This afternoon, as I sat in a darkened theatre watching a movie I never would have chosen to watch had I known how sad this scene I was watching Amy Madigan in was, I remembered something Alexander Prior had said.
Prior is the Chief Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He is young, like 24, I think, which means I have two neckties, one suit and an old Trek 750 older than he is. Anyways, there he was above us on stage a couple of weeks ago during an ESO Late Night gig at the Winspear. He was introducing Jalons, a work by Iannis Xenakis. Right. I'd never heard of him either.
Before he poked his players to life with his baton, Prior said something remarkable to the audience. He said we probably wouldn't like the music. He said we didn't have to like it. Just listen to it and we could talk about it later, he said. And then they played it. The work was unfamiliar, grating in parts, coming apart in other parts, and soaring. I liked parts, but, overall, he was right. I …
"I'm gonna stop for some groceries," Shelagh said. "See you at home."
We were leaving, she in her little car, me on my bike, after having coffee at Iconoclast by the graveyard this morning.
I got home first. To a locked house. Unless I have to, I don't carry keys anymore. I still can lose keys if I don't actually have them on me, I have proven that. But it is more difficult. I took my phone out of my pocket to text Shelagh and get her ETA. Dead phone.
Locked out of house and phone, what do I do?
For whatever random reason, my first thought was to pedal to Meadowlark Mall and go to Tokyo Express for a double chicken rice bowl, with skin. Why this came to mind I have no idea. Then I saw the orange plastic ball by the stump of weeping birch in the middle of the back lawn. I keep the ball there on purpose. It's a reminder of boyhood. We used those iconic balls to play road hockey and indoor ball hockey and we also used them to play baseball at this tim…
My left shoulder throbbed. From the hot pain rose the strangest image. A giant eagle had sunk its giant talons into my left shoulder, and then squeezed until I breathed out, barely controlled, a thin jet of frosty air. I had just fallen off my bike coming down a stretch of riverbank ice blanketed by morning snow. My front wheel slid. I lost control. I hit hard. I was on the ground, part of a debris field. My bike was on its side, its front wheel twisted backwards. The Go Pro handlebar mount was sheared off. The camera was half buried, still rolling. The tiny red light record indicator pulsed. The rear panniers were hanging by single hooks. These are things I noticed when my shoulder was dislocated. It was so quiet, in the snow, in the trees, under the sky.
This is what it looked and sounded like from where I sat, and then didn't.
I was part of a perfectly lovely morning in the city. Jeff at Sugared & Spiced had opened the shop early for Coffee Outside. I talked…