I have been hearing this phrase all my life. Bedhead, hung over, sick, whatever, if you were in any kind of damaged state you always heard “jesus girl you’re like the wreck of the hesperus” and like all our other lovely family traditions (crippling self consciousness, bad spelling, co-dependency) I have carried it on to the best of my ability. Even Neil has been known to break out the wreck comment a time or two at the first sight of me emerging from the lair at the crack of noon on a Sunday.

I never actually read the poem until today. Holy mother of god what a depressing mess that is, frozen children lashed to ship masts floating in the cold sea and everything. That’s my heritage for you in a nutshell, death and mayhem on the high seas transformed into a turn of phrase that is apparently appropriate for commenting on your appearance.

Anyway I was reading it as my own Wreck is heavy on my mind. The devis have gone to the bank and today I called the lovely Debra at the Royal Bank in Halifax to authorize a wire transfer of half of all the money I have in the world so I can get this show on the road.

It’s really something this Wreck business. Like the plans for the layout that seem to change every 5 minutes, I go back and forth on this decision. On the one hand it feels bat-shit crazy to use the first real savings I’ve ever had to buy a house in a town that I don’t really know much about and a job that I know even less about. On the other hand why the hell not? It’s not like I’m getting any younger. I came all the way over here to seek adventure and besides what the frig would I do with my time if I wasn’t busy creating chaos for myself?

Obviously there is a fair bit of risk here. Today I was caught up in the ‘what ifs': what if the new job doesn’t work out?; what if one of us gets sick? But then I thought if one of us were really sick then house, money, job, none of that will matter. All that would matter then is each other.

Anyway the whole thing continues to be ridiculously surreal. It’s a bit like those situations where you know you should feel sad and shed a tear but all you can think about is ice cream or the 40% off sale at Banana Republic. I know I should be panicked but it’s just not there. I have a certain level of concern but even that seems far away from me.

So like the Hesperus I shall sail on with the Wreck of Rue Lazare leaving my fate to the wind and the waves hoping to avoid the rocks on the shore. The stormy sea may swallow me but at least I will have given it a go. And maybe, just maybe, Gordon Lightfoot will write a song about me…

Share