For you, the dress code is casual.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

More of the same

That seems to be the order of the day: More of the same.

Another routine weekend breakfast, another underwhelming weather day, another round of "Can I afford to do this?" internal debate, and another day of nothing pressing, nothing needed.

But that's all right. I like my same old, same old. I like the quiet constancy that propels my life. Some days I want surprises, and I seek them out. Some days, I want nothing out of the ordinary.

Today, I want a little bit of both. Despite the inconsistent light falling of rain, the scattered pattern lighting offered by the mix of dark and bright clouds, I'm heading out on a photo excursion.

Chinatown, here I come. Vancouver has the second-largest Chinatown in the world, next to San Francisco. We have a massive Asian population in this city, and it stands out. The neighbourhood sprung up more than a hundred years ago and has retained its distinctive sense of community, like a tiny otherworld within our now-sprawling metropolis.

I remember my mother and I hopping on the bus from way, way out in the suburbs and travelling down to Chinatown for the day. I'd always get the same things every time-- a new paper umbrella to hang in my bedroom, a new pair of flat black strap-up slippers, and a bar of Bee & Flower brand Jasmine soap. Once or twice a year, I'd get my new silk Chinese pajamas with embroidery on 'em. Wonton soup would enter the mix somewhere. After all these years, our Chinatown trips remain one of my favourite excursions, the memories of them all just blending easily into one.

Years later, in the final few years of her life, my mother would work there, selling real estate with an Asian firm, whom she'd travel to China with, and who would teach her the enigmatic Chinatown inside and out after she became trusted implicitly by that normally secluded Asian community.

I never go to Chinatown these days. I don't really know why, but I don't go, despite it being 15 minutes from my home. I'm curious what a photo excursion will do for me, what my eyes will see now that they saw those decades ago, what emotional triggers will fire. I find myself wondering if my first photo excursion will just be self-involved crap, or if it'll be a goldmine.

There's one way to find out. And I'll post the outcome later tonight or tomorrow.

(...And now a deluge begins. Rain's bouncing off the asphalt. It isn't exactly the sort of weather that beckons you to bond with a camera or hop onto a scooter for a cross-town drive. Perhaps, though, it might yield a rich bounty. And then again, it could all be shit. But we'll soon know.)