May 30th, 2016. I officially make myself homeless, giving up the cozy little one bedroom apartment I’d holed up in for the last 2 years. No more internet included, fully furnished, heat and hot water. This is it. I’m a nomad. Unfortunately, I had words with my landlady for the first time ever. She’s sweet but somewhat high strung and after giving her six weeks notice, not 48 hours went by before she would ask me once again what my exact schedule was. When I would be actually leaving. I had told her Monday, May 30th at the latest but she kept thinking it might be sooner even though I told her that by sooner it might, just might, be the 29th. I really like her so I helped her all I could to find a new renter for the apartment and even allowed her to rip out the kitchen while I was still living in it. She came down and measured and remeasured everything, planned for new carpet and flooring and told me all the new wonderful things she was planning for the apartment once I wasn’t in it anymore.
Monday morning rolls around and as soon as she realizes I’m awake, she is in there pulling up carpet, asking when I am going to leave and pulling her extra boxes out of the storage unit under the stairs. Again, I understand that she’s high strung and has two days to sell some of the furniture and put in the new carpet but she seems obvious to the fact that at least until the door hits me in the ass, that I still LIVE THERE. I have a little more repacking to do (life on the road is spent packing, repacking and maintaining some sort of balance both in your soul and on your back.) and just wanted to spend some quiet reflection alone moments before I go on what might be a life altering journey. “Do you need this box?””I found these mints on the bedroom floor.” “Do you think I should keep paying all these premium channels on the cable?” and telling me for the 15th time that there was someone coming later in the afternoon to install the carpet.
I felt that I tried a few subtle hints to let her know that she was in my way but she was in her world and I respect that but she was really getting under my skin. Finally I opted out of the “private reflection” and opted into “saddle up and run”. I threw my packs onto my back and for the first time felt that I’d made a mistake by packing all my electronic equipment into my secondary pack which I’d attached to my primary pack with carbiners. All in the secondary pack weighted probably seven kilos more than the primary. The slung over my left shoulder, the secondary pack continued over and walloped my right shoulder, throwing me off balance and pinning the right strap to me back.
“Can I help?”, she asked. “Yes, I replied, “You can really help by not being here!” I saw the tears welling up in her eyes, having never heard a terse word leave my lips, and even though I knew I’d regret it, I went for the kill shot “Goddammit,” I let loose, “Did you notice that I haven’t even moved out yet!” She left the room crying and I knew I was going to have to make an apology before I left. My temper used to be a lot worse and one of the reasons I regained control over it years ago is because, despite the ill feelings I have in the moment, making amends afterwards usually takes exponentially more time that the outburst, however warranted, was worth. With the apology quickly out of the way, I careful threw my pack on and was out the door and up the street to catch the #36 bus which, after a series of transfers would eventually leave me with a kilometer of the Trans-Canada highway.
45 minutes later I was kicking myself because I want to make sure that I filmed the first few minutes of my departure but the mono-pod was unhinged and the go-pro was flopping around. The footage is there and it certainly shows that no matter how prepared I think I am for any change, I’m never truly preparing till I am in the paint of it.
But there I was, standing on the on ramp for Stoney Trail and the TCH, smile plastered on my face, thumb outstretch and waiting. And waiting…
And waiting. Until an hour later, I decided “Screw the rules. There are way too many cars on the actual highway. I’m breaking the law and standing on the freeway not the on-ramp.” Breaking the Law by Judas Priest rang in my head as I hit the shoulder and threw out my thumb. Breaking the law for the first time since I was a teenager.
And reaping the rewards for my crime!