; maybe she realized the divide between us and our surroundings; the pace quickened.
“Well Mr. Raine has asked that you, Steven, and I meet on Monday morning to discuss this, he should be calling you later this afternoon to let you know, but I thought you and I should talk about it first”. I immediately sensed her plot, I stopped completely, Caroline took a few more steps then turned around with her eyes fixed directly on mine.
“Caroline” I brashly asserted “did you think that you could bring me out here, and convince me to let you have this position?”
“no, no , no” replied Caroline “I only wanted to discuss it with you and see if it was something that you would want to do or not” Caroline’s response seemed insincere, but I allowed her to continue, “look Virginia this is going to cause a major problem for the two of us, and I hoped we could figure out what our plan is going into Monday so that we don’t have this argument in front of the boss” she was beginning to make more sense, but I still detected a hidden motive behind this façade. “Mr. Raine told me that there is more than meets the eye in regards to this move, and that he think that I would be more suited for the position, but he believes that you are still a very competitive candidate”. I could not bite my tongue anymore and listen to this nonsense; it is ridiculous, why would Mr. Raine tell her that? I am clearly the perfect candidate compared to her for any position!
I snapped back, “Caroline, I can’t believe you would confront me like this, I had no idea that you would bring this up, I will see you on Monday”. I didn’t know what else to say, I felt like a good friend had betrayed me, I turned around and ran off. The great Douglas fir trees watched with indifference as I got into my car and drove home. Mr. Raine Called later that night and informed me that he would “need to speak” with me come Monday morning.
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