Tuesday, July 19, 2016


I was early for last Thursday's readings and performances at the Kelowna Public Library, so I did what I usually do -- or need to do more of -- and that is walk about, take note of the town and its design, its people and what they get up to.

The route I take from campus to downtown turns right onto Highway 97 for a kilometre past Edwards to Sexsmith, where I turn right (west) and climb successively higher, veering right of the left tine where the slope forks to climb higher still, veering right again until Sexsmith levels off and goes by another name, then another, before knowing when to turn right and arrive at Glenmore, which begins earlier on the highway, well before campus, and runs to Clement, which is north of the curving highway, but close.

So I turn left at Glenmore, then a right where I know to turn right until I come to a street where I know to turn left, then a right at Clement until Ellis. I park across from the manor house that is Prospera Place, a complex of apartments (or is it a hotel?) named after a financial institution, and from there walk south.

The Kelowna Public Library is on Ellis, but because I am early I walk a couple blocks further to Bernard, where I turn right and take in the increased obviousness of a town that feeds off the usual gaggle of reproductive families, hockey players, foreign students and that update on what was once a truckload of horny teenage farm boys and is now an SUV filled with horny fifty-something cougars. "Show us your balls!" one of them screeches at a pair of too-young skater dudes, both of whom turn their boards wheel-wise to look for something that is not there.

Thirsty, I decide to have a pint at the only joint whose entertainment, at least from its posters, is closest to the more dangerous experiments of my youth, and that is Fernanado's, a high-ceilinged wooden eatery that feels as if it has been around forever, while at the same time never existed.

Behind the bar are two young women, one of whom could be a cougar-in-the-making, the other her alt Juliette Lewis-like  sister. They make a good team -- saucy and sweet -- and have earned their following. But rather than engage, I fall into the amber of my beer. Not quite like Julie Christie did with that ceramic vessel at the end of McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), but close.

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