Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I Can Tell That We're Going to be Friends

It all started with an unknown California phone number illuminating my screen like a beacon of curiosity. I was driving through the Arizona darkness on a stretch of desert highway somewhere between Phoenix and Los Angeles when something started vibrating. At first I wasn’t sure if the sound was part of Bjork’s Volta—blaring from the car stereo and bouncing off the passing cacti—or in fact coming from my purse. I picked up the phone and was greeted by He; an excited, inquisitive ball of energy wrapped in a charming British accent. He wanted to proclaim his arrival and know my whereabouts. It’s a shame I hadn’t a clue who he was or how he acquired my contact information.

As it turns out, the Internet is quite useful. He had obtained my number from the aforementioned messageboard, where I distributed it like bits of stale bread to hungry pigeons in an attempt to gather the World’s Largest Arcade Fire Fan Campout Desert Extravaganza (I may have been a bit ambitious). I wanted everyone there and ready for a hurdy-gurdy dance party. He was already waiting at the campsite equipped with an overly clicky flashlight, more British accents and a tent the size of a vinyl-covered Kremlin. I introduced myself, and within a few hours we were running through the polo fields to greet the next arrivals—our shadows monstrous on the lush grass bathed in floodlights—with an Arcade Fire flag and a future.

It was this unbridled enthusiasm that would later inspire him to hop a plane from the steep, disjointed hills of San Francisco to the flat, structured grids of Chicago to see that same illustrious Montreal band with me a few weeks later. Maybe it was the fact that he was enamored with an often-shaking city in California living out the dreams in a Steinbeck novel or the refrain from a Bruce Springsteen song, but He was seemingly unstoppable. He encapsulated spontaneity. It was as if every step we took together was instant nostalgia for seconds passed. Alas, back then He was just a friend staying in a faraway state about to ship off to his faraway home across the sea.

So yes, we’re getting married. There is much more to the tale, but I’ll spare you the potentially nauseating details for now and return to feverishly checking our visa application status on the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) website just to be greeted with bureaucratic stagnancy. It’s as if our lives are stuck on the first level of Tetris with a broken fast-drop button. We know exactly where we want the pieces to lay, but we’re forced into a virtual Purgatory until further notice.

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