he smiled shyly as she came up to me while I waited to give my order at the deli.
“Are you the one that’s leaving? She asked.
“Uh, no,” I replied. “I mean, I’m driving up to Quesnel to pick up my boy but then I’m spinning right around and coming back home.”
It wasn’t the first time I’ve run into that since I wrote last week’s column.
Several people have asked about my imminent departure and I’ve had to make the same explanation each time.
One person even asked when I was moving away and then went on to say he really enjoyed reading the column.
Oh, you did, did you? Thanks for that.
Hey, I get it. The headline: Sayonara To Dear Oceanside certainly would seem to indicate that I was indeed leaving the community for greener pastures — as if those exist anywhere this side of New Zealand.
But really, you only had to get a couple of paragraphs into the story before I made the turn, ended the joke and, I thought, wrapped everything up quite nicely, thank you very much.
But the rumor persists that I’m leaving town for good.
Humph! Well at least it was a grabby headline. Not my best perhaps — that honour would go to either Hooker Slams Call Girls or Search for Martian Life Comes to the Cariboo — but I can take at least a little bit of some solace in the fact that it evidently had a widespread impact.
Oh well, I wouldn’t worry too much about reading much beyond the headline anyway. It’s mostly just a bunch of bla bla bla and “look at my dimples” cuteness.
Realistically however, there might occasionally be a kiss-the-devil hidden message or two sprinkled in the mix, just to give the doughty readers who manage to slog on past the second paragraph something to rage about.
Still, I know it’s a lot of effort to grind your way down one column all the way to the bottom and then drag your exhausted eyes all the way back up to the top of the other column and then deathmarch all the way back down again. What a nightmare!
So how about I meet you halfway — heck, more than halfway?
From now on I’ll put the really, really, REALLY juicy stuff in the headline — for readers on the go — and I’ll put discussion of more mundane matters in the body of the text — for the hardcore fan.
That’s all for future reference of course.
For now though, I need to be clear. I’m not leaving town.
I’m just screaming up into the Cariboo, snatching the kid and booting it back at no faster than the posted speed limit to my home on Central Vancouver Island.
Again, I’m not moving away any time soon.
Oh, well, hey … don’t get me wrong … If some people or organizations in the community really don’t like me and they were to, say, take up a collection and come up with, oh, half a million bucks — no, a million — I could probably be persuaded to sail away forever in my 40-foot yacht in the company of my nubile, handpicked crew.
Failing that though, I think you’re stuck with me for the duration.
Hmmm … All of a sudden I have an irresistible urge to be extremely obnoxious. Go figure.
Eat the rich!
Neil Horner is the assistant editor of The NEWS