Stranger in a Strange Land

woke up this morning in a forest. Inside my house, in my bed but inside a forest none the less. Only a few hours ago I was standing in the dirt in my garden picking the first ripening tomatoes. It’s September – but again, living in a forest it’s tough to grow anything at all so a first ripening tomato even as late as September is still pretty good. Now, however, it’s midnight and I’m in a metropolis.

I just parked my dusty utility car in a parking garage between Ferraris, BMWs and vintage roadsters. In fact it’s not even what I can call my car. My car, the car I bought with stone cold cash over a decade ago now, is long gone. This is a hand-me-down we’re still paying off to my parents. Not so much we as my wife. Not so much my wife as my common law wife. I digress. A lot.

I’m carrying my backpack and a second hand briefcase that contains an eight year old laptop toward the elevators. A security door opens before me, long before the automatic sensor could have detected my approach. I know I’m being watched. Elevator doors, I press the button. There’s a soothing pong, and over an intercom an omniscient female voice with a subtle accent that I’m too tired to identify: “Good night, sir.”

I’m in town for TIFF the Toronto International Film Festival. Because there are people here who want to meet me and I them.

I grin. Hope it doesn’t look as ironic as it feels. I want to seem cordial even though I feel just terrible for this poor woman who’s being paid to be this polite to me. I glance up at the security camera. Wave. Get on the elevator. This is not my world.


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