Date Nights and Winter Highway Dreams

by - January 24, 2016

date nights and winter highway dreaming
Last night we journeyed along clear winter highways to the Wismer House in Port Elgin where we helped celebrate the birthday of a dear friend we hold close to our hearts. I have low expectations for a beach-town in winter but the crowd was enthusiastic and the atmosphere warm and we absorbed the low bar lighting and the infectious groove of The Mackenzie Blues Band and all I can say is as I sat there I knew without a doubt, this was the colour, taste and feel of happiness.

I am the poster-child for introvert. I am not naturally drawn to the pub scene where the floor is sticky with beer and the people swoon to rhythms they can't quite keep up to. I often feel silly—like a child hiding in the closet, watching the party through the slats in the door, enjoying the show but not ready to be part of it. I like to find my comfort. I like a table with a good view of the band and I like to park it for the night—a straight eye-line to all the excitement but safely on the outskirts where I can memorize the way people move and design wicked plot-lines for their doppelganger-role in my next novel.

I worry, every so often, that people think I'm not having fun. But then I tell myself: who cares! I'm having fun watching them thinking I'm not having fun.


People-watching is the highest form of entertainment. And education. And creative fodder.

So I sat on that stool for hours—the stool I claimed upon first coming through the door—the stool that might make me a square—the stool from which I sipped my ginger-ale with lime and watched the bad dancers spilling their drinks and the band spreading so much joy you could feel it in the laugh-lines that will never really go away after such a beautiful night...


As we drove home, turning onto Bruce Road 10 as the clock clicked past 3 am, I felt warm with giddiness though my feet were freezing. "I want to live in a van," I said. "I want to sell everything and live in a van."

"Like Shameless?" my husband asked, his hand on my thigh as I drove.


"The tv show."

"They don't live in a van. You mean poor and miserable? Life in a van would not be poor and miserable. I think it would be the most fun we've ever had." 

I want that freedom. 
I want the road. 
I want the world. 

{Of course, all of this is made entirely difficult because I also have children to parent BUT sometimes, dreaming out loud helps you know yourself and right now I KNOW I want to someday be a grey-haired hippie, exploring the country with the windows rolled down, Joni Mitchell on the radio, drinking coffee brewed in a pot on a hotplate at a rest-stop parking lot!}

"I would live in a van and I'd do it shamelessly. I want us to live wherever we park."

We gazed out at the empty highway and the fields on either side were lit up with a kind of magical blue light—though we couldn't see the moon through the clouds. {And, could you capture that light, it would possibly fetch enough fortune to purchase a really nice van!}

"What if, right now, this road was leading anywhere you wanted," he said. "Where would we park tonight?"

"New Orleans," I told him. Without hesitation.

"Yeah. Waking up in New Orleans. That'd be pretty great."

"I want to live on a commune, too," I said. "Just for a year. Just to give it a go."

"I don't think you mean that."

"Yes, I do. Beautiful, earthy people, barefoot drum circles, and community gardens. We'd park our van there..."


When my head finally hit the pillow on the cusp of 4 am, my body still pulsing with the sound of the blues that were anything but sad, I thought distantly that dreams, no matter how silly, are the things that keep us grounded even though, by their very nature, they make us want to fly. And the moment we stop dreaming is the moment we stop living.

And I don't know about you, but I'm kind of banking on living forever...

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  1. I have a retro seventies van........We might have to talk about the Joni Mitchell thing though. :)

    1. I'm open to a wide repertoire of musical choices... ;) Rig up that 70's van with a bed, a hotplate, some clever storage, and some dynamite curtains (obviously!) and I'll take it for a two week test drive for you :)

  2. Beautiful! I love the line 'And the moment we stop dreaming is the moment we stop living.'


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