Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 @ 8:35 pm
Rain begins to fall as I walk towards the hotel, the sun already starting to set.
On the 35th floor, I stand amongst a group of women who are all getting together to talk about women in engineering. There is champagne and a TED-like keynote address. We are the change. I look around the room and study these women. I surreptitiously read their name tags, searching for the three with whom I wished to meet. I balance appetizers, a napkin, a sweating champagne flute, and my clutch, while also attempting to shake hands with people and do damage control in terms of crumbs and food-in-the-teeth.
The room is hot, and I take a moment for myself. Walk over to the windows and look down at the city. Nighttime city, billows of fog and humidity, and the green copper roof of the Hotel V@ncouver looming eerily close in the foreground. The air is cooler at the windows, and I turn back towards the room, listening to the bursts of laugher, the clatter of small plates, distant clapping from the room next door.
I stay late talking with a woman who I want to be my mentor. She doesn't know this yet, but I set out with this as my goal and I was right - we get along very well. Synergy, she is me in ten years.
At the end, we take the elevator to the lobby together. We stand in the lobby for a minute, finishing our conversation. I push out into the night, now fully dark, now full torrential downpour. Run across the street, leap across the flooding gutter, and pad down the steps into the Skytrain station. My train pulls up as if on cue. Waiting to cross the road, a rough-looking man offers a probably-found/stolen umbrella, and I smile and laugh and decline his offer. He needs it more than I. A moment later, running across Main St, the rain water flooding over the sides of my flats (and in through the holes in their worn soles), the bus driver opens his door and I jump in and smile and flash my pass.
On the way to my building, I stop to push leaves off the catch basins. How moving only a few leaves can cause a rush of water to enter the drain. How such a thin layer - just one or two leaves - can cause all of the water to pass. The stormwater flows in a small mighty river, over top of each leaf-covered drain, the flow multiplying and accelerating down the block.
And I stand there, rain pouring over my face and feet, stick in hand pushing the leaves out of the way. Watching the water disappear into the abyss of the drain. All it takes is a little nudge and the leaves give way, and then the rest of the leaves are pulled in with a whoosh. One little nudge. One stick. One person who thinks to pick up that stick.
From champagne on the 35th floor, to cleaning leaves from the drains with a stick - the rain falling. Streetlights changing, the wet pavement reflecting red, then green. Headlights blinding, water squelching between my toes.
This is autumn in Vancouver.