The simple call of orange juice

Several years ago as he dropped me off at my door, I hesitated. Others would find a clumsy excuse: “Want to see my painting?” “Want to see my TV?” “Want to listen to a record?”

Instead, I asked, “Want to have orange juice?”

“YAH!” he pulled his car into a spot and clamored up the stairs like a little kid.

With 2 hours remaining: Part 4

I stared out of the bus, trapped. Knowingly trapped around fellow passengers—these other Asian immigrants…these other people who chose to take public transit rather than drive a car.

Once the automatic voice announced “North Fraser Way”, I pulled down to flag my stop. As I climbed down the stairs, I asked the driver, “How do I get back to the station?”

Nonplussed by all my questions, he said, “On the other side of the street.”

Intimidated, I nodded and mumbled, “Thanks.”

I hesitated at the corner of the intersection, watching the bus take a right turn and rush into the distance. This is it. I have to run. I checked traffic on the road and ran across the road…into dirt path with a sign that said “Dead end.” I had looked at my map multiple times and this was the only path. The dairy farm was on North Fraser Road.

The pain from stumbling off the sidewalk already had faded. The embarrassment was gone. Nobody was around me. I made it there. Walking fast. Chatted with a customer. Quizzed the employees. Then I took my cone and went back to the bus stop. Where to my surprise, I found wi-fi and to my surprise, the bus arrived in a few minutes. In less than an hour later, I was on the train. On time. Not late, not lost. On my way to Vancouver.

With 2 hours remaining: Part 3

The bus finally moved away from its corner to the appointed stop area. I followed other passengers, slowing down my pace so that I would be the last to get on the bus. I acted like I didn’t fall and nobody showed any response.

“Is this the way to North Fraser [Way]?” I asked as I put in my all-day pass into the reader.

The driver, an Indian…Canadian…, spoke without an accent, “This bus takes the long way to North Fraser. You should take the 106.”


I hurried off the bus and headed to the adjacent bus. This one had been arriving every 10 minutes rather than the 30 minutes it took for the 116. I got on and asked the driver (an Asian this time), “Does this go to North Fraser?”

“No, you should take the 116,” he pointed back to the bus that I had just clambered off.

I went back to the 116 and said with an expression of I am just following instructions, “I was told to take this bus.”

“Well, ok,” he said and started the bus.

I sat down in the middle…and realized…that I had about 2 hours left. I could easily just stay on the bus and head back to skytrain. And yet? Would I make it back to my train? Would I get to the dairy farm, quiz some of the customers, eat an ice cream scoop, and walk back in time to catch the next bus? It was unclear. What I knew that was that my ankle wasn’t smarting as much as I anticipated. Maybe I could still walk…or run. Maybe I could hitchhike. I look very innocent, right?

I hope so, I thought…as I stared out the window passing strip malls, empty sidewalks, cars all reminiscent of a suburb that did not use public transit.

With 2 hours remaining: Part 2

Walking around the turnabout, I teetered between returning to the Skytrain and waiting around the bus. Safety aka conservatism vs. adventure aka risk.

Memories of missing my flight in Berlin struck me. I really did not know Vancouver. I really shouldn’t be seeking adventure a few hours before my train departed. But then my goals was undeterred. I came all this way…to Vancouver…to another country…and never made it to the dairy farm. That was unthinkable.

I had to go. The 105 bus arrived…not once, not twice, but thrice. Panic starting rising in my throat. Where was the 116? I checked my device—no wireless present in this space. When the 116 did arrive, I started walking toward it despite clear signs indicating that it was not going to pick up passengers except at indicated signs. With my sunglasses, I started walking to where it was taking a break in the corner of the lot.

Then, I lost my balance and toppled in a heap on the ground. With my focus so intent on the bus, the presence of a sidewalk escaped me. I immediately got up and brushed myself off. Hoping that nobody noticed.