I have a lot of time on my hands, waiting for Dave to get through his work day. I don't feel like hiding away in the basement room he rents – as nice as the people are who own the house (and they are super nice, the best kind of people actually), I feel I don't want to interfere with their day. So I find coffee shops with wi-fi and sunny spots to read my Kindle. The other day I fell asleep in the car at the Cold Lake Marina, the sun making me warm and drowsy, the view of a vast frozen expanse of white oddly pretty and comforting. I slept for a couple of hours, rousing every once in a while as a plane roared overhead.
So there are military people from the base and Filipino workers behind the tills, and there are also the oil field workers. Men. Tons of men, all of them with greasy hands and muddy boots, all of them a zillion miles from home. They are the tradesmen and the labourers who have left their homes behind to make ridiculous amounts of money working for the big oil companies. Many are in the oil field camps for five weeks at a time, cut off from the rest of the world; others rent rooms in Cold Lake and are bussed out to the fields for long, cold, dirty days. Every motel, every apartment or spare room, is filled with the men of the fields. When Dave and I move here early this summer we will rent out two rooms in our house to these men. Their rent will pay our mortgage. This is how it is done in Cold Lake. The houses are expensive but the well-moneyed men are lined up for a place to rest their heads at night.
There is money everywhere. Money, and pick-up trucks. Almost everyone drives 4X4 trucks and even though there are at least three car washes in Cold Lake, these trucks are covered in mud. Part of it is from being in the oil fields. Part of it is the crappy roads. Seriously, the roads are terrible here. Pot holes the size of ponds. Nobody complains about it, though. Nobody worries. They just ride their big expensive pick-em-ups over the bumps and mud puddles, and carry on.
People are friendly here. This is a good place, I can feel it.
And if spring never arrives in Cold Lake, so be it. I shall buy a new coat and learn to curl.