Last night my pal Frank called me for a chat after midnight, and we got into a discussion. It meandered all over the map; it went backwards and forwards in time. It was conceptual and theoretical and just really, really good.
Along the way, I let something slip. I think I actually prefaced it by saying, “You’re the first person I’ve ever told this…”
The “this” is pretty unremarkable. It’s the end result of an equation made up of a lot of other things, including but not limited to: cars, travel, Canada, night, romance, peace, the 1990s, a Douglas Coupland book, a Rural Alberta Advantage song, and more.
I have this place I go. It’s somewhere between a thought and a memory. Maybe it’s a bit of a fantasy too. I clued into it most sharply last summer, when I was visiting Montréal and staying with my editor and friend, Jamie O’Meara. It was summer, and we had few responsibilities. Before we’d turn in for the evening, we’d listen to music and shoot the breeze. Every night we did this, without fail, we played two RAA songs in a row: “North Star,” and “Stamp.” My favourite was the former, his was the latter.
“Stamp” is objectively a better song, but “North Star” did something to me. I knew it the moment I first heard it, in the late winter of 2011. It took me somewhere, reminded me of something.
Today, that something is a place. It’s a place I go to and a place I am taken to when things are just right.
I have this recurring vision, this fantasy. I’m driving a car. It’s night. I’m driving underneath this pitch black sky dotted with bright white stars. It’s cold outside but it’s fine in the car. I don’t know if there’s anyone else in the car, but that doesn’t matter. There could be; there doesn’t need to be. I’m just driving, driving westward. It’s calm, it’s peaceful, it’s solitary — I’m alone (maybe) but not lonely. I’m driving, my headlights leading the way.
This image, this thought, this fleeting feeling — something about it makes me think of love, peace, and calm, and those things flood my brain and pour into every inch of my body. The thought is of the 1990s, of youth, of the largeness of the world and the infinite nature of the universe. I think of how everything felt at the beginning of that decade, when I was young and I didn’t know any better. Back when I didn’t know anything about anything, or anyone. Back when everything was an untouched canvas, an unwritten book.
There’s a beauty in there, somewhere, that I really can’t put into words, a perfection in that sense of freedom and calm.
It’s my favourite thing in the world.
It’s the best feeling in the world and it’s never actually happened.
This is post #13 in my #30posts challenge. Don’t know what that is? Read this.