I know I already reviewed Carla Bruni’s debut album, Quelqu’un M’a Dit, but I wanted to revisit one of her tracks in relation with my trip to Vancouver. Before heading to the airport, I discovered and shared Bruni’s “Tout Le Monde,” knowing it would be the last thing posted for a week on my Facebook profile (yeah, serious business). It’s my favorite song right now as it reminds me of the moments I spent with my family in Vancouver, in limbo between employed and (what I would discover a week after returning) unemployed.
Vancouver is a pretty city. It’s got a great living balance between urban life and an appreciation for nature. They’re pretty good with keeping things green too (idling your car is a crime). The numerous mountains surrounding the pristine harbor create a really breathtaking view. And at night, lights high in the hills emit a row of faux stars floating above the city, confusing us for days until we finally figured out what they were.
Before I left, my friend, Elena, convinced me to write an essay for the book she’s publishing. I remember starting the essay in our dark hotel room, blessed with a view of Yaletown building lights. I started by writing about the quietness of the space – muffled street sounds perforated by rambunctious voices of late night revelers below – and included mentions of my parents, soundly asleep in the bed nearby. But I wasn’t able to finish the essay in Vancouver…
Just like the video, like going through a dark tunnel, is how one might describe traveling. When you’re in a plane, it’s as if you’re not a part of this world. You move between cities in a climate unique to your own. While it may be raining and dreary on the Earth’s surface, your existence above the clouds leaves you immune and bathed in sun or stars… in transition and above the storm.
My phone was off for a week. I don’t think I’ve ever had a phone off that long… No internet. No email. No Twitter. Totally free. It felt really nice. Checking my stream upon returning to the States was a little disheartening. I really don’t need to be hearing about the latest-upgrade-to-software-I’ll-never-use during all my waking hours, I discovered (no offense to you if that’s what you love to Tweet about). It was really nice being cut off. I can’t stress that enough.
I wasn’t able to finish the essay in Vancouver… Instead, I finished it after I returned, a few days after getting laid off. I think the multiple scenarios, time lapses and life situations in which the essay was being redrafted in really aided its development. It framed itself within a new perspective, reflected upon and transformed. And that it found completion during this period of uncertainty and confusion is particularly ironic given the focal topic of the essay project…