I wave uncle Samson goodbye as he curls out of Granville Island in his silver Mercedes. “cool guy” says the valet a geek-chic rayban wearing dark eyebrow’d Jewish kid. I concur. Turns out the valet has written a few film scripts and is acting as an extra in smallville. He’s got a script in development in Hollywood. “the producer bought me that car” he says nodding to the wreck at the other side of the parking lot. Maybe it was a
different car, I dunno.
I check out the hotel and Ralph takes me to the airport. I tell him he should write a book. He’s been working for the festival for years now. He’s always got a story about writers he takes to and from the airport. It’s a kinda intimate interview he has with the jetlagged arrivals or hung over departing writers. It gives me an idea for a radio documentary.
On Canada Airways I get my ideal seat, an aisle seat with one person to my left by the window. Jennifer I think her name was, about fifty years old, a squat woman with a
mole like face. I introduced myself. To my right across the aisle a Sikh man, aged about sixty with a sparkle and alertness about him says hello. It’s sixty years since his country India suffered the indignation of partition at the hands of the embittered English. He
is sat with his equally alert wife and asks a few questions. Why are you in Canada? Did you have a good time? I answer and we both agree it is a beautiful place. The only inclination I gave to what I do is that “I am in the arts”.
As I sat back and clicked myself in the neighbour to my left had obviously been stewing “ oh you’re in the arts” she said. Her accent was a sort of Basingstoke whine. “and what ‘arts’ is that then” . It was to be a long journey. I mentioned the Cultural Olympiad. There was an indelicate pause followed by “well why are you not in first class”. Most
crass. “You know that doesn’t even enter my mind” I said. She continued “only I
thought if you were doing something like that you’d be in first class” she continued “but you’re not are you” and continued “you’re not in first class. You’re here next to little old me.”. I made a mental note not to speak to her the entire journey. And didn’t.