2022.02.10

Last weekend, I went on a little adventure. It’s been too long since I’ve left my neighbourhood, and I had a good excuse. My essay about watching The X-Files during the pandemic was published in a local magazine called Discorder, and the closest place to pick up a copy (or two) is across the river. That means getting on the Skytrain, which I’ve done just once or twice since this all started, specifically for doctor’s appointments.

It was wet, but not raining. Dreary, but not cold. It was actually really nice.

I stopped at Old Crow to pick up the magazine, and then I found a bench on the newly-built waterfront, and I just sat there. For a while. Doing nothing. Watching the water and the trains passing over the bridge. Listening to the kids running around the playground. Enjoying a London Fog and avocado toast that I didn’t have to make myself.

I also took my Polaroid camera. I can’t remember now if I brought it to Hawaii in 2019, but if I didn’t, that means the film left in the camera was from Palm Springs in 2018. You’ll understand that the pictures aren’t the greatest. But they still worked! They’re still pictures! One more piece of evidence that expiry dates aren’t always the end of life people think they are.

When I planned to be in LA over the new year, I bought new film for the Polaroid. It’s a chunky black 635CL my mom got free through a teacher’s deal in the 1990s. When I bought film in 2018, it was from the Impossible Project, but Polaroid is back now. I have a pack of this black and blue film I’m very excited to use.

But also apprehensive. Because analogue film isn’t cheap. The price per frame makes me stop before pressing that shutter button. I want to make each shot special.

I shared two of them on Instagram today. They’re watery and washed out. There are physical flaws on the film. The subjects are far away. But there’s something there, right? They’re not art. These two shots are documents of a memory, souvenirs of an adventure, no matter how small.

I’m a big fan of small adventures, short day trips, tiny outings to break up the routine of life. It’s one reason I love hiking or even just wandering down an alley you’ve never walked, taking a different route to work.

And that’s one of the things I’ve lost over the last two years. Each trip out of my house has to be planned to keep me safe. The spontaneity is gone.

I found a little bit on this trip. I hope you find some for yourself, in whatever way you can.