ONE - The Peculiar Language of Llamas

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December 15th, Saturday

Do you ever feel as though you've been plucked from your life and deposited in a completely alien landscape?  Yep, that's my story-- a mostly good-natured adolescent, snatched from the city and dumped on a rural BC gulf island - one where feral sheep run wild and the Wifi is sketchy. Welcome, friends, to Garcia Island.

I am writing this from the confines of my new room, which is actually more of an oversized closet. It has a tiny window that opens sideways at one end, and a skylight that leaks in the ceiling. All that fits into this room, is a twin bed, and a three-drawer dresser. That's it, and when I stand up straight, the top of my head almost touches the ceiling. I think the room used to be the garden shed, but whoever lived here before dragged it across the yard and nailed it to the side of the cabin. 

If I look out the window, I have a clear view of the alpacas that live next door. I never knew alpacas were such dicks. When Dad and I were unpacking the van this afternoon, I went over to say hello, and the biggest one—a brown and white dude with an embarrassing 90s boy band haircut—spat right in my face. Nice, eh? A very peculiar language. 

Dad said all llamas spit, and not to take it personally, and I said, I thought they were alpacas, to which he didn't even reply. He just heaved out his lazy-boy recliner from the back of the van and motioned for me to pick up an end.

Which brings me back to our cabin. It's really just one big room, with a bathroom and my closet at one end, and the kitchen at the other. And there's a wood stove that sits in the middle of the room. It looks like a giant vintage tea pot and I think it's about a hundred years old. It says Winterson on the front of it. Apparently, this is how we will be heating our new home. This also requires that we split wood. With an axe. In the rain.

The whole cabin is wood: the floors, the walls, the trim, even the couch is made from alder logs...I think. There are cobwebs in the corners, old rat traps on the porch, and I even found a tiny petrified dried mouse in front of the stove. It had a Cheerio clutched between its little paws.

I think Dad is under the impression that by moving to this tiny island, he's going to become some kind of super rugged outdoorsman—today he even wore a flannel shirt and Levi's. He looked bizarre, because my father has never worn a pair of jeans in his life, at least not that I'm aware of. And when we got off the ferry, we stopped at the general store and he bought an axe and a huge coil of rope. When I asked him what the rope was for, he just shrugged and said, "Dunno. But I feel like rope might be a good thing for us rural folk to have on hand." Yeah. He actually said that: us rural folk.

Then, tonight I heard him talking to The Alpaca Whisperer next door (who is actually this thirty-something woman named Misty. She's kind of hot, and lives in a rambling farm house with her seventy-one-year old father.) I heard Dad say, as he leaned casually against the fence: "This change is going to be great for Myles. I think it'll really help toughen him up." And I'm like, what? What do you mean, toughen me up? I was seriously offended, actually. My own father, selling me out to our hot neighbour before all our stuff is even out of our van. Thanks, Dad.

What makes it even worse, is that Dad said only an hour ago that Misty invited us to dinner tomorrow night. I argued that we should just chill out and maybe make some burgers on the ol' barby and crack a couple beers, but my dad just said, Myles, it's not BBQing season, it's the middle of December and you are only fourteen-years-old, so nix on the beer. And we're going to Misty's, so don't even think about getting a migraine tomorrow night, okay?

Yeah. Sure. Like getting migraines is something I do for fun.


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