The World As Mare Sees It...
WestJet Flight 475 to Winnipeg 2008-07-21

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Diaryland

The sky between Toronto and Winnipeg is very blue, except for the occasional Strawberry Shortcake type cloud that we pass over or through. This is my second trip in a week; last Monday at this time, I was on my way home from a long-weekend in Las Vegas, a mini-jaunt that will probably be my only pure pleasure trip of 2008. (Ö said the princess, when her crown was knocked askew.)

My low-rent jet-set life has come to an end, and almost five years of getting on planes every eight to twelve weeks has had to be traded in for things with roots, like a prospering business that wonít let me get away (this is where I obsessively knock my knuckles raw on wood), down payments and mortgages, and motor vehicles that I didnít inherit in manner of suburban princess, privileged brat, etc.

At any rate, itís only Winnipeg, and itís only business, and itís only 3 days, but it is away, and my only regret is that it had to happen so close to my last trip. It could be worse, I suppose. I could be paying for it myself. (Horrors.)

My weekend in Vegas wasnít lost; I can count the cocktails on one hand, I think. The taste for alcohol wasnít there, I suppose, which was strange since Iíd actually been living with more discipline in the months leading up to the trip, so that a good splurge on food and drink could be enjoyed without guilt. Meh. Best not to force these things. Donít get me wrong Ė itís not unusual that I holiday without social lubricant or indulgent menu choices, but my inhibitions have become rather heavy of late. It would have been nice to forget myself for a bit, especially since I was surrounded by people I trust. Or maybe thatís just not me anymore. Age can be a rather hard truth, non?

I joined friends Iíve had for ten years, and we traipsed through 24 casinos in three days, 24 drag queens in three hours, 2400 slot machines where I lost and three blackjack tables where I won. The odds were definitely with the house last weekend, but hell, Iíd budgeted for it, so if I didnít bring change back, well, at least I got to double-down and lose with honour with the best of them. We ate well, and laughed a lot, and thoroughly exhausted ourselves. We alternately praised and told each other off, and caught up with the months and years, and found ourselves in each other all over again. Iíve seen Stella a few times since I lost my brother, but some of the others I hadnít seen since the summer of 2005. And so some of my stories started with, ďAfter Frankie diedÖĒ which was sort of difficult, but not as wrenching as itís been in the past. I donít know if thatís due to time or company, but whatever it is, Iím not going to question it too much. Best to let that monster sleep.

I still privately fret that we wouldnít be as close if we lived in the same time zones, but hell, itís been ten years and eight visits, and rarely does a week go by without one of us on the phone with another. I have other problems; I guess I can lay that worry to rest.

I should run. Weíll land soon, and I still have to worry about my decision to leave my flat-iron behind. Honestly, itís like Iím camping or something.

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iimage: Jack Vettriano