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Ferrying about

We’re about to board the ferry to British Columbia, specifically Sidney, on Vancouver Island, and as always (I’ve explained this many times on the A-blog) the prospect of going into the realm of bad Internet connections and their vile ancillary, Roaming Charges, fills me with dread and triggers my version of the fight or flight response (surrender or curl up in a ball). Because what if I can’t get email, or blog? Not that I have anything to say after days of eating french fries and feeling the fat go right to the synapses, clogging them, and sledgehammering the IQ, thwonk, thwonk, thwonk, rendering me a dumb brute with nothing on my mind except the search for the next fry. Also, ketchup.

Having grown up in a driving culture, one in which recreation was confined largely to driving around randomly looking for a party that never materialized, it’s hard to adjust to this Pacific Northwest culture of water, boats, kayaks, ferries, lining up at the ferry terminal, checking schedules for when we can “sail.” We are about to “sail” to B.C. The ferry is like a whale shark, with a giant gullet ready to swallow krill.

That would be a good name for a small, fuel-efficient car: The Chevy Krill.

It is an American instinct to light out for the territory. Saddle up. Head west. Except at some point you run out of “West” and there are only islands and blue water, and killer whales allegedly. You have to kennel your horse and switch to water transport. I’m not a sailor. I put the :not” back in nautical. But I can see the charm of this alternative universe, this island realm, with its evergreen-scrubbed air and gentle metabolism. I could shed my antsy Washington personality if I could just hang out here for another 20 or 30 years.

More from the road down the road….Internet connection permitting….


Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."



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Joel Achenbach · July 24, 2013

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