Almost Intelligent

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Almost Intelligent Goes North-Distance

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An Introduction

My name is Colin Hodd, I am in the Yukon, and I am far from home. Home for me is Musquash, New Brunswick, some five thousand kilometres southeast of Whitehorse. But distance doesn’t mean what it used to. I crossed a continent in order to be with a girl I had not seen in half a year. There was a time, not all that long ago, when a journey like that made legends, made fortunes.

The lack of adoring crowds, fanmail and extravagant gifts means I’m probably not a legend, and my plane ticket only cost a fortune. That being said, anyone reading this is welcome to send fanmail and/or extravagant gifts….ah, that would be a no then? Then perhaps a brief rundown of the arduousness (spellcheck says its a word) of my journey will help solidify my legend.

Act One: Saint John, NB to Montreal, QC

It is at this juncture that I must mention two things. First, Montreal is as far West as I have ever been. Second, this means that one hour is as far outside my timezone as I’ve ever been. I said goodbye to my Mom, and left Saint John at 12:15, flew for an hour and a half, and landed at 12:49. A good flight, overall. Note that good by my standards tends to constitute minimal interaction with fellow passengers. Being a young male with headphones is always an asset.

Act Two: Montreal, QC to Vancouver, BC

This was a six-hour flight, which is roughly three more hours than any human being should spend on a plane. It is also six more hours than anyone should have to spend in a middle seat. Awkward forearm-to-forearm is a given, there is no graceful way to get out into the aisle and it is really tough to hide the fact that you are tearing up during Real Steel…and possibly doing so again during Beauty and the Beast.

A brief statement about the human condition: Man is a land-based animal whose top speed, unaided, is about 30km/h. It is remarkable that he can become not only complacent, but bored travelling eleven kilometres above the ground at 700km/h.

Interlude: Vancouver, BC

In a highly technical sense, I can now claim to have been in Vancouver. I’m not sure if six hours in an airport qualifies as “being in” a city, but when you are as little-travelled as myself, you take what you can get. The clocks were telling me less than three hours had passed since I left Montreal. My body knew that I had been in the air for six hours, and it was calling bullshit.

The clocks also claimed that it was 5 o`clock, and therefore the daylight outside was reasonable. My body, in its infinite wisdom, knew that it was 9 o`clock and the sun was goddamned supposed to be down. As an added bit of fun, most of the TVs in the airport were airing CBC coverage of Air Canada’s ongoing labour problems. This helps instill passenger confidence.

Act Three: Vancouver, BC to Whitehorse, YK

22:45 is an ungodly time to travel. More so when your body thinks that it is 2:45. Consequently, I remember little from the last leg of my journey. A sampler, then, of the thoughts I do remember: Christ this is a tiny plane. Did they design the cabin wall to cramp your neck if you try to sleep against it? I would straight up murder someone if it meant I could stretch my legs out, if only I had some nailclippers, but I can’t get on a plane without such a dangerous weapon.

The Finale

At 1:07 local time, or 5:07 bodytime (or Atlantic time for sticklers), I arrived in Whitehorse. Seventeen hours after I left Saint John, I was five thousand kilometres away. The girl I crossed the continent for was there waiting, and in that moment the trip, the boredom, the nap-mouth (the stale feeling one gets when waking from a post-snack nap, especially during travel. I once heard it described as “like there was a party in my mouth and somebody died.” Amen.) and all the other petty complaints were instantly worth it.

It was only later that I realized how absurd the trip was. Ocean to ocean, in less than a day. To a place that used to be a byword for isolation, the North. To a girl that I had spoken to every day, instantly, despite the continent of cities and lakes and mountains and plains between us. No, distance doesn’t mean what it used to. Just as well, I’m not cut out for legends, but I’m here in the Yukon, and we’ll see what kind of trouble an Easterner falls into when he comes Northwest.


Written by Colin Hodd

April 2, 2012 at 7:13 PM

One Response

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  1. Such a rugged, romantic undertaking!
    A displaced NBer who no longer feels very displaced


    April 5, 2012 at 10:49 PM

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