Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Believe I Can Fly! And Drive. And Get Deported.

Watch your rearview mirror Vancouverites, because the Arleymobile is coming for you at 120 km/hour with the Bob Dylan a'blasting and the disabled parking permit a'swinging merrily in the breeze. Yup, after 7.5 weeks of feeling like a teenager (and an old lady, simultaneously), I'm back in the driving saddle. You might also want to come an extra 30 minutes early at Vancouver International Airport, because I've also been cleared to fly and you can bet your $15 airport sandwich that I will be holding up the entire security line having the old "Even though I'm only 26, I had a hip replacement; no I'm not smuggling weapons under my skin and that comment about having a cyborg hip that shoots lasers was just a joke and please don't take me behind the curtain for a friendly game of Spot the Surgery Scar" conversation.

Today, I visited my surgeon and the results were good. While the muscles around my hip are still inexplicably weak, I've been cleared to do pretty much everything. Driving! Flying! Elliptical Machine-ing! Sitting on Low Toilets! Lurking Around the Greater Vancouver Area Groveling for Employment! Stalking the Cast of "Supernatural," Which is Filming At My House Next Week! That's right, I can pretty much do anything that doesn't involve jumping up and down, (which will sadly cut down on my jumping-jack, heel-knee-toe-kick-kick, grapevine combo mastery at my mom's aerobic classes). Still, it's a good feeling to be free of the slings and arrows of outrageous hip restrictions. Now if only I had enough muscle to go down the stairs without hitting my heel on every step. (Baby steps, people).

But all the news was not good. I didn't get an adjuncting job at the University of Illinois and it looks like America is, indeed, hell-bent on breaking up with me. And, truth be told, the prospect of losing the support network of all the friends who have helped me through an incredibly rough three years (Super-mono! Hip subluxations! The end of my wheelchair-basketball career! Throwing away 250 pages of a novel!) does feel like the worst breakup ever. Plus, I have grown attached to midwestern living, where the rents are cheap, the beer is cheap and there are bars where you can eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor; (this, to me, is a classy night out). Since I did my undergrad degree in Victoria, I have only lived in Vancouver for one year in the past nine years. And how did I spend that year? Going to concerts by myself and getting hit on by men whose claim to fame was being the go-to S&M practioner every time the show "Kink" filmed in Vancouver (true story). Living in Vancouver is a little like dating Paris Hilton: it's pretty, sure, but you'll pay heavily to support the lifestyle and you find yourself longing for a half-decent conversation. (Granted, I do know a few wonderful people in Vancouver, but this is small compared to the many people I know in Urbana and Vancouver is a notoriously hard city to meet new people in).

But America has underestimated my ability to cling. I have about a year's income saved up (thanks Athlete's Assistance Plan and an isolated midwestern college town where I can't spend money on clothes!). In theory, I could spend a year in Champaign writing and applying for fellowships/ grad school, maybe working at an unpaid internship to maintain my visa status. So what will it be? A year of busting my ass to start a new life in Vancouver? A year of avoiding the fact that I have no recognisable job skills and blowing through my house fund? I'll let you know when/ if I ever figure it out.

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