The other day I was walking home alone on a return trip from the dairy listening to one of my favorite podcasts. As I turn onto my street a strange man in dark clothing snickered in my direction. I rushed to the alleyway where my flat is located but before I could get my key in the door the man caught up to me and pulled a gun out of his jacket.
“If you don’t tell me which of Tra’s sisters you like better in the next five seconds I’m going to shoot you in the head,” the man screamed.
“…uh…umm… well I guess…. hmmmm…. I’d probably have to say…. well uhh…”
Boom. The clock expired and the gun blew smoke. The bullet grazed the side of my head and the dripping blood stained my teeth. As I looked down my hands morphed into what I could only describe as mollusk-covered crab claws. I bludgeoned the man with my new crustacean appendage and he disappeared into a cloud of fuchsia smoke.
Okay maybe that didn’t happen. But if someone made me choose between Tra’s two sisters I simply wouldn’t be able to.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say something crazy: life is better when you get along with your partner’s family. Lucky for me I love Tra’s family! They have been so kind and welcoming and couldn’t imagine a better fit. While I could say so many great things about all of his family, I seriously love spending time with his two sisters, Gracie and Mia. We made sure to spend as much time as we could with each of them before we returned to New Zealand. About a week before our return trip home we set up a date with Tra’s younger sister Mia to hang out and maybe shoot some photos.
Our first planned stop of the day was to visit Compass Coffee’s new location. Tra’s friend has been a barista for Compass for a couple of years and we try and visit every couple weeks when we’re in Vancouver. The new location is beautiful. While I loved the intimate environment of the old location, it could sometimes feel a bit dark and cramped. The new location is bright and welcoming without losing it’s small business feel. Aesthetics are one thing but the real test is the coffee. And the coffee’s pretty damn great.
Like all 18-year-olds, Mia is still learning about herself. Through this learning process she’s discovered that drinking coffee makes her already anxious self even more anxious. Some people (including me) can’t function without coffee; she has a hard time functioning with coffee. So, like a responsible adult, she chose to order a decaf latte. I’ll admit, I’ve had a hard time understanding why anyone would order decaf coffee. Choosing to order coffee without caffeine is like working as an unpaid intern. It feels like a real job, but without the crucial benefit of the real thing. After hearing Mia’s point of view I find it a lot easier to understand. For a lot of people coffee is comforting.
Before leaving downtown Mia wanted to explore some of the vintage shops. She has a passion for finding hidden gems in her grandparent’s closet and can often be found digging through Goodwill bins for bargain finds. Mia has the uncanny ability to see the potential in clothing that I wouldn’t have given a second glance and rock it like she’s Madonna. To her, vintage shops are home. For me and Tra, a fourth consecutive winter was right around the corner so we tried our best to find some nice warm clothing while Mia was busy networking with the shop owner. Mia left with the woman’s email address and the possible opportunity to model for her company in the future.
Earlier in the day we decided to explore Camas. Downtown Camas has that time-capsuley feel and we thought it would be great for photos. Also we don’t visit Camas that often. Sometimes I forget that Camas is a place worth visiting just for fun. I tend to think of the paper mill before I think of the vintage movie theater and small art galleries.
The first shop we visited was an art gallery off of the main street. As soon as we entered the shop the eccentric gallery director was captivated by Mia’s outfit. The woman, who was sporting quite the outfit herself, raved that she loved her patched loose-fitting retro jeans. We sorted through all of the interesting sculptures and paintings and a few other people joined us in the store. After sharing a few laughs with the director we waved goodbye and exited the gallery.
As we were searching for interesting backdrops for a photo shoot we found a little alleyway with old brick on one side and a painted silver wall on the other. We had Mia strike some silly over-the-top model poses and we all laughed. She also tried flipping her hair to show off her lion’s mane, but my camera was having a hard time adjusting to the quick movements. Both Mia and I had entrusted our bags with Tra and he looked like a goof strutting with two purses around his neck.
After exploring a few vintage shops we hopped back in the car and started driving around Camas. We drove through some cute neighborhoods and stopped by a swimming pool that I used to visit every summer as a kid. Mostly though, we just drove. We talked about relationships, goals, our ideas and the past. We sang along to Bon Iver while Tra (unsuccessfully) mimicked his falsetto. When we saw all that we needed to see we just kept driving.
Sometimes driving aimlessly with people you love is the best. There’s something about the confining space of a car whipping through space that creates the best atmosphere for conversation. The best car rides end long after you reach your destination. Sometimes a conversation can feel like a radio program or a podcast that is longer than the actual journey. You can’t be satisfied until you’ve emptied all of your thoughts. So, you continue to talk in the parked car for hours and hours without even realizing your seat belt is still fastened. Getting lost in time with the people you love is a great indicator of a quality relationship. I loved getting lost with Tra and Mia.
Music Pick of the Week
Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.